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Picking a Music Source

Should I Use MP3s, CDs, or Vinyl?

Picking a Music Source


Do you know the difference between the audio quality of CDs, MP3s, and records? Both audiophiles and average music-lovers should be aware of the type of source they are plugging into their speakers. Taking the time to consider your music source is an integral aspect to setting up a whole house audio system in your Brookline, MA home. Unfortunately you can’t only rely on a pair of high-quality speakers. You need both a good source and good equipment to produce amazing sound. Use this blog as your expert guide to choosing the right music source.



SEE ALSO: How to Perfect Your Backyard Audio

Digital Music

Many men and women purchase music in the form of MP3s from iTunes or Amazon Music since digital files are very convenient to own and use. The big benefit of that is you can easily travel with the music and transfer files, however MP3s are just about the lowest quality music source. They operate at 320 kbps (bitrate) which means the recordings have been broken down and compressed. When an original recording is compressed into an MP3 file, a lot of information is lost.  A lower bitrate could mean it has a weaker bass response or poor-sounding drum cymbals. The good news is you can have the best of both worlds with high-resolution audio files. High-resolution audio formats are compressed in such a way that no data is lost. So where can you purchase or stream high-resolution files?

Currently, streaming stations like Pandora and Spotify use a bitrate of 160 kbps, which is even lower than a typical MP3 file. Tidal is one of the only streaming services that plays songs in CD quality at 1,411 kbps. High-resolution song files are seven times higher than that! According to Sony, there are several companies that cater to audiophiles and music lovers by selling high-resolution files for download--including, HDtracks, Super HiRez, and Qobuz.


Unless you’re able to go completely high-res with your audio source, don’t throw out those CDs for digital music files. CDs have a much higher quality performance than MP3s.  Besides, why ditch your beloved albums when they’ll still sound great on a pair of quality 2-channel speakers? You’ll also get to collect album cover art and keep the containers for nostalgia’s sake – that is unless you completely disdain CD clutter. Keep in mind that many automobile manufacturers are phasing out CD players. Take a test ride in the latest model of a Honda Civic and you’ll notice there’s no CD player on dash. The world is definitely going digital, but it’s up to you if you want to cherish that great CD collection you’ve spent time and money to build.


There are a number of reasons why the LP has resurfaced and is growing in popularity. One large reason is that people are discovering MP3s are not the best way to listen to music. Did you know that Steve Jobs listened to vinyl at home? Vinyl is the only playback format that is fully analog and fully lossless. With a quality turntable and record, you can enjoy a full-fidelity listening experience. Since the digital conversion process is eliminated, the result is a pure sound that is closer to the original recording. Whether the song was recorded in digital or analog, a vinyl disc will still have more information on it than an MP3 file. People also like the deep warm sounds vinyl produces. If you are a devoted record collector, you can still play them with our whole house music systems. Hook up a nice turntable to your audio system and you can play the music throughout your entire house or in a dedicated listening room.

The choice is yours: go fully digital, keep your collection of CDs, or join the vinyl resurgence. Whatever your preference is, Tailor-Made Audio + Video can support it with our whole house audio systems and solutions. As long as you have a quality source and a quality speaker system, you’ll be able to enjoy your music like never before. Contact us today for a free consultation. 


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