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  #1  
Old 08-27-2007, 09:43 PM
Mogwai Mogwai is offline
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Default Which format will give me the best SQ?

I got my Zen V Plus today, and after finding out that both WAV Lossless and WMA Lossless isn't supported, I'm now trying to find out which format to use. I want the best SQ, so it's a shame that the V + doesn't support lossless.

Any advice?
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  #2  
Old 08-27-2007, 10:07 PM
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Almoxil Almoxil is offline
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Usually 192 kbits/s VBR MP3 is a good compromise between sound quality and space. Personally, I ripped all my CDs to 320 kbits/s CBR MP3 files, but have some albums from eMusic in VBR and they sound very good to me. (I'm not an audiophile, by the way )
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  #3  
Old 08-28-2007, 12:34 PM
Mogwai Mogwai is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Almoxil View Post
Usually 192 kbits/s VBR MP3 is a good compromise between sound quality and space. Personally, I ripped all my CDs to 320 kbits/s CBR MP3 files, but have some albums from eMusic in VBR and they sound very good to me. (I'm not an audiophile, by the way )
Thanks again for the help, Almoxil.
So 320kbits/s is the best quality I can have on this player? I've transfered a few albums with that quality, and I'm not complaining. The only thing is that I bought the 8GB so I could use Lossless SQ, but I guess it's better to have too much than too little storage space.

BTW, you were right about the warm sound of the Zen V. I tried the Rock EQ with my EX71, and the basss became boomy. With the EQ turned off, the sound is really good, in my opinion.
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Old 08-28-2007, 12:42 PM
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Try testing your files on the player with different bitrates, and see what's the lowest bitrate that works for you while still sounding "transparent" (i.e. sounding exactly as the original CD).

In general, I usually don't hear any difference between a LAME 192k VBR MP3 encoded file and the original CD, even on my (quite high quality) home setup. Considering any portable player is of much lower quality than my home setup, lossless or even 320 CBR MP3 seems like a waste of space to me. Actually CBR is always a waste of space and bitrate.

But you got different ears, so judge for yourself.
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Old 08-28-2007, 05:32 PM
Mogwai Mogwai is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dfkt View Post
Try testing your files on the player with different bitrates, and see what's the lowest bitrate that works for you while still sounding "transparent" (i.e. sounding exactly as the original CD).

In general, I usually don't hear any difference between a LAME 192k VBR MP3 encoded file and the original CD, even on my (quite high quality) home setup. Considering any portable player is of much lower quality than my home setup, lossless or even 320 CBR MP3 seems like a waste of space to me. Actually CBR is always a waste of space and bitrate.

But you got different ears, so judge for yourself.
There's always the placebo effect, which I love.

Thanks for your answer.
I've decided to use 320 kbit/s. It sounds good, and that's all that matters.
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  #6  
Old 08-31-2007, 04:18 AM
lorsban lorsban is offline
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About file types, most of my recordings are at 192 CBR Mp3. So, I wanted to try out Ogg at 320 and Flac. The flac files are too big and I find the Ogg recordings to be too "brilliant" don't know if that's right. I mean, there seems to be less bass or is it because all other freq's became pronounced? With Mp3 on higher bit rates, I don't notice frequencies losing level, only an overall enhancement in sound.

Is it just me or what?
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  #7  
Old 09-06-2007, 01:49 PM
soupytwist soupytwist is offline
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I have all my audio files in 160/192kbps WMA. I figure that with all the background noise around me (since I only use my V+ when I'm out) I won't notice any difference between that and CD quality... I used to use 96k WMA when I only had a 512Mb player, and that was good enough for me for several years; as long as I could work out what song I was listening to, perfect quality wasn't that important to me.

The main reason I use WMA is because I read that it gave smaller file sizes without losing quality. That was good when I didn't have much space to store my music, but I wonder sometimes if I should switch back to MP3. Does anyone have a convincing argument for either format?
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Old 09-07-2007, 01:04 AM
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WMA does produce better SQ with smaller file sizes, but the difference is only noticable with lower (<128kbps) bitrates. Processing WMA files, however, is very taxing on the battery, so for a barely-noticable difference in sound quality, it eats the battery nearly twice as quickly as MP3.
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  #9  
Old 09-09-2007, 06:17 PM
toddtee toddtee is offline
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So MP-3 at 128kbps is the recommended format? I'm new to these players and haven't a clue.
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Old 09-09-2007, 08:01 PM
lorsban lorsban is offline
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toddtee,

128kbps is pretty low. Most recommend nothing lower than 192kbps in a variable bit rate. I've been converting to 192 constant bit rate which unfortunately wastes memory.

So far, I've used mp3, Ogg, flac. The last two have more detail than mp3. Mp3 is still the most universal, though. I suggest you try as many formats as you can with the same song and compare the results.

We'd also appreciate if you could post your findings here.

lorsban
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  #11  
Old 10-28-2007, 01:50 PM
dwmathsci dwmathsci is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZenChick View Post
WMA does produce better SQ with smaller file sizes, but the difference is only noticable with lower (<128kbps) bitrates. Processing WMA files, however, is very taxing on the battery, so for a barely-noticable difference in sound quality, it eats the battery nearly twice as quickly as MP3.
Are you absolutely certain that WMA is more taxing on the battery than processing a comparable mp3? I found the following statement that seems to contradict that:

Quote:
The audio quality of WMA and MP3 audio formats tends to be noticeably different. WMA is a decent quality audio format when streaming at phoneline speeds (maybe 30kbps or so). At such speed WMA almost reaches an FM level of audio quality, although not quite. At 128kbps, Microsoft claims the WMA is nearly CD-quality, although many would deny this. WMA, however, is not to be completely looked over. The compression provides relatively small audio files and they require less processing power to execute. It thus retains a diminishing niche as MP3 has become more popular and widely used.
The MP3 audio compression was developed in Germany in 1991 by the Fraunhofer Institute. MP3 typically provides higher quality sound than WMA because it uses perceptual audio coding to compress CD-quality sound by a factor of 12. As a result, MP3 has become almost the universal standard among audio usage and broadcasting. It provides CD-quality sound at reasonable compression sizes and high streaming speeds. Watch out, however, at low bitrates, as MP3 quality will likely suffer.

Bradley James is a senior editor at SciNet.cc, a website containing many helpful consumer electronics review articles. For more information on MP3 and WMA audio formats, please visit our MP3 vs. WMA webpage.
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  #12  
Old 10-28-2007, 01:56 PM
dwmathsci dwmathsci is offline
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I've been satisfied with 160-192 kbs in both mp3 and WMA format. I use cheap ear buds or headphones and I haven't been able to discern a significant difference between 160 kbs and higher bit rates. At less than 160 I feel there's a noticeable loss of fidelity, but 128 isn't bad for some music. For audiobooks and podcasts I go to 56-64 kbs.
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