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Can you tell the difference between: FLAC + MP3 + WAV ? - Page 2

post #16 of 73

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by StargateRecords View Post

 

I remember when a 4 GB USB flash drive was a little under $3000 !  eek.gif

 



eek.gif I remember when someone in high-school bought a hundred or so 1GB USB flash drives I think from china and sold them for $50 or so each and made some profit Lol.

 

post #17 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by StargateRecords View Post



 

Is there any reason to use FLAC over WAV or AIFF other than tag support ?

 

 


 

Reduced filesize, FLAC files should only take up 50-60% of the space of the uncompressed WAV or AIFF  files. And tag support is huge, once you develop a large enough library you will need tags in order to bring sanity to a database.

 

320kbps is overkill by 30% greater filesize for a few very rare instances of higher quality over LAME's VBR 0. Some DJ gear can't process VBR files so 320 may be a necessity when you're spinning at a club or something. Otherwise, VBR is the best choice and the most common recommendation on Hydrogen Audio for practical purposes.

post #18 of 73

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by anetode View Post

Reduced filesize, FLAC files should only take up 50-60% of the space of the uncompressed WAV or AIFF  files. And tag support is huge, once you develop a large enough library you will need tags in order to bring sanity to a database.

 

320kbps is overkill by 30% greater filesize for a few very rare instances of higher quality over LAME's VBR 0. Some DJ gear can't process VBR files so 320 may be a necessity when you're spinning at a club or something. Otherwise, VBR is the best choice and the most common recommendation on Hydrogen Audio for practical purposes.


I remember in the 90's an "MP3J" wasn't a real "DJ".
 

 

post #19 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by StargateRecords View Post


I think I will use FLAC to backup some of the really rare albums I have, just incase they go missing. Is there any reason to use FLAC over WAV or AIFF other than tag support ?


Here's a good rundown on the pros/cons of all the major lossless formats.  There's a nice comparison table at the top of the article.

 

http://wiki.hydrogenaudio.org/index.php?title=Lossless_comparison

post #20 of 73

I can tell if I'm looking at a spectrogram (-:  I have many flac some going as high as 24-192.  I can't tell much difference, but space isn't an issue so I'll take the highest resolution available.

post #21 of 73
On all but the worst recordings/masterings, I can easily tell the difference between MP3 and CD. The giveaways are in the treble detail, the nuances (like if you try listening for the exact timbre of an instrument for example, especially cymbals) and in the soundstage. MP3 compression limits soundstage to "left-middle-right" instead of the gradual change that it should be, and that's usually the biggest giveaway.

I still convert my music to 320kbps MP3 for portable use because I'm usually not paying enough attention to care, and having the extra space is nice. However, at home I never listen to mp3s - it's either FLAC or vinyl.
post #22 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manyak View Post

On all but the worst recordings/masterings, I can easily tell the difference between MP3 and CD. The giveaways are in the treble detail, the nuances (like if you try listening for the exact timbre of an instrument for example, especially cymbals) and in the soundstage. MP3 compression limits soundstage to "left-middle-right" instead of the gradual change that it should be, and that's usually the biggest giveaway.

I still convert my music to 320kbps MP3 for portable use because I'm usually not paying enough attention to care, and having the extra space is nice. However, at home I never listen to mp3s - it's either FLAC or vinyl.


I trust you've done ABX or blind tests.

 

Soundstage, from my experience, is far more reliant on the recording than it is on the recording's bitrate.

post #23 of 73
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by anetode View Post

Reduced filesize, FLAC files should only take up 50-60% of the space of the uncompressed WAV or AIFF  files. And tag support is huge, once you develop a large enough library you will need tags in order to bring sanity to a database.

 


I think for the purposes of archiving rare albums, I will use WAV or AIFF as space is not an issue. If I ever archive the rest of my collection FLAC is clearly the right choice, thanks.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by anetode View Post

Some DJ gear can't process VBR files so 320 may be a necessity when you're spinning at a club or something. Otherwise, VBR is the best choice and the most common recommendation on Hydrogen Audio for practical purposes.

 

 

I don't DJ but I often experiment, adding new tracks to original recordings, mixing down etc. If some equipment cannot process VBR files I will stick to 256 kbps CBR, just incase.


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elysian View Post

Here's a good rundown on the pros/cons of all the major lossless formats.  There's a nice comparison table at the top of the article.

 

http://wiki.hydrogenaudio.org/index.php?title=Lossless_comparison


 

Thanks for the link, very helpful.

 


Edited by StargateRecords - 9/9/11 at 2:43am
post #24 of 73
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manyak View Post

MP3 compression limits soundstage to "left-middle-right" instead of the gradual change that it should be, and that's usually the biggest giveaway.

 

 

Thanks for posting that, it made me think... and I just had a eureka moment, I listened to a track that I know contains an acoustic guitar that appears to move seamlessly in an arc from left to right. If you close your eyes and point to where it is in the room you could easily say 9, 10, 11, 12, 1, 2, 3  o'clock. I then listened to the compressed MP3 track, and sure enough the acoustic guitar jumps from 9 to 12 to 3 o'clock ! wow, what an insight ! but it doesn't make any sense, could this be something to do with how the track has been compressed ? using Joint Stereo instead of Stereo or Dual Chanel ?

 


Edited by StargateRecords - 9/9/11 at 3:56am
post #25 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by RJ Hythloday View Post

I can tell if I'm looking at a spectrogram (-:  I have many flac some going as high as 24-192.  I can't tell much difference, but space isn't an issue so I'll take the highest resolution available.


If storage is not an issue then this is a good philosophy. The highest resolution available is 24/96, while the highest quality available is a tie between 16/44 and 24/96.

G
post #26 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Head Injury View Post


I trust you've done ABX or blind tests.

 

Soundstage, from my experience, is far more reliant on the recording than it is on the recording's bitrate.


Yes, I've done plenty of blind tests with my girlfriend doing the switching for me. Once you know what to look for it becomes really easy.

One of the techniques mp3s use to reduce filesize is called Joint Stereo. What it does is that if there's a sound that's similar in both the left and right channels, even if they're at different volumes, it combines them into a single mono sound. Then when it's played back, that mono sound ends up played back either entirely on one side or in the center, depending on what the encoder's threshold was when compressed.

It's also apparent sometimes when a certain sound has a slight delay between channels, which is normally done when the mastering engineer wants to give you the feel that the sound is coming from everywhere (such as you'd get with an audience clapping). That tiny delay is ignored, and it becomes compressed to a mono sound. Sometimes the delay is large enough for the encoder not to pick it up, but most of the time it does happen.

This Joint Stereo effect is always there regardless of the mp3's bitrate. The only time it's undetectable is if you're using improperly set up speakers (not spread out enough, out of phase, room reflections, etc), or if the track doesn't have a detailed soundstage to begin with (as is the case for a lot of Electronic music).
Quote:
Originally Posted by StargateRecords View Post



 

 

Thanks for posting that, it made me think... and I just had a eureka moment, I listened to a track that I know contains an acoustic guitar that appears to move seamlessly in an arc from left to right. If you close your eyes and point to where it is in the room you could easily say 9, 10, 11, 12, 1, 2, 3  o'clock. I then listened to the compressed MP3 track, and sure enough the acoustic guitar jumps from 9 to 12 to 3 o'clock ! wow, what an insight ! but it doesn't make any sense, could this be something to do with how the track has been compressed ? using Joint Stereo instead of Stereo or Dual Chanel ?

 


Exactly smily_headphones1.gif
Edited by Manyak - 9/9/11 at 7:33am
post #27 of 73

I posted this in another thread but since this is also a relevant thread I thought somebody may be interested as well.

 

 

Quote:

...I just did a simple blind test today to compare FLAC and VBR V0. Basically I put 2 identical tracks in Mediamonkey's playlist (VBR was converted from the FLAC), minimized the player and hit the "next track" hardware button on my laptop a random number of times, play, write down what I think and open the player to check if it was the VBR or FLAC. Repeated this 15 times (not a lot of sample but took me 1 hour+). Sometimes I had to stop the track and play from the beginning if I wasn't sure but all with the hardware button and player minimized. I got 11/15 correct or 73.3%. This is done with a recording I'm familiar with and has plenty of cues to listen to. The song is Clubbed to Death by Escala.

 

I'm not sure if 73.3% is statistically relevant. The weirdest thing is that if I focus too hard on a sighted test as in trying to pinpoint the differences between FLAC and VBR, I can't do it but with blind test I can just about hear the overall differences between the 2 tracks. Like there's just a bit less extension >15kHz or a bit less tight bass or 1/4 inch closer imaging (joint stereo). Very subtle but in combination clear enough for me to notice. 

 

I also tried doing the same test with a recording I'm less familiar with and with less cues / dynamic range / instruments / etc. (What if I Leave by Rachael Yamagata). Unfortunately I was wrong in too many accounts it probably was less than 50% guess rate! It could be that I was hearing for the wrong things or wrongly memorized the FLAC as VBR and vice versa.

 

FWIW, I've started using VBR for portable use. Spent the whole day converting yesterday but my blind test with Escala today is beginning to give me faith in FLAC again. 

 

EDIT: Done with Mediamonkey > E7 + L7 > Asgard > AD900


Edited by tuahogary - 9/9/11 at 8:26am
post #28 of 73


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Manyak View Post


One of the techniques mp3s use to reduce filesize is called Joint Stereo. What it does is that if there's a sound that's similar in both the left and right channels, even if they're at different volumes, it combines them into a single mono sound. Then when it's played back, that mono sound ends up played back either entirely on one side or in the center, depending on what the encoder's threshold was when compressed.

It's also apparent sometimes when a certain sound has a slight delay between channels, which is normally done when the mastering engineer wants to give you the feel that the sound is coming from everywhere (such as you'd get with an audience clapping). That tiny delay is ignored, and it becomes compressed to a mono sound. Sometimes the delay is large enough for the encoder not to pick it up, but most of the time it does happen.


 

I don't think you quite get how joint stereo works. Each channel retains its own signal intensity, the joint stereo used in mp3 encoding is a simple math trick used to minimize data redundancy. See http://wiki.hydrogenaudio.org/index.php?title=Joint_stereo

post #29 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by anetode View Post


 


 

I don't think you quite get how joint stereo works. Each channel retains its own signal intensity, the joint stereo used in mp3 encoding is a simple math trick used to minimize data redundancy. See http://wiki.hydrogenaudio.org/index.php?title=Joint_stereo


I'm not seeing where that link says anything different than I did - combines similar stereo signals into one and then uses phase information to determine if it's on the left, middle, or right.
Edited by Manyak - 9/9/11 at 4:10pm
post #30 of 73

First there was the assertion that the stereo signal gets mixed down to mono, instead the information is transferred to both a mid-channel and a side channel (and calculating the offsets renders a stereo signal with no loss). It's a more elegant way of representing the same information. Also, the tiny delays are not discarded in favor of the "mono" signal, though some signals do become masked by others because of psychoacoustic modelling - a process that is separate from joint stereo. A proper implementation does not use the Intensity Stereo (IS) process you describe in favor of the Mid-side Stereo (MS) and the results are markedly different.


Edited by anetode - 9/9/11 at 7:50pm
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