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Why can I tell no difference between AAC 256kbps and Lossless? - Page 3

post #31 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by ear8dmg View Post

I've been putting up with the old mp3s for too long now. I should just be ruthless and either delete or archive them and get re-ripping my CDs. It's really grating when a bad rip comes up.
i have the same tots.. but one fine day.. i decided i have had enuf and deleted them.. Never missed them though :P
post #32 of 39
Many DAP's today uses a Sigmatel chip, well Sansa actually uses AMS chips in clip and fuze to convert digital signal to an analog signal. These chips are fairly cheap and are basically "tuned" to be optimized to play files around 192, so files with higher bitrates or flac will sound the same played through these chips.
The chips can basically not "squezze" more quality out of the files than what they do with a 192-216 kbps file.
The reason why there is more or less sound difference between different brand of DAP's is mainly because of different internal circuits and also how they eq. in their software.
If a DAP has a seperate internal amplifier this will of course also affect the sound output.
A D/A converter with higher quality + an equal decent amp and heaphones will to most ears be able reveal the difference between a 192 kbps and a flac file. But the price will also easily be more than fivefold the price of most DAP.
post #33 of 39
another vote for gear...

i could easily hear the difference between <192kbps and flac now

it was a lot harder to tell when i first got into head-fi and had worse gear
post #34 of 39
Not surprised, many people can't. many people can't tell 128 from lossless.
post #35 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by junkimchi View Post
its gotta be the gear. 128kbps, lossless, or even a $10k vinyl setup would probably all sound somewhat the same if you're listening through iPod earphones or something.
I find low-bitrate files easy to spot even with the iPod headphones. Compression artifacts will obviously be more prominent in more forward-sounding headphones, because lossy compression has a greater effect on the higher frequencies. But I remember when MP3's first got big in the late 90's, and I was listening through a fairly crappy 2.1 computer speaker system (the Altec Lansing ACS-66i, if I remember correctly- Google confirmed! Good recall!), yet I could easily tell the difference between a 160 and a 320 MP3. My friends thought I was crazy.

I do have above-average high-frequency hearing- my right ear tops out around 24khz, while my left ear hears up to around 23khz. This despite years of trombones blaring into my head in wind ensembles and jazz bands. Lucky, I guess. Helps remind me to turn the lights off.

Anyway, I digress. Point is, you don't need top-shelf equipment to hear compression artifacts, other than the three pieces you were born with- your ears and your brain.

Quote:
Originally Posted by junkimchi View Post
I also suspect that some types of music respond better to lossy formats such as electronic music. Real instrument reproduction such as cymbals in particular seem to go down the drain with lossy formats but electronic sounds seem to stay somewhat decent sounding even when going lower in kbps.
Spot on. Digitally synthesized sounds don't produce any harmonics, as they don't exist as vibrations until played through a speaker. However, harmonics are an integral part of the timbre of acoustic instruments. Cymbals produce a ****-ton of harmonics going way up the frequency spectrum, which is why they are notorious for sounding washy on compressed media.

Which isn't to say that all digitally synthesized music sounds fine compressed. It depends on the sounds used. I have a Masonic album at 192 AAC that sounds distinctly washy in parts. It's just that acoustically-produced sounds are more likely to show compression artifacts. But a pure sine wave could be compressed to 56 MP3 without any difference.

Quote:
Originally Posted by junkimchi View Post
Not sure but this probably shows within the varying FLAC kbps in different genres of music.
The varying bitrates of lossless compression schemes has to do with amplitude. I use Apple Lossless, but the various lossless schemes function in the same manner. Tracks that are largely low-amplitude (quiet) will produce a lower bitrate, while tracks that are loud most of the time will produce a higher bitrate. For example, in my library, System of a Down's Steal This Album!, which is loud as hell fairly constantly, has bitrates over 1000 kbps for all but one track. My album of Konstantin Scherbakov playing Shostakovitch, which is awesome but really, really quiet, has bitrates ranging from 425 kbps all the way down to 211(!) kbps.

You see variations in lossless bitrates between genres due to a.) the well-known "Loudness War", and b.) the compression fetish that has gotten simply out of control in popular music. Some genres (like "classical" and some electronic) make musical use of a wide dynamic range (HERESY!), and therefore are not crazy-compressed and amped as all ****.

Anyway, in response to the original question, you can't hear the difference between 256 AAC and ALE because 256 AAC sounds pretty damn good for whatever music you're listening to, or you don't listen hard enough to the subtle timbral differences (which is not a slight against you at all, it doesn't mean **** about you or your ears).

I do hear a difference, but mainly in large acoustic ensembles or heavy counterpoint, or on really airy recordings. It doesn't bother me enough to not purchase certain albums on iTMS. On some tracks I can't tell a difference without listening specifically for it, which would be a stupid hobby.
post #36 of 39
could be your ears too. But with a decent calm environment, and putting your heart into listneing your music and really focusing into it. The jump from 256 to lossless should be able to spot. If you have bad hearing, then that's really too bad. I refuse to listen to anything under 256 as i can tell the difference right away and it's really hard to listen to semi-perfect music...
post #37 of 39
[QUOTE=DSGant;6032500]I find low-bitrate files easy to spot even with the

I do have above-average high-frequency hearing- my right ear tops out around 24khz, while my left ear hears up to around 23khz. This despite years of trombones blaring into my head in wind ensembles and jazz bands. Lucky, I guess. Helps remind me to turn the lights off.

QUOTE]

That's quite amazing, I'm really impressed. That's def. far above average and would certainly be a painfull experience to some ears.
post #38 of 39
I can usually tell from transients and sparkle, as well as clarity of singing like hearing them lick their lips.
post #39 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phelonious Ponk View Post

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

 

With the following set up... I could discern almost no difference between AAC files at 320 b/s, vs ALAC files, vs WAV files - though, I thought possibly the shimmer of the cymbals were slightly less "shimmery," or real sounding, and the soundstage seemed a wee bit smaller and less airy.  But... I really had to focus on each aspect of the sound quality... which requires a lot of effort, which most people would never make.  I don't know whether I could have heard the difference in a totally "blind test," or not... but... I think I could have... IF... I knew what aspects of the sound to focus on.  

 

Despite the fact that I could hear so little difference, I still decided to use the ALAC file format to store the files... because... my better systems (or future systems) might make a bigger difference.  I"ll just buy more storage space, if I need it to store more files.  

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/570809/grado-ps500s-new-grados/943#post_8523766

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