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192 kbs and 320 kbs, is there really a difference?

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by clincher09, Sep 3, 2008.
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  1. Brooko Contributor
    Actually he does know what he's talking about Nicholars. Lame has got to the point that at 256 kbps and above it's pretty much transparent at this stage (there are a few "killer" tracks that will defeat the encoder - but these are few and far between).  aac is even better - at aac256 it is definitely transparent. If encoded properly without introducing encoding artifacts.  The idea that you can easily tell suggests that:
    [a] Last time you tested was years ago with an inferior encoder
    You are not being entirely honest
    [c[ You are not human
    **please note - I am not being derogatory here - I'm merely stating fact as we know it within tested human limitations**
    The problem with saying "I don't need to test myself" is that actually you do.  Here's a how to - http://www.head-fi.org/t/655879/setting-up-an-abx-test-simple-guide-to-ripping-tagging-transcoding.  The software is free.  All it costs is time.  As humans, we need to remove as much bias as we can - so that means unsighted, volume matched.  Fortunately the link I've listed gets you started.
    Of course you are free to state that there is no need for you to do it, and that you can easily tell. But your in Sound Science, and we equally have the right to ask for proof.
    If you want a real laugh - go and make those claims over at hydrogenaudio. The replies would be interesting ......
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  2. RRod
    He probably agrees with what many of the rest of us are thinking: either you have the most super ears in the world, or you're not doing a legitimate comparison. The actual differences (that is, the subtraction of the two waveforms) between 320 and FLAC are almost always well below the RMS of the music, which means differences will be at best subtle and only detectable in the most pathological situations. So when you say 320 is "decent", which indicates an obvious difference in sound quality you're hearing on a wide variety of tracks, it sounds fishy.
  3. nicholars
    I did say that 320 and FLAC I probably would not be able to A/B, and that 256 is *ok*.. but definately anything under that sounds significantly worse. Maybe a lot of my lower bitrate Mp3's are just badly encoded...
    But then hydrogen audio objectivists say that all dacs sound the same... Which is certainly not the case
  4. RRod
    You said: "FLAC does sound noticeably better than 320kbps most of the time with good recordings, using more expensive headphones the differences become a lot more obvious". So how does it sound "noticeably better" if you don't think you could ABX it? And the differences between well-implemented DACs should be even finer than the difference between FLAC and 320.
  5. Brooko Contributor

    They actually say that similarly spec'd DACs sound the same when implemented properly. In controlled tests (again volume matched with someone else doing the switching) I'm inclined to agee with them. Once the level of resolution exceeds our human ability to discern difference (ie beyond our audible thresholds), then claimed differences usually turn out to be placebo related. At least in my experience that is the case.
  6. nicholars
    Well it just seems to sound better, maybe I am imagining it, maybe it does, I don't know exactly other than FLAC just seems to sound better than 320kbpsmost of the time, but not "night and day"... But as I said 320kbps is fine as well and maybe it is more the quality of the encoding on some Mp3's.... Some 320kbps seem to sound as good as FLAC, some don't... I was mainly saying that 192 or 128 sounds a lot worse, I already said 320 is good and 256 is ok, also you edited my post to make it look different to what I actually said.... Also what you said about DAC's is not true... Anyway I don't want to waste any more time discussing it so lets leave it at that.
  7. RRod
    I copy-pasted a whole, self-contained clause from your post, so I wouldn't call that editing. Also what you said about DAC's is not true [​IMG]
  8. nicholars
    Ok well I am happy with my setup and enjoy listening to flacs or 320kbps so I see no problem here, maybe my initial posts were not worded very well... but anyway we are all in agreement that 320 sounds good, lower than 256 doesn't so that's great.... personally I find FLAC's usually sound better, maybe I am imagining it or maybe it is badly encoded MP3 I don't know. DAC's can make a pretty big difference to the sound tbh, I had the same skeptical "objectivist" opinion on dacs until I tried a load of DAC's and A/B them and found quite obvious differences, especially the D1050 I got recently is very obviously better than anything else I was using before it.
  9. RRod
    Well we'll leave it at that and saunter off to our respective drinking environments.
  10. Mambosenior

    There are people posting here first...and THEN drinking?!?! Really? (Who let'em in without a breathlizer test to prove they have properly partaken of the juices BEFORE posting?)

    (Ahem) moderators, please take note.
  11. DiscoProJoe
    Back in early 2000 when I got the MP3-encoder program AudioCatalyst 2.0 (which was a couple months after getting my first CD burner / ripper), I ripped some songs from some CDs and played around with the encoder. While living in the U.S., I used to have a room stereo system with Dolby/analog 5-speaker surround and a 15" passive subwoofer.  If I played it in "straight stereo" through the two main channels only (with the passive subwoofer running off them), and without any surround effects, I couldn't notice any difference between 160 kbps MP3, and the WAV files ripped from the original CDs.
    But if I turned on the 4-channel (or 5-channel) analog surround, I'd notice a slight "swishy" sound in the rear reverb speakers at 160 kbps.  So next, I tried encoding the songs at 192 kbps.  Lo and behold, I couldn't notice any "swishy" sound at all anywhere!  So I chose 192 kbps as my personal standard, which I've stuck with to this day.
    I spent three months in 2001 converting my whole CD collection to MP3 onto two sets of CD-Rs, and used MP3-CD players for the next several years until getting my 80 GB iPod Classic in 2008.  (At the beginning of 2015, I had the battery in it replaced and the circuit boards thoroughly cleaned, and it runs like a champ!)
    Anyway, after all these years I still use my old, trusty AudioCatalyst 2.0 program for encoding, since it's really fast, trustworthy, and I can't notice any difference in sound quality at my chosen bitrate.  When I download an MP3 at a bitrate higher than 192 that I'd like to add to my music collection, first I'll convert it to WAV (using a really old program called MP32WAV), then back to MP3...at 192 to match the rest of the collection. And this is still without any noticeable difference in sound quality to me.
    Two months ago when I visited my parents' house, and looked at the old CDs in my old closet in my old bedroom, I ripped the '80s pop song "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" by Starship to my laptop, and then plugged in my brand-new V-Moda M-100 headphones to it. I tried listening back and forth between the ripped WAV file and the 192 kbps MP3 file I'd had since 2001, and still,...no noticeable difference to me!
    I breathed a sigh of relief, knowing that I'd made the right choice many years earlier with my longtime chosen bitrate. [​IMG]
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  12. nicholars
    Why not just use 320kbps... Its not like hard drives or storage are expensive and I can definitely notice better sound from 320 vs 192...
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