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can you actually discern 320 kbps mp3 and lossless?

#51blogorogaPosted 12/29/2013 1:47:29 PM
At low volumes theres not much of a difference at any, it's when you start pushing up to reference volume where the distortion in the lower bitrate music really comes out and FLAC/lossless pushes cleanly through. For music 320 is good enough, for movies it must be lossless, regular DD even sounds like poop on reference
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#52LostHisHardcorePosted 12/29/2013 1:49:07 PM
chase1234life posted...
Yes I can... but I've been mastering music since I was 15 (so over 10 years); so I'm kinda trained in it.

Anyways, 320 really isn't that bad. Unless I plan on using for recording/sampling/video production/etc., I rip and encode my CDs in 320 mp3, as mp3 is more versatile than FLAC, OGG, or WAV, and the difference, though there, isn't exactly as big as say 128 vs lossless. It's a viable format/bitrate and is more than adequate for most uses.

The real difference you have to look out for is Digital vs. Analog. And just like Digital, Analog has it's inferior formats (eg Radio, Cassettes) and it's superior formats (eg Vinyl, Reel-Reel). But there's a huge difference between Analog and Digital that can't be understated. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, and certain instruments sound better on one format verses the other. Overall, Digital has certainly come a long way, but if I were to buy a rock album, or an Orchestra album, I'd want it on Vinyl. While if I were to pick up a Hip-Hop album, I'd probably go digital.





However, this is strictly from a musician/producer's point of view; and the average consumer should be more than happy with 320 mp3 as a standard.


I would almost agree until I found that ripping my classical CDs and various mixes brought light to the issue of gapless playback. And no, the gapless feature (read as "hack") on iPods etc is not viable. I can still hear the switch.
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#53ShebeskiiPosted 12/29/2013 2:27:44 PM(edited)
DV8ingSources posted...
ryan0991 posted...
They're the same...


That's because he did the blind part properly. What you do is take a source, encode into mp3 of varying qualities, then take those mp3's and convert back to wav files. That way the files are indistinguishable from one another. Of course someone seedy enough could open up and view the wave forms themselves and if they know what to look for can make a reasonable judgement but that's going to extremes just to be 'right'.

@Shebeski

I'm not sure what you used to encode that 320 mp3 but it does sound like the levels are off a bit and in my personal experience a good encode will not have anywhere near the same difference you pointed out.


That 320kbps was encoded by the band themselves. The album is produced brilliantly, so I'll trust the files directly from them.

There just really is a difference if the production and style of music tease it out.

Most music isn't produced well enough or is mixed in such a raw fashion. The drumming in that song is extremely crisp. Most bands just don't do that, so the CD quality sound goes to waste.

It's still very small, but it's not imperceptible, even on average equipment.

The best way to describe the differences in the way it sounds for the files I posted, especially between 1:40 and 1:50 for the track, is that you're actually listening in on the studio performance, while the 320kbps audio loses a bit of that crispness a musician's instrument has right in front of you.

The snare hits sound like you're sitting in on the recording session, while the 320kbps sounds like a very accurate recording of that recording session.
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#54teknic1200Posted 12/29/2013 3:12:26 PM
If you want to hear the difference bring it into a club and play it loud on the PA.

lower levels you're not going to notice but that stuff will break up if you have a good system and can play it flipping loud.

I'd always stick to vinyl in the club, so much better when loud.
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#55SuigintouEVPosted 12/29/2013 4:43:58 PM(edited)
i can, especially in my main listening room where the differences in holographic imaging really show up.

But I contend it's not a big enough difference to really fret over if disc space is at a premium. Of course, a 1TB HDD can store more FLACs than I could ever rip.

as far as vinyl goes, it's the best analog format, but inherently inferior to even CD never mind SACD / Blu Ray Lossless.
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#56chase1234lifePosted 12/29/2013 5:08:26 PM
chase1234life posted...
chase1234life posted...
Alright, I have a blind test for you guys to take if you wish, and done so there's no cheating now...

This track is from my own album, "My Name is Wolf". It's the last track on the album. The best way to do the test is to use the Chrome Browser, and use the "Music Player for Google Drive" app; though you can download the files if that's too much work for you.

The bitrates are 128, 320, and lossless.

Dream Sequence [A Reflective Mix] (1)
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bw-MwHa2QGvSUU1fcXMwempERmM/edit?usp=sharing

Dream Sequence [A Reflective Mix] (2)
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bw-MwHa2QGvSbmRCWThWSV9Jbnc/edit?usp=sharing

Dream Sequence [A Reflective Mix] (3)
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bw-MwHa2QGvST0VGNm9uOWRSOTg/edit?usp=sharing

You tell me which one is which bitrate (for example you might say "(2) is 128")




I'll tell you guys which is which later...


There's still time to do a blind test.


One last chance guys.
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#57Man_called_WarPosted 12/29/2013 5:11:02 PM
Personally no, but my time working in studios and teaching myself to hear specific intervals has shown that my experience is far from definitive in the subject.
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#58chase1234lifePosted 12/29/2013 6:54:10 PM
TIMES UP!

So here are the guesses/attempts I got:

They all sound identical to me.

But if I had to guess I'd say #1 is 128kbps

And either of 2 and 3 can be 320 or lossless.




From those examples I can't tell if 1 or 2 is the source but it sounds like 3 is the 128k mp3... just sounds messier.



Although I wasn't using my best pair of headphones, I couldn't tell the difference. So I got curious and checked the bitrate on all of them...

They're the same...

I don't think I would have been able to tell the difference anyway since I'm not familiar with that particular track.




I'm glad some people were willing to at least try, and for that they deserve praise just for attempting to back up their claims (while others, did not... especially when looking at the poll).




Before I give the correct answer, I'm going to do a little visual aid to show the differences. The tracks are lined up from top to bottom in the manner I listed them in earlier...

Here they are lined up, full song:
http://i.imgur.com/Qik2rGk.png

Zoomed in at 27 seconds in (the top is a little out of line, but I reset it to fix it in later pics):
http://i.imgur.com/MLi47O0.png

31 Seconds in when Drums kick in:
http://i.imgur.com/cOVfbBh.png

Zoomed in at 31 Seconds (Audio engineers should start seeing some "irregularities" now):
http://i.imgur.com/8GWtHW5.png

1:23 where there is a rest in a number of instruments as well as a general "Calando" (Look it up, not made up):
http://i.imgur.com/Cw9Qcub.png

Zooming in at 1:23 Calando (3 is a little off track, again, fixed later) now circling area's where information is lost due to compression:
http://i.imgur.com/rP2uF3e.png

4:16 after the final Crescendo, the falling off before the fade out:
http://i.imgur.com/ciKz6sz.png

Zoomed in at 4:16, Now circling noticeable and subtle differences in information:
http://i.imgur.com/CwpfEKG.png

4:35, the final fade out of the track, extremely low volume:
http://i.imgur.com/A8XipTC.png

Zoomed in at 4:35, this is where compression hurts the most. At low level intervals, which in total hurts the Dynamic Range something horrible. This is where Compression flat out get's things wrong, and though hard to see in a real time spectrometer, it's painfully obvious in the Waveform:
http://i.imgur.com/at4Z4ju.png






So, if you haven't already figured it out, and can't tell from the photos, here's the answer:
Track (1) is 320 MP3
Track (2) is Lossless
Track (3) is 128

So, DV8ingSources, good job at picking out the 128 MP3, but pretty much the rest was kinda a failure.

It's not as easy as it seems.
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#59ChromaticAngelPosted 12/29/2013 7:55:17 PM
dermoratraken posted...
I've always found that self proclaimed audiophiles really know just about nothing. They use random adjectives to describe sound like juicy or round and insult anything that isn't on some special list of golden audio standards.

It's like the equivalent of kids in a coffee shop reading poetry to bongo drums and pretending to be literary experts (who also happen to be full of it).


audiophiles are full of s*** and manufacturers making audiophile equipment are also full of s***

http://gizmodo.com/363154/audiophile-deathmatch-monster-cables-vs-a-coat-hanger

they do hear a difference, only because they have lied to themselves and actually believe there is a difference when there isn't one
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#60DarkZV2BetaPosted 12/29/2013 7:55:25 PM
Some people just don't have ears, really. I used to have trouble telling the difference between 128kbps MP3 and 64kbps MP3, ages ago.
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