All you highly critical listeners, teach me your ways.
Apr 27, 2006 at 3:54 AM Post #31 of 46

nikongod

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stuff to listen for:
rise and fall of notes: do they sound like a real instrument? always long and rolly, or sometimes long and sometimes short, or is the note just there and gone?

cymbals AND tube distortion in music that has them. do they sound like a distorting amp at a live show?

do the sinstruments that you KNOW are one part move around? do the cymbals come fromt eh same place as the drums? does the saxaphone drift from front to back? does the guitar sound like its in the singers lap, or in his mouth?

stuff like that can be heard on some albums....
 
Apr 27, 2006 at 3:58 AM Post #32 of 46

Anarchy965

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Quote:

Originally Posted by granodemostasa
Same here...when A/Bing an amplifier i tend to listen to just one insurment's tone and see how that changes...i could usually tell.
When A/Bing different formats i tend to listen more to the detail/clarity of the ambient noise (especially if the performance has an audience).



Yeah thats how I usually monitor my LAME .mp3's and my ripped .wav's.
Quote:

Originally Posted by nikongod
do the sinstruments that you KNOW are one part move around? do the cymbals come fromt eh same place as the drums? does the saxaphone drift from front to back? does the guitar sound like its in the singers lap, or in his mouth?

stuff like that can be heard on some albums....



Hmm... I never tried looking for that. Very good point.

btw, much thanks to OP for asking about a few things I've wondered about from time to time.
 
Apr 27, 2006 at 4:17 AM Post #33 of 46

Uncle Erik

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Well, lots of technical discussion here.

However, you don't need an intimate knowledge of codecs and bitrates to acquire an ear for music. That's the wrong way to go about this.

What you should do is learn how to play an instrument. Doesn't matter which one, and you don't have to buy anything expensive. Like guitar? Then go get one. Drums, clarinet, accordion, dulcimer, whatever appeals to you. If you're in school, join the band. Most band directors will happily teach you to play to get you in their band. There are a lot of other ways to tackle this. When you learn to tune and play an instrument, your ear will improve.

Take a music appreciation class, if you can. That will teach you what to listen for and what is important. It's not what gear you have and it's not the method of playback. You'll begin to understand the building blocks of music and how things should sound together.

Finally, go listen to as much live music as you can. Plenty of it is free or low cost- you don't need to spend $80 on a big-ticket rock concert. A free baroque ensemble at the community college is good, too. Once you get used to playing, understanding and listening to music, your ear will change for the better.

Maybe you'll hear the difference between encoding algorythms, maybe not. But you will know what sounds accurate and what doesn't. And the more you understand about music, the more deeply you will enjoy it.
 
Apr 27, 2006 at 4:27 AM Post #34 of 46

Aryolkary

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Uncle Erik
Well, lots of technical discussion here.

However, you don't need an intimate knowledge of codecs and bitrates to acquire an ear for music. That's the wrong way to go about this.

What you should do is learn how to play an instrument. Doesn't matter which one, and you don't have to buy anything expensive. Like guitar? Then go get one. Drums, clarinet, accordion, dulcimer, whatever appeals to you. If you're in school, join the band. Most band directors will happily teach you to play to get you in their band. There are a lot of other ways to tackle this. When you learn to tune and play an instrument, your ear will improve.

Take a music appreciation class, if you can. That will teach you what to listen for and what is important. It's not what gear you have and it's not the method of playback. You'll begin to understand the building blocks of music and how things should sound together.

Finally, go listen to as much live music as you can. Plenty of it is free or low cost- you don't need to spend $80 on a big-ticket rock concert. A free baroque ensemble at the community college is good, too. Once you get used to playing, understanding and listening to music, your ear will change for the better.

Maybe you'll hear the difference between encoding algorythms, maybe not. But you will know what sounds accurate and what doesn't. And the more you understand about music, the more deeply you will enjoy it.



Good piece of advice. However Uncle Erik, you missed the post where Mevyn comments about his playing the guitar and having his family being piano players.
I disagree about the need of understanding the music in order to enjoy it more deeply. Maybe you didn't mean it's a need. Whatever the case, (I don't mean to argue the opposite) what's important is to be able to perceive the essence of what is being perceived
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This means, perception with complete awareness. One can hear all the instruments melodies, layers, timbre, etc, without one having to think about it, or the need of having studied about it. Just complete attention.
I rarely listen to music like this, since it's really difficult. One's constantly thinking this and that. As it's well known and said, the most important factor of the chain is the listener's ears (brain actually)!
 
Apr 27, 2006 at 5:07 AM Post #35 of 46

creyc

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Guys, you can't merely dispel the fact that 192/256/320 kbps mp3's sound different than WAVs simply because you don't hear the difference.

I've tested it repeatedly, in blind tests using ambiguously named files on an iPod, not exactly the most high performance source and yet there are subtle differences one cannot merely ignore. If you can't hear these great, count yourself lucky. You're wallet may be spared.
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Apr 27, 2006 at 5:20 AM Post #36 of 46

Wmcmanus

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Quote:

Originally Posted by tola555
1. find quiet place
2. make yourself comfortable
3. close your eyes (important) or dim light
4. enjoy



Well said. I'd add a couple more.

5. don't worry about what others think or say
6. make your own decisions in life

Don't worry about what you hear or don't hear when making comparisons. Just do the comparisons and let your ears tell you. If you don't hear any differences, buy the cheaper item. It you do hear differences, well... then it becomes more complicated.
 
Apr 27, 2006 at 5:25 AM Post #37 of 46

teemi

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I'm not really picky about bitrates, but I've had to rerip certain opera albums. Maria Callas in particular can just totally show up compression. Mostly stuff will just seem sort of grainy and sludgy. Obviously don't try to look for this in such as Morphine, which has no highs and is naturally kind of sludgy.

I think that audio quality is usually more noticeable when it's worse than you're used to rather than better, so take a couple weeks listening only to very high quality sources -- with your shiny new heaphones -- and then go back to your lower bitrate mp3s and see if you notice a difference.
 
Apr 27, 2006 at 6:17 AM Post #38 of 46

Meyvn

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You see, the one thing I can't dismiss is the tie between two separate worlds here. Most people I know think it's absolutely ridiculous to spend the money that I do on this hobby despite the fact that I enjoy it, and they claim to/actually do not hear the difference. Then there's Head-Fi, most of which claims that they can tell a significant difference between even 192 Kbps and lossless, some who consider below a certain point "unlistenable." What I cannot wrap my head around is the possibility of placebo effect. The rest of the world, the non-audiophile world, tells me that this is ALL placebo effect. The audiophile world would tell me that NONE of it is. What I'm getting at is, I have to know. It's not that I'm being intimidated into saying lower bitrates are crap simply because you guys say they are. It's that one of you has to be right, or there at least has to be a balance, and I have to know, to give it a fair shot. While my actual preference for one headphone over another can be easily justified with the phrase, 'to MY ears,' the same does not apply to factual difference between bitrates. I simply cannot lean back and make a decision based on weak facts, or refuse to make a decision at all, and cop out. It's just not my style. I hope that makes sense.
 
Apr 27, 2006 at 6:30 AM Post #39 of 46

Aryolkary

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Meyvn
You see, the one thing I can't dismiss is the tie between two separate worlds here. Most people I know think it's absolutely ridiculous to spend the money that I do on this hobby despite the fact that I enjoy it, and they claim to/actually do not hear the difference. Then there's Head-Fi, most of which claims that they can tell a significant difference between even 192 Kbps and lossless, some who consider below a certain point "unlistenable." What I cannot wrap my head around is the possibility of placebo effect. The rest of the world, the non-audiophile world, tells me that this is ALL placebo effect. The audiophile world would tell me that NONE of it is. What I'm getting at is, I have to know. It's not that I'm being intimidated into saying lower bitrates are crap simply because you guys say they are. It's that one of you has to be right, or there at least has to be a balance, and I have to know, to give it a fair shot. While my actual preference for one headphone over another can be easily justified with the phrase, 'to MY ears,' the same does not apply to factual difference between bitrates. I simply cannot lean back and make a decision based on weak facts, or refuse to make a decision at all, and cop out. It's just not my style. I hope that makes sense.


Yeah, it makes sense. As recommended before, start comparing 128kpbs mp3 to lossless or wav, and then go comparing higher bitrates with lossless or wav. About "facts", have you seen the thread of "do you have golden ears" etc.? It's a thread with a link to a page, to do tests. How far would one detect distortion in some samples (which I think are lossy). Some folks made all the way to -45db, others only -12db, etc. That in the first attempt, maybe in the second it was a different result (my case for example). Also, have to consider the equipment used. What I mean is, facts are relative to perception.
You wanna hear the difference between 192kpbs and lossless? You will. Once you do it won't be that shocking... Music's still music. Anyway, I always recommend having the best quality available.
 
Apr 27, 2006 at 6:31 AM Post #40 of 46

Wmcmanus

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Ya, that makes perfect sense. Good luck with it. I don't envy you in terms of the pain that you're going to put your brain through in trying to figure this out once and for all.

One of the biggest problems that you'll have is in hearing subtle differences in short term A/B listening comparisons. It's nearly impossible, but that doesn't mean that they don't exist. It's similar to comparing the resolution of video using different DLP projectors. In the store, depending on the room lighting and so forth, the differences may be very subtle or nearly impossible to pick up in short term comparisons. Yet, if you were to take one of the projectors home and live with it for a month, then go back to the store to pick up the other one and live with it for a month, chances are you would be able to explain the differences quitle easily by the end of 2 months. You would then be able to quickly determine which of the 2 projectors were being played in the store in a blind test. I can't say for sure, but my guess is that if the 2 projectors are from the same company with identical specs in every way except that one does 1080P and the other does 720P, you would prefer the 1080P.
 
Apr 27, 2006 at 6:49 AM Post #41 of 46

donunus

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Mercuttio
You know, it totally depends on what encoded the audio in the first place. Some of the iTunes' store AAC files are actually quite nice.

If it's poorly recorded rock, or doesn't have much going on, then it's harder to tell the difference. If it's Orchestral stuff, you've got a lot of complex things going on and you need a higher bitrate or you start to lose stuff... you'll get that nasty compression artifact noise in the background.

If your system is good enough to give you the timbre of specific instruments / voices, then that's a good way of telling too. I don't like hearing the female voice (or higher tenor parts) compressed below 224 AAC, I start to lose the tactile feeling.



More complex to encode type of stuff with lots of fast transients are usually the stuff where a person can tell from the original right away. I first notice the loss of cymbal impact even at lame 3.97 320 compared to the cd. I submitted a sample to hydrogen before where I could get 7/7 in foobar abx between the 320 mp3 and the original wav. The overall feeling of the music will lose prat and excitement. Older and worse encoders like bladeenc will just make an audiophile stop listening to mp3s altogether even when encoding at the highest bitrates. ohh that bad underwating gargling and swooshing sound!!!Dontcha just luv it
 
Apr 27, 2006 at 6:50 AM Post #42 of 46

humanflyz

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But technically, mp3s are by definition different-sounding than lossless/CDs simply because it compresses. You are literally losing information, and the amount you lose depends on the bitrate. You don't need to figure this out because it is part of the mp3 specification. If there's any debate at all, it's a debate about whether that loss of information translates into perceptible, easily-testable auditory differences. And this is subjective, so I don't see what you would gain other than what people have said: whether you hear the difference and whether you are tolerant of the information loss is strictly a personal thing. So in the end, you end up where you started.
 
Apr 27, 2006 at 7:07 AM Post #43 of 46

donunus

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to be more specific, there is a sound that comes before that cymbal crash that doesnt exist in the original cd that is there even on the 320 mp3 of a trouble sample
 
Apr 27, 2006 at 2:28 PM Post #44 of 46

XFxGeforced

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Meyvn
Okay, so I'm one of those people whose ears are still in training. I cannot hear the difference between different bitrates in sound files, I can't say, 'oh, anything below 256 Kbps is crap.' Someone want to give me tips on finding the flaws? What am I missing? Anyone have good, specific examples of recordings and parts of recordings that easily exhibit these flaws? I know this sounds like a stupid request, because of the whole 'ignorance is bliss' mantra, but honestly, I won't rest until I know the truth.


with some files, they're just compressed so crappily that it's impossible to not notice imo. and like this .flac foreigner album i downloaded, it would just crash..i cant see how people screw it up so bad
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Apr 27, 2006 at 2:48 PM Post #45 of 46

fewtch

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Quote:

Originally Posted by humanflyz
But technically, mp3s are by definition different-sounding than lossless/CDs simply because it compresses. You are literally losing information, and the amount you lose depends on the bitrate. You don't need to figure this out because it is part of the mp3 specification.


The goal of the MP3 format is to try to remove only *inaudible* information. Obviously it's flawed, but technically that's a reason to claim that a certain MP3 may not sound different than lossless.
 

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