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Is it worth getting really high-end headphones if your source is 320kbps audio files? - Page 18

post #256 of 289
Quote:
Originally Posted by pp312 View Post
 

 

Guess it depends what you're doing and how you're doing it. I mostly download MP3 files (usually 320) and store them in folders, then wait half the day while they transfer to a flash drive for use in a media player. I don't have USB3.  

 

Yes, it certainly does depend on the circumstances for each individual.

 

I use Google's streaming music subscription service with a catalog of nearly 20 millions songs that stream to any number of my devices at 320 kbps mp3.  They don't have everything I want, and I have uploaded my own music to fill in the gaps. This is great because both my own CD collection and the entire Google catalog are integrated perfectly together, complete with album art, artist information, or similar artist matching.  Any custom "radio station" I use based on a song, album, or genre pull from a list that includes any of my own uploaded songs.  It's awesome.

 

Google was transcoding my FLAC files that were being uploaded, and I had no idea which encoder was being used or what quality they were using.  I always preferred to rip the mp3 directly from the CD or convert from FLAC using  Lame and the highest quality settings.  These I had tested to make sure I could not hear a difference between the lossy and lossless versions.  I could not test what Google was transcoding in a proper ABX using Foobar.  However, I did notice that I was able to directly upload my own mp3 file, and Google did not transcode or otherwise mess with the file.

 

Because of this, I now rip a new CD to mp3 using Exact Audio Copy with the Lame encoder, put the CD away in storage, and then upload the mp3 files into Google Music.  I don't even bother archiving to FLAC anymore.  I still have the CDs if I need them for some unforeseen emergency, but now I don't have to manage storing and having a backup solution for 500 CDs that take up about 150 GBs of space. When these were in FLAC form, I was not able to use them the way I can use mp3 files.  I now have access to just about everything I could ever hope to listen to no matter where I am. 

 

FLAC files don't fit my needs at this time.  Too big, too slow to manage, and they don't seem to offer any benefit in sound quality in my experience.  To have access to all of my music all the time using FLAC is just not a practical solution for me now.

 

Here is a snap shot of a small segment of my Google album list.  You can see Beatle's Abbey Road and Tool's Aenima in this list, which are not included in Google's streaming service, but I have added these into my library.  This library follows me everywhere I go.  It sounds fantastic. 

 

post #257 of 289
Quote:
Originally Posted by sonitus mirus View Post
 

 

FLAC files don't fit my needs at this time.  Too big, too slow to manage, and they don't seem to offer any benefit in sound quality in my experience.  

 

This just about says it in a nutshell, as the thrust of the lossless argument has been: even if you can't hear a difference why not store in lossless anyway since storage is so cheap? Of course, if you can reliably hear a difference, and hear it under practical conditions, that's a different matter.  

post #258 of 289

I'm in a similar boat as I've been mulling this question as it relates to an upgrade.  I already have a Schiit Modi/Vali stack on my desk that I use with MrSpeakers Mad Dog but I've been mulling setting up a Bifrost and higher end amp in my listening room and getting a pair of Alpha Dogs.

 

BUT my music source is 100% digital, 100% lossy.  All my music is either purchased through iTunes or has been iTunes matched which means its all 256kbps AAC.  I fall into the camp of not being willing to maintain multiple libraries, or re-rip CDs, some of which I've ripped multiple times over the years to get where I'm at not to mention the fact that I probably now have as much music directly purchased vs. ripped so I don't own a higher quality version any way.  Actually I might have thrown my CDs out in the great purge of 2012 so there it is.

 

I think for me its a bit bigger.  I've been in the hi-fi hobby for a long time now and this is like my last real insecurity related to the hobby.  I have a system I really enjoy and I don't suffer the agonies of the hobby that I used to and that many still do.  I know what I like and I like what I have except when it comes to this one topic of having gone fully digital and not having an ecosystem that supports "high rez".

 

The other thing that comes into play for me is I don't listen to a lot of well recorded music.  I listen to pretty mainstream stuff and the general consensus is that its all pretty poorly mastered... e.g. is a high rez cut of Imagine Dragons going to offer any benefit?

 

If Apple would simply offer 24bit ALAC and allow people to update tracks like they did with iTunes Plus or whatever it was called.

post #259 of 289
I rip to lossless for storage on the computer, then to 320K MP3 for the car. It wasn't until I got the Shure SE425's that I was able to discern a difference between the two formats. Lesser headphones tend to blur out the diferences. WIth the 425's I heard that the stereo separation wasn't as good on the MP3, and the high frequencies were very slightly tamed. Both effects were very minimal and, in some cases, enhanced the enjoyment of the music. Tone and timber were the same, which is a good part of the reason for buying more expensive headphones. I disagree heartily with anyone who says that 320K MP3 does not deserve high end headphones.
post #260 of 289

What range of quality IEM's would be good for 320 kbps (Google Play All Access, Soundcloud, Digitally Imported) that gives me max bang for my buck but yet not overkill ($$$$ custom IEM's)?

post #261 of 289


My recommendation would be the RHA MA750 for a more balanced yet warmer sound, or B&W C5 Series 2 if you like a lot of bass.  Both should run well under $200.  The Shure SE215 is nice also, but I prefer the RHA at that price point.

post #262 of 289

Currently I'm using the earphones that came with my Samsung Galaxy S3 so I'm pretty sure anything in the $50 or more range will be a huge upgrade. I listen mostly to new age/classical/movie style music and dance/trance music with a little heavy metal every now and then. I'm looking to have the low's, high's, and mid range's well covered yet not have bass overkill, but do like my bass to be punchy. For some time now my desire has been to get triple armature IEM's (Westone, Shure, Ultimate Ears, etc...) but since I don't plan on using FLAC or a headphone amp I'm thinking I'm really just wasting my money and probably better off with a dynamic driver.

post #263 of 289

Is it worth it? Absolutely.

To be honest the difference between 320kbps and FLAC is miniscule at best most of the time. You can absolutely enjoy and hear the music the way it's meant to be heard with high-end headphones and 320kbps. 

post #264 of 289

Seconded. Original quality of the recording plays a far greater part than 320 v. FLAC. Too many recordings simply don't deserve or warrant lossless.

post #265 of 289
Quote:
Originally Posted by pp312 View Post
 

Seconded. Original quality of the recording plays a far greater part than 320 v. FLAC. Too many recordings simply don't deserve or warrant lossless.

Yeah, I agree.

 

I have many well recorded 320 kbps MP3 files that sound wonderful on the HD800.....I also have some Flac files, that sound, well, not very good, as the music is just not recorded very well.

post #266 of 289

I wouldn't touch a mp3. Flac, Sacd, PCM, or DSD or go home.

post #267 of 289
Quote:
Originally Posted by pp312 View Post
 

Seconded. Original quality of the recording plays a far greater part than 320 v. FLAC. Too many recordings simply don't deserve or warrant lossless.


Yep, same experience here. For a lot of recordings there is no way anyone can hear a difference - then there are these beautiful exceptions ;-)

post #268 of 289
Quote:
Originally Posted by wafflezz View Post
 

Is it worth it? Absolutely.

To be honest the difference between 320kbps and FLAC is miniscule at best most of the time. You can absolutely enjoy and hear the music the way it's meant to be heard with high-end headphones and 320kbps. 

 

In the end, it really depends on the listener's abilities and needs, along with her gear.

 

The OP's question is just not suited for a universally applicable answer.

post #269 of 289
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shure or bust View Post
 

I wouldn't touch a mp3. Flac, Sacd, PCM, or DSD or go home.

 

And the reason for that is....?

post #270 of 289
Quote:
Originally Posted by Koolpep View Post
 


Yep, same experience here. For a lot of recordings there is no way anyone can hear a difference - then there are these beautiful exceptions ;-)

 

So you're extrapolating from your own inability to hear a difference; thus you say "for a lot of recordings there's no way anyone can hear a difference".

That's hundreds of millions of people you're talking about - some, just some, might have more sensitive ears than you do. :cool: 

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