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The "golden ear" (Questions)

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Hello all, I was curious about the fact that for those who claim to have the "golden ear", where can i find out what to listen for in determining basically how to tell the difference between a 128kbps and a 256kbps mp3 file? if any of you all know where to get books on the subject that would be greatly apreciated. Or if you have any tips on the matter, if you would contribute.

hortoholic
post #2 of 26
The best person to answer that question would be "jj," the man (James Johnston) who invented the "MP3" algorithm.

He's a regular poster over on the Stereophile forums and his moniker there is "j_j"

k
post #3 of 26
I usually pick out the difference in the highs - cymbals especially sound different depending on the bitrate.
post #4 of 26
Try acoustic or classical music. There is a much greater depth of detail in real instruments than electronically produced sounds, and so differences in quality are much more apparent. If you want a more noticeable difference, you might want to compare 128 to 320 or lossless audio as well.
post #5 of 26
I hear lots of clipping in heavy section, and lots of distortion in the highs. Like UE said, cymbals are a dead-giveaway.
post #6 of 26
I hear distortion, muddiness, like the music's being played behind a waterfall. It was explained to me using a sound wave as an image. Clipping is where the top of the wave gets clipped off and the bottom gets clipped off. I'm a low bit rate snob. I have to have at least 320kbps. Anything less is unacceptable. I can hear it plain as day. As my example supports you'll hear it in the highs and the lows.
post #7 of 26
poke around Hydrogenaudio Listening Tests - Hydrogenaudio Knowledgebase forums/reference pages

I remember one paper on MP3'Tech - www.mp3-tech.org ?? that suggested some "Golden Ears" really have damaged hearing in conventional audiology tests and appear to be sensitive to or searching for systems that work best with their individual hearing deficits
post #8 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Erik View Post
I usually pick out the difference in the highs - cymbals especially sound different depending on the bitrate.
This. It's the only thing I typically look for when A/Bing different bit rates. I find mids too busy to keep track off.
post #9 of 26
Cymbals are the dead give away usually. Sustained piano notes are also a give away. Quick transient peaks like drum sticks hitting the the side of the drum also change depending on the bit rate.
post #10 of 26
Thread Starter 
Ok, ill try to do some comparison tests and really concentrate on hearing the differences. Thank all for the tips.
post #11 of 26
And don't be afraid to admit it when you can't detect a difference, LAME encoded MP3 done properly with a -v setting giving ~128 k is going to be indistinguishable from ~256 k on the majority of music. You'll probably need to track down known problem samples where you know there is a difference to hear. Hydrogen Audio again is the place for that.
post #12 of 26
I dont actually know anyone who personally claims to have "golden ears". This is usually a derogatory label (of late) given by an auditorial non believer.
One could maybe argue that such a thing exists given that some musicians have "perfect pitch" and others do not.
But I would argue that, aside from obvious hearing losses in the frequency range, having the ability to hear minute detail is really a matter of practice/experience.
So I would suggest that you first use musical material that you are MOST familiar with. This will give you the best chance at hearing differences.

What has been said above will also help. Ie. Cymbals and the sustain of a piano.

But I would be careful about "concentrating" too hard. There is a physiological basis for the idea that the more ridgid a body is, (Ie. under intense concentration) the less it is perceiving of outside influences.
I would suggest relaxing and let the music come to you. Dont listen for the sake of listening. Listen and enjoy the music.
This always works best for me. You may be suprised at how much more you "hear" when not trying to. (so to speak.)
post #13 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Champ10 View Post
But I would be careful about "concentrating" too hard. There is a physiological basis for the idea that the more ridgid a body is, (Ie. under intense concentration) the less it is perceiving of outside influences.
I would suggest relaxing and let the music come to you. Dont listen for the sake of listening. Listen and enjoy the music.
This always works best for me. You may be suprised at how much more you "hear" when not trying to. (so to speak.)
Well said!

That's been my experience as well.

The best example being song lyrics.

I'll hear something in some song and say "What the hell are they saying?"

Invariably, the more I focus on trying to suss it out, the more intelligible it seems to be.

Then, some time later, I'll hear the song again, often after having heard it a hundred times previously, and suddenly the lyric I couldn't understand previously just pops right out, just as clearly as if it were being spoken by someone standing right next to me.

It's almost scary at time.

k
post #14 of 26
i find it in the harshness in the highs and the airiness in between the instruments.
post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Koyaan I. Sqatsi View Post
Well said!

That's been my experience as well.

The best example being song lyrics.

I'll hear something in some song and say "What the hell are they saying?"

Invariably, the more I focus on trying to suss it out, the more intelligible it seems to be.

Then, some time later, I'll hear the song again, often after having heard it a hundred times previously, and suddenly the lyric I couldn't understand previously just pops right out, just as clearly as if it were being spoken by someone standing right next to me.

It's almost scary at time.

k
I've noticed that too with vocals. But even moreso as you go down the upgrade path. The better the gear, the more center stage becomes transparent and falls into focus. And just when you think it can't be anymore transparent, the (usually) next, better piece of gear will always prove you wrong.
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