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MP3 320 kbs vs Redbook ripped to WAV, Positive ABX test result with foobar on classical material (Ravel)
UltimateMusicSno...
post Sep 23 2013, 18:07
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QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Sep 23 2013, 11:02) *
QUOTE (greynol @ Sep 23 2013, 14:48) *
We already had this conversation and the peak value was revealed.
My ability to forget things exceeds my ability to read things wink.gif

QUOTE (UltimateMusicSnob @ Sep 23 2013, 16:18) *
It's conceivable that classical labels could choose to normalize to -1.0db instead of -6.0, but I would bet if that range were to become standard...
There is no standard. Most CDs, popular and classical, are peak normalised to nearly 0dB FS. Normalising to -6dB for a wide range classical CD is a strange choice, though some people worry about distortion in lesser equipment when getting near full scale with "pure" classical music...
http://www.audiomisc.co.uk/BBC/iPlayerRulesOK/Page2.html

Cheers,
David.

I may have characterized this recording incorrectly. In the full orchestra segment here, a huge crescendo in a huge orchestra, the peak for the long clip hit -5.7 db. But it's entirely possible there's one or more points elsewhere in the full 40 minutes plus piece that approaches 0 db.
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Mach-X
post Sep 28 2013, 07:39
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This topic has been on my mind lately and I have a few questions. But first I would like to welcome UMS to the community and high five him because his "50 plus" ears are better than my 35 year old ears, and also for tolerating far more doubt and scrutiny than I would have by repeatedly replicating his test results. I'm going to loosely quote him and greynol "trained to listen with excrutiating detail" "not enough to put myself through another abx session" and "probably not be able to abx in a car".
What I was wondering was if either of you feel you could abx short 5 or 10 second bursts.
Not asking for more tests, just an opinion.
If not, considering the entire purpose of lossy compression is portability with the best sq possible considering you are ripping out 4/5 of the audio signal, hasn't the encoder done its job? That being small files for portable or less than optimal conditions? I guess what I am saying is that offshoots or fiddling with settings are pointless because lossy is lossy and under intense scrutiny isn't the same but in less than optimal does its job just fine.
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UltimateMusicSno...
post Sep 29 2013, 02:01
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QUOTE (Mach-X @ Sep 28 2013, 01:39) *
This topic has been on my mind lately and I have a few questions. But first I would like to welcome UMS to the community and high five him because his "50 plus" ears are better than my 35 year old ears, and also for tolerating far more doubt and scrutiny than I would have by repeatedly replicating his test results. I'm going to loosely quote him and greynol "trained to listen with excrutiating detail" "not enough to put myself through another abx session" and "probably not be able to abx in a car".
What I was wondering was if either of you feel you could abx short 5 or 10 second bursts.
Not asking for more tests, just an opinion.
If not, considering the entire purpose of lossy compression is portability with the best sq possible considering you are ripping out 4/5 of the audio signal, hasn't the encoder done its job? That being small files for portable or less than optimal conditions? I guess what I am saying is that offshoots or fiddling with settings are pointless because lossy is lossy and under intense scrutiny isn't the same but in less than optimal does its job just fine.

As I understand the above, I think I agree pretty much in its entirety. The MP3 was designed originally as an accompanying codec of audio stream for MPEG-1 video; as you imply, audiophile was never its intent. It has done just fine on its intended platforms, which I would identify as iPod and associated non-Apple variants: mobile devices with lower-quality earphones used in high-ambient-noise environments.

I expect the relentless march of Moore's Law (and similar "laws" of computing) to gradually remove the need for lossy multimedia compression. I know some people carry around thousands of songs, but I never have, and even that number will be possible in lossless formats relatively soon, probably on fingernail-size devices.

I originally jumped in because I had seen several blanket statements (made on other forums), that no one could distinguish 256 kbs MP3 or higher from Redbook. That kind of claim gets my attention, so my research question goes to the point of whether it's possible at all (ummm, yes), which is distinct from how useful that finding really is (not much, in the majority of cases).

I typically use 5 or 10 second segments out of a test file in Foobar anyway, so I think the answer to the question above on ABX is "yes", but maybe you mean another context.
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saratoga
post Sep 29 2013, 02:37
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QUOTE (greynol @ Sep 23 2013, 11:30) *
It's ironic how mp3 is capable of exceeding the dynamic range of CDDA.


I wonder if anyone has ever found a very dynamic 24 bit classical (or other) piece where the MP3 version made from 24 bit source is transparent, but dithering down to 16 bit is not.

QUOTE (UltimateMusicSnob @ Sep 28 2013, 21:01) *
I expect the relentless march of Moore's Law (and similar "laws" of computing) to gradually remove the need for lossy multimedia compression. I know some people carry around thousands of songs, but I never have, and even that number will be possible in lossless formats relatively soon, probably on fingernail-size devices.


I think politics if nothing else will keep lossless from going to mainstream again. No one wants to sell lossless audio because its too easy to change the format...

QUOTE (greynol @ Sep 23 2013, 11:30) *
I originally jumped in because I had seen several blanket statements (made on other forums), that no one could distinguish 256 kbs MP3 or higher from Redbook. That kind of claim gets my attention, so my research question goes to the point of whether it's possible at all (ummm, yes), which is distinct from how useful that finding really is (not much, in the majority of cases).


I would say that most people cannot, at present, ABX almost any common music samples for good 256k MP3. However, with practice, experience and patience, almost anyone can learn to. MP3 is quite good, but once you learn the flaws and what to listen for, you can often ABX tracks.

FWIW I prefer to not get quite so good at it that I notice these things without trying smile.gif
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db1989
post Sep 29 2013, 03:10
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QUOTE (UltimateMusicSnob @ Sep 29 2013, 02:01) *
The MP3 was designed originally as an accompanying codec of audio stream for MPEG-1 video; as you imply, audiophile was never its intent. It has done just fine on its intended platforms, which I would identify as iPod and associated non-Apple variants: mobile devices with lower-quality earphones used in high-ambient-noise environments.
Intended platforms? Maybe now, but not originally, which I am sure you know but which the proximity of your statement about its origins risks implying to readers with less knowledge of the history. PMPs were a dream on the horizon for most people when MP3 first emerged, so they could not cause its existence. Separate from whatever the Committee originally intended, MP3 originally got used predominantly on home PCs as an easier way to store song-length volumes of audio on the relatively small disks available then and/or to transfer them over the poor internet connections of that age. It precipitated the popularity of portable players (of which the iPod was definitely not the first, to which all others are merely “associated”), not the other way around.
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binaryhermit
post Sep 29 2013, 05:18
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I actually thought the initial purpose of mp3 was transporting relatively high quality audio over dual ISDN lines, hence the 128 kbps quality that used to be so common.
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greynol
post Sep 29 2013, 07:07
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QUOTE (UltimateMusicSnob @ Sep 28 2013, 18:01) *
lower-quality earphones used in high-ambient-noise environments.

That's a bit over the top.

My turn: let's use a magnifying glass to look at the sun.

Before we get on our high horses, I'm sure any of us can find samples that you can't ABX.

Arnold got it right: this sample is pathological.

I'm sorry, but this generalization about MP3 is no less silly than the statements this discussion was set out to disprove.

This post has been edited by greynol: Sep 29 2013, 09:00


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IgorC
post Sep 29 2013, 19:01
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QUOTE (UltimateMusicSnob @ Sep 28 2013, 22:01) *
I expect the relentless march of Moore's Law (and similar "laws" of computing) to gradually remove the need for lossy multimedia compression.

This phrase periodically appears in internet already for years.
The tech moves to lighter,thinner devices, hence additional restrictons for storage capacity.
We have connections of a tons of Mbits and still use jpeg for image compression. The amount of content and image/video resolution grow fast.

"Gradually remove the need for lossy multimedia compression"? Not even close.
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pdq
post Sep 29 2013, 20:19
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QUOTE (saratoga @ Sep 28 2013, 21:37) *
QUOTE (greynol @ Sep 23 2013, 11:30) *
It's ironic how mp3 is capable of exceeding the dynamic range of CDDA.


I wonder if anyone has ever found a very dynamic 24 bit classical (or other) piece where the MP3 version made from 24 bit source is transparent, but dithering down to 16 bit is not.

I may have a candidate for such a test.

I just came from a performance of Beethoven's Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt (Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage). Picture a chorus of 160, starting off so softly that for several seconds you have to strain to determine if they have even begun. Eventually they and the orchestra reach full volume.

I have never hear a piece with such a wide dynamic range.
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Kees de Visser
post Sep 30 2013, 13:28
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QUOTE (greynol @ Sep 29 2013, 08:07) *
Arnold got it right: this sample is pathological.
Why pathological ? Classical music is full of quiet passages so I don't think this Ravel is exceptional.
Is there any indication that MP3 transparency is reduced with low level music (assuming normal playback level) ?
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2Bdecided
post Sep 30 2013, 14:31
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QUOTE (Kees de Visser @ Sep 30 2013, 13:28) *
Is there any indication that MP3 transparency is reduced with low level music (assuming normal playback level) ?
Before the floating ath was introduced into lame it was pretty abysmal in VBR mode (if you turned the volume up to be able to hear it). Lame 3.81...

http://mp3decoders.mp3-tech.org/lsb.html
http://mp3decoders.mp3-tech.org/encoders.html#lame

Cheers,
David.
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greynol
post Sep 30 2013, 14:54
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QUOTE (Kees de Visser @ Sep 30 2013, 05:28) *
(assuming normal playback level)

This practical stipulation is the card that will likely make the entire house topple.

Is anyone aware of any low-level passages being used as killer samples, or aware of them being offered as evidence indicating a deficiency in the format in the last decade (until now)?

If no then why?

This post has been edited by greynol: Sep 30 2013, 15:01


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UltimateMusicSno...
post Oct 1 2013, 14:21
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QUOTE (db1989 @ Sep 28 2013, 21:10) *
QUOTE (UltimateMusicSnob @ Sep 29 2013, 02:01) *
The MP3 was designed originally as an accompanying codec of audio stream for MPEG-1 video; as you imply, audiophile was never its intent. It has done just fine on its intended platforms, which I would identify as iPod and associated non-Apple variants: mobile devices with lower-quality earphones used in high-ambient-noise environments.
Intended platforms? Maybe now, but not originally, which I am sure you know but which the proximity of your statement about its origins risks implying to readers with less knowledge of the history. PMPs were a dream on the horizon for most people when MP3 first emerged, so they could not cause its existence. Separate from whatever the Committee originally intended, MP3 originally got used predominantly on home PCs as an easier way to store song-length volumes of audio on the relatively small disks available then and/or to transfer them over the poor internet connections of that age. It precipitated the popularity of portable players (of which the iPod was definitely not the first, to which all others are merely “associated”), not the other way around.

Yes, with "intended platforms" I was referring to common usage by consumers, not "originally intended" by developers and corporations. A paper I have published in an IS journal discusses the business development you sketch above, the appropriation of a format by consumers, and its subsequent (unwilling) adoption by the recording distribution industry.
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UltimateMusicSno...
post Oct 1 2013, 14:28
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QUOTE (greynol @ Sep 29 2013, 01:07) *
QUOTE (UltimateMusicSnob @ Sep 28 2013, 18:01) *
lower-quality earphones used in high-ambient-noise environments.

That's a bit over the top.

Really? That's how I see people using their music. Maybe they are also sitting down in front of a stereo to listen to a great new album release, but that's not what they describe to me. And the earphones they use are the ones that came with the device. This isn't supposed to be a universal claim, of course. It describes the preponderance of uses that I see and which my students describe to me. And it's far less about MP3 than it is about mobile technology per se. This is just how I see people using music at present.

My turn: let's use a magnifying glass to look at the sun.

Before we get on our high horses, I'm sure any of us can find samples that you can't ABX.
These are what I'm interested in. If anyone has suggestions, I would like to try them. Just name the piece, and I'll get copies of the tracks and LAME them myself.

Arnold got it right: this sample is pathological.

I'm sorry, but this generalization about MP3 is no less silly than the statements this discussion was set out to disprove.

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UltimateMusicSno...
post Oct 1 2013, 14:32
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QUOTE (greynol @ Sep 30 2013, 08:54) *
QUOTE (Kees de Visser @ Sep 30 2013, 05:28) *
(assuming normal playback level)

This practical stipulation is the card that will likely make the entire house topple.
"house topple"? Not sure what the "house" is here, but I'm happy to try out any particular protocol that is offered.
Is anyone aware of any low-level passages being used as killer samples, or aware of them being offered as evidence indicating a deficiency in the format in the last decade (until now)?

If no then why?

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dhromed
post Oct 1 2013, 14:37
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This is a quoting style I have not seen before.


The house here is the ability to ABX these files. Under non-standard conditions (such as severely boosted volume), a lot more is ABX-able, which may lead people to believe things that don't hold at all in practical situations.
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UltimateMusicSno...
post Oct 1 2013, 14:37
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QUOTE (IgorC @ Sep 29 2013, 13:01) *
QUOTE (UltimateMusicSnob @ Sep 28 2013, 22:01) *
I expect the relentless march of Moore's Law (and similar "laws" of computing) to gradually remove the need for lossy multimedia compression.

This phrase periodically appears in internet already for years.
The tech moves to lighter,thinner devices, hence additional restrictons for storage capacity.
Yes, but eventually they run up against form factor restrictions instead of storage ones. Do you want an MP3 player smaller than your fingernail? We will be able to make one, but the market will not need one. And then there's the problem of driving headphones, which also does not scale down as easily. The batteries are not shrinking at a rate commensurate with Moore's Law.

We have connections of a tons of Mbits and still use jpeg for image compression. The amount of content and image/video resolution grow fast.

"Gradually remove the need for lossy multimedia compression"? Not even close.

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UltimateMusicSno...
post Oct 1 2013, 14:49
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QUOTE (dhromed @ Oct 1 2013, 08:37) *
This is a quoting style I have not seen before.


The house here is the ability to ABX these files. Under non-standard conditions (such as severely boosted volume), a lot more is ABX-able, which may lead people to believe things that don't hold at all in practical situations.

I don't know about "believe", but I made a similar point in post #68:
"For the target market and usage of MP3 generally, I'm coming to the opinion that the sort of ABX-ing I'm doing is mostly beside the point."

The belief addressed in my research question is just whether or not ABX-ing is possible at all [WITHOUT severely boosting volume, but WITH good listening equipment properly used, in a relatively good listening environment].
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shadowking
post Oct 1 2013, 15:35
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Yes its possible with some samples . Lossy is some compromise that is hopefully inaudible or not annoying at reasonable bitrates. I think you may want to leave lossy compression altogether - get a player (or phone) that support lossless. Its easy to do these days.


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