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Can I get better than 320kbps sound quality? - Page 9

post #121 of 134
There are some headphones that seem to be designed to accentuate details and boost the frequencies one associates with "sharpness" in sound. Listening with them is like looking at music through a magnifying glass. I much prefer a balanced presentation myself. Natural sounding is my goal.
post #122 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by deadlylover View Post

 

You already know how I feel about that. tongue.gif
 

But yeah, high end gear isn't about being able to pick out differences, it's about presenting the sounds in a particular way that just hits the spot.


Ha ha - thanks Deadly.  What did help (with that test you ran for me) was that you were easily able to discern differences on your gear that were a lot harder to find on mine.  Because we both claim to have 'tin-ears' wink.gif, then it means that it is worth it for me to slowly move higher up the chain as I can afford it.  It was kind of nice to have confirmed what I'd in the past suspected.
 

 

post #123 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post


I've heard one report of a bad rip turning up in the iTunes store but I think that was an anomaly caused by ripping from a scratched CD. Their quality control is generally very good. The problem there was a bad rip (obvious dropouts) not bad encoding. However the standard 128 AAC encoding is a bit low for my taste.

 



What I meant was, if I bought some music on itunes (Their standard quality was AAC, 256 kbps a.k.a itunes plus). Is the sound quality from itunes more reliable and complete?

post #124 of 134

A long time gripe of mine, so if no one minds I'll throw in my tuppence worth. 

There are undoubtedly some esoteric 'high end' encoding which will have the ultimate sound quality. This superior quality can be confirmed with a suitable bank of test equipment.

My point is that the weakest link in the audio chain are ones ears and that no matter how good the source material is if ones ears are not 100% then ones listening experience is limited utterly by that fact.

My own choice is mp3 @ 320 which is more than adequate for me despite the multiplicity of 'superior' formats. I am 63 and have done all the wrong things to my ears over the years. In my youth listening to the 60's bands at full blast. I am lucky to still be able to discern the instruments of a String Quartet in a concert hall and to aurally focus on particular orchestra sections during a symphony. But I am more than aware that my ears are not in pristine condition even though my Doctor assures me they are fine. I have my favourite area in the Concert Hall which is fine until some silly sod gets a fit of coughing or some clown's mobile goes off.

My advice is to spend the bulk of your proposed outlay on the speakers and also invest in the best possible headphones you can afford.   

In conclusion let me say that perfection is rarely attainable and for me the aim of the exercise is the enjoyment of the experience.

 

post #125 of 134

This should be one of those questions that should be asked in the science forum where people with the big egos will go in circle to infinity.biggrin.gif  Just like the cables and jitter discussions that been going on since the the start of Head-Fi.

post #126 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rainman26 View Post

What I meant was, if I bought some music on itunes (Their standard quality was AAC, 256 kbps a.k.a itunes plus). Is the sound quality from itunes more reliable and complete?
ITunes encodes using iTunes... The same program you probably have on your computer AAC 256. Is high quality.
post #127 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by Soidus View Post

This should be one of those questions that should be asked in the science forum where people with the big egos will go in circle to infinity.biggrin.gif  Just like the cables and jitter discussions that been going on since the the start of Head-Fi.


+1
 

Is 320kbps better in any better than a variable bit rate? I think VBR tracks are smaller in size than a constant bit rate, am I right?

 

post #128 of 134
As I understand it, VBR will allow the encoder to go beyond the constant rate. It doesn't allow it to go below.
post #129 of 134

320 kbps CBR is technically the best mp3 can do, but v0 is supposed to be just as transparent. VBR goes up and down without any bounds except that the max is 320 and the bit rates of frames are restricted to certain values like 256, 320. 

 

You can manually set the minimum (or maximum, but that would be ill advised) bit rate LAME can use in a VBR file if you want. 

post #130 of 134

Do you guys think there is any difference in quality between a 320kbps mp3 encoded with iTunes vs. a 320kbps mp3 encoded with Lame.  Or is it just a myth?

post #131 of 134

Unless the algorithms of the iTunes encoder and the LAME encoder are identical I'm sure there's some difference. I'm sure you're interested in which is better, and it seems that no conclusive research has been made. You could try it out for yourself and see if you can tell the difference?
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dukedudez View Post

Do you guys think there is any difference in quality between a 320kbps mp3 encoded with iTunes vs. a 320kbps mp3 encoded with Lame.  Or is it just a myth?



 

post #132 of 134

I shall try that!

post #133 of 134

The iTunes mp3 encoder is absolutely terrible IMO. The AAC encoder is another story though. 

post #134 of 134

I actually stopped using LAME 320Kbps VBR V0 to rip my favorite songs from my CD's.
AAC has been shown time and time again that it excels over MP3, one can discern an 128 AAC VBR file ripped with Nero over a 128 MP3 file ripped with LAME. The 128 AAC VBR will have greater variation in bit rate sometimes reaching higher bit rates than an equal 128 MP3 VBR file ripped with LAME would not reach. Though I've heard v3.98 has vastly improved, but I doubt it's better than AAC. AAC throws less of parts of the music away for the sake of saving space, between 128Kbps- 160Kbps AAC VBR is better than MP3 versions.
AAC VBR reaches upto 453Kbps on foobar2000's bit rate status bar thingy below while the song, plays.
Try it! Put in a CD, rip with foobar in the converter setup, Select Edit AAC (Nero), in the target quality select: Target Quality (VBR, recommended) and push the slider for quality to best quality, it will reach ~400Kbps.
A much easier way would be to use iTunes, in Import Settings select the AAC encoder and set it to Custom, a dialog box will appear then check the 'Use VBR' box and select bit rate to 320Kbps. Play the ripped song over at foobar, status bit rate thingy and you'll see it easily goes over 400Kbps regulary to reach 455Kbps sometimes. I didn't believe when I read at some sound forums that AAC is slightly better than MP3, that was until I noticed that my 128 AAC VBR ripped files sounded better than my 128 VBR MP3's, this was cemented when I saw the bit rate variances at foobar, that can't be a hoax.
Yes the owners of AAC codec Apple I think totally own MP3, for years to come, OGG is much better though and it's free codec too.
P.S- There's no difference between 320 Kbps VBR V0 and a 320-400 AAC VBR file, this is mostly placebo. This is shown by Fletcher-Munson curves and the biophonic curves which explain human perception of sound and equalisation, though I've not read deeply and they explain equalisation and human perception, not perception of sound quality between lossy files.rolleyes.gif

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