Music Quality - why do Music Videos often sound better?

Hard to explain why, but I’m probably watching Music Videos more than I’m listening to audio only via the ‘system’.

Is it that the videos provide more engagement?

Are the songs in isolation less appealing without video?

Psychoacoustic thing where the video distracts from poorer quality audio?

Can’t explain it but watching music videos via big screen/system often seems fuller/more analogue than without the video.


Yes, a very good question. Certainly in my system, a Blu-ray concert recorded in hi-res audio seems to give the best audio quality, even over hi-res streaming from the Uniti Core. Added to the visual aspect, it makes for a top-notch experience. I can only assume that the file format from the Blu-ray audio gives the most analogue playback. Also, some of those concerts have very high quality recordings.

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Concerts are a good example - Marillion’s All One Tonight concert from the Albert Hall not only looks great from iTunes on AppleTV with audio to Nova via Airplay, but is not far off BluRay video quality and better than the download of the same concert audio only. Strange. (To clarify I got the iTunes video first, BluRay/audio download later).

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I think all of these play a role. Overall, I reckon the video engages a second sense in the cause of presenting the music. Sight plus sound beats just sound, particularly if unengaged sight might act as a distraction- i.e. you start looking at something else and the mind wanders.
For a similar reason I’ve recently been seriously considering getting a Samsung Frame TV to put on the wall behind the speakers. These present very realistic looking works of art or your own collected images and photos. They’re only stills but I reckon looking at complimentary visuals while you listen, even it’s just a picture of an orchestra in a concert hall while you listen to a symphony would probably enhance the listening experience?

It’s often been observed that listening in the dark is helpful. I’d guess that’s because it minimises sight as a distraction and so hyper-stimulates hearing as it’s the sense that you have left to rely upon. That’s maybe only a halfway solution. If you can re-engage sight in support of what you are hearing then surely it’s going to enhance the experience?

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When listening to a new album/track/artist in YT, I try not to watch the video: visuals entrance the eye and brain, and lend that effect to so-so music. Until it’s playing on your stereo…

Good music will still have impact without the crutch.

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I find that watching live performances on YT can often be incredibly enaging on my system despite the poorer audio. If one listens to the audio without the images the illusion pretty much collapses.

So I think the images, on a decent size display and with the audio through a good system can create a very powerful illusion of actually being there. The audio quality in this context becomes less of an issue as the visuals create such a strong impression.

It’s an interesting thing which I have noticed myself for some time. Without a doubt the inclusion of images in music playback to support the audio adds very significantly to creating an illusion of reality. Perhaps in the future some time we will see all music downloads with accompanying images and music playback systems will all include display screens - or perhaps even holographic displays!

I have always had an interest in film soundtracks. It’s curious how the music in a film can have a tremendous impact when actually watching the film. Yet often, listening to the soundtrack album on the hi-fi at home the music, although reproduced in much higher quality, loses, for me at least, a dimension of it’s emotional impact without the images that it was composed for.


With regard to unengaged sight being a distraction, I think you may be correct, possibly for me anyway as I find it quite difficult to relax with music alone these days, same goes for reading a book, my mind wanders or I nod off. I’m even worse with audiobooks and have to keep rewinding but maybe that’s due to listening on longer car journeys and having to concentrate on the road conditions just doesn’t work for most of the non-fiction titles I’ve bought.

I’ve always preferred listening in the dark, and even the flickering of a log burner can be a distraction with both audio and video.

I suppose also that only a few genres these days (classical, jazz and similar) aren’t heavily promoted with video, and that many of today’s mainstream ‘acts’ simply wouldn’t get very far without the music video package to sell the almost celebrity like image of many of the performers, and contentious/shocking outfits, lyrics or themes are needed to make them stand out.

I suspect I listen to most new music in the study first in the background controlling the feed from the computer where I can browse new releases more easily than on smaller devices or TV. Without video some things simply stand out or you start humming along whereas others finish without you really noticing them.

That’s a good summary.

One thing I’d not considered I suppose is that the mix of the audio especially in terms of relative volume might be completely different for a video compared to the theoretically identical album or single to draw your attendion to certain elements. It’s particularly annoying having to constantly turn the volume down when adverts appear when you play anything on the big screen with audio via the system, I really wish they wouldn’t do that as you’re generally playing the actual content fairly loud in the first place, at least I am.

I did wonder if a YouTube subscription might be worth trying assuming you don’t see the adverts but don’t think it’s that cheap.


Am I the on,y one that listens to music with my eyes closed? Mind you my room is such a mess it is probably best not to look🤣

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No, I do that too, but more often wearing Airpods or headphones in bed - I normally fall asleep though.

I’d wager I have more clutter and mess!

You sure?

This is the tidy end of the room🤣

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In my quite limited experience of videos of live performances, where the sound has been poorer quality than a studio album, the whole has been particularly engaging because it is closer to the flavour of a true live performance - where the sound quality is not always ideal. (N.B. I’ve only played the ones I have at or close to concert level.). This tends to suggest that some combination of those three bullet points are at play - however it is easy to check: play with the screen or projector, whichever uyou use, turned off. If no longer better than the answer is yes, it is simply the video that is making it appeal more. But if still better, then need to look into the audio angle more.

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Unfortunately yes :laughing:

At least your clutter probably belongs there - partially clearing other areas means I’ve got loads of stuff on the floor in the listening room which really shouldn’t be there. I recognise the lack of rack space too.

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Good suggestion, I haven’t tried that (well not recently anyway).

I view it all as room treatment, a room can sound dul, without dispersion🤣

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I think you’re actually correct with regard to my room which has fairly bare walls apart from prints in frames and an engineered wood floor but no rug - lots of internal reflections I suspect with only curtains in the bay. The projector image goes straight onto a wall and for most things I don’t think a screen would add much, at least that’s what I like to think as I don’t want the hassle/cost of installing one.

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Why on earth does this sound better on YouTube ?

Coul it be ‘with orchestra’ rather than live?

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