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Should the average Joe care about any of this?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Often after spraying a non-audiophile friend with an unchecked little blast of audio nerdery they'll say something like 'Lossless, 320, 128,... Honestly it doesn't matter to me, I can't tell the difference.'

I then insist that whether they're conscious of it or not it does make a difference to their enjoyment. Question is, can anybody point me to the research that shows that's true and to what extent and what kinds of distortion.
E.g. I noticed when I first tried listening to 128kb/s AAC files that philistine friends might send me that the key artifacts, unlike MP3 mimicked hard edged analog distortion and that on some rock tracks in particular it hyped it up, lending a bit more snap and boom to tracks than was originally there whilst smudging up the midrange. Very clever really but for most music I hated it nearly as much as mp3 at that bit rate smearing up the high end. However, I often wondered whether many people if given blind listening would in many cases prefer the distorted versions over the lossless original when listening on average crappy earphones or Pc speakers.

In short, is this a losing battle? Are we ever going to get high definition audio on disks as standard or are we going to keep sliding back to 1981 technology as a best case because it really does not matter to 95% of people?
post #2 of 20

I really don't want to sound rude or impolite:

 

Short answer: No.

Short/Long answer: a lot of people can hear differences and cares about losing part of the music we're paying for. Compressed music is not optimal for backups either. If you don't care or don't hear the differences: good for you! You just saved a lot of money and time!

 

Following the same idea: does the average Joe needs a 4K TVs? or even HD?

You could write thousand reasons for the sake of an argument, but the main goal, which is watch TV or movies can be handled perfectly by every TV in America, don't you think?

 

Listen your music the way you want and don't pay attention to others :-)


Edited by squallkiercosa - 1/25/14 at 1:47pm
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
Hmmmm, as I said I *am* pretty audiophilic. What I'd like to know is if anyone knows of any research into what differences higher quality sound make to the average person's enjoyment of music that they may not even be aware of.
post #4 of 20

The average Joe is pretty much audiophobic. 

 

Edit: To be fair, as I stated in my profile, nobody needs special formats/gear/equipment to enjoy music. I was happy recording tapes from the radio when I was young and listening music my dad used to play on LP. 


Edited by squallkiercosa - 1/25/14 at 1:58pm
post #5 of 20

This sounds much like the subject matter of Sean Olive's research, posted here: http://seanolive.blogspot.com/2014/01/the-perception-and-measurement-of.html


The need for more data than what redbook can provide is questionable at very best.


Edited by briskly - 1/25/14 at 11:09am
post #6 of 20

All things being equal you should be able to tell the difference.  the 128 sounds pretty compressed meaning very little depth or layering within the frequency range versus 328 or even 256.

 

Whether you care about that difference is another story.

post #7 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by briskly View Post
 

This sounds much like the subject matter of Sean Olive's research, posted here: http://seanolive.blogspot.com/2014/01/the-perception-and-measurement-of.html


The need for more data than what redbook can provide is questionable at very best.


I don't believe that the op was even referring to higher resolution than redbook, rather the complaint appears to be about people not caring whether the source was a low bit rate lossy compression (mp3, aac) file versus a full CD quality lossless compression file (flac, Apple lossless). So if the majority of music consumers are happy with mp3/aac files, the op asks if there is any hope for high resolution audio ever making it into the mainstream. To which I ask: does it really make a difference if the latest American Idol winner's music (I'm using the term "music" very, very loosely) is presented in high resolution since high resolution trash is still trash.

post #8 of 20

Quote:

 if there is any hope for high resolution audio ever making it into the mainstream

It would be easier to draw a camel through the eye of a needle than getting the masses to repurchase all their favorite music only for a benefit that seems nigh irrelevant to human ears.

post #9 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by briskly View Post
 

It would be easier to draw a camel through the eye of a needle than getting the masses to repurchase all their favorite music only for a benefit that seems nigh irrelevant to human ears.


I pretty much agree except that the end of the sentence should read: "only for a benefit that seems nigh irrelevant to the vast majority of human ears."

 

Some human ears actually prefer redbook or higher resolution, lossessly compressed.

post #10 of 20
Quote:

In short, is this a losing battle? Are we ever going to get high definition audio on disks as standard or are we going to keep sliding back to 1981 technology as a best case because it really does not matter to 95% of people?

Meyer&Moran puts the number over 99% - psychoacoustics textbooks updated in 2006 don't include any evidence for higher than RedBook frequency limit being required for music

 

and modern psychoacoustic noise shaped dither gives real weighted S/N improvement and linearity below 16 bits to most CD releases for the past decade - TPF dither has been available since 1995 at least in HDCD
 

there are unreplicated hints that higher rez may be audible in the literature - but its not a accepted "proven" proposition by any means

 

 

and lossey codecs are a moving target - a decade ago mp3 128k was readily audible to most with normal hearing who cared to listen closely, and mp3 quality scaled poorly with increased bit rate - today better tunings, more recent codecs do much better


Edited by jcx - 1/26/14 at 2:53pm
post #11 of 20

I don't think you can make some people notice (certainly not care about) sound quality. Just can't. They have rocks for brains or something. 

I remember when I was younger, I'd walk past the TV section of Sears with my parents when we went to the mall. I'd say, "This TV has a greenish tinge, this TV has a reddish tinge." They would say "Looks the same to me. How can you even tell?"

post #12 of 20
post #13 of 20

[rant]

 

If your definition of an average Joe is someone who can't even differentiate between 128 and 256 kbps, then there's no solution IMO. Sometimes I wonder if they're tone deaf as well. Worst, the earphones they use don't help either.

 

In my experience, some habits come together:

-- A playlist consisting of one off songs, not organized into albums or anything else.

-- Varying bitrates.

-- Shuffle mode always on.

-- Bad audio equipment.

-- Bad taste in music.

 

Being bad in technology and science is a lifestyle, and audio is just one aspect of it all.

 

In addition, being musically inclined is also a part of being a good listener. If one cares about their music, one will care about the aspects of it, and sound is one of them.

 

Its part art, part science.

 

The art is in the what, the science in the how.

 

Don't care about the what, don't know about the how.

 

The only thing I haven't added to the mix above is money. Add 'lots of money' and you'll have the average Joe buying ultra expensive voodoo that doesn't even make any difference.

 

Its like the domain of audio and its science is completely bypassed when it comes to these guys.

 

So, my proposition is this. The average Joe doesn't even care about music. If you care about music, should you care about the average Joe?

 

(And before anyone comments on concerts, NO, going to pop concerts is not 'caring' about music. There's nothing pleasurable about getting your ears blown to bits)

 

[/rant]


Edited by proton007 - 1/26/14 at 7:28pm
post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adamantish View Post



I then insist that whether they're conscious of it or not it does make a difference to their enjoyment. Question is, can anybody point me to the research that shows that's true and to what extent and what kinds of distortion.
 

 

Where did you come up with that rubbish? 

 

If you want to delude yourself I don't have any problem with that.  But logging on to a internet forum asking for strangers to provide you with some sort of scientific data that you can use to proselytize your views is narcissism at its finest.

post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by cswann1 View Post
 

 

Where did you come up with that rubbish? 

 

If you want to delude yourself I don't have any problem with that.  But logging on to a internet forum asking for strangers to provide you with some sort of scientific data that you can use to proselytize your views is narcissism at its finest.

 

What he uses his views for is his own business. You're a stranger as well, giving unwanted advice.


Edited by proton007 - 1/26/14 at 9:34pm
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