Much like vinyl imparts a certain imperfect-but-adored sound through time, dust collected, faulty needles, and warped records, the same can be said of the MP3. Arguably, retro-MP3 production value is more in line with the tenor of our digital, postmodern age. We now have free apps on our phone to imitate crappy VHS camcorders. We share dank Instagram content that harnesses the style of visual degradation, mash-up and retro Windows ’98 artifacts — why not bring back the 128 kbps MP3 as well?
A fifth in 12-TET is defined as seven semitones. Instead of multiplying your frequency by 3/2, you multiply by the 12th root of two seven times, which is about 1.498. That’s close, but not quite on the nose. Major thirds are worse in 12-TET. Instead of multiplying your frequency by 5/4, you multiply by the 12th root of two four times. That gives you 1.25992, which is not very close to 5/4 at all. Nevertheless, we as a civilization have collectively decided that we should just suck it up and live with everything sounding a little wrong. There are plenty of good reasons to!