Originally Posted by Clincher09
Ok, well I really don't have a specialized music setup, just a nice DAP and nice headphones, and I have lame but I don't know if WMP uses that to rip music. Basically would it just be a waste of my time to re-rip all of my CDs to 320 to maybe hear a subtle difference?
You're asking the right question now. Only you can answer it. You made a good choice to rip at 192 kbps to begin with. If you have some super-favorite recordings you could re-do them at a higher bitrate just as part of the hobby, but if you have a ton of recordings I personally wouldn't spend a lot of time on it, but it's a value judgment really, your call. I ripped a lot of stuff between 160 and 220 kbps, and it all sounds great. I used lame, itunes, some old thing called music match jukebox, etc. With the way prices on hard disk space have gone down, if I were doing it today, I'd rip a little higher, but I did most of it 4 or 5 or 6 years ago, and it sounds fine to me. 160 kbps is generally transparent for most people for most music. Based on what you're saying, since you haven't worried yourself over learning what artificacts sound like, on the off-chance you are one of the statistical few who could hear the difference, the chances that the actual difference between 192 kbps wma and 320 kbps lame mp3 would be concerning to you are relatively low.
This large double-blind test, for example, suggests that of 8 codecs tested at 192 kbps, all were transparent (indistinguishable) from the original samples:Audio quality of encoders at 192 kbit/s - SoundExpert
In that test, 5 or above means transparent (inaudbile artificats). They use a controversial methodology to exaggerate differences that would otherwise be inaudible. But you get the idea, I think. Notice that wma at 192 kbps did quite well. Notice the big difference between wma at 160 kbps (not transparent but very good) and wma at 192 kbps (transparent).
Here's an enlightening thread from hydrogenaudio.org from a distressed person who discovered he could not tell the difference between lame 160 kbps and lossless on double-blind testing:Help with listening tests - Hydrogenaudio Forums
As you can read, he is hardly alone. The watchword is indeed "subtle." The contributors to that thread know their stuff.
So, would I re-rip after having spent time on encoding in 192 kbps wma? Nope. If it were 128 kbps? Probably I would re-rip. But the ground between 128 kbps and 192 kbps is pretty substantial. At hydrogen they won't set up big tests above 128 kbps anymore because encoders have improved so much that now too few people can tell the difference so the tests are too difficult to administer. Can some small percentage of people tell the difference? Absolutely.
There are such things as what they call killer samples, which are snippets of challenging recordings, that result in tripping up encoders so you can hear differences, but these are fleeting instances and rarely occur in normal music, and would even more rarely be ascertained by a normal person.