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OGG Vorbis vs. MP3 LAME

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by leckel1996, Apr 15, 2012.
  1. Leckel1996
    So for the longest time I have been using 320kbps MP3 CBR files. I've heard that Vorbis files are better and that 192kbps is comparable to 320kbps with mp3? I have a sansa clip, so luckily I can play the ogg files. How much better is ogg that mp3? Is 192kbps passable quality?
  2. eahm
    ABX test multiple ogg, mp3 and flac files and let us know which one is better for you.
  3. sonitus mirus
    To ABX test the codecs, I use Exact Audio Copy (EAC) to rip a CD with music that I am familiar with and enjoy.  You should be able to obtain EAC along with both Ogg Vorbis and the MP3 Lame codecs for free that EAC can convert your CD of choice.
    Once you have a song ripped to both Ogg and Lame at the bit rates you wish to test, grab the free music player foobar2000 http://www.foobar2000.org/ and the ABX comparator plug-in at this link:  http://www.foobar2000.org/components/view/foo_abx.
    Read the documentation provided for the plug-in to ABX test, and if you have trouble, just let us know and I'm certain plenty of help will be provided.
    The greatest challenge I have found is trying to make sure the volume levels are identical between the two files being tested.  Also, even the slightest difference in the start time of the track can make it easy to identify a difference between the 2 files being tested.  In my testing, I was able to identify a difference with some degree of regularity with certain songs, but I could not tell which song was supposedly at a better quality, only that there was a difference to be heard.
    I do hope you eventually take the time to do your own tests.  I enjoy reading about the outcomes of these types of tests.
    For the music I listen to and the equipment I use, I have discovered that streaming music subscription services are more than adequate for me.  320 kbps Ogg Vorbis (Spotify) and 320 kbps mp3 (MOG) sound practically bit perfect to me when compared to a song I rip from a CD in a lossless format.
  4. Leckel1996
    Test between Flac and Ogg Vorbis 224kbps. Slide by The Goo Goo Dolls
    17:13:23 : 01/01  50.0%
    17:13:40 : 01/02  75.0%
    17:14:08 : 01/03  87.5%
    17:14:39 : 02/04  68.8%
    17:15:03 : 03/05  50.0%
    17:15:31 : 03/06  65.6%
    17:15:53 : 04/07  50.0%
    17:16:07 : 05/08  36.3%
    17:16:32 : 06/09  25.4%
    17:17:01 : 07/10  17.2%
    17:18:48 : 07/11  27.4%
    17:19:09 : 08/12  19.4%
    17:19:28 : 08/13  29.1%
    17:20:24 : 08/14  39.5%
    17:20:40 : 08/15  50.0%
    17:20:54 : Test finished.
    Total: 8/15 (53.3%)
    My results comparing a FLAC file with a 224kbps OGG Vorbis file. One file was flatter and harsher sounding and the other was more natural, rich, and deep. That's what it seemed like to me anyways. I'm guessing the harsher one was the vorbis file. I guess I can't really tell the difference, so 224kbps files it is!
  5. sonitus mirus
    I understand that you claim one file sounded harsher, yet your empirical data suggests that you could not truly identify a difference between one file or the other.
    I appreciate music, in fact, I love it.  My hearing may not be the greatest, but I can appreciate good sound.  Some people, either through genetics or training, have developed extremely critical listening habits, and these individuals can differentiate between audio sounds at an amazing degree of accuracy that I will never be able to fully comprehend.  And to this I thank the audio deities. 
  6. Leckel1996

    You're correct, I couldn't correctly identify the difference. I would click between a and b and could notice a difference, but when I tried the same thing between a and b and x and y, the difference didn't seem to be as clear. I was doing this with my crap computer speakers and could probably better differentiate with my grados sr80i's. 
  7. eahm
    You should try to hear which, between the ones you'd like to use, is similar to the original CD/lossless without concentrating too much on the bitrate.
  8. mindbomb
    i have multiple things to say about this:
    Autov vorbis is extremely underrated. It is technically superior to lame mp3. It is ethically superior as well.
    Typically, people would avoid it because it wouldn't work on their portable player.
    But android has support for it, so, that is not as big an issue anymore.
    Also, if you are gonna be using lame mp3, for the love of god, use one of the variable bit rate options.
    that being said, it is unlikely for the vorbis to be better with such an extreme bitrate difference.
    give the vorbis roughly 256k, and I would feel that it would most likely be better.
  9. ChipnDalebowl
    Something you might want to look into if it matters to you - battery life. At least on older vorbis players, battery life is affected because of the processing needed for vorbis files when compared to mp3 files. The difference may be negligible these days, but it may matter for things like long trips. Sound quality-wise, they're all good in the 192kbps range that most will never hear the difference between the codecs with real music.
  10. Mshenay
    Nice read, I've often wonderd the same thing my self. I have a number of vorbis files and I don't listen to them too often. But I might start to enjoy them more after this read :3
  11. eahm
    MP3s are good in the 192Kbps range, OGG Vorbis is good in the 160 range, some people use AAC and Opus even in the 96Kbps range but AAC and Opus usually achieve transparency around 128.
  12. ChipnDalebowl
    While true, the pickier audio consumers will never buy that you can use lossy codecs that low and be happy with it. :wink: Once I got qaac to work in foobar, all of my portable listening is done with QuickTime's AAC codec at 130kbps (-V68). I hear no difference in the car or other portable listening environments. I've even tried these files with my Koss Pro 4AA studio sets, and found them more than adequate. Scary isn't it? :)
  13. aQiss
    OGG is better if you are going to use low bitrate (128 Kbps or even less).
    If that's the case, OGG is really the best option for lossy compression, as 128 Kbps OGG Vorbis file will have a frequency range of about 1 ~ 19.000 Hz (just like a 256 Kbps mp3 audio). Increasing the bitrate does not provide significant improvement in quality, though. 
    Apple's AAC encoder (iTunes) will give you better quality than mp3, btw. You won't tell between 128 Kbps VBR AAC and 320 Kbps MP3.
    Anyway, the most important thing is that encoding from one lossy format to another kills a lot of audio details. So it's better not to convert your mp3s to any other files.
  14. Mshenay
    That's good to know... although the Hifiman runs loss less so no real reason to compress... and sadly the Zune only does mp3 -.-, still I've heard ogg's b4 and they do sound nice! 
  15. donunus
    Actually, ogg is a magic format :) , I always ABX ogg@192vbr(.6) vs flac and the ogg vorbis file has a very gentle rolloff that makes it sound slightly less harsh than the original file :) MP3 at V0 is not as good IMO. Mp3 compresses the waveform a little compared to ogg. You can see it by looking at the waveform on audition. You can also hear that mp3 is a little less dynamic vs the original flac especially with material with lots of transients. Only at 320 is mp3 close to 192 ogg but why would I want that? Its a waste of space.

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