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December 12   -   Norman Lebrecht - Slipped disc

Report: MP3 sound causes ‘negative’ emotion

A study by the Audio Engineering Library suggests that background noise added by low-quality sound compression may produce a negative emotion in listeners. Previous research has shown that MP3 compression changes the similarities of musical instruments, while other research has shown that musical instrument sounds have strong emotional characteristics. This paper investigates the effect of MP3 compression on music emotion. We conducted listening tests to compare the effect of MP3 compression on the emotional characteristics of eight sustained instrument sounds. We compared the compressed sounds pairwise over ten emotional categories. The results show that MP3 compression strengthened the emotional characteristics Sad, Scary, Shy, and Mysterious, and weakened Happy, Heroic, Romantic, Comic, and Calm. Interestingly, Angry was relatively unaffected by MP3 compression. Full study here.

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