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Is it worth getting really high-end headphones if your source is 320kbps audio files? - Page 3

post #31 of 257
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyman392 View Post
 

 

What stream are you using?  Are you paying for it?  If you're going free, the best stream you can get is 128 kbps which is crappy quality at best.  If you're paying for it, iTunes Radio and Spotify up you to 256 and 320 respectively. 

The best free one I've found is RDIO, but I don't know what kbps they stream at.

post #32 of 257

Rdio is 192 for premium, but I honestly can't a/b a difference between that and the 320 on Spotify or Rdio. I will say that Spotify seems quieter than its counterparts almost universally, but I'm not exactly sure if that's just a thing on my end or not. 


Edited by SomeGuyDude - 3/17/14 at 11:43am
post #33 of 257
Quote:
Originally Posted by zazex View Post
 

 

IMO, 320K files don't merit headphones in that category.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pp312 View Post
 

 

Is that 'in your opinion' or 'in your experience'? Can you honestly say that 320 MP3 so seriously impacts on sound quality that top grade phones will not reap sufficient benefits to justify their price (if indeed their price can ever be justified). Because even if you claim the latter, you're really only claiming it for yourself. What might bother you about 320 MP3 might pass unnoticed by someone else, leaving the benefit of a better headphone entirely unimpeded.

 

And leaving your comment not entirely helpful.

 

I wrote, intentionally, "IMO" right at the beginning of my post.

But I also think one's opinion should reasonably include one's experience and knowledge.

 

Of course good 320K LAME encodings (a LAME encoder is not an MP3 encoder, but that's

kind of moot here) can be enjoyed on higher quality headphones.  But they can be enjoyed

just as much on lesser quality headphones as well.  Those seeking the top experience in

audio playback would still do best listening to lossless files, because ultimately,  even at

320kbs, an MP3 is still based upon psychoacoustic trickery. 

 

Hydrogenaudio, for one, notes that "lossy formats like MP3 are designed to save space by changing

the audio in subtle, often imperceptible ways, even at the encoder's maximum settings."

 

No matter how good an MP3 file gets, it is what is is: an ersatz rendering at best.

post #34 of 257

Like someone else said, it's like RAW image formats. It doesn't warrant the extra storage space whatsoever. I can almsot guarantee you that if I swapped out your lossless for 256kbps without you knowing you wouldn't realize what had happened for a while (if at all). 

post #35 of 257

At the risk of coming off as incredibly presumptuous, I consider my desktop headphone setup to be world-class (not HD 800/HE-6/LCD-3 world-class but rather HE90/MDR-R10 world-class) and I still consider the difference above lesser headphones to be worthwhile for me on even 192Kbps MP3s, let alone 320Kbps or even V0. Indeed the source file is a bottleneck but it doesn't fully compromise the incremental merits of an incredible transducer.

 

That said, it would not make sense to limit yourself at least as far as desktop listening is concerned -- with storage cheaper than ever nowadays (even SSDs), it would make sense to go with lossless wherever available to liberate threat of bottlenecks at the source-file-level beyond reasonable doubt.

 

On-the-go I tend to use V0 and even files as low as 192Kbps and I'm alright with it. Compromises are made when necessary (my smartphone only has 80GB of capacity).


Edited by 3X0 - 3/17/14 at 12:38pm
post #36 of 257

The only reason I'm really pushing on 320 and lower is that I don't want people thinking streaming services that offer high bitrates are somehow "lesser" than ripping all of your own music lossless. Not true. Maybe if you have truly, truly world class equipment you'll feel a need for that level of fidelity but outside of people like the above poster I'm not convinced.

 

And heck, I can tell a serious difference between my meager setup and cheaper arrangements just using TuneIn radio which streams at like 64. 

post #37 of 257
Quote:
Originally Posted by SomeGuyDude View Post
 

The only reason I'm really pushing on 320 and lower is that I don't want people thinking streaming services that offer high bitrates are somehow "lesser" than ripping all of your own music lossless. Not true. Maybe if you have truly, truly world class equipment you'll feel a need for that level of fidelity but outside of people like the above poster I'm not convinced.

 

And heck, I can tell a serious difference between my meager setup and cheaper arrangements just using TuneIn radio which streams at like 64. 

 

But they are "lesser" - even by their very definition.

If you (and others) don't feel you need or want lossless files, that's OK -

but it's not a reason to maintain that (even 320kbs) lossy files

are the equal of lossless files, because they're not.

post #38 of 257
Quote:
Originally Posted by zazex View Post
 

 

But they are "lesser" - even by their very definition.

If you (and others) don't feel you need or want lossless files, that's OK -

but it's not a reason to maintain that (even 320kbs) lossy files

are the equal of lossless files, because they're not.

 

They are not "mathematically" equal, but again it's like arguing screen resolution. Some people want a phone with a 4K resolution even though the human eye can't differentiate pixels at that level. The iPhone 5s has a dpi of about 310, the Galaxy S4 around 440. They are not "equal" but the extra dots in the S4 don't actually add anything useful. Same deal here. It's a "lossy" format but your ears simply can't tell. Saying your audio HAS to be lossless is the same deal. All you're gaining is the knowledge that it's lossless, you're not experiencing anything extra.

post #39 of 257
Quote:
Originally Posted by SomeGuyDude View Post
 

 

They are not "mathematically" equal, but again it's like arguing screen resolution. Some people want a phone with a 4K resolution even though the human eye can't differentiate pixels at that level. The iPhone 5s has a dpi of about 310, the Galaxy S4 around 440. They are not "equal" but the extra dots in the S4 don't actually add anything useful. Same deal here. It's a "lossy" format but your ears simply can't tell. Saying your audio HAS to be lossless is the same deal. All you're gaining is the knowledge that it's lossless, you're not experiencing anything extra.

 

I think that now we're speaking the same language.

 

 

I've never said, and would not say, that one's audio HAS to be lossless.

That's completely their choice.  I do think it should be an informed choice,

but that's up to them as well.

 

 

(And as for what one gains with lossless files over lossy files, if anything,

that's a different [although related] discussion...I'd rather leave it for another 

time...)

post #40 of 257
Quote:
Originally Posted by SomeGuyDude View Post
 

 

They are not "mathematically" equal, but again it's like arguing screen resolution. Some people want a phone with a 4K resolution even though the human eye can't differentiate pixels at that level. The iPhone 5s has a dpi of about 310, the Galaxy S4 around 440. They are not "equal" but the extra dots in the S4 don't actually add anything useful. Same deal here. It's a "lossy" format but your ears simply can't tell. Saying your audio HAS to be lossless is the same deal. All you're gaining is the knowledge that it's lossless, you're not experiencing anything extra.

 

I don't think that's right. A more appropriate analogy would be if the GS4's extra 130ppi was made of white/black dots that add nothing to the screen experience.

 

Get yourself a hex editor and open up a few of those 170mb songs.

post #41 of 257

I only listen to lossless files sampled up to 2600 bit rate with my diamond audioquest cable. 320kbps is for plebs.

 

Seriously though you should do a double blind test between 320kbps and any rate of flac file. Some people can tell the difference but they are the rarity. Here is a thread for more info on how to do the double blind: http://www.head-fi.org/t/666065/trying-to-hear-the-difference-between-320-mp3-vs-flac-16-24-bit-44-1-88-2.

post #42 of 257
Quote:
Originally Posted by zazex View Post
 

 

Hydrogenaudio, for one, notes that "lossy formats like MP3 are designed to save space by changing

the audio in subtle, often imperceptible ways, even at the encoder's maximum settings."

 

No matter how good an MP3 file gets, it is what is is: an ersatz rendering at best.

 

The only point is, not what's being done but can you hear it--and further, can you hear it consistently whilst being engrossed (assuming you are ever engrossed) in the music. IOW, is it interfering with your perception of the music.

 

Notice I don't say 'enjoyment' of the music, because I believe that can happen even when your perception is unmpeded, simply from the knowledge that somethig is being changed and 'lost'. Some people just can't bear the idea even when they can't actually quantify any degredation. We went through all this with minidisc. By the time of Atrac R even many golden ears had to admit they couldn't hear a difference between source and copy, but still they insisted on uncompressed minidisc, which eventually came but too late. An idea killed minidisc, not its performance. And that same idea is now attacking MP3.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 3X0 View Post
 

 

That said, it would not make sense to limit yourself at least as far as desktop listening is concerned -- with storage cheaper than ever nowadays (even SSDs), it would make sense to go with lossless wherever available to liberate threat of bottlenecks at the source-file-level beyond reasonable doubt.

 

 

Storage may be cheap but it's still a pain to transfer large files to USBs etc. Large files are just a pain, period.

post #43 of 257
Quote:
Originally Posted by eke2k6 View Post
 

 

I don't think that's right. A more appropriate analogy would be if the GS4's extra 130ppi was made of white/black dots that add nothing to the screen experience.

 

Get yourself a hex editor and open up a few of those 170mb songs.

 

PROTIP: if you have to open up a hex editor to see the difference, then the difference probably isn't that significant. ;)

 

192 is fine for most applications, 256 is my favorite (but no streaming services do that), and 320 is as hi-def as anyone will ever need. Keeping all of your files in lossless is like keeping all of your photos and videos in RAW. It does nothing but make you feel better. Pure placebo.

post #44 of 257
Quote:
Originally Posted by pp312 View Post
 

Notice I don't say 'enjoyment' of the music, because I believe that can happen even when your perception is unmpeded, simply from the knowledge that somethig is being changed and 'lost'. Some people just can't bear the idea even when they can't actually quantify any degredation. We went through all this with minidisc. By the time of Atrac R even many golden ears had to admit they couldn't hear a difference between source and copy, but still they insisted on uncompressed minidisc, which eventually came but too late. An idea killed minidisc, not its performance. And that same idea is now attacking MP3.

 

Precisely. I've seen threads over the years where audiophiles had to begrudgingly admit they couldn't tell the difference between uncompressed and compressed files at 256 or lower. They keep lossless just for the psychological satisfaction of knowing that every little thing from the original recording is there, but the fact remains that at 320 it is, effectively, lossless. 192 is compressed, but only barely audible.

 

We're not talking 2000 MP3 encoding here people, the format is FAR more sophisticated than in days past. And that's not even acknowledging things like OGG, AAC, or Opus, the latter of which is transparent at CRAZY low bitrates. 

post #45 of 257
Quote:
Originally Posted by SomeGuyDude View Post
 

 

PROTIP: if you have to open up a hex editor to see the difference, then the difference probably isn't that significant. ;)

 

192 is fine for most applications, 256 is my favorite (but no streaming services do that), and 320 is as hi-def as anyone will ever need. Keeping all of your files in lossless is like keeping all of your photos and videos in RAW. It does nothing but make you feel better. Pure placebo.

 

256 is iTunes+, iTunes radio streams at that rate if you pay for iTunes Match (25/year).  320 streaming is offered by Spotify and Google. 

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