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MP3 vs. FLAC - Page 2

post #16 of 27

Problem with 'blind test' and 'consistently' is to do more so with the equipment and listening environment.

 

 

I am into audio and have the good fortune to have a system which reveals the differences. It would be in the top 1-2% of stereos around the globe. When friends who previously were adamant that the difference was nil, listen to said files on this system, they nearly drop their jaw in the first few seconds. It is night and day obvious. Certain genres have greater payoffs/more overt in the difference (many instruments/orchestras for example).

 

Even before my teenage years it dawned on me how much 'bang for buck' headphone setups could get, vs performance 'high fidelity' gear, and think therefor that this forum would likely have an excellent spread of users, with varying setups, more likely for critical listening.

problem is on the internet, voice being free and easy to offer, and the masses, if elegant in their argument, can derail the truth (because THEY haven't experienced it).. Sure we can argue subjectiveness. We can argue about the variance in two people hearing..

 

 

We CAN argue..

 

 

Or we can accept the very real advantage that uncompressed offers with the only drawback being the space taken up.

 

I grew up with portable cd players, before CD wallets even. Carrying multiple discs was a pain.

 

Today, I have no problem carrying an 8GB portable player with uncompressed albums on it. It still holds more music than I will need before the battery drains out, and is smaller than a packet of tictacs.

 

I did explain that 1200+ cds ripped in a lossless compressed format filled around 300GBs, so I find it hard to understand what the problem is for reference storage.

 

but sure if some low capacity "i device" needs to have all the worlds music for wonderful random play, drop the last little bit of detail. No one

will care. No one will be listening critically to it.

 

 

In a world of compressed music playing through modern garbage AV receivers (some with digital restoration of the 'lost data'), sound files don't sound different to each other, in a meaningful way, anyway. Most people haven't really heard the music. A lot of amplifiers built before the late eighties introduction of the integrated circuit, offer a real bang for buck advantage offer setups now mostly designed for compressed movie soundtracks. Even running quality power amps and speakers off $1800 pricepoint audio visual receiver, back in the late nighties, hearing the difference between Dolby digital and dts was something to strain to hear. Improving that front end to flagship receiver, and wow, I'd take Dolby digital or dts through that (lossy formats) rather than dts master audio or the new highend formats through a crap $600 surround system. I hear so much more detail, beautifully nuanced on the better gear, even with the low bitrate version versions.

 

If you want actual feedback on how these things sound, get a top tier setup, setup properly (room acoustical control matters, positioning etc), play familiar tracks, and blind test away. You might finds these results worth a grain of salt, or better. Will it help you convince anyone or be worth the time? Anyhow I'd rather enjoy the music, so 'statistically' belong to the people who generally don't sell ourselves as top dogs or big shots, prefering to sit back and ENJOY the music.

 

writing on my phone, very hard to edit, but I use the term uncompressed here to represent lossless formats. I do use lossless compressed file formats to save 25%-50% of the storage space wherever possible (not all playback devices support all if these file formats).

post #17 of 27
Quote:
 

Problem with 'blind test' and 'consistently' is to do more so with the equipment and listening environment.

 

 

I am into audio and have the good fortune to have a system which reveals the differences. It would be in the top 1-2% of stereos around the globe. When friends who previously were adamant that the difference was nil, listen to said files on this system, they nearly drop their jaw in the first few seconds. It is night and day obvious. Certain genres have greater payoffs/more overt in the difference (many instruments/orchestras for example).

...

Certainly, the equipment and the listening environment are a key factor. I would love to try my blind test in you system! Would you be kind enough to do it for me? I am very interested in the results. Here are the links:

 

http://goo.gl/Xin6xthttp://goo.gl/Dfawrbhttp://goo.gl/dDYldg

 

I have quite a collection of countries in my data, but Australia is not in the list, yet!

post #18 of 27
Usually I think complex/dense music providing good examples of the differences. However, I have an easy example that most equipment would show differences between 320k and red book/lossless. I am embarassed to use this as an example. Let me start off by saying this is my wife's music, not mine. But try Miley Cyrus Party in the USA I both 320k and losses. I think you will hear some obvious differences for whatever reason. Maybe the mp3 encoder just hates Miley Cyrus. I know I find her more than a bit annoying and untalented.
post #19 of 27

Music mastering come first, and then the equipment come next if you have high fidelity music files.  If you have an ipod with ibuds for Britany Spears track, forget about flac.  

 

Id be more worried about quality of the the mastering.

post #20 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverEars View Post
 

Music mastering come first, and then the equipment come next if you have high fidelity music files.  If you have an ipod with ibuds for Britany Spears track, forget about flac.  

 

Id be more worried about quality of the the mastering.


I have a HD800 and I don't hear a single difference between MP3 320kbps and FLAC or other lossless format.

post #21 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Okamoto View Post


I have a HD800 and I don't hear a single difference between MP3 320kbps and FLAC or other lossless format.

Did you try my Miley Cyrus, party in the USA example?
post #22 of 27

Actually, as humans, we are hearing differences, because we are changing all times psychologically or in physiology... OK, if do not postulate this in level of absolute rule, even then it is easy to understand that even minimal changes of our real ear (inner or outer ear) is changing what we hear (some persons are more aware of those changes some are not). And its true too, that our tension in muscles connected to ear (or ear surroundings) is changing all the time, so actually we change ear (and ear channel) shape and position during listening... sure, it means that sample A or B are are not repeatedly same way different...

 

lossless audio track is really only bit-for-bit identical to its source if it's been decoded and processed correctly...

http://www.highdefdigest.com/news/show/Joshua_Zyber/High-Def_FAQ_Uncompressed_vs_Lossless_Audio/1233

 

But if to go onto normal 'mundane' level I can hear differences between lossless .Wav and .Mp3 (320 kbps) even when using just a primitive (and already old) mediaplayer Sony A818 with just Denon AH-D5000 (sure, all kind of EQ's and 'audio enhancers' not in use)... no need to compare separately with my other more higher end stuff. Differences are mostly in subtle details (decay, echo, transparency, 'attaca', etc.), just listen neutrally or relaxed, don't try to 'forcefully find' big differencies (don't 'look for', just 'let it happen/be')

post #23 of 27

These free download files are incredibly well recorded, and excellent material for the discussion in this thread.

 

http://www.soundliaison.com/all-our-products/179-formats-to-compare-wav-flac-cd-mp3

 

Quote:
 

Free Tracks Format Comparison

Here is a zip file containing samples of 2 tracks in 4 different formats.

A: 96/24 WAV
B: 96/24 FLAC
C: 16/44 WAV (CD)
D: 320kbps MP3

All the different formats have the same source file 96/24 WAV (Studio Master).

We used WAVELAB for the conversion.

When you compare the files start with the lowest resolution: D (MP3 320 kbps) and move on up through example C and B ending with A.

Be careful: If you start with A, and move down through B and C ending with D, your mind will remember the ''Blueprint'' of the higher resolution file, making it difficult to hear the difference even when finally listening to the MP3 file. Don't be frustrated if you can't hear a difference at first. Hearing is as individual as taste but hearing is also something which can be acquired, like the taste of good wine.

post #24 of 27

I do find the MP3 vs FLAC debate interesting. Maybe I am a biased audio snob but I think it is easy to hear the difference between 320k MP3 and FLAC. I have a good but not excessive stereo at home (Marantz NA7004, Consonance amp, Tannoy M2 speakers) and every time I have played someone two files back to back they pick the FLAC file as better. Even on my car stereo, admittedly giving it my full attention, you can hear the difference.

 

I do have some 24bit/96k FLAC files. I think there is a difference between them  and 16bit/44k (maybe it is the audio snob in me coming through) but doing it blind I can't tell which one is better.

post #25 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crashem View Post

Usually I think complex/dense music providing good examples of the differences. However, I have an easy example that most equipment would show differences between 320k and red book/lossless. I am embarassed to use this as an example. Let me start off by saying this is my wife's music, not mine. But try Miley Cyrus Party in the USA I both 320k and losses. I think you will hear some obvious differences for whatever reason. Maybe the mp3 encoder just hates Miley Cyrus. I know I find her more than a bit annoying and untalented.

There's no need to be embarrassed. Music is music. I always want to be careful not to become an audio snob or music snob.

 

I also have the HD800s and while I have not done extensive testing abxing FLAC vs 320kbps MP3, I can't really tell a difference. But I don't really care that much, I have my songs in FLAC because storage space is cheap on a desktop computer and I don't take my music on the go.


Edited by Dark_wizzie - 7/24/14 at 4:19am
post #26 of 27
Listening to my He-500, I thought flac had a bit more treble extention and overall transparency towards the original recording than 320 mp3.
post #27 of 27
Quote:
 

When you compare the files start with the lowest resolution: D (MP3 320 kbps) and move on up through example C and B ending with A.

Be careful: If you start with A, and move down through B and C ending with D, your mind will remember the ''Blueprint'' of the higher resolution file, making it difficult to hear the difference even when finally listening to the MP3 file. Don't be frustrated if you can't hear a difference at first. Hearing is as individual as taste but hearing is also something which can be acquired, like the taste of good wine.

http://www.soundliaison.com/all-our-products/179-formats-to-compare-wav-flac-cd-mp3

I have noticed that the ''blueprint'' statement from the Sound Liaison people has caused quite a heated debate on other forums, good to see that on this thread/debate everyone stays calm.

I also think that hearing differs between people and that hearing can be improved by......... listening.

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