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Is it worth getting really high-end headphones if your source is 320kbps audio files?

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by bassophile, Mar 12, 2014.
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  1. Koolpep
    Not at all, my friend. Chill. No reason to get your knickers in a twist [​IMG]. I am talking about recordings that are so abysmal bad - you could listen to them with your head under water and it would make no difference. Call my musical taste "weird" haha. 
    For example: if a recording is at any stage compressed to 320kbit mp3 - and then pressed on a CD - the FLAC from that CD will sound exactly as crappy(or good) as the MP3 - hence my point. Doesn't apply to most "professional" mixed music though but still, these things do exist.
    Anyhow - we are all good. HiRes sounds better (under the premise it's not up sampled crap) and some people can very well hear and appreciate the difference, no doubt.
  2. zazex
    I want you to know that I used the "cool" emoticon in my post 
    to temper my language - which I thought might be somewhat pungent.
    Very glad though that you understood what I was trying to say,
    and even more pleased that you responded as you did.
    Cool. :)
  3. sonitus mirus
    I suspect that there may be millions of songs that are audibly transparent to the Red Book version when encoded to a lossy format.  Audibly transparent means just that, there would be no way for anyone to hear a difference.  Published, properly controlled ABX tests, an inability to hear a difference in my own tests, and the lack of any reasonable evidence to show otherwise are my reasons for this opinion.
  4. ieee754
    I don't hear any difference even between 128kbps MP3 and lossless, but I hear a difference between headphones. Therefore, it's worth it.
  5. silverbox
    I can't hear any difference above 128 anyway. 15 years ago I could, not anymore. I think that's due to improvements in LAME encoder and not my hearing, but I could be wrong.
    Anyway 320 files from digital stores are more than enough for me.
  6. castleofargh Contributor

    it's still good not to mistake our wishes to be special kids, for actual facts. I wish I could fly, but know better than to tell people that I can.
    mp3@320 vs lossless, that's just like with great wines, you can find some that have pretty noticeable differences, yet you will find a lot more that are different but it becomes hard to tell which is the "officially better one" or what year it was even though one year is famous and the bottle costs 5 times as much as the other year.
    and on the people side, you have most people who don't know anything but still talk about it a lot, you have sommeliers who might not all be great at wine tasting, but at least they have most of the facts right. and only a handful of guys who can tell you what is what at all times in a blind test. yes they exist, but chances are we're not one of them is what I'm saying.  [​IMG]
    people are spitting on mp3@320 not because the sound is horrendous, it's really isn't. not even because they can tell it's mp3 by ear(who is talking against mp3@320 after passing 20 out of 20 abx from 2 files they converted themselves to make sure it comes from the same master at same loudness? it's a rhetorical question, I know the answer). most people spit on mp3@320 only because they are snobs, and that's sad.
    there is nothing wrong with deciding to use lossless files, nothing wrong with wishing to have the best. mp3 is for those who prioritize storage and not everybody has to.
    but please people, look down on mp3 only after you made sure you can easily tell it apart from lossless. you guys want lossless audio, how about lossless claims instead of wishful thinking?
    yes some small passages will sound different in mp3, even in mp3@320. most people don't notice because it was the main purpose of mp3 and they did some stuff right. those who notice often can't tell which was the mp3 file, they find a difference but it's so small they don't know for sure which one is the "better" track. that's what actual tests seem to reveal. and people who can really tell mp3@320 apart with any kind of song, well I'm not sure even one exists.
    if you're the one, as I always say for cd vs highres, contact the Guinness book, there is money and fame waiting for you!
    now for the OP question, mp3@320 has signal fidelity down to about -60db or something like that where the data starts to be manipulated following masking profiles to save space. if we look at headphones distortions levels -60db that's 0.1% distortion(at the measured loudness) so it's not too hard to find headphones that have signal fidelity worst than mp3. be it for that, for balance of frequency response where even great headphones are expected to have 1db or more differences in the trebles. also mp3@320 doesn't roll off the trebles anywhere as much as most headphones do. so to me from an objective point of view, yes it can be worth it getting a better headphone to listen to mp3.
      just keep in mind that famous and expensive doesn't always mean high fidelity for headphones and even more so for IEMs.
    zazex and sonitus mirus like this.
  7. zazex
    Solidly reasoned and beautifully written.
    Still, though, as I posted elsewhere > I think the OP's question is not suited for a universally "right" answer.
    It depends on an individual's hearing, gear, listening environment, and other factors.
  8. sonitus mirus
    I think it is correct to suggest that it is worth it to use hiqh quality headphones with a 320kbps source.   I don't think it has anything to do with the person's hearing, equipment, or the environment.  320kbps is suitable for the highest quality equipment and the most discernible ears, in my opinion.  It seems that you don't agree.  Nothing wrong with that.
  9. delmet
    I think if you have the best set up money can buy for your ears, and you went from perfect input to 320, you probably wouldn't care (or wouldn't even realize). If you changed your headphones, you definitely would care. 320 is not 128, it is not going to be a glaring deficiency. 
  10. Koschei

    I think the spirit of his answer warrants an answer that is generalized, or it wouldn't be answered at all. Unless you're using something like an Audeze LCD-3 with source components to match, and especially if you're talking about a setup that can leave your house, there's only one answer.
  11. zazex
    I'm not sure I understand your point here, apologies.
  12. willyvlyminck
    As far as headphones go, the Fidelio x2 gives all you ever need at a still acceptable price. After all we listen to music right and not to some noises that may audible with 1000 Euro + cans.
  13. willyvlyminck
    it is always difficult to accept simple truths if you invested thousands of Euro's in gear that is presented as the ultimate and ditto music sources. The HiFi industry lives from unsatisfied customers and that why new formats come a long all the time, usually presented with superlatives, and still a lot of people fall in that trap.
  14. cocolinho
    Based on my experience I would say YES!
    I'm using spotify premium (320k) with HD800/bifrost uber/Val2 and it's pure happyness ! Maybe FLAC would be better, maybe...but I can tell you it's already VERY good!
  15. ExistentialEAR
    what is the bitrate of itunes? Sounds fine to me.
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