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Are quality IEMs wasted on 192kbs MP3's?
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.
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.
Edited by Kyle76 - 3/27/14 at 12:46pm
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
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.
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!