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  1. #1
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    MP3 vs CD sound quality?

    How good do MP3 files sound compared to CDs? I have a Denon 1315R amplifier and plan on getting Canton RCL speakers, and I´m thinking if I could get as good results by playing mp3 files from my computer as buying a CD player and CDs. If the quality differs, is it marginal or like a night and day.

    Thanks in advance,

    Willy

  2. #2
    Forum Regular N. Abstentia's Avatar
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    I guess it just depends. If you like the sound of MP3's through $10 computer speakers or an iPod you'll be fine. But if the swishiness and loss of detail that comes with MP3 bothers you now there's no way you'll live with it for serious listening.

    I actually prefer MWA to MP3 and use that, but I only find it useful for background listening. If I want to sit down and listen, the CD goes in.

  3. #3
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    The quality of MP3 playback really depends on the bitrate you select, the quality of the encoder used, and how demanding the source material is.

    Using the common 128k bitrate, the MP3 file is relatively easy to pick out compared to the CD playback. If you're listening on the computer or in a car, I would say at about 160k or 192k bitrate, you're getting close to where the MP3 might be good enough. But, for really well done recordings, you might still be able to pick up on deficiencies in the MP3 even with computer speakers. For critical listening at home or on a good set of headphones, 320k bitrate is about what you need for the sound quality to get to a point where the differences aren't immediately obvious.

  4. #4
    Utmostjamin1
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    i burn all my mp3 cds for my car at 320 because i wanted the best possible sound vs more music per disc. i cant really tell a whole lotta difference, i have a great cd reciever in my truck a panasonic that plays mp3 wma ... it has high pass and low pass crossovers and 3 5 volt preamp out jacks..I love it because it displays all the song names has a large display etc... what i really love is i get 5 hours of music on 1 cd... made a 6 disc cd changer uneccessary

  5. #5
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    I've found that part of this also depends on the music you're listening to. Some of my classical music in mp3 format sounds horrible after being compressed, but other rock & roll songs (older ones mostly), sound just the same to me on my system. If you use iTunes, there's a whole bunch of settings you can mess with regarding importing quality, including a format apple made that says its the same quality, but half the size of a wav. file called apple lossless. I've got over 11,000 songs on an Apple Powerbook, and I use the airport express to stream the music to my stereo (with an optical digital connection). For the most part, it sounds the same to me playing it this way, and the convenience of having 11,000 songs at my fingertips (when i surf the net too), is incredible. I bought a 400 disc CD changer when they first came out and loaded all my CDs into it, and I haven't touched it since i got my powerbook. Good luck!

  6. #6
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    Funny, I was just thinking about this a few hours ago. I am not one to pay a ton on music. I have spent a fair amount on my equipment however and want the best quality music I can get out of it. The thought of compressed music for some reason seems like there might be a loss in detail or clarity somewhere to me. I go to the local library and borrow friend's cd's and copy them that way.

  7. #7
    Suspended Smokey's Avatar
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    It might be worth noting that data on CD is not compressed (PCM), while on MP3 it is compressed. On a single CD which contain 700 mb of information, if we assume we can fit 70 minutes of uncompressed data, each minute will approximately occupy about 10 mb of data. So a five minute song will occupy about 50 mb of data.

    On MP3 at 320k bitrate, a 5 minute song occupy about 10 mb of data. So there is 5 to 1 ratio reduction (compression) for MP3. The first thing that seem to suffer to achieve such a compression probably will be Dynamic Range of music.

    Rock& Roll and Pop might be alright with MP3, but probaly not Classical music due to DR issue

  8. #8
    Da Dragonball Kid L.J.'s Avatar
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    I accept the loss of quality because I like the convenience MP3's offer. I have thousands of burned songs myself and I see no need to replace them. Both my cars have MP3 decks so no need for a CD changer. Of course, certain songs and certain artists I gotta have CD quality or better for home listening.

  9. #9
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    I don't it would work quite that way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey
    It might be worth noting that data on CD is not compressed (PCM), while on MP3 it is compressed. On a single CD which contain 700 mb of information, if we assume we can fit 70 minutes of uncompressed data, each minute will approximately occupy about 10 mb of data. So a five minute song will occupy about 50 mb of data.

    On MP3 at 320k bitrate, a 5 minute song occupy about 10 mb of data. So there is 5 to 1 ratio reduction (compression) for MP3. The first thing that seem to suffer to achieve such a compression probably will be Dynamic Range of music.

    Rock& Roll and Pop might be alright with MP3, but probaly not Classical music due to DR issue
    I've ripped high quality recordings and @ 320k I am not getting any detectable dynamic compression. The main thing that's noticable to me, especially @ 128k is a loss of detail, especially on complex passages, not overall compression. The sound get's very mushy, and hashy. I can spot a 128k MP3 easily on most recordings. Once you know what to listen for it becomes pretty easy to spot, and hard to overlook. 320k MP3's are much harder to detect. If they are copys of well recorded music it's usually only with my headphones I can spot any hint of artifacts at all.

    PCM in my view, even though uncompressed, wastes a lot of data space to encode the same amount of information. What really matters in the end is the quality of the waveform delivered to your amplifier.
    Audio;
    Ming Da MC34-AB 75wpc
    PS Audio Classic 250. 500wpc into 4 ohms.
    PS Audio 4.5 preamp,
    Marantz 6170 TT Shure M97e cart.
    Arcam Alpha 9 CD.- 24 bit dCS Ring DAC.
    Magnepan 3.6r speakers Oak/black,

  10. #10
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    The new WMA lossless format compares very well to CD sound. Problem is it eats up your hard drive space. I've got a 80MB outboard hard drive that's nearly full, and about 35MB full on the internal one.

  11. #11
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    The first thing to go is detail in bass and highs for your average MP3. It creates a distortion is instruments like symbols. The bass inconsistancy can be brutal on your sub at high volumes, if anyone is into car audio you will know what I mean.

  12. #12
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    So if i were to get an mp3 player to put my cd's on to play in my car with the lighter adapter,suggest a good one and why its so good? Remember,i know zero about them.
    Look & Listen

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