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MP3 or Lossless - almost impossible to tell the difference, apparently

Discussion in 'computers, web and general tech' started by editor, Apr 21, 2012.

  1. editor

    editor Taffus Maximus

    Interesting piece:
    ExtraRefined likes this.
  2. grit

    grit an ugly force for good

    I've never been able to tell the difference between a rate of 192 and up
  3. Kid_Eternity

    Kid_Eternity "You might be a lord but here comes the king."

    Doubt many could. Thing is these days a lot of people just download so they'll never hear a CD to know anyway...
  4. editor

    editor Taffus Maximus

    It's quite funny to think that a lot of kids listen to worse quality sound than their parents listened to.
  5. GarfieldLeChat

    GarfieldLeChat fucking awesome but wrong

    except only it appears technically... as your OP proves...
  6. smmudge

    smmudge It's a dirty job but someone's gotta do it

    The biggest factor in the quality of sound undoubtedly comes from the equipment it's actually being played on. Mostly if an MP3 is at least 44.1khz sample rate and 192kbps then it sounds the same as any lossless format through normal speakers/headphones to me. In a professional studio I could tell a (44.1kHz/16 bit) WAV from a (44.1/192kbps) MP3 if played back to back, but 320kbps MP3, no chance!

    Kids are probably more likely to listen to music through youtube videos on laptop speakers or on a mobile phone, while their parents would have listened on a hi-fi, so yeah kids probably do listen to worse quality sound!
  7. Kid_Eternity

    Kid_Eternity "You might be a lord but here comes the king."

    Have to be honest I'm less concerned by this these days than the general state of music.
  8. editor

    editor Taffus Maximus

    There's still as much great music being made as there's ever been.
  9. free spirit

    free spirit more tea vicar?

    maybe, but there is also far more shit being made as well.
  10. Kid_Eternity

    Kid_Eternity "You might be a lord but here comes the king."

    Indeed. I don't think there's anywhere near the same proportion at all these days...moreover what breaks through into the mainstream in terms of quality is at an all time low.
  11. gentlegreen

    gentlegreen Sproutarian.

    I almost envy people with such poor hearing...
  12. editor

    editor Taffus Maximus

    Mainstream has almost always been shit, and there's always been shit bands at all levels.
    UnderAnOpenSky likes this.
  13. Kid_Eternity

    Kid_Eternity "You might be a lord but here comes the king."

    The proportions aren't the same. There's more shit music now then ever.
  14. FridgeMagnet

    FridgeMagnet Administrator

    Also the kids are ruder, and the exams are easier, and the police are younger, and it used to be all fields :(
  15. smmudge

    smmudge It's a dirty job but someone's gotta do it

    There's just better access to more shit music now than ever.

    There's always been shit music, but for obvious reasons the shit music doesn't stand the test of time, so it seems like it was better "back then". But look at the charts in the heyday of the biggest 'old' bands/artists and most of it is stuff that people don't even remember now.
  16. ViolentPanda

    ViolentPanda Hardly getting over it.

    Because, after all, you've got great hearing, and prove that to yourself every time you use your electrostatic speakers, valve amps and customised CD player.
    beesonthewhatnow likes this.
  17. ViolentPanda

    ViolentPanda Hardly getting over it.

    Heh, and "back then" (for me, that's the '70s/early '80s), if a pub advertised live music and the pub wasn't the Hope & Anchor or the Fulham Greyhound, the live music advertised was usually a bunch of '60s rejects noodling about half-heartedly on some old standards and fantasising about re-living their glory years. Some of them made Vic Reeves' "club singer" pisstake look positively attractive. :D
  18. gentlegreen

    gentlegreen Sproutarian.

    Exactly what do you mean by that ? Just because you spent your yoof with yer head in a bassbin ... I wore earplugs and stayed near the back of the room.

    I paid less for my HIFI than many people spend on a tobacco habit or even running a car - a few thousand quid averaged over the 15 years amounts to £4 a week or 50p per day. I spend 67p per day on tea.
    I've spent a great deal more on CDs over the years.And "back in the day" it cost me a tenner a week to get into my local hop.
    Of the whole chain, electrostatic speakers make the most difference and one day I may even buy some brand new ones. (my current two pairs cost me £700 = £1 per week or 14p per day)

    I listen to music in all sorts of contexts and at varying qualities. I'm perfectly content with 128k MP3s and my little Sennheisers when I'm on my bike, and even when chilling at my picnic spot I'll put up with their limitations - though I'm thinking I may treat myself to some different cans - my decision will be swayed when I can reasonably carry a copy of my whole music collection around ripped to lossless ....

    On the whole though, these days I'm listening to music that isn't very demanding of the reproduction chain and the set and setting are more important than the absolute sound quality.
    firky likes this.
  19. Firky

    Firky The first of the gang Banned

    Good read.

    Youtube and Spotify sound god awful to my ears, especially Spotify. They seem to compress the hell out of tunes leaving none of the delicate nuances that add depth. Perfectly OK if I am out and about but if I am at home, with my decent headphones / speakers, I want to be able to hear everything. However, I have noticed I can't hear things I used to be able to when I was younger :\

    @Gentlegreen I have a pair of Rokit speakers :)

    Going to ebay them shortly though, want a new set up. Quite fancy a pair of Harman Kardon and since I don't drink any more I can splash out on things.

    And more people listening and buying the shit.

    Attached Files:

  20. teqniq

    teqniq DisMembered

    This risks re-igniting the old debate of 'well vinyl is always better than cd's....'. Having ripped quite a bit of stuff to flac I'm of the opinion that you get better bass response with flac as a pose to mp3 (funnily enough the same or similar argument used in the vinyl/cd debate). It does though imo indeed become rather more difficult to tell if the mp3 has been transcoded at maximum quality, except imo for bass (though I'm willing to concede that a number of factors have to be taken into consideration such as the genre and quality of the original recording).
  21. FaradayCaged

    FaradayCaged I like pancakes, do you like pancakes?

    Yeah I have highend headphones and between a 320kbps mp3 and a FLAC or raw WAV I cant tell much of a difference; if anything it probably is placebo. But between anything below say 240kbps and a FLAC it certainly gets very noticable and below 192kbps is a joke compared to FLAC/WAV.
  22. newbie

    newbie undisambiguated

    Has anyone got a good enough handle on the maths to know whether playback MP3 is ever bit-for-bit indistinguishable from the original .wav, and if so, at what bitrate that starts to occur?
  23. gentlegreen

    gentlegreen Sproutarian.

    I have to say I've been surprised recently in this world of ripped-off 128K MP3s to see adverts on mainstream TV for expensive, bling, but probably actually rather good headphones as well as portable, (presumably Class A ?) headphone amps.

    Back in my audiophile days (a fairly short-lived phase), as well as looking at schematics for solid state class A amps, I considered making a portable valve one :D

    Ironically this was often in association with DIY electrostatic headphones made of perspex and cling-film that cost under a fiver to make. :)
    I gave up on the DIY headphones when I effectively acquired a giant pair I didn't have to wear on my head. Hopefully in retirement I will manage to have a converted barn with adequate breathing space to get the best out of electrostatics.

    Does anyone have a handle on the cost-benefit for reasonably portable headphones ?
    (Ones that don't shout "Dr. Dre Bling Bling, Steal Me !")
    When I first got my HIFI I had Huge, open-sounding Wharfedale Isodynamics that ultimately turned me onto the whole electrostatic thing (or rather up until I got those I had more or less written off loudspeakers because those phones were so good - albeit the perforated magnets seemed to lose their strength over time).


    They used to cost just under £20 in the 70s - which was a week's wages back then.

    Much as I loved them, even if they were still made, I can't see myself carting them off to my favourite listening room :-


    EDIT :- there's a pair of circa-£30 JVC 'phones which are getting good reviews - I may treat myself later ...
  24. Boris Sprinkler

    Boris Sprinkler Jizz Lasso

    Well it goes without saying. Because what has happened has people have added to the shit music that already existed. Just the same as there is more good music now. In fact your sentence should have just read "there is more music now than ever" And tomorrow there will be more music.

    It's called history or something.
  25. ViolentPanda

    ViolentPanda Hardly getting over it.

    Exactly what I said.

    Don't make assumptions, there's a good chap.

    You do realise that the comparison you're making is fatuous, don't you? You're comparing perishables with fine-quality consumer goods.

    Thanks for the spurious cost/benefit analysis, but you do realise that the world doesn't reduce to "bang for buck", and that you couldn't have estimated the life expectancy of your kit when you purchased it, don't you? That reveals your attempts at pennies per day VfM calculation for what they are - post-event justification. :)

    And yet you make such a big deal about your kit, when you get round to mentioning it! Your post reeks of "sound snobbery". You "put up" with limitations that you believe are inherent to particular types of equipment and format, and very clearly believe that some genres aren't "demanding" (while others, as a corollary, must be!). :)
  26. ViolentPanda

    ViolentPanda Hardly getting over it.

    You can now buy them (ones that use the "starved circuit" idea") for about the same price as a good solid state one. Don't really see the point of replacing a tiny file player with a tiny file player plus Walkman-sized portable headphone amp, though.
  27. gentlegreen

    gentlegreen Sproutarian.

    Dub and heavily processed dance music clearly is a lot less demanding than "classical" music with high strings and woodwind - both genres are very important to me.

    Perhaps some people who enjoy boy bands / Cliff Richard appreciate good sound, but I wouldn't know ...

    Oh and my kit was already decades old when I bought it. I did do a back of an envelope calculation when I bought it as that sort of money was a lot to me back then - a small investment matured.
  28. gentlegreen

    gentlegreen Sproutarian.

    I've just ordered some bonkers cheap (£13 :D) Koss clip-on cans which have rave reviews :-
    since I'm fed up with my Sennheisers' fragile neckband that I've emailed them about.

    Was pointed in their direction by a feature on"safe" headphones for cycling.


    This is my main domain for enjoying music these days - an hour per day - Erik Satie would have had something to say about it ...

    EDIT :-

    There are even some mods for the Koss earphones :-

  29. ViolentPanda

    ViolentPanda Hardly getting over it.

    If the difference is that clear, then please elucidate it.
    From where I'm sitting, no music is more "easy" or "difficult" to listen to, or less or more demanding of the listener than any other. Both cover a similar frequency range, both contain elements that are less or more complex in terms of their frequency compositions. Any perception that one is more or less demanding than the other is exactly that - a perception. What does vary is the amount of attention listeners give some music over others, and which such listeners mistake for one music being more demanding than others. Psycho-acoustically the amount of "demand" made on a listeners faculties doesn't vary between types and genres.
  30. ViolentPanda

    ViolentPanda Hardly getting over it.

    I've been using Koss 'phones on and off for about 30 years (they've only really been available as an entire range over here for about the last 10. Before that we just used to see mostly the "flagship" models), mostly because they sound (i.e. I perceive them to sound) more "natural" than a lot of their "bass-boosted" equivalents

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