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What is the minimum limit of equipment to clearly distinguish FLAC and 320k MP3 (or AAC)?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Is there such a thing? On my iPod Classic 160GB (7th Gen.), if I listen real hard with my DT880-32 (2005) amped by a HeadRoom Portable Micro (of course the Pod is lined-out) I know that in one rock song, at one specific point, a cymbal crash sounds ever so slightly brighter on an ALAC file than a 320k MP3 file (both were converted from one same FLAC).
But that's not clearly, that's listening real hard to the point that I am no longer enjoying the music, it's more like sticking my hand in a stack of needles to find one specific needle without first knowing what this specific needle is (you should probably try that).
So using just what kind of equipment can you clearly, easily, effortlessly, get-it-right-the-first-time-ly distinguish FLAC (lossless) and 320k MP3 (high quality lossy)?
Or am I beating a dead horse?
post #2 of 10
http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php? is the better place for credible codec testing info - almost certainly several here will be along claiming to "easily" resolve these

there are some "killer samples" that stress particular codecs and may be audible to many people, apparently even at 320K - but they are rare cuts

training to recognize artifacts also increases resolution - some are truly gifted biologically/neurologically too

but I see claims ~ >90% of music is going to be transparent to untrained listeners at bit rates a step or two above 128K for current codecs with several performing better than mp3

psychoacoustic compressed music without codec stressing waveforms should be transparent to even gifted, trained listeners, by 320k certainly



I expect common sound reproduction systems, even cheap ones, to have most defects “orthogonal” to what psychoacoustic codecs are doing and other than noise floor “audiophile” qualities shouldn’t make a large difference in hearing codec errors
post #3 of 10
Boy there is a loaded question.
post #4 of 10
Superhuman hearing. You can't buy the ability to hear the difference between lossless and a format that high.

Also, it's not that low quality equipment won't reproduce artifacts in a bad encoding, it's that low quality equipment will create it's own artifacts in addition to your bad file. But 320 kb/s is by no means flawed, other than that it's excessive and you should be seeing if you can even tell the difference between 192 kb/s and flac.
post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3602 View Post
So using just what kind of equipment can you clearly, easily, effortlessly, get-it-right-the-first-time-ly distinguish FLAC (lossless) and 320k MP3 (high quality lossy)?
About 400 ears all hooked up together with sheeps intestine. It has to be sheep. Cow intestine does NOT work so don't even bother.
post #6 of 10
Oh, thats a tough question. Or perhaps even one not having a clear answer.
Cause the listeners ability makes a lot of difference, hence a minimum limit of equipment for one person may be way over the top or not even "there" for a different person.
post #7 of 10
My question is, shouldn't listening to the music be more important then deciphering the differences between two codecs?
post #8 of 10
There's plenty of that in all the non-SoundScience forums.
post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chef View Post
Superhuman hearing. You can't buy the ability to hear the difference between lossless and a format that high.

Also, it's not that low quality equipment won't reproduce artifacts in a bad encoding, it's that low quality equipment will create it's own artifacts in addition to your bad file. But 320 kb/s is by no means flawed, other than that it's excessive and you should be seeing if you can even tell the difference between 192 kb/s and flac.
While my ears are quite big, they aren't supernatural

I can ABX it in Foobar 98% accurately (AAC vs FLAC) with an HD595. I've tried it with DSotM and Scarlatti by Pogorelich. It's quite tiresome. Not because it's that hard, but because it is very tedious. The mistake I made made was mostly because of a lack of concentration.

It's probably easier during relaxed listening, but it'd take too long for your memory to cooperate.

So the claim that there's no difference is false, at least in my experience. Considering how cheap storage space is nowadays, I'd say FLAC is an upgrade with great value/$$$.
post #10 of 10
What you need?
Equipment that can reproduce sound up to 20 kHz and ears that can distinguish maybe 1 dB difference in the high frequency range (around 19 kHz).

Or a killer sample.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Slash47 View Post
I can ABX it in Foobar 98% accurately (AAC vs FLAC) with an HD595.
Great, but nobody cares. This is about 320 kbit/s mp3's and not aac's with unspecified bitrate. t_t


Quote:
Originally Posted by JDGAFFLIN View Post
My question is, shouldn't listening to the music be more important then deciphering the differences between two codecs?
Replace "codecs" with cables, amps, dacs ... you get the idea.
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