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Are quality IEMs wasted on 192kbs MP3's? - Page 2

post #16 of 34
Thread Starter 
Bohdy, I understand your point, but I don't see what's wrong with discussing specific points of compression here. Heck, there are any number of threads with thousands of responses involving minute details of specific headphones. It's not like we're really into conserving bandwidth here.

Regarding my issue, the vast difference I hear between 192 MP3 and 320 AAC is when I play from iTunes on my MacBook Pro. When I load the tracks onto my iPhone, there doesn't seem to be much difference, certainly not nearly as dramatic as what I hear on the laptop. When I get my new headphones, I'll be able to do more critical analysis of the two formats to determine how much improvement, if any, I can detect in the higher bitrate. It's still curious that there is such a dramatic difference on my laptop but not on my phone.
post #17 of 34
AAC is no way better then mp3
Same sh## ...

Answer: you will realise how bad is the quality of your tracks and probably imediately redownload or recode everything
post #18 of 34

I know Pandora only has 64 kbps in the free version, I'm guessing no one here listens to it

post #19 of 34

64 kbps was no go even in 1997 when we had 1GB Harddrive

post #20 of 34

I can only get 192 kbps on WMP, and that's on a svelte computer, or it's 128 on mine. Providing you have a good DAP,  and it can synch with your IEM's- read Sony- then you will get bells and whistles. You'd think how to get more than 192 would be well and truly in the public domain, like the weather, but it ain't.

post #21 of 34
Buy some philips iem for 20-35 usd and be happy
post #22 of 34

Well, 192kbps mp3 would be having a bit flaw in it as some of the bitrate are lost. However, a 320kbps mp3 is not necessary to be better than 192kbps mp3. Basically its depending on the source. If you ripped the music straight from a CD in 320kbps, it would be definitely better than a 192kbps. However FLAC would be the best out of all. So its about the source where you ripped it out i suppose?

post #23 of 34
Omg
post #24 of 34

Quality IEMs will generally tend to have better frequency reproduction, spectrum balance, dynamics, and sometimes spatial properties and build and fit advantages to cheap IEMs. All are generally advantages regardless of what you are listening to.

 

Depending on the material 192Kbps MP3s might yield a pretty good result, in other instances the result will be noticeably different from the lossless version. Generally, unless the encoding is pretty bad, one might not immediately realize they are listening to an MP3. You may need direct comparison to the lossless version to pick out the differences and nuances that are caused by MP3 artifacts.

 

The analogy is having had a middle-of-the-road computer monitor for 5-6 years, 1680x1050 resolution, slightly washed out colors and dynamic range. Then getting a brand-new IPS 1920x1080 HD Panel.

Everything will look different, color calibration will change, skintones might improve and seem more realistic, You can better tell subtle brightness differences in the highlights.

 

However some JPEG-compressed images you have will still look pretty darn good, since they may be more easily compressed due to the nature of their composition. In this case the HD upgrade did yield a different presentation, but doesn't necessarily give you a tonne of new information.

 

While some other pictures with smooth gradients and subtle tones and hues will immediately betray their compression method by showing banding, aliasing and slight blockiness or smudginess. In this case your eyes will notice that patchy blue sky and you will ever so slightly cringe at how ****ty it looks. Then proceed to do a reverse google image search to find a version of it in .png format.

 

 

There will also be that rare instance where you find the full-quality version of something and you may notice annoying small details that weren't in the compressed version, like that slight ringing in the highest frequencies coming from a poor recording or some audio effect that is behaving badly and really shouldn't have been used at all if the sound recordist or mix engineer knew what they were doing. Sometimes the compressed version might actually be preferred over the lossless parent, despite being technically inferior, due to masking subjectively unwanted properties. Cinematographers for films and TV will often use diffusion filters in front of or behind the lens to intentionally soften the image, giving it a substantially less sharp and vivid look. In the long run though this can help with giving a relaxed presentation and not barraging your eyes with constant sharpness (take it too far though and it will make you feel like you want to start squinting in order to try and focus your eyes to see sharper, in which case it is taken too far in the other direction).

post #25 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by utmelidze View Post

AAC is no way better then mp3
Same sh## ...

Answer: you will realise how bad is the quality of your tracks and probably imediately redownload or recode everything

Actually - at low bit-rates, aac does show it's superiority over mp3 - but at higher bit rates both are virtually transparent to lossless.  Suggest you do some research over at hydrogenaudio - where claims have to be backed up by DBT (ABX).  Plenty of info over there.

 

You could also check this out - actual testing - http://tonerack.com/analysis-of-mp3-vs-aac-which-is-better-quality/

 

 

*************************************************************************

OP - real answer to your question is "it depends" - let me explain.

 

If your files are good masters (ie not brickwalled - 'loudness war'), and were encoded properly to minimise introduction of artifacts, chances are that they'll still sound pretty good - especially considering you're using this format on the go (so it's not going to be critical listening).

 

However - why not actually take the time and test yourself - then you know exactly what you can / cannot ascertain. All the software is free, and all it takes is time.  Link to the how-to:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/655879/setting-up-an-abx-test-simple-guide-to-ripping-tagging-transcoding

 

Once you've tested yourself - you'll know your own threshold.  This then:

[a] negates the need to ask the community here - given that a great many of them will have never conducted the abx tests themselves, and thus may be merely parroting what 'they've heard to be true'.

[b] will give you confidence to listen to your own files at whatever threshold bitrate works for you personally - and forget about format, and instead concentrate on enjoying the music

 

Hope this helps.

 

And finally - I see no issues with listening to your music on more expensive earphones at 192 kbps.  If the recordings are good - you're going to get far more enjoyment out of the more refined frequency response etc.

post #26 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brooko View Post
 

Actually - at low bit-rates, aac does show it's superiority over mp3 - but at higher bit rates both are virtually transparent to lossless.  Suggest you do some research over at hydrogenaudio - where claims have to be backed up by DBT (ABX).  Plenty of info over there.

 

You could also check this out - actual testing - http://tonerack.com/analysis-of-mp3-vs-aac-which-is-better-quality/

 

 

*************************************************************************

OP - real answer to your question is "it depends" - let me explain.

 

If your files are good masters (ie not brickwalled - 'loudness war'), and were encoded properly to minimise introduction of artifacts, chances are that they'll still sound pretty good - especially considering you're using this format on the go (so it's not going to be critical listening).

 

However - why not actually take the time and test yourself - then you know exactly what you can / cannot ascertain. All the software is free, and all it takes is time.  Link to the how-to:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/655879/setting-up-an-abx-test-simple-guide-to-ripping-tagging-transcoding

 

Once you've tested yourself - you'll know your own threshold.  This then:

[a] negates the need to ask the community here - given that a great many of them will have never conducted the abx tests themselves, and thus may be merely parroting what 'they've heard to be true'.

[b] will give you confidence to listen to your own files at whatever threshold bitrate works for you personally - and forget about format, and instead concentrate on enjoying the music

 

Hope this helps.

 

And finally - I see no issues with listening to your music on more expensive earphones at 192 kbps.  If the recordings are good - you're going to get far more enjoyment out of the more refined frequency response etc.

 

Hey Brooko, any suggestions for ABX testing on a mac? I did some quick testing using the free ABXTester app. Although I could always get 100% I was surprised by being able to more often than not pick the difference. I made the 320kbps MP3s using Max, I'm wondering if the issue is poor encoding?

post #27 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by redrich2000 View Post
 

 

Hey Brooko, any suggestions for ABX testing on a mac? I did some quick testing using the free ABXTester app. Although I could always get 100% I was surprised by being able to more often than not pick the difference. I made the 320kbps MP3s using Max, I'm wondering if the issue is poor encoding?

 

Sorry mate - I own iDevices, but haven't had the pleasure of owning a Mac yet.

 

I read the other thread you were in - and there are likely some faults with your testing:

  1. Did you volume match the two files before ABXing?  This is essential as even 0.5 dB is enough for us to be able to spot differences.  In fact one of the biggest issues of people trying to A/B files is that they don't volume match first.  Foobar allows this by applying replay gain.
  2. You have to run at least 10-15 tests for it to be a valid test.  The more the better.  I notice in the other thread you were only doing 5's.  And really speaking you want to have consistent results in the high 90's.
  3. It could be the encoding - but it's hard to say.  What you could do is post segments of the two files (in the sound science thread), and ask people to dbt them.  If there are transcoding artifacts, or if the volume isn't matched - they'll soon let you know :)

 

Any chance you can get access to a PC (or run foobar in Parallels maybe).  Then you can simply follow the links I left above.

post #28 of 34
In my exp 320kbps lame mp3 is fine. It is only in stillness of home when no one else is around that I can appreciate CDs and lossless. As my listening is 90% during commute am happy to rock the lossy files
post #29 of 34

I think the thread title phrasing should be reversed. The lower bit rate MP3 are okay, but instead it is the inferior nature of IEMs that exacerbate problems with the resulting sound.

post #30 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brooko View Post
 

 

Sorry mate - I own iDevices, but haven't had the pleasure of owning a Mac yet.

 

I read the other thread you were in - and there are likely some faults with your testing:

  1. Did you volume match the two files before ABXing?  This is essential as even 0.5 dB is enough for us to be able to spot differences.  In fact one of the biggest issues of people trying to A/B files is that they don't volume match first.  Foobar allows this by applying replay gain.
  2. You have to run at least 10-15 tests for it to be a valid test.  The more the better.  I notice in the other thread you were only doing 5's.  And really speaking you want to have consistent results in the high 90's.
  3. It could be the encoding - but it's hard to say.  What you could do is post segments of the two files (in the sound science thread), and ask people to dbt them.  If there are transcoding artifacts, or if the volume isn't matched - they'll soon let you know :)

 

Any chance you can get access to a PC (or run foobar in Parallels maybe).  Then you can simply follow the links I left above.

I'm pretty sure the app volume matches, they sounded identical volume-wise. The app limits you to 5 tests per run.

What are your thoughts on my impression that there was more space around the lossless version?

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