I already went out to great lengths regarding the track gap and how it works in today’s music distribution formats in this recent post. However, the topic discussed here is just a small part of a much bigger question:
In which format do you prefer your digital album downloads?
This poll will take you less than a minute to complete – but the results (which will be published here) are invaluable to me, and to other artists, to make you happy – by giving you the format for your album downloads which makes you happy.
So here it goes:
[You don’t really need to read this to be able to fill out the poll – nerd section ahead]
It’s really how we, as artists/producers should provide the audio (masters) for you. 24/96 FLAC or better, 16/44.1 MP3 as a least common denominator, stuff that works for both but is optimized for the audiophile environment…
This has relevance insofar, as services like bandcamp offer automatic file format conversion options, which may not at all times result in the best possible option from an audio quality point of view.
Example: Bandcamp requires you to provide your source audio as a uncompressed/lossless compressed file (PCM WAV, FLAC,…), and if the customer (yep, that’s you) opts for FLAC download, they will give it to you in the sample format submitted. That means, a (“CD quality) 44.1kHz/16 bit file will be 44.1kHz/16 bit, a DVD-A 96/24 file will be 96/24 etc. This does change, however, if you download in one of the compressed formats, e.g. MP3. MP3s are, as a rule with bandcamp, always 44.1/16. Which means that if we (the artist) prepared the master for 96/24 (and dithered to 24 bit), then bandcamp converts this (post-dither) to 44.1kHz, then trunctates to 16 bit, and supplies this as an MP3 download.
Which, in short, means: if a lot of the customers (which are interested in high-quality audio) opt for FLAC and listen at high sample rate/bit depth, then it may be wise to supply the master in that format. If, on the other hand, most people are interested in audio quality but still get the MP3s, then a 44.1/16 master might be preferrable…you see the problem.
So, the goal of this poll is to find out what you prefer, so I (and other artists) can give you what is best for you!