Analog vs. Digital: Stanford Professor Tests Students on Taste

    Everyone has an opinion about sound quality. Some swear by the analog warmth of vinyl, while others maintain something of a lo-fi ethos, accepting whatever media format is most readily available. It’s not that far removed from musical preference itself: try explaining the tin-can excellence of the Magnetic Fields’ Holiday to an audiophile or anyone who appreciates the simple pleasures of bass — it’s not easy.


    Stanford professor Jonathan Berger has taken a closer look at these divergent preferences. Each year he conducts a blind taste test of sorts, having new students choose between various unlabeled recordings — same song, different formats. Unsurprisingly, as the years go by, more and more students prefer the supposed “sizzles” of MP3s to the “crackles” of vinyl.


    Since the advent of digital technology, analog has served as metaphor for what’s immediate, comforting, and even human. Might this preconception change as digital culture further infiltrates our lives? For more take a look at Dale Dougherty’s post. [O’Reilly Radar via The Daily Swarm]