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243 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 1192418 9-Dec-2014 21:45
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joker97: i have struggled with this concept before. 128k vs flac yes i can tell a difference ... any higher and I start to have doubts. I believe that i can tell a difference between 320k and flac when there are lots of complex treble (cymbals mainly) but only certain tracks. then there are tracks supposedly top of the pops that are mastered horribly - either imbalanced or some even clip! so then garbage in garbage out (someone get amy winehouse back to black - it's horrible!)

but without complex treble i definitely can't tell 320k vs flac

one more problem. all my travel equipment cannot play flac. so it's useless and i need to re-encode


Agree here - most of the modern stuff is horrific and due to loudness and clipping. anything from the 2000s is a write off, inc most remasters of old albums during this period (excluding known quality outlets like DCC/MFSL etc)

Also agree re: treble - where i find the most noticeable differences tends to be around the clarity higher frequency noises, and trying to avoid sounding like a audiophile-bro here, but also around the openness/depth-of-sound/spatialness when the individual instruments/noises/voices drop in volume and pick back up.

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Master Geek
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  Reply # 1192425 9-Dec-2014 22:06
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Sideface:
scottr: ... the real argument starts when you get into 96/24 or SACD vs redbook flac, it gets crazy then...


With good headphones (Stax Omegas with a hybrid headphone amp) I can tell the difference between 16-bit FLAC and 24-bit FLAC more often than not, but I can't tell the difference between 24/48, 24/96, or 24/192.

On the same headphones, MP3's sound "dead" by comparison.


Agree with the mp3 sounding dead by comparison, that's a pretty accurate way to describe it :)

I've got a bit of stuff in 48/24 96/24 and higher and generally it sounds noticeably better (some way better, some barely), but it's usually because the technician given the master quite a bit more love than previous releases so it's not an apples to apples comparison.

Where i've had the ability to listen to the same quality of master used for HD on a redbook CD (dual pack releases for example), the difference is very small/barely noticeable. I'm figuring at that point I'm reaching the ability for my gear to render the differences, or my ability to perceive the differences. HD to HD on the same master 88.2/24 vs 96/24 vs 172/24, i cannot tell the difference at all (either the system can't render the difference,i can't perceive the different or maybe the differences aren't noticeable higher than that, who knows)....

In saying that - some masters on redbook CD absolutely destroy some masters on HD 96/24 and above. YMMV.


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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 1194857 10-Dec-2014 13:33
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Sideface:
scottr: ... the real argument starts when you get into 96/24 or SACD vs redbook flac, it gets crazy then...


With good headphones (Stax Omegas with a hybrid headphone amp) I can tell the difference between 16-bit FLAC and 24-bit FLAC more often than not, but I can't tell the difference between 24/48, 24/96, or 24/192.

On the same headphones, MP3's sound "dead" by comparison.


great headphones btw, i once had a pair of stax els-f81 loudspeakers and within their very narrow operating envelope they were the bee's knees.

if i have to listen to digital files, i prefer wav over compressed files.





126 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 1195181 10-Dec-2014 19:38
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Hi,

I've downloaded a couple more albums in flac and had a quick listen before.
I can tell the difference a bit better now which is good.
They sounded a bit more filled out.
Will do a full listen later on to see what else I can hear.

834 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 1195182 10-Dec-2014 19:48
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Gambit: Hi,

I downloaded a flac file last night then converted it to alac to play on my iPod.


What did you do the conversion with?  I recently re-ripped all of my CDs as ALACs in iTunes as I found that it produced a better result than any of the FLAC encoders that I found.  How ever the JRiver software that came with my Pono seems to have much bettercodecs included.







126 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 1195227 10-Dec-2014 21:06
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I got them off the net.
They were flac then I converted to alac to put on my pod.
I haven't got any CDs.
I gave them all away.
Whoop's!
Be good to load up a hard drive then play them through the USB on my receiver but I don't think it works that way.



126 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 1195236 10-Dec-2014 21:22
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To convert the file's I used dB Poweramp.

834 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 1195265 10-Dec-2014 21:45
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I wasn't that impressed with dbpoweramp.

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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 1195622 11-Dec-2014 16:16
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Gambit: I got them off the net.
They were flac then I converted to alac to put on my pod.
I haven't got any CDs.
I gave them all away.
Whoop's!
Be good to load up a hard drive then play them through the USB on my receiver but I don't think it works that way.


what avr do you have ?

soem modern ones like the currrent onkyos can play flac/alac through their usb input.



126 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 1195628 11-Dec-2014 16:32
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I have a pioneer vsx 920.
I've played photos and MP3s off a USB but haven't tried flac/alac yet.
I think it'll only do windows media so I might convert them to windows lossless and have a crack.

2104 posts

Uber Geek
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  Reply # 1196239 12-Dec-2014 13:08
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I am happy with MP3 320 through my phone. But when it comes to listening at home it's FLAC and nothing else.

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  Reply # 1196327 12-Dec-2014 14:08
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I went totally lossless about 2 years ago - Flac for listening at home and ALAC for on the go.

For me lossless just sounds fuller then MP3 especially when using headphones. I would say however that you won't get a night and day experience between the two, its a more subtle difference and just sounds "nicer" plus with the cost of storage so cheap now why compromise.

I've also noted that ALAC in my car via a ipod classic directly connected has a much better bass response then MP3 at 320. 






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  Reply # 1196348 12-Dec-2014 14:46
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FWIW - The primary reason the higher bit-depth (96/24, 192/24) FLAC's sound "better" than their lower depth counterparts is that they're more likely to have been converted from a higher quality master in the first place, indeed if that's not the case then you're just wasting HDD space for zero benefit (CD's are mostly only 44/16 = 1400kbps). HD-Tracks supposedly use original masters where possible so you avoid the whims of whomever is pressing the CDs.

Also, a lot of (most) hardware simply can't process that audio and will downsample it to a lower quality anyway, depending on the quality of the processor you may actually end up with lower quality in the end.

If you're only listening on <$100 headphones, then you'll likely not notice any difference over a well encoded 256kbps MP3 and the source material. As the quality of the components go up, so does the ability to perceive the benefits from a better source, but it's largely diminishing returns.

Most of my audio is either >256kbps MP3\M4A or the odd FLAC. I'm usually either listening through sub-par gear rather than using my good headphones as they're not particularly portable, or out & about where even with noise-isolating phones, there's enough background noise to negate benefit.




834 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 1196356 12-Dec-2014 14:54
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stevenz: FWIW - The primary reason the higher bit-depth (96/24, 192/24) FLAC's sound "better" than their lower depth counterparts is that they're more likely to have been converted from a higher quality master in the first place, indeed if that's not the case then you're just wasting HDD space for zero benefit (CD's are mostly only 44/16 = 1400kbps). HD-Tracks supposedly use original masters where possible so you avoid the whims of whomever is pressing the CDs.

Also, a lot of (most) hardware simply can't process that audio and will downsample it to a lower quality anyway, depending on the quality of the processor you may actually end up with lower quality in the end.

If you're only listening on <$100 headphones, then you'll likely not notice any difference over a well encoded 256kbps MP3 and the source material. As the quality of the components go up, so does the ability to perceive the benefits from a better source, but it's largely diminishing returns.


Speaking personally the cost of the HDD space has become negligible, none of my headphones are sub $100 or over hyped brands (think Beats or Bose), and my Pono should arrive any day now.  I've been considering what to get at 192/24 not because I think I can hear the difference that 192 will make, but because I'm getting as much of the data as possible, which I see as a type of future proofing.

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Geek
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  Reply # 1196357 12-Dec-2014 14:55
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i studied audio engineering at school and technically FLAC is much better quality that a 320 but on most consumer level headphones you won't hear it. try listening on something like a pair of senhienser hd25s or studio monitors then you will definatly hear it. 

it also depends a bit on the type of music. you have to be a bit of an audiophile to really notice. but when it comes to stuff like dj's playing tunes out in clubs the difference between a 320 and a flac on a massive sound system is noticeable for most people.

*edit*

the best way I can describe it is that horrible compressed sound. Tends to get worse when playing on the radio as radio compresses everything (squashes dymanic range) listen to the high hats on a song in 320 then listen to them on a flac, flac they sound normal, 320 they sound like they're inside a tin can is the best way i can describe it. 

320 isn't as noticeable as say a 192 or 128 but it's still there..i hate that sound sounds so cheap and nasty. the only reason i still use mp3 is because they're better for my phone in terms of size, and listening on most headphones that have  far from flat frequency response the music doesn't really sound as it orignally did either. you got to remember most headphones boost the bass and mids up to make them sound more "impressive" where as studio level equipment is aiming for a flat frequency response as to not change from how it was originally recorded. thats why if you ever tried to make music on a pair of nasty bass boosted headphones you would listen to the same song on a set of studio monitors and there would be a lack of bass...because the headphones would have boosted the bass up.../rant

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