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320 kbps MP3 vs. normal audio CD listening Sound quality - Page 10

post #136 of 516

I'm quite interested in this debate.

 

From what I've read in this thread most people cant tell the difference between FLAC and mp3 320kbps.

Is it possible to tell the difference between 320kbps and 256kbps?

Or 256kbps and 224kbps?

Or 224kbps and 192kbps?

Or 192kbps and 160kbps?

Or 160kbps and 128kbps?

Probably not, since the differences are so small.

 

I think everybody will agree they can hear a difference between FLAC and 128kbps, but according to the above (if you can't hear a difference) it would mean FLAC = 128kbps ('=' means 'sounds the same as' in this post), which we no is not true.

 

 

Maybe it is something like this:

Lets say we have a scale from 1 to 10 for sound quality, with 10 being the best. Lets you there needs to be a difference of atleast 2 in the scale to be able to hear the difference. Lets say every step down (FLAC-320, 320-256, 256-224 enz) equels 1 step in the scale. So you won't hear any difference, but it is stil there, It only becomes audioble with when bigger steps are taken.

 

I must admit that I am no expert on the subject by any means. What are your thoughts on this?

post #137 of 516

I think it's important to realize that the discussion is about "analog" versus digital here. The vinyl format is an analog format. If it's noisy, clean your records! And also for the record, digital does not mean superior sound simply because it is digital. That's like saying Steely Dan's Aja, recorded and mastered in analog, is inferior to The Nightfly, recorded and mastered in digital. Aja is the far superior sounding recording. On top of that, I have never heard a digital version of Aja that sounds as good as the Mobile Fidelity Vinyl..including Mobile Fidelity's own CD! It wasn't even close.

 

Cheers to Vinyl!

post #138 of 516
Quote:
Originally Posted by spickerish View Post

I'm quite interested in this debate.

 

From what I've read in this thread most people cant tell the difference between FLAC and mp3 320kbps.

Is it possible to tell the difference between 320kbps and 256kbps?

Or 256kbps and 224kbps?

Or 224kbps and 192kbps?

Or 192kbps and 160kbps?

Or 160kbps and 128kbps?

Probably not, since the differences are so small.

 

I think everybody will agree they can hear a difference between FLAC and 128kbps, but according to the above (if you can't hear a difference) it would mean FLAC = 128kbps ('=' means 'sounds the same as' in this post), which we no is not true.

 

 

Maybe it is something like this:

Lets say we have a scale from 1 to 10 for sound quality, with 10 being the best. Lets you there needs to be a difference of atleast 2 in the scale to be able to hear the difference. Lets say every step down (FLAC-320, 320-256, 256-224 enz) equels 1 step in the scale. So you won't hear any difference, but it is stil there, It only becomes audioble with when bigger steps are taken.

 

I must admit that I am no expert on the subject by any means. What are your thoughts on this?

 

my reply>

 

"My opinion is that 320k sounds pretty good and so does VBR at the highest quality level settings. I start to notice a drop off in sound at 256k (itunes format). That being said, why not just RIP your music in ALAC or FLAC anyway..as it's only roughly 2x the size of 320k. And I cannot tell a difference between lossless and WAV... And of course, 24 bit is the next step up in quality..which ripped in lossless, still stays pretty large file size wise and is not compatible with many portable devices (unless you chop/convert to 16 bit). Just my opinion with my ears of course."


Edited by jvandyk - 11/8/12 at 8:16am
post #139 of 516
Quote:

Originally Posted by jvandyk View Post

 

And also for the record, digital does not mean superior sound simply because it is digital.

Yes it does. It does not mean superior records though. But:

 

 

Quote:
That's like saying Steely Dan's Aja, recorded and mastered in analog, is inferior to The Nightfly, recorded and mastered in digital. Aja is the far superior sounding recording.

Different recordings, mixes, masters ... have nothing to do with the sound quality of the format.


Edited by xnor - 11/8/12 at 8:26am
post #140 of 516
Quote:
Originally Posted by xnor View Post

Yes it does. It does not mean superior records though. But:

 

 

Different recordings, mixes, masters ... have nothing to do with the sound quality of the format.

Actually yes it does. Even Fagen himself later mentioned he wished he had used the analog tracks. He thought the digital sounded cold and sterile. Of course, digital has come a long way since then. Summary- The music recorded to digital tape sounded worse than analog tape..in the opinion of Mr. Fagen. So maybe not a technical issue, but rather a sound quality issue.

post #141 of 516

You're talking about an album that was published '77. Yes, digital has come a long way since then. There was not even redbook at that time. Anyway, what a format can contain doesn't change. After 30 years redbook still is 2 channel, 16-bit sampled at 44.1 kHz audio.

 

You can digitize this album and it will sound exactly the same. Actually, the digital format could contain more dynamic range, less linear and non-linear distortion etc. so it could even sound better. And an opinion of some keyboarder or vocalist doesn't change that.


Edited by xnor - 11/8/12 at 9:28am
post #142 of 516
Well, I'm a person who thinks The Nightfly sounds better than Aja.
post #143 of 516
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnSantana View Post

Nick,

 

DO you mean the "hiss-ing" noise when you listen to Vinyl recording ?

 

There are many sources of noise from vinyl. remember that the signal from a cartridge is both uneven and very low voltage. It has to be both bumped up and RIAA equalized this adds noise, there is tracking noise where the needle swooshes from side to side, motor noise, bearing noise, surface noise hiss crackle pops - good vinyl can manage an SNR of about 75db on a perfect;y set up TT when it is a good pressing and pristine - TTs themselves seldom manage better than this - back in the 70s Julian Hirsch and fellow writers considered 50db good for a TT. As I say for rock/pop with overall high volume levels noise is no big deal but for music with a wide dynamic range it is an issue

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by anetode View Post

I've witnessed times where vinyl playback is nigh on transparent with a properly set up table and fresh vinyl. No noise, hissing, pops, etc. There's a much greater investment in configuring transparent vinyl playback but I have no doubts that one could arrange an inconclusive DBT between well setup vinyl and CD rigs.

 

Granted at RMAF I've also heard six-figure vinyl playback systems that sounded no better than a turn-of-last century handwound record player.

 

DBting a commercial vinyl and a commercial CD may be quite easy, if the noise does not give it away the differences in mastering may. However when vinyl is digitized and a level matched DBT test between the vinyl and the recording is done the resukt is in much more doubt (matrixhifi have done this test) 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jvandyk View Post

I think it's important to realize that the discussion is about "analog" versus digital here. The vinyl format is an analog format. If it's noisy, clean your records! And also for the record, digital does not mean superior sound simply because it is digital. 

 

Simply cleaning LPs does not get rid of the other sources of noise. Digital assuming red book standard is technically superior in almost all meaningful audio parameters.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by xnor View Post

Yes it does. It does not mean superior records though. But:

 

 

Different recordings, mixes, masters ... have nothing to do with the sound quality of the format.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jvandyk View Post

Actually yes it does. Even Fagen himself later mentioned he wished he had used the analog tracks. He thought the digital sounded cold and sterile. Of course, digital has come a long way since then. Summary- The music recorded to digital tape sounded worse than analog tape..in the opinion of Mr. Fagen. So maybe not a technical issue, but rather a sound quality issue.

 

No simply a matter of preference.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by xnor View Post

You're talking about an album that was published '77. Yes, digital has come a long way since then. There was not even redbook at that time. Anyway, what a format can contain doesn't change. After 30 years redbook still is 2 channel, 16-bit sampled at 44.1 kHz audio.

 

You can digitize this album and it will sound exactly the same. Actually, the digital format could contain more dynamic range, less linear and non-linear distortion etc. so it could even sound better. And an opinion of some keyboarder or vocalist doesn't change that.

 

Nightfly  was released in 1982 digital recording was well established by then. When recording the album Roger Nichols states

 

"We booked the Village Recorder in 1981 to cut tracks for Nightfly and decided to try the 3M digital machine. We ran a Studer A-80 24-track 

analog machine in parallel with the 3M for the test. After the band laid down a take we performed an a-b-c listening test. The analog and digital 
machines were played back in sync while the band played along live. We could compare the analog machine, the digital machine, and the live band. 
The closest sound to the live band was the 3M digital machine. We re-aligned the Studer and gave it one more chance. The 3M was the clear 
winner"

post #144 of 516
Quote:
Originally Posted by jvandyk View Post
Originally Posted by spickerish View Post

I'm quite interested in this debate.

 

From what I've read in this thread most people cant tell the difference between FLAC and mp3 320kbps.

Is it possible to tell the difference between 320kbps and 256kbps?

Or 256kbps and 224kbps?

Or 224kbps and 192kbps?

Or 192kbps and 160kbps?

Or 160kbps and 128kbps?

Probably not, since the differences are so small.

 

I think everybody will agree they can hear a difference between FLAC and 128kbps, but according to the above (if you can't hear a difference) it would mean FLAC = 128kbps ('=' means 'sounds the same as' in this post), which we no is not true.

 

 

Maybe it is something like this:

Lets say we have a scale from 1 to 10 for sound quality, with 10 being the best. Lets you there needs to be a difference of atleast 2 in the scale to be able to hear the difference. Lets say every step down (FLAC-320, 320-256, 256-224 enz) equels 1 step in the scale. So you won't hear any difference, but it is stil there, It only becomes audioble with when bigger steps are taken.

 

I must admit that I am no expert on the subject by any means. What are your thoughts on this?

 

personally i think it is true, since our frame of reference is only concerned about 2 files that have similar quality (not same) but if we add the top (FLAC) and bottom (128) into the frame of reference, and the listener has good memory with hearing (and equipment) he can tell which file is which

post #145 of 516
You don't compare lossy to lossy. You compare lossy to lossless and determine the point where the line is where you can't tell any more.
post #146 of 516
Quote:
Originally Posted by xnor View Post

You're talking about an album that was published '77. Yes, digital has come a long way since then. There was not even redbook at that time. Anyway, what a format can contain doesn't change. After 30 years redbook still is 2 channel, 16-bit sampled at 44.1 kHz audio.

 

You can digitize this album and it will sound exactly the same. Actually, the digital format could contain more dynamic range, less linear and non-linear distortion etc. so it could even sound better. And an opinion of some keyboarder or vocalist doesn't change that.

Hmmm... Fagen is perhaps the most respected rock recording artist of the 20th century..not some keyboarder or vocalist.

Next-  The Nightfly was recorded in all digital in the 80's..not the 70's. But you are right here in that it was in the early days of digital...but he even used 20 bit processing back then for the masters.

 

Finally- The fact that Fagen's opinion that the analog masters sounded better than the digital masters is an opinion of a guy with about 7 grammy awards in this exact area of discussion. He uses his ears..not Sonys Redbook handbook of "perfect sound forever".

 

PS- Surely you are aware of the majority of CD releases over the past 30 years that sound like pure crap compared to their vinyl counterparts.

post #147 of 516
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

Well, I'm a person who thinks The Nightfly sounds better than Aja.

Well, it does sound good. I remember buying the vinyl version way back then. I thought at the time that the album was thin sounding and mechanical compared to anything they had done before. When I bought the CD, it sounded pretty much the same..

But it didn't keep me from enjoying it certainly.

post #148 of 516
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

You don't compare lossy to lossy. You compare lossy to lossless and determine the point where the line is where you can't tell any more.

Where is that line for you BS?

post #149 of 516

I did line level comparison tests, and for 90% of the music I tested 192 AAC VBR was transparent. But I did find one odd track that still artifacted at 192, so I bumped it up to 256 AAC VBR. That's what I use to encode everything in my iTunes library and it's perfect.

post #150 of 516
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post


I did line level comparison tests, and for 90% of the music I tested 192 AAC VBR was transparent. But I did find one odd track that still artifacted at 192, so I bumped it up to 256 AAC VBR. That's what I use to encode everything in my iTunes library and it's perfect.

but that was kind of missing the point of the earlier question....

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