Hi-Fi in the Age of iTunes: Examining Audio Quality and Aural Perception

Confronted with a huge variety of digital and analog formats, and music coming from an increasingly diverse array of sources, it may be difficult for a consumer of music to accurately assess the quality of the product he/she is getting. But then the question arises: Can the human ear really tell the difference between digital and analog, and between different degrees of compression? What sorts of variations can the ear pick up in frequency ranges and distortion? By testing a broad range of subjects against sets of formats, samples of music, and compressions, we hope to learn just how discerning the human ear can be.

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