low bitrate WMA and headphones
Aug 15, 2004 at 4:26 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 22

james902

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i know this isn't really favored by audiophiles, but i'm just curious if anyone has experienced this.

if i listen to low bitrate wma9's, my ears start to tingle and get weary. The sound is suprisingly really good for 32kbps, but the tingly feeling is odd. On the other hand, I can listen to higher bitrate mp3/wma9/aac with no problem on my canalphones. Has anyone else experienced this? Could this be because of the artificially recreated highs/lows?

Sorry I'm not sure where to put this article.
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Aug 15, 2004 at 12:14 PM Post #2 of 22

Mr.Radar

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Probably. Why in the world do you use such low compressed files anyways? HDDs are cheap enough that most people (who know what they're doing) use high bitrate files (320 kbps MP3) or lossless, even for portable use it's starting to make sense.
 
Aug 15, 2004 at 1:54 PM Post #3 of 22

james902

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for my recordings yes
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but occassionally i listen to radio music to find some good ol' cds to buy, and the recreated highs/lows actually sounds pretty nice. for a 700k song, they're pretty good.
 
Aug 15, 2004 at 2:49 PM Post #4 of 22

MD1032

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If you like music, and are in any way exposed to Hi-Fi, you shouldn't be using 32 kbps. I can understand using 128 kbps files encoded with EAC and EasyLAME for the sake of being desperate on space, but 32kbps wma files...I cannot imagine what they sound like. The reason your ears are probably tingling is because of the low bitrate, and the way it sounds (all distorted and such).
 
Aug 15, 2004 at 4:49 PM Post #5 of 22

terrymx

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the problem with low bitrates is there are some very honky trebles. but just about everything is fake. the sharp treble problem extend all the way to 128kbs. i suggest atleast 160kbs vbr, thats where it start sounding decent without too much artifact problems.

unfortunately with my iriver earbuds, i can tell the different between 128kbs, 192kbs, 256kbs and 320kbs. (yes its a big claim)
 
Aug 15, 2004 at 7:58 PM Post #6 of 22

james902

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lol... i use higher bitrates when i record... i was just talking about how some internet radios were using low bitrates and I was wondering if anyone experienced a tingly sensation after listening for a bit.
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as for the low bitrates, i'm just suprised with how much is recreated in low bitrate formats like wma and mp3pro.

you can hear the diff between 256 and 320? wow. my headphones must be really bad then. I can't hear the difference above 160.

one more question, can someone explain what 32000hz and 44,000hz means? i understand we can only hear up to 20khz, but if that's the case, why are things recorded up to 44khz?
 
Aug 15, 2004 at 8:52 PM Post #7 of 22

dip16amp

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Quote:

Originally Posted by james902

one more question, can someone explain what 32000hz and 44,000hz means? i understand we can only hear up to 20khz, but if that's the case, why are things recorded up to 44khz?



The conversion from analog to digital for CD uses the nyquist theorm of sampling at twice the highest frequency to be able to reproduce it without loss. The 44,100 per second sampling rate allows frequencies up to 22,050 Hz per channel to be saved on the CD. The CD has two channels of 16 bits per sample for a total of 1,411,200 bits per second (44,100 x 2 x 16).
A sample rate of 32,000 per second would save frequencies up to 16,000 Hz and have smaller size wav files.
 
Aug 16, 2004 at 4:22 AM Post #8 of 22

floppy-ear ted

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When talking about sample rates it gets more complicated than 44.1k being ok for anything below 22.05kHz. The difficulty arises in the recording stage before the A/D conversion. Frequencies above half x the sampling frequency have to be completely filtered out with analogue filters, otherwise fold-back will occur, aka: aliasing in the time domain. The filtering needs to be given significant headroom between the maximum frequency (eg: 20kHz) and (the sampling rate - 20kHz).

For a rate of 44.1k, there is 2 x (22.05k-20k) = 4.1kHz of headroom, which is very little room for a 20kHz low-pass filter to give adequate attenuation (such as 80dB) at 24.1kHz. There are all sorts of practical limitations with the analogue filtering, which is why oversampling is used (eg: 96k or 192k). Then digital filters can limit the frequency range to 20kHz to allow the recording to be resampled at 44.1k. That way there is less distortion and noise from analogue filtering, and the dynamic range is improved.

Even then there are technical arguments in favour of maintaining a higher sampling frequency during playback (like 96k). This is due to limitations of the digital filtering and D/A conversion.

FET
 
Aug 16, 2004 at 5:33 AM Post #9 of 22

james902

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eeeK!
is that the reason why there's 48khz? btw, why doesn't the standard use 48khz if it sounds better? It's available, but I don't know of anyone ever using it.

just when i thought i understood the double recording... I don't seem to understand it anymore hahaha.

perhaps i need to take physics over again
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Aug 16, 2004 at 6:02 AM Post #10 of 22

ogewo

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I'm enjoying the 128kbps stream over at www.radioparadise.com, as usual.
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The variety of stuff they play is what makes them unique. Listen for a bit and you're guaranteed to find a new artist to research and buy.

Quote:

Originally Posted by james902
lol... i use higher bitrates when i record... i was just talking about how some internet radios were using low bitrates and I was wondering if anyone experienced a tingly sensation after listening for a bit.
wink.gif


as for the low bitrates, i'm just suprised with how much is recreated in low bitrate formats like wma and mp3pro.

you can hear the diff between 256 and 320? wow. my headphones must be really bad then. I can't hear the difference above 160.

one more question, can someone explain what 32000hz and 44,000hz means? i understand we can only hear up to 20khz, but if that's the case, why are things recorded up to 44khz?



 
Aug 16, 2004 at 1:04 PM Post #12 of 22

MD1032

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Pov
WMA gives me headaches after a while at any bitrate I've tried with it.


That's odd. It's gotta be the treble distortion.
 
Aug 16, 2004 at 3:36 PM Post #13 of 22

Zaied

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I have a question.

Is an mp3 at 256 VBR much better than one at 256 CBR? What advantage does encoding at a variable bitrate give you, especially at high kbps like 256?
 
Aug 16, 2004 at 3:47 PM Post #14 of 22

Jahn

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bitrate at 32/64/96 is extremely hissy and muddy and almost unlistenable. 128 is where you start being able to listen ok, but just know you are losing out on detail (yep, some sounds from the original source will just never reach your ear) and you will still hear a bit of hiss - not a problem with muddy cans like ipod buds and the like, but annoying on cans that pick up the static like etys or grados or amped up higher impedance cans - they are more sensitive after all. 196 is when i start not noticing any hiss, and i swear it's a crapshoot for anything higher (just in case i record on 320AAC) in terms of loss of detail during compression. some folks swear by apple lossless or FLAC, but i really can't hear a diff.

that's as far as my ears take me, hope that helps. if you can't hear a sonic diff between 32 and 256, but you get headaches at 32, your brain is trying to tell you something
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Aug 16, 2004 at 4:53 PM Post #15 of 22

Duncan

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Zaied
I have a question.

Is an mp3 at 256 VBR much better than one at 256 CBR? What advantage does encoding at a variable bitrate give you, especially at high kbps like 256?



I'm not really too clued up on anything MP3, but I believe that VBR allows better transients etc, as it can call up a higher bitrate on the fly for more complex passages etc.

Personally, these days - I rip with OGG at quality '10'... somewhere between 400-600kbps, but well worth all the space it hogs up
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