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Comments

Eric Grubbs

People claim they can't tell the difference between a 192 MP3 and a 128 MP3. I figure they've been to one-too-many live shows without earplugs in their ears.

Michael Azerrad

True, but the point is, even if they can hear the difference, they just don't care. Audio fidelity is not a concern anymore.

Eric Grubbs

In a culture that loves the pristine sight and sound of HD TV and DVD, people don't care about audio fidelity elsewhere. Very strange.

boo boo

are you nuts?!! there are entire contingents of audiophile nerds draining untold amounts from their paychecks on the latest "sound conditioner" or whatever. Most throw away the white buds that come with the ipod and get shure plugs or sennheiser whatits or whatever it is.

Michael Azerrad

That's true, but a) those "contingents," just judging by what I see on the streets every day, are a microscopic proportion compared to the legions of white-earbud wearers and b) they're still listening to MP3s or ripped files. "Lossless"? My foot! If they really cared about fidelity, they'd be listening to audiophile CDs on a high-end Discman. And no matter how many iPod users soup up their machines, the central point of that post still stands: Musical snob appeal has shifted to the size and quality (and, increasingly, the diversity) of one's collection, and that's not a bad thing.

foo bear

you're right that these ipodders are not bothered by the downsampling/loss of fidelity -- but these are children of the walkmen -- not the hifi -- why would you expect them to be in the same group as the hi-fi-ists, who from what I can tell, are as legion as ever, audiophile snobbery intact? having a diverse and bulging mp3 collection is easier and cheaper than ever, so in fact, being a snob via eclecticism carries less weight -- I think what you are seeing now is dilletantes and casual listeners suddenly having the arsenal of what used to be hardcore music nerd mixes on their workout playlist. I agree that this is great, but it is great because connosieurs no longer hold a monopoly on vast collections, and hence it is no longer a credible criterion for connosieurship (which is doubly awesome -- regular, non-serious consumers have a better chance of not listening to crap, and music snobs can't pull their 'cooler than thou' shenanigans by virtue of having a 200 sq foot stacked library). your other point, that the fidelity on ipods are crap -- it's certainly crap against a 10k stereo w/ diamond-tipped stylus turntable or whatever -- but compared to walkmen, I'd say even the stereophile-heads would go for the ipod. Have the fidelity snobs ever taken CDs seriously? even in a discman shootout, the ipod or some other digital player could conceivably win (if you take the lossless claim at face value), as the audio on CDs is written without error-correcting codes.

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