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MP3 Debate: 320CBR vs V0 - Page 4

post #46 of 59

Nice to see some more palpable things about how lossless really has no comparison. Btw, any new improvements on the codec itself? I mean if higher compression can be achieved, and if that is the case, how much more would the burden be to decode it on the fly.


What about some background on how compressed formats came to the point they are right now?

post #47 of 59

With MP3 encoding, there is sometimes a loss of soundstage depth and air, making the music seem more upfront when it is originally more spacious and laid-back.  I've also noticed with a couple of albums a loss of ambiance and cues(?) in the music resulting in a change of the music's mood and atmosphere or screwing up of harmonics, especially in the treble. 

Then there's the occasional dynamic compression for some tracks.  Lastly, sometimes artifacts creep in anyway even if you are using cbr 320 or vbr -v0.  I haven't bothered to fully investigate the pattern of the artifacts, but they seem to occur more with higher frequencies and strong impacts, though I think I heard artifacts in a couple of tracks that contradict this observation.


Well, these are all small differences, but they stack up, at least with my desktop rig, and for portable use MP3 vbr -v0 and -v1 are a-okay and quite compact.  =]

post #48 of 59


Originally Posted by keanex View Post

A properly recorded album won't clip in mp3.


Hah, you wish!

post #49 of 59

No love for ogg confused.gif Far superior to mp3, when talking solely about lossy formats, despite not being supported by apple products.

post #50 of 59

Assuming LAME as an encoder, there are a few instances where 320 audibly artifacts and V0 does not, and there are even rarely times when both V0 and 320 artifact but V2 does not. But 320kbps will be better the vast majority of the time.

post #51 of 59

-V0 all the way.  The LAME devs have practically made a living tuning vbr settings, so I would say they are more tested to prevent issues than the cbr settings.  Not that it likely matters - probably 90% of all humans could never hear a difference between an mp3 at that bitrate and lossless.  I can't even manage -V5 let alone even getting close to the bitrates around -V0.

post #52 of 59

for the no difference between flac and mp3 brigade, i will/can ABX .flac from .mp3 anytime, anyplace, anywhere.  yay mr T!


for mp3, i would use VBR as i'd only use mp3 when space is a concern.  i really doubt i could abx VBR from 320.

post #53 of 59
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by googleborg View Post

for the no difference between flac and mp3 brigade, i will/can ABX .flac from .mp3 anytime, anyplace, anywhere.  yay mr T!


for mp3, i would use VBR as i'd only use mp3 when space is a concern.  i really doubt i could abx VBR from 320.

I would love to see this.

post #54 of 59
Originally Posted by keanex View Post

I would love to see this.

Yeah, me too. The last time I tested I managed to root out V1 70% of the time on my "killer sample" (the Mellotron 8 Choir part in the middle of "Dancing With The Moonlit Knight"), but I dropped to 50% (or, in other words, complete guessing) for V0. The AAC format fared a lot better, with my transparency point being 192kbps VBR. I use 256kbps AAC for everything now--overkill, but still smaller than V0.

I came down off my high horse after this test, and I'm quite happy. I can compress my music in peace without having to worry that I'm missing anything I'll ever notice. I don't deny that perhaps there are some people who can reliably discern between a known "killer sample" and lossless, but I always like to see proof, as I have extraordinarily perceptive hearing and I sure can't.
post #55 of 59

^ Me too.

post #56 of 59
Thread Starter 

I would use AAC, as it is slightly better than LAME currently, but that would require me to download in FLAC and then transcode to AAC as opposed to just downloading V0 already transcoded from the FLAC. I do always rip in FLAC though following strict standards.

post #57 of 59

Lossless may be debatable for listening quality compared to the better compression algorithms, but as this and so many other threads demonstrate it is clearly better for archiving. As has already been pointed out, you can convert from FLAC/ALAC to any compression protocol without any loss in quality.

post #58 of 59

Between AAC, MP3 and FLAC I often find some general subtle differences that is heard more clearly depending on the recording and genre etc but I find AAC has the "warmest/smoothest/fulliest" with the most forward vocals sound of them all and MP3 somewhere in-between and FLAC often has a slightly wider soundstage and is the "coldest" sounding of those but has the best clarity usually. I generally prefer a warmer sound as to me it sounds more realistic/speaker like (cuz I think aprox 50% of headphones are too cold/bright/analytical sounding compared to IRL) so I often tend to prefer AAC 256kbps when it comes to sound quality but since it's the least popular format of the 3 that makes me not using it too often.

Edited by RPGWiZaRD - 3/20/11 at 5:54am
post #59 of 59

Old thread, but I just stumbled across it.


Look, the fact of the matter is that the output (even outside of high/low frequency ranges) is not bit-identical between lossy and uncompressed audio. Now, will anyone notice those differences? That isn't as simple to answer as "yes" or "no" - it depends entirely on the hearing of the person in question, but more than that (and I've seen nobody in this thread mention this), it depends on your equipment.


If you have a very high quality audio pathway (high quality DAC/AMP) running to a very revealing pair of high-quality headphones like Etymotic ER4Ps, k701s, etc then you will definitely notice differences between 320/v0 and FLAC. Anyone who doesn't have major hearing loss and has spent a lot of time with a pair of ER4s would have to testify to this. I've done a lot of ABX testing personally with such a setup. I can't always tell with all songs, but normally FLAC has a warmer, smoother characteristic to its sound while the MP3s come across as harsher. It depends on the song, how it was originally mastered (poorly mastered music sounds bad enough to begin with that it's harder to tell .. though sometimes mp3 compression added to an already almost-intolerable recording pushes it past the point of sibilance with revealing headphones), etc. Sometimes mp3 sounds distinctly, flagrantly bad on revealing headphones, while sometimes it's much more subtle. It's usually not a blatant difference, though, and with less revealing headphones I'm more hard-pressed to notice a difference. But I've spent enough time listening with headphones like the ER4Ps that I know that the sound is different - it's just harder to pick out the difference with headphones that are less revealing. Heck, even cheap headphones are still going to output a more authentic sound from a FLAC source... they just do a poor enough job representing sound in general that the minor differences between mp3 and flac will be lost in all the other distortion that's occurring.


When you're getting to the point that you're spending significant amounts of money to improve your listening setup, the minute differences in the sound between MP3 and FLAC suddenly become significant. After all, more storage is dirt cheap, while other things you might do to try to improve sound even marginally can sometimes cost thousands of dollars. Why would you forgo even the occasional, minor, benefit to your sound quality when you can easily have guarantee bit-perfect output from FLAC?


In short, if you don't have a high-end listening setup (or possibly for portable listening) then sure, use v0/320 mp3s - the difference between them and flac will be insignificant enough that it won't really matter. If you have a high-end setup, there's still little difference, but there's enough that it's foolish to spend big bucks on minor upgrades when you have one that's easily addressed like mp3 vs flac.

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