or Connect
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › Are quality IEMs wasted on 192kbs MP3's?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Are quality IEMs wasted on 192kbs MP3's?

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
I have a pair of custom triple-driver IEMs on order. My iPhone carries tunes that I ripped to FLAC (my entire collection is on FLAC for my home audio system) and then converted to 192 kbs MP3s. Will I see considerable improvement over the stock iPhone headset at this compression level or do I need to give serious thought to some kind of system that will allow for less-compressed or even lossless music files?
post #2 of 34

192kbs MP3 is not great, and I think you can hear the limitations on IEMs that are detailed enough. Which is not to say the IEMs are wasted, they will just make issues more apparent.

 

Have you thought about encoding to AAC, which the iPhone also supports? @192kbps AAC should sound very close to source and certainly much better than MP3.

post #3 of 34
Thread Starter 
Would AAC be much better than MP3 at the same kbs rate? Would file sizes (the real issue) be about the same?
post #4 of 34

Yeah definitely, AAC is a newer and more sophisticated encoding than MP3.

 

And if it's around the same bitrate then the file will be around the same size, though you'd want to use a quality based encoding mode with AAC, so the actual bitrate will vary around the median.

post #5 of 34
Thread Starter 
So, I converted a few FLAC files to AAC just to test things out. I used the program Max, which I use to convert to MP3. The format setting is 3GP Audio (AAC) using a bitrate of 320 (variable) and quality of "Maximum.' The "Source" is Core Audio. The "Source" that I use for MP3 is "Built-In." I imported the files into iTunes to A/B alongside the existing MP3 files. First of all, the volume of the AAC versions is lower than the MP3, while when adjusted for the difference, there seems to be much less detail in the AAC songs. They are more muted. I feel like I must have done something wrong. Granted, I am listening on some cheap Sennheiser fold-up headphones, but I don't see any improvement in AAC over MP3; in fact, the opposite.
Edited by Kyle76 - 3/27/14 at 12:46pm
post #6 of 34

you converted from FLAC which is a lossless file to AAC which is a lossy file and you wonder why it doesnt sound as good?

post #7 of 34

320 kbps and above is better?

 

Where does one find FLAC? Aren't music sold through itunes and other services are 320 kbps?

post #8 of 34
Thread Starter 
The 192 kbs MP3 file sounds better than AAC or even an ALAC conversion that I tried.
post #9 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inear View Post

320 kbps and above is better?

Where does one find FLAC? Aren't music sold through itunes and other services are 320 kbps?

I converted CDs to FLAC.
post #10 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyle76 View Post
So, I converted a few FLAC files to AAC just to test things out. I used the program Max, which I use to convert to MP3. The format setting is 3GP Audio (AAC) using a bitrate of 320 (variable) and quality of "Maximum.' The "Source" is Core Audio. The "Source" that I use for MP3 is "Built-In." I imported the files into iTunes to A/B alongside the existing MP3 files. First of all, the volume of the AAC versions is lower than the MP3, while when adjusted for the difference, there seems to be much less detail in the AAC songs. They are more muted. I feel like I must have done something wrong. Granted, I am listening on some cheap Sennheiser fold-up headphones, but I don't see any improvement in AAC over MP3; in fact, the opposite.

 

It does sounds like something has gone wrong along the way. I'm not too familiar with the Max software unfortunately, so I can't tell you went wrong. I do my audio encodes with Foobar 2000 and Nero AAC encoder, and it works as expected. Have a read of the following wiki, it may help when selecting an encoder: http://wiki.hydrogenaudio.org/index.php?title=AAC_encoders

 

The other thing to consider is maybe your expectations are biasing your impressions. Might be worth trying some blind-testing software to account for the psychological variables :-)

 

But I can tell you that both the theory and popular belief in audio encoding circles says that AAC 192kbps should be >= quality wise with 320kbps mp3 or roundabout.


Edited by Bohdy - 3/27/14 at 5:46pm
post #11 of 34

How do 320 kbps MP3's compare to the 256 kbps AAC of iTunes?

post #12 of 34
I suggest that anyone interested in format comparisons do some googling on the topic. There is a lot of material out there already, and there is little reason to rehash it here.
post #13 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bohdy View Post

I suggest that anyone interested in format comparisons do some googling on the topic. There is a lot of material out there already, and there is little reason to rehash it here.

Except that this is a discussion forum where people can share their experience that might differ greatly from what one might find in a Google search.
post #14 of 34

I have always been told that 320 kpbs+ is where you get the best sound, with Flac being HD. I know Spotify only goes up 320 kpbs.

post #15 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyle76 View Post


Except that this is a discussion forum where people can share their experience that might differ greatly from what one might find in a Google search.

I just meant that this discussion has already been done to death on various forums around the internet.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Inear View Post
 

I have always been told that 320 kpbs+ is where you get the best sound, with Flac being HD. I know Spotify only goes up 320 kpbs.

 

320kps is the best quality you can get out of MP3 because it's the limit of the format, but that doesn't meant that other formats can't sound better at similar or lower bitrates because the use a more advanced encoding scheme.

 

It's a bit like XviD vs x264 in video encoding, where x264 will produce better quality video at the same bitrate because it use a smarter encoding.

 

Sorry I don't have a car analogy for you, but I'm sure there is one!

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › Are quality IEMs wasted on 192kbs MP3's?