From Hydrogenaudio Knowledgebase
An artifact is a noticeable difference between an uncompressed signal and a lossily-compressed copy. Lossy encoding can result in very different kind of artifacts/distortions. Sometimes it's not easy to define why the encoding is non-transparent. There are however many typical encoding artifacts.
 Common artifacts
- pre echo: pre-echo consists in a small amount of noise used to appear just before a contrasted sound events (like percussive instruments). The original transients are therefore smeared: "___shhhTak" instead of "____Tak".
- To listen to the corresponding artifact, click here
- stereo collapse: