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128kbps Extension Test - FINISHED
nEo_JeRiChO
post Aug 4 2003, 18:56
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Iam Happy that my Favorite Codec wink.gif WMA show the rest that he is better and not so Crappy like Everybody said.

But i have One little Problem a wma9pro Encoded File dont be played in Winamp 2.95.

Is there a plugin that wma9pro played without the Windows Media Player.

ThX
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ff123
post Aug 4 2003, 19:05
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QUOTE (nEo_JeRiChO @ Aug 4 2003, 09:56 AM)
Iam Happy that my Favorite Codec wink.gif WMA show the rest that he is better and not so Crappy like Everybody said.

But i have One little Problem a wma9pro  Encoded File dont be played in Winamp 2.95.

Is there a plugin that wma9pro  played without the Windows Media Player.

ThX

Unfortunately, that's the "one little problem" with using wma9pro right now. Although it sounds better than the older wma format, it breaks compatibility with current decoders. I'm sure that will change in due time.

ff123
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guruboolez
post Aug 4 2003, 19:06
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QUOTE (nEo_JeRiChO @ Aug 4 2003, 06:56 PM)
Iam Happy that my Favorite Codec wink.gif WMA show the rest that he is better and not so Crappy like Everybody said.

But i have One little Problem a wma9pro  Encoded File dont be played in Winamp 2.95.

Is there a plugin that wma9pro  played without the Windows Media Player.

ThX

WMA9pro is a good surprise. But standard WMA9 is really worse.
There's no plug for winamp. Foobar2000 can play WMA9 PRO-LOSSLESS... without problem. Just install Special Release offered by Case, on :
www.ca5e.tk
www.musepack.fr.st
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nEo_JeRiChO
post Aug 4 2003, 19:17
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Thx i test foobar.

But i Hope a in_put smile.gif Plugin for winamp will follow.

Call me what you want but foobar is not my Favorite Player,Sorry but i respect the work on it.

Ciao
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phong
post Aug 4 2003, 19:20
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QUOTE (Gecko)
I noticed stereo collapse on FloorEssence with mpc (but not on TheSource).

I've got to go back and listen to that again when I get home. I thought it was really obvious (present to a lesser degree with lame too), and my ears were barely capable of noticing stereo collapse in FloorEssence or any other samples. I ABXed 10/11 (and the miss was while fishing for other defects) so I don't think I imagined it.

Can one of you sharp-eared folks check it also to help me verify that I'm not insane?


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ff123
post Aug 4 2003, 19:27
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QUOTE (phong @ Aug 4 2003, 10:20 AM)
QUOTE (Gecko)
I noticed stereo collapse on FloorEssence with mpc (but not on TheSource).

I've got to go back and listen to that again when I get home. I thought it was really obvious (present to a lesser degree with lame too), and my ears were barely capable of noticing stereo collapse in FloorEssence or any other samples. I ABXed 10/11 (and the miss was while fishing for other defects) so I don't think I imagined it.

Can one of you sharp-eared folks check it also to help me verify that I'm not insane?

I only noticed stereo collapse in one small section of one sample, and it was with Ogg.

BTW, I like your quotes, phong. Here's my favorite:

"It sounds like an leprechaun is making love to the whammy bar."

ff123
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phong
post Aug 4 2003, 19:43
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QUOTE (ff123)
BTW, I like your quotes, phong. Here's my favorite:

"It sounds like an leprechaun is making love to the whammy bar."

Well, after listening to a few of the samples, I noticed I started getting much better results in hearing differences and ABXing by using vivid imagery. I'd listen to the original, and try to picture it in my head, then listen to the encoded version, and create an image for that. Then the "X" would automatically bring up the appropriate image. Some of the images made their way into the comments; on others, I thought better of it.


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L.King
post Aug 4 2003, 20:09
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QUOTE (nEo_JeRiChO @ Aug 4 2003, 06:56 PM)
But i have One little Problem a wma9pro  Encoded File dont be played in Winamp 2.95.

Is there a plugin that wma9pro  played without the Windows Media Player.

delete in_wm.dll and add wma to the extension list in in_dshow's configuration
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bond
post Aug 4 2003, 20:25
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imho vorbis definitely lost the test sad.gif

and i will use mp4/aac in the future smile.gif


(btw. cant wait anyomore for the 64kbps test laugh.gif )


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mmortal03
post Aug 4 2003, 20:45
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Man, LAME really is dated at this bitrate. Hopefully no one misinterprets this test and decides from it that all these codecs perform equally the same at higher bitrates. Please remember that this is only at 128kbps. alt-preset standard, vorbis gt3, musepack standard, etc will be tested later, if that would even be a valid or necessary test. Taking from the difficulty that this test has shown, it would be no wonder even harder to test the higher bitrates.

Even though I know that it is incorrect to make blanket statements, I'm sure that because of this test we will see them. If it wasn't for compatibility, I think you would see people leaving LAME in droves now. While I guess it might be plausible to make judgements from this data that LAME is dated, that other codecs have seen greater development as of late, and then as such decide to use a different codec for all your encoding needs, I don't think it would be a good idea to directly link this test to overall sound quality.


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phong
post Aug 4 2003, 21:02
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Oh bollocks, /. sucks:
2003-08-04 19:06:04 128kbps audio codec listening test (articles,music) (rejected)


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I am *expanding!* It is so much *squishy* to *smell* you! *Campers* are the best! I have *anticipation* and then what? Better parties in *the middle* for sure.
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rjamorim
post Aug 4 2003, 21:15
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QUOTE (mmortal03 @ Aug 4 2003, 04:45 PM)
alt-preset standard, vorbis gt3, musepack standard, etc will be tested later

Will they? When? and by who?

Surely not by me. First, because these bitrates are transparent, we would get most of the codecs reaching score 5. Second, because I am only willing to take one other VBR test. The critics on a VBR test are such a PITA that I definitely don't even consider conducing several ones.


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guruboolez
post Aug 4 2003, 21:24
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QUOTE (rjamorim @ Aug 4 2003, 09:15 PM)
Second, because I am only willing to take one other VBR test. The critics on a VBR test are such a PITA that I definitely don't even consider conducing several ones.

Too bad to read this negative impact, consequence of the recent and uniform critiscism posted the last week. Just ignore them : you did a very nice job ! Some myths are now dead, and without your test, they'll probably stay alive.


EDIT, after reading the answer below : my apologies for people concerned by my unfounded message.

This post has been edited by guruboolez: Aug 4 2003, 21:41
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rjamorim
post Aug 4 2003, 21:29
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QUOTE
Oh bollocks, /. sucks:
2003-08-04 19:06:04 128kbps audio codec listening test (articles,music) (rejected)


Dude, to tell you the truth, I keep wondering if it's not better to keep these results out of /. :-/

I can only imagine the flood of unfounded criticism about bitrates, samples, methodology, and that I should have included Flac in the test (yeah, I read a comment like that in the AAC test article!)

@Guruboolez: No, the problem wasn't that thread. At least, people were (trying to) make constructive criticism. (although I'm kinda sad because they didn't bother to do this welcome criticism when the time was right, I.E, the pre-test thread)

What really made me sick was people saying my test resoults would be worthless in my e-mail. I got to a point that I didn't even read them properly, just hit the delete button.


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Gecko
post Aug 4 2003, 21:43
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QUOTE (ff123 @ Aug 4 2003, 09:27 AM)
Several people have very good high frequency hearing, and can hear the lowpassing of MPC and AAC (both around 16 kHz).  One person (gecko) seems to find this to be a significant defect.

Hm, at least how I remember the test, the lowpass was usually one of the most significant things to notice on the aac/mpc samples. I consider this a good thing actually, since lowpassing can be easily fixed without further issues (save higher bitrate) in mpc (and aac?) and you have almost no other artifacts to begin with.

Looking back at my results, I didn't notice the lowpassing very often (only on 4 samples) and I just assume right now that the low rating wasn't a results of the lowpassing but other defects. I was in a hurry and didn't bother to do extensive comments so I just noted down some things that were particularly interesting imo. You could look at it this way that I didn't notice significant lowpassing on all the other samples (other than I would have expected).
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AngelGR
post Aug 4 2003, 21:59
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QUOTE
imho vorbis definitely lost the test

Do you think? I don't see a clear winner/loser between MPC/WMA/AAC/Vorbis. The results are very closed.
Roberto, you've done a good job and that's what really matters. Congratulations.
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guruboolez
post Aug 4 2003, 22:09
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QUOTE (AngelGR @ Aug 4 2003, 09:59 PM)
QUOTE
imho vorbis definitely lost the test

Do you think? I don't see a clear winner/loser between MPC/WMA/AAC/Vorbis. The results are very closed.
Roberto, you've done a good job and that's what really matters. Congratulations.

I don't want to be considered as an anti-vorbis zealot, and I'm not specialist in statistic, but :
http://membres.lycos.fr/guruboolez/AUDIO/t.../test_MF/HA.htm

Vorbis took the two first places one time (on 12), and the two lasts 7 times. It's far the worst performance, compared to mpc, aac and wmapro (can't include seriously any mp3 encoder as pretender of the throne).

According to my own results, vorbis isn't exactly at the same level as mpc, mp4 and wmapro. Not too far, of course, but not as transparent as its challenger.
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Gecko
post Aug 4 2003, 22:50
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For me personally Ogg Vorbis came out on top. I voted it best on 7 samples (once as worst on "waiting"). Second best on the remaining samples.

Here are my personal codec averages:

vorbis: 3.85
wma pro: 3.32
mpc: 2.87
aac: 2.77
lame: 2.23

blade: 1.23
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phong
post Aug 4 2003, 23:35
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With the amount of overlap between confidence intervals for most of the samples (considering our top 4 contenders of course), many (or most) are a statistical tie. Yes, vorbis might not ACTUALLY have first or second place in many samples, but statistically speaking, lots of those third and fourth place finishes are a statistical tie with first. The confidence intervals could be narrowed by having more listeners, but the average scores would change too. If the additional listeners preferred vorbis, it could move to the front. Alternatively, if you were willing to accept, say 80% confidence instead of 95%, you might be able to say more, but be less sure about it.

Now, there could be some interesting things that could be done to analyse these numbers further. I think the standard deviation of each codec would be an interesting number (though I think I'd know who's gonna win that contest). I've got a perl script in the works right now to convert the raw data to .csv so that it can be played with in a spreadsheet. I'll post that later tonight.


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Canar
post Aug 5 2003, 00:04
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QUOTE (rjamorim @ Aug 4 2003, 12:15 PM)
Second, because I am only willing to take one other VBR test. The critics on a VBR test are such a PITA that I definitely don't even consider conducing several ones.

I'm sure that if you stuck to either a full ABR or full VBR philosophy there would be fewer critics. Either find the settings that produce an average of 128kbps (or whatever target) across a broad spectrum of music, or find the settings that produce that same average for each individual sample. It would be much harder to find flaw with such a test.


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guruboolez
post Aug 5 2003, 00:16
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The most important thing isn't really to speculate with statistical tools, but to test by yourself, and finally make your choice according to your own subjectivity, training, hearing abilities, etc...

Generally speaking, and according to the posted results, mp3 - created by Fraunhofer for 1/11 encoding - is now completely outdated. Wma standard family is probably out-of-date too.

Now, we can hope some hardware support for some of these new formats. 120-130 kbps encodings are now close to transparency. Therefore, they aren't sufficient at this bitrate range for archiving/HQ listening, but perfectly suitable for comfortable listening on any portable player (impossible with 64 kbps encoding, crap, even with best algorythms). This is very important for flash memory players. Most of people would be happy with these codecs : they will fit more music without suffering from big artifacts (flanging, pre-echo...).

A new era is beginning...

This post has been edited by guruboolez: Aug 5 2003, 00:17
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fewtch
post Aug 5 2003, 00:27
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QUOTE (guruboolez @ Aug 4 2003, 04:16 PM)
The most important thing isn't really to speculate with statistical tools, but to test by yourself, and finally make your choice according to your own subjectivity, training, hearing abilities, etc...

Generally speaking, and according to the posted results, mp3 - created by Fraunhofer for 1/11 encoding - is now completely outdated. Wma standard family is probably out-of-date too.

Now, we can hope some hardware support for some of these new formats. 120-130 kbps encodings are now close to transparency. Therefore, they aren't sufficient at this bitrate range for archiving/HQ listening, but perfectly suitable for comfortable listening on any portable player (impossible with 64 kbps encoding, crap, even with best algorythms). This is very important for flash memory players. Most of people would be happy with these codecs : they will fit more music without suffering from big artifacts (flanging, pre-echo...).

A new era is beginning...

I wonder if Sony said the same thing about Betamax... rolleyes.gif

No hardware support without widespread consumer support, and even if a codec surfaced that was perfectly transparent at 32kbps, not a dent would appear in MP3's dominance without... (?) (I'd say "mindshare").

This post has been edited by fewtch: Aug 5 2003, 00:29


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ezra2323
post Aug 5 2003, 00:36
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Most important, thanks for the test Roberto! Great work.

Suprising news regarding WMAPro. Any news on when it will be portable compliant? Since I purchased dBPoweramp, I am ready to encode my collection using WMAPro for my portable use. But my flash and HD players cannot read it.

(MP3 APS with LAME still rules for the combination of transparency and portability! - when the 128 restriction is relaxed)

This post has been edited by ezra2323: Aug 5 2003, 00:58
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AstralStorm
post Aug 5 2003, 00:53
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/me needs MPC portable! NOW! ;-)

I've found the test very amusing except thear1 sample - deafening experience.
BTW, I normally listen to similar music too, but all other samples were MUCH quieter and I've set my volume accordingly...

WMA9Pro has some very serious failure modes, but it was to be expected, it's 1.0 release.
Vorbis has constant quality, good, but is easily detectable.
AAC is very good, for me is the only one which could compete with MusePack.
Can't wait for hardware support and freely available better encoders.

I guess I'm fed up with 'MP3 artifacts' - they sound damn nasty to me.

fewtch: I'd say 'without advertising and hardware support'.


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den
post Aug 5 2003, 02:07
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Thanks for organising the test Roberto. Excellent stuff!

I was one who flagged a concern about the bitrates, and I am genuinely sorry for any concern or constenation that I may have caused to others at HA. What caught me by surprise was that we had the discussion thread where people posted a shed load of bitrate test results etc, to get the right q numbers, but then when I started getting into the test proper, seeing a mpc sample hit 197 just caught me by surprise. blink.gif

I don't think that in the end it really matters, as there are now at least three codecs that got close to the money in the 128 kbits range, despite some using more bits to do so with particular samples. We now have some new successors to LAME, and at least two of them have current or hopefully pending hardware support. B)

Thanks again for all your efforts Roberto.

As guru said, and I've also mentioned previously, it still comes down to personal preference, and testing/deciding for yourself. Hopefully this test has opened a few people to alternatives to their own favourite format. B)


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