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Jimmy Page Is Not a Fan of the MP3

Frazer Harrison, Getty Images

Jimmy Page has been instrumental in bringing Led Zeppelin‘s classic catalog into the digital music era, but that doesn’t mean he’s accepted the limitations of the MP3.

In fact, as he explained during a recent interview with Kerrang! Radio, his decision to painstakingly remaster Zeppelin’s studio albums for the band’s current deluxe reissue series may have been partly motivated by a deep dissatisfaction with the predominant digital file format, which he called the “most annoying” of all modern listening options.

“I’d be confronted with Led Zeppelin music on MP3. It almost sounded like it had been remixed, and not very well at that,” Page argued. Saying the songs lost their “transience and depth” on their way to MP3, he pointed out, “They were mixed in stereo with a depth-of-field to them, with everything in focus. To have it squashed down is not how it was intended to be.”

Lamenting “the jiggery-pokery that goes on” from analog to digital, Page seemed encouraged by the growing number of hi-res format options. “If you review the situation of how things are listened to, and approach vinyl, CDs and digital separately, it’s not one size fits all,” he noted, and predicted that his remastering efforts would future-proof the Zeppelin catalog for years to come. “We’ve got high-resolution files for whatever’s going to come down the line. It was essential to do that, to make sure you don’t have to remaster again for a number of years.”

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