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post #1 of 78 Old 07-08-2014, 11:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Isolating differences between mp3 and flac...opinions?


I came across this video. And it is an interesting concept, Has anybody tried to do something similar on their music collection?
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post #2 of 78 Old 07-09-2014, 11:57 PM
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Some comments:


When "they" talk about compression used in an MP3, it is DIGITAL compression, not AUDIO compression. Over the years, I have heard many people say how they don't like the "compressed" sound of an MP3. A correctly created MP3 is virtually indistinguishable from the CD original, yes I know that MP3 is a "lossy" data compression, and FLAC is lossless, there is loss of "sound", but for the life of me, I cannot hear any difference.


Using a later version of LAME encoder, and using the "-v 2" setting. creating an MP3 from a CD original, the MP3 is indistinguishable from the CD original.


I converted my CD collection to MP3's years ago, using EAC and LAME MP3 encoder, and using Rockbox on my Sansa Fuze with various high end in ear monitors, and listening to my collection on my relatively high end audio system, I cannot tell any difference.


If storage were unlimited, yes I would use FLAC, heck, why FLAC, I would just use WAV file format.


Also, the quality of an MP3 is entirely dependent on how it is made. While LAME is the standard today, over the years there have been other encoders, and many settings to create an MP3, and you can create a much smaller files size, with a greater loss of music.


As an experiment, create an MP3 with the "-v 2" setting, then create the same song with the "-v 9" setting, and you will see that the "-v 2" setting is a larger file size than the "-v 9" file, but the -v 2" will be sonically indistinguishable from the CD original, whereas the "v 9" will sound like an AM radio playing on one of those tiny handheld 9V radios.


There was a study done a while back, and using the "-v 2" (used to be called "--preset fast standard"), comparing the MP3 to the CD original, using high end audio equipment, asked the listeners to identify what was the original, and what was the MP3, and the results showed that statistically, the listeners results were no better than if they had randomly guessed.


I wrote this all from memory, so I can't list my sources, but for more than you ever wanted to know about MP3, go to hydrogen audio forums: http://www.hydrogenaud.io/forums/
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post #3 of 78 Old 07-10-2014, 12:06 AM
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Oh, one more comment.


I absolutely agree, that with MP3's there can be a huge difference between the CD original, and an MP3, especially if one downloads the MP3 from "who knows where".


Years ago, I did download like 10 MP3's of the same song, and compared them, and OMG, there was a huge difference in sound quality.


If storage space were unlimited, there would be no need for MP3's. but even today, my phone or Sansa Fuze can store 64 gig of data, I can get more music using MP3 file format than I can with FLAC. And yes, I have a lot more than 64 gig of MP3's that I created myself, from the CD original.


Using Exact Audio Copy (EAC) and LAME MP3 encoder, I have converted my entire CD collection into great sounding MP3's.
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post #4 of 78 Old 07-10-2014, 01:49 AM
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I don't have any to compare.
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I'll be back later...



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post #5 of 78 Old 07-10-2014, 05:58 AM
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It is just a matter of how lossy the MP3 is. At 256kbps or above it will be indistinguishable from a WAV or FLAC. Below that the differences will become audible at 192KBPS to quite audible at 128 and nearly unlistenable below that. It is a matter of degree. I didn't look at the You Tube video because I don't haven enough bandwidth for that but my comments above are based on bias controlled listening tests.
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post #6 of 78 Old 07-10-2014, 10:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FMW View Post
It is just a matter of how lossy the MP3 is. At 256kbps or above it will be indistinguishable from a WAV or FLAC. Below that the differences will become audible at 192KBPS to quite audible at 128 and nearly unlistenable below that. It is a matter of degree. I didn't look at the You Tube video because I don't haven enough bandwidth for that but my comments above are based on bias controlled listening tests.
What the video does is it takes a mathematical difference inbetween the two files. It finds the exact differences inbetween the waveforms and allows you to listen to just the sound that is lost compressing to mp3
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post #7 of 78 Old 07-10-2014, 12:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VladDracule View Post
What the video does is it takes a mathematical difference inbetween the two files. It finds the exact differences inbetween the waveforms and allows you to listen to just the sound that is lost compressing to mp3
Interesting. What do you hear?
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post #8 of 78 Old 07-10-2014, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by RayDunzl View Post
I don't have any to compare.
(1) Rip your CDs in .wav files

(2) Convert tracks from them to MP3s using Lame or other good freeware file compressor

(3) Convert MP3s or other files back to .wav files using available freeware software.

(4) Compare original .WAV files to .WAV filies produced by conversion of MP3 or other compressed files with FOOBAR2000 and the ABX comparator plug in (also freeware).
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post #9 of 78 Old 07-12-2014, 09:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VladDracule View Post
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UoBPNTAFZMo

I came across this video. And it is an interesting concept, Has anybody tried to do something similar on their music collection?
I have a high-quality audio system, with very good resolution.

I use ONLY the 320K MP3 to rip CDs to my computer; at lower MP3 bit rates the quality drops off rapidly.

Even with my system, it is hard to discern a loss in quality with the 320K MP3.

True lossless formats take up too much space when I put the files on a USB memory stick for car use, so the 320K MPs is a good choice from my stadpoint.
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post #10 of 78 Old 07-19-2014, 12:11 AM
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Using an ABx tester I found that I cant hear any difference once the kbps gets up past the mid 200's. However, all my music is 320kbps, just in case.

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post #11 of 78 Old 07-19-2014, 07:13 AM
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However, all my music is 320kbps, just in case.

All my music is FLAC, just in case.
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post #12 of 78 Old 07-19-2014, 08:24 AM
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I got an education (got schooled ) here a while back Arny and FMW can tell you about that Epic thread !
Actually they were very helpful .The more the thread progressed (with links to empirical verifiable proof ) the more I found out I did not know ! although I did not want to admit it!
It's safe to say I was firmly in the loosless camp and thought I knew a lot more than I did, I dug myself quite a hole .

I'm just as likely to listen to high bitrate mp3 or AAC now as anything. I've since done some of the comparisons mentioned above and some reading (lots ) at the urging of these two guys tons of info and links here more than you will ever need or that most could understand including me .

If anyone is curious I would highly recommend doing comparisons exactly as outlined above .
and maybe some reading on a couple of (3) subjects, perceptual coding , Hearing, and auditory perception , not an easy study but very enlightening and worth a look anyway just go as far as you are comfortable with.
Google the subjects maybe check out the Wikipedia articles to start .

Some folks here have had /have prominent lifetime careers in those or related fields much to learn here .

I'll leave the theory,specifics and particulars to the experts here and just say try it see how you like it .

It'a also safe to say there is always somebody smarter here in a given area here at AVS .

ofc there is nothing wrong with archiving in loss less and converting/copying to mp*** or AAC as needed either.

Hires Music formats ..............."Why does it sound like a CD ?" ............. can we make it louder "?
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post #13 of 78 Old 07-19-2014, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by commsysman View Post
True lossless formats take up too much space when I put the files on a USB memory stick for car use, so the 320K MPs is a good choice from my stadpoint.
Many media players support transcoding.
You have your collection in a lossless format and when you sync to e.g. a USB stick the audio is converted on the fly to e.g. high bit rate MP3.


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post #14 of 78 Old 07-19-2014, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by tubetwister View Post
I'm just as likely to listen to high bitrate mp3 or AAC now as anything.
Sounds like you and I came to the same conclusion in almost the same way.

You did the research and testing; I literally confused my lossless library for the lossy one!
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post #15 of 78 Old 07-19-2014, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Section 107 View Post
Sounds like you and I came to the same conclusion in almost the same way.

You did the research and testing; I literally confused my lossless library for the lossy one!
Sounds like you did it the smart way !


You know what they say ?................... Work smarter not harder !

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working for my corporate masters that have afforded me a reasonable retirement after years of enslavement!

Hires Music formats ..............."Why does it sound like a CD ?" ............. can we make it louder "?
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post #16 of 78 Old 07-19-2014, 12:58 PM
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Just yesterday, I played a 320k MP3, a Flac file, and straight off the CD of the same song. I couldn't tell the difference to be honest.
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post #17 of 78 Old 07-19-2014, 02:45 PM
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Just yesterday, I played a 320k MP3, a Flac file, and straight off the CD of the same song. I couldn't tell the difference to be honest.
R U the same 89 grand that's over at AK or just related ?

Hires Music formats ..............."Why does it sound like a CD ?" ............. can we make it louder "?
"The wireless music box has no commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?"
- David Sarnoff's associates at RCA the 1920's -
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post #18 of 78 Old 07-19-2014, 02:52 PM
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R U the same 89 grand that's over at AK or just related ?
The same one that WAS!
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post #19 of 78 Old 07-19-2014, 02:55 PM
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Also depends greatly on what you're listening on. On my PC speakers, I couldn't tell the difference with the vast majority of my music. With a decent pair of headphones, I can hear ridiculous amounts of detail that my speakers weren't presenting me with, that was also missing from a lot of the MP3s I was listening to, in comparison to the FLAC files. I rip only FLAC, and have been doing so for some time now. And I don't care if 320kbps MP3s are "just as good".

Welcome to Rivendell, Mister Anderson.
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post #20 of 78 Old 07-19-2014, 03:04 PM
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Also depends greatly on what you're listening on. On my PC speakers, I couldn't tell the difference with the vast majority of my music. With a decent pair of headphones, I can hear ridiculous amounts of detail that my speakers weren't presenting me with, that was also missing from a lot of the MP3s I was listening to, in comparison to the FLAC files. I rip only FLAC, and have been doing so for some time now. And I don't care if 320kbps MP3s are "just as good".
Hard drive space is fairly cheap, so it's not really a big deal, I have an assorted mix of 320k and Flac, but if it is fact that they sound the same (I'm not saying it is at this point), but if were fact, there really isn't much gain in using up more space just because.
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post #21 of 78 Old 07-19-2014, 04:48 PM
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Well, why not just run the test in the OP between a FLAC and a 320kbps MP3? Seems simple enough, if you've got the software for it. I'm not sure my tools will do it, but I could give it a whirl.

Welcome to Rivendell, Mister Anderson.
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post #22 of 78 Old 07-19-2014, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Roseval View Post
Many media players support transcoding.
Just because they support it doesn't mean that it doesn't involve sound quality losses.

Note that transcoding from a lossless format to a lossy format is going to sound as good as anything in that format will sound. My cautions only relate to transcoding from a lossy format to a different lossy format.
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post #23 of 78 Old 07-19-2014, 05:39 PM
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The same one that WAS!
S**T what happened get on wrong side of a mod or just bored pretty interesting over here ( there are one or two over there that can be twits now and then ) gotta be careful around here, the scrubber bots don't always interpret things as one would think they would and might give out an infraction, and like anyplace else the human mods are out there )

Pretty interesting over here I'M over here a lot more than there now lots more stuff here . Not so much audiophool business either some but it generally has no credibility here !

I learned a lot more here in 1.5 yrs than all the time at AK although some of it there was pretty cool given the choice AVS would be obvious except for the wheels wings and water thing that 's the best thing going over there ,moving here is like graduating from something anyway .... some smart folks and lots more stuff here .
Just don't state something as fact that can't be verified ....... they kill for that here no lie !

Lotta plasma fans on the darkside here that's where the folks with real TV's hang out ☺☺I have both so
I hang out on both sides of that debate but favor Plasma. I like my new Sony LED though PDP still spanks it though!

Maybe I'll go over there and ask if anybodys seen you ? only with your permission ofc .
Good seein ya !

Hires Music formats ..............."Why does it sound like a CD ?" ............. can we make it louder "?
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post #24 of 78 Old 07-19-2014, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by 89grand View Post
Hard drive space is fairly cheap, so it's not really a big deal,
Hard drive space is a lot more expensive if its on a SSD. Both of my primary desktop computers are SSD-based.

The issue also relates to the total size of your music library. My primary music libraries currently take up 69 GB of hard drive as MP3 files and is still growning. I have acquired about 45 CDs to store there in the past week, which is not unusual for me. They would be about 5 times larger or 350 GB as .wav files. They are stored on a 240 GB SSD...
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S**T what happened get on wrong side of a mod or just bored pretty interesting over here ( there are one or two over there that can be twats now and then ) gotta be careful around here, the scrubber bots don't always interpret things as one would think they would and might give out an infraction, and like anyplace else the human mods are out there )

Pretty interesting over here I'M over here a lot more than there now lots more stuff here . Not so much audiophool business either some but it generally has no credibility here !

I learned a lot more here in 1.5 yrs than all the time at AK although some of it there was pretty cool given the choice AVS would be obvious except for the wheels wings and water thing that 's the best thing going over there ,moving here is like graduating from something anyway .... some smart folks and lots more stuff here .
Just don't state something as fact that can't be verified ....... they kill for that here no lie !

Maybe I'll go over there and ask if anybodys seen you ? only with your permission ofc .
Good seein ya !
Without talking about another forum too much which may be seen as in bad taste, I got tired of the political hypocrisy of some of the site staff (all politics was supposed to be forbidden, and I agree with that, except they didn't follow their own rules), and if I mentioned it, they got even worse. I was actually banned, but I was growing a bit tired of the vintage aspect of it, and I'm more into modern stuff, and I much prefer the more "science based" approach here rather than "trust your ears" even when it was clearly non-sense that wouldn't make any difference over there.

I have no problem with anything you say there, but they'll jump right on it and delete it I'm sure.

Anyway, nice to see you here. There are many cool people on that forum, and hopefully more of them are over here too.

You went by a different name there though didn't you?

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post #26 of 78 Old 07-19-2014, 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by arnyk View Post
Hard drive space is a lot more expensive if its on a SSD. Both of my primary desktop computers are SSD-based.

The issue also relates to the total size of your music library. My primary music libraries currently take up 69 GB of hard drive as MP3 files and is still growning. I have acquired about 45 CDs to store there in the past week, which is not unusual for me. They would be about 5 times larger or 350 GB as .wav files. They are stored on a 240 GB SSD...
I'm not supporting wasting space, in fact the opposite, but external hard drives are pretty cheap if one wants to use big files. I'm still up in the air about whether Flac is worth the space. I'm starting to think it isn't.
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post #27 of 78 Old 07-19-2014, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by arnyk View Post
Hard drive space is a lot more expensive if its on a SSD. Both of my primary desktop computers are SSD-based.

The issue also relates to the total size of your music library. My primary music libraries currently take up 69 GB of hard drive as MP3 files and is still growning. I have acquired about 45 CDs to store there in the past week, which is not unusual for me. They would be about 5 times larger or 350 GB as .wav files. They are stored on a 240 GB SSD...

Re Tubetwister
No losseless music on an SSD I can see that too expensive great for the OS and frequently used programs and mp3 though ! all the loosless is in the studio on those drives mostly for archiving sometimes projects .

I've got about 225GB of movies .iso files on this 1 GB hdd and only about 60GB of mostly high bit rate mp3 going to have to move the movies over to the LAN server pretty soon I could always shrink them but I like them bit for bit .only 411 Gb left of free space lots of pictures on here also over 200,000 of vintage ,classic and antique cars .(business and pleasure travel ) photos from all over family photos some videos Newer ones are Sony 1080p handy cam amazing little thing . takes pictures also not like a good DSLR or SLR but not bad for what it is better than a phone or tard pad .
I have another GB drive in here about half full of media files and music 3-4 TB drives are not expensive now .

How's it going ? You still think Lame is the best (free) MP3 encoder
and what do you think about EAC vs Audacity I have audacity + lame ..and foobar 2000 ofc which would you recommend?

regards

Hires Music formats ..............."Why does it sound like a CD ?" ............. can we make it louder "?
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post #28 of 78 Old 07-19-2014, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by commsysman View Post
I have a high-quality audio system, with very good resolution. I use ONLY the 320K MP3 to rip CDs to my computer; at lower MP3 bit rates the quality drops off rapidly. Even with my system, it is hard to discern a loss in quality with the 320K MP3.
I was very anti-MP3 in the 1990s and early 2000s, but eventually gravitated to the iPod in 2004 when I got put in a position where I had to take long walks every day (long story). I spent about 7-8 days comparing every iteration of WAV, MP3, Apple Lossless, and AAC, and finally decided that 320kbps AAC was the least-intrusive lossy compression I could stand.

I opted to use Apple Lossless (ALAC) as an archival format, and was satisfied that -- assuming a perfect, bit-accurate rip -- there were zero differences between it and the original CD. I couldn't reliably tell the difference between a 320kbps AAC file and the CD, but when I attempted to null them out in an audio-editing program, you did hear some phasy, metallic crap, so I knew that even with only 5:1 compression, there was a price to pay. But it sounds fine if you're walking, exercising, or driving in your car and just need background music.

If you're in an Apple-centric universe, it makes no sense to go with FLAC over ALAC, and at least ALAC now is open-source.

BTW, the Audio Engineering Society has published quite a few papers on the audible effects in comparing MP3s vs. uncompressed files. In general, most people have a lot of trouble once you get much over 192kbps. The Hydrogen Audio Forum is filled with debates on various audio codecs, and they generally agree that 192kbps is the cutoff. For me, though, drive space is cheap and I'd rather use multiple iPods and 320kbps, just for peace of mind.
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post #29 of 78 Old 07-19-2014, 07:22 PM
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89grandwrote

I'm more into modern stuff, and I much prefer the more "science based" approach here rather than "trust your ears" even when it was clearly non-sense that wouldn't make any difference over there.

re tube twister

Strongly agree with above I don't even use any of my vintage gear anymore even the 3 Monster Pioneers
I 've got a newer ~13 lb Crown Power amp that can spank most of the vintage tonnage no prob. made a believer out of me !


I had to come over here and get schooled about loos less vs mp*** /AAC finally wised up but they had had science here
couldn't deny it even after my own ABX testing with a 3rd party switching samples in the Foobar ABX comparitor like Arny says .
He's the man with that kind of science or anything to do with hearing and sound + ,recording lots of electronic knowledge also no lie .

I went by frankxbe over there
I put a couple in their place a mod also on numerous occasions talking S**t they didn't know about the
automobile business and related geopolitical things something I was in at a multinational level for over 35 yrs .
actually I was suprised I didn't get it also but they maybe would had to take a Mod with me I'm sure you know who that is just think G.M. ☺☺we were polite and all I just presented verifiable facts but
I read the Valukas report before anybody ever heard of it besides I know people.and I keep in touch.


I try to keep the serious auto/transportation/manufacturing/supply chain business commentary over at Auto News .com
It's the spot for insiders or retired insiders . Ran into Ferd Kantor over there he's alive and well still relevant also still taking car of the pebble beach crowd and their priceless antiques .
Missed the last few P.B concourse it's out of control with bigger than big money now .

Lots of folks over there are pretty savvy about the auto /transpotation /manufacturing and supply chain business
maybe 3 at AK also though you know who they are .

I'm bored with vintage audio ,I'm antique now don't need any reminders.

I still visit the Wings Wheels and Water sub forum now and then.

There are some cool folks there you know who

If you don't have a particular message for anyone over there I'll stay silent

I came over here to learn about HDTV and one thing led another good forum all in all
I've learned a ton here .

One thing I learned for sure ....... always somebody smarter out there !

regards

Hires Music formats ..............."Why does it sound like a CD ?" ............. can we make it louder "?
"The wireless music box has no commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?"
- David Sarnoff's associates at RCA the 1920's -

Last edited by tubetwister; 07-19-2014 at 07:35 PM.
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post #30 of 78 Old 07-19-2014, 07:57 PM
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frankxbe, yeah that's the name I remember, but I recognized the avatar. Big Al, or whatever he went by, and Urizen both rubbed me the wrong way, but I don't want to derail this thread, so feel free to PM me if you ever want to talk deeper on this subject.
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