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192 kbps, 44.1 khz MP3 VS 16-bit, 44.1-khz, uncompressed WAV?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hi guys, this is quite important.

I would like to know how better would be a 16-bit, 44.1-khz, uncompressed WAV file over a true CD-quality MP3 file (192 kbps, 44.1 khz).
Considering I have HD595 headphones and an iBasso D10 DAC/AMP, would the difference be even noticeable? I think that's very high quality MP3 encoding, right?

Your opinions, please.
post #2 of 15
It very much depends on the track. Some tracks can be encoded in 128kbps CBR and sound fine. There's some tracks that struggle to sound correct even at 320kbps CBR.

I suggest you ABX some tracks for yourself, and if you're really interested check out hydrogenaudio. They get extremely technical and do a good job hunting for tracks that highlight problems in current encoding schemes.
post #3 of 15
192kbps is pretty decent. I have the same headphones and it's very unlikely I would be able to tell the difference. Having said that, I'm still slowly moving to lossless because I don't expect to have "mid-fi" gear forever and disk space is cheap.
post #4 of 15
There is no such thing as a CD-quality mp3 file. You're likely to notice a difference in at least a small fraction of the tracks.
post #5 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shike View Post
It very much depends on the track. Some tracks can be encoded in 128kbps CBR and sound fine. There's some tracks that struggle to sound correct even at 320kbps CBR.
I've noticed that, too. But I chafe at the idea of a "CD quality" MP3. Time was, people insisted that 128k was "CD quality." Then that distinction was awarded to a steadily higher progression of bit-rates. My guess is that the current acolyte would be 256k.

To me, CD-quality means either,

1) A CD (duh!),
2) A WAV competently ripped from a CD (Also duh!), or
3) A competently ripped lossless file (flac, ALAC, WMA lossless, etc.)

Any lossy rip removes information from the file. Some people will hear a difference (or claim to,) while others won't be able to distinguish a difference. Point is, the only way to guarantee that you are getting everything on the CD is to not throw away anything from the original file. The vagaries of human hearing and psychology being what they are, there is simply no other way to assure a transparent rip.

Just my opinion. Disagreement welcomed, in fact encouraged. Just be polite, please!
post #6 of 15
With your setup, I expect you would be able to tell the difference between 192kbps .mp3/.wav almost all the time. It should get harder for 256kbps .mp3/.wav and very difficult at 320kbps .mp3/.wav.

I would recommend that you just rip everything to lossless anyway. It'll save you the trouble of second guessing your audio library. I've personally ripped my entire CD collection 3 times, from 192 initially, to 320kbps AAC then finally to FLAC/.wma lossless.

Get Exact Audio Copy too.
post #7 of 15
I believe this is something you'll have to decide for yourself. It's easy to do the test by ripping some of your CD's to both to wav and mp3 and then comparing.

I really recommend doing comparisons of this sort using music that you absolutely love. My feeling is that if you're using material that you're indifferent about -- then you are going to care less about the differences that are present. Differences will seem less noticeable and less significant. Also you'll want to judge if the differences you hear are important to the music. Overall I recommend 1.) music that you love and 2.) choose something that's well recorded.

Another angle on this, is that your system (already just fine, of course) is something you care about and you'll probably upgrade over the years. So you may choose to rip at better quality now in deference to the system you'll have in the future. Just a thought.
post #8 of 15
flac ftw
post #9 of 15
Why not simply perform a test of your own and let us know what you found out?
After all only you have your set of ears, and gear.
post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
krmathis, I wouldn't be asking if I had access to the WAVs...

This is a very complex situation, I got my hands on 50 fabulous soundtracks, sadly in MP3, but I may be able to get their original WAV versions for quite an astronomic fee.

Thanks everyone for your comments, I think the difference would be very nominal as I don't think they are recorded with very hightech equipement and they pretend none have yet hear the difference between both versions. I'll stick with the MP3 versions for now.
post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrBenway View Post
Any lossy rip removes information from the file. Some people will hear a difference (or claim to,) while others won't be able to distinguish a difference. Point is, the only way to guarantee that you are getting everything on the CD is to not throw away anything from the original file. The vagaries of human hearing and psychology being what they are, there is simply no other way to assure a transparent rip.

Just my opinion. Disagreement welcomed, in fact encouraged. Just be polite, please!
While this is true, the CD itself is already lossy. It seems silly to whine over not having the data if data is already missing and you can't tell a difference.

My problem is that there's few HDD players that support lossless, and even then space on them is still at a premium as far as I'm concerned. It's not like we're willing to walk with a terabyte spanned on ten players on us at all times.
post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by B0b View Post
krmathis, I wouldn't be asking if I had access to the WAVs...
Just pick any audio CD, then rip once to WAV and encode to MP3.
Perform listening test...
post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shike View Post
While this is true, the CD itself is already lossy.
Are you sure about that? File compression -- lossy file compression -- is applied to CDs? That's a new one on me. Are you talking about bit-dithering?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shike View Post
It seems silly to whine over not having the data if data is already missing and you can't tell a difference.
First of all, CDs are not lossy. See above. Second, even if CDs were encoded with lossy file compression (they aren't,) further degrading an already degraded recording can hardly improve it. This is why -- as is common knowledge -- it is a bad idea to transcode files from one lossy format to another.
post #14 of 15
Aren't the DAT master tapes 24 bit 96khz? If so CD's are lossy because they have to be sampled down to red book standard.
post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by iriverdude View Post
Aren't the DAT master tapes 24 bit 96khz? If so CD's are lossy because they have to be sampled down to red book standard.
That's exactly what I'm getting at.

Then there's the argument that you're not even getting the full wave form compared to vinyl.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrBenway
First of all, CDs are not lossy. See above. Second, even if CDs were encoded with lossy file compression (they aren't,) further degrading an already degraded recording can hardly improve it. This is why -- as is common knowledge -- it is a bad idea to transcode files from one lossy format to another.
It depends on the algorithm and what's cut. The bitrate of CD (wav) is already so high that you don't have to worry about multiplying deficiencies. Regardless if you're going to whine about transparency you might as well spin vinyl, etc.
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