Article on Emotional Effects of Lossy Compression on Music
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Old 22-02-2017, 05:55 PM   #1
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Article on Emotional Effects of Lossy Compression on Music

I saw this over on head-fi and thought we as producers could use some of the findings to our advantage. I feel like we already do this, but this paper quantifies that lo-fi audio decreases positive emotions caused by music and increases negative ones.

http://www.innerfidelity.com/content...rdQlq1JfpKc.97

The original paper: http://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=18523

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Old 22-02-2017, 06:34 PM   #2
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Re: Article on Emotional Effects of Lossy Compression on Music

That was an interesting read..but I think their findings a bit flawed, when you take other factors into account..mainly cultural background and personality, as well as the number of subjects used.

It's important to keep in mind that any emotional response to a piece of music is subjective..and no two people experience things the exact same way, so that alone should make us take such findings with a pinch of salt, as they say.

In regards to personality..this again is something that's hard to qualify..we don't know if what one person finds, say, "Romantic" will arouse the exact same levels of romantic feelings in somebody else..which means any like-feelings felt are only going to be rough approximates and not absolutes.

Then there's cultural differences to be factored in, as the very real subtle differences between various cultures when it comes to music and art appreciation in general, should be expected to impact any such results.

And then you have to remember this experiment was carried out on a group of only 20 individuals. Again, there's no way to know if these 20 really are indicative of everyone else in the world, when it comes to interpreting the emotional impact of music. How do we know they all "feel" emotions the same..or to the same level of intensity? We don't..at best all we can do is again hope for a rough approximate value.

Don't get me wrong..I'm not bashing the study, just highlighting that scientific hubris can be a very real thing, when they try to qualify accurately with a physical experiment things that are intangible to begin with.

In short, all this only indicates is there were perceived differences..but, again, the results can only ever be rough approximates and not absolutes, due to the subjective nature of emotions.

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Old 22-02-2017, 07:19 PM   #3
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Re: Article on Emotional Effects of Lossy Compression on Music

I wonder if these people were prone to mood swings. They used my shit headphones of choice, so kudos. I can't tell the difference or hear particular artifacts in these, but if it significantly ruins their mood, that's pretty interesting all around.

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Old 22-02-2017, 07:27 PM   #4
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Re: Article on Emotional Effects of Lossy Compression on Music

I'd be more interested to see something about heavily limited music vs dynamic music.

Lossy compression is becoming less relevant as bandwidth increases. If you read the article, you'll see that things have to get pretty compressed before there is a significant effect. Almost everything is at a high enough bitrate to where it doesn't matter.

Dynamic compression is a much more relevant issue.

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Old 22-02-2017, 07:28 PM   #5
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Re: Article on Emotional Effects of Lossy Compression on Music

I think those are valid points, and along the same lines, all subjects were college students, and so likely between 20 and 25 years old. Certainly not a representative sample of all music listeners. Nor are a set of closed studio headphones representative of all listening environments, which I had not considered before bringing this to everyone's attention. And the sole comment on the paper does note that mp3 compression of notes in a vacuum (ie without any musical accompaniment) is going to be at risk of being different than mp3 compression of musical passages.

All that said, I think it's interesting that there may be a correlation between objective audio quality and subjective human interpretation of music, and this paper may represent the first evidence of such a phenomenon.

EDIT: That was in response to AM's post.

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Old 22-02-2017, 07:31 PM   #6
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Re: Article on Emotional Effects of Lossy Compression on Music

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Originally Posted by mnkvolcno View Post
I'd be more interested to see something about heavily limited music vs dynamic music.
I'm thinking I'm going to start taking a look around the AES open access database and see if anything else catches my eye. I'll let you know if I find anything.

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Old 22-02-2017, 08:04 PM   #7
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Re: Article on Emotional Effects of Lossy Compression on Music

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Originally Posted by White Noise View Post
I think those are valid points, and along the same lines, all subjects were college students, and so likely between 20 and 25 years old. Certainly not a representative sample of all music listeners. Nor are a set of closed studio headphones representative of all listening environments, which I had not considered before bringing this to everyone's attention. And the sole comment on the paper does note that mp3 compression of notes in a vacuum (ie without any musical accompaniment) is going to be at risk of being different than mp3 compression of musical passages.

All that said, I think it's interesting that there may be a correlation between objective audio quality and subjective human interpretation of music, and this paper may represent the first evidence of such a phenomenon.

EDIT: That was in response to AM's post.
Yeah, I totally agree with you, it IS an interesting correlation, but nothing more really. I'm with mnkvolcno on this, Dynamic compression is a much more relevant issue..but I get what they were trying to do / demonstrate, I just think it's not that easy to demonstrate objectively is all.

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Old 22-02-2017, 08:42 PM   #8
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Re: Article on Emotional Effects of Lossy Compression on Music

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Originally Posted by White Noise View Post
All that said, I think it's interesting that there may be a correlation between objective audio quality and subjective human interpretation of music, and this paper may represent the first evidence of such a phenomenon.
it definitely is!

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Old 23-02-2017, 12:54 AM   #9
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Re: Article on Emotional Effects of Lossy Compression on Music

http://www.aes.org/openaccess/


I found a couple of articles I was going to share, then I realized it might be more effective to simply link you all to the open records so you can search for what you're interested in yourselves. If you find anything that blows your mind or that you feel we should all be aware of, link it and summarize your take on the findings back here. I'll get to that for the papers I found later, but I need to go make dinner now.

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Old 23-02-2017, 11:33 AM   #10
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Re: Article on Emotional Effects of Lossy Compression on Music

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Originally Posted by White Noise View Post
I saw this over on head-fi and thought we as producers could use some of the findings to our advantage. I feel like we already do this, but this paper quantifies that lo-fi audio decreases positive emotions caused by music and increases negative ones.
I'd say you were complaining too much and being a pussy

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Old 23-02-2017, 07:55 PM   #11
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Re: Article on Emotional Effects of Lossy Compression on Music

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I'd say you were complaining too much and being a pussy
Heh , that'd be fair, I come from the audiophile background. I can justify $500 headphones as a mixing tool to myself, and I get that that's just plain ridiculous for most people. But wanting to be at the cutting edge of audio has a price, and I think that the price is you're going to be wrong or look stupid sometimes. Maybe we'll do more research on this and it goes nowhere, the test was all wrong, and the audio quality had no effect at all. But what if they're right and I'm using that to my advantage as a producer years before anyone else? How freaking cool would that be?

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Old 23-02-2017, 10:22 PM   #12
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Re: Article on Emotional Effects of Lossy Compression on Music

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How freaking cool would that be?
cool enough

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Old 16-03-2017, 09:30 PM   #13
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Re: Article on Emotional Effects of Lossy Compression on Music

Most people can tell the difference between a 320kbps MP3 and a 1200kbps flac.

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Old 18-03-2017, 07:56 PM   #14
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Re: Article on Emotional Effects of Lossy Compression on Music

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Most people can tell the difference between a 320kbps MP3 and a 1200kbps flac.
Where's the Venn, man..where's the Venn?

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Old 20-04-2017, 02:34 AM   #15
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Re: Article on Emotional Effects of Lossy Compression on Music

http://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=18102

Hey everyone, been busy for a bit, but I meant to share this. This is an article from the same source on the perception of quality of music. Turns out people can assess quality distinctly from their personal preference, and much of (85%) what listeners statistically use to measure the quality of a recording, we have control over as producers. Spoiler aler: it mostly comes down to dynamic range/compression (accounting for 67% of the variation in ratings). I believe this makes good on my promise to have an article here on dynamics rather than codecs

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Old 20-04-2017, 03:02 AM   #16
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Re: Article on Emotional Effects of Lossy Compression on Music

It's funny how we work - psychoacoustics and preference and everything. We've known for ages that people rate the quality of music higher when it is louder - which has been used in sales for audio equipment for ages. Then the music industry started using that knowledge to influence song preference. Yet, purists claim they prefer music with more dynamic range.

I know people who are quite happy to listen to 128 mp3s or lower on their apple earbuds. I find absence or presence of lower frequencies such as subbass makes the most difference to my perception of quality.

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Old 20-04-2017, 12:21 PM   #17
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Re: Article on Emotional Effects of Lossy Compression on Music

relevant

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Old 25-04-2017, 02:27 AM   #18
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Re: Article on Emotional Effects of Lossy Compression on Music

Sorry this took me a bit to get back to again. For me, dynamic range is an interesting thing because I've heard great stuff with lots of range and great stuff with almost none, even just within the spectrum of electronic music. From a practical standpoint, I only really need 5-6 db of range (in any case where I'm driving or using an mp3 player and I want to keep all the music above the environmental noise, less is more). But then there's the technical argument that more is indeed more (as in drums can hit harder, chords can be chordier, and angels will blow you because it just sounds that good). I've been all over the place with DR in my own songs, and I can only conclude for my part that there's some stuff I just want to squash and some I don't based on how I want it to sound.

As for your post eesn, I didn't get it the first time around, but now I can see how it connects to both articles really. Thanks for taking it a step further and examining how the emotional impact of (either form) of compression can affect the way people may listen to our music. As I understand it, they'll "give up" on listening to unpleasantly produced stuff more quickly, all else equal. I suppose it's not an earth shattering revelation, but that we could extrapolate that hard data to our work is interesting and definitely in the spirit of this thread.

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Old 26-04-2017, 12:35 PM   #19
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Re: Article on Emotional Effects of Lossy Compression on Music

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Originally Posted by White Noise View Post
As I understand it, they'll "give up" on listening to unpleasantly produced stuff more quickly, all else equal.
exactly this

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Originally Posted by White Noise View Post
I suppose it's not an earth shattering revelation, but that we could extrapolate that hard data to our work is interesting and definitely in the spirit of this thread.
overlooked surprisingly often though, and difficult to argue, and by the time you get the empirical data, it's already been an expensive exercise.

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