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I can't distinguish between 128kbps MP3 and the original, Can someone provide any samples?
PJay-Z
post Oct 19 2008, 22:04
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I can't hear any difference between them crying.gif
Please give me some special audio files.
My setup: (Winamp 5) X-Fi XM -> HD595

Thanks !

Moderation: Fixed misleading topic title.

This post has been edited by greynol: Oct 20 2008, 06:46
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fillip
post Oct 19 2008, 22:43
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I'm confused... did you convert an MP3 into FLAC or a FLAC into an MP3? If it's the first, it's clear why there's no difference... the FLAC-file holds no more information than the MP3

... just to be shure! wink.gif
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halb27
post Oct 19 2008, 22:56
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QUOTE (PJay-Z @ Oct 19 2008, 23:04) *
I can't hear any difference between them crying.gif
Please give me some special audio files. ...

I understand your question as being about an original track encoded to mp3 on one hand and to FLAC on the other hand.
Encoding an mp3 file to a FLAC file of course wouldn't produce any audio content difference as FLAC is lossless.

Encode for instance eig which is one of the outstanding problem samples for mp3 (extreme pre-echo problem). harpsichord music like in harp40_1 also needs a very high quality setting.
Your experience shows that mp3 @ 128 kbps is more or less perfect usually. These samples show that there are exceptions wich require a higher mp3 quality setting like -V0.
In the end it's all up to how to handle these exceptions. Many people don't care about them cause they're rare and at least the most extreme cases seem to be existing only with electronic and harpsichord music.
These people can be happy with mp3 @ 128 kbps.
Those who care more about these exceptions use an encoder setting which yield an average bitrate of ~170 kbps or more.
At an average bitrate of ~240 kbps and when using a good encoder (use for instance Lame 3.98 -V0) most of the exceptions become inaudible or nearly inaudible to most people.
An even higher safety margin can be obtained by using a setting like ABR 280 or CBR 320 though this is expected to be only a theoretical advantage.
Anyway because of these exceptions there is a justification for going lossless like with FLAC for those who are extremely cautious.
Midway between lossless and highly-efficient lossy codecs like mp3 lies the lossyWAV-FLAC-combination.
This is effectively a lossy codec, which at the expense of a relatively high bitrate compared to mp3 (typically 470 kbps) offers a quality which can hardly be expected to have an issue. No problem sample is known for this approach. The relatively high bitrate can be accepted easily by many users with respect to today's storage capacities.

This post has been edited by halb27: Oct 19 2008, 23:13


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kornchild2002
post Oct 20 2008, 03:59
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I am confused by this post though. Is the OP converting a 128kbps mp3 to FLAC and then saying they can't hear a difference or are they converting a FLAC file to 128kbps mp3 and saying they can't hear a difference?

It seems like the OP is on a mission to get a new sound card as all their posts focus around how much their current one sucks. I don't know if this post is intended for us to recommend a new sound card for them or not.
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PJay-Z
post Oct 20 2008, 06:40
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Sorry, there's no way to edit the topic title. I didn't convert FLAC to MP3 biggrin.gif
My test:
1. FLAC (EAC -V -8 -T from CD)
2. MP3 194K avg (LAME 3.97 -V2 --Vbr-New from CD)
3. MP3 192K CBR
4. MP3 128K CBR (from FLAC)

I also want to buy a new dedicated sound card, but no one answers to me: http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....showtopic=66574
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twostar
post Oct 20 2008, 07:08
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Check this thread for opinions on hard to encode samples. You can find most of the samples here.
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PJay-Z
post Oct 20 2008, 18:18
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QUOTE (halb27 @ Oct 20 2008, 01:56) *
QUOTE (PJay-Z @ Oct 19 2008, 23:04) *

I can't hear any difference between them crying.gif
Please give me some special audio files. ...

I understand your question as being about an original track encoded to mp3 on one hand and to FLAC on the other hand.
Encoding an mp3 file to a FLAC file of course wouldn't produce any audio content difference as FLAC is lossless.

Encode for instance eig which is one of the outstanding problem samples for mp3 (extreme pre-echo problem). harpsichord music like in harp40_1 also needs a very high quality setting.
Your experience shows that mp3 @ 128 kbps is more or less perfect usually. These samples show that there are exceptions wich require a higher mp3 quality setting like -V0.
In the end it's all up to how to handle these exceptions. Many people don't care about them cause they're rare and at least the most extreme cases seem to be existing only with electronic and harpsichord music.
These people can be happy with mp3 @ 128 kbps.
Those who care more about these exceptions use an encoder setting which yield an average bitrate of ~170 kbps or more.
At an average bitrate of ~240 kbps and when using a good encoder (use for instance Lame 3.98 -V0) most of the exceptions become inaudible or nearly inaudible to most people.
An even higher safety margin can be obtained by using a setting like ABR 280 or CBR 320 though this is expected to be only a theoretical advantage.
Anyway because of these exceptions there is a justification for going lossless like with FLAC for those who are extremely cautious.
Midway between lossless and highly-efficient lossy codecs like mp3 lies the lossyWAV-FLAC-combination.
This is effectively a lossy codec, which at the expense of a relatively high bitrate compared to mp3 (typically 470 kbps) offers a quality which can hardly be expected to have an issue. No problem sample is known for this approach. The relatively high bitrate can be accepted easily by many users with respect to today's storage capacities.


Thanks man! REP+ biggrin.gif
Just eig.flac worked fine for me !
128 < 192. but I can't say 320 CBR is better than V2/V0 !
320 is better at the end of this file, but V2 and V0 are better at the first of it.
I used Easy CD-DA Extractor w/ LAME 3.98

Can you post more special sample ?
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BUBBAgums
post Oct 20 2008, 19:28
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?

Listen to your cymbals. At 128, you'll hear a 'swirl'; in other words, they're not a clear hiss, but a hiss with undulation.
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halb27
post Oct 20 2008, 19:48
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QUOTE (PJay-Z @ Oct 20 2008, 19:18) *
...Just eig.flac worked fine for me ! 128 < 192. but I can't say 320 CBR is better than V2/V0 ! ...
...Can you post more special sample ?

Robert Hagemann has done a very good job on eig with Lame 3.98, and eig is already well encoded when using -V2 compared to what other encoders do, with no significant improvement when going higher with quality setting. This is very welcome as pre-echo problems (of a less serious nature) belong to the most frequent mp3 problems.
The other sample I gave you (harp40_1) however shows a well-scaling improvement when going from -V3 to -V0. Another sample (less serious) where quality improves with quality setting is trumpet.

Heading extremely for problem samples however gives an unrealistic emotional impression of mp3 quality. Always keep in mind these are exceptions. That's why many people don't care at all about problem samples. With music originating from real instruments or human voice very bad encodings like that of eig do not happen. Worst general behavior of natural instruments is harpsichord. But while mp3 isn't perfect at encoding harpsichord I guess most people are content with mp3 harpsichord encodings when done with very high quality settings. Quality simply is excellent though not perfect. And if you're not into harpsichord music, forget about harpsichord, harpsichord is special.
If you care about problem samples just use a very high quality setting according to your likings.

Whether a setting like ABR 270 or CBR 320 brings a real improvement over -V0 is a question which is difficult to answer. ABR 270 was my favorite with Lame versions prior to 3.98. I had good reason for that (for instance trumpet behavior which was better than that of highest VBR setting). With 3.98 things have changed and VBR has become so good that there is no reason for me to prefer a higher average bitrate setting than -V0.

This post has been edited by halb27: Oct 20 2008, 21:17


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PJay-Z
post Oct 20 2008, 23:15
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Thanks halb27 smile.gif
You're right. With music originating from real instruments or human voice very bad encodings like that of eig do not happen.
So I think V2 is best choice.

EDIT: Is FLAC the best lossless format? Is it equal to WAV ?
I also need to a new dedicated sound card. Please help me: http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....showtopic=66574

Sorry for my english, greynol xD

This post has been edited by PJay-Z: Oct 20 2008, 23:21
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twostar
post Oct 20 2008, 23:24
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For a comparison of lossless codecs look here. They are all equal to wav.
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halb27
post Oct 21 2008, 08:17
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QUOTE (PJay-Z @ Oct 21 2008, 00:15) *
.. Is FLAC the best lossless format?

The compression efficiency of good lossless codecs like FLAC, TAK, wavPack, Monkey is usually very close to each other when looking at average bitrate of an entire collection (it can differ though substantially on specific tracks).
If you do care about the more or less negligible differences in bitrate Monkey -c4000 (extreme high) is your best choice. Encoding (to be done only once) is slower than when using other encoders, decoding as well, but on a half-way modern pc speed isn't a real issue with Monkey.
Compression efficiency of TAK -p4 is so close to Monkey -c4000 that most people will prefer TAK over Monkey taking into account that TAK encoding and decoding is very fast. Encoding is even faster when using -p3 or -p2, with compression efficiency decreasing not significantly.
wavPack is most versatile, comes for instance with a very high quality lossy variant. Other than Monkey or TAK it can be used on Rockbox armed DAPs. Compression efficiency and speed is a bit below TAK, roughly speaking, because either of these can be optimized in a versatile way according to your likings. wavPack -hx3 is a good general purpose setting.
FLAC has the best general usability as it is supported by a series of DAPs and also by Rockbox. FLAC decoding speed is great (like that of TAK), and encoding speed (to be done only once) also is good. FLAC's compression efficiency falls behind on specific tracks (solo instruments, especially if they're not loud), but as I said on average over an entire collection the compression efficiency difference of all the encoders mentioned is typically just 1-2%.

This post has been edited by halb27: Oct 21 2008, 09:33


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PJay-Z
post Oct 22 2008, 02:01
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It seems FLAC is more popular smile.gif
but which parameter is better for FLAC: 5 (default) or 8 or etc. ?
What's AutoFlac?

Thanks very much!
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xmixahlx
post Oct 22 2008, 03:33
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flac seems to be the most supported lossless format, yes. the "best" parameter for flac is 8 (--best)

wavpack is another great codec and gaining popularity. use -hmx3


later


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PJay-Z
post Oct 22 2008, 23:17
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Thanks !
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HotshotGG
post Oct 22 2008, 23:26
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QUOTE
What's AutoFlac?


http://legroom.net/software/autoflac wink.gif

This post has been edited by HotshotGG: Oct 22 2008, 23:28


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PJay-Z
post Oct 23 2008, 17:55
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Is there anyway to play MP3 files with WinABX ? sad.gif
If not, please recommend me a good MP3 to WAV converter !

This post has been edited by PJay-Z: Oct 23 2008, 17:57
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mcbpete
post Oct 23 2008, 20:12
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QUOTE (PJay-Z @ Oct 22 2008, 01:01) *
It seems FLAC is more popular smile.gif
but which parameter is better for FLAC: 5 (default) or 8 or etc. ?

As regards sound quality there'll be no difference in quality with what setting you use. Lossless means exactly that, you won't lose ANY quality from the original WAV when going to FLAC (i.e. if you convert the new FLAC back again to WAV, byte for byte they'll be identical). The different settings refer to the encoding time and thus the file size compression you'll get, if you stick it on the best 'quality' it'll take longer but will (usually) result in a smaller file at the end. Think of it as being synonymous to the Compression Method in a program like WinRAR, here you can choose the compression level and it'll take longer and shorter depending on the setting you choose, but you'll end up with the same files stored....
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PJay-Z
post Oct 24 2008, 20:56
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Thanks again. What's the safest way to convert FLAC to WAV ?
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fillip
post Oct 24 2008, 21:05
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For Windows you should get yourself the installer here, load the FLAC into the frontend and hit "Decode". For other OSes I'm not sure, but it should also be found on this page smile.gif
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greynol
post Oct 24 2008, 21:14
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Please, let's not give credence to the fear by using words like "should".

The question should really be whether there's a method that's unsafe.

flac.exe: safe
Foobar2000: safe
dBpoweramp: safe
shntool: safe
sox: safe


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PJay-Z
post Oct 25 2008, 23:12
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QUOTE (mcbpete @ Oct 23 2008, 23:12) *
QUOTE (PJay-Z @ Oct 22 2008, 01:01) *

It seems FLAC is more popular smile.gif
but which parameter is better for FLAC: 5 (default) or 8 or etc. ?

As regards sound quality there'll be no difference in quality with what setting you use. Lossless means exactly that, you won't lose ANY quality from the original WAV when going to FLAC (i.e. if you convert the new FLAC back again to WAV, byte for byte they'll be identical). The different settings refer to the encoding time and thus the file size compression you'll get, if you stick it on the best 'quality' it'll take longer but will (usually) result in a smaller file at the end. Think of it as being synonymous to the Compression Method in a program like WinRAR, here you can choose the compression level and it'll take longer and shorter depending on the setting you choose, but you'll end up with the same files stored....

Which one give me small file size: 5 or 8 ?
I think 8 huh.gif
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halb27
post Oct 25 2008, 23:15
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QUOTE (PJay-Z @ Oct 26 2008, 00:12) *
...Which one give me small file size: 5 or 8 ? I think 8 huh.gif

Yes: 8 yields the smaller file size.


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