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  #21  
Old 03-17-2011, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Satellite_6 View Post
You need at least 10 trails with a low chance of guessing.
As WalkGood said: 'different for each individual so it’s only meaningful to you'

For me those were enough for me to know that I can discern 192kbps from FLAC. It's enough for me, I don't see where it's mandatory to do at least 10 trails, might be the most correct way to do it but that doesn't mean others are wrong. And as I said I'll always prefer higher bit rates (v0 and up) to others below even if I wouldn't notice it, it's a choice.
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  #22  
Old 03-19-2011, 12:00 PM
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I Have 121.13 GB of Classical Music, including complete editions of Bach, Beethoven, Mozart etc. My files are at 192 Kb/s mp3 and I can't hear any diff. between 192 and 320... the only obvious diff is the Huge file size
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  #23  
Old 03-19-2011, 12:06 PM
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Whatever works for you.
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  #24  
Old 03-19-2011, 03:21 PM
Ravnefar Ravnefar is offline
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Well, what a great community on this forum, and so much good advice!
I have decided to just leave my files as they are and enjoy the music – for all practical reasons I won’t be able to hear any difference after all, let alone a significant one that would warrant the use of more memory. In the ideal world I would have all files FLAC on the PC and convert to higher end mp3 for the DAP, but I don’t feel like going to so much trouble, at least not right now. I tried Vorbis; great format, but unfortunately does not support album art (I actually use composer portraits instead) and the kid does want his pictures on his toy. The files I already have are all above 215, so I am fine. 320 is indeed as “insane”, as its name and the flat curve end on the Hydrogen audio website suggests, so I will abandon that in the future.
To Thib: what makes you think that the Monster Turbine Copper Edition IEMs are not high end? I admit that the name suggests something else, but they sound wonderful, cost as much as other high end headphones (of course not a quality indicator in itself) and got great reviews. I am happy.
To JS Bach: Which complete Bach edition do you have? Most of my Bach stuff is from the 2000 edition (Koopman).
Edit: To JS Bach: Better not follow up on my request as it will mess up the thread.

Thanks again, Ravnefar

Last edited by Ravnefar; 03-20-2011 at 01:19 AM. Reason: Against rules to introduce unrelated subject
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  #25  
Old 03-20-2011, 01:25 AM
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@Ravnefar: Late jumping in and a belated welcome to ABi...

Indeed, ABi is a great online community - lots of smart friendly folks hanging around all trying to help and learn from each other. I learn stuff here every day...

I think it was mentioned in this thread by folks already, but here's my 2 cents. FLAC is IMHO the best lossless format to rip your music to directly from CD. Its lossless nature, widespread compatibility, open-source origins and ease of transcoding to nearly any other format you want, lossy or lossless, makes FLAC tough to beat. Bear in mind I ain't no certified expert on these matters, but I know enough to recognize a winner when I see it.

For portable use, I personally find FLAC to be a waste of both storage space on the device and audio overkill, especially considering the environments where I listen to music on the go - urban streets/transit systems. I just don't see how one can really engage in the type of critical listening in urban environments which would be required by someone to distinguish between, for instance, FLAC and a quality LAME rip of say v2 or better. Or even at 192kbps.

For home use and home storage of digital music? I think FLAC is clearly the best way to go. So the plan you mention does have merit and it is also smart. Yes, if all of your music library is in FLAC, it does add an extra step of transcoding to lossy formats like LAME for use on your portable devices.

But!

Think of how MUCH MORE MUSIC you will be able to get on your portable player.

To the original topic of the thread, 320kbps mp3 vs FLAC? Well, for all the reasons above I choose FLAC, if discussing the final music storage file type. LAME has been around forever. It is near universal for many reasons - it is without doubt the most mature and most thoroughly dissected and understood lossy music format around IMO. I don't have golden ears and I actually never use 320CBR LAME bitrates - for me [and I am pretty critical as well about the quality of my audio rips], v2 or v0 is more than awesome.

Finally, re: the Monster Turbine Copper IEMs. I have heard them and they were OK. To my ears, nothing really that special about them, which, I think is kinda the point from some folks here. Given the price they are charging and what you get sonically, the Turbine Copper IEMs may not necessarily offer the best value for the buck. But as I am fond of saying: 6billion people on planet earth...there are bound to be differences of opinion.

Have you seen this?
http://anythingbutipod.com/forum/showthread.php?t=15243

Cheers, good luck and welcome to ABi again,
-les
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  #26  
Old 03-20-2011, 04:42 AM
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I don't have golden ears and I actually never use 320CBR LAME bitrates
Neither do I. When I want true top-possible-quality for my "true favorites" (maybe 5% of my 6700 tracks), I encode to FLAC... and these are copied to the J3.

However when I create MP3 files (perfectly acceptable for 95% of my 6700 tracks) I do use LAME to produce (64k - 320k) VBR, not CBR:
-q 0 -V 0 -b 64 -B 320 -m s --vbr-new
I'd actually be hard-pressed to tell the difference between these 320kVBR LAME-produced -q0 -v0 MP3 files and FLAC on most listening system environments. Maybe I might be able to hear a teeny tiny difference through my [large] Sony CD950 headphones... maybe.

Now on my car audio system, when I play a CD containing an MP3 version of a familiar track and then play the actual CD (i.e. WAV <-> FLAC) version, I believe I find the CD original WAV version to be superior and preferable. But that may be more to do with the quality of the MP3 player decompression mechanism in my car's CD player. That's certainly largely why I decided to go FLAC with my "true favorites".

But when playing these FLAC vs. MP3 files from the J3's headphone output into the AUX input of my car's audio system, thus using the J3 as the "player/pre-amp", I really can't say there's much if any distinguishable difference. It's probably all in my mind, wanting the FLAC to sound superior... but honestly these LAME-produced 320kVBR MP3 files are simply superb.

Now to be sure, these LAME-produced -q0 -v0 320kVBR MP3 files are SIGNIFICANTLY SUPERIOR SOUNDING to my original MP3 collection (192kCBR) which was produced by a 1998 Fraunhofer commercial grade command-line encoder. No contest here.

I've got plenty of room on my 32GB+32GB J3 to have FLAC for 5% of my 49GB collection and 320kVBR MP3 for 95%. I'm very satisfied with that compromise.
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  #27  
Old 03-20-2011, 10:21 AM
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Sam Lowry Sam Lowry is offline
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I'm used to hear some of my favorite songs for more than 15 years. I have never been satisfied with the lossy solutions (320 kbps mp3s, ogg files, even professionally encoded mp3s from itunes)... these are familiar songs, I know they don't sound like my CDs (I really know them after having listened to them hundred of times !!), even on low-end budget systems I could hear the difference.

It may not be this way when I will be older and when my hearing will degrade over the years, but I find it more logical to stock my music on lossless files, even on my mp3 player.
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  #28  
Old 03-20-2011, 10:28 AM
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Marvin the Martian Marvin the Martian is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Lowry View Post
I'm used to hear some of my favorite songs for more than 15 years. I have never been satisfied with the lossy solutions (320 kbps mp3s, ogg files, even professionally encoded mp3s from itunes)... these are familiar songs, I know they don't sound like my CDs (I really know them after having listened to them hundred of times !!), even on low-end budget systems I could hear the difference.

It may not be this way when I will be older and when my hearing will degrade over the years, but I find it more logical to stock my music on lossless files, even on my mp3 player.
No offense, but the highlighted phrase amuses me.
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  #29  
Old 03-20-2011, 10:42 AM
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Please refer to the full post.
Quote:
Originally Posted by skip252 View Post
You ears should be the final judge as to what settings to use. ABX testing is considered the best way to allow them to make an informed decision. I'd give it a try. You may be surprised how difficult it is to reliably identify a difference between a relatively low -V quality setting and lossless.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Lowry View Post
I'm used to hear some of my favorite songs for more than 15 years. I have never been satisfied with the lossy solutions (320 kbps mp3s, ogg files, even professionally encoded mp3s from itunes)... these are familiar songs, I know they don't sound like my CDs (I really know them after having listened to them hundred of times !!), even on low-end budget systems I could hear the difference.

It may not be this way when I will be older and when my hearing will degrade over the years, but I find it more logical to stock my music on lossless files, even on my mp3 player.
I'm with you Marv. I'm not quite sure why people feel the need to post custom commandlines that break the well tuned LAME encoders and their "I can hear this" tales whenever some one asks what to use, but they do. Actually it provides me with some of the more hilarious moment here.
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  #30  
Old 03-20-2011, 10:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin the Martian View Post
No offense, but the highlighted phrase amuses me.
What Marvin tries to say is that iTunes uses the inferior FhG/Thomson MP3 codec, not the technically superior open-source LAME codec. FhG is the 'official' MP3 codec, they hold patents on the encoding technology. LAME's legal status is a bit of a grey area since they had to circumvent some of the law crap, thus one won't find it often in big-business solutions. However, while FhG was not improved in any way in the last years (raking in the licensing fees is probably so much work that improving the codec has no high priority), the LAME codec is constantly improved and clearly surpasses the 'official' one in every aspect.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LAME#Pa...d_legal_issues
http://wiki.hydrogenaudio.org/index.php?title=Lame
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  #31  
Old 03-20-2011, 10:59 AM
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Sam Lowry Sam Lowry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dfkt View Post
What Marvin tries to say is that iTunes uses the inferior FhG/Thomson MP3 codec, not the technically superior open-source LAME codec. FhG is the 'official' MP3 codec, they hold patents on the encoding technology. LAME's legal status is a bit of a grey area since they had to circumvent some of the law crap. However, while FhG was not improved in any way in the last years (raking in the licensing fees is probably so much work that improving the codec has no high priority), the LAME codec is constantly improved and clearly surpasses the 'official' one in every aspect.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LAME
http://wiki.hydrogenaudio.org/index.php?title=Lame
Thank you, I didn't know the encoding methods used by them. But again, It doesn't change anything for me, since I do not find them convincing vs lossless.
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  #32  
Old 03-20-2011, 11:03 AM
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Did you ever ABX a FLAC/WAV against a properly encoded LAME VBR?
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  #33  
Old 03-20-2011, 11:08 AM
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I thought I could tell the difference until I tried the ABX test. Now I've got tons more room on my players.
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  #34  
Old 03-20-2011, 11:08 AM
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I didn't know the iTunes encoder was actually FhG. I've always though Mp3's encoded by iTunes sounded terrible. LAME really is a lot better. Also I think the difference is smaller than you think between a high but rate mp3 and lossless. On a DAP there just isn't any way it's worth the extra memory, that's a hard case to make.

EDIT:

Quote:
As WalkGood said: 'different for each individual so it’s only meaningful to you'

For me those were enough for me to know that I can discern 192kbps from FLAC. It's enough for me, I don't see where it's mandatory to do at least 10 trails, might be the most correct way to do it but that doesn't mean others are wrong. And as I said I'll always prefer higher bit rates (v0 and up) to others below even if I wouldn't notice it, it's a choice.
This is going back a bit but I have to disagree, if you want proof and you are going to do it the scientific way then do it right, if not, just trust your ears. I'll always use high bit rates because I have been able to ABX them from lossless with solid results in the past and I don't think medium/low bitrates are close enough to real CD quality.
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  #35  
Old 03-20-2011, 11:14 AM
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Sam Lowry Sam Lowry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dfkt View Post
Did you ever ABX a FLAC/WAV against a properly encoded LAME VBR?
Never done that with ABX.

But I made several times custom comparisons previously, the most recent was on my previous phone (used for listening music). My hearing was even more accurate when I was 20 (it only took some seconds to guess which one was lossless or lossy). OK, it's more difficult on songs that I don't know or I'm not familiar to... but there are some of my music on CDs that I've listened over and over, I know how they sound.
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  #36  
Old 03-20-2011, 11:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by selectortone View Post
I thought I could tell the difference until I tried the ABX test. Now I've got tons more room on my players.
That was one of the best side effects for me. Once I established at what bitrate I couldn't tell the difference between lossless and lossy my portable storage space increased ~20% without spending a penny.
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  #37  
Old 03-20-2011, 03:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Lowry View Post
Never done that with ABX.

But I made several times custom comparisons previously, the most recent was on my previous phone (used for listening music). My hearing was even more accurate when I was 20 (it only took some seconds to guess which one was lossless or lossy). OK, it's more difficult on songs that I don't know or I'm not familiar to... but there are some of my music on CDs that I've listened over and over, I know how they sound.
Please ABX and report back to us. Please encode music that you are extremely familiar with using LAME 3.98.4 at –V0 and confirm that it takes you only a few seconds to hear the difference with ABXing software. If “Probability that you were guessing” reaches 5% or lower, you probably can hear a difference. If “Probability that you were guessing” does not reach 5% or lower, you were probably guessing and therefore cannot hear a difference.
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  #38  
Old 03-20-2011, 03:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Satellite_6 View Post
I didn't know the iTunes encoder was actually FhG. I've always though Mp3's encoded by iTunes sounded terrible. LAME really is a lot better. Also I think the difference is smaller than you think between a high but rate mp3 and lossless. On a DAP there just isn't any way it's worth the extra memory, that's a hard case to make.
I'm pretty sure its not fhg, I think its the old soundjam encoder. In the old HA tests I think it did quite a lot worse then fhg.
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  #39  
Old 03-20-2011, 03:56 PM
saratoga saratoga is offline
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Quote:
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Never done that with ABX.
Then you have no idea what you can and can't hear
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  #40  
Old 03-20-2011, 04:05 PM
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Quote:
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I'm pretty sure its not fhg, I think its the old soundjam encoder. In the old HA tests I think it did quite a lot worse then fhg.
I've seen many MP3s that had an "encoded by iTunes" comment, and they all used FhG according to Mr. Questionman, Tag&Rename, and similar apps.

Do you know if Soundjam shows up as FhG in those apps? Just asking, cause I noticed that e.g. not everything that shows up as Xing is actually the Xing codec, but often only uses Xing headers.
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