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Can onboard audio make FLAC sound the same as MP3 128kbps?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Or am I just deaf?

My onboard audio is Realtek ALC892. I've tried A-Bing several sources of 128kbps vs FLAC and I pretty much can't tell the difference between the way they sound (except for one case, I suspect the MP3 ripping was just low quality). Is this because of the limitations of the onboard chip? I got my sister to take a listen too and she couldn't tell the difference either (she has fine ears). I was listening to them through Bose On Ear headphones.
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post #2 of 19
You need a good audio setup to hear the difference, search old posts.
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post #3 of 19
Plenty of people can hear lossy encoding artifacts even on cheaper audio playback systems. Even with relatively recent 128 kbps encodes, even iBuds are sufficient to tell, and of course they're much more of a limiting factor than onboard audio.

The kind of degradation from a poorer audio system manifests itself in a different way than lossy audio compression. Certainly having a more revealing setup will help though, in identifying lossy music.

Mostly you just need training on what to listen for (it's not so much great ears), to distinguish between lossy and lossless. Also, it depends heavily on the music: some suffers much worse than others through lossy encoding. Furthermore, old mp3 encoders are much much much worse than recent versions of LAME, at comparable bitrates. Another factor is that some lossy encodes have been through multiple lossy transformations, which is terrible for the sound quality. However, aside from old and terrible mp3 encodes, the differences between lossy and lossless are often exaggerated, so the difference is not often that great—and that's how it should be. Let's give the developers of the encoders some credit.

I recommend not trying to train yourself to hear these differences, or you may be distracted thereafter when listening to lossy music, which is a bad thing.
post #4 of 19
Try high dynamic range classical music--with large orchestras.
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post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeaj View Post

Plenty of people can hear lossy encoding artifacts even on cheaper audio playback systems. Even with relatively recent 128 kbps encodes, even iBuds are sufficient to tell, and of course they're much more of a limiting factor than onboard audio.
The kind of degradation from a poorer audio system manifests itself in a different way than lossy audio compression. Certainly having a more revealing setup will help though, in identifying lossy music.
Mostly you just need training on what to listen for (it's not so much great ears), to distinguish between lossy and lossless. Also, it depends heavily on the music: some suffers much worse than others through lossy encoding. Furthermore, old mp3 encoders are much much much worse than recent versions of LAME, at comparable bitrates. Another factor is that some lossy encodes have been through multiple lossy transformations, which is terrible for the sound quality. However, aside from old and terrible mp3 encodes, the differences between lossy and lossless are often exaggerated, so the difference is not often that great—and that's how it should be. Let's give the developers of the encoders some credit.
I recommend not trying to train yourself to hear these differences, or you may be distracted thereafter when listening to lossy music, which is a bad thing.

Thanks for the detailed response.

What do you mean by artifacts, what do they sound like?
Quote:
Originally Posted by astrallite View Post

Try high dynamic range classical music--with large orchestras.

Do you have any suggestions? I'm not really clued in on classical/orchestral music.
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post #6 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdip View Post

Thanks for the detailed response.
What do you mean by artifacts, what do they sound like?

Do you have any suggestions? I'm not really clued in on classical/orchestral music.

It's exactly like JPEG artifacts.

There're some flac samples.
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post #7 of 19

 

 

Quote:
What do you mean by artifacts, what do they sound like?

 

Really bad MP3 artifacting sometimes sounds like there is a very light tinkling or jingling in the background. Other times it sounds almost like the music is being played underwater. 

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post #8 of 19
the best way to check is to listen to a track with plenty of cymbals; hi hats, overheads etc. you'll see the differences.
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post #9 of 19
128bit can be a little fuzzy and to tell a difference you need to know what to look for. I have on board on my x58 system but even with that I can tell a substantial difference between the two. However, there is a catch with flac. For flac to truly make a noticeable difference it all depends on what the original source was for the audio file. an example would be a mp3 made from a cd would not hold a candle to the same song on a 24 bit flac made from a record. These flacs are actually full spectrum and do not have the cut off points that cd audio has as a result of the sampling process. The easiest way to tell this difference is to download fubar 2000 and then have the same song play as a mp3 and then a 24 bit vinyl rip. in fubar have the specturm expanded to 180 bars and you will see that the vinyl flac has the spectrum extend all the way out and the mp3 has a cut off point. Just because it says flac does not immediately guarantee it is better it all depends on the source.
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post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the responses guys. I do hear some minor differences in some tracks (in terms of clarity and detail) but I'm still not seeing that much of a difference. It might be my ears I guess lol. Also when I look at the Spectrum visualization in Foobar I notice that there is 20k+ frequencies playing in FLAC but not in the 128kbps MP3s but it seems like my ears can't hear those frequencies.

ohcysp67 where do you get 24 bit vinyl rips from?
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