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320kbps Vs. ALAC

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by twilight dawn, Jun 24, 2012.
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  1. OJNeg
    Interesting. Personally, I like to set aside time to listen and I always listen to albums in their entirety. I haven't bothered to rip my whole CD collection yet, although it's not nearly as big as yours I imagine. I'm also one of those weird people who still holds on to a physical collection of CDs and LPs, so my turntable and CD player get quite a bit of use.
  2. bigshot

    I do that too.

    I have tens of thousands of records. As I play the, they get digitized and added to the server. Still no end in sight.
  3. soundstige
    Your collection is pretty gigantic, huh? I agree that AAC 256kbps would be transparent to just about everyone for almost all samples... but... it kind of sounds like you've undertaken such a huge endeavor that whatever way you've set up the conversion just HAS to be good enough now, even if there was a better option available. Heck, I would've used Musepack for a "lossy master" rather than AAC...
  4. wberghofer
    I had this impression already five days ago, as “bigshot” described in detail the setup of his experimental arrangement he used to prove himself what he already knew: that 256 kbps AAC would sound exactly the same as lossless.
  5. wberghofer
    Then your music listening habits (and probably also the kind of music you hear) are very different from mine. Also in my home there are three audio chains connected to Airport Express base stations, but a good part of the music I listen to requires a lot of attention. Though I really love music, I rarely use it as background filler; in fact, some music from my collection would be simply unbearable when used as background “muzak”. Also, in contrast to you, I don’t use random play; I prefer to listen to whole albums instead.
    I’ve been collecting music for more than 40 years, but under no circumstances I would be able to have several tens of thousands of records or CDs in my collection. Not because of limited hard disk space, but simply because the music I listen to has not been recorded in comparable amounts.
    Even when I was 14 years old, I preferred to own the few vinyl LPs I could afford instead of hundreds (or thousands) of compact cassette copies which were very popular amoung music collectors at this time. I think quality and quantity are countersubjects.
    Are you familiar with the slightly different meanings of the words “gourmet” and “gourmand”?
  6. bigshot
    There is more amazing music in the world than anyone could listen to in an entire lifetime... Classical, opera, country, Folk, bluegrass, R&B, Rock n' Roll, the Blues, Jazz, Latin, Swing, Pop Vocals, Easy Listening, international... It's a vast ocean that stretches further than the eye can see. There's 110 years of recorded music to draw upon..

    Music surrounds me for most of my waking life. One of the great joys of my collection is knowing that I haven't heard it all yet. My music server randomly pulls up wonderful surprises all the time.

    Having too much music would be like having too much life. It can't be done. If the amount of music you like is finite and small, your tastes are finite and small, not the music.
  7. bigshot
    By the way, when I rip, I always join tracks so things stay in logical chunks. All four movements of a symphony are one file. That way, I can randomize any way I want- by song or by album- and the music will always remain intact. It takes a little longer to rip this way, but it's well worth it.
  8. bigshot

    Oh no. You misunderstood me. I did those tests *before* I started ripping. I went through all that back in the VHS days, recording at EP, then rerecording everything at SP. i wanted to know *exactly* what the differences between codecs and bitrates were before I ripped a single CD.

    It took me about two days of work to make all the test files, set up the preamp and patches and balance all the levels. There's a good reason why most people talk through their hat about all this stuff. It's a LOT of work to do what you have to do to actually *know* and not depend on subjective reactions.

    I didn't want any compromise in sound quality. I wanted to find the smallest file that was still audibly transparent. I tested three types of MP3s in four bitrates, and the same for AAC. I tested them against both AIFF and ALAC. I carefully listened and compared all day working through the files systematically on both headphones and speakers before making my decision.

    I did the legwork to know the answer for sure, so I too am secure that I'll never have to go back and start ripping all over again.

    I'm happy to share my findings... MP3 LAME 320 was the winner for MP3 and AAC 256 VBR was the same. Both of those sounded identical to the original CD in a direct A/B line level matched comparison.
  9. OJNeg
    If I had a huge collection stored digitally, I would probably take a similar approach. Program it to play albums randomly instead of just tracks. Every time a new album comes on, it's a delightful surprise. Sounds like an awesome deal.
    I'm not a format queen to be honest. Vinyl, cassette, CD, lossless, lossy; they're all just a medium to listen to music. I'd have no problem listening to (high bitrate) lossy if that was the most convenient way to organize my collection.
  10. bigshot
    I'm totally sold on my music server. It took me longer than most to sign on to the concept, but now I can't wait to digitize all my records and CDs and box them up and clear the walls for books.
  11. soundstige
    Why not just take one step further and buy a Kindle and a scanner? Soon you can move into a single-bedroom efficiency, start raking in the dough! [​IMG]
  12. bigshot
    I wish! Unfortunately, my collection is mostly art books, and kindle and the apple book store don't do picture books good yet.
  13. autumnholy
    Just wanna say, why can't we accept the fact that some people can listen the difference between AAC and FLAC, and some can't?
    ABX is just a method (TOOL) to test whether using the few selected (sample) tracks, you can correctly match the files. BUT since you are gonna listen to so many songs, are you gonna be sure you can exactly (Can/Cannot) hear the difference between an AAC and a FLAC?
    To me personally, the rule of thumb is simple, it's better to put lossy files in any player with limited disk space. Why sacrifice the variety of songs just to pursue a sense of "completeness"? That's my motto. But since HDDs are cheap to come by these days, it's always satisfying to keep the FLAC.
    And when inaudibility and audibility are the concern, it all boils down to personal preference. Look, you don't need statistics to tell you who you are. You can do it, means you can, no matter how the rest of the people can't.
    2 cents + 5%GST. [​IMG]
  14. nanaholic
    I fully accept this is scientifically and biologically possible for some people to be able to tell, except in my experience most people who claims that they can hear the difference never actually did a proper ABX test with their equipment and just wants to be condescending about how crap my equipment is and/or how I don't have the "right" stuff (eg: I didn't spend $500 buck interconnect cables or power cables to be able to tell the difference), so I'm naturally skeptical from the beginning until they can show me they CAN actually do it.
    Like bigshot I've done my own ABX test using the foobar plugin and from the results (roughly ~40% correct, which is no better than a blind guess) I conclude that 320kbps mp3 lossy is good enough for me for everyday use when I just want to enjoy music rather than sitting there picking out flaws from the codec.  Not to mention I get full compatibility across numerous devices.
  15. autumnholy
    Yes, I do agree that while only some people can hear the difference, there are people who use this "expertise" (or con job) to put pressure on customers to make-believe that the customers can indeed "hear" the difference. When under duress, anything can be heard differently.
    Music should be fun and enjoyable, not an exam.
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