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LogicprObe

For those who think MP3 is great.

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Uh. I think if you don't truncate my quote it's fairly clear I was referring to the fact if you only do one song with two formats all your showing is that when you flip a coin, it's likely to come down heads or tails. It's proving that you can tell that there was more than one thing played and have the ability to choose one of them... and that's all. Whether you choose correctly or incorrectly as to what format they are, you prove nothing.

 

Unfortunately this problem also even extends to the 4 songs, 3 formats style I suggested, because the odds aren't long enough that you won't choose correctly by pure random chance. If you choose one correct format on the first song, which you have a 33% chance of doing, then you've got a 50% chance of getting the other two formats for that first song correct. The odds are obviously worse than a simple coin toss, but it's hardly out of the realm of possibility to get it right on three or even all four of the songs just through pure chance.

Ah, I see what you mean. Ultimately you do a test with the one song multiple times.

 

One has two groups of two songs available to them, and tries to match the two together. If they can do it correctly once, that means next to nothing, if they can do it correctly 25/50 times then it means they likely can't hear a difference. If they can do it correctly 45/50 times then it means they likely can hear a difference.

 

Funnily enough, if they can do it correctly 5/50 times, it likely means that they can hear a difference, they just don't know it.... I think.

 

Rob.

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I did a quick test with a FLAC copy of '1,000,000' and a 128kbps version. I did five trials and got 5/5. I stopped because it was giving me a headache. :P

 

But yeah, I could definitely hear a difference, but it was very very slight. Then again, I'm using an integrated sound card, so it's not particularly good.

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Every blind or double blind test I've seen, informal or properly conducted and controlled on a large scale, has shown people can only tell to a degree of chance whether the sound is a 128-160kbps MP3 or an uncompressed WAV of a CD track. They're usually done with audiophile equipment and with people who claim to be able to tell the difference.

 

I've also seen tests where people are deliberately led to believe something is superior when it's randomly either worse, the same or better quality (in terms of compression)... and regardless of the actual change, people will to an incredibly high degree claim they can tell it's better (even when it's worse).

 

I don't think I'm ever going to bother updating my 128kbps collection. But I'll tell all my guests that it's 640kbps and pumping out of $4,000 speakers from a $1,000 sound card.

dude! no! :)

 

i essentially agree with where youre coming from, but 128 is too low! way too low. with the right musical candidates ive noticed differences many a time.

 

as youve been careful to point out in later posts, consistently and accurately noticing differences is NOT the same thing as consistently preferring the hi-res version — but lets not get sidetracked by a near non-issue. the fact it is conceivable that in some (vanishingly rare) instances, when i have consciously noticed a difference, i may have preferred the low res version to the high res one (perhaps due to the extra grunge and/or impression of loudness caused by shitty data compression), is very much beside the point. i expect most people who notice a difference, are no different.

 

here is a study you might like to read:

i urge everyone to read this AES double blind experiment comparing SACD and DVD-A versus CD. some may find the results damning to their illusions about the inadequacies of the CD format ;)

i have argued on a few occasions that just about nobody can sufficiently tell the difference between a well made 320kbs mp3 and its CD counterpart.

 

unfortunately, those around here who are cocksure they have the requisite golden ears to tell them apart are unwilling or just plain scared to demonstrate their exceptional talent for the rest of us and either claim the glory and bragging rights of success, or the exceptional education of failure.

 

i set a challenge for them here that was nothing if not fair — even ensuring they would have total control over the source music and the listening conditions.

 

its not a double blind test per se, but i trust you will find the methodology sufficiently thorough and impervious to bias and/or corruption. further elaborated on here.

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If i hear the difference in 10% of tracks, that's 10% too much ;)

 

That's a nice link 'hung, CD can sound very, very good with the right component choices and set-up, something I never realised till I first visited the Lenahan showroom on the Coast.

 

Oh, by the way, It's not a pissing contest and if someone can or can't hear the difference that's fine. I'm not going to tell them that they are wrong in what they hear or don't hear, each of use can only be sure of what we do, or do not hear.

 

:D

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dude! no! :)

 

i essentially agree with where youre coming from, but 128 is too low! way too low. with the right musical candidates ive noticed differences many a time.

Quite possibly. With so many zealots running around, I probably should have tried to find the things I'd read in the past and check what they actually used before making the statement. I did say 128-160kbps ('cause I really didn't remember, and that range itself might be wrong), not just 128kbps. But I see your point.

 

Interesting reading on those threads. datafast's as hilarious as a Firepower supporter.

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A lot of people want to hear the music how it was recorded, hence the popularity of powered studio monitors as computer speakers.

 

The only defence for MP3 is the size, as Vito pointed out in his article.

 

Once your brain adjusts for Lo Fi, it's hard for it to adjust back.

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Hmmm,

 

I am thinking that the declaration that certain media or formats are better than others is formed in ways that some people are missing.

 

Without stating what I prefer (not that it has not been said before) I would work backwards.

First I notice that I prefer to listen to one media or format over another. It is not until that experience is had that I would then try to explain it. I think this is what is happening, people like one over another and then as an afterthought look at the technical difference and seek evidence to support their opinion.

 

Music and sound are complex and how they interact with our minds is even less understood, the very existence of a word like " psychoacoustics" suggests that the mechanics of sound are not the whole picture when determining the quality or enjoyment factor of sound, part of the experience is created by our minds and this is possibly influenced by things we never consciously hear but our minds do factor in to the experience.

 

This is what I love about audio, it is an ongoing experiment to satisfy our minds need for things we cannot consciously perceive.

 

So when someone decides that one thing is better than another they seek to explain it and they only have a limited tool set to do this;

Things like frequency analysis, distortion measurements, signal to noise ratios Et cetera.

These thing prove nothing, they simply form a foundation to explain the difference between one form over another, it is a reaction to explain ones personal preference.

 

Think of a person that you are attracted to, now note what it is that attracts you to them. I am guessing people will note things like eyes, there shape and colour, lips, the tone of some ones voice, things of this nature are features, they are things that we perceive well and remember.

 

But they are not unique, some where there is a person that will match what you described but they will not be the same and you are not guaranteed to find them attractive.

There are subtleties to the things we like and we can never seem to put our finger on them, but they sever to make all the difference over that which we can measure.

 

I know there are formats and media out there that measure better then what I like, but I also recognise that there are things that cannot be measured (yet?) and I feel what I like has subtleties that other media has missed. I can't prove it I can only experience it, like anyone who feels they have made a great discovery I will try to convert people and often to do this you need to "speak the language of the buyer" and this is what has led to compressions of measurements that may not be the true defining factors of enjoyment, but simply the only things we have the ability to analysis and understand.

 

I have opinions on all sorts of things related to audio based off the aspects of it I can study, but I still firmly believe that the experience is what matters, regardless of how you do it. Just don't let current data put you off trying other things, maybe things that are not so great on paper hold subtle secrets that could make all the difference.

 

LUCK

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Hmmm,

 

I am thinking that the declaration that certain media or formats are better than others is formed in ways that some people are missing.

 

Without stating what I prefer (not that it has not been said before) I would work backwards.

First I notice that I prefer to listen to one media or format over another. It is not until that experience is had that I would then try to explain it. I think this is what is happening, people like one over another and then as an afterthought look at the technical difference and seek evidence to support their opinion.

 

Music and sound are complex and how they interact with our minds is even less understood, the very existence of a word like " psychoacoustics" suggests that the mechanics of sound are not the whole picture when determining the quality or enjoyment factor of sound, part of the experience is created by our minds and this is possibly influenced by things we never consciously hear but our minds do factor in to the experience.

 

This is what I love about audio, it is an ongoing experiment to satisfy our minds need for things we cannot consciously perceive.

 

So when someone decides that one thing is better than another they seek to explain it and they only have a limited tool set to do this;

Things like frequency analysis, distortion measurements, signal to noise ratios Et cetera.

These thing prove nothing, they simply form a foundation to explain the difference between one form over another, it is a reaction to explain ones personal preference.

 

Think of a person that you are attracted to, now note what it is that attracts you to them. I am guessing people will note things like eyes, there shape and colour, lips, the tone of some ones voice, things of this nature are features, they are things that we perceive well and remember.

 

But they are not unique, some where there is a person that will match what you described but they will not be the same and you are not guaranteed to find them attractive.

There are subtleties to the things we like and we can never seem to put our finger on them, but they sever to make all the difference over that which we can measure.

 

I know there are formats and media out there that measure better then what I like, but I also recognise that there are things that cannot be measured (yet?) and I feel what I like has subtleties that other media has missed. I can't prove it I can only experience it, like anyone who feels they have made a great discovery I will try to convert people and often to do this you need to "speak the language of the buyer" and this is what has led to compressions of measurements that may not be the true defining factors of enjoyment, but simply the only things we have the ability to analysis and understand.

 

I have opinions on all sorts of things related to audio based off the aspects of it I can study, but I still firmly believe that the experience is what matters, regardless of how you do it. Just don't let current data put you off trying other things, maybe things that are not so great on paper hold subtle secrets that could make all the difference.

 

LUCK

that touchy-feely relativism is nice and all, and well expressed, but i wonder if you could be a little more specific?

 

i do see your point. theres a frozen lasagna i buy occasionally. i avoid heating it in a conventional oven not because it takes too long but because i actually prefer the inferior results (by any objective measure) my microwave produces; the chewy dry leathery and barely edible sections of pasta which i love. theres no accounting for taste!

 

perhaps i would even like it better if you took a dump on it? who knows.

 

but i do know that no matter how much not accounting for taste you did on that preference, it would still be wrong wrong wrong! :D

 

 

come to think of it, being forced to listen to a bad mp3 is in many ways like someone shitting in your lasagna.

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You mean to say there is such a thing as a good MP3? So added distortion = Good?

 

Now your are reaching :P

 

 

 

The stance you have, and are still taking now is so bloody Lame!

 

:)

Edited by datafast69

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Sometimes added distortion is good. One mixing technique is to send a signal to a distortion unit, compress it heavily, then introduce it back into the chain at a very low level. It only really works with analogue gear because the delay in digital plugins can cause phase shifting and detract rather than add, but the result is that the volume is louder and more textured without really increasing the volume. So I guess its not out of the realm of possibility that the extra distortion from mp3s might add something that people, even if only for some music.

 

Like I said before, I think many people would find that if all music was suddenly not so heavily compressed, they would find it jarring to listen to. A sudden jump to high resolution, lightly compressed music would not necessarily mean a new period of musical enlightenment.

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Agreed, komuso. Sometimes distortion is good, like some harmonics with valve gear, but the distortion from mp3 compression can't be (IMO), it may be something people get used to and expect and therefore think It's a good thing and part of the music, but that's just a distorted perception as far as I see it *shrug*

 

Yes, there would be a little bit of adjustment required by the listeners, but damn it would be worth it for the majority, I think :)

 

The thing that irks me, is that while people accept these lower levels of quality, It's just propagating the push to even lower levels as an industry standard.

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One mixing technique is to send a signal to a distortion unit, compress it heavily, then introduce it back into the chain at a very low level. It only really works with analogue gear because the delay in digital plugins can cause phase shifting and detract rather than add...

i pretty much agree. just want to be pedantic and clarify a couple of things in case anyone is misled.

 

given the nature of analogue circuits its damn near impossible to produce distortion without producing phase shifting, and by comparison, eminently possible within the digital domain. the latency you are referring to is in many respects not "phase shifting" because the delay can easily be made uniform across all frequencies* (although, its certainly true that recombining the wet distorted signal with the undelayed dry signal will cause all sorts of (most likely) undesirable comb filtering). that latency can be compensated for digitally and need not be an issue during mixing. and i strongly suspect it need not, or soon won't be, an issue during live performance/recording either, given the speed of today's digital processing.

 

 

* even though any delay is technically a phase shift of x radians, the concept of a shift usually only becomes meaningful when the delay varies with frequency. otherwise, it is just a delay.

Edited by @~thehung

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One mixing technique is to send a signal to a distortion unit, compress it heavily, then introduce it back into the chain at a very low level. It only really works with analogue gear because the delay in digital plugins can cause phase shifting and detract rather than add...

i pretty much agree. just want to be pedantic and clarify a couple of things in case anyone is misled.

 

given the nature of analogue circuits its damn near impossible to produce distortion without producing phase shifting, and by comparison, eminently possible within the digital domain. the latency you are referring to is in many respects not "phase shifting" because the delay can easily be made uniform across all frequencies* (although, its certainly true that recombining the wet distorted signal with the undelayed dry signal will cause all sorts of (most likely) undesirable comb filtering). that latency can be compensated for digitally and need not be an issue during mixing. and i strongly suspect it need not, or soon won't be, an issue during live performance/recording either, given the speed of today's digital processing.

 

 

* even though any delay is technically a phase shift of x radians, the concept of a shift usually only becomes meaningful when the delay varies with frequency. otherwise, it is just a delay.

 

Yes you are correct.... I meant to say analogue gear and digital gear, not digital plugins. The end of the first week of my first full time job ever... brain dead. And yes I am guilty of using the misnomer of phase shift.

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Clipping is distortion.

I don't see any phase shifting going on there.

I'll assume it's safe to bump this....

 

When I discovered FLAC, I almost wet my pants, ONLY because of supporting gear/soundcard to actually hear it, otherwise MP3 is FINE.

 

Now about noticing a difference, the best example is using my car stereo.

Without going into detail, it's purpose built by my brother and myself and at it's current stage (and the car's, poor thing doesn't like it) it can reach upward of 130DB, the system also has alot of mid/high speakers, as well as the big guns.

So for quality testing, it's ideal.

MP3 is horrible on it, clipping like nobodies business, the distortion really lets it down.

 

Jam a CD in, ahh crip clarity and smooth deep bass without the clipping and shallow sound.

 

It does sadden me that society are MP3 whores because convenience took over and most people never knew quality, who the hell walks around with a Discman and Audiophile headphones for their mobile music needs? noone. (chances are those phones need to be fed by something more powerful, but I used that example for the sake of argument)

 

I still buy CD's because I can't use anything less in the car, anyone with half okay speakers for PC/car whatever who cannot tell the difference between mp3 and lossless audio might need to go get an ear checkup.

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Have you tried going from CD to 320kbps MP3? Would be interesting to hear if the issue is the file format itself.

The MP3's I use in it for casual use (not so ear splitting volume) are my own 320k rips from my CDs. Reasonable quality, I only do it because I don't really want my originals stolen.

Any time when I use the car that I'm not leaving it anywhere for more than 5 minutes, I use my originals.

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