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320 kbps vs FLAC?

post #1 of 51
Thread Starter 
Which one provides better sound quality?
post #2 of 51
I can't tell the difference using the ms1 directly from laptop :P
I have been told human ear can't detect the difference but some claim they can so I can't really tell.
post #3 of 51
Well in theory of course FLAC since it is uncompressed, but in practice I bet I would fail every blind test, even though sometimes I beleive I hear a difference.

Most people I know who listen critically say they can't hear the difference between a well-ripped 320 MP3 and uncompressed.

But watch out, here comes the fire storm of posts ... we've have a hundred threads and thousands of posts on this (btw OP, I try to always use "Search" here before asking a question, this really has been covered).
post #4 of 51
Seriously op........this subject has been beaten to death. I think the previous poster is right, search
post #5 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by the search never ends View Post
Seriously op........search
Great advice from a member with your screen name, which I love!
post #6 of 51
This topic has indeed been beaten to death, but my $.02:

320kb/s MP3 will probably be indistinguishable from FLAC, but FLAC is more portable (and thus more suitable for archival purposes). I use ~192kb/s VBR OGG in my portable setup, which allows me to save space in the portable player, and I consider a reasonable tradeoff. But transcoding from 320kb/s MP3 to -q6 ogg would produce an ogg of lower quality than if I'd ripped it straight form the CD (which I really don't want to rip twice, and I might not have with me, or might be scratched all to oblivion). However, transcoding from FLAC is the same as from a CD, since FLAC is lossless.
post #7 of 51
see here, etc
post #8 of 51
For all we know you may not be able to hear an audible difference between them.
But in regards of audio data FLAC have an edge on 320kbps, since 320kbps imply that you a lossy codec/encoder targeting a specific bitrate. While FLAC is lossless.
post #9 of 51
I think LAME VBR at highest quality is indistinguishable from LAME 320 CBR is indistinguishable from FLAC.

That's just by my ear.

That said, I am thinking about ripping a mirror FLAC library for home use for a few reasons - the port-ability mentioned above / in case I loose CDs or they get scratched having a back up / and just peace of mind that the sound can't be better - even if I personally can't hear the difference myself, a guest at my house might be able to for example.
post #10 of 51



post #11 of 51
I can't speak for everyone and different hardware configurations but I can confidently tell you I can tell the difference some of the time. It's actually very easily to tell once you know what to listen for (snares, cymbals and other short sounds). I did an ABX test with multiple sound clips with different bit rates as well as a flac using my iMac and HD 650's and for the ones where a difference at 320 vs flac was clearly heard I was blazing through them without even doubting it.

If you're curious to read my whole experiment go to my site here:
Vel's Blog - ABX of Lossless versus MP3 - Part 3 - Results and_Discussion

The two posts before that are an introduction and methods if you're curious about how lossless vs lossy work and how I did the experiment.

Hope that helps!
post #12 of 51
I think it probably depends on the physical state of your ear drums; most people have some small amount of damage to their hearing. Those who have little or none can tell the difference, those with more can't.

I've heard of blind testing on this that shows less than 10% of people can hear the difference, so I don't feel bad that I can't.

I don't think this affects the appreciation of music too much; very few people have 20:20 vision, but that doesn't mean only those who do can appreciate a great painting.
post #13 of 51
FLAC but it depends on how good your equipment is. If your equipment isn't up to par you won't be able to discern the differences.
post #14 of 51
^Saw people listening to ALAC on a Nano with iBuds. Hey, not bad.
post #15 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vel View Post
I can't speak for everyone and different hardware configurations but I can confidently tell you I can tell the difference some of the time. It's actually very easily to tell once you know what to listen for (snares, cymbals and other short sounds). I did an ABX test with multiple sound clips with different bit rates as well as a flac using my iMac and HD 650's and for the ones where a difference at 320 vs flac was clearly heard I was blazing through them without even doubting it.
Vel, thanks for posting that study. It was really interesting and I appreciate you kicking the real deal with how your findings varied between sample selection, bitrates, etc., not to mention referencing the P values for each test.

Do you think the results would be different were you to re-perform the test with LAME 3.98 or AAC at higher or equivalent bitrates? I know that the MP3 encoders packaged with iTunes have been left to rot a bit since AAC came on the scene back in 2003, but it's very possible that using a different encoder wouldn't provide any noticible improvements at higher bit rates.
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