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New test coming tonight. I will post a new thread for it.
I'll make an effort to look out for it .
The neat thing about testing against 128 kbps MP3 is that it is at a level where a sound quality difference can be (but not always) heard. It's at a quality level that is generally less than we'd put on a portable player but still representative of what you'll often hear from streaming audio services.
But bump the quality level up to around 200 kbps and better and it gets extremely difficult to hear. The high frequencies are not filtered out as much and the compression artifacts become much less audible. Suddenly the listening tests aren't quite as fun. At 128 kbps I can listen for things like a general loss of ambiance/air/space due to the cutting off of high frequencies and other factors. But at the higher bitrates that ambiance/air/space returns and you have to start listening for encoding artifacts like pre-ringing and other subtle things. No fun. Try as I may, I just can't hear subtle pre-ringing effects even on "killer" samples. My hearing just doesn't do it. Once the bitrate gets high enough for the ambiance/air/space to return to the music I find the MP3 encoding becomes transparent, effectively equal to lossless.
Edit: whoops, too late.
1_A = Lossless
1_B = Lossy
It was a very close call for me.
I was using my HD650s and I found it easier to just listen to the very end when they were drumming on their guitars. The lossless (B) seemed to give the thumps a very slightly fuller bass. I would probably need a little brighter headphones to be able to discern from the plucking of the guitar strings.
I am glad I came across this thread as I'd never heard of this song or these artists. I really enjoyed both the song and the quality of the recording, so I will be looking out for this album.
Woot! I love head-fi! Had no clue about the ABX in foobar till now - many thanks!
Def B is lossless-er
First had to listen to each version about 15 times each to get to know the characteristics of each track - then went on to the ABX
Used the passage 0:30 - 0:37 to judge my answer - 10/10 first try in foobar ABX. The echo is clearer, louder and crisper in this passage - though not blatantly. Took a bit o' concentration. Through the rest it was quite hard to tell which was which though
If I was only given a chance to listen to each track once, there's no way I would be able to tell
Yep, I managed to pick out the B file as of better quality without reading any comments prior, I really wanted to see if I was right. I knew that I would be though, I had a DMX song that was 128 kbit mp3 from a few years back and when I listened to the flac version of that song I could tell there was a difference. It's all still relatively subtle though.
The best part is this was on a set of Z-5500's with a 5 fan CPU case humming beside me...not as bad as you might think I'm 18 however.
Late to the party, I was initially not able to tell any difference, but after reading what people were saying about the first few seconds of the song, I narrowed in on that part and was able to get it 9 times out of 10. The analogy I would use is that the guitar in song B sounded like a better quality instrument: The first few notes sounded more lively and dynamic, the muted plucks that followed also sounded more realistic. Also, there is an "airiness" in song B, kind of like a breath that is coherent with the notes. In song A, this "air" is less coherent with the notes. Curious, I listened to other parts of the song and was able to pick out differences based on this "air" quality.
I used a K702 driven by a E7/E9, fed with a Dell XPS 13 notebook.
Oh this looks like fun!
Here, I'll give you two files if you wanna try. Both are WAV so it completely rules out file size bias.
I can just BARELY pick these myself, my equipment is entry-level stuff and my ears not so trained...
Edit: Better mirror
Song is Last of Days by A Fine Frenzy.
One is lossless, the other is mp3 165kbps VBR.
I can not really tell a difference, but my gut instinct says A is the lossless. Very hifi sounding track though, nice recording
Temporarily not available?
Sorry, Megaupload does that sometimes (it then usually gets back to normal moments later)...
Try these, hosted on the same site Crazy*Carl used:
Thanks for your effort! Now I got it, It's good for reference.
For the flac comparision files in OPs post I'd say B is lossless (or then both are the same in case the OP decided to be a bastard to fool people into thinking they can hear something they aren't ), haven't checked comments to see which is which so don't know about the answer, definitely not easy for this track if they really are of different quality. Usually I find picking out 192kbps vs 320kbps mp3 easier even. lol
This one was far easier to tell though and only needed a couple of secs listening, A is the better quality. The vocals reveals it best in my case. Much smoother in B and lacking "refinements". And this was just tested with my cheap XB500 & Audigy 2 ZS using kX Audio drivers and foobar2000 using Dolby Headphone setup but especially mids quality is great with a little EQing. ^^
OP is honest, there is indeed an MP3 and a FLAC in there. However, I have to agree, the song from OP is rather hard to determine which is the better one. And I had been looping it till I am hooked to it. MP3 or not, that's some good recording, perhaps I oughta get the CD!