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post #31 of 67
Anything above 128kbps - in any one of the codecs above - will be completely indistinguishable from the .wav it was ripped from. Period. End of story. I would choose mp3 for compatability and tagging.

Those spectrograms are not accurate. Even at 128kbps you are averaging thosands of sample points into one pixel. Even one different sample point could cause that visual pixel to render differently. The spectrogram is of such a zoomed out/broad view that it is averaging the data not showing the data. And this distorts the analysers ability to be accurate.

I have done the research. I have done my own listening tests in near perfect listening conditions. Humans cannot tell the difference and I dare anyone to provide one credible instance where anyone on the face of this earth has ever been able to tell the difference between 128kbps and .wav.
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post #32 of 67
really the only area where Ogg and AAC have a clear advantage is 128kbit and lower, the problem is no one in their right mind would want to listen to any lossy format at that range because we're no longer constrained by media players with storage capacities measured in MB rather than GB and thus larger files with larger bit rates are fine

I was all into the whole Ogg and AAC and even other rarer formats like Musepack which was specifically developed for transparency at higher bitrates unlike AAC and Ogg which have a deliberate focus for higher quality at lower bitrates, what I found was that it simply wasn't worth the trouble to mess with these less compatible formats and that MP3's VBR or even 320K CBR are more than good enough if not nearly indistinguishable. And today's modern PMP's capacities are so large its just not worth it to worry about saving space.

So really for me its all about having a lossless archive via FLAC and then a single, highly compatible mp3 copy for portability.

Granted, capacities are growing so large that I'm finding it less and less necessary to worry about creating a portable copy and instead just going with FLAC for everything and thus eliminating one more thing to worry about.
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post #33 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by FEAST View Post

128 - 320kbps mp3. Lossless is pointless for listening purposes.

Sorry, but that's just wrong. Try listening to Dire Straits in FLAC vs a 320kbps mp3 and tell me there's no difference.

If I couldn't use FLAC, I'd use .WAV, in fact, most of my music is in WAV as I have it on CD anyway, so I just ripped it in full quality.
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post #34 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeaj View Post

This is really really stupid. And right below that post, some are calling you out on it. How are you going to tell perceived audio quality to humans by looking at spectrograms? The point with lossy encoding in this context is that the information that is missing should be inaudible or less audible because it's being masked by everything else.
This is one way to look at the differences between lossy encoding, but it's a very inaccurate way that corresponds not well to perceived audio quality. This type of misanalysis is worse than a lot of the complete BS subjective writing on head-fi because at first glance to some novices, it looks plausible because there is some backing.
If the "cut off" frequencies really bother you (as in, if you can actually hear up to 20 kHz fine; a lot of people looking at spectrograms are just looking for this as a kind of forensic tool to recognize lossy encoding), you can set the lowpass filtering option to pass through whatever you want on the mp3 or other lossy encoder.
I'll agree mp3 is outdated though, but modern LAME is a good enough encoder that it's usually fine, and you will run into 0 compatibility problems in any kind of system ever if you have mp3 files. That said, I use Ogg Vorbis personally for storage-constrained hardware.

But the thing is, for practical reasons, Vorbis is better and a spectrogram shows that. A smaller file means that you can fit more in your limited storage that is your portable device. I used the cutoff of 320 kbps CBR mp3 / VBR -v0 mp3 (same exact thing on a spectrogram) as many people find that to be indistinguishable from lossless. Shown there is that ~192 kbps Ogg Vorbis represents more data and represents it more accurately compared to the lossless source than the VBR -V0 mp3.

The cutoff frequency isn't the issue here.

It's a smaller file in Vorbis that represents more data and more accurately as well....

A couple of MB over thousands of songs = significant space saving.

As AAC is less complex than Ogg Vorbis, dependent on device and firmware, this can result in longer battery life + that AAC is more supported thus why overall I advocate AAC as the best lossy digital audio codec.

Summed up: AAC and Ogg Vorbis for the same / better quality uses less bitrate which results in the practical uses of more storage space and longer battery life due to less bitrate being processed.
post #35 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by FEAST View Post

Anything above 128kbps - in any one of the codecs above - will be completely indistinguishable from the .wav it was ripped from. Period. End of story. I would choose mp3 for compatability and tagging.
Those spectrograms are not accurate. Even at 128kbps you are averaging thosands of sample points into one pixel. Even one different sample point could cause that visual pixel to render differently. The spectrogram is of such a zoomed out/broad view that it is averaging the data not showing the data. And this distorts the analysers ability to be accurate.
I have done the research. I have done my own listening tests in near perfect listening conditions. Humans cannot tell the difference and I dare anyone to provide one credible instance where anyone on the face of this earth has ever been able to tell the difference between 128kbps and .wav.

highly depends on the dynamic range of the track.

Try a high dynamic range track like this:

Switch from 480p to 720p.
post #36 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Monstrous View Post

Sorry, but that's just wrong. Try listening to Dire Straits in FLAC vs a 320kbps mp3 and tell me there's no difference.
If I couldn't use FLAC, I'd use .WAV, in fact, most of my music is in WAV as I have it on CD anyway, so I just ripped it in full quality.

Sorry, but you are flat out wrong.

Dire Straits CD's I own:

Brothers In Arms
Dire Straits
Love Over Gold
Making Movies

I have heard many tracks by them in both codecs. I have my entire CD collection in mp3 for compatibility, AAC for portable devices, wav for uploading to video sites that compress like youtube, and ALAC and FLAC for mac/pc transport. We are talking 5tb of music. I am an audio engineer. I record things at double, often quadruple CD quality both in sample rate and depth. I have degradation tools that allow me to (IN REAL TIME) raise and lower the quality of a track (both sample rate and bit depth) so that I can hear just where the threshold really is regarding quality.

I have spent hours doing my own personal listening tests with thousands of dollars worth of hardware in near perfect listening environments. I spend 8 hours a day every day listening to, refining, and tweaking the finest details in music. I know what to look for and trust me when I say that my ability to hear the tiniest differences exceeds your ability to do so.

You can spew nonsense about how the differences are audible but at the end of the day when listening tests come around you will fail just like everyone else who has tricked themselves into thinking that they can hear a difference.

There are in some instances a rare D/A converter that will cause clipping that is noticeable - or a rare track that has a certain instrument that has already been compressed in a way that causes a small problem spot - but in any and every case this is fault of the mixing engineer/hardware - not the compression.

On occasion you will find an expert that can hear these tiny spots and tell formats apart by listening for this one specific que among tracks that sound entirely the same otherwise. If any of you think I am wrong then please go do yourself a favor and perform a blind listening test with volume matched tracks.

People that think the differences are audible fall into the same category as those who think cables make a sonic difference. It is always enlightening watch people setup 5 or 6 cables from standard to thousand dollar to coat hangers - and blindly review them. You will watch as they bash thousand dollar cables and give glowing reviews to coat hangers. If you think your perception is not biased - think again.
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post #37 of 67
If FLAC isn't available, i use .wav. It can also be lossless. Under 320kbs I use .mp3 for compatibility.
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post #38 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by FEAST View Post

Sorry, but you are flat out wrong.
Dire Straits CD's I own:
Brothers In Arms
Dire Straits
Love Over Gold
Making Movies
I have heard many tracks by them in both codecs. I have my entire CD collection in mp3 for compatibility, AAC for portable devices, wav for uploading to video sites that compress like youtube, and ALAC and FLAC for mac/pc transport. We are talking 5tb of music. I am an audio engineer. I record things at double, often quadruple CD quality both in sample rate and depth. I have degradation tools that allow me to (IN REAL TIME) raise and lower the quality of a track (both sample rate and bit depth) so that I can hear just where the threshold really is regarding quality.
I have spent hours doing my own personal listening tests with thousands of dollars worth of hardware in near perfect listening environments. I spend 8 hours a day every day listening to, refining, and tweaking the finest details in music. I know what to look for and trust me when I say that my ability to hear the tiniest differences exceeds your ability to do so.
You can spew nonsense about how the differences are audible but at the end of the day when listening tests come around you will fail just like everyone else who has tricked themselves into thinking that they can hear a difference.
There are in some instances a rare D/A converter that will cause clipping that is noticeable - or a rare track that has a certain instrument that has already been compressed in a way that causes a small problem spot - but in any and every case this is fault of the mixing engineer/hardware - not the compression.
On occasion you will find an expert that can hear these tiny spots and tell formats apart by listening for this one specific que among tracks that sound entirely the same otherwise. If any of you think I am wrong then please go do yourself a favor and perform a blind listening test with volume matched tracks.
People that think the differences are audible fall into the same category as those who think cables make a sonic difference. It is always enlightening watch people setup 5 or 6 cables from standard to thousand dollar to coat hangers - and blindly review them. You will watch as they bash thousand dollar cables and give glowing reviews to coat hangers. If you think your perception is not biased - think again.

Well, I'm not a proponent of high end cables at all. But there is simply no way you can say that something like 'Money for Nothing' sounds the same in 320 mp3 compared to WAV. Listen carefully to the cymbals in any music and you'll hear mp3 compression instantly. In fact Meridian published a paper stating that even CD quality compressed cymbals, which it does. And it was perfectly audible.
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post #39 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by chinesekiwi View Post

highly depends on the dynamic range of the track.
Try a high dynamic range track like this:

Switch from 480p to 720p.

Interesting point. I think that if one was to take a high dynamic range track and digitally choke the volume down to 5-10% on a standard audio card then the difference might be discernible. But anyone who does that probably isn't very concerned with quality in the first place.

I think people tend to forget that lowering the bit depth is where real quality would be lost - not so much sample rate. Think of it like video. When you compress audio you are essentially lowering the framerate - not the resolution. So at what point will we notice a difference in lower framerate when keeping the resolution the same? In my opinion 128kbps is far beyond the threshold of human hearing.

Standard .wav's run at about 44,100 "frames" per second. Cutting that down to 4,000 "frames" per second is not noticeable. End of story.
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post #40 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Monstrous View Post

Well, I'm not a proponent of high end cables at all. But there is simply no way you can say that something like 'Money for Nothing' sounds the same in 320 mp3 compared to WAV. Listen carefully to the cymbals in any music and you'll hear mp3 compression instantly. In fact Meridian published a paper stating that even CD quality compressed cymbals, which it does. And it was perfectly audible.

Not picking a side here, but I agree with this.

There is a difference, not a huge difference but it's there.
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