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I'm bummed :(

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

I'm bummed :(.  I did an ABX test and was able to get 15/15 on 2 songs between FLAC and V0.  The songs I used were Vienna Teng - City Hall and Animals As Leaders - CAFO.  My equipment is just my motherboard audio (Realtek ALC898) speaker output to a pair of Audioengine A2 desktop speakers.  The key is in the cymbals and "shhh" sounds on Vienna's vocal.  To be honest I spent a good 10 minutes on the first A/B, but once I found certain parts of the song that were heavy in the before mentioned sounds, it was quite easy and quick to go through the 15 choices correctly.  I don't consider myself to have great hearing, actually my right ear is not so good.  

 

I'm bummed because all my music is in V0.  I wish I had ripped it to FLAC instead, especially I've given away almost all of the original CDs.  I'm not a fan of downloading music illegally but in my case am honestly considering torrenting some FLACs for which I have purchased the physical CDs already.  

 

Still, it sort of surprises me that people with more expensive set ups can't tell the difference.  I do think on casual listening there is no difference, and the difference in quality doesn't impact enjoyment whatsoever.  But on careful listening, there are telltale parts of the two songs I listened to that were, in my case, 100% accurate in discerning between FLAC and mp3.  

 

I've read about the experiment where people actually preferred lossy on a blind test.  I could see how that could be the case.  The lossy format sounds warmer and smoother.  FLAC has that slight shimmer on the cymbals and "tsshh" and "shh" sounds that could sound overly "digital" to people with revealing systems.  Maybe this is why people with expensive systems actually preferred lossy in that experiment.  In my cheap system, the highs aren't that great to begin with, so the extra shimmer adds rather than detracts from the music.  What I find surprising is that people can't tell the difference.  I think if you listen carefully the difference is obvious.  Which one is preferable is a different story.

post #2 of 23
Thread Starter 

Oops I just noticed there are a million threads on this.  Sorry haven't been on the forums in a while...  mods feel free to move or delete.

post #3 of 23

Do you think you could upload 30 second samples of the tunes in question please?

 

I'd like to see if I can repeat your results independently.

 

Perhaps others would too. Maybe even the LAME devs if you have unearthed problem samples.

post #4 of 23

Yes please I'd like to check them out as well, just dropbox them and PM us the link if you like, that way there is no issues.

beerchug.gif

post #5 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by dizzyorange View Post

To be honest I spent a good 10 minutes on the first A/B, but once I found certain parts of the song that were heavy in the before mentioned sounds, it was quite easy and quick to go through the 15 choices correctly.  

I think sometimes there can be subtle difference in bass, too, for people that are SQ bassheads who know how to listen for it.

But while I rip to flac, this is why I don't worry about using flac on my DAPs. If I don't "look" for the difference with a direct comparison, it's not enough that I notice it. The DAP, EQ I use, and the headphones make a far greater difference smily_headphones1.gif
post #6 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RonaldDumsfeld View Post

Do you think you could upload 30 second samples of the tunes in question please?

 

I'd like to see if I can repeat your results independently.

 

Perhaps others would too. Maybe even the LAME devs if you have unearthed problem samples.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TrollDragon View Post

Yes please I'd like to check them out as well, just dropbox them and PM us the link if you like, that way there is no issues.

beerchug.gif

 

Okay, here is a 40 second clip from one of the songs that I used: Vienna Teng - City Hall. One is FLAC and the other is VBR -v0 (not necessarily in that order). 

 

 
I used FLAC 1.21b and LAME 3.99.5.

Edited by dizzyorange - 8/8/13 at 12:31pm
post #7 of 23

Those are both .WAV files and, as far as I can tell, identical.

 

There is no need to disguise the file format. I have no wish to dispute your own published findings. I thank you for publishing them.

 

I want to see if I can do it too. With my own ears and equipment. As an interesting experiment. So I have no incentive to cheat.

 

I plan to compare the two samples in the Foobar2000 the ABX utility. So I won't know which is which when I do the test anyway.

post #8 of 23
Thread Starter 
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

sample_A is V0

sample_B is FLAC

 

^spoilers above.

 

Listen for her "ss" sounds, like when she sings "hilly seaside town". To me there is a shimmer or gloss on the FLAC file that's missing in the mp3.

post #9 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RonaldDumsfeld View Post

Those are both .WAV files

 

My assumption was that converting lossy to WAV doesn't change the sound.  But in case that's not true, here are the FLAC and mp3 files:

 

http://wikisend.com/download/110086/cityhall.flac

http://wikisend.com/download/218368/cityhall.mp3

post #10 of 23

thanks for posting the links!

 

was the v0 created from the flac directly?

 

converting to .wav will NOT change the sound, if anything resembling an ok encoder was used.  i will play with this tonite, i love a good ABX.  most of the time i can't tell anything above 160kbps from flac, but certain recordings and/or variations in the encoding can make the changes audible.  usually it's a level difference, often one file is unknowingly extremely slightly louder which can make a huge difference

post #11 of 23

Got it right! May have been a lucky guess i suppose... those tracks are really similar in terms of quality i think. If that mp3 is 320kb/s then that vs lossless is going to be tough to hear.


Edited by kchapdaily - 8/8/13 at 4:57pm
post #12 of 23

For fun, try converting the FLAC file to 320cbr and see what you think.

 

I would always rip to at least lossless at the native rate. You can always convert down but will have a good archive if you discover that you prefer lossless in a new situation.

post #13 of 23

Here is the file in Q.05 AAC try it as well, it's 400K smaller than the MP3 and has better quality.

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/29361323/City%20Hall.m4a

post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by ferday View Post

thanks for posting the links!

 

was the v0 created from the flac directly?

 

converting to .wav will NOT change the sound, if anything resembling an ok encoder was used.  i will play with this tonite, i love a good ABX.  most of the time i can't tell anything above 160kbps from flac, but certain recordings and/or variations in the encoding can make the changes audible.  usually it's a level difference, often one file is unknowingly extremely slightly louder which can make a huge difference

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kchapdaily View Post

Got it right! May have been a lucky guess i suppose... those tracks are really similar in terms of quality i think. If that mp3 is 320kb/s then that vs lossless is going to be tough to hear.

Omg yay me, I got it right after like 20 seconds! Verified this in Audacity with a Spectrum Analysis. 

 

 

Warning: Spoiler! Seriously DON'T look if you have NOT figured out which is which (Click to show)

Track B is the lossless, 

 
Track A is lossy, 
 
A spectral Analysis in Audacity shows compression on Track A, once you get above and around 20K, going into about 22K or so there is significantly less Saturation, which is evidence of compression, sound was removed. The nuances of Losless Highs are removed during compression, where as Track B retained that deep saturation that is evidence of the Lossless Highs, the audible difference in sound   
 
Sadly I deleted the tracks after pulling the spectrum up but, again it took me about 20 seconds and... there... was an almost instinctual kind of knowing... Track B just had the energy that lossy retains where as Track A did not, and ofc the Hard Data supported that claim! 
 
Pretty cool though :D, it's funny how much of listening is becoming instinctual for me. 
 

 

post #15 of 23

This is the very first test I've ever done like this; I did it with 3 devices:

 

PC (no soundcard, just the realtek thing from the motherboard) to Sony DP- GA500 (magical box thingy that takes a 7.1 input through 3.5mm cables and ouputs it as 2 channel) to XBA-3. I've tweaked the eq a bit, it's way too bassy with my XBA-3

Clip Zip with XBA-3. Default sound settings, no eq at all because I like it more this way.

PC (Nvidia GTX670) to a TV via HDMI and then, my Sony XBA-3. I don't even know if this thing has any settings XD. It's a pretty recent (a couple days) Win7 installations.

 

I like my Clip Zip the most, then the TV and then the magical Sony box thingy.

 

With the 1st setup, the A sample sounded nicer.

With the 2nd setup, I liked the B sample more

With the 3rd setup both sounded the same to me .-.

 

I'm satisfied with the results, because I know my ears aren't THAT bad, well, to be bad; and, they aren't THAT good either to make me cringe at slightly lower quality sound and whatnot :3

 

Thanks for the samples OP ^^


Edited by akaSM - 8/21/13 at 12:38am
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