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64 vs. 128 vs/ 256 MP3 listening test in Cognitive Daily

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by steve999, Sep 10, 2008.
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  1. sonitus mirus
    I went through a period where I exhaustively tested lossy (lame mp3 vbr -0 and cbr 320) vs lossless. I would even purchase HD tracks in FLAC format and use SoX to convert the file to lossy and than convert the lossy back to the same bit depth and sample rate of the FLAC file to ABX.

    Every time I tried, I was unable to identify a difference. There were several times where I would be listening to an MP3 or streamed song and swear there was an anomaly or glitch that was different. If I didn't already own the CD to rip, I'd purchase the CD. I did this probably a couple of dozen times, and still nothing. I performed well over 100 ABX trials.

    It was only after passing the Philips Golden Ear Challenge that I felt comfortable that my hearing was not just deplorable. I even have a verifiable Foobar ABX test in Sound Science somewhere that shows I was able to ABX the Tidal FLAC/ALAC with their AAC 320 version. In this forum thread, it was revealed that something in the way that Tidal was converting the AAC 320 files was creating a noticeable difference. I explained in my post that I was unable to reproduce the same difference when I converted the same song. I could not pass the ABX between my ripped FLAC, Tidal's streamed FLAC, or my converted AAC file. Only the Tidal AAC 320 file was different, and only for the 3 test files that were available on their website to demo. I don't know if this was an issue with the actual streaming files from their library of music.

    I even grabbed the Sammy David, Jr. - The Decca Years CD to see if I could hear what @bigshot was hearing at AAC 192. I didn't hear anything different, though I am not too familiar with Sammy's catalog.
  2. bigshot
    In order to hear the problems with the Sammy CD, you have to encode the album CBR at 96, 128, 192, 256 and 320. Then listen to the the 96 and you'll hear some nasty gurgling in some of the massed strings. Track that same spot through the other data rates and you'll hear the gurgling progressively diminish until it's transparent. If you start at 192, you wouldn't know where to listen. When you know what the artifact you're listening for sounds like and you know the spot it happens, you can focus in on it better.

    The artifact that pops up with the Sammy CD is the same sort of artifact that causes massed applause to gurgle. There used to be a site that broke down the different types of compression artifacts. I was using that to know what to look for when I was doing my codec tests. I don't think it's online any more. But like I said, this is a weird album. It isn't typical. You could certainly get by encoding everything AAC 192 or LAME 256. Every other album I tried worked fine at that data rate.

    That's the prime period of music for Sammy too. Great album.
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2018
    castleofargh and sonitus mirus like this.
  3. Steve999
    The Caps game is over. I won't say an more than that about that. I've been advised that the topic of the actual score is not permitted in the Sound Science forum. I guess because I can't ABX it.

    My Sammy Davis, Jr., CD, which apparently makes CBR MP3 CODECS gurgle according to Bigshot, is coming tomorrow.

    Very much in love with my Foobar2000. Can't get enough of it! I am anxious to get some more time with it and customize it. I think maybe I will rip with LAME just to stick it to Apple and The Man.

    By the way I have SonicTruths back on the TV calibration thing. Maybe for some kinds of high end TV the out of the box calibration is close (as it is for some enthusiast PC monitors), but I have seem some pretty garrish out of the box stuff, and I think it is so it grabs people's attention in the store. I have read that on TVs that the movie mode is closest to accurate. I just read it. That's all I've got. I read it. Okay? : )

    bfreedma likes this.
  4. castleofargh Contributor
    obviously @bfreedma hates knowledge, we have all the evidence we needed after he asked that people keep him ignorant. such a deplorable behavior for Sound Science. :deadhorse:
    I have no idea what it's about, but can I assume it's a sport that doesn't directly involve lossy codec? that "detail" could maybe make us forgive his action? this time! :wink:
    bfreedma likes this.
  5. TheSonicTruth
    You can't even call OOB(out of box) settings on a consumer TV 'calibration'. Not even close! The word itself means to be of a certain 'caliber', per certain established standards and reference patterns. Store mode, or Dynamic or Vivid, are programmed to do one thing: attract the eye and sell sets.(And by sell more sets that means replacing yours more often: those jacked up settings, plus maxxed out back light on LCD and LED, can actually shorten display life by a year or more). What you need in your viewing location is totally different.

    An anecdote: My father was pretty good at adjusting the old family TUBE by eye(calibration DVDs didn't exist in 1973 lol). As a kid though I never liked the picture compared to how it looked immediately after we plugged the new TV in and turned it on. To me Dads settings were soft and dull by comparison, but after a while I just got used to it. When I 'discovered' video calibration ten years ago, it reminded me of him. Now I know why we had only two color TVs in our living room over a span of thirty years - the correct(or close to correct) adjustments extended their tube life!

    And I can never sit in front of a TV with factory settings for more than a few minutes without having to get up and do something else! Thing hurts my eyes! lol
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2018
  6. bfreedma

    You've caught me. What can I say.... :hockey:

    I know hockey doesn't impact most of the audience here but the World Cup is upon us. I suspect posting those scores might not be very popular among a wider group of members so if nothing else, this is a reminder that many of us will probably be watching games after the fact.

    That said, all is forgiven as @Steve999 's Capitals knocked out the Penguins, so all is good. The enemy of my enemy is my friend!

    And with that, the sports segment of Sound Science is concluded.
    castleofargh likes this.
  7. bfreedma
    While video and audio comparisons don't usually work well, I'll go out on a limb and say audio volume and video brightness fall into the category of "humans generally perceive both to be better when comparing products". In Big Box retail and OOB when shipped to the customer, almost every TV is set to Vivid and whatever other torch mode sets brightness and contrast near the max. Movie mode usually adjusts these down and closer to proper calibration.

    I used to have my TVs professionally calibrated but find I can get 95% of the way there with a good calibration disk and reviewing other owners posted pro calibration settings for the same model. If I was building a single purpose home theater room or used a projector, I'd certainly go back to a pro cal.

    Sorry for the OT - if others are interested in video calibration, we can start a thread either hear or in Gear-Fi
    TheSonicTruth likes this.
  8. bigshot
    I had mine set up by a pro when I first had my projection system installed. But I'm a DIY kind of guy. Since then, I just got a disc and did it myself. Projectors might be different than monitors. Mine calibrates out almost exactly at the detents (just a slight nick down darker). Perhaps that's because projectors are generally used in pitch dark. Less variables.
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2018
  9. bfreedma
    The primary reason that I’d recommend pro calibration in a dedicated HT is the reduction in variables due to better if not total control of lighting. Room lighting varies significantly in the typical mixed use room home theater and I agree with you that using the Spears and Munsill or similar calibration disks and some personal dedication is more than good enough.

    I’m not sure if the accuracy of the presets is technology specific though. I’ve seen TVs/PJs/monitors where the presets were very good, and some that have been pretty ugly.
  10. Steve999
    In the spirit of argumentativeness and one-upsmanship, and all that is petty, I would like to point out to you that it is the Stanley Cup, not the World Cup. The World Cup involves a round ball on a grassy field, while the Stanley Cup involves fighting.

  11. Steve999
    I have in hand a used copy the Sammy Davis, Jr., CD, that Bigshot referenced, i.e., The DECCA years. Before I conduct my testing I am going to burn it in for three hours.

    I will be testing two assertions--first is Bigshot's assertion that this CD will cause codecs to seize up and gurgle like an old aquarium:

    The second is TheSonicTruth's swirly, metallic heads and tails assertion:
    as ardently defended by our kind moderator based on his own ABX tests:

    Over on the "testing completely false so-called audiophile myths and fake claims" thread, or whatever the pointless, leading, condescending, self congratulatory and utterly redundant name of that thread is, I am in the process of developing a methodology for testing an interesting assertion I have recently come across in that thread:
    This is the only assertion in that thread I can understand.

    Also there is an NBA finals game tomorrow. I will put up a post stating when the game is over and who the teams were, but I will not post the score because our kind moderator states that the final score to a sports event is a lossy artifact, and further has honored the request of his friend that his friend remain in ignorance on the basis that somehow his friend asking us to keep him ignorant means that we all have the evidence we needed. By the way, the NBA finals involves tall men on a wooden court with a round orange ball.

    I do sincerely apologize if I have taken anyone's assertions out of context.
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2018
  12. bigshot
    Have fun! Start at 96 Frauenhofer CBR so you can identify the problem spots, then go up from there. I could barely hear artifacting in the most problematic spots at Frauenhofer 320 CBR, LAME 256 CBR and AAC192 CBR (all stereo). It's the sound of the massed strings that has problems. I used iTunes to encode the Frau and AAC tracks.
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2018
  13. Steve999
    I was wondering what MP3 codec to use. Thanks. I am still trying to get my previous post to look right. I am not used to these newfangled forums.
  14. bfreedma
    In the spirit of clarifying something I thought was obvious, I was suggesting that many of our non US/Canadian members don’t care about the Stanley Cup but do care quite a bit about World Cup and probably wouldn’t be happy about spoilers.

    I wish I had know about the grassy field vs. fighting thing for the 4 decades I played hockey as a goalie. That probably explains a few of the bad goals...
  15. Steve999
    Sometimes it is necessary for me to take things out of context to make my point. : )
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2018
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