Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Computer Audio › Why can I tell no difference between AAC 256kbps and Lossless?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Why can I tell no difference between AAC 256kbps and Lossless?

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 
Let alone 256 and 320. Is it because my current set-up doesn't allow ALAC to be reproduced correctly? I just have an iPod Classic and M-Audio Studiophile Q40's by the way. Would an amp allow me to tell a difference?
post #2 of 39
Several aspects I assume:
* Your ability to hear artifacts, ..
* The music complexity.
* The gear you use to reproduce the music.
* The lossy encoder used for the AAC files. Different encoders do not make identical result.
* Tested blind? If not, then your set of mind makes a difference as well.
post #3 of 39
Despite vast claims in being able to hear huge differences between 320kbps and loss-less formats - few people can, because the variances in quality of recording and mastering are sometimes almost as large as people's music collections.

And I think this is the biggest variable when you have some good gear with which to listen. Some of my music just isn't well mastered, so it becomes a weak audio link I can't do anything about.

For example, I listened to the Chesky CD a little while back. This contains CD critical listening tutorials, with samples of very well recorded music as accompanying examples of Sound-stage, depth, dynamic range etc.

THe tutor tell you what to listen for, and I did this comparing the loss less samples with rips of these I'd done at 224kbps. The differences were so minimal, and restricted to some tiny details in the upper ranges, that I'd never miss them if I wasn't actually listening for it. And listening for it wasn't worth it.

So like me, you could just be happy with ripping your CDs to 224 or 256 and get more on your disk, and make it easier to load up your portable player.
post #4 of 39
Modern lossy compressions are pretty good at maintaining high sound quality, so its quite normal not to hear the difference, especially in portable/car audio. At high bitrates the differences are much smaller than what some audiophiles "believe" in. IMHO, the biggest factor in sound quality is recording and mastering quality, not the format its in. On the other side, since the hard drive storage is so cheap now, there is no reason to compress music if you're using a computer/NAS.
post #5 of 39
Can you difference with AAC 128? Heck, can you even hear difference with Lame 128abr/vbr mp3? Do an ABX blind test instead of wild guesses. And make sure that the lossy files are not clipping, by using replaygain for example, because that can cause a large difference.
post #6 of 39
Few people can when they're listening to music. If they're listening to a 3-second passage, over and over again, listening for artifacts and weaknesses, maybe...maybe they can hear it.

The issue is neither your hearing or the quality of your equipment. The issue is the quality of hyperbole on internet audiophile boards.

P
post #7 of 39
Pretty obvious on a Hi-Fi, if you can't hear a difference it's down to quality of recording and your equipment. I wiped all mp3's a while ago from my server for this reason. Whenever I had library on shuffle I could tell when a MP3 file was playing due to artificial sound quality.
post #8 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by iriverdude View Post
Pretty obvious on a Hi-Fi, if you can't hear a difference it's down to quality of recording and your equipment. I wiped all mp3's a while ago from my server for this reason. Whenever I had library on shuffle I could tell when a MP3 file was playing due to artificial sound quality.
I'd bet good money against your ability to hear 256kbps on shuffle when you don't know which are which. I'd bet great money against your ability to hear 320. But to the OP -- your own experience is all that matters.

P
post #9 of 39
I've done blind testing to two other people, they both picked out mp3 as the worst soun ding of the lot (obviously didn't tell them which is playing and in what order) With 50% correct ogg/flac comparison. I've tried 320kps mp3 and I just don't like what it does to the sound. On floorstander speakers you can tell the difference on the bass, really boomy with mp3. With high frequency cymbals just don't sound right like when you use a EQ DSP mode.
post #10 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by iriverdude View Post
I've done blind testing to two other people, they both picked out mp3 as the worst soun ding of the lot (obviously didn't tell them which is playing and in what order) With 50% correct ogg/flac comparison. I've tried 320kps mp3 and I just don't like what it does to the sound. On floorstander speakers you can tell the difference on the bass, really boomy with mp3. With high frequency cymbals just don't sound right like when you use a EQ DSP mode.
I've never heard of the deficiencies of compressed audio manifesting themselves as boomy bass before; I've also never known the ability to hear them having anything to do with floor-standing speakers. But we all hear what we hear, I suppose. I don't listen to MP3s, but to Apple's AAC files. They are better, but I doubt they make that much difference. Cymbals sound like cymbals. Bass is tight and well controlled. My reference is 30 years of playing live music with the cymbals just a few feet away.

P
post #11 of 39
Mp3 cuts off low frequency so it's obvious when you hear it, rather than sounding like flac/cd it converts my sound system to something like a aiwa midi system, it just becomes all bloaty and one noted. I didn't need to spend much time A/B'ing between ogg and mp3 (at identical vbr bitrates to determine which sound best) I'm not the only one who's noticed it. You do need a fairly moderate system though, I don't think you'll notice it on a av amplifier and budget speakers. You will once you go into mid end Hi-Fi.

128kps mp3 just sounds horrid.

Quote:
My reference is 30 years of playing live music with the cymbals just a few feet away.
Gone deaf?
post #12 of 39
The real reason to move from lossy format to lossless is for archival purposes not so much audio quality. Lossless allows you the freedom to convert your music to any format you need without suffering generation loss. So if you need mp3 for your portable you can easily convert from the lossless files. If you later decide that you would rather use FLAC over ALAC, no problem one script and everything is converted.
post #13 of 39
I've been seriously considering converting my FLAC files to AAC for use on my Sansa. What are you using for encoding?
post #14 of 39
I used dbPoweramp to convert music files on my PC.
Just make sure you keep the FLACs as a backup.
post #15 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurotetsu View Post
I've been seriously considering converting my FLAC files to AAC for use on my Sansa. What are you using for encoding?
well you have several options for programs to do this. Many media apps will handle it for you such as mediamonkey, songbird (i think), and winamp. Also I have used dbpoweramp for this task too. Also if you are handy with scripting you can make your own script to do it pretty easily. I personally have only converted to ALAC and mp3, not AAC. For ALAC I used dbpoweramp, mp3 I used a custom perl script I wrote.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Computer Audio
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Computer Audio › Why can I tell no difference between AAC 256kbps and Lossless?