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  #61  
Old 06-28-2009, 06:41 AM
Dreamnine Dreamnine is offline
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Before I knew any different I ripped a lot of CDs I'd borrowed to WMA vbr at the maximum rate. Thus I have whole albums that average 350-390 kbps. Overkill, really. Now I use BonkEnc extreme rate and it averages 250 or so mp3 vbr.
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  #62  
Old 06-28-2009, 07:36 AM
skip252 skip252 is offline
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Originally Posted by nick_j007 View Post
I've been thinking about this myself recently as I'm considering a new player.
Congratulations. There's some great players out now. Some really good prices as the new models are coming in afew months.

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Originally Posted by nick_j007 View Post
I have all my CD's ripped at 128 kbps WMA's via WMP 11 and played on my Zen. This is a historical thing for me (probably read somewhere once it was the best compromise). I feel like I've been left behind reading your posts here
I know the feeling. When I first got started with digital music the listening tests I found showed that 128 .wma was transparent quality to CD. Reading here and experimenting I found what might have been true just a few years ago has been made outdated by vastly improved encoders and upgrades in my equipment. I had my mobile library ripped at 96 kbps .wma Thought the less than stellar SQ was just part of digital music until I tried some of the advice I found here and upgraded. Got a better player and earphones and the low bit rate .wma files sounded even worse.

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Very few of you seem to go for the WMA option, and many more at a higher bit rate than me

Also, a few quote bit rates above 300, how do you achieve that when my WMP only goes as high as 192 kbps max?
WMA is not as compatible with some some devices and has some proprietary MS quirks that makes it not be my codec of choice. I really don't hear much difference between comparable .wma/.mp3 bit rates but a properly ripped and tagged .mp3 can be used in ALL of my devices and programs with no tweaking. BTW WMP 11 can rip at much higer bitrates than 192. It even does its own flavor of lossless. The people that use 320 CBR aren't taking advantage of the improvements in the LAME encoder. I think the developers suggest -V 0 --vbr new as the highest quality.

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I sense I may be looking at a re-rip at some point (joy).
Yeah.. probably. But if you're looking for the best listening experience with your new player you shouldn't transcode your current files. A high bitrate file transcodes very poorly. A 128 kbps .wma ...meh. You can transcode from lossless to lossy without losing quality.

EAC, Bonkenc, CDex, and my current favorite foobar2000 are all freeware and offer secure ripping. EAC is considered the best, Bonkenc is the easiest to use with it's presets and included encoders but they all will give you good rips.

IMO you should have foobar2k if you only use the ABX tester. It's an easy way to let you determine what quality of .mp3 works best for you. Someone will no doubt want to give me flack about this but those people that say "Anything less than 320 kbps is trash and I can hear the difference." usually have not subjected that statement to ABX testing. Try it with various quality rips and you may find that you don't need a huge capacity player to carry all of your music. If your ears can't detect the difference between a -V 5 .mp3 and a -V 0 why spend the extra money to carry them around? Bragging rights?

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Originally Posted by nick_j007 View Post
For me this also places a strong emphasis on finding a player with sufficient capacity to hold all of my music on one device...many of you must be travelling with a pared down version of your libraries? I bet at these higher rates I will certainly need at least 100 GB! Zune seems more necessary as I go. (?)
Reading around here I came across a strategy that works for me. I use EAC to rip to FLAC and store those files on an external HDD. I only have to do that once. I then I used foobar2k with and LAME 3.98.2 to trancode those lossless files to various quality .mp3s. ABXed between those files and loaded up with them. Works for me, YMMV.

Concerning as the Zune... Go for it!!! My old 30 GB Zune is my long distance traveling companion and has held up very well across the last 18 months. With the new ZuneHD on the horizon there are some very good sales as merchants are clearing out older stock. The SQ is top notch and the software has improved to the point of (almost) usability.

Hmmm.. kinda turned into a wall of print there but you did ask for thoughts . Hope some of this helps.
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  #63  
Old 06-28-2009, 09:11 AM
nick_j007 nick_j007 is offline
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Thank you very much for comprehensive replies people

You're a good lot.

Being a UK resident I shall have to wait for the new Zune, and even then I'm unsure it's even coming here!!

The S9 I would do now, but I feel the capacity is simply too small. I'd like to have it preloaded with say 5-10 movies for selfish viewing when on family holidays as well as my music at a good bitrate.

Perhaps if I told you what content I have already? On my desktop in 'My Music' folder I have:

730 Folders (albums)
9,400 Files (songs)

These currently take up 24 GB, and they are all ripped in WMA at 128 kbps.

How might this look once I follow the guidance offered already in terms of ripping and bit rates? I realise this can vary, but
ballpark figures would be useful.

I'm either going to be pleasantly surprised by your answers (in terms of players and space they offer) or remain rather uncertain that current slew of players offer enough space still.

Over the years I have come to learn (and actually like) WMP. I assume I can still use this once I have re-ripped in the new formats in MP3? That'll be for my desktop where I spend a fair bit of time.

Well I think I've found myself outdated then guys. I need to re-rip later on using the software you've guided me to. Thank you.

So it seems that MP3 is the way to go, but encoded in the way you describe giving a good/high quality experience on a new player.

I could start to re-rip and encode sooner rather than later ready for the new hardware to play it on.

Many thanks again.

Last edited by nick_j007; 06-28-2009 at 09:39 AM. Reason: Formatting appearance after spell checker
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  #64  
Old 06-28-2009, 09:19 AM
Dreamnine Dreamnine is offline
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You're looking at perhaps doubling the size of your collection by re-ripping using one of the main programs. Most people would say 192 and above mp3 vbr is good enough quality.
WMP can still be your player on your PC if you use mp3s.
32GB is the maximum atm for flash players, but some Cowon and Sansa models are expandable via SD and micro SD slots. I can't really advise on those as my collection is quite small and I wouldn't have more than 2000 tracks or so on a DAP (too confusing for me!) but I wish you luck.
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  #65  
Old 06-28-2009, 09:50 AM
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greeny greeny is offline
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I have a lot of my collection in WAV (1141kbps or whatever), but I've started ripping at 320kbps mp3, and in some cases 192kbps to save space on my Zen V+ (I don't remember why I did it, as it has 4gb capacity lol)
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  #66  
Old 06-28-2009, 10:12 AM
skip252 skip252 is offline
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Until you decide what bitrate you will be encoding your files to it isn't really possible to estimate what size your collection will be. My collection arrived at a slightly larger, about 8%, size when I transcoded my reripped collection from FLAC. However I have old ears that are easily satisfied with relatively low bitrates -V 5. That plus the fact that I enjoy my portable music in noisy environments lets me fit the most important parts of my collection onto my Zune.

Just as an experiment I transcoded the same 5 minute high sound density rock tune to .wma 128, -V 5 .mp3, - V 2 .mp3 and -V 0 .mp3. The sizes they arrived at were 3.65 mb, 4.54mb, 6.01 mb and 7.01 mb repectively. Your mileage WILL vary. Variable bitrate .mp3 encoders take into account the amount of information needed to properly replay the music and adjust accordingly. A violin solo should be much smaller than a full orchestral presentation of the same length. So my results should be considered very ballpark if valid at all .

Yes WMP does play well with VBR .mp3s and if you are all ready familiar with it and want to continue using WMP it should work fine. However if you get a Zune you have to use the Zune software to add and remove content from the player. There is no other way. You can use any software you want to organize the music and other content first.
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  #67  
Old 06-28-2009, 10:23 AM
nick_j007 nick_j007 is offline
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Thanks

What bitrate...jeeez, no idea!

I'm 40 with good hearing (I had a hearing test at the beginning of the year and was told my hearing was still very good).

I like the idea of a good bit rate of course, but I'm sure it needs to be 'sufficient' for my purposes and not beyond and unable to extract that extra 'quality' which will only take up extra space on the HD.

Off to wash the car and clear my head!
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  #68  
Old 06-28-2009, 11:00 AM
skip252 skip252 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nick_j007 View Post
Thanks

What bitrate...jeeez, no idea!

I'm 40 with good hearing (I had a hearing test at the beginning of the year and was told my hearing was still very good).

I like the idea of a good bit rate of course, but I'm sure it needs to be 'sufficient' for my purposes and not beyond and unable to extract that extra 'quality' which will only take up extra space on the HD.

Off to wash the car and clear my head!
Hey.. You missed a spot!!

Yeah it can be daunting when you make the transition. That's why I made the foobar2k ABX suggestion. Its fairly easy to set up and you can make an informed decision as to what bitrate works for best you. You transcode the same ripped tune to various bitrates, select 2 different samples and ABX test them. If you can't hear a difference you may as well go for the lower quality setting. The sweet spot for me in size vs. quality is probably entirely different for you.

I believe that going with a simple test that lets you use your ears to judge whats right for you is best. Trying to decide based on what me or what anyone else recommends can leave you having to do it all over again in the future or spending money for unneeded storage space in your player.

Just remember if you rip to a lossless format first you should not have to rip again, just transcode. Transcoding is lightspeed faster than ripping.
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  #69  
Old 06-28-2009, 02:02 PM
nick_j007 nick_j007 is offline
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Skip, that's very helpful thanks, and I can see your logic there

I like the idea of ripping it all in the way you suggest, and then do a bit of testing. I'm sure I'll be posting back on this

I hope I didn't miss a spot! My pride and joy for weekend fun is a Lotus Elise I've just given it a process called 'claying' and then another wash and wax polish. The paint feels like smooth soft glass now...if you see what I mean? Then as is often the case here in the UK it started to rain so it's back in the garage ready for my next blast Ho hum.
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  #70  
Old 06-30-2009, 11:36 AM
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since I use a Mac and a PC on a daily basis, I cannot use wma... so I am in the process of re-ripping all of my music as 196kbs .mp3
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