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post #1 of 65 Old 10-06-2013, 05:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Over the years I have bought a large collection of MP3's, primarily for convenience. I have a large collection on the Amazon cloud. On my Android phone I use Player Pro, which has a DSP plug-in which offers a pretty good improvement in sound. At home, my set-up is pretty simple; Dell laptop connected to TV via HDMI, and I just added the new Pioneer speakerbar connected via digital audio cable. This is a huge improvement in the sound I can now enjoy. I have downloaded the HDTracks sampler and hope in the future to order my downloads using these superior sound files. But I'm also interested in improving my existing MP3's quality of playback. I've seen a couple of software enhancers- DFX Audio and DTS Audio Essentials...reviews on both seem mixed. I have also heard about "upsampling"...and that this can be done via software (feature in JRiver?), but I'm not even sure I understand what this is. Also wondering if there is a way to insert an outboard DAC in my configuration...and would that improve the sound of mp3's?

So looking for information, guidance, direction to sources of information. Any/all assistance greatly appreciated!
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post #2 of 65 Old 10-06-2013, 07:01 PM
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Fundamentally, there is no way to replace what has been lost in creating an MP3. Upsampling, in particular, is a crock. I don't know anything about those "enhancers" you mention, but I suspect they are playing with equalization and phase, and they may or may not sound better to you. But that's going to be a matter of personal taste. The experience of others won't help you.
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post #3 of 65 Old 10-06-2013, 07:40 PM
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I don't listen to anything other MP3's. My whole collection of recordings is dubbed to MP3. They sound terrific to me. What is the problem with yours?
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post #4 of 65 Old 10-08-2013, 10:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by FMW View Post

I don't listen to anything other MP3's. My whole collection of recordings is dubbed to MP3. They sound terrific to me. What is the problem with yours?

Well, I suppose part of the problem is I got greedy...did some upgrades and got great results so I want more. Downloaded the "sampler" from HDTracks- it's free...and all I can say is if you can't hear and feel the difference you are damn lucky! Clearer, sharper, tighter...and I don't have any sort of "high end" system...but it's pretty accurate musically. I have spent quite a bit of time recently researching the whole conundrum of "high res/lossless" music- and there is a debate that is over my head technically about whether or not there is truly an audible difference beyond "CD quality" (44/16)...but that is a big step beyond mp3. At HDTracks you can buy 44/16 downloads for about the same price as mp3's at Amazon...and they offer 192/24 anywhere from 50-100% more. My next step will be to purchase a download that is 44/16, something I am familiar with...and see if I can hear, and appreciate, the difference. And I'll look for something that is also available at 192/24...and keep stepping through the process. This works for future purchases...I still want to find a way to improve my old mp3's...and I will probably download JRiver soon and play with the sound processing to see what I can achieve with that...

the best part is I'm playing and enjoying the music...and have toys to play with while I do so...it's all good....
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post #5 of 65 Old 10-09-2013, 10:09 AM
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All MP3's are not equal. I have conducted bias controlled listening tests and determined that as long as the MP3 is dubbed at 256kbps, they sound exactly the same as the original CD. Below that rate, you begin to hear some sonic degradation. My MP3's are all dubbed at 256K and 320K. No audible difference at all from the original CDs. I went through a lot of trouble to be sure I wouldn't be missing anything when I began the dubbing process. Hope that helps.
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post #6 of 65 Old 10-09-2013, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by FMW View Post

All MP3's are not equal. I have conducted bias controlled listening tests and determined that as long as the MP3 is dubbed at 256kbps, they sound exactly the same as the original CD. Below that rate, you begin to hear some sonic degradation. My MP3's are all dubbed at 256K and 320K. No audible difference at all from the original CDs. I went through a lot of trouble to be sure I wouldn't be missing anything when I began the dubbing process. Hope that helps.

320k mp3 vs CD = night vs day

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post #7 of 65 Old 10-09-2013, 01:11 PM
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I see. Tell me about the level matched bias controlled listening test you used to determine this. It doesn't look anything like my results.
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post #8 of 65 Old 10-09-2013, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by FMW View Post

I see. Tell me about the level matched bias controlled listening test you used to determine this. It doesn't look anything like my results.

Ive learned slowly over time on these forums that you cant prove anything. You can merely state your opinion. And when your asked for proof, the argument is already over. I am sure my claim in your mind will be dismissed immediately given my refusal to continue the debate. Thats OK here. smile.gif

I will add that on lesser systems in untreated rooms, the difference can be minor or nearly indiscernible. The better the system and room treatment, the more the differences between mp3's and CD are apparent.
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post #9 of 65 Old 10-09-2013, 02:00 PM
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Ive learned slowly over time on these forums that you cant prove anything. You can merely state your opinion.
You can also cite evidence. Some people want to pretend there is no such thing, however.

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post #10 of 65 Old 10-09-2013, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by jim19611961 View Post

Ive learned slowly over time on these forums that you cant prove anything. You can merely state your opinion. And when your asked for proof, the argument is already over. I am sure my claim in your mind will be dismissed immediately given my refusal to continue the debate. Thats OK here. smile.gif

I will add that on lesser systems in untreated rooms, the difference can be minor or nearly indiscernible. The better the system and room treatment, the more the differences between mp3's and CD are apparent.

I dismiss your opinion. No question about that. I take test results over opinion any time. Thanks for chiming in, however.
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post #11 of 65 Old 10-09-2013, 02:12 PM
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You can also cite evidence. Some people want to pretend there is no such thing, however.

What constitutes evidence lies in the mind of the beholder. Whats sad is the people "really in the knowing" just avoid responding to most comments they find wrong or avoid posting in some blogs altogether. Sadder still is when erroneous claims are made and go unchallenged, the author of those comments asserts their righteousness. Correctness by omission.

I have no bone with FMW. I am just at a point where I am not going to debate my opinions in every case.

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post #12 of 65 Old 10-09-2013, 03:07 PM
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What constitutes evidence lies in the mind of the beholder.
This is as clear a statement of scientific illiteracy as any I have ever read on AVS. And that is saying something.
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post #13 of 65 Old 10-09-2013, 03:14 PM - Thread Starter
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IMHO there are so many variables...when it comes to listening I suppose there are only opinions. I'm just trying to find what will work best for me- I know when I listen to the HDTracks sampler it is way superior to my mp3's....I'm just trying to figure out how to get closer to that with my pre-existing library...software(using JRiver for playback with their sound processing features), hardware (will an outboard DAC like a Dragonfly improve an existing mp3?)- I don't know, but will keep exploring.

The info about 256k vs 320k is interesting. Would that mean I should be able to discern a difference between an Amazon mp3 (they are 256k) vs Spotify playback(320k)- haven't tried to compare...but nothing has stood out in casual listening...?
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post #14 of 65 Old 10-09-2013, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

This is as clear a statement of scientific illiteracy as any I have ever read on AVS. And that is saying something.

I take it you have never supplied ample well documented evidence and got the response:

"Oh thats not evidence"

or

"The test wasn't done right"

or

"I don't believe those results"

or

"That doesn't prove anything"

....which brings me to my statement "Evidence is in the mind of the beholder". Said another way, no amount of evidence will convince some people.
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post #15 of 65 Old 10-09-2013, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by jwf2tao View Post

IMHO there are so many variables...when it comes to listening I suppose there are only opinions. I'm just trying to find what will work best for me- I know when I listen to the HDTracks sampler it is way superior to my mp3's....I'm just trying to figure out how to get closer to that with my pre-existing library...software(using JRiver for playback with their sound processing features), hardware (will an outboard DAC like a Dragonfly improve an existing mp3?)- I don't know, but will keep exploring.

The info about 256k vs 320k is interesting. Would that mean I should be able to discern a difference between an Amazon mp3 (they are 256k) vs Spotify playback(320k)- haven't tried to compare...but nothing has stood out in casual listening...?

I can't answer that. I have no experience with Amazon. I do listen to Spotify a lot. I don't have the paid higher rate subscription so I don't have a way to compare them properly. The free MP3's on Spotify sound quite good but not identical to the CD's. So they are certainly below 256K.. The DAC won't make any difference. Just keep the bit rate up and you'll get great dubs.
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I know when I listen to the HDTracks sampler it is way superior to my mp3's.
Yes, but do you know why? There are a goodly number of possible reasons.
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I'm just trying to figure out how to get closer to that with my pre-existing library
You can't, even assuming that the HD sampler is indeed superior for reasons of higher resolution, there's no way you can put back what's been removed. As FMW says, rip in the future at 256 kbps, and the only thing holding back the sound will be your imagination.

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post #17 of 65 Old 10-09-2013, 03:50 PM
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I take it you have never supplied ample well documented evidence and got the response
Sure, from people who are scientific illiterates. Empirical evidence must meet certain standards. If you want to claim that A causes B, you have to run an experiment that precludes any other possible explanation for B. Anything else isn't empirical evidence. Similarly, if you want to claim that A is tonally different from B, you have to do the comparison in such a way that tonal difference is the only possible explanation for the difference you hear. Not levels, not visual cues, not prior knowledge of the things being compared.

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post #18 of 65 Old 10-09-2013, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

Sure, from people who are scientific illiterates. Empirical evidence must meet certain standards. If you want to claim that A causes B, you have to run an experiment that precludes any other possible explanation for B. Anything else isn't empirical evidence. Similarly, if you want to claim that A is tonally different from B, you have to do the comparison in such a way that tonal difference is the only possible explanation for the difference you hear. Not levels, not visual cues, not prior knowledge of the things being compared.

I agree this kind of evidence is best, but is not always available. To be able to narrow the outcome to only one possible explanation is next to impossible in many cases.

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post #19 of 65 Old 10-09-2013, 04:16 PM
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Sure, from people who are scientific illiterates.

LoL.. from someone who thinks a woofer and a tweeter won't need peak power at the same time.... http://www.avsforum.com/t/1492314/question-on-bi-amping/90#post_23784100

Are you sure you aren't just making things up as you go along...???
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post #20 of 65 Old 10-09-2013, 06:28 PM
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LoL.. from someone who thinks a woofer and a tweeter won't need peak power at the same time.... http://www.avsforum.com/t/1492314/question-on-bi-amping/90#post_23784100
OK, so reading comprehension is not your strong suit.

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post #21 of 65 Old 10-09-2013, 06:48 PM
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Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

OK, so reading comprehension is not your strong suit.

And logic it's yours. http://www.avsforum.com/t/1492314/question-on-bi-amping/120#post_23785871

Another armchair "expert" on a interweb forum.
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post #22 of 65 Old 10-09-2013, 06:57 PM
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Keep proving my point, why don't you?

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #23 of 65 Old 10-10-2013, 12:06 AM
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Have you ever listened to music on a 2-way speaker with only one driver at a time by itself?
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post #24 of 65 Old 10-10-2013, 05:00 PM
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Hires Music formats ..............."Why does it sound like a CD ?" ............. can we make it louder "?
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post #25 of 65 Old 10-10-2013, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by jwf2tao View Post

Over the years I have bought a large collection of MP3's, primarily for convenience. I have a large collection on the Amazon cloud. On my Android phone I use Player Pro, which has a DSP plug-in which offers a pretty good improvement in sound. At home, my set-up is pretty simple; Dell laptop connected to TV via HDMI, and I just added the new Pioneer speaker bar connected via digital audio cable. This is a huge improvement in the sound I can now enjoy. I have downloaded the HDTracks sampler and hope in the future to order my downloads using these superior sound files. But I'm also interested in improving my existing MP3's quality of playback. I've seen a couple of software enhancers- DFX Audio and DTS Audio Essentials...reviews on both seem mixed. I have also heard about "upsampling"...and that this can be done via software (feature in JRiver?), but I'm not even sure I understand what this is. Also wondering if there is a way to insert an outboard DAC in my configuration...and would that improve the sound of mp3's?

So looking for information, guidance, direction to sources of information. Any/all assistance greatly appreciated!

Mcnarus pretty much nailed in in post 2 I could not have said it any better I,ve tried up sampling (does nothing) DFX in particular didn't suite my preferences or help at all waste of time nothing you can't do with open source free software .

Software equalizers can sometimes make something sound more in line with your personal preferences but often introduce distortion.this is particularly evident as you increase the loudness .
Unfortunately loosy encoding means just that lost information.

If you must use mp3 which on your equipment should
be quite sufficient then at least try to stay to the higher bit rates
such as 256/320kbps. you will get much better results there.
some of the high bit rate mp3 isn't bad at all when a good encoder is used .

if encoding from lossless to mp3 Lame is one of the best encoder utilities
VLC might work well also both are open source and free to the end user.
I've read the Pioneer sound bars are pretty good enjoy it!

Foobar 2000 (open source free) is one of the best players out there I have plenty of different ones paid and free trust me on that one .
not to mention professional sound editing software and outboard studio gear mixers and equipment and a digital audio workstation can't do much with a lossy encoded file no room for manipulation it is what it is. even if it weren't you would need some decent editing software and maybe a Digital Audio Work Station and that doesn't come cheap .

If you were using phones or otherwise needed a decent analog 2.0 line level out the fiios E7 is a decent inexpensive headphone AMP/DAC
as far as just using it for a DAC only I can't say if you will hear improvement without seeing the data sheet for your particular computers audio chip
even at that the differences would( if any) likely will be inaudible on your equipment as it stands now unless you were using phones with the amp.

The PC to TV via HDMI and to sound bar with PCM coax is probably more than sufficient for mp***
Foobar 2000 has a pretty decent 18 band EQ , VU and Peak meters for eye candy also in preferences a playback gain setting calibrated in decibels
That's basically what any software sound enhancer does is allow for user adjustable or pr set EQ and gain adjustments
beyond that is wishful thinking .In fact despite having a digital audio workstation and lots of editing software and effects plug ins I'm listening to some.flac rips on Foobar 2000 right now.it's a top notch player .

Audacity/Lame together are excellent audio digital recording and file converting software as well as having effects and editing capability open source and free closest thing to a free workstation out there.

I would caution you if you record mp3 source material in Audacity (or any other proprietary format) to export it in a lossless encode such as .flac
or something because if an mp3 source file is looped (converted and re encoded back to MP3 ) it suffers from further degradation and data loss
that is a limitation of mp3 or any loosey encode in general by upsampling in this case you aren't improving source file but rather preserving it from further data loss . Other than that as a legitimate use of up sampling I can not think of another reason to up sample . when you export mp3 file out of audacity don't bring it back in there use another player like Foobar 2000. You can save project files for editing however and still export your recording and later export your edit .
OTOH You can loop lossless formats back and forth between lossless encodes without degradation .

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 #26 of 65 Old 10-16-2013, 04:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by tubetwister View Post

Mcnarus pretty much nailed in in post 2 I could not have said it any better I,ve tried up sampling (does nothing) DFX in particular didn't suite my preferences or help at all waste of time nothing you can't do with open source free software .

Software equalizers can sometimes make something sound more in line with your personal preferences but often introduce distortion.this is particularly evident as you increase the loudness .
Unfortunately loosy encoding means just that lost information.

If you must use mp3 which on your equipment should
be quite sufficient then at least try to stay to the higher bit rates
such as 256/320kbps. you will get much better results there.
some of the high bit rate mp3 isn't bad at all when a good encoder is used .

if encoding from lossless to mp3 Lame is one of the best encoder utilities
VLC might work well also both are open source and free to the end user.
I've read the Pioneer sound bars are pretty good enjoy it!

Foobar 2000 (open source free) is one of the best players out there I have plenty of different ones paid and free trust me on that one .
not to mention professional sound editing software and outboard studio gear mixers and equipment and a digital audio workstation can't do much with a lossy encoded file no room for manipulation it is what it is. even if it weren't you would need some decent editing software and maybe a Digital Audio Work Station and that doesn't come cheap .

If you were using phones or otherwise needed a decent analog 2.0 line level out the fiios E7 is a decent inexpensive headphone AMP/DAC
as far as just using it for a DAC only I can't say if you will hear improvement without seeing the data sheet for your particular computers audio chip
even at that the differences would( if any) likely will be inaudible on your equipment as it stands now unless you were using phones with the amp.

The PC to TV via HDMI and to sound bar with PCM coax is probably more than sufficient for mp***
Foobar 2000 has a pretty decent 18 band EQ , VU and Peak meters for eye candy also in preferences a playback gain setting calibrated in decibels
That's basically what any software sound enhancer does is allow for user adjustable or pr set EQ and gain adjustments
beyond that is wishful thinking .In fact despite having a digital audio workstation and lots of editing software and effects plug ins I'm listening to some.flac rips on Foobar 2000 right now.it's a top notch player .

Audacity/Lame together are excellent audio digital recording and file converting software as well as having effects and editing capability open source and free closest thing to a free workstation out there.

I would caution you if you record mp3 source material in Audacity (or any other proprietary format) to export it in a lossless encode such as .flac
or something because if an mp3 source file is looped (converted and re encoded back to MP3 ) it suffers from further degradation and data loss
that is a limitation of mp3 or any loosey encode in general by upsampling in this case you aren't improving source file but rather preserving it from further data loss . Other than that as a legitimate use of up sampling I can not think of another reason to up sample . when you export mp3 file out of audacity don't bring it back in there use another player like Foobar 2000. You can save project files for editing however and still export your recording and later export your edit .
OTOH You can loop lossless formats back and forth between lossless encodes without degradation .

Thanks Tube, that is a lot of good info. With my current environment- existing library, equip, and available dollars- I may be chasing a dead horse. In the future when I can afford it I will buy higher quality source material...and I'll keep attempting to tweak what I've got- I just downloaded JRiver MC19 and will play with their sound processing features- do you have any experience with this compared to FooBar2000? Merci beaucoup...
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post #27 of 65 Old 10-18-2013, 08:25 PM
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So mcnarus, I'll repeat the question... have you ever listened to music on a 2-way speaker with only one driver at a time by itself?
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post #28 of 65 Old 10-19-2013, 12:10 AM
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Originally Posted by jwf2tao View Post

Thanks Tube, that is a lot of good info. With my current environment- existing library, equip, and available dollars- I may be chasing a dead horse. In the future when I can afford it I will buy higher quality source material...and I'll keep attempting to tweak what I've got- I just downloaded JRiver MC19 and will play with their sound processing features- do you have any experience with this compared to FooBar2000? Merci beaucoup...

I don't care for J river I prefer Foobar 2000 although J river is not terrible it likes to Hijack your files associations like iTunes. F2000 doesn't do that .pretty much most of the better known mp3 players are going to sound the same or very close. just get high bitrate source from now on . Foobar has an 18 band EQ ,more than most others are 8 or 10 Foobar 2000 is free also . I have j river don't use it .
VLC (free)has a decent free audio Video player,video capture also . Audacity is good free sound editor /recorder and will record anything your sound card can play coming into your PC no matter where it comes from .

MOG or Rhapsody subscription will offer mp3 320 Kbps and 280 kbps streaming audio respectively for all practical purposes no difference audibly. I've had MOG ,iTunes ,Pandora and finally settled on Rhapsody FWIW. but I get it for $5.00 a month also
When yo make your personal Rhapsody playlist or library it's as fast as clicking on a file on your HDD starts playing immediately once you are logged in or when you select an album in search same thing they have a nice player interface and search and huge catalog probably the biggest out there .the sound is as good as it gets with mp3 which is to say not bad. I use it for mp3 music rather than stored mp3 files it's just as fast sounds just as good if not better a good way to listen to mp3 .

I wold not worry about .flac except as outlined above
or maybe ripping a CD for now. always try to archive in .flac though. I would never archive a CD rip in mp3 unless I had a .flac copy first.

Hires Music formats ..............."Why does it sound like a CD ?" ............. can we make it louder "?
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post #29 of 65 Old 10-19-2013, 02:55 AM
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Ive learned slowly over time on these forums that you cant prove anything. You can merely state your opinion. And when your asked for proof, the argument is already over. I am sure my claim in your mind will be dismissed immediately given my refusal to continue the debate. Thats OK here. smile.gif

I will add that on lesser systems in untreated rooms, the difference can be minor or nearly indiscernible. The better the system and room treatment, the more the differences between mp3's and CD are apparent.

I see. Lot's of opinion there. I'm not talking about opinion but rather test results. I did the test with headphones so there wasn't any room involved. Do a truly blind test. It isn't hard. Then you will know.
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post #30 of 65 Old 10-19-2013, 10:17 PM
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Originally Posted by jim19611961 View Post

I've learned slowly over time on these forums that you cant prove anything. You can merely state your opinion. And when your asked for proof, the argument is already over. I am sure my claim in your mind will be dismissed immediately given my refusal to continue the debate. Thats OK here.

I will add that on lesser systems in untreated rooms, the difference can be minor or nearly indiscernible. The better the system and room treatment, the more the differences between mp3's and CD are apparent. [/QUOTE]
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FMW wrote :
I see. Lot's of opinion there. I'm not talking about opinion but rather test results. I did the test with headphones so there wasn't any room involved. Do a truly blind test. It isn't hard. Then you will know.

OK you two below is an interesting well documented test regarding test regarding CD 16/44.1 vs SACD not the same thing as mp3 vs lossless but similar testing methodology maybe they have something at AES regarding mp3 vs lossless ?

I thought I would post this anyway .even though it is not lossless vs lossy so the discussion has no position here just some listening tests and methodology used.


FMW see what you and Arny and mcnarus have done remember the epic arguments we had in an earlier thread? Now you guys got me looking at empirical evidence !
I was happy with my beliefs right or wrong before eek.gif

I'm purposely not taking a position on mp3 vs .flac or lossless encoding in general here just yet. I want to see what shakes out here first But I Might put my phones on and listen to some high bit rate mp3 tunes right about now. this documentation (below) did however support my position in a different discussion at Audiokarma.
ofc you already know whatever I have in mp3 is also archived in lossless encode if the original file or ofc the CD was loss less.biggrin.gif



I will say that my own sighted evaluations in respect to the discussion below reached the same conclusions as AES years ago using otherwise identical CD and SACD recordings. ofc that does not validate my methodology but I otherwise came to the same conclusions .

This blog at lifehacker might be good it mentions an ABX testing plugin for windows Foobar 2000 to test lossy vs lossless encoding also they have an playable ABX test right there

ABX testing in it self is may not be conclusive but it may help clarify ones position or not in any event it can't hurt to try it .
http://techland.time.com/2012/03/02/can-you-hear-the-difference-between-lossless-and-lossy-audio/


AES CD vs .flac testing
Quote:
Audio Engineering Society Testing by E. Brad Meyer and David R. Moran, longtime audio enthusiasts and members of the Boston Audio Society, showed that listeners were unable to detect the presence of a 44.1-kHz, 16-bit A-to-D and D-to-A converter when it was inserted as a “filter” in the two-channel analog output from a high-end DVD-A/SACD player. (DVD-Audio uses a 192-kHz/24-bit PCM system and SACD uses Sony’s 1-bit/2.8442 MHz “Direct Stream Digital” system.) The results of the study are published in the Journal of the Audio Engineering Society, September 2007 (Volume 55, Number 9). After hundreds of double-blind listening comparisons, the test subjects who participated were unable to distinguish any change in the SACD or DVD-Audio signals when they were “filtered” by the standard two-channel 16-bit/44.1-kHz CD system, which means that imposing a 44.1-kHz sampling rate and 16-bit dynamic range onto the SACD/DVD-Audio signals in no way degraded the music signals.
http://www.drewdaniels.com/audible.pdf
Have to look and see if they tested some DAC's

best regards

Hires Music formats ..............."Why does it sound like a CD ?" ............. can we make it louder "?
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