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  1. #1
    AR Newbie Registered Member
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    MP3 quality question

    Recently a friend downloaded a couple of albums for me from one or the other let's say illegal source. (So, you don't know in what way they "ripped" the stuff.

    It was in MP3 format, most 256 bitrate or higher.

    I burned the files on a CD using "Nero".

    Now, the quality. Is it just me, but listening over and over there is something missing. It makes me tired in the end. I don't know. It's not the same. Bass out of proportion, Piano and violin something terrible.

    Just stick to normal CD's?

    I still also have a top end record player, play piano and have a very sensitive hearing.


    Thanks,

    Jos

  2. #2
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    My guess is, it's not true 256kbps. Happens all the time.
    On my system, I can't differentiate 256 to CD quality, although some posers here will say otherwise

    Truthfully though, 256kbps is very good no matter what people tell you. If you want to find out for yourself, here's a tip: rip a CD you know well to your hard drive in 256. Then burn those tracks back to a blank CD, and compare the two (keeping in mind the placebo effect is at large). It's a very easy test and you'll be able to make your own judgement

  3. #3
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    I'm a said poser and if your hearing and equipment is good enough to pick up on compression you will be able to tell the difference between CD and 256k. Not only will 256k sound like sounds are more closed in, less air around them, but you may also notice tonal imperfections. Sometimes on mp3's it almost sounds to me like a song has been remixed or something. On a portable or car stereo it is more difficult to tell but I simply cannot and will not listen to mp3 on my main system, it is not tolerable. No placebo to it, when I work out I'd love to be able to use my mp3, that's where I have a lot of my favorite Rock tracks ripped for commuting, but even through my second system the sound of mp3, even 256k and variable bit rate, is too irratating.

  4. #4
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    It depends what encoder one uses to rip mp3s, some are better, some are worse (even at higher bitrate).

    You can even upconvert, for example, 96 to 256 but it will still sound more like 96.

    And if you burn mp3s to CD, the quality won't be CD like. Data is lost when you convert CD to mp3, therefore converting mp3 back to CD won't improve sound quality much.

  5. #5
    Charm Thai™
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    I'm in the same boat as Peabody. I have found mp3's listenable on my home stereo so do not use them. My computer stays away from my stereo and never the 2 shall meet.

  6. #6
    Retro Modernist 02audionoob's Avatar
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    I don't think I've heard any MP3 files, even at 320kbps, that are good enough to listen to on my primary system. I don't find them to be horrible...but they're at least a bit of a waste of tube time.

  7. #7
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by klif570
    You can even upconvert, for example, 96 to 256 but it will still sound more like 96.
    It will sound exactly like it does if it was left at 96 (maybe even worse). That is precisely what I mean when I say that it may not be true 256. I have had the experience of listening to so called 256 when in fact it simply wasn't 256. It could be anything, you can't know the true bit rate it if has been 'up converted' to a higher bit rate, which in no way will it make the file sound better. You can't make up for what is lost.

    As for encoders, I've yet to fall on a 'bad' one.

  8. #8
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    I really thank you guys for the input. I thought I was the only one, but no. I just turned up my stereo for some real Chicageo blues, couple of songs of Rachelle Ferrell (Try to rip that!) and the old "Black magic woman" of Santana. With this stuff cranking up to a "live level" while having a (well, some, in fact) good Dutch Heineken beer you want pure sound, you know.

    That's were it is all about.

    Jos (Netherlands, just near Amsterdam)

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by audio amateur
    As for encoders, I've yet to fall on a 'bad' one.
    Hi AA, Fraunhofer encoders (especially old ones) are of poor quality. The best encoder you can get I would say is Lame, which is probably most widely used anyway

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by timebase
    I really thank you guys for the input. I thought I was the only one, but no. I just turned up my stereo for some real Chicageo blues, couple of songs of Rachelle Ferrell (Try to rip that!) and the old "Black magic woman" of Santana. With this stuff cranking up to a "live level" while having a (well, some, in fact) good Dutch Heineken beer you want pure sound, you know.

    That's were it is all about.

    Jos (Netherlands, just near Amsterdam)
    Ya welcome. Good beer can make even the worst mp3s sound good! Haha

  11. #11
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by audio amateur
    My guess is, it's not true 256kbps. Happens all the time.
    On my system, I can't differentiate 256 to CD quality, although some posers here will say otherwise

    Truthfully though, 256kbps is very good no matter what people tell you. If you want to find out for yourself, here's a tip: rip a CD you know well to your hard drive in 256. Then burn those tracks back to a blank CD, and compare the two (keeping in mind the placebo effect is at large). It's a very easy test and you'll be able to make your own judgement
    Yeah, could be somebody up converted from lower rez to 256kbps -- in which case your player will report 256kbps but it will sound like the lower rez.

    The difference between 128kbps and CD resolution is immediately noticable; the most obvious difference is the lack of "air", (as Mr Peabody mentions). As to whether you can hear the difference between 256kbps (or 320Kbps) and full rez, I suspect it has a lot to do with the attributes of original, full rez version. Also it of course depend on the quality of your playback equipment.

    Here's an experiment. I have several Jazz CDs that, when converted to lossless FLAC format, show exceptionally high kbps rates, i.e. >1000 kbps, that approach CD rate, 1411 kbps. Why? Because the recorded instrument is a cymbal struck with a metal brush which is an extremely complex sound. Try converting such an original to 256 kbps, then compare the two versions.

  12. #12
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    Bill, you make a good point. Your example is a good test where if one listens to Pop which is mostly boom and sizzle with the record levels peaked it would make it more difficult to tell a higher rez from a lower one.

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