It's been said that if you want DRM-free music, take your CD and rip it to your hard drive. But everytime you do something like this, you lose something: quality. The compression involved in creating the MP3 file reduces the fidelity of the sound. But this is something we've all become used to, and it's still as good as the original, right? Not really.
For purists, it's the dark ages
of recorded sound.
"You can get used to awful," says record producer Phil Ramone. "You can
appreciate nothing. We've done it with fast food."
MP3s have won the war of the formats because of technology, not because of
their audio quality. "It's like hearing through a screen door," says
neuroscientist Daniel Levitin of McGill University, author of "This Is Your
Brain on Music." "There are lines between me and what I want to see."
Most people don't know what they're missing. They listen through computer speakers, or those ubiquitous iPod earbuds. Perhaps this is why, even today, some people continue to swear by vinyl.