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post #1 of 44 Old 02-07-2012, 01:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi everyone.

I have not been at all successful in finding much information about this topic.

My question is, I have produced a hifi system with more then enough power and headroom. I'm using a umc-1 and xpa-2. I know I have enough power, my speakers are rated at 120watts 4 ohms.

I have noticed, even with my headphones, that certain songs (typically metal but even in some skrillex songs I hear it).

Its usually hard to notice but for example, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1l2N...acFAAAAAAAAIAA

The beginning of this song always distorts on my speakers (static). The irony is that the youtube video has absolutely no distortion, my flac files however, do.

If anyone is familiar with the With your friends (long drive mix) from skrillex, the part in the song that is predominantly autotuned vocals, I tend to notice the static easily.

Is this just my flac files that are failing? It's only a few songs but I find that even itunes files (although I buy cds now) tend to distort, and its the same exact song.

Is this unpreventable and just in the actual audio source? Or is it just unfortunate that alot of my flac files must have been encoded incorrectly?

thanks.

 

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post #2 of 44 Old 02-07-2012, 04:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Khaos View Post

Is this unpreventable and just in the actual audio source?

This is the first question to be answered--is it in the source or the playback system. To find out, the easiest would be to use the CD version of any program that consistently exhibits the distortion. Play that CD on some other systems. A car CD, a headphone CD, your friend's CD player. Does it distort on all of them? If so, its on the source. If not, it's your playback system.

If it's in the source, nothing you can do.
If you determine it's the system, come back and we can discuss more.
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post #3 of 44 Old 02-07-2012, 04:32 PM
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The wave form and spectrum might give some clues.

Audiosceptics accept audio trials using 25 people. A recent Oxford study with over 353,000 patient records from 639 separate clinical trials shows for every 1,000 people taking diclofenac or ibuprofen there would be 3 additional heart attacks, 4 more cases of heart failure and 1 death every year.

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post #4 of 44 Old 02-10-2012, 01:46 PM
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Saying that you have enough power because your SPEAKERS are rated at 120 watts, is like saying your car can go 150 miles per hour because the tires are rated for 150 MPH.

Your speaker rating tells you how much power they can accept from an amplifier before the voice coils overheat and burn up. THEY may be rated for 120 watts, but can your amplifier DELIVER that much? Probably not.

What is your amplifier or receiver, and what is it rated for? How many channels are you driving? Is the amplifier even capable of driving 4 ohm speakers??

There are all kinds of reasons that your amplifier could be producing distortion, rather than the speakers.



As for the FLAC question, you really want to read the series of articles that The Absolute Sound magazine has done over the last 3 months. They have tested FLAC and many other audio formats and done conversions between them and measured the loss of quality in each conversion. That is exactly what you have asked, and the articles offer many answers and insights.

I can summarize the test results to this extent, however: FLAC creation involves loss of quality and FLAC playback is highly compromised and quality suffers greatly using much of the available software.

This is also true, but to a lesser extent, of CD to FLAC transfers (where JMRC was the best software converter out of the 9 tested)

The one that consistently produced a minimal loss of quality in playback was cPlay. JMRC was fairly good. The others pretty much sucked.

They also PROVED that FLAC files are inherently lower in quality than WAV files, despite claims that it is not so. WAV files are much better to use.

Get the February issue of the Absolute Sound; the article starts on page 34. This is Part 3 of 4 parts,
but it is probably the part that you will be most interested in.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Khaos View Post

Hi everyone.

I have not been at all successful in finding much information about this topic.

My question is, I have produced a hifi system with more then enough power and headroom. I'm using a umc-1 and xpa-2. I know I have enough power, my speakers are rated at 120watts 4 ohms.

I have noticed, even with my headphones, that certain songs (typically metal but even in some skrillex songs I hear it).

Its usually hard to notice but for example, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1l2N...acFAAAAAAAAIAA

The beginning of this song always distorts on my speakers (static). The irony is that the youtube video has absolutely no distortion, my flac files however, do.

If anyone is familiar with the With your friends (long drive mix) from skrillex, the part in the song that is predominantly autotuned vocals, I tend to notice the static easily.

Is this just my flac files that are failing? It's only a few songs but I find that even itunes files (although I buy cds now) tend to distort, and its the same exact song.

Is this unpreventable and just in the actual audio source? Or is it just unfortunate that alot of my flac files must have been encoded incorrectly?

thanks.

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post #5 of 44 Old 02-10-2012, 02:07 PM
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Quote:


As for the FLAC question, you really want to read the series of articles that The Absolute Sound magazine has done over the last 3 months. They have tested FLAC and many other audio formats and done conversions between them and measured the loss of quality in each conversion. That is exactly what you have asked, and the articles have all the answers.

I can summarize to this extent, however: FLAC playback is highly compromised and quality suffers greatly using much of the available software.

This is also true, but to a lesser extent, of CD to FLAC transfers (where JMRC was the best software converter out of the 9 tested)

The one that consistently produced a minimal loss of quality in playback was cPlay. JMRC was fairly good. The others pretty much sucked.

Get the February issue of the Absolute Sound; the article starts on page 34. This is Part 3 of 4 parts,
but it is probably the part that you will be intensely intersted in.

This is so wrong it's laughable. Is Harley still the editor? That would explain things.

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post #6 of 44 Old 02-10-2012, 02:26 PM
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The article was written by Charles Zellig, Ph.D.

What IS laughable is that you are commenting on a thoroughly documented series of scientific tests by experts, and you obviously haven't even seen the article! That sounds like a slightly deficient place to start criticizing from!

Once you have read the article, let us know what you have to say on the subject.




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This is so wrong it's laughable. Is Harley still the editor? That would explain things.

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post #7 of 44 Old 02-10-2012, 02:46 PM
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Isn't FLAC a lossless format? If that's true, and I think it is, then there can be no degradation. I'd love to see a link to an article that proves otherwise. I have to assume the test method was flawed.

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post #8 of 44 Old 02-10-2012, 02:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post

Isn't FLAC a lossless format? If that's true, and I think it is, then there can be no degradation. I'd love to see a link to an article that proves otherwise. I have to assume the test method was flawed.

--Ethan

Uh oh this is some how gonna turn into ac3 vs dts haha

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post #9 of 44 Old 02-10-2012, 02:56 PM
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In this thread Chuck says what they were testing was different ripping speeds, not FLAC losses:

http://www.avguide.com/forums/comput...-audio-quality

Look for his post dated Sat, 12/31/2011 - 11:05

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post #10 of 44 Old 02-10-2012, 02:57 PM
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Is it? Is it? There can't?

All you have to do is pick up the February issue of TAS, which would certainly seem to prove that while FLAC compression MAY be theoretically lossless in and of itself, losses in quality unquestionably DO seem to occur when creating and playing back these files with almost any software currently available.

These problems do not seem to occur when employing WAV files.

Given these problems that seem to be unavoidable, this certainly creates problems for almost any user of FLAC files, regardless of what the causes may be. If you can't USE them without losses in quality, what good does a mathematical proof that they are lossless do for the user?

I have never seen so many "experts" trashing something they haven't even seen! How can you comment without reading the article?

It sounds to me like an LP that is theoretically perfect, only no one has invented a cartridge yet that can play it...lol. Very useful.

The method had to be flawed...that's a pretty big assumption based on zero information!

Please tell me how and why the method was flawed, and THEN there might be some wind in your sails; AFTER you have read the whole article, please...!

Until then....





Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post

Isn't FLAC a lossless format? If that's true, and I think it is, then there can be no degradation. I'd love to see a link to an article that proves otherwise. I have to assume the test method was flawed.

--Ethan

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post #11 of 44 Old 02-10-2012, 03:22 PM
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Have you read the article in TAS yourself???

Good ol' Chuck...Chuck says...??? I don't see Chuck saying what you CLAIM he said at all!

Actually...what Chuck seems to be saying is that he is unsure of the procedure used and wants clarification.

You seem to be inventing your own conclusions and attributing them to Chuck, as far as I can tell.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ethan winer View Post

in this thread chuck says what they were testing was different ripping speeds, not flac losses:

http://www.avguide.com/forums/comput...-audio-quality

look for his post dated sat, 12/31/2011 - 11:05

--ethan

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post #12 of 44 Old 02-10-2012, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

Is it? Is it? There can't?

All you have to do is pick up the February issue of TAS, which would certainly seem to prove that while FLAC compression MAY be theoretically lossless in and of itself, losses in quality unquestionably DO seem to occur when creating and playing back these files with almost any software currently available.

Prove? Unquestionably?

Forgive some of the other posters if they happen to like to think for themselves and question things that appear to be strongly in opposition to both logic and science.

FLAC IS a lossless format. Of that there is no question. If there are systemic problems with playback I would be surprised, but I'll try to check out the article.

Quote:
The method had to be flawed...that's a pretty big assumption...

Occam's razor.

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post #13 of 44 Old 02-10-2012, 08:31 PM
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Strongly in opposition to WHAT logic? I don't see any example of what you are talking about.

Here's another that can criticize it fluently without even reading the article...man...I wish I could be so sure of everything while admitting that I haven't informed myself on the subject at hand.

Just how much THINKING can a person do for themselves about something they haven't even read yet?

That's five guys now that haven't read the article and are dead sure it's wrong. You need to form a committee and write a report about it; but just make sure none of you actually READ the article.


Quote:


Forgive some of the other posters if they happen to like to think for themselves and question things that appear to be strongly in opposition to both logic and science.

FLAC IS a lossless format. Of that there is no question. If there are systemic problems with playback I would be surprised, but I'll try to check out the article.


Occam's razor.

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post #14 of 44 Old 02-10-2012, 09:40 PM
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Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

Strongly in opposition to WHAT logic?

That lossless is lossless is lossless is lossless. And decoding flac is a relatively straightforward task in the computing world. And that multiple popular media players would somehow botch the decoding in an audibly deficient manner when there is only one decoding algorithm, which is public information, is an extraordinary claim. That logic. To blindly accept such an extraordinary claim as unquestionable proof is unacceptable. Especially when the source has clearly established itself as a repository of audiophile voodoo beliefs. Im sorry, but the source does matter.

Quote:


That's five guys now that haven't read the article and are dead sure it's wrong.

Stop being emotional and making things up. I said I'd be surprised if the claims held, not that I was dead sure they would not. And I clearly said I would try to read the article for myself so stop with the grandstanding.

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post #15 of 44 Old 02-10-2012, 10:34 PM
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The earth IS flat. Of that there is no question.

What, you read that in TAS too?

So all the articles, data and information available I read up on this codec before switching from MP3's is incorrect?

For example, Wikipedia and Hydrogenaudio are claiming FLAC encoding is lossless....meaning no information is lost and the resulting file is identical bit for bit, exactly the same as the source. But hey, if you read ONE article that claims the code is flawed, then obviously they're correct.

Its funny that these are the same people that give you the option to look at their 10 reviews on subwoofers or 8 reviews on interconnects and speaker wire.
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post #16 of 44 Old 02-10-2012, 11:40 PM
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I've always thought my rar files were better than my zip files .

No subwoofer I've heard has been able to produce the bass I've experienced in the Corps!

Must..stop...buying...every bluray release...
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post #17 of 44 Old 02-11-2012, 12:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

...I wish I could be so sure of everything while admitting that I haven't informed myself on the subject at hand.

/spit-take

Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

You are absolutely, completely wrong. I taught electronics and electrical engineering for over 30 years, and right now you would be failing my first-semester fundamentals course.


"All men are frauds. The only difference between them is that some admit it. I myself deny it."
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post #18 of 44 Old 02-11-2012, 10:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

I don't see Chuck saying what you CLAIM he said at all!

Direct quote:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck Zeilig View Post

Using JRMC, under ripping options, there is a sub-menu for read speed: 1x, 2x, 4x, 8x, 16x (version 15 of the software). This is what we were testing.

Later in the thread he dismisses DBT as flawed. Typical.

Quote:


Actually...what Chuck seems to be saying is that he is unsure of the procedure used and wants clarification.

Yes, it appears he does need some clarification. Maybe he should have asked for my advice before writing that article.

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post #19 of 44 Old 02-11-2012, 10:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

Strongly in opposition to WHAT logic? I don't see any example of what you are talking about.

Here's another that can criticize it fluently without even reading the article...man...I wish I could be so sure of everything while admitting that I haven't informed myself on the subject at hand.

Just how much THINKING can a person do for themselves about something they haven't even read yet?

That's five guys now that haven't read the article and are dead sure it's wrong. You need to form a committee and write a report about it; but just make sure none of you actually READ the article.

Does one have to Greek Mythology before concluding Zeus is a fictional character? Or shall we find presence of hydra and titans plausible because we didn't read all the literature stating their reality?
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post #20 of 44 Old 02-11-2012, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Yosh70 View Post

But hey, if you read ONE article that claims the code is flawed, then obviously they're correct.

Yes, this might be the most entertaining part of his assertions.
The matter-of-fact acceptance of truth as it pertains to the claims of the authors in that article, as if there were little or no prior contrary historical and evidential basis to counter it. Does he accept the claims because he likes and respects the quality of the magazine and therefore assumes anything in it must be valid, especially if the authors seem like honest and intelligent guys? Or because they seemed to try really really hard and provided detailed documentation of their efforts so that's enough to automatically assume that any prior theory and supporting body of evidence which runs counter to the claims in the article can be easily sloughed off with little or no concern? Wow.

Incidentally, that article was first offered to Stereophile. It was rejected. AFAIR, the authors were asked to make some corrections or clarifications on some questionable issues contained within the article. The authors declined, offering it to TAS instead, who accepted it as is. Hmm.

Mourning the disappearing usage of the -ly suffix. Words being cut-off before they've had a chance to fully form, left incomplete, with their shoelaces untied and their zippers undone. If I quote your post (or post in your thread) without comment, please check your zipper.
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post #21 of 44 Old 02-11-2012, 12:33 PM
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Dr. Zeilig actually knows nothing about audio, but he transformed himself, chameleon-like, into someone who looked like he did when he pitched his article to TAS.
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post #22 of 44 Old 02-11-2012, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Phlegm Hankie View Post

Dr. Zeilig actually knows nothing about audio, but he transformed himself, chameleon-like, into someone who looked like he did when he pitched his article to TAS.



Zelig is one of those great, underrated films I find immensely entertaining. Man, it's funny, but you have to have that really dry sense of humor to appreciate it.
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post #23 of 44 Old 02-11-2012, 02:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Khaos View Post

Hi everyone.

I have not been at all successful in finding much information about this topic.

My question is, I have produced a hifi system with more then enough power and headroom. I'm using a umc-1 and xpa-2. I know I have enough power, my speakers are rated at 120watts 4 ohms.

I have noticed, even with my headphones, that certain songs (typically metal but even in some skrillex songs I hear it).

Its usually hard to notice but for example, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1l2N...acFAAAAAAAAIAA

The beginning of this song always distorts on my speakers (static). The irony is that the youtube video has absolutely no distortion, my flac files however, do.

The audio from the Youtube video is significantly clipped.
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post #24 of 44 Old 02-11-2012, 02:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

Is it? Is it? There can't?

All you have to do is pick up the February issue of TAS, which would certainly seem to prove that while FLAC compression MAY be theoretically lossless in and of itself, losses in quality unquestionably DO seem to occur when creating and playing back these files with almost any software currently available.

It is well known in the audio industry that the subjective publications such as the one mentioned are just journals of their author's opinions, and as such are not sources of reliable information about technical issues.
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post #25 of 44 Old 02-11-2012, 04:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

It is well known in the audio industry that the subjective publications such as the one mentioned are just journals of their author's opinions, and as such are not sources of reliable information about technical issues.

That applies for other fields too. I would expect a Professor of 30 years teaching to know that.

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post #26 of 44 Old 02-11-2012, 04:47 PM
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^Community college teaching (not that there is anything wrong with that).

For every new thing I learn, I forget two things I used to know.
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post #27 of 44 Old 02-11-2012, 07:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok.... so... moving on from this flac fight.

The amp im using (as I stated in my first post from the very beginning (which comms you quoted, it did contain the information you were looking for)) is an xpa-2. It is rated at 500w at 4ohms per ch.

I have enough power.

Also, I haven't gotten around to trying the cd yet as I moved alot of stuff around. May I just put the cd in my comp and play it that way? (My comp is setup with my whole system through toslink). If so ill post feedback soon.

Also, i tried different formats of the same song (mp3, aac, flac, alac, aiff) and still the same problem.

My speakers have no eqed applied, so its not digital.

Also the static/distortion is apparent at any volume. Odd thing is only 2 or 3 of the songs on the entire album have this issue, the rest sound perfectly fine.

 

Please tell me what happened in this night.
It's like the cat inside the box.
 
Please tell me what happened in this night.
You don't know if the cat in the box is dead or alive.
 
Please tell me what happened in this night.
The cat in the box was dead.
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post #28 of 44 Old 02-11-2012, 07:15 PM
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I would try to listen to the CD to eliminate all these file storage questions all together. Listen to the CD with a pair of headphones or earbuds to see if you can hear the problems. I have a feeling it's in the recording. I hear problems in recordings all the time. That's what happens when you have a pair of revealing speakers with nice amplification. You will hear all the problems in some recordings. I like Skrillex, but I would bet there are recording flaws in this music. A lot of dubstep is generated with computers in the first place.
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post #29 of 44 Old 02-11-2012, 07:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Khaos View Post

Also, I haven't gotten around to trying the cd yet as I moved alot of stuff around. May I just put the cd in my comp and play it that way? (My comp is setup with my whole system through toslink). If so ill post feedback soon.

Yes, as explained in post #2.

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Also, i tried different formats of the same song (mp3, aac, flac, alac, aiff) and still the same problem.

Maybe it is a poor recording. Or maybe not. See post #2.

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My speakers have no eqed applied, so its not digital.

Maybe, maybe not.

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Also the static/distortion is apparent at any volume. Odd thing is only 2 or 3 of the songs on the entire album have this issue, the rest sound perfectly fine.

Maybe it is a poor recording. Or maybe not. See post #2.
Roger Dressler is online now  
post #30 of 44 Old 02-11-2012, 07:44 PM
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I had a slight suspicion earlier, but now with your latest post, it is growing. My guess (with albeit, still incomplete information) is that you're experiencing the way music can sound when a victim of "the loudness wars". A term derisively used to summarize the way in which so much of popular music (metal/pop/rap/rock) is being released in the last 15+ years. In a combination of the mixing and mastering stages, especially mastering, the sound levels are being raised to sometimes such an extreme level in which digital clipping (distortion) occurs, usually done hand in hand with a heavy wholesale or global compression adjustment in order to make the music sound uniformly loud.

Taken too far, some songs, especially "busy" ones with a lot going on instrumentally, actually begin to distort in an unnatural way much like static imposed on top of the music. Especially at louder volumes. And if it's present on the original CD or digital download, it will always be there, no matter what format you subsequently rip it to.

As an illustration, click upon this link of a Metallica song, then crank it up on your computer and tell us if this is the sort of distortion you are hearing on your system with your music.

PS: Roger's post will also help narrow the culprit field as well. If you experience the same distortions on your other playback equipment; car, mp3 player, etc., it's the original source and very likely for the reasons I have just described above.

Mourning the disappearing usage of the -ly suffix. Words being cut-off before they've had a chance to fully form, left incomplete, with their shoelaces untied and their zippers undone. If I quote your post (or post in your thread) without comment, please check your zipper.
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