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  #1  
Old 10-11-2006, 05:59 PM
Heckxx Heckxx is offline
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192 Kbps Vs. Cd Quality...how much different?

For years, I've known that yeah, you lose quality when you compress a CD WAV file into a compressed mp3 file. But I've never noticed the difference in quality, especially when dealing with 192 kbps mp3's. With the growing trend of ipods and such, mp3's and other compressed audio formats are taking over the need to play music directly from a cd. For years, I've been buying CD's, ripping them to itunes, and listening to them on my Ipod, sometimes never actually listening to the music directly from the CD.

Now I am, a musician, and consider myself alittle advanced, when it comes to hearing things in music. I got a two pairs of 150$ headphones, and a pair of 200$ studio monitor speakers on my desk.

I've actually done recording work before, and when I converted my raw WAV files to compressed mp3's files using FREEWARE conversion software...i still couldn't hear the difference, upon first listening to the songs.

So I just want to know...is there really a difference between cd quality and 192 kbps? Can you really hear a difference, with my caliber equipment? Or is this audio difference something you can only hear in a 2000$ home audio system?
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  #2  
Old 10-11-2006, 06:17 PM
fishbicycle fishbicycle is offline
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Consider that a .wav file takes up approximately 11 MB per minute, your average 3-minute song taking up 33 MB. Compress that to mp3 and wind up with a 3 MB file. Where did that other information go? Out the window. What's missing? Fine details, overall resolution. Frequencies above 16 KHz. Can you hear it? Some experts can, some experts can't. Some codecs, such as LAME, are pretty good for encoding mp3s, but still an awful lot of musical information is tossed away in favor of small filesizes.

It's a waste of a $2g stereo system to listen to mp3s on it. They are at best, a representation of what the song sounds like. We've gone from wanting the most resolution possible in sound reproduction to wanting the largest number of sound files in the smallest space.
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  #3  
Old 10-11-2006, 06:24 PM
Squink Squink is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heckxx
Can you really hear a difference, with my caliber equipment?
Depends on the music. If it's got a lot of high frequency information, you'll hear some aliasing ( lower frequency tones that were not in the original audio source). I ran across this yesterday, while listening to the phase shift/flanging on an mp3 of the Amboy Dukes 'Journey to the center of the Mind' (160 kbps). The sound is blatantly different.
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  #4  
Old 10-11-2006, 06:27 PM
GorillaMan GorillaMan is offline
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It depends massively on the genre and on the individual track. Any current production of pop music will necessarily minimise the effects of compression, to make the download purchase as similar to the CD (and to the compressed digital radio broadcast) as possible.

On the other hand, a 192k rip of a good classical recording is noticeably muted compared to the original. Crisp details of quiet passages are the thing I notice disappears most easily.
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  #5  
Old 10-12-2006, 12:10 AM
groman groman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GorillaMan
On the other hand, a 192k rip of a good classical recording is noticeably muted compared to the original. Crisp details of quiet passages are the thing I notice disappears most easily.
Most modern compression formats will allow you to go higher than 192k-level of quality. What is the MP3 maximum? 384k, isnt it? The more complex the piece and the greater the frequency and dynamic range is, the higher bitrate you should use, regardless of codec.
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Old 10-12-2006, 12:38 AM
hksj hksj is offline
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This is an issue which has been gone over and over again on audiphile forums such as HeadFi or Hydrogen Audio, and I would hazard that the conclusion is generally: If your equipment is good, the music is well-engineered, and you're listening, you should be able to hear it; if your equipment is bad, your music is poorly engineered, or you aren't listening, then probably not... With a setup a bit up from yours it's certainly not difficult for me to hear differences between 192KBps MP3s or lossless files.
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  #7  
Old 10-12-2006, 02:19 AM
mks57 mks57 is offline
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Besides bit-rate, the quality of the MP-3 encoder has a strong influence on the result.
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  #8  
Old 10-12-2006, 08:02 AM
Heckxx Heckxx is offline
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Well, I just re-imported some of my CD's into itunes using the apple lossless encoder, so I'm gonna see later if i can tell the difference.

Most of the music i listen to is "pop" music, at least in terms of being heavily compressed/mastered and low-dynamic. So right now I'm thinking...my Earshot, Cold, Evanescence, and Kelly Clarkson isn't gonna sound any different. But my Mars Volta, NIN just might.
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