Listen to music, really

Idea

I bet you haven’t really listened to any music recently. I mean: LISTEN. Start a CD, sit down, and just enjoy until the CD ends. I’m talking about this kind of listening. The real one. Everything else is mostly unnecessary and is just background noise. Now I don’t say you should never listen to music in the background, just keep in mind that 90% music on the most radio channels is crap. We all know this. So if you have the chance, do yourself a favour and switch off the bad music and optionally switch on good music. Recently I rather switch off music while driving, or listen to podcasts.

Why

Well, first of all it’s quite relaxing when you just sit down and focus on one thing for a while. Naturally sitting trough a whole CD is working better with classical or jazz music rather than with AC / DC. It is nice to have a good quality audio system or decent headphones, although it is not important if the music is good.

Go to concerts

A great idea is to visit concerts too. Small ones, big ones, doesn’t really matter. There are many wonderful bands who are playing all the time. It might be a good idea to visit music festivals or just try to listen to new types of music.

A note on sound quality (aka why mp3 / lossy music is a bad idea)

Mp3 was developed by Moving Picture Experts Group in 1993. It’s main idea is based on auditory masking, which is a perceptual limitation of human hearing. Simply put a tone can be rendered inaudible by another tone of lower frequency. Different encoding algorithms by developed by different companies, in varied quality. Mp3 is lossy, which means the original music can’t be replayed using this audio format. You will lose data, information, important pieces of the music.
Using MP3 was a great idea around 2000 when the internet just started to spread and it took at least an hour to download one track in MP3. Today we don’t have any limitation on bandwidth, we can live stream lossless music in WAV format. (which is basically identical representation of the music on a CD).

Alternatives

I urge you to look for lossless sources of music. You can directly digitalize a CD to WAV format, however there are lossless formats (similar to ZIP and RAR, just better optimized for music). The mostly use format is FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec).
I’ve listened to FLAC files encoded with 192 Khz compared to a CD with 44 Khz. Guess which sounded better? The CD. Of course the source of these recordings and the music was completely different. So don’t just blindly trust those numbers (you should almost never trust numbers by companie’s marketing department anyways), just listen to the music and hear it for yourself. Buy from trusted record labels who release quality music recorded in an optimal way. And please, don’t buy mp3. Most sites offer lossless formats already: FLAC or ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec).
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