Smarter in 60 Sec­onds: Il­lu­sions

iD magazine - - Contents -

The hu­man ear fails to cap­ture quite a bit: For in­stance, it can only per­ceive two tones if they are suf­fi­ciently dif­fer­ent from each other. Fur­ther­more, a loud noise can com­pletely mask a qui­eter sound af­ter and even be­fore it. In short: When an or­ches­tra is play­ing, an un­trained ear will take in only about 15% of the acous­tic data be­ing gen­er­ated. The MP3 au­dio for­mat ex­ploits this phe­nom­e­non and re­moves all “in­audi­ble” tones, such as soft sounds. This usu­ally re­duces the mem­ory re­quire­ments of a song by ap­prox­i­mately 90%. In a phys­i­cal sense the orig­i­nal and the copy are worlds apart, but for the vast ma­jor­ity of peo­ple, they sound the same.

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