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  #1  
Old 06-12-2008, 11:53 PM
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ike ike is offline
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Default Tool for Testing Bitrate Range

Hi, I've been lurking for awhile and abi has answered a few questions for me that really needed answering in the last few weeks. Thanks.

I have very specific needs and I am amazed at how hard it can be to find out relatively simple things, like what bitrates a given player supports. A few years ago I bought a Sony MP3 player and after I bought it I had to email them to ask what bitrates it supported and even though they already had my money they pretty much told me to shut up and play 128 kbit files on it. Since my major uses are audiobooks and occasionally OTR, their answer was unacceptable.

I created a group of files that may be burnt to a CD or copied to a microSD card and used to test MP3 players. You may pop the card in in the showroom and cut right through all the bull before you buy.

What you get:

68 files ripped 68 different ways from 8 kbit mono to 320 kbit stereo (LAME). The files have meaningful filenames and the audio content of each file is just my voice stating the bitrate and MP3 mode that the file was encoded in. You just load the files into the machine in question, hit play and let the player tell you exactly what it can do.

Download the ZIP file HERE. (~8.6 mb)

Download the ISO file HERE. (~9.2 mb)

File list:

000_How_To_Use_This_Disk.mp3
01-68_008_kbit_mono.mp3
02-68_016_kbit_mono.mp3
03-68_024_kbit_mono.mp3
04-68_032_kbit_mono.mp3
05-68_040_kbit_mono.mp3
06-68_048_kbit_mono.mp3
07-68_056_kbit_mono.mp3
08-68_064_kbit_mono.mp3
09-68_080_kbit_mono.mp3
10-68_096_kbit_mono.mp3
11-68_112_kbit_mono.mp3
12-68_128_kbit_mono.mp3
13-68_160_kbit_mono.mp3
14-68_192_kbit_mono.mp3
15-68_224_kbit_mono.mp3
16-68_256_kbit_mono.mp3
17-68_320_kbit_mono.mp3
18-68_016_kbit_stereo.mp3
19-68_024_kbit_stereo.mp3
20-68_032_kbit_stereo.mp3
21-68_040_kbit_stereo.mp3
22-68_048_kbit_stereo.mp3
23-68_056_kbit_stereo.mp3
24-68_064_kbit_stereo.mp3
25-68_080_kbit_stereo.mp3
26-68_096_kbit_stereo.mp3
27-68_112_kbit_stereo.mp3
28-68_128_kbit_stereo.mp3
29-68_160_kbit_stereo.mp3
30-68_192_kbit_stereo.mp3
31-68_224_kbit_stereo.mp3
32-68_256_kbit_stereo.mp3
33-68_320_kbit_stereo.mp3
34-68_vbr_q_9_stereo.mp3
35-68_vbr_q_8_stereo.mp3
36-68_vbr_q_7_stereo.mp3
37-68_vbr_q_6_stereo.mp3
38-68_vbr_q_5_stereo.mp3
39-68_vbr_q_4_stereo.mp3
40-68_vbr_q_3_stereo.mp3
41-68_vbr_q_2_stereo.mp3
42-68_vbr_q_1_stereo.mp3
43-68_vbr_q_0_stereo.mp3
44-68_016_kbit_j_stereo.mp3
45-68_024_kbit_j_stereo.mp3
46-68_032_kbit_j_stereo.mp3
47-68_040_kbit_j_stereo.mp3
48-68_056_kbit_j_stereo.mp3
49-68_064_kbit_j_stereo.mp3
50-68_080_kbit_j_stereo.mp3
51-68_096_kbit_j_stereo.mp3
52-68_112_kbit_j_stereo.mp3
53-68_128_kbit_j_stereo.mp3
54-68_160_kbit_j_stereo.mp3
55-68_192_kbit_j_stereo.mp3
56-68_224_kbit_j_stereo.mp3
57-68_256_kbit_j_stereo.mp3
58-68_320_kbit_j_stereo.mp3
59-68_vbr_q_9_j_stereo.mp3
60-68_vbr_q_8_j_stereo.mp3
61-68_vbr_q_7_j_stereo.mp3
62-68_vbr_q_6_j_stereo.mp3
63-68_vbr_q_5_j_stereo.mp3
64-68_vbr_q_4_j_stereo.mp3
65-68_vbr_q_3_j_stereo.mp3
66-68_vbr_q_2_j_stereo.mp3
67-68_vbr_q_1_j_stereo.mp3
68-68_vbr_q_0_j_stereo.mp3

It's a work in progress. I'd like to add some low bitrate VBR mono files but I haven't gotten around to it yet.

I just bought a Sansa c240, ran the test on it and was amazed that it outperformed the specs for the player. The specs state that it will play 32-320 kbits -- actually, mine plays 8-320 kbits flawlessly. Why they want to keep this a secret is beyond me. If people would test and post the results for their different players it would be a really great resource for folks who need players capable of playing a variety of low bitrate files like audiobooks, podcasts and OTR.

Anyway, have at it and thanks for the info I've gotten here. Don't be sidetracked by the audio quality -- the files are only about finding out what modes your player will really play.

Last edited by ike; 06-14-2008 at 11:08 AM.
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  #2  
Old 06-13-2008, 09:29 AM
JK98 JK98 is offline
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My guess it that support for lower bitrates might not be comprehensive, and although it might be okay with more common sampling rates, it might not work properly with some lower bitrates and some less frequently used sampling rates? This whole topic is confusing. While some websites still use 16 kbps and 24 kbps mp3 mono for spoken word recordings, I find that many that used to used those bitrates have moved to 32 kbps. it is a pity that since there are so many ipods out there and they don't support wma, so many websites are reluctant to use low bitrate wma for spoken word files. Files at 16 kbps wma mono sound so much better than files at 16 kbps mp3 mono. It is also true at 32 kbps.

Have you found players that don't have good support for 320 kbps mp3? I find that I can't hear the difference between 256 kbps mp3 and 320 kbps mp3.
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Old 06-13-2008, 12:19 PM
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sassafras sassafras is offline
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Not that this particular forum gets so much traffic that this might disappear, but good idea and thanks for the input.

Stuck.
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  #4  
Old 06-13-2008, 12:37 PM
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ike ike is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JK98 View Post
...This whole topic is confusing....
Oh yeah... I just spent 3 weeks trying to find what I need in an MP3 player. With hdd or flash to decide on and cell chemistry and form factor to consider its nearly too confusing even before bitrate issues arise. Just using LAME there must be a bazillion combinations of arguments. Years ago, when I made the test files I stopped at a general mix with 68 -- which is quite a bit.

If I had my druthers I'd rather have ~250 test files in 4-6 sets like VBR, J-Stereo, Low Bitrate, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JK98 View Post
...Have you found players that don't have good support for 320 kbps mp3? I find that I can't hear the difference between 256 kbps mp3 and 320 kbps mp3.
I have tested very few machines.

EDIT- I should add that these files won't tell you much about fidelity, particularly at the higher bitrates. They will tell you if your player will play a given mode, however. The test files were generated using a digital voice recorder to produce the WAVs which were then ripped to the bitrates and modes desired. It isn't perfect but it is overwhelmingly adequate. I have an old Sony MP3 CD boombox that the tests show will play 24 kbit mono. It plays it with ticks and pops but it plays it. For me, that is worthwhile information to have -- much more helpful than anything I could ever get out of Sony. /EDIT

After buying one player without knowing if it could play the files I needed to hear I had to get serious as it's a total waste to buy a player and still not be able to play your files.

I'd like to propose a couple things:

First, no matter what kind of files you listen to, DL my test files, run them on your player and then post the results here.

Second, the format I used works well and perhaps others may be interested enough in some particular aspect of this to create an additional set(s) of tests that would be more comprehensive in their own particular area of intrest.

A centralized list of test results for different players would be a resource I could have used last week. A growing list of sets of test files would be handy, too.

Last edited by ike; 06-14-2008 at 05:03 PM.
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  #5  
Old 07-13-2010, 04:55 PM
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trip^ trip^ is offline
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sweet, ike.
very good work there!

although i doubt (hope) it's necessary anymore, as most players play the craziest variations.
at least one doesnt have to fear vbr encoded mp3s anymore.
unbelievable that that was a feature / ability not so long ago.

i like samsung players for playing flac-files. would be awsome if they could integrate mpc (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musepack) also. and for the convienience (even though dead by now) .shn

what ever. thx, ike.


does anyone know something simliar with video-files?

Last edited by trip^; 07-13-2010 at 05:04 PM.
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