YouTube has become an increasingly powerful resource for listening to free, on-demand music.
If your ears are ever less than satisfied by the sound quality on YouTube, that could be due to excessively-compressed audio. What’s a music fan to do?
The answer, in this case, is simple: Maximize the video quality.
You can try this right now, in the video above for Mogwai’s “San Pedro” (or any video that was uploaded at a high quality). Listen to it for a little while on the normal setting, then click the video quality indicator at the bottom right of the player and toggle your video quality from 360p up to 720p HD (see image to the right).
After you make the switch, notice how much better the song sounds — especially the cymbals, which are usually the surest indicator of the degree to which an audio signal has been compressed. Hear what I mean?
Switching to 720p HD (or whatever the best video quality is for a given video) improves YouTube’s sound quality considerably, assuming your headphones or speakers are any good.
If YouTube is a big part of how you listen to music these days on blogs, Facebook, apps, Apple TV, or the YouTube website itself, this simple little tweak can improve your listening experience considerably.
Update: We’ve discovered another tip for this; you can force YouTube to play the best possible sound every time you switch to Full Screen mode, if you go to youtube.com/account_playback and check the “Always play HD on fullscreen (when available) option: