“The Distortion of Sound” – Movie Review

The Distortion of Sound looks into the decline of sound quality in modern music
The Distortion of Sound looks into the decline of sound quality in modern music

Genre: Documentary
Directed by:
Jacob Rosenberg
Snoop Dogg, Slash, Quincy Jones, Hans Zimmer
Released by:
Harman International Industries

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The advent of the digital age has brought many advances for the music consumer — mp3s have made our music portable, streaming technology has made it more accessible and file compression software has made it sharable. However, these new listening formats come with a significant trade-off. As files are compressed, up to 90 percent of the information is lost, leaving music sounding thin, flat and devoid of the rich quality that all audiophiles crave. The scariest part? No one seems to notice or care.

In “The Distortion of Sound,” a short documentary directed by Jacob Rosenberg, recording artists, producers and engineers rally together to raise awareness of this growing problem in the music industry. Comprised primarily of interviews with a few live performance clips thrown in, the film reiterates the importance of music in our lives and ultimately elucidates the tragedy of never hearing it as it was meant to be heard. Rising musicians like Kate Nash and Lianne La Havas weigh in on the subject, as do household names such as producer Quincy Jones, composer Hans Zimmer and the inimitable Snoop Dogg — with the G-Funk pioneer in particular delivering some hilarious-yet-true nuggets of street-bred wisdom.

While “The Distortion of Sound” is presented by Harman International Industries (makers of the Harman/Kardon sound systems), the film is thankfully not an advertisement, eschewing speaker sales to tackle more esoteric questions on the future of music. Unfortunately, although many interesting issues are raised, very few solutions are given, leaving the viewer with a somewhat somber view of the current state of sound. However, it is reassuring to know that the engineers at Harman, along with the impassioned group of innovators featured in the documentary, remain dedicated to preserving music in its purest form.

For more information on “The Distortion of Sound” and to watch the film, visit the official website


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