Audio is Getting Better. Here’s why.

Audio is Getting Better. Here’s why.

A musical recording is designed to do one thing especially well, barring which it fails completely: make people want to hear it.

To get there, a lot of work and reflection goes into bringing a music release to fruition: the writing, the musicianship, the beat, the compositions, the words, its tone, its catchiness, the mixing effects. Every aspect is judiciously considered and applied to make the finished product as appealing as possible to its target audience.

Yet, after all this effort is expended to create something people want to listen to, the gear’s sound quality, the actual thing people hear at the end of the line through which all the hard work that went into making the recording ends up, is often so compromised it’s akin to watching a movie through a greasy window. Those things that were put there because the creative process throughout the production deemed they were better there than not there — things like musical nuances, melodic flourishes, texture, detail, the recording techniques, and all the other stuff that was pored over, fought over, cried over, and redid for the umpteenth time to get just right, end up on the proverbial cutting room floor.

Some recordings were purposely engineered to sound lo-fi, to suit a particular aesthetic, or to sound louder than a competitor’s competing loud song, a process that involves cutting off the sound’s head and legs, or, in audio terms, compressing the sound by eliminating high and low frequency bands so there’s only a middle range to scream out more.

The good news is times are changing for the better. Now that consumers’ appetite for convenience has been satiated with all manner of portable and wi-fi ways to access music anywhere they may be, makers of audio parts and gear have begun to focus more attention on making better sounding products at lower price points. It’s a development likely to influence the decisions of studio engineers, streaming companies, and record labels who wish to remain competitive.

The signs are already there: streaming companies such as Tidal, Amazon Music Unlimited, Deezer, Primephonic, Spotify Premium, and Qobuz now offer CD-quality and high resolution sound as an alternative to lossy resolution. Even YouTube got in on the act when they upped their sound quality in 2019, not by much, but it’s a sign that even the big faceless corporations that never cared about sound quality are finally coming around.

This makes it an ideal time to own a quality music system, portable music player, or computer setup assembled with gear from such sound-respecting brands as Audioquest, Grado Labs, Rega, Elac, Pro-Ject, Schiit, Emotiva, FiiO, iFi, Klipsch, Sennheiser, to name a few — all the better to appreciate and marvel at all the hard work and artistry that went into creating our favorite recordings.

2024 PMA Magazine. All rights reserved.

Dear readers,

As you might know, PMA is an independent consumer audio and music magazine that prides itself on doing things differently. For the past three years, we’ve dedicated ourselves to bringing you an authentic listening experience. Our commitment? Absolute authenticity. We steer clear of commercial influences, ensuring that what you hear from us is genuine, unfiltered, and true to our values.

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Thank you so much for being a part of our journey.

The PMA Team

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