Downloads: wooly thinking at Woolworths.co.uk

I recieved an email from “John” this morning asking whether there was a difference between the quality of WMA files and the original CDs; he’d bought a few digital downloads from Woolworth’s online shop and thought they sounded crap.

He contacted Woolies, and their reply is reprinted here:

>> Dear Sir/Madam,
>>
>> Thank you for your e-mail. Yes, the quality should be the same as
>> purchasing the normal cd in the stores.
>>
>> If you have any further enquiries, please do not hesitate to contact me.
>>
>> Regards,
>>
>> [deleted by Gary]
>>
>> Customer Service Response Agent
>>
>> Woolworths.co.uk

Bollocks. It looks like Woolworths.co.uk isn’t giving its staff sufficient training on this: whether they’re in AAC, WMA or MP3, all legal music downloads use compression – which means that a lot of the data is chucked out to make the file sizes smaller. The difference depends on the level of compression and the file format, but there’s a dramatic difference between a 128Kbps WMA file and the original CD, even if you’re using cheap and cheerful hi-fi speakers.

John says:

I cannot see why they cannot send a proper wave file or at least say clearly on their sites that the customer is buying a poor second rate item… it wouldn’t bother me if the download took longer.

He has contacted Woolworths again; if he gets a reply, I’ll post it here.

3 thoughts on “Downloads: wooly thinking at Woolworths.co.uk

  1. the.daddy says:

    Being a frequent music down-loader of MP3, AAC and WMA, I would like to point out that Woolworths use a bit rate of 192kbps… Yes this is not true WAV but the only person in your room who would really notice the difference in sound quality between this and a CD will probably be your pet dog or cat…. lets be honest the people who claim to spot the difference from this bit rate to true CD quality need to study the physics of sound and the capability of the human ear to realise just how daft their claims are.

  2. the.daddy says:

    Being a frequent music down-loader of MP3 and WMA, I would like to point out that Woolworths use a bit rate of 192kbps… Yes this is not true WAV but the only person in your room who would really notice the difference in sound quality between this and a CD will probably be your pet dog or cat…. lets be honest the people who claim to spot the difference from this bit rate to true CD quality need to study the physics of sound and the capability of the human ear to realise just how daft their claims are.

  3. Gary says:

    Hi there – may I call you Mr Daddy?

    The 192Kbps thing is new to me – I’d agree that at those bitrates, the sound quality is good enough for pretty much everyone other than bats. Thanks for correcting me.

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