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Are high resolution speakers worth it if I plan to get all my music from iTunes? - Page 2

post #31 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by ccotenj View Post

^^^
< sigh >

i doubt we can convince people compression by design make sound better given the bandwidth and not worse and that the whole f*** mixes was not because of the format or the container but the misguided view of many producers who order mixers to kill recordings.

Daniel.
post #32 of 48
*cough* torrents in flac/wav *cough*
post #33 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by ousooner2 View Post

*cough* torrents in flac/wav *cough*

Even paying or stealing has no effect on the result, but it is the reason why compression got a bad name since a) people don't understand why its done (and when not todo it) b) its linked with people's view from napster, kazaa and torrents where the quality depends on how good a 13 year old kid is able to 'convert' it from some (mostly limited) source.

Fact is unless you like really like some analog 'effect' digital encoding and compression (lossless or not) can be of a quality thats hard to match by any analog or mediated (like cd) formats. Yes you need to take care where you get and even then pick great once in a store. Its like food you can't expect to pick up free food from the street and expect it to be the best you ever had.

Daniel.
post #34 of 48
Dr. David Ranada, others at Stereo Review Magazine, and a double-blind testing guru that they hired (I forgot his name) did a number of double-blind ABX tests of songs at different compression rates. They used high-end speakers, amps, etc. Most individuals could tell no difference between mp3s at 128 bps and uncompressed. A few individuals could tell a difference with only certain types of music such as symphony music at 128 bps but not at 192 bps (and often not at 160 bps).

In somewhat parallel tests, individuals at Dolby and DTS did extensive ABX testing in their exotic listening rooms in comparing sound from ordinary DVDs (compressed at different levels) with the uncompressed recordings available on most blu-ray recordings. Individuals (including those with supposedly golden ears) could not distinguish between the compressed and uncompressed.
post #35 of 48
Yeah but those guys at Stereo Review, DTS, and Dolby had an axe to grind! eek.gif

Oh wait, wait, WAIT! It was the audiophiles and golden ears who brought the axes and forgot their sharpening stones, thereby failing to grind anything. It's a rare bird indeed who can distinguish these technical differences. In fact, I've never seen one in the wild, only read of them in second-hand accounts of dangerous safaris into the Heart of Audiophile Darkness.

Now look, even a tin ear like me can tell a 128 kBs file from its 256 kBs counterpart on most songs. By the time we hit 192 kBs it has to be a really good, full-range original recording for me to think the 256 is better. I've got a lot of stuff that came at 320 kBS, including whole albums, and I've never been able to tell any of it apart from a full lossless file. I've got a couple of hi-fi nazi friends who swear they can, and they're repeatedly trying to goad me into believing.

"Listen, listen, can't you hear the subtle grain of the cymbal ridges?"

"Why yes, I can, just like I could at 320 kBs."

"No, no, really listen! See how much more delicate and natural the decay is? There's no harsh overtone or digital haze."

"WTF are you talking about?"

"You'd never hear that except on a lossless file or on vinyl."

"Uh, guys, we're listening to a 320 kBs lossy file. It's the same file I just played a minute ago that you said was harsh and sterile, you dumba$$es." (I'd only say that to my friends, not to anyone I didn't really know. wink.gif)
post #36 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by filecat13 View Post

"You'd never hear that except on a lossless file or on vinyl."

This is the line that always gets me !. I understand that we will never stop the argument on if and when someone can hear something we will have this argument 20 years from now where people will claim the 'old' MP3 at 320kb's sounds so much better than the formats we will use then smile.gif they will be the vinyl people of the era fine i get it...

But what gets me is this misguided view thats somehow a wav, flac, cd or any analog or digital way of recording is lossless compared to the original. Somehow they feel that the CD is the end of all and is the reference for example. that the sampling and bitrate they picked for cd is not a very (crude in fact) form of compression as is any recording method on a analog tape.

Daniel.
post #37 of 48
You lost me, but regarding your smack at CD's.

sample rates over 44khz get you nothing (there's no sound we can hear above 20khz, and that sampling rate is accurate to 20khz)
Bit depths get you dynamic range; though I'm not sure how much dynamic range the analog gear will, at the end of the day, accept.

When discussing CDs, I think you need to get past the physical media; these are wavefiles (they could be on HDD, compressed with ZIP or FLAC, on CD, whatever).
I'm sure there is some loss, but is it audible? After getting past the butchery of the sound-editor, your weakest links in the wavefile chain are likely the mics, not the loss in the ADC.

SACD, BD-A, etc aren't any worse, but except for offering multi-channel, I don't think they are audibly better.
post #38 of 48
Thread Starter 
Well, this guy at this local audio store (high end audio store), immediately told me he could hear that my song was compressed and asked me what bitrate it was. I didn't know and checked, and it was 192. So I guess it is possible to distinguish CD/FLAC from 192 kbps.

Sure, it could be due to the way it was converted, or which program, etc. However, I couldn't hear the compression, whereas the salesman immediately did.

However, Apple's 256kbps sounds good to my ears on my current speakers, it's just that in the near future (in a year or two) when i upgrade speakers, I don't want to run into the problem where I have to rebuy everything in CD format because the 256kbps sounded bad or if one can hear muddiness/compression.

If what you guys are saying is true, I will stick with and possibly even go iTunes 100% and never buy a CD again.
post #39 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by BestInTheWorld View Post

Well, this guy at this local audio store (high end audio store), immediately told me he could hear that my song was compressed and asked me what bitrate it was. I didn't know and checked, and it was 192. So I guess it is possible to distinguish CD/FLAC from 192 kbps.
And given six samples of the same song, some compressed and some uncompressed, he correctly identified all 6?
post #40 of 48
Thread Starter 
I'm not even referring to those 6 samples, I'm talking about how this guy knew one of my songs was a lossy 192 back a few months ago when I was at his store, without even knowing the artist I had on my iPhone. This is after about 20 seconds into the song, before he said anything.
post #41 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by BestInTheWorld View Post

I'm not even referring to those 6 samples, I'm talking about how this guy knew one of my songs was a lossy 192 back a few months ago when I was at his store, without even knowing the artist I had on my iPhone. This is after about 20 seconds into the song, before he said anything.

And you had played a bunch of songs, and that was the only one with lossy compression, and that was the only one he commented on?

Though I ask these questions without remembering: what did the studies find was the MP3 bitrate after which the compression could no longer be heard in blind tests? I suspect the iTunes compression format is similar.
post #42 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by JerryLove View Post

You lost me, but regarding your smack at CD's.
sample rates over 44khz get you nothing (there's no sound we can hear above 20khz, and that sampling rate is accurate to 20khz)
Bit depths get you dynamic range; though I'm not sure how much dynamic range the analog gear will, at the end of the day, accept.
When discussing CDs, I think you need to get past the physical media; these are wavefiles (they could be on HDD, compressed with ZIP or FLAC, on CD, whatever).
I'm sure there is some loss, but is it audible? After getting past the butchery of the sound-editor, your weakest links in the wavefile chain are likely the mics, not the loss in the ADC.
SACD, BD-A, etc aren't any worse, but except for offering multi-channel, I don't think they are audibly better.

I was not smacking cd's at all if and how much the sample speed and bitrate should be to be 'perfect' is a whole new question that might be true (that our ears are limited). This just tells us that the 'compression' used on cd's (compression as being not a perfect copy of the original) can be perfectly in the limits of our ears. The same is true for any system of recording/encoding as long as its in the limits of our hearing its good enough.

Also if you played it from your iphones (digital out)? changes are he just guessed that it was compressed to make a point. The quality might had nothing todo with compression method but a bad source file for encoding, a bad encoder, dacs in iPhone etc etc...

Daniel.
post #43 of 48
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JerryLove View Post

And you had played a bunch of songs, and that was the only one with lossy compression, and that was the only one he commented on?
Though I ask these questions without remembering: what did the studies find was the MP3 bitrate after which the compression could no longer be heard in blind tests? I suspect the iTunes compression format is similar.

No, it was the very first song I played.
post #44 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by danielo View Post

Also if you played it from your iphones (digital out)? changes are he just guessed that it was compressed to make a point. The quality might had nothing todo with compression method but a bad source file for encoding, a bad encoder, dacs in iPhone etc etc...
^^^ This

So some options (other than he heard the wav compression done by the encoder)

1) He heard nothing and guessed (if you were playing out an iPhone, that's a safe assumption).
2) He heard dynamic range compression and mistook it for wav compression loss.
3) He heard a poor recording and mistook it for wav compression loss.
4) He heard the poor quality of the amp in the iPhone 1/8" output and mistook it for wav compression loss.

There is some level at which artifacting and loss from lossy compression is audible; but unless I remember wrong (and it's possible I do), the format/bitrate you are mentioning is above that threshold.
post #45 of 48
"However, Apple's 256kbps sounds good to my ears on my current speakers, it's just that in the near future (in a year or two) when i upgrade speakers, I don't want to run into the problem where I have to rebuy everything in CD format because the 256kbps sounded bad or if one can hear muddiness/compression."

David Ranada of Stereo Review used 4-6 different Codecs of which he felt Apple's was the best at fixed compression rates (and superior to MP3s at the same compression rate).

Two issues:
1. In the stereo store, the salesman would know that your music was compressed. Given the limited memory on IPhones, individuals typically only keep compressed songs on their devices.
2. If you plugged your IPhone into the auxiliary input on the front of the receiver, the music would sound noticeably worse because most devices of that nature do not have suitable amplification. I use a headphone booster amp between an ITouch and inputs on a audio receiver or in my car. The sound is very noticeably clearer (even clearer than when I play CDs with wav files in the car - likely due to poor amplification in the standard stock system).

The point is that the salesman did not need 'golden' ears because the discrepancy due to the poor amplification would be so noticeable. When I demonstrated a headphone booster amp for my daughter in her car (and subsequently gave her one), the first thing that she stated "The music is so much clearer."

If the store had an appropriate IPod docking station connected to the receiver, then the discrepancy due to poor amplification would not have been as great.
post #46 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by JerryLove View Post

^^^ This
So some options (other than he heard the wav compression done by the encoder)
1) He heard nothing and guessed (if you were playing out an iPhone, that's a safe assumption).
2) He heard dynamic range compression and mistook it for wav compression loss.
3) He heard a poor recording and mistook it for wav compression loss.
4) He heard the poor quality of the amp in the iPhone 1/8" output and mistook it for wav compression loss.
There is some level at which artifacting and loss from lossy compression is audible; but unless I remember wrong (and it's possible I do), the format/bitrate you are mentioning is above that threshold.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wwinkler View Post

"However, Apple's 256kbps sounds good to my ears on my current speakers, it's just that in the near future (in a year or two) when i upgrade speakers, I don't want to run into the problem where I have to rebuy everything in CD format because the 256kbps sounded bad or if one can hear muddiness/compression."
David Ranada of Stereo Review used 4-6 different Codecs of which he felt Apple's was the best at fixed compression rates (and superior to MP3s at the same compression rate).
Two issues:
1. In the stereo store, the salesman would know that your music was compressed. Given the limited memory on IPhones, individuals typically only keep compressed songs on their devices.
2. If you plugged your IPhone into the auxiliary input on the front of the receiver, the music would sound noticeably worse because most devices of that nature do not have suitable amplification. I use a headphone booster amp between an ITouch and inputs on a audio receiver or in my car. The sound is very noticeably clearer (even clearer than when I play CDs with wav files in the car - likely due to poor amplification in the standard stock system).
The point is that the salesman did not need 'golden' ears because the discrepancy due to the poor amplification would be so noticeable. When I demonstrated a headphone booster amp for my daughter in her car (and subsequently gave her one), the first thing that she stated "The music is so much clearer."
If the store had an appropriate IPod docking station connected to the receiver, then the discrepancy due to poor amplification would not have been as great.

+1 to both.

He made an educated guess that what you had on your iPhone was compressed.
post #47 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by wwinkler View Post

"

If the store had an appropriate IPod docking station connected to the receiver, then the discrepancy due to poor amplification would not have been as great.

^^^This, plus all he has to do is see the iPhone and he can make his comment, especially if it's playing from the headphone jack and the volume output on the phone is low. He'd have to do at least five things to prove his point to me.

1. Have a CD of the same song.
2. Level match the input signal of the iPhone and the disc player.
3. Make sure both signals pass through the same DAC.
4. Play them at the same output volume, using an SPL meter to verify, and make sure tone controls, etc. were identical for each.
5. Close his eyes and let me switch song between the CD and file in a random pattern with a brief pause in between like A/A/B/A/B/B/B/A/B/A/A/B, then be able to pick out which was which.

If he could do that, I'd be impressed. I'm not impressed when he see my iPhone, listens to one track, doesn't compare it to anything for reference, yet proclaims it compressed. Compared to what/ Could the original recording have been compressed? Today that's certainly too often true, so, yeah, guess what, a recording that's compressed in the studio/mastering process sounds compressed when played back.

Of course, he'll never do that, because you're just supposed to believe that he can hear it; 'cuz he said so; otherwise, it's harder to up sell you. wink.gif
post #48 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by JerryLove View Post

You lost me, but regarding your smack at CD's.
sample rates over 44khz get you nothing (there's no sound we can hear above 20khz, and that sampling rate is accurate to 20khz)
Bit depths get you dynamic range; though I'm not sure how much dynamic range the analog gear will, at the end of the day, accept.
When discussing CDs, I think you need to get past the physical media; these are wavefiles (they could be on HDD, compressed with ZIP or FLAC, on CD, whatever).
I'm sure there is some loss, but is it audible? After getting past the butchery of the sound-editor, your weakest links in the wavefile chain are likely the mics, not the loss in the ADC.
SACD, BD-A, etc aren't any worse, but except for offering multi-channel, I don't think they are audibly better.

If Blu-Ray audio doesn't sound better than CDs, you're doing something wrong, honestly!
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