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  #41  
Old 03-20-2011, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Enigmatic View Post
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.
Please read my post again. It only took some seconds when I was 20.
It will probably take longer now that I'm 31.

I will maybe do that. I'm waiting for my new DAC, it may be fun to do.


Anyway fyi : the first time I wanted to make mp3s was a dozen years ago. I found the idea interresting : files 10 times shorter, cutting things we are not supposed to hear. But I was deceived after having encoded my first 128 kpbs mp3 (lame). In a few seconds I realised that the cymbals on my music were metallic, with some echoing, very cold, not pleasing to my ears...

I read that the solution was to increase the bitrate... I told myself OK, let's do it. But each time I did it, (192, 256, 320), I wasn't entirely satisfied even if I heard an improvement vs the previous encoding. I'm sure today the lame codec is better now, I'm sure that I've lost some of my hearing abilities (I cannot stop aging)... but at that time I also had a cheap internal sound chip and small speakers, and I could still tell the difference then. I really wasn't that impressed by mp3s.

I've made other mp3s since then, never been really convinced... I've made a custom test on my phone 2 years ago (entry level sony ericsson walkman... on which I only put WAVs), I still could hear a difference. I've tested the ogg codec and I found it better, but not as good as flacs.

In fact ogg codec is used on tracks for Guitar Hero III. If you're a fan of Metallica, you know that there is an alternate solution vs the clipped and brickwalled version of Death Magnetic (a new victim of the loudness war) : downloading GH3 rips. Though I really like the GH3 Moderus III version (with much less clipping and more clarity), I'm still not please with the lossy sound (because of the lossy files used by the game)... the retail CD is much better in this way, and I still can hear these lossy artifacts in my car's loudspeakers !!! It's so frustrating.

I replied in this thread because Ravnefar asked if s.o. could hear a significant difference. You may have a wiser solution with using ABX and choosing the right bitrate, but I honestly answered to him.
I'm not pleased with itunes selling only lossy music... we should have the right to have at least the same quality as the CD. One day the music industry will only sell lossy music files and we will all regret our CDs.

I will still put lossless files on my pmp even if one day I will not hear the lossy artifacts, I'll go on that way because it makes more sense to me : copying directly from my HD without re-encoding, sharing things with friends and coworkers (some of them still have their good hearing), lending my pmp... And that's the reason why I went on ABI, for all the tips and reviews on DAP/PMP using lossless files.
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Last edited by Sam Lowry; 03-20-2011 at 04:21 PM.
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  #42  
Old 03-20-2011, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Sam Lowry View Post
It only took some seconds when I was 20.
It will probably take longer now that I'm 31.
11 years ago any MP3 codec was pretty much crap and non-transparent. Today the situation is completely different, LAME can achieve transparency for most people's ears at even ~192 VBR.
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  #43  
Old 03-20-2011, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by dfkt View Post
11 years ago any MP3 codec was pretty much crap. Today the situation is completely different.
Sure, and I have made other mp3s since that time (I've changed my computer a few times, and my HDs and other things).

I was just telling my first contact with encoding mp3s.
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  #44  
Old 03-20-2011, 04:39 PM
Enigmatic Enigmatic is offline
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Originally Posted by Sam Lowry View Post
Please read my post again. It only took some seconds when I was 20.
My mistake. Sorry. Anyway, I think you will be very pleasantly surprised with the sound quality from even –V3. As already mentioned by dfkt, lossy encoders continue to be improved.
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  #45  
Old 03-21-2011, 05:50 AM
robgmun robgmun is offline
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Originally Posted by Satellite_6 View Post
Whatever works for you.
And that, in a nutshell, is all that is to this debate..

Everyone has there own preferences. We can debate about if people can hear a difference or not until the cows come home. Some people are different and can hear a difference, some can't, so they are happy enough with 192Kbps, and i say let them be happy

Personally i feel i can hear a difference, the tracks seem 'fuller' and more 'dynamic'. But the difference is slight and i can only really notice it in a quite of my bedroom, Out on the street where i listen to 95% of my music collection i highly doubt i would be able to tell the difference.

I choose 320Kbps as a compromise, i want the best possible sound but i know i only have a limited amount of space on my mp3 player (i like to carry all my music collection around with me)

I can tell the difference between 128 and 192, the difference is like night and day. I can also tell between 192 and 256, althrough the difference is much smaller. But i find it difficult to tell between 256 and 320, i can in some cases. But i will keep to 320 because i want to be sure that i'm not 'missing out' so to speak.

Last edited by robgmun; 03-21-2011 at 08:57 AM.
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  #46  
Old 03-21-2011, 06:44 AM
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Originally Posted by robgmun View Post
Personally i feel i can hear a difference....
That's the beauty of the Foobar/ABX test. It's double-blind. You pick two different encodes of a track and it asks you to choose which is which. There are no clues as to which version you're listening to, so there's no bias or influence - intended or unintended. Do that several times and it will tell you whether or not you're guessing. lt tells you quite unequivocally whether you can or can't tell the difference.

I tried it with tracks I encoded with the latest FLAC and LAME encoders, a good-quality soundcard and studio monitor headphones and discovered I really can't tell the difference between Flac and 192kbps VBR. I thought I could but it told me I was guessing. I can hear the difference at 128kbps.

That's not to say I might be able to hear the difference with some training of what artifacts to listen for, but, quite frankly, I don't want to know. As it stands, if I can't hear the difference when I'm trying, in the quiet of my home studio and with good reference material and equipment, then I sure as hell ain't gonna hear it down the beach or in the street. Ignorance is bliss - and a lot more tracks on my players.

Last edited by selectortone; 03-21-2011 at 06:58 AM. Reason: spelling
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  #47  
Old 03-21-2011, 10:34 AM
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It's all good - nice to have reasonable discussion on this subject! And yes, I am with selectorone 100% - the foobar ABX test is quite a great "equalizer"
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  #48  
Old 03-21-2011, 12:32 PM
saratoga saratoga is offline
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Originally Posted by Sam Lowry View Post
I've made other mp3s since then, never been really convinced... I've made a custom test on my phone 2 years ago (entry level sony ericsson walkman... on which I only put WAVs), I still could hear a difference. I've tested the ogg codec and I found it better, but not as good as flacs.
Going to quote what I said before:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Lowry View Post
Never done that with ABX.
Quote:
Originally Posted by saratoga View Post
Then you have no idea what you can and can't hear
If you haven't done a proper test then you don't know if you can hear a difference. You may believe you heard something, but you don't know if you did so saying "I still could hear a difference" is untrue. You simply do not know that.
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  #49  
Old 03-21-2011, 12:38 PM
saratoga saratoga is offline
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Originally Posted by dfkt View Post
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.
I've noticed that iTunes files show up as FhG, but I think thats just because iTunes files do not put a tag saying which encoder was used (beyond "iTunes"). Googling brings this up:

http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/...dpost&p=317307

Presumably the Lame devs would know, but I'm not certain. FWIW when HA tested iTunes it did worse then fhg, so whatever they're using its not the usual fhg codec.
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  #50  
Old 03-21-2011, 12:53 PM
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I see. Thanks for the info. I've been ABXing aforementioned iTunes MP3 files with LAME ones, and I wondered why they sound so bad in comparison, at varying bitrates.
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  #51  
Old 03-21-2011, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by saratoga View Post
If you haven't done a proper test then you don't know if you can hear a difference. You may believe you heard something, but you don't know if you did so saying "I still could hear a difference" is untrue. You simply do not know that.
You can do proper and double-blind tests without this ABX thing... I've already done that with co-workers manipulating my phone and me telling if the song they chose was lossy or not. You can also do it alone with the random play and see directly the results on screen (my last test was 2 years ago on my phone). But I'll probably do tests with ABX, it may be fun to do... especially on my new DAC. I'm still waiting for it (bought online after reading some reviews, I hope it's good and that I haven't been fooled ) !
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  #52  
Old 03-21-2011, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Sam Lowry View Post
You can do proper and double-blind tests without this ABX thing... I've already done that with co-workers manipulating my phone and me telling if the song they chose was lossy or not.
Did your co-workers know whether the file was lossless or lossy? If they did, then it was not double blind. How many trials and how many correct responses?
Quote:
You can also do it alone with the random play and see directly the results on screen (my last test was 2 years ago on my phone).
How many trials and how many correct responses? Because compression artefacts will probably be very subtle at –V0, I think you will find it easier using foobar2000 to ABX than the methods you used earlier.
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  #53  
Old 03-21-2011, 02:06 PM
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It seems to me we are having this discussion in part because of our very adaptable brain physiology. We all want the best, and our brain is in the way (sometimes!) I guess it is a survival value if we can always recognize our surroundings even under extreme circumstances. Fact is, we have no absolute memory for sensory impressions, but our brain adapts, so the world will always look the way we think it looks (unless the difference is too gross).
I once attended an outdoors event with so many people that the host had jury rigged a large tent out of blue plastic tarps. When I entered, peoples’ faces looked a little blue and the food looked weird, but that was soon forgotten. When I exited an hour later, I got a shock: the sunlit world was intensely copper colored: meadow, trees, everything. It took me almost five minutes to re-adapt.
We cannot outwit our brains with our brains, but need to introduce exterior machinery like ABx to get to the truth and feel happy and relaxed.
Enjoy the extra space on your drive!
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  #54  
Old 03-21-2011, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by saratoga View Post
I've noticed that iTunes files show up as FhG, but I think thats just because iTunes files do not put a tag saying which encoder was used (beyond "iTunes"). Googling brings this up:

http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/...dpost&p=317307

Presumably the Lame devs would know, but I'm not certain. FWIW when HA tested iTunes it did worse then fhg, so whatever they're using its not the usual fhg codec.
That makes more sense, just judging by my ears FhG isn't thaaaat bad while iTunes mp3's are truly horrible.
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  #55  
Old 05-25-2012, 06:05 PM
geogrig geogrig is offline
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There are so many people that cannot make a difference between FLAC and 320k mp3, and even 128k ones. The difference in majority is in the highest frequencies, even if both of them show up in players that have 44100 Hz, 128k mp3's only reach barely 20 KHz.
You have to have some pretty good damn ears to make the difference between 320k mp3 and FLAC.
FLAC's are untouched quality, mp3's are more compact to gain more space but cuts off high and some low frequencies, adding some "distortions" (barely hearable too)
With a high end music sistem, an SACD player or DVD Audio player, music can reach 192 KHz. There are a few people that can say "I can hear the difference!". The thing is... SA-CD are more better than 44 KHz FLAC's. Obviosly, you must have an original studio made album recorded in 192 HKz.
But let's return. 128k mp3's are a large media distribution on internet or portable music players so that's why people choose it, they save a lot of space, cutting the quality.
Imagine a song burned on an Audio CD. Riped again at 128. Burned again on AUdio CD, Ripped again at 128k and so on.... The quality of that song will become like it has been played with chainsaws.... no joking

As for me, i don't have a single mp3 in my PC. Only FLAC and HD Audio (SACD and DVD Audio)
Go for Lossless! It's the only way we can keep originals!
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  #56  
Old 05-25-2012, 06:23 PM
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I’m surprised you dug up a thread that’s over a year old when there’s both a sticky and discussion thread that are current …
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  #57  
Old 06-11-2014, 07:51 PM
hogger129 hogger129 is offline
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Not to dig up an old thread, but I've had a lot of folks asking me this recently too - especially now that 24-bit files are out there and hard drives are bigger.

I took the ABX test on foobar2000 between FLAC Level 5 and LAME MP3 V0 of my Alice Cooper - Billion Dollar Babies Audio Fidelity rip that I did with Exact Audio Copy - ripped the FLAC and then made some LAME V0 versions with foobar2000. I couldn't tell the difference. I can't tell a difference until I get down to below 192k with MP3 when using my headphones. If I hook up to my big stereo in my basement with my nice speakers and sub, I can tell the difference, but it's really really subtle. FLAC just maintains more clarity at 'oomph' at higher volume that isn't there with MP3.

AAC and Ogg Vorbis are other popular lossy formats, but MP3 is more compatible and every bit as good as AAC at bitrates we're using for music listening. I'm not totally sure how Ogg Vorbis compares since I have never really used it.

So for portable listening, I would generally say my experience is that MP3 LAME V0 is more than enough in a portable. Even V2 is probably good enough. Save FLAC, ALAC, WAV, AIFF for the computer or home audio system, or something that can really bring out the differences.

Last edited by hogger129; 06-11-2014 at 07:58 PM.
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  #58  
Old 06-14-2014, 04:36 PM
DSperber DSperber is offline
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Originally Posted by hogger129 View Post
So for portable listening, I would generally say my experience is that MP3 LAME V0 is more than enough in a portable. Even V2 is probably good enough. Save FLAC, ALAC, WAV, AIFF for the computer or home audio system, or something that can really bring out the differences.
With my 32GB+64GB=96GB storage capacity of my J3, I see no reason to not use FLAC for my "favorite favorites".

With no concern about number of files or total storage requirements for my 6800 music files, my own approach when selectively ripping/encoding tracks from newly acquired CD's (which I buy in true "hard and shiny" CD form because I like to collect them) is to just use LAME MP3 -V0 for "secondary, non-favorite" tracks which I want to have but don't listen to regularly (historically about 5700 files = 37GB), and FLAC for "favorite favorites" (historically about 1100 files = 25GB) that constitute everyday listening.

But I cannot honestly "defend" any lossy format when lossless FLAC is alternatively available for use with no size/number considerations, no matter that an A/B test claims them to be indistinguishable to your ears.

Also, in my mind there is no justification ever for considering WAV for anything on hard drive. It is a much larger file format than all others, and [for virtually all players] does not support metadata tags and album art which is an absolute requirement for me.
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  #59  
Old 06-14-2014, 07:38 PM
mamamia88 mamamia88 is offline
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Originally Posted by DSperber View Post
With my 32GB+64GB=96GB storage capacity of my J3, I see no reason to not use FLAC for my "favorite favorites".

With no concern about number of files or total storage requirements for my 6800 music files, my own approach when selectively ripping/encoding tracks from newly acquired CD's (which I buy in true "hard and shiny" CD form because I like to collect them) is to just use LAME MP3 -V0 for "secondary, non-favorite" tracks which I want to have but don't listen to regularly (historically about 5700 files = 37GB), and FLAC for "favorite favorites" (historically about 1100 files = 25GB) that constitute everyday listening.

But I cannot honestly "defend" any lossy format when lossless FLAC is alternatively available for use with no size/number considerations, no matter that an A/B test claims them to be indistinguishable to your ears.

Also, in my mind there is no justification ever for considering WAV for anything on hard drive. It is a much larger file format than all others, and [for virtually all players] does not support metadata tags and album art which is an absolute requirement for me.
A flac file compressed with the program I use to 320 vbr is 1/4 the size and sounds 99% as good imo. Flac is good for a backup and if you have the space for it on your portable go for it but, I think having more room for music expansion is more important than having lossless on portable. Also the only hd in my desktop is an 80gb ssd.
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  #60  
Old 06-14-2014, 07:58 PM
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I do wav just because my home receiver only does wav or mp3, and I feel I can hear the difference (no A B, just me). I do flac also because "some day" all my devices will support that as well.

For portable/car the quantity is more important than quality, but at home I want the best I can use, and currently flac ain't happening. And an investment in a new uber-AV rig just isn't cost effective, whereas external 4tb(+) drives are.

(Long time no see DSperber)
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