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Lack of Bass with LAME? Please offer opinion, Moved from MP3 - Tech
Coles226
post Sep 9 2011, 01:05
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Hello - I am currently ripping my CD collection to MP3 using EAC V1.0 beta 2 and LAME 3.98.4. I used the Hydrogenaudio Wiki page to configure EAC.

For the compression settings, I am using the following command line: -V0 %s %d

Based on the above info, is there any reason why bass might not be replicated properly? It seems like MP3s I download from Amazon typically have a punchier bass to them (I listen to alot of hip hop) compared to my own CD rips. The sound is great otherwise, but I seem to notice a lack of bass.

It could be my imagination, but felt like this was the best place to ask. Is there possibly some setting I have that is off? Thanks all.
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saratoga
post Sep 9 2011, 01:12
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QUOTE (Coles226 @ Sep 8 2011, 20:05) *
Based on the above info, is there any reason why bass might not be replicated properly?


No. Lossy compression does not impact bass.

QUOTE (Coles226 @ Sep 8 2011, 20:05) *
It seems like MP3s I download from Amazon typically have a punchier bass to them (I listen to alot of hip hop) compared to my own CD rips. The sound is great otherwise, but I seem to notice a lack of bass.


You're probably listening to different masters of the same material.
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db1989
post Sep 9 2011, 08:58
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QUOTE
I seem to notice a lack of bass.

It could be my imagination
Easy to test: choose an album a song that you have a CDDA or Amazon MP3 version of, and of which you are sure that only one master exists (i.e. most albums); purchase the other version; and perform a double-blind ABX test of the two.

Edit: Oops! Hardly going to make you buy an entire album. tongue.gif

This post has been edited by db1989: Sep 9 2011, 09:41
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DVDdoug
post Sep 9 2011, 19:21
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QUOTE
It seems like MP3s I download from Amazon typically have a punchier bass to them (I listen to alot of hip hop) compared to my own CD rips. The sound is great otherwise, but I seem to notice a lack of bass.
It's not "fair" to compare the Amazon download with your own rips unless you are comparing the same exact album/CD. You need to compare your CD to your MP3 rip.

Or you can rip to WAV (which will give you PCM audio data that exactly matches the CD) and to MP3, and then you can do a blind ABX test, comparing your ripped WAV to your ripped MP3. (When people hear a difference in an ABX test, it's usually not the bass that "gives it away".)

I hate to suggest this because I hate to see you "messing-up" most of your music*... But if you want, you can use an audio editor (Audacity, GoldWave, etc.) to boost the bass on your "weak bass" copies. If you do that, you should rip to WAV or FLAC (lossless), edit the file, and compress to (lossy) MP3 once as the last step. You'll need to re-normalize after boosting the bass to prevent clipping (distortion) and you may need to add some dynamic compression, since boosting bass & normalizing might bring-down the apparent loudness. (Depending on the compressor you use, you may need to normalize again after compression to bring-up the overall volume again.)


* The "real problem" might be too much bass on the songs you like, combined with weak bass on your playback system.

This post has been edited by DVDdoug: Sep 9 2011, 19:24
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db1989
post Sep 9 2011, 19:28
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Thatís assuming that the files are suffering from weak bass, whether because of LAME (which I highly doubt), Amazon (which I doubt almost as much), or simply their mastering; and if that were hypothetically the case, why not just adjust them to taste using an EQ in software rather than going to the bother of creating new files?
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Andavari
post Sep 9 2011, 21:02
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I don't think LAME "lacks bass," further more if it did there would've already been countless complaints about it on this very forum and all over the Internet.

If you're that worried about the reproduction of your ripped CDs then by all means check out lossless encoders, see the Lossless Wiki article for more information:
http://wiki.hydrogenaudio.org/index.php?title=Lossless


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greynol
post Sep 9 2011, 21:04
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I don't think we even need to be giving any credibility to the notion that Lame is affecting bass response. The only way it's going to happen is by doing something out of the ordinary like including the --highpass switch or misusing the settings on a graphical front end. Seeing that files are being created with only -V0, this is obviously not the case.

This post has been edited by greynol: Sep 9 2011, 21:05


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mjb2006
post Sep 9 2011, 21:09
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To answer the questions, no, there's no setting you need to change, and yes, it could be your imagination.

The ABX test is the way to find out if it's your imagination, and the results may surprise you. Objectively there isn't less bass (MP3 is basically lossless for bass), but there's quite likely a less of the highest high end, and the frequencies in the middle have certainly been mucked with a bit, ostensibly in ways that most listeners with most music on flatly EQ'd playback equipment is not supposed to notice. But if, with your music and hardware, you do hear a difference between the original and the MP3 in an ABX test, and you're finding it to be unpleasant, then I would say try a different form of compression like AAC and see how it fares for you. Or just avoid lossy compression altogether and go with lossless, like FLAC (which will require about 3X more space than -V0 MP3s). Then you know any differences you here are figments of your imagination. smile.gif
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Andavari
post Sep 9 2011, 21:15
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@ greynol
Yeah there's no reason to feed the notion as it's so absurd!

With some of the encodes I've seen over the years and even gotten from Amazon.com who knows what "Some Anonymous GUI Program" is doing.


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LANjackal
post Sep 9 2011, 23:39
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QUOTE (Coles226 @ Sep 8 2011, 19:05) *
It seems like MP3s I download from Amazon typically have a punchier bass to them (I listen to alot of hip hop) compared to my own CD rips. The sound is great otherwise, but I seem to notice a lack of bass.
The codec isn't at fault, the mastering is probably just different in both cases. Thanks to the well documented Loudness War, the bass in many ~2002+ century rap masterings is very emphasized compared to that in earlier ones. It could be that your CDs are from earlier masterings, while the Amazon downloads are from more recent ones.

I've had a couple cases myself in which I thought something had gone wrong with the encoder, only to find that the CD itself sounds exactly the same. I'm sure if you try ABXing your CD vs. your ripped MP3s you'll be unable to tell the difference between them.

EDIT: Huge rap fan here myself

This post has been edited by LANjackal: Sep 9 2011, 23:39


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Coles226
post Sep 10 2011, 00:46
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Thank you to everyone for giving excellent insight. I was pretty sure that this notion was wrong, but I wanted to ask the experts to put this to bed for myself.

I will give the blind test a shot, I should have done this already. I am really not familiar with the compression command line stuff and often see people with huge lines that makes me think "what if I have something jacked up in my line." So if my simple -V0 line is fine, and I would have to do some other crazy stuff to mess with sound/bass qualities, I will accept that I am doing things right for my MP3s.
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Mark7
post Sep 10 2011, 09:39
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Yeah, just -V0 is perfectly fine. Also keep in mind that the bass frequencies are the easiest to encode, it's the high frequencies that are hardest to encode and take most bits.

This post has been edited by Mark7: Sep 10 2011, 09:39
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