Jim Shelley & Book Of Kills

AIFF's and WAV's and MP3's

You're probably aware that Neil Young hates mp3's. According to Mr. Young, mp3's provide only 5% of "...what we make in the studio". He even despises CD's which he says only give listeners 15% of the audio information contained on a master recording. In fact, a few years ago, just after Steve Jobs's death, Young claimed that he and Jobs were working on a new device that could store the gigantic high definition digital files that he and Jobs preferred listening to, when they weren't enjoying their music via old school vinyl records.

I've never had any difficulty discerning the difference in quality between a lower quality mp3 and a CD track, but recently I compared the super high quality 24 bit AIFF ("Audio Interchange File Format") version of my 2015 album HUMAN AGAIN with the 16 bit CD version. I was absolutely floored by the difference in definition and dynamics. I swear, the AIFF's made it sound like I'd pulled cotton out of my ears after listening to the CD. And goodness knows, my ears sure ain't what they used to be!

Would most people be able to perceive a difference? Probably not. 99% of the people I've talked to about comparing CD tracks and mp3s are unable to tell the difference between the two. I doubt that any of those same folks would be able to differentiate between a 24 bit AIFF file and a 16 bit wav file. That makes me sound just like a snobbish Neil Young sound quality disciple, doesn't it? To be honest, I have absolutely no problem listening to a 256 or 320 kps mp3 file. I suspect that if I were to take part in some sort of AIFF/WAV/MP3 comparison experiment that I'd probably be unable to detect the differences among the three formats. Then again...those 24 bit AIFFs sounded pretty damn awesome.

"There is a cult of ignorance in the United States and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'" ― Isaac Asimov

(No...that Asimov quotation isn't aimed at people who can't discern the difference between mp3s and CDs. It's just something I stumbled upon while I was researching the Jobs/Young connection. It just seems rather appropriate for these pre-election times.)