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lower bitrate MP3s


ivanhurd
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I tried listening to Beck - Sea Changes thru my 82 IIs. The tracks are in 192k MP3 format (I freakin love airplay btw). I couldn't even get thru the first song =^( One thing about good speakers is they make good stuff sound great, but crappy stuff sound crappier. I guess I'll have to upgrade the album into a more klipsch friendly format =^) I'm guessing the problem has to do with lower bitrates having a lot of high end artifacts, so that was very pronounced coming through. Definitely a bummer. Great album tho, check it out if you haven't. Very mellow Beck album, but he always does it proper.

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I dont have airplay but do deal a lot with MP3s. If you bought the MP3 and someone ripped it, lord only knows how well they ripped it to begin with. The bitrate isnt always true either. I can take a 192kb file and turn it into a 320kb file. The bad part is that i didnt increase the qaulity, just the bitrate #.

I try to use 192kb and higher with 320 being my preference.

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I have a few 10,000 songs most of which the kids got over the years. bit rate for the early stuff was 128 to 192. I bought the icloud feature of tunes for 25 bucks a year. uploaded all the songs (matching process) that the apple store had. deleted what the apple store had in my library. then down loaded my matched tunes from icloud. this converted everything that was matched o 256K. totally legit and legal. jump on this before they pull the plug on it.

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The people at hydrogenaudio forums are the guru's of bit rate, and it seems pretty pathetic what we can actually hear regardless of ears or speakers. As I understand it they do public tests with files of "apparent" decent bit rate, but one is actually a much lower rate sample dithered or whatever to look like a higher rate. People download the files (again I think its like a mix of 10 at a time of the same stuff) and post back which tracks they think are the higher bit rate. Listen all you want, as many times as you want etc etc, and I think nobody seems able to detect anything better than 128 vbr with a current codec.

That said we ripped a lot initially at 128k to suit an OLD mp3 portable, and reripped it all to 320k vbr.

Flac does annoy me a little, its a statement that you don't understand math or believe in voodoo or some such, given lossless compression methods like APE.

What I find double annoying are people who rip vinyl on less than stellar turntables and use something silly like 24/96.

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^^^I don't really understand how any sort of compression could be considered 'lossless', but I'm no rocket surgeon either.

And I dunno, there are times when a song comes up on my itunes that just sounds different and my suspicions always come true when I look at the bitrate. Could be a poor rip from way back in Napster days that I've just hung onto throughout the years, but who knows. Maybe I'll give one of those tests a try to see if I can tell.

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its all garbage in...garbage out

ive been ripping cds to flac for archive purposes and Mp3 for portable devices...and I can tell the difference at 192

and I have 2 portable devices...one that plays flac (cowon) and an older creative zen..

and i dont have the best ears

played with some rather nice Klipsch ear buds... GRIN

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Everyone can tell the difference when they know which file is which, but so far I don't know of anybody detecting a difference from hearing alone above 128k.

Lossless compression is like a Zip file, 100k text doc goes in, squeezed down to 30k or so, and exactly the same 100k file extracts out, lossless. Good way to think about compression is that it is an exact recipe to recreate the original using things like patterns that repeat etc.

I've been chasing Steve Hoffman mastered Gold disc's for the last few weeks. Some are impossible to find in any form, most in flac, and very reluctantly I settled last night on checking out some reduced to 128k (Music for a Bachelor's den, vol 4, 7, and 8). No time to really listen, but playing while working seemed very nice.

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There was a website i visited once that was conducting a public test to see whether people could blind test between 128-320 and 192-320 and be able to choose which file was lower codec and which was of higher, what was good to see was that each test was non downloadable and played straight from the website without letting the test subject view any information on the file except for it displaying either A or B. Then you would select your answers for the given tests, what was interesting was from the thousands that did the test the results came in indicating almost 90 percent got the 128-320 right at indicating what files were 128 and 320 and with the 192-320 it was about 50-50.

It gave you the answers of your test's at the end and i managed to get all 12 samples correct, i believe there is a major difference between 128-192 and a less but still major improvement between 192-320 and that which has been said shows even more with equipment like klipsch with the famouse garbage in garbage theory. I think from all the threads and information i have seen over the net that a more appropriate question and more interesting one would be mp3 @ 320kbps vs lossless as that has a much smaller gap IMO than comparing lossy vs lossy. Now i find it tough to tell the difference between 320 MP3 vs DD HD/DTS HD its a much smaller gap.

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I am more impressed that it was done on a website. I would think being able to tell the difference between two codecs wouldn't be nearly as pronounced on a low end set of computer speakers as anything else would be. Were you using computer speakers or somehow streaming it to your RF-83s?

Another thing that makes it extremely hard for me to tell is the slight delay when switching tracks or settings. If it was immediate, any changes in sound quality would be much more easier to detect. Sometimes I don't think I can tell the difference when switching between DD and TrueHD. I hope that doesn't mean my hearing is going.

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There are always arguments on DJ forums that I frequent as to if you are going to play digital, should you play MP3s or WAVs. My argument is always that nobody in the club is going to be able to tell a difference, let alone care. I've also played 192s in a club that sounded fine. I do have to say when I tried to play 128s, that I could definitely tell that I never wanted to play that track again.

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...as to if you are going to play digital, should you play MP3s or WAVs.

Well, a wav is almost exactly the same as a redbook cd file. MS just changed it slightly.

I haven't ripped anything below 320 for MP3s.

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...as to if you are going to play digital, should you play MP3s or WAVs.

Well, a wav is almost exactly the same as a redbook cd file. MS just changed it slightly.
I am aware of this. To me it just seems like a silly argument as 99% of people aren't going to be able to tell the difference in a controlled listening environment, let alone a club.
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The greatest digital peril is longer term listener fatigue. My first experience was with cable music channels. Initially I thought it was great, silent, CD quality claimed etc., but I noticed as the days went by I was listening less and less, and not getting refreshed from listening. Eventually I quit cold turkey and haven't gone back, same for Sirius and XM, ok for a bit in a rental car, but longer term, zero interest vs 256k+ mp3.

Encoder used is very critical in examining bit rate performance, and they improved rapidly for some time a few years back. Link to more info.

http://wiki.hydrogenaudio.org/index.php?title=Hydrogenaudio_Listening_Tests

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