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Confessions of a failing audiophile - Page 5

post #61 of 168

From the CK100 I can hear differences between 128 and 192, 192 and 320, 320 and flac. But at 320 Kbps many tracks I cant hear difference between these and Flac. Most notable are 192-320 differences.

post #62 of 168
Didn't read all the comments but generally I would say if one can't hear the difference between MP3 128 and it has to be MP3 codec not AAC or WMA or what ever and FLAC you have a problem somewhere in your gear chain if you have above the cheapest shit of headphones. Alternatively one could have some hearing problems but you would have to need hearing aids and stuff before you can't hear the very clear distortions and noises - and I should know I've literally work and talked with some of best senior developers and researchers in the field from Oticon or Sennheiser global research sites. You can also clearly see the problematic spikes or distortions if you compare 128 MP3 or the like with original FLAC/Wave in the very free Audacity program. I have done this the right way personally when looking at Bluetooth stuff when working on Sennheisers MM series and while I was looking at other stuff me and some senior guys that knows way more than I do used the opportunity when I had the recordings already. Thing is many mobiles does not like wave so had to compare MP3 via BT captured digitally via expensive wireless debug-snooping gear VS original MP3 128 VS original wave. Standard BT codec is of course even less perfect as its basically a better codec but have far worse room in terms of bitrate and such as stereo playback was never originally suppose to be HiFi. In fact last I checked they are still working on getting the delay down to make BT usable for online gaming etc. as its delayed way to many milliseconds ATM to work well with realtime stuff. And while BT 3.0 in theory is enough for FLAC sending its not standardized in BT as the battery usage would be horrid to anyone but us nearing WiFi rates biggrin.gif

Then there is monkey in the room issue where people have listen or seen something familiar before and simply doesn't expect something else to be there - thats how a lot of younger people at my age or down to teenagers etc. simply miss the difference as they are used to thing not being there and much of the music todays even includes heavy distortions of the same types. This is a big problem that a lot of people don't understand: your brain does not process all the incoming sensor information as there is far to much and with your visions and some less with hearing it has to filter a lot out and interpret the rest on so many levels anyway that people literally seem like mad people if they have some dysfunction in these systems. Also be aware that way to many people need mild hearing aids already from their 20'ies up but due to stigma most people like my self never get around to get tested and we are used to miscommunication and noise in our daily life so often you don't see the read flags unless you listen to tests or other very good reproductions. I've spend quite some times with firearms, testing audiogear thats was prototype, loud music with headphones and sometimes using powertools and all these without protection when I forgot or it surprised me. I should go do a test since last time was when I left the army full time but I haven't got around to it yet despite being at the doctors recently with some minor thing and we agreed on it for safety.

That said for me right now before I have trouble already at 192-256 MP3 quality for many recordings as the recordings on their own are SOO bad today or intentionally use the same crap distortions as back-layer tracks. For some recordings 320 MP3 still have audible errors.
post #63 of 168
BTW AAC and its better newer versions thats also used in DAB/digital radio is way better than MP3 in the 128-256 bitrate spectrum both measurable and audible in practically anything. At 192 AAC+ latest I'm already getting in trouble often just as MP3 192 can go a long way for most people unless the gear is really high-end.
post #64 of 168
What is audible vs visible on a oscilloscope  screen are two different things. Just because it shows up as a spike does not necessarily mean it's audible.
post #65 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by homeros8000 View Post

I think it relates to the type of music and the quality of the recording. With classical music there are tons of details and complex textures that cannot be handled by any headphones or just any equipment. I guess that's the reason I was forced to become an audiophile. With low quality headphones or earbuds I can tell the difference immediatley. 


 

This is probably an important aspect for OP to consider.  I went from stock iPhone buds to Sony 7506 and now am rocking Shure 840s.  The 840s seemed like a paper dragon until I put a (very, very modest) headphone amp in front.  What I then discovered is that all the heavy metal I listen to doesn't benefit from audiophile equipment.  Yep, sad but true.  In some cases I'm sure a large part is because recording budget isn't there but another aspect is that the sounds just aren't designed in way that high fidelity is as beneficial.  An old Vital Remains album, restored Pentagram, old Misfits all sound the way they are supposed to sound at a much simpler setup and lower price point than, say, classical.  In fact, sometimes the fun in the music can be slightly reduced because some cans will reduce the soundstage or move the drums' presence too far over the guitars.  The beautiful vocals of old jazz are a very different animal than the vocals on the latest Misery Index (killer, highly recommended) and I don't think some guy or gal making their neck bulge and voice box bleed benefits from additional clarity much.

 

Fortunately, I'm new enough at this to keep the "fun first" mantra front and center.  Some of the technical and/or prog inspired stuff the kids listen to has a tough time letting the bassist shine but my rig shines some light on the subject.  I noticed that while listening to Goes Cube and even a little bit with Volbeat.  When I listened to Slayer I ended up just shrugging my shoulders, but I'm extremely familiar with the Volbeat catalogue  and found the instruments characters altered ever so slightly.  That was enough for me. 

 

Careful with bitrates, not all encoders are created equal.  320 bit mp3 is a waste of space if your player can do 256 bit aac.  Then again, someone's going to disagree.  All I can tell you is that 256-bit is where I stop getting return on investment until I step up to FLAC or Optimfrog. 

post #66 of 168

I find that upgrading in huge leaps and jumps isn't conducive to really appreciating headphones.  Initially going from Klipsch s4i's to MTPC I couldn't appreciate much of a difference, but as time grew I learned to appreciate more and more of the less than blatantly apparent differences.  Then upgrading the HD650, the same thing happened.  Although the sound signatures were vastly different, initially I couldn't distinguish the two in terms of how "good" they were, they both seemed like equally good pieces of audio equipment.  But as time passes more and more I'm able to appreciate how much better the HD650's really are.  Lots of people in this thread have complained about not hearing differences, but most of them made huge quantum leaps in their set-ups. 

post #67 of 168

Quote:

Originally Posted by ChorusofAngels View Post

Lots of people in this thread have complained about not hearing differences, but most of them made huge quantum leaps in their set-ups. 


A quantum leap is the smallest leap possible.  I'm not surprised they couldn't hear it.  wink_face.gif

 

/nitpick

post #68 of 168

Oh physics.  Although if we want to nitpick even more...that's not right either.  The smallest leap possible would be a QUANTA leap.  Quatum would be multiple ones.  Quanta on the other hand would be the smallest change since it is the smallest discrete package something can come in.


Edited by ChorusofAngels - 6/13/11 at 9:39pm
post #69 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChorusofAngels View Post

Oh physics.


Yep physics.

post #70 of 168

You have that reversed. Quantum is singular; quanta, plural. Think about datum/data.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChorusofAngels View Post

The smallest leap possible would be a QUANTA leap.  Quatum would be multiple ones. 


Edited by Nom de Plume - 6/14/11 at 1:48am
post #71 of 168

One important thing to remember is that some sets simply upscale accidentally on low quality music.  Hell, My new HD 598 plays low quality music like Hendrix better than the majority of the sets I've owned, despite its inferior sound quality to the more expensive sets I've owned.  

 

Personally, I don't think its your ears.  The difference from 192 to Flac is very noticeable.  Listen to an audio book in anything less than Flac and compare it to something in absolute lossless and you will understand what we mean.  Some music is maxed out at some low birates.  I think its just your gear and the right setup, dont get upset that your gear plays low quality music very well, enjoy the hell out of it as its a rare thing.

post #72 of 168
Thread Starter 

I'm pretty sure that it is my laptop's sound card.  It's an HP with IDT High Definition Audio.  On my Nano the sound quality is significantly better.  

 

Here's what I used to test the bitrate differences. It's a song from the Chesky Head-fi album:

 

http://www.mediafire.com/?nrcpq0n3l7rno6w (Flac)

http://www.mediafire.com/?7we9rfabmd9ieza (MP3)

 

On my laptop, there is little difference between those two music files.  I'll test it on my ipod soon.  I would like to appreciate the fact that low bitrates sound near the same level as lossless, but I can't help but feel that I'm missing something in my music.  I think I'm playing the low bitrates samples as they should play, but the lossless files are being dragged down to the low quality level.  

 

And I do understand and I have noticed that different artists and music types have a wide range of recording quality (example: coldplay is pretty bad, blue october is much better).  

 

How pronounced are the differences between those music samples for you guys?

post #73 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foie View Post

I'm pretty sure that it is my laptop's sound card.  It's an HP with IDT High Definition Audio.  On my Nano the sound quality is significantly better.  

 


It very possible.  Onboard soundcards very greatly in quality.  Some are perfectly fine and others are just crap.

 

It won't do you much good with your Nano but foobar's ABX comparator is a great way to see if bitrate matters to your ears.  Most people, most of the time, can't tell V0 or 320kbps from the original even with plenty of high end equipment when tested under blind conditions.  You should also keep in mind that ABX is a very sensitive test and will pick out differences that you won't be able to identify under normal listening conditions.  If you think it sounds better on the Nano and want to do some listening on your laptop as well then you might want to borrow or otherwise get a hold of a decent USB DAC and do some ABX tests.  See what you can tell apart with some decent gear when you don't know what you're listening to.

 

EDIT: grammar

post #74 of 168

For me i cant listen to anything below 200kbps.  I constantly try to see if i can tell differences between .wav and 320. Thats what i listen to.  But i also own Monster Solos and i love them for certain bass heavy music.  A lot of people would disagree with me.  So music is subjective, but if your just asking me if i can hear differences , yes.  196kpps is unlistenable to me, it sounds like listening to an old static radio.  AAC and 320 i would never be able to tell a difference.  250kpbs is my "line" if you will where i start to hear differences. What does matter is that your happy.  You should seek "better audio" if you want to hear better sound, if you don't hear it, SAVE MONEY.  Some people are fine with 10 dollar earbuds, and some hear better and can't go back.  Some people think american idol singers are good singers....etysmile.gif

post #75 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by n-phect View Post

For me i cant listen to anything below 200kbps.  I constantly try to see if i can tell differences between .wav and 320. Thats what i listen to.  But i also own Monster Solos and i love them for certain bass heavy music.  A lot of people would disagree with me.  So music is subjective, but if your just asking me if i can hear differences , yes.  196kpps is unlistenable to me, it sounds like listening to an old static radio.  AAC and 320 i would never be able to tell a difference.  250kpbs is my "line" if you will where i start to hear differences. What does matter is that your happy.  You should seek "better audio" if you want to hear better sound, if you don't hear it, SAVE MONEY.  Some people are fine with 10 dollar earbuds, and some hear better and can't go back.  Some people think american idol singers are good singers....etysmile.gif


So, I take it 201kbps is OK, while 196kbps is "unlistenable, like listening to an old static radio". I guess a difference of 5kbps makes all the difference in the world.

 

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