The Case Against 24 bit 192kHz Music

Chris Montgomery aka “Monty” wrote an amazing essay on why 24 bit 192kHz downloads are silly and not worth while. Among those lobbying for it include Neil Young. Given Montgomery’s experience with audio encoding (OGG/Vorbis), he’s without question an authority on the topic.

Articles last month revealed that musician Neil Young and Apple’s Steve Jobs discussed offering digital music downloads of ‘uncompromised studio quality’. Much of the press and user commentary was particularly enthusiastic about the prospect of uncompressed 24 bit 192kHz downloads. 24/192 featured prominently in my own conversations with Mr. Young’s group several months ago.

Unfortunately, there is no point to distributing music in 24-bit/192kHz format. Its playback fidelity is slightly inferior to 16/44.1 or 16/48, and it takes up 6 times the space.

There are a few real problems with the audio quality and ‘experience’ of digitally distributed music today. 24/192 solves none of them. While everyone fixates on 24/192 as a magic bullet, we’re not going to see any actual improvement.

Go read the rest. It’s worth while. A couple nice jabs at self proclaimed “audiophiles” are included as well.

Poor Website Email Practices

I got a few emails in the past 24 hours that need to be addressed. I’ve seen both of these issues before, but never has it become so common that I see two almost back to back.

Character Encoding

VideoSurf sent me an invitation to check out their product. Unfortunately I’m a somewhat busy person and just haven’t gotten around to it. They noticed this and sent me a reminder, which I thought was kind of nice. Unfortunately like many companies these days, their mail software doesn’t set a character encoding, meaning their email looks like garbage. If I change the character encoding in my mail client to UTF-8 all looks great. What’s the lesson here?

Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8

That’s all it takes to make sure I see every character in your email. It’s not hard.

Unnecessary Backscatter

Yahoo’s Flickr service sent me an email that my “upload has failed”. I know that’s not true since I don’t use Flickr to host my images. Viewing the email it’s obvious a spammer trying to abuse their service forged the From: header with my email address. This failed for the spammer, and the fail notification went to me. I host SPF records so that recipients mail servers can verify if an email originated from a system that’s authorized to send emails from my domain. Why doesn’t Yahoo check to see if this email they received forged headers? This would obviously be a good way to tell if someone is trying to spam their system, and would stop other innocent victims from getting backscatter.