Thursday, December 01, 2005

MP3 and ALE

Just last night I decided to try out Apple Lossless Encryption (ALE) and imported two of my CDs into the ALE format. For this test, I imported Jamie Cullum's two CD album into my iPod using the ALE format.

First of all, the size of the file ballooned to about 20Mb, almost 8x more if encoded using MP3. To those who know MP3, it is a "lossy" compression algorithm. What the algorithm does is it "strips" the notes and sounds which are theoretically speaking beyond the range of human hearing. So supposedly it only stores the music which could technically-speaking only be heard.

However, maybe its me or the "placebo effect," but when I did play the music encoded in ALE, the music sounds slightly better. While it is hard to describe an audio experience using words, the music sounds "wider," and the "live" experience seems more enhanced. You hear more distinct notes plus some slight nuances on the vocals.

Unfortunately, as you can see, music encoded in ALE will consume a lot of disk space. I intend to use this compression method only for music worth an enhanced listening experience---most especially my jazz albums.


Anonymous PHL said...

Well, how big was the original .DAT on the CD? When you say lossless, basically you're saying don't compress it to the point it loses something. So, I guess I could only say what do you expect?

But MP3's popularity comes from the compact size of the compressed file. So, I guess if you're not happy with MP3's quality, you can try other lossy compressions. As you may already know, MP3 filters out the lower and higher frequencies that human ears can't hear. But as you may have already experience at theaters like Louie's those low frequencies that we supposedly cannot hear can indeed be felt. Also the higher frequencies tend to make the sound richer, louder and more complete when they are present. Oh, well. :-(

10:26 AM  

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