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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 17 2013, 02:42
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CODE
foo_abx 1.3.4 report
foobar2000 v1.2.8
2013/09/16 19:01:08

File A: C:\Users\KiarkAudio\Documents\Ravel_Test_File_2.wav
File B: C:\Users\KiarkAudio\Documents\Ravel_Test_File_1.mp3

19:01:08 : Test started.
19:01:27 : 01/01 50.0%
19:01:34 : 02/02 25.0%
19:01:42 : 03/03 12.5%
19:02:15 : 04/04 6.3%
19:02:49 : 05/05 3.1%
19:03:01 : 06/06 1.6%
19:03:52 : 07/07 0.8%
19:04:06 : 08/08 0.4%
19:04:28 : 09/09 0.2%
19:04:38 : 10/10 0.1%
19:04:51 : 11/11 0.0%
19:05:28 : 12/12 0.0%
19:05:44 : Test finished.

----------
Total: 12/12 (0.0%)

This test is from an excerpt of Ravel's Daphnis et Chloe (full version, not the Suite). This was a planned set of 12 rounds.
The .wav file above was ripped directly from the music CD using SoundForge 10. SoundForge 10 exported the file to MP3 at 320 kbs setting.

Soundforge statistics produced the following:
Redbook Left RMS: -26.087
Redbook Right RMS: -26.385

MP3 Left RMS: -26.135
MP3 Right RMS: -26.441

While the two files are thus not identically matched for level, the Left channel difference is 0.048db, Right difference is 0.056 db. While these are not
perfectly matched, I don't claim to hear that small a difference, and particularly not when averaged across the file. Minimum and Maximum samples were all slightly over or under -6db, I assume the recording was mastered to -6db. Thus, not near clipping level.

The test above was done listening to the opening portion of the clip.

Here's a <30-second clip of the lossless source:
http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....ost&id=7640
Here is the thread containing it:
http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....howtopic=102681

Playback chain is:
Lenovo PC desktop, files saved to hard drive
RME Babyface audio interface
Schiit Asgard 2 headphone amplifier
Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro headphones

I'm posting this because I've read in other forums (not here; just joined) that MP3 at 256 kbs and 320 kbs are "transparent", indistinguishable from Redbook audio. I chose 320 as the highest quality available in MP3 - the difference is audible to me. They are certainly very close - listening in my car driving down the road I wouldn't hear the difference.

I have lots of professional musical experience, but my 50+ year-old ears apparently do not hear above 18 kHz. I know the basic principles of psychoacoustic masking used in MP3 lossy compression, but not well enough to know whether or not Ravel in live orchestra is more suited or less suited to accurate MP3 encoding. Alternative sample files for testing welcome. smile.gif

This post has been edited by greynol: Sep 18 2013, 00:30
Reason for edit: Added link to uploads forum and codebox.
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greynol
post Sep 17 2013, 03:04
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Not all mp3 encoders are created equally?

Have you tried Lame 3.98.4, 3.99.5 or 3.100l?

This last one uses VBR which could likely do just as well as 320 CBR (which is true for VBR with the other two versions).

Also, don't worry about matching level unless the codec scales as a precaution to prevent clipping on decode to integer. That you get different values is perfectly normal with lossy encoding.

This post has been edited by greynol: Sep 17 2013, 03:09


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saratoga
post Sep 17 2013, 03:04
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Depends. ABXIng some codecs at 320kbps isn't very hard. Is the one you used any good?
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Makaki
post Sep 17 2013, 03:24
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Just in case your program did something funky:

Could you convert the "wav file" to 320 kbps (-b 320) using the lame command line. I suggest to use the most default setting possible.

While you are it try VBR 0 (-V 0 ).
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UltimateMusicSno...
post Sep 17 2013, 03:27
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QUOTE (greynol @ Sep 16 2013, 21:04) *
Not all mp3 encoders are created equally?

Have you tried Lame 3.98.4, 3.99.5 or 3.100l?

This last one uses VBR which could likely do just as well as 320 CBR (which is true for VBR with the other two versions).

Also, don't worry about matching level unless the codec scales as a precaution to prevent clipping on decode to integer. That you get different values is perfectly normal with lossy encoding.

Not yet. I have SoundForge, so I used it. Just downloaded 3.99.5 from RareWares, I'll have to figure out the command line. Thanks for the tip.
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extrabigmehdi
post Sep 17 2013, 03:37
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QUOTE (UltimateMusicSnob @ Sep 17 2013, 03:27) *
Just downloaded 3.99.5 from RareWares, I'll have to figure out the command line. Thanks for the tip.


Try with, xrecode it's easy, no need to "type" command lines. The software download lame encoder for you, it's almost automated. Xrecode have a nag screen, but is fully functional if you use the "demo".
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testyou
post Sep 17 2013, 03:45
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QUOTE (extrabigmehdi @ Sep 16 2013, 19:37) *
Xrecode have a nag screen, but is fully functional if you use the "demo".

Instead you could use foobar2000 or LameDropXPd.

QUOTE (UltimateMusicSnob @ Sep 16 2013, 18:42) *
The test above was done listening to the opening portion of the clip.

I'm interested in evaluating the killer sample you've found when you can upload another version.
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binaryhermit
post Sep 17 2013, 03:59
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(Insert long-winded justification of the statement that either the OP has golden ears or there's something wrong here)
Not saying that the OP did anything wrong, just that this sort of result shouldn't happen very often to people who don't have golden ears, and when it does it can be considered a bug.
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UltimateMusicSno...
post Sep 17 2013, 04:36
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QUOTE (Makaki @ Sep 16 2013, 21:24) *
Just in case your program did something funky:

Could you convert the "wav file" to 320 kbps (-b 320) using the lame command line. I suggest to use the most default setting possible.

While you are it try VBR 0 (-V 0 ).

Okay, here we are.

foo_abx 1.3.4 report
foobar2000 v1.2.8
2013/09/16 22:15:57

File A: C:\Users\KiarkAudio\Documents\Ravel_Test_File_2.wav
File B: C:\Users\KiarkAudio\Documents\Ravel_Test_File_3.mp3

22:15:57 : Test started.
22:16:13 : 01/01 50.0%
22:16:22 : 02/02 25.0%
22:16:30 : 03/03 12.5%
22:16:40 : 04/04 6.3%
22:16:49 : 05/05 3.1%
22:17:08 : 06/06 1.6%
22:17:24 : 07/07 0.8%
22:18:15 : 08/08 0.4%
22:20:03 : 09/09 0.2%
22:21:17 : 10/10 0.1%
22:21:50 : 11/11 0.0%
22:22:28 : 11/12 0.3%
22:22:48 : Test finished.

----------
Total: 11/12 (0.3%)

Test File 3 was made with LAME 3.99.5 vc6.

Command line switches were -b 320 -h

A planned set of 12 rounds again.

I'd like to get around the "killer sample" limitation. That's the reason for using this clip: wide variety of orchestral textures, good dynamic range while not pushing the clipping limits. I hope to replicate from different portions of the clip. This was listening *only* to the opening few bars.

This post has been edited by UltimateMusicSnob: Sep 17 2013, 04:48
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saratoga
post Sep 17 2013, 04:51
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^^ Unless that music is in the public domain you're going to get yourself in trouble posting links like that. Anyway, without the original lossless file, its hard to gauge anything about that mp3. You need both to compare.

Edit: You may want to look at TOS#9 now: http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....974#entry149482

This post has been edited by saratoga: Sep 17 2013, 04:52
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UltimateMusicSno...
post Sep 17 2013, 04:59
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Sorry about the length mistake, moderators, it won't happen again!

Proper versions well under 30 seconds:

Original lossless version, WAV ripped from Redbook CD:
http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....ost&id=7640 (same as the link in the discussion's first post)
Recommended MP3 via LAME 3.99.5, at -b 320 -h settings:
http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....ost&id=7641

This post has been edited by greynol: Sep 18 2013, 00:33
Reason for edit: External links replaced by internal links.
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testyou
post Sep 17 2013, 06:05
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I can't hear any difference between the two. I quit after 25 minutes, clicking a guess so as to obtain a log.
CODE
foo_abx 1.3.4 report
foobar2000 v1.2.9
2013/09/16 21:20:02

File A: C:\Users\Admin\Desktop\Ravel_Test_File_2_short.wav
File B: C:\Users\Admin\Desktop\Ravel_Test_File_3_short.mp3

21:20:02 : Test started.
21:45:08 : 00/01  100.0%
21:45:13 : Test finished.

----------
Total: 0/1 (100.0%)


This post has been edited by testyou: Sep 17 2013, 06:11
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Makaki
post Sep 17 2013, 06:13
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I don't have the ears (or the equipment?) to ABX that high smile.gif
Can you also try the VBR 0 (eg: -V 0), just a curiosity.

EDIT:
I'm under the impression that the internals are different enough to merit different results.


This post has been edited by Makaki: Sep 17 2013, 06:17
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UltimateMusicSno...
post Sep 17 2013, 06:22
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QUOTE (Makaki @ Sep 17 2013, 00:13) *
I don't have the ears (or the equipment?) to ABX that high smile.gif
Can you also try the VBR 0 (eg: -V 0), just a curiosity.

EDIT:
I'm under the impression that the internals are different enough to merit different results.

Help me keep up with the terminology here smile.gif

What are the internals? Are you referring to the different processing employed by the -V 0 switch, compared to the -b 320 setting for the posted MP3?

Thanks for the help! Will definitely try out the -V 0 switch tomorrow.

Also, I don't want to depend on this one clip--if someone has already prepared clips of this specific contrast (44.1/16 versus high-quality MP3), I would like to try them out.

This post has been edited by UltimateMusicSnob: Sep 17 2013, 06:24
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TomasPin
post Sep 17 2013, 06:28
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Maybe we got ourselves a new Killer Sample? It's certainly possible...

Anyway, I tried ABXing. I failed, unsurprisingly...


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gib
post Sep 17 2013, 06:37
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QUOTE (UltimateMusicSnob @ Sep 16 2013, 17:59) *
Recommended MP3 via LAME, at -b 320 -h

Is -h actually recommended? For some reason my brain is telling me it's not, but I'll admit to not being totally up on all the LAME switches.

This post has been edited by greynol: Sep 17 2013, 18:24
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eahm
post Sep 17 2013, 06:51
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http://wiki.hydrogenaudio.org/index.php?ti...ncoder_settings
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UltimateMusicSno...
post Sep 17 2013, 07:08
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QUOTE (gib @ Sep 17 2013, 00:37) *
QUOTE (UltimateMusicSnob @ Sep 16 2013, 17:59) *
Recommended MP3 via LAME, at -b 320 -h

Is -h actually recommended? For some reason my brain is telling me it's not, but I'll admit to not being totally up on all the LAME switches.

The RareWares bundle includes a "Basic command line switch reference" HTML file, reproduced here:

http://ecmc.rochester.edu/ecmc/docs/lame3.98a2/basic.html#h

...which recommends -h for slower encoding but higher quality. I'm interested in distinguishing at the highest possible quality levels, so I used it.

This post has been edited by greynol: Sep 17 2013, 18:24
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greynol
post Sep 17 2013, 07:09
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I believe there are documented cases where -h resulted in a poorer quality encode

Anyway, the 30-second lossless clip is adequate; people can encode it themselves.

You're free to upload to our forum rather than use a shitty third-party ad-laden host.

Equipment may or may not make a difference, depending on the artifact. More-expensive does not universally mean more revealing. Grossly uneven frequency response might be able to break masking, while excessive distortion or noise can aid masking.

Lastly, MP3 has limitations which hinder its ability to deliver transparent results for those who are trained to listen for them or who are particularly sensitive to them.

This post has been edited by greynol: Sep 17 2013, 07:11


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testyou
post Sep 17 2013, 07:17
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QUOTE (UltimateMusicSnob @ Sep 16 2013, 23:08) *

http://lame.cvs.sourceforge.net/viewvc/lam...l/detailed.html
QUOTE
Aliases and removed settings
-h Alias of -q 2.
[...]
-q n Algorithm quality selection
For CBR, ABR and --vbr-old modes, the following table applies
-q 0 Use slowest & best possible version of all algorithms.
-q 3 Default value. Good speed, good quality
[...]
For the default VBR mode since LAME 3.98, the following table applies
-q 0 to -q 4 Use the best algorithm.


This post has been edited by testyou: Sep 17 2013, 07:19
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halb27
post Sep 17 2013, 08:04
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@UltimateMusicSnob:
If you like to try lame3100l mentioned by greynol I suggest to use the setting --bCVBR 316. It uses a very high quality VBR method internally (which needs an audio data bitrate like CBR 320).


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gib
post Sep 17 2013, 08:38
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QUOTE (greynol @ Sep 16 2013, 20:09) *
I believe there are documented cases where -h resulted in a poorer quality encode

This must be what I'm remembering; the rare cases that have come up where it was worse. It's not necessarily a bad or frowned upon switch, then.

This post has been edited by gib: Sep 17 2013, 08:39
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Wombat
post Sep 17 2013, 09:10
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QUOTE (UltimateMusicSnob @ Sep 17 2013, 05:36) *
...
File A: C:\Users\KiarkAudio\Documents\Ravel_Test_File_2.wav
File B: C:\Users\KiarkAudio\Documents\Ravel_Test_File_3.mp3
...
I'd like to get around the "killer sample" limitation...

Why is it your mp3 has a different name as the wav?
Since you are new in here i have some doubts about your intention and motivation, sorry.
You may have only abx'd some hamster fart against the zar bomb.
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Makaki
post Sep 17 2013, 13:36
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One reason could be that windows does hide file extension by default, and if you have the same media icon for all media files, that makes it even worse.

So you would have a:
Ravel_Test_File_1 with a Music Note Icon, and
Ravel_Test_File_1 with a Music Note Icon

But one is actually a WAV and the other an MP3, or something else, etc.

Not everybody changes the windows default and turns extensions back on.

This post has been edited by Makaki: Sep 17 2013, 13:36
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UltimateMusicSno...
post Sep 17 2013, 14:09
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QUOTE (Wombat @ Sep 17 2013, 03:10) *
QUOTE (UltimateMusicSnob @ Sep 17 2013, 05:36) *
...
File A: C:\Users\KiarkAudio\Documents\Ravel_Test_File_2.wav
File B: C:\Users\KiarkAudio\Documents\Ravel_Test_File_3.mp3
...
I'd like to get around the "killer sample" limitation...

Why is it your mp3 has a different name as the wav?
Since you are new in here i have some doubts about your intention and motivation, sorry.
You may have only abx'd some hamster fart against the zar bomb.

When I do these sorts of tests, I usually end up with multiple files whose only difference is the precise encoding employed. In this case one lossless source file, used for multiple lossy versions in different encodings.
So I number them sequentially as they are produced, so that they line up properly when I sort on the 'Name' column in Windows Explorer.
If I don't distinguish them by number, then successive varieties of MP3 will over-write each other.
The hamster business, well, that could be true of anyone putting up foobar2000 logs. For that matter, I could have just edited the file in Notepad to say whatever I like. Short of doing the tests in a face-to-face environment, I don't see a way around that one.
Finally, "intention and motivation" are immaterial to objective testing. Folks in Gearslutz said that Hydrogen Audio was highly knowledgeable about objective testing for audio, so that's my interest.
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