But at no point did I ever say "there's a playable music disk included in the commercial distribution." In fact, the music files are conventional music files (wave files, if memory serves) but they're packed inside of an archive file, and you have to extract them from that archive file.
the files you are talking about are not CD quality.
Blizzard wants us to pay extra, obviously.
Well, I play them on my (very nice) home entertainment system, and they sound marvelous to me, and I have a pretty good ear... but let's take a look.
There are six files... entitled "Intro," "Town," "Dungeon," "Catacombs," "Caves," and "Hell." Each, as I have them are, MP3 files. I converted them to this from the original WAV format packed into the game archives, though.
Each is 128 kbps. Standard MP3 format. The highest quality MP3 format is 320 kbps, but that's a lot less common in use.
128 kpbs isn't super-high, but "CD quality" isn't that much better to most people's ears. "Redbook" audio is 176 kBps (or 1,411,200 bits per second). That's quite a bit higher than the standard MP3, at 128,000 bytes per second. But it's hard to find people who can actually hear the difference. You need HIGH END SOUND REPRODUCTION hardware to be able to actually hear the difference, and few people have that.
I do, by the way, but the difference is so small to me that unless I'm listening to some intense, acoustical music, I can barely hear the difference, using my nice 7.1 home theater system, and can't tell it at all using my high-end Sennheiser headphones. There may be some people with better hearing than mine who can, if they work hard at it, tell the difference... but they're a lot rarer than "audiophile" culture would have you believe!
(The main example of being able to hear the difference, to me, by the way, is in my "audiophile" versus "mass market" versions of Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here.")
Yes, you're right... the sound extracted from the game files isn't "audiophile quality." And if you're one of those 1 in a thousand people who can tell the difference... AND you have the high-end sound preproduction equipment to make it worthwhile to do so... I can see why you'd be bothered.
But... it's not nearly as much of an issue as people might be thinking. A good sound reproduction system can show the flaws of the lower-quality recording, sure, but not enough to ruin the effect. The sounds were DESIGNED to be played back at this lower resolution, and that's how they were intended to be heard. They sound terrific at 128 kbps.
That's my 2cents... take it for what it's worth.