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Are lossless codecs impractical for me?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
Hey,

First, I just wanna say I love this forum. Such intriguing stuff. Ok so with that said, I kinda just wanted to shoot the breeze with anyone interested in this. When you factor in stuff like: the filesize increase, higher quality sound that may or may not be recognized, lesser-quality hardware, etc., is lossless something I should pursue? I want to get into that higher echelon of "listening" but I'm not sure.


-s
post #2 of 25
Well, only you can decide. But I certainly recommend you at least give it a try..
Encode some tracks you know well to both lossy and lossless, then perform a listening test to test if you can hear an audible difference. If you end up hearing a difference you then need to make up your mind if the increased file size weigh make it worth it.
post #3 of 25
You should always go lossless, if only for archiving purposes. Using lossless doesn't hurt sound in any way if you're using low quality equipment. If you can't hear the difference, at least you have peace of mind. Storage space is so cheap nowadays that that's hardly a valid reason for using anything less (~$100 for a 1TB harddrive; I guess it's still a sizable sum of money, but if you have a large collection you should invest in the HDD).

If you go with lossy formats now, later when you have better equipment you'll be kicking yourself for not just going to lossless and then having to rerip your whole collection again.

So IMO, if you can get the files in lossless, do it.
post #4 of 25
I find lossy handy if you want to pack plenty of tunes onto your ipod, especially if you're going on holidays. Generally though I rip using lossless as memory is cheap enough these days.
post #5 of 25
Since computer hard drives are so cheap and big now I assume you are talking about mp3 players. If you have a 100gb mp3 player the only real reason I can see that you'd want to compress the audio is if it has short battery life. But if you don't have or aren't in the market for such a big mp3 player just go 320kbps LAME. Given the high capacity of some mp3 players I think it's high time itunes and other music download sites had cd quality downloads.
post #6 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by squid+ View Post
If you go with lossy formats now, later when you have better equipment you'll be kicking yourself for not just going to lossless and then having to rerip your whole collection again.

So IMO, if you can get the files in lossless, do it.

^^^ +1 ^^^
post #7 of 25
Hard drives are big and cheap now (for desktop hard drives). HD space should no longer be an issue.

If you have a portable you may still want to put lossy files on the portable to fit more music on it. There is syncing software that will transcode lossless files to lossy on the fly when syncing to the portable. Getting lossy files on the portable is easy with the right software so that shouldn't be an issue.

Manage your desktop listening library as lossless. If you have a portable and want lossy then use syncing software that will transcode on the fly when syncing.

Some advantages of lossless that haven't been mentioned yet:
- Lossless encoding keeps any HDCD decoding info. So if you later get a DAC that does HDCD decoding you'll be able to take advantage of it.
- Lossless files are easier for software and hardware to play gapless. You'll be more likely to be able to get gapless playback if you use lossless.
- Transcoding from one lossless format to another is lossless. You lose no quality. If another lossless codec becomes the big thing you'll be able to convert. If you go FLAC now and then later get a Mac you'll be able to convert the FLAC to ALAC with no loss. Can't do the same with lossy.
post #8 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ham Sandwich View Post
Hard drives are big and cheap now (for desktop hard drives). HD space should no longer be an issue.
True, but not as much for flash-based DAPs. 64GB may sound a lot, but my iTouch becomes chock-full in seconds...
post #9 of 25
FLAC for archiving, 320k MP3 for portables...

Lossless and lossy serve different purposes. For me, 1000kbps isn't a practical bitrate for carting songs around in.
post #10 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by bcpk View Post
FLAC for archiving, 320k MP3 for portables...

Lossless and lossy serve different purposes. For me, 1000kbps isn't a practical bitrate for carting songs around in.
post #11 of 25
I'm lazy, I don't even sync music to my iPhone, I just listen to the lossless source transcoded on the fly with Simplify app. When I get to work I open J. River and do lossless 24/96 FLAC (some native most upsampled) over WAN with library server feature.
post #12 of 25
Thread Starter 
Hmm, I listened to lossy and lossless versions of songs and I can hear the difference in all of them, but the biggest difference happens with music that has distorted instruments that play a big role in the track, or tracks that have been mixed to modern post-prod specs--referring to the "battle for loudness" that imho plagues some music today.

I noticed a clear difference for artists like the Smashing Pumpkins, My Bloody Valentine or Lightning Bolt. But I could tolerate (and enjoy) the lossy versions of artists like Sufjan Stevens, Cat Power, or The Cardigans, and I think it has something to do with the post production approach of each and every LP.

Thoughts?
post #13 of 25
Lossy codecs are designed to maximize the "amount" and type of waveform that is perceived as musical to human beings. One of the important indicators used by zee germans who came up with mp3 was whether it could provide a faithful rendition of the human voice in songs like Suzanne Vega's Tom's Diner (the a capella). To their credit, that song sounds damn good even at 128kbps. Amplified instruments present a much more complex sound where the dissonance/distortion is often meant to enhance the perceived musicality. So humans like to rock and codecs don't. You could even say that if you only listen to mp3s you should restrict your listening to wussy acoustic folk like Sufjan, but that would be downright cynical and elitist

Feel pressured to make the switch yet?

If storage space and limited playback quality are your considerations, just use lame and don't feel guilty about it.
post #14 of 25
Thread Starter 
Hehe, I don't like Sufjan much either, so that would be torture.
post #15 of 25
Philistines.
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