The younger viewers of the blog will probably not recognize the pun in the title. It refers to a once famoous ad on tv where one hears a singer and then at a certain moment a wineglass shatters. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3sXpPLFXRw&feature=related

I had to think about this ad when I listened to a song that I had uploaded to Soundcloud last Friday. The original was a 24bit wav.file but Soundcloud compresses the sound to a 128kbs mp3. But then, there’s compression and compression. When I listened to the mp3 version I was appalled by what I heard. The mp3 sounded flatter (dynamics), the soundcolor seemed to have changed and transients had become blunt. So I decided to record the mp3 back to 24bit file and make some comparisons.

On the picture to the left you can see three wave forms (please click to see full detail). The one above is the Soundcloud crunch, the middle one is my own compression and the lower one is the original. You can clearly see that the Soundcloud version is quite distorted from the original and even rather different from the mp3 that I did myself (within Reaper, btw). Actually this Soundcloud file has already been altered because I found out that, for one reason or another, Soundcloud also reversed the phase of the file. So I had to correct this in order to make visual comparison easier. On the pic to right I have gone into more detail. It is at the point where the sound goes from silent suddenly into loud sound (like a drumbeat). The upper wave form is the soundcloud version, the lower one the original. In the original you can clearly see the wave suddenly rise high (red arrow). The picture below is an even better example of how the sound is ruined distorted by the Soundcloud engine. 

Okay, so what you hear when you listen online is definitely NOT what it really is. I would like to ask all people listening to my music on [ soundcloud ] to download the material. I upload everything in FLAC or WAV format and the downloads are in that quality. This is not a post to bash Soundcloud because I think they are really offering a great service. BUT:  if you listen to something and you even remotely like the stuff, then PLEASE DOWNLOAD the original!!!

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