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What equipment would I need to hear the difference between a 320kbps file and a losless file like...

post #1 of 100
Thread Starter 

Hi, I'm somone that pretty much knows nothing about audio, but I have some questions.

 

I have cheap in ear headphones, sennheiser CX-300 II.(or these random cheap speakers a friend gave me on my birthday, I'm not even sure what they are but they were like 15 bucks and they sound worse). Sometimes I listen on my PC, sometimes on my android phone.

I wonder, what kind of equipment would I need to easily tell the difference between 320 kbps and lossless or uncompressed  Like, how much money would you need to spend?  

I have a lot of files lower than 320 kbps that sound fine to me, but maybe it's because I don't even really know what good quality is supposed to sound like since I have so little 320kbps files and never even tried  a lossless file since it's so big.

I should probably be able to tell the difference my ears are pretty good. the difference between uncompressed/losless avi video and a compressed h264 .mp4 video is extreme, so there must be a big difference in audio aswell right?

 

Also:

What exactly is treble?I noticed it on my phone's poweramp, in my opinion it sounds better all the way up on punk songs.  Turning up the bass sounds really annoying tough, I'm not sure why people are so obsessed over loud bass, it sounds annoying. When I look up what people think of certian headphones, the first thing I always read is ''the bass is so good'' , I really don't get that.

 

lastly, how does an equalizer in music software/apps work exactly? I always leave it alone, I'm not sure what to do with it.


Edited by Dylstew - 12/11/13 at 11:09am
post #2 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dylstew View Post
 

Hi, I'm someone that pretty much knows nothing about audio, but I have some questions.

 

I have cheap in ear headphones, sennheiser CX-300 II.(or these random cheap speakers a friend gave me on my birthday, I'm not even sure what they are but they were like 15 bucks and they sound worse). Sometimes I listen on my PC, sometimes on my android phone.

I wonder, what kind of equipment would I need to easily tell the difference between 320 kbps and lossless or uncompressed  Like, how much money would you need to spend?  

I have a lot of files lower than 320 kbps that sound fine to me, but maybe it's because I don't even really know what good quality is supposed to sound like since I have so little 320kbps files and never even tried  a lossless file since it's so big.

I should probably be able to tell the difference my ears are pretty good. the difference between uncompressed/losless avi video and a compressed h264 .mp4 video is extreme, so there must be a big difference in audio aswell right?

From my best understanding, 320k and lossless are close to the same audio quality.

Better just to find the best headphones you can for your budget.

I would assume you would have to spend a lot more cash, then you would be will to budget, 

on the source player, DAC, headphone amplifier and headphones, to make a worthwhile noticeable difference.

So just try to find the best headphones you can, that work with your PC and Android phone, for whatever your willing to budget.


Edited by PurpleAngel - 12/11/13 at 11:36am
post #3 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dylstew View Post
 

I should probably be able to tell the difference my ears are pretty good. the difference between uncompressed/losless avi video and a compressed h264 .mp4 video is extreme, so there must be a big difference in audio aswell right?

 

No, at higher bitrates like 320 kbps the differences usually vanish with MP3. Better codecs like AAC are considered transparent at even lower bitrates.

 

There are however some so-called "killer samples" that a particular codec has problems with. Those should be easily distinguishable even at high bitrates.

 

 

Quote:
 Also:

What exactly is treble?I noticed it on my phone's poweramp, in my opinion it sounds better all the way up on punk songs.  Turning up the bass sounds really annoying tough, I'm not sure why people are so obsessed over loud bass, it sounds annoying. When I look up what people think of certian headphones, the first thing I always read is ''the bass is so good'' , I really don't get that.

 

lastly, how does an equalizer in music software/apps work exactly? I always leave it alone, I'm not sure what to do with it.

Bass refers to low frequencies, treble to high frequencies, between that are mids.

 

An equalizer will boost or attenuate a frequency range by the amount you configure. If you increase treble then bass and mids will stay the same, but highs will be played louder.

post #4 of 100
Also, the compression ratios for videos is easily 10 times higher than with audio.

If you compressed CD audio with a ratio of 20 you'd get only 70 kbps ... and the differences would be very audible.
post #5 of 100

Better headphones will make a huge difference and you do not need to spend much. I use Grado SR-60i and compared to the iPod earphones its like night and day. However, you would need decent DAC and amplifier to take full benefit of your upgraded headphones. The amplifier matters only as loud as you would be listening to, but there is also the impedance of your headphones that may come into play (need to make sure they pair well). The better the amplifier, the less distorsion and more detail can be revealved, but I do not think that difference between 320kpbs and lossless could be heard unless using very high-end gear at high volume.

post #6 of 100
Treble refers to the way in which music is written.

Piano music is written on manuscript paper printed with sets of 5 lines in pairs, one above the other. The top set of 5 lines has a symbol at the beginning that looks kind of like a pound sign, it's called the treble or G clef (clef is the French for key) it enables you to decode the meanings of the lines and spaces. The whirly bit curls round the second line, or G.

The lower 5 lines start with a symbol called the bass or F clef, the 2 dots go either side of the F line. Both of these clefs are archaic script representations of the letters G & F.

The notes in the upper register (those above middle C, which resides on the unshown leger line between the 2 staves) are also called the treble.

There's also another clef, more rarely seen, called the C clef.

w
Edited by wakibaki - 12/13/13 at 8:08am
post #7 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dylstew View Post
 

I'm not sure why people are so obsessed over loud bass, it sounds annoying. When I look up what people think of certian headphones, the first thing I always read is ''the bass is so good'' , I really don't get that.

 

There's more to bass performance than just loudness. Many headphones are not able to reproduce the lowest frequencies with the same fidelity as the rest of the audible range. Apart of the low frequency roll off which to some degree may be corrected by an equalizer, the important properties include attack, decay, phase shift, perhaps more. These depend mostly on the mechanical properties of the membrane and cannot be easily adjusted.

If you're forming your view based on the performance of a set of cheap IEMs then indeed you may have an impression that bass is annoying. Try some good circumaural headphones and experience the difference.

post #8 of 100

UltimateMusicSnob, who used to post here occasionaly, claimed to be able to distinguish between 320MP3 and WAV with some samples.

 

Classical music with a large dynamic range. In this case Ravel. Not only that he went over to Hydrogen Audio and proved it. 

 

http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=102679&st=0

 

Amazingly he also reported that if you could do it at all you could do so using virtually any gear. Including $20 earbuds. There is an example in the linked thread.

 

It's got more to do with the particular sample, knowing what to listen for, experience and having exceptional hearing. The equipment appears to be secondary.

post #9 of 100

you need low extrenal noise - broadband noise like computer fans will interfere with high resolution listening

 

low frequency noise can be bad too because it strongly masks higher frequency low level sound - no humming fridge compressor motor noise please

 

 

well sealing, quality iem do give very good bass - just different in overall impression from loudspeaker room shaking, chest thumping bass


Edited by jcx - 12/13/13 at 7:52pm
post #10 of 100

A bat's ears would help a lot.

post #11 of 100
God bless Bigshot!
To the OP. It sounds to me like you are at that very happy stage in life where the music means far more to you than how it is reproduced. If you are enjoying your music don't give all this a second thought. smily_headphones1.gif
Edited by krismusic - 12/30/13 at 12:19pm
post #12 of 100

I'm lucky enough to both enjoy music AND be able to reproduce it well.

post #13 of 100
I meant my comment about enjoying music not worrying about reproduction to the OP.
Sorry I should have made that clear. Now fixed!
post #14 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by krismusic View Post

God bless Bigshot!
To the OP. It sounds to me like you are at that very happy stage in life where the music means far more to you than how it is reproduced. If you are enjoying your music don't give all this a second thought. smily_headphones1.gif

OP, this is what matters.

Leave headfi now, while you still can.

post #15 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by xnor View Post
 

There are however some so-called "killer samples" that a particular codec has problems with. Those should be easily distinguishable even at high bitrates.

 

 

Here's a link to a discussion on the positive ABX of 320kbps vs flac (lossless). In there you can find a link to download the samples should you desire to try them yourself.

 

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
At the end of that thread, it was found that the OP could no longer ABX the two using a newer lame encoder, so it is worth pointing out that not all 320kbps mp3 is created equally!

Cheers

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