The last few days I’ve been listening to the newly remastered versions of my favorite Beatles records, “Revolver” and “Rubber Soul.” I imported the music into my iTunes, but instead of converting the files into MP3 or AAC, I am listening to the album in WAV format. The result is a revelation. The sound is magnificent.
These records are also changing the way I listen to other music in my library – especially the really great music. How much clarity, detail, and nuance do I sacrifice by compressing my music into lossy AAC files? Granted, the new “Revolver” album takes up ten times the space as the old one. I can currently fit something like 2,000 albums on my iPod. Is it worth carrying only 200 albums in my pocket if it means that the music I’m listening to is closer to what The Beatles – or Dylan, Cash, Cooke, Willie, Miles, and Thelonious – had in mind when they made it?