64 kbps(wma) vs. variable bitrate on my Vision: M.
Mar 15, 2006 at 4:46 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 9

Lifesaburrito

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So you guys suggested I re-rip my music collection to MP3 160kbps or variable bitrate. I was using 64 kbps wma's on my old MP3 player, and I didn't really have a problem with it, using my Grado sr80s, blasphemer that I am.

Now, people have said I should use itunes or LAME to rip my music. Instead, I used the "Creative MediaSource Organizer" program that comes with the Vision. The thing that's funny about it, is the variable bitrate settings it has is from 1% quality to 100%, with no mention of an exact kbps rate. Unlike Itunes, and... probably unlike LAME.

On the Vision: M, with my Grado sr80s, I compared a few songs, one song being at wma 64kbps and the other being at "variable bitrate, 100% quality". Both the same song from the same album.

I BARELY noticed a difference. Once in awhile I felt that the variable bitrate one sounded more naturally, but usually I couldn't tell at all. If you had me listen to one, and than the other, I don't believe I would be able to tell a difference.

SO! A few possible reasons: My ears suck, or the Creative program sucks at making variable bitrate mp3s, or the grado sr80's aren't sensitive enough to show the difference, or some combination of the three. Keep in mind that I'm not using a portable amp.

Before I re-rip my entire music collection, I'm going to wait for my Etymotic er4ps to arrive, and see if it's worth it to do all that extra work... Otherwise, I'll just use my old 64kbps tracks, or maybe use another program to rip my CDs.

....Any ideas?
 
Mar 15, 2006 at 11:53 PM Post #2 of 9

skudmunky

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Wow, do NOT use those 64 kb/s tracks with the etys! Go download easy CD DA extractor or Exact Audio Encoder (EAC) and re rip to 192-320 kb/s with LAME, quality level 0 (highest) and I can pretty much gauranty you'll notice a difference.

Nice headphones you've got.


Oh, is it to late to be sorry for your wallet? Is it time for the funeral?
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Mar 16, 2006 at 4:51 AM Post #5 of 9

Lifesaburrito

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Ahh, after taking my second listen and comparison between the two qualities, the differences are becoming more apparent.

It's not that you can always hear one specific difference, although sometimes you can. It's more of a feel. The higher quality tracks sound fuller, more life like. The best way I can describe it is that the lower quality tracks seem flatter, more 2D, whereas the higher quality songs are 3D. As if it is a picture you could just walk into. Far more absorbing.
smily_headphones1.gif


Heh, better get ready for hours of re-ripping. ^_^
 
Mar 16, 2006 at 3:40 PM Post #6 of 9

ptaaty

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well I would say listen to anything with higher frequencies, and to decay.

I have always found cymbals/high hats, etc to be the first to be unbearable with low bit rates. YMMV, but I can't imagine someone not hearing that when they know at all what it is.
 
Mar 17, 2006 at 3:47 AM Post #7 of 9

PachmanP

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Any way you go you wanna use a vbr setting because the sound quality will be better for a given file size

And what sort of music are you encoding because badly recorded music might mean there's not much there to differentiate a 64kb/s over something else.(big maybe though)
 
Mar 17, 2006 at 5:31 AM Post #8 of 9

skudmunky

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Lifesaburrito
Ahh, after taking my second listen and comparison between the two qualities, the differences are becoming more apparent.

It's not that you can always hear one specific difference, although sometimes you can. It's more of a feel. The higher quality tracks sound fuller, more life like. The best way I can describe it is that the lower quality tracks seem flatter, more 2D, whereas the higher quality songs are 3D. As if it is a picture you could just walk into. Far more absorbing.
smily_headphones1.gif


Heh, better get ready for hours of re-ripping. ^_^




EXACTLY! +1 Head-Fi points for you!
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Mar 17, 2006 at 8:42 AM Post #9 of 9

Ruahrc

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I went through a similar thing a long time ago. I used to use 96kbps wma files but converted all of my audio to EAC ripped LAME encoded vbr with "-alt preset standard". I would say that it gives average bitrates in the 220-240 range. Keep in mind that although iTunes reports an average bitrate it is not encoded using the "average bit rate" logic, but rather uses true "variable bit rate".

I have been very happy with the results and I was never able to tell the difference between my new mp3s and the original CD's. I remember when I did it I spent some time reading some articles on what bitrates were necessary, and also did some experimenting with encoding a track in multiple bitrates to help me decide. That was a long time ago and I have since moved to the Mac platform- but there is a utility called iTunes LAME that will encode in iTunes with the LAME codec. I lose the top-end digital ripping of EAC but I can still encode in alt preset standard- keeping my music library standard.

I mention this because it might serve as a good starting point for you. Like you, I own the Ety ER-4P headphones. I do not have an amp and my only source is a 2G iPod (and powerbook laptop) but at this point my ears are probably not capable of appreciating higher end sources. Anyways also I found that even with lower end headphones (Koss KSC-35) I was able to begin to "hear" the better quality in higher bitrates, and like others have said it is usually most obvious in the high end (cymbals, etc).

Anyways hope this helps, and enjoy the new headphones. I would recommend re-ripping your files into a higher bitrate format- your equipment certainly allows you to learn to appreciate the differences, and you will find yourself being able to pick out the differences as time goes by. It was really rewarding for me, and I found myself enjoying the listening experience more. The only downside was that if I was really listening for audio quality- I could not relax... for example, I had to try not to listen deep into the audio if I was trying to fall asleep to music or else I would just not get tired hehe. It was too engaging.

Ruahrc
 

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