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Can I get better than 320kbps sound quality?

post #1 of 134
Thread Starter 

Lately I have been doing some research into the quality of my music. I've learned about various formats of music and it seems that lossless audio is the way to go for the best quality, even if it does mean sacrificing a lot of storage. So at the moment the majority of my music is at 320kbps and even though I can really tell the difference between a 256kbps song and a 320kbps song, will I be able to tell the difference between a 320kbps and FLAC file? If so, how do I get hold of FLAC songs other than going out and buying CD's myself then converting them to FLAC (or maybe ALAC so I'm able to play it on my iTunes/iPhone). The cans I will be using are Beats Pro's. Thanks!

post #2 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ak-Boss View Post

So at the moment the majority of my music is at 320kbps and even though I can really tell the difference between a 256kbps song and a 320kbps song, will I be able to tell the difference between a 320kbps and FLAC file?


I'm extremely skeptical about anyone who claims they can.

I certainly can't, although it could be that if I had significantly higher level equipment I would notice the difference. On Beats I would say definitely not.

I still keep things in lossless anyway. Storage is cheap and it's a backup I can reburn onto CD if needed.
post #3 of 134

Can you?  Yes.

Will you notice a difference?  No.  (I'm sure someone will angrily disagree)

FLAC is great as a means of archiving your music,  but that doesn't mean it's needed/useful for all listening you do.  For a situation like yours there really isn't a point in going to all that effort for no obvious gain.

 

-->"The cans I will be using are Beats Pro's"

Brace yourself.

post #4 of 134

If you're using Beats Pros, the difference you hear between 256 and 320 is placebo.  Only a very high end setup would reveal differences between those two and when you get to any difference between 320 and lossless you have to wonder if it matters and whether you're trying too hard to hear a difference.  There are more important aspects of a headphone's performance.  Like the transducer. 

post #5 of 134
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sidel View Post

Can you?  Yes.

Will you notice a difference?  No.  (I'm sure someone will angrily disagree)

FLAC is great as a means of archiving your music,  but that doesn't mean it's needed/useful for all listening you do.  For a situation like yours there really isn't a point in going to all that effort for no obvious gain.

 

-->"The cans I will be using are Beats Pro's"

Brace yourself.

Thanks for the reply.

 

Fair enough about needing to brace myself however I don't really see the Beats Pro's as being the typical beats by dre headphones. They have very good sound quality however it's just a shame that they have to be part of the "beats by dre" product line. If they were just Monster Beats Pro and cost a little less after losing the dre price tag, I'm sure they would be a hell of a more respected set of cans by audiophiles like the Monster turbines are. So putting the dr dre image aside they are a very decent pair of headphones, maybe a tad bit overpriced but what do you expect with beats by dre.
 

 

post #6 of 134
I only roll with lossless music files.
post #7 of 134

If you are listening music on desktop then FLAC or Apple Lossless will improve the sound quality. But most DAPs include ipods/iphones can't handle lossless format well enough. So you may need to buy external AMPs to connect through line out dock and it will improve the sound quality much more than HP jack.

post #8 of 134

You don't need to read what others tell you about what you can or can't hear.  Take a CD or some lossless material and convert it to mp3 (or a lossy format of your choice) at different bitrates.  Compare the lossless with the lossy versions and listen for yourself what the difference is.  Something like foobar2000 ABX plugin may help, so you don't know beforehand what you're listening to.

 

It's possible on some specific music samples that a 256 kbps sample may sound worse than a 320 kbps sample, but that would be rare.  Any type of relatively modern audio encoder--LAME mp3, some AAC, Vorbis, etc.--should produce files that sound indistinguishable from lossless almost all the time and for almost everybody, at around 256 kbps.  But rather than us guessing, you should just listen for yourself.

post #9 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeaj View Post

You don't need to read what others tell you about what you can or can't hear.  Take a CD or some lossless material and convert it to mp3 (or a lossy format of your choice) at different bitrates.  Compare the lossless with the lossy versions and listen for yourself what the difference is.  Something like foobar2000 ABX plugin may help, so you don't know beforehand what you're listening to.

 

It's possible on some specific music samples that a 256 kbps sample may sound worse than a 320 kbps sample, but that would be rare. 


That's a good point.  It isn't hard at all to just find out for yourself.

 

I believe we're actually talking about 320 vs lossless and not 256 vs 320. (although 256kbps vs 320kbps was mentioned) 

Even putting aside any disbelief and assuming there was an audible difference to certain people's ears,  you'd sure as hell be pressed to hear it even out of a very good system.

post #10 of 134

on my cowon j3 with tf.10's it's quite hard to tell the difference between 320kbps and .flac. however when i run the music from my desktop through my dac, i deffinitely can notice a difference.  however i normally have to listen carefully if it's 320kbps compared to .flac.

post #11 of 134
I can't tell. I don't care whether it's 320kbps or lossless, as long as it's one of them.
post #12 of 134

Was an eye-opener when I tried it.  When doing the test though, make sure it is a track that you've ripped, and that you've converted - that way you know there are no excuses for the quality of the rip/conversion.  Also - make sure you volume match as closely as possible before the ABX test with Foobar.  It helps if you use a track you know really well.

 

I used to archive FLAC, and convert to ALAC for the iPod.  I did the test, and could find no discernible difference with my portable set-up, so now I just use 320 CBR on the portable and rejoice in the extra space.  I still go FLAC with the home set-up, but there space is no issue, and the FLAC files exist anyway.

 

I guess initially I completely fell for the old placebo - and thought I could tell a difference (mp3/flac).  I now know I can't between 320 and FLAC.  I can between 128 / 320 though - same testing regime.  Above 192 becomes harder still (256 sounds same) - but since I have 32Gb on the portable - I just run with 320 CBR.

 

Others 'may' be able to hear differences with higher end gear & better hearing etc.  Personally I'm happy with what I do now.

post #13 of 134

I used to use exclusively 320kbps as I could not tell the difference between FLAC and 320 with my D2000s. However, upon going higher up the chain, the difference became very evident. It is especially noticeable in bass punch, the midrange, and transparency. I still use 320kbps on my iPhone as it only has 16gb (and I have like 50 gigs of apps I already need to pick and choose to sync) but if space is not a concern and you have a good setup, there is indeed a big difference going to lossless ESPECIALLY for fast music.Of course this is also dependent on how good your hearing is.

 

With Beats Pros though, don't bother, just use whatever mp3 quality.

post #14 of 134

very evident?  That's an exaggeration even if you own the SR009. 

post #15 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ak-Boss View Post



Thanks for the reply.

 

Fair enough about needing to brace myself however I don't really see the Beats Pro's as being the typical beats by dre headphones. They have very good sound quality however it's just a shame that they have to be part of the "beats by dre" product line. If they were just Monster Beats Pro and cost a little less after losing the dre price tag, I'm sure they would be a hell of a more respected set of cans by audiophiles like the Monster turbines are. So putting the dr dre image aside they are a very decent pair of headphones, maybe a tad bit overpriced but what do you expect with beats by dre.
 

 


I think you'll find that a lot of people's disinclination toward Monster predates Dr. Dre's endorsement.
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