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FLAC vs. 320 Mp3

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by icedup, Sep 7, 2011.
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  1. MrLazyAnt
    Never mind this comment. This argument is pointless to me. I have answered the question I wanted answered, which was "Do I (personally) really need FLAC on my portaplayer?" And the answer was "no I don't".
    As to if I can make the difference between a FLAC and 320kbps mp3 consistetly or not, I believe so in case of professionally (and/or properly) produced tracks, otherwise no. Further testing will probably be done once I upgrade my sound system, but for the time-being, I have my answer, "I (again, personally) don't need to fill up my portaplayer with FLAC's, and can make do with mp3's"
  2. sonitus mirus
    My intention was not to argue.  I'm only attempting to seek clarity and discovery for myself.  While I do greatly appreciate your participation, you are posting comments in a public forum with a basic theme regarding the science of sound, but you are suggesting that your statements are more along the lines of a personal journal entry.   Again, this is not intended to be an attack.  I apologize for acting like a detective questioning a suspect.  I am just skeptical by nature and always seem to be asking the question, "why?".
    Enjoy the rest of your weekend. [​IMG] 
  3. MrLazyAnt
    You, My Good Man, Have Made a Point
    I have treated the forum rather more as personal journal than as a debate about the science of sound. For which I duly apologize to you and all head-fi users. So in summation of my current input to this thread, I have come to understand that mp3's don't deserve as bad a rap as they get. And with that I bid you all the best, and happy music listening.
  4. waynes world
    Subscribed. I recently ripped my library to 320kbps mp3's. Do I really need to re-rip my library to flac or not? This is the question. Hopefully after reading through this thread, I will be closer to an answer lol!
  5. bigshot
    The way to find that answer is to rip a FLAC and see if you can hear a difference. Five bucks says you can't. Particularly if you used a LAME encoder.
  6. waynes world
    Yes, I've done some of that. Ripped a few CD's to 320kbps mp3 using foobar2000 and LAME3.96r encoder and also to flac and switched between them. And so far, five bucks says you're right.
    I just downloaded this cool album in 320kbps mp3 and flac (for free I might add from awesome ektopazm), and again, so far you are not in danger of losing your five bucks:
    So at least for the moment, I don't feel a pressing need for flac, especially with the gear and the ears that I have now.
  7. bigshot
    Well if you ever get a bat's ears, it might be different.
  8. waynes world
    That's the problem... I have been thinking of upgrading... [​IMG]
  9. xnor
    It hurts to see crinkled headphone drivers. *sniff*
  10. rjohn
    No, unless you have good audio setups.
    320 sounds somewhat different, but only on $5000+ quality sound system.
    Or, you might need transcodes for your mobile devices and the storage is not large enough to hold 320s. Then you'd need to re-rip in FLAC, transcoding to V0 or V2.
  11. leogodoy

    it has nothing to do with the value of your equipment. Tell you what: lets DBT 320 kbps vs FLAC on your 5k+ equip and on my inexpensive setup, if most people find a difference you keep both + the value difference. Otherwise I keep both. :wink:
  12. bigshot
    I don't judge sound by price tags, but I will say that my system is the culmination of over 30 years of building and refinement. It sounds awesome. And my entire music library- over a year and a half's worth of music- is all at AAC 256 VBR and it sounds as good as it possibly can.
  13. Megaohmz
    I collect FLAC discographies of my favorite bands, with a good five digit discount of course, and I rip them into 320cbr all the time for listening on my PSP. I usually will remaster them to make the highs a bit brighter and try to make up for the lost "air" in the high end of the spectrum. This is just a bandaid for the loss of detail you get in the upper end of the sound spectrum. You of course get some noise artifacts that are not a part of the original recording, but is only audible at high volume during quiet parts. It sounds like robotic/machine type noise. You don't need expensive gear to hear subtleties in music, you just have to have the experience of "what to listen for".
  14. Dillan
    This is such a huge topic, I wish I had more time to read every post, but its too much. Honestly I have a lot of things to say about this topic, but my opinion is my opinion (so ill try to stick to the facts). Ill also try to keep this short and sweet.

    320 vs Flac

    Ok so let me say that this is such a broad thing to compare.. Here are some factors you have to consider when arguing JUST the "320 bitrate vs FLAC"

    First off how are you getting the files? Are you ripping them from a CD? What method are you using to rip them. Are you downloading them from random places on the net?

    I can tell a big difference in sound quality with certain songs and the biggest differences usually are not from this being flac and that being lossless mp3. You can't always look at the exact statistics on paper, because that isn't always set in stone. On paper FLAC should always sound better because it is "lossless" and the frequency range can go below 20 and above 20k hertz. Let me remind you guys that humans cant hear much more than or less than those numbers, if at all. Its just such a broad topic I could talk about it all night. My main point here is that it is very situational. I for one feel safer with my audio library, mostly consisting of FLAC. Why? Let me talk about that.

    I get a lot of my music from the internet, most of it actually. A person that prioritizes lossless music w/ thousands of songs versus someone that does the same thing, but with lossy MP3 files.. The person with the thousands of lossless will win everytime when it comes to quality. Not because every time you click one of his songs, the song is better because its FLAC, but because some of those songs might be 24/96 remastered (which by the way, my argument isnt that 24/96 or 24/192 is better because their higher rates, but because a lot of times those tracks are remastered and engineered to sound better than the original, or some of those are the actual original files before taken to cd or vinyl.) And some of those songs legitimately saved some bit of audible noise that the person with MP3 lost out on, no matter how insignificant. Because when it comes down to it, out of 10,000+ songs, I don't think anyone can disagree that its impossible for one tiny part of a song to be missing or disorient an audible piece of music, BECAUSE its an MP3 (LOSSLESS) file. You just can't argue with that. Now at the beginning of this paragraph I mentioned getting most of my files from the web, and yes that is sort of a gamble which reinforces my case. But honestly I feel the same can go for CD also, and ESPECIALLY for DVD and SACD. For me personally and my ears, I can't tell a difference in most songs between 320 and lossless. Its very hard to distinguish, most of the time impossible. When it comes to below 320, it gets a WHOLE lot easier, 256, 192, I can almost tell everytime... BUT.. (and ill end here)..

    I have and always will download and rip to FLAC over MP3 anyday, because like I said, out of terabytes of music.. the person who has aquired almost all LOSSLESS music will have a better hear-able collection of music no matter if it comes down to only a few songs that you can notice. For me it is worth it, its a sense of security, its a good way to get remastered, collectors type stuff as well if we are talking about the internet. So my conclusion is, I think that you can't tell more than you can tell generally, but i feel out of a large collection of music you can tell some, depending on the gear and the persons ears, and that is worth the extra storage it takes and the extra time it takes (to rip and to download etc). In the end its up to the individual, but I think every single FLAC vs 320 argument is completely hard to argue unless you are talking about something very situational, and even then, peoples hearing is different.

    This is coming from someone with a fairly high end setup, and someone that puts facts far ahead of opinions (in any scenario).

    (Thanks for reading)
  15. Brooko Contributor
    I didn't requote the post - because people can see it above :)
    Not sure if you have performed actual ABX - using something like Foobar's ABX comparator.  Might be a good thing to do - eliminates placebo - then you can really make informed decisions.  Here's a quick guide I wrote to using the ABX tool + ripping, tagging etc (http://www.head-fi.org/t/655879/setting-up-an-abx-test-simple-guide-to-ripping-tagging-transcoding)
    I'm suggesting this - because whilst it's interesting that you say that most of the time you can't distinguish 320 mp3 from flac - you might actually be really surprised if you abx some of your own music at 256aac, 256 pm3 (lame) vs lossless etc.  You're going to actually find it pretty hard to find audible compression artifacts even at 256.  Most people don't take the time to perform a decent abx - thus the same old myths keep getting perpetuated.
    The secret is ripping a CD you own and know well - then using the same lossless rip to re-encode with a decent encoder.  Compare the two formats over 15-20 tests blind - it's an eye opener.
    I also pay for all of my music - mostly CD, the rest lossless paid downloads (HD Tracks etc).  I then archive it as lossless (FLAC) - and use this format for listening at my PC.  For the iPod / iPhone - I encode everything to vbr aac ~ 200.  The reason - to my ears it is essentially transparent.  If you're downloading (even lossless) from 'unpaid services' on the net - you have no guarantee of the quality of the mastering, the quality of the rip, or even the medium it was ripped from.  The beauty of buying CDs is that you know what you're buying, and you are at least supporting the artist in some small way.
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