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People rate 192kbps mp3 higher than FLAC in test

post #1 of 44
Thread Starter 
Sounds Good To Me - TrustedReviews - TrustedReviews

Quote:
We won't pretend that we took the most scientifically rigorous approach or brought out an armoury of test equipment to check and compare waveforms. Instead, we ripped four tracks from CD to FLAC using DBPowerAmp CD Ripper, then used the freeware WavePad editor to create thirty-second excerpts from those files for testing purposes. We then used DBPowerAmp converter to make two MP3 encodes of those tracks, one at a constant bit rate (CBR) of 192kbps, and one at 320kbps. The LAME encoder, widely considered the best for high-bit rate MP3, was selected for encoding duties.
Quote:
Our test tracks went onto an Asus notebook. The kind chaps at hifi headphones had provided us with an iBasso D3 Python USB DAC and headphone amplifier - similar to the iBasso D2 we reviewed earlier in the year, but with enhanced sound quality and a little more oomph in the output stages. We used this to provide the audio output. Into the D3 we plugged a pair of BeyerDynamic DT770 Pro headphones
Quote:
We knew that discerning 320kbps MP3 files from lossless FLAC files was going to be hard, but we expected that, with decent listening equipment and a couple of hearings, most of the test subjects would be able to tell a 192kbps MP3 from the FLAC original. Shockingly, this wasn't so. In the tests where we played 320kbps files against FLACs the number of people who chose correctly and incorrectly were equal. In the tests where we played 192kbps files against FLACs, more of our subjects actually went for the lower-quality file.
post #2 of 44
Another mp3 vs FLAC thread?... Oh boy.
post #3 of 44
Hey wow, they said something that hydrogenaudio have been saying for years.

Boring.
post #4 of 44
Thread Starter 
hey... dont kill the messenger. The article just hit Slashdot, so there
post #5 of 44
TBH this isn't surprising at all. I think I can tell the difference. On pretty much any non lossless format I can hear scratching.
post #6 of 44
How is this in any way surprising given the number of test subjects and the experiment protocol?
post #7 of 44
Sure they rated it higher. But the question is what is superior? Even they admit that a 320 lossy is compressed and missing the detail that lossless has. Using even common sense, the full uncut version is better. They just can't tell the difference or care to tell the difference. Oh well. Do I care? Not really. I will continue to use FLAC and ALAC. Oh, and WAV.
post #8 of 44
Better quality audio tracks can expose poor equipment (earphones,speakers,amps etc) where the 192kbps rip presents an easier on the ear rendition.
post #9 of 44
Every single one of these mp3 vs flac or 192kbps vs 320kbps tests uses the WRONG music in their tests. The hit mp3 takes being lossy is most heavily felt in the extended treble. The music in this test has very very little high treble. It is all subdued, smoothed, melancholy music that doesn't even begin to test the format it's encoded in.

Radiohead There There - Virtually no highs at all until the song is nearly over then you have some attenuated cymbals that are clearly very much background fill.

Maxwell Ascension - Smooth jazzy R+B using synthesizers... I mean... come on?

Yumeji's Theme - Orchestra wide pizzicato, violin seemingly playing sul G/D. This won't reveal anything.

Massive Attack - This was the only song with much of any real highs with some decently forward cymbals, but even then the song is smoothed for effect.

There was another recent thread linking a test I took merely 1 sample between 192 and 320 and it was a smooth jazz song. I ended up picking the 192, but they sounded identical because I'd be willing to bet there is no difference because there isn't any lost information in a song with no extended treble.

Throw in some well mic'd acoustic guitar, forward cymbals along with mezzo soprano female vocals and it'll be night and day.

I'm thinking these people making the tests are using tracks like these on purpose to forward a controversial result to get press attention.
post #10 of 44
Preferring the sound of an MP3 file over FLAC is fine.
That does not say there are no audible difference though, which an ABX test could have picked up..
post #11 of 44
All I can say is to all those who raise their nose and wave their posh hands to an mp3 file, you need to reconsider your attitude.

FLAC is superior, no question about it. For the vast majority of Head Fi'ers, this is not night and day difference.
post #12 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by MomijiTMO View Post
All I can say is to all those who raise their nose and wave their posh hands to an mp3 file, you need to reconsider your attitude.

FLAC is superior, no question about it. For the vast majority of Head Fi'ers, this is not night and day difference.

I agree, for portable use 192 is very hard to ABX against lossless. However when i play 192 through my hifi it is much easier to spot, mostly there is a big change in the imaging and dynamics.
post #13 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by MomijiTMO View Post
All I can say is to all those who raise their nose and wave their posh hands to an mp3 file, you need to reconsider your attitude.

FLAC is superior, no question about it. For the vast majority of Head Fi'ers, this is not night and day difference.
If you can't hear the differences between mp3 and lossless, your system isn't revealing enough. Headphones aren't that revealing, do you have a Hi-Fi with speakers that have a decent frequency response?
post #14 of 44
they used the dt770 which explains why the slightly watered down 192 might be better sounding to a lot of people
post #15 of 44
How many times have we all heard or participated in the same argument? lol
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