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Flac files on smartphone

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I am wondering if the galaxy note is possible to pull max out of flac files. I got galaxy note and purchased neutron music player (64bit) for android but when i play .flac files i am not rly satisfied i use mdr ma900 headphones and listening mostly to classical. When i play this files it always shows 16bit 44.1 khz. I am not rly into music science but does it mean that my galaxy note is ilimited to 16bits and i cant pull out max from flac files or its the file problem. Can u explain me how that "bits" functioning. Does every file and device have their "Bits" possibilities. For example if my song is 64 bit and my phone(or music player) can play 32 bit my phone will bug me. 
Can u explain that bit science to me considering i am newbie 
Tnx for the answers


Edited by markidjani - 2/4/14 at 9:14am
post #2 of 9

perhaps it's the smartphone

perhaps it's the headphone

or maybe it's your ears

 

while i don't understand the "bits" myself, i've never encountered any type of file type,format or bitrate that my phone hasn't played.

although i think if a teeny android phone could fully utilise a loseless file, we won't be needing high end sources with DACs and amps and all the other gadgets

post #3 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by markidjani View Post
 

I am wondering if the galaxy note is possible to pull max out of flac files. I got galaxy note and purchased neutron music player (64bit) for android but when i play .flac files i am not rly satisfied i use mdr ma900 headphones and listening mostly to classical. When i play this files it always shows 16bit 44.1 khz. I am not rly into music science but does it mean that my galaxy note is ilimited to 16bits and i cant pull out max from flac files or its the file problem. Can u explain me how that "bits" functioning. Does every file and device have their "Bits" possibilities. For example if my song is 64 bit and my phone(or music player) can play 32 bit my phone will bug me. 
Can u explain that bit science to me considering i am newbie 
Tnx for the answers

 

Just because the phone is capable of 24bit depth at 96khz,* or the audio player says "64 bit," does not mean you shouldn't see "16-bit 44.1khz" when playing your music files. These are very different things. First off, where did you get the FLAC files from? FLAC if ripped from a regular audio CD will be 16-bit/44.1khz, because that's the native bit depth and sampling rate of a redbook-standard CD. If you ripped an audiophile high-res CD at home, I'm not sure if it still comes out as 24-bit/96khz, or if the DVD drive on your computer can even read them, as I haven't tried doing that.

 

Now the Note3 is capable of high res playback, but that just means that the files you play - whatever uncompressed format it's on - has to be natively encoded with a 24-bit depth and has a 96khz sampling rate.* You can get high-resolution FLAC files from HDTracks - they have a lot of music that audiophile labels typically don't fuss around with, like metal.

 

NeutronMP's "64bit" rating has no relation to the files themselves - that refers only to its audio processing algorithm. This is like a home theater receiver having 24-bit/96khz DAC chips, but prior to that, has a 32-bit DSP chip that decodes the 5.1 or 7.1 signal for distribution to the DACs, as well as for applying time correction (or the ambiophonic and crossfeed effects on Neutron) and EQ. Similarly, some car audio receivers or processors use a 24bit DAC, but can't read actual 24-bit/whatever khz files, but they use a 24bit or 32bit DSP to apply crossovers (splitting the frequencies between each tweeter, midwoofer/midrange+midbass, and subwoofer.

 

Then there's upsampling and oversampling, where basically the audio program's bit depth can be increased as well as in the process of decoding it can be sampled at a rate much higher than its native sampling rate. I won't get into the technical mumbo-jumbo, but there's a discussion on the Science forums here.

 

----

 

Now, other concerns: from what I understand, the Note3 still uses an integrated audio chip similar to other smartphones and mainstream portable players. If that is correct, then the problem is that despite the fact that it can run high-res digital audio, the analog output stage after the DAC is still no different from other portable players. It's not simply about output power on its own, but how transparent and distortion-free that is. 5mW seems like a lot of power for example when your IEM has an efficiency rating of 121db at 1mW, but does it have enough current? Some speakers, headphones, and IEMs might have a low impedance to squeeze a lot of continuous power, but since that is only nominal, it actually swings lower or higher depending on the frequency, and if the amp driving it can't keep up, it will lack the dynamics of music (in other words, it still sounds dull and lifeless) even if it can get loud easily. Based on feedback on those headphones this might seem less likely, but I won't discount the possibility that it's still a factor. Note that I don't walk around with a portable player stacked and strapped onto a bunch of other gear, but I just chose an efficient IEM whose tonal qualities won't make any flaws in my S3 too obvious, although it does measure flat in response using a sinewave (which is nothing like real music anyway), so I'm not the sort to always just add one more thing to a system to make it sound better.

Similarly, a lot of DACs and CDPs can differ from each others sound despite using the same DAC chip all because some of them use output stages that deliberately color the sound. Also, related to what you might find on the Science forum regarding up/oversampling, sometimes a "better" DAC can be screwed around with in that fashion. I'm still using the USB DAC built into my Cantate.2, which uses a PCM2702 USB chip as a 16-bit/44.1khz DAC (in other DACs it's just an outdated USB receiver chip), and that's because I've compared it to a bunch of affordable CDPs that had resulted in the whole system having weird tonal qualities, like bass drums that in front of the vocalist or drums that go around my head. That would easily wow a bunch of people who might have never heard a real speaker system's soundstage, but personally what it simulates is Mr. Fantastic Reed Richards joining a band, and his limbs stretch out to hit drums positioned around the crowd - in other words, not realistic at all, because gamma radiation so far would kill people instead of mutating them.

 

 

 

*I didn't check, but it might be up to 192khz; other formats use 88khz, but just because a player uses 96khz or 192khz does not mean they can decode 88khz


Edited by ProtegeManiac - 2/4/14 at 6:25pm
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks for this great answer ProtegeManiac!  Despite the fact i couldnt understand some things it was very informative. I would like to ask u what do u think about getting some amp/dac (2in1) or myb separated for some reasonable price (150-200$). How much i would benefit from that or is there a better way to invest money to improve my sound. I have a feeling that the sound is deafened and kinda lifeless and shallow, and when i listen to some orchestra i have a feeling that some instruments sound is too low in volume compared to other and if i increase volume the other instruments are too loud. myb its normal i dont know :)


Edited by markidjani - 2/4/14 at 7:02pm
post #5 of 9

I can't be definite since I have not yet listened to the same headphones as yours, but an amp properly matched to a (more demanding) headphone will have more easily audible benefits to the sound, since they can do away with the transducers' demands like higher voltage or current. That said, a good headphone should still let DACs shine through. For example, my HD600 can get to deafening levels on my iPad, however "deafening" here isn't just loud but also distorted. On my Meier Cantate.2, I was listening at deafening levels without noticing precisely because it wasn't distorting - my brother tapped my shoulder and told me to set the headphones down on my keyboard. Sure enough it was like I had speakers on, except of course on a table they won't have the same stereo imaging. Still, even at relatively equal (as best as my ears can tell when I'm actually trying to) SPL range, the iPad sounds a little hollow on the midrange and yet sounds "dark" or "too warm," while the PRAT is a lot better on the amp as the iPad has a tendency to have decays that stretch into the attack of the other notes.*

 

At the same time, I did try out some CDPs with this amp and the Burson Soloist, and I preferred the Cantate's PCM2702 USB DAC over the Cambridge Audio Topaz and 651C (bass drum in front of the vocals), the Marantz CD6004 and NAD C545 ("out of the head" sound puts drums around my head, instead of in front and behind the other instruments), and even the Rega Apollo (too warm), so really it isn't the price.

 

If you really would consider getting other gear, I can't make any specific recommendation unless you have other details on what you want to achieve, and even then it's not 101% that I or anyone else can get it right.

 

 

 

 

 

*http://www.head-fi.org/t/220770/describing-sound-a-glossary

post #6 of 9
I would back-up a bit. What do you mean by "i am not rly satisfied" - what does that mean, exactly? Is the bass too low? Does the treble not sparkle enough? Is the dynamic range (the difference between the softest and loudest parts of the song) too low?

If you take the same song, and listen to it from your PC instead of your phone, with the same headphones, does it sound different? I'm not prepared to automatically blame the song decoding - you have a lot of other moving parts in your system.

As far as 16 bit vs 24 bit encoding, that is simply the number of bits that are used to define the dynamic range - the volume of the softest signal and the volume of the loudest signal. It has nothing to do with the resolution of the music - it is how many bits define the maximum amplitude of the analog signal. This is one of the biggest misconceptions in digital audio. The reality is that there are good reasons why *recording* equipment should be as high a bit depth as they can get. There are NO good reasons why the *playback* equipment needs more than 16 bits. Human hearing can only withstand a fairly limited volume amplitude. We simply don't need the dynamic range represented by 24 or 32 bits - not even the "golden eared". The resolution (44K, 96K, etc) is considerably more complicated - and quite frankly, I'm not qualified to address it. Some day, I hope to understand it... cool.gif

For more on bit depth:
http://www.head-fi.org/t/415361/24bit-vs-16bit-the-myth-exploded
post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by billybob_jcv View Post

I would back-up a bit. What do you mean by "i am not rly satisfied" - what does that mean, exactly?

@markidjani, just to add - I took that phrase to mean that you didn't hear any difference between the Note3 and any other source, hence my point that the analogue output - for better or worse - has a lot more effect on the SQ than just bit depth. And yes click on the link billybob posted in there. I'd still try to get high-res files of my favorite albums myself even with marginal benefits, but that's also why I'm not rushing.


Edited by ProtegeManiac - 2/4/14 at 8:23pm
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 

its really hard to describe what i dont like couse english is not my native and knowing adjectives isnt my strenght eaven with the link u gave me i am not sure if that adjectives have the same meaning as if they were translated in my language some words doesnt eaven exist if u catch me. And i dont have musical education i just know what my ears likes and what dont... So i might be wrong if i am saying sound is not clear and some instruments are much louder then others and sometime i hear distortion and there is always like some noice (not like when u volume up speakers too much) buts its like a music is blurred like a notes are lasting too much, but myb i just expect too much i just dont rly enjoy listening music through it. If i can just add that this headphones doesnt give me much better sound then my last siberia v2 which i think wasnt eaven genuine since i payed it 35$ from China and plastic wasnt that good :)
I have tried just my pc but its old one and my phone sound better and its note1 not note3 

P.S. Great answers from u again :)


Edited by markidjani - 2/5/14 at 4:31am
post #9 of 9

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by markidjani View Post
 

its really hard to describe what i dont like couse english is not my native and knowing adjectives isnt my strenght eaven with the link u gave me i am not sure if that adjectives have the same meaning as if they were translated in my language some words doesnt eaven exist if u catch me.

 

OK, let me try a little bit, but of course some things may still be lost in translation...;)

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by markidjani View Post

 

sound is not clear

 

Usually the term would be to describe this as "veiled," like if you speak with a scarf over your mouth. It's not getting in the way of your mouth moving, but it gets in the way of the soundwaves, and cloth usually affects higher frequencies a lot more. Think of how a band starts playing while the theater curtain is still down, and that's a heavy cloth. Or how a terrorist might sound like in a video anonymously sent to Al Jazeera (or a ninja, except they didn't survive into the time when we have cameras) or BBC Singapore; in tv shows or movies, for the sake of people hearing the dialogue more than realism, they might have the actor speak into a mic and overlay that on the same scene, or wear a smaller microphone under the scarf.

 

In more severe cases the term used is "muffled," like someone is deliberately holding the scarf over your mouth, or you're too far from the theater curtain and so is the band.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by markidjani View Post
 

some instruments are much louder then others

 

This may or may not be a flaw. In some cases, some instruments are deliberately recorded at a lower gain, as they are in support of the other instruments in some passages - like on a power metal tracks, the whole time the band is playing you can see the keyboardist and bassist playing, but in the parts of the song where the guitar (or both guitars if they have two) are really shredding notes, it's harder to hear the bass, and sometimes the keyboard/synthesizer too, over the guitars and also the drums. In some cases it might be psychological - the engineer might have recorded them at only slightly lower gain, but the listener's brain focuses on the main instruments, which is how the brain works really (it doesn't "see" everything the eye sees, but sorts it out to be more comprehensible to the other parts of the brain). If it is a flaw of any sort, it would be attributable to extreme deviations in the frequency response of the system. For example, the HD600's graph shows a plateau in the upper bass to lower midrange. Usually it sounds "flat" in practice, as do my amp and DAC (on a sinewave, anyway), but when I hooked up a Cambrdige 651C CDplayer, the bass drum is a lot louder and is positioned* forward of the vocalist, and I suspect there is a further bump in the same region where the HD600 does, and makes it worse.

 

 

*On good headphones and speakers you can pick out a general location for where each sound is coming from

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by markidjani View Post

 

sometime i hear distortion and there is always like some noice (not like when u volume up speakers too much) buts its like a music is blurred like a notes are lasting too much

 

There are lots of types of distortion, which, broadly defined, is any deviation from the original signal. In that example two things may be happening simultaneously. First, at higher volume, the amp circuit on the smartphone is already producing distortion in the signal as it might be boosting the frequency response in some areas. The second possible problem is that the headphones you are using require a lot of current, and also voltage, that your smartphone's amp cannot provide, and one factor in an amp that can determine the PRAT is the amplifier's slew rate.

 

Similarly, aside from the amp's slew rate, the speaker or headphone driver may be having difficulty reproducing those notes, regardless of the amp. On a speaker for example the enclosure design can be such that you can squeeze low bass response out of a small midwoofer, like 40hz out of a 4" speaker, but at that point it may lose control and keep vibrating instead of stopping one note to start another, or you might be hearing echoes from the port on the enclosure that don't arrive at your ears at the same time. In cars that can come from the sound from each speaker arriving at different times, even with only microseconds between them, with the listener sitting off-center and the subwoofer way back in the trunk. This is less of a problem with headphones, and I wouldn't immediately suspect those Sonys, as I would give a bit of due credit to the reviews posted here, although I didn't seem to have read that any of them used it with a smartphone (I only read through the page quickly to get an idea how good those headphones are).

PRAT - pace, rhythm, attack, timing - in subjective terms, the system should produce a sound with a "groove" to it that you would tap your feet to or otherwise get you to "groove" with the music. Even metal tracks can produce such a pleasing "groove" if the notes sound "fast," without any pitch control applied (some playback devices can go faster than the actual playback time, ie each second of it can be reduced to 0.75 seconds to make it sound faster). Take for example the following tracks from Epica - pay particular attention to how the bass guitar and drums play. On a proper system the notes should attack (the strike on the drum or the pluck on the string) and decay (fade, like when one grabs the cymbals or puts a palm on the strings to stop the vibration of the strings) quickly, except here you have a quick succession of notes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DwMJggG-vs

 

And this track from Feist - it sounds "slow" on some amps, but when I switched out my NAD304, it sounds "fast."
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzCjBfdrGuM

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by markidjani View Post
 

but myb i just expect too much i just dont rly enjoy listening music through it.

 

If i can just add that this headphones doesnt give me much better sound then my last siberia v2 which i think wasn't even genuine since i payed it 35$ from China and plastic wasnt that good

 

Not expecting much out of playback, but you are expecting a bit much from the smartphone - which for one doesn't have the same slew rate as an amplifier with at least two capacitors* on each channel - and perhaps also for that smartphone to drive a headphone like that, even if it gets loud easily. Amps aren't all about power, like I said there's power then there's "clean" (undistorted) power, and then there's slew rate, among others.

 

 

* http://www.ultraaudio.com/features/pics/200801_secondo.jpg - see those red barrel-like things? Those (they're black in other amps). They store energy there and they recover much quicker than batteries, so when a loud note hits, the amp sucks it up, then in an instant, they're full, ready for the next note. Car audio people use huge caps for their subwoofers for the same reason, and even some hybrid cars are beginning to use capacitors instead of batteries. My Meier Cantate.2 has two smaller caps in each channel (they only produce around 500mW per channel), and my NAD304 has one in each (35watts per channel). BTW that slew rate can be a problem elsewhere, like how I used a cheap tube preamp before, and after I replaced the cheap ceramic caps with the Mundorfs that went on sale here, it sounded as fast as when I used the NAD.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by markidjani View Post
 

I have tried just my pc but its old one and my phone sound better and its note1 not note3

 

 

Well, there we go - the reason why you only see 16-bit/44.1khz is because the Note 1 isn't high-res compatible, even if you loaded true 24bit files in it (the Note 3 is though). However, refer to the details on my first post regarding the 64bit processor, and the link posted by billybob regarding the practical gains from high-res tracks vs redbook. Still, I still think the descriptions you gave have a lot more to do with the amplification mismatch than the bit depth.

 

Still, where did you get the FLAC files? Did you rip them off the CDs or did you download them off a torrent? (which means you won't really know how the seeder ripped them) While I think compressed audio would have less issue with the PRAT (less bass, less current required from the amp, less deep bass notes that would have a problem with the drivers), it's also good to have uqlity tracks to start with rather than guessing what hardware isn't performing well.

 

 

 

 

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