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High bitrate MP3 vs. Lossless ABX Tests?, Are there any studies...?
Street Samurai
post Jun 2 2005, 00:10
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Hi All,

I've been corrected before on this site for making the statement: "I can tell the difference between an MP3 and lossless". I've never ABX'ed myself but I was wondering if there has been a statistically significant (with regard to population) ABX study done with (say) Lame insane vs. Lossless?

Clearly for myself it makes more sense to do a personal ABX but I was wondering in general about the population.

I searched manually through the posts in this forum (since search seems useless for the term 'mp3') and didn't see anything.

Thanks for help,

ss.

This post has been edited by Street Samurai: Jun 2 2005, 01:02


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Jebus
post Jun 2 2005, 21:32
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To summarize:

a) A "lossless to high-bitrate MP3 ABX" test = a "high-bitrate MP3 ABX" test. No need to specify lossless, all ABX tests are done against a lossless source by definition. A test comparing two codecs (again, against a lossless reference) would be an ABC test.

b) Even the 128kbps tests usually come up with statistically insignificant results because the public just isn't able to distinguish. So the only way you'll ever get interesting results at high-bitrates is to either do it yourself, or read the results of someone who did. Guruboolez is about the best person here for this sort of thing... he can tell the difference on some problem samples, but not must samples.

This post has been edited by Jebus: Jun 2 2005, 21:33
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Zurman
post Jun 2 2005, 22:01
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QUOTE (Jebus @ Jun 2 2005, 12:32 PM)
To summarize:

a) A "lossless to high-bitrate MP3 ABX" test = a "high-bitrate MP3 ABX" test. No need to specify lossless, all ABX tests are done against a lossless source by definition. A test comparing two codecs (again, against a lossless reference) would be an ABC test.
No blink.gif
mp3 ABX test does mean ABX vs original source (or lossless, it's the same), but nothing prevents you from ABXing mp3 vs mpc, mp3@128 vs mp3@256 and so on...

QUOTE
b) Even the 128kbps tests usually come up with statistically insignificant results because the public just isn't able to distinguish. So the only way you'll ever get interesting results at high-bitrates is to either do it yourself, or read the results of someone who did. Guruboolez is about the best person here for this sort of thing... he can tell the difference on some problem samples, but not must samples.
*
True.... Even in this forum, which probably is the place where most motivated and skilled people can be found, 128> listening tests don't involve many people, because all codecs are nowadays excellent (I didn't say perfect, or CD quality...) at any bitrate >= 128...
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Jebus
post Jun 2 2005, 23:12
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QUOTE (Zurman @ Jun 2 2005, 01:01 PM)
QUOTE (Jebus @ Jun 2 2005, 12:32 PM)
To summarize:

a) A "lossless to high-bitrate MP3 ABX" test = a "high-bitrate MP3 ABX" test. No need to specify lossless, all ABX tests are done against a lossless source by definition. A test comparing two codecs (again, against a lossless reference) would be an ABC test.
No blink.gif
mp3 ABX test does mean ABX vs original source (or lossless, it's the same), but nothing prevents you from ABXing mp3 vs mpc, mp3@128 vs mp3@256 and so on...


Okay, fair enough - around here, the ACCEPTIBLE process is to ABX vs the original, since ABXing two different lossy codecs doesn't tell you much of anything, just which one sounds better to you (which could be the OPPOSITE of which one is closer to the source. Some people like the sound of certain codecs).
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stephanV
post Jun 2 2005, 23:22
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QUOTE (Jebus @ Jun 3 2005, 12:12 AM)
Okay, fair enough - around here, the ACCEPTIBLE process is to ABX vs the original, since ABXing two different lossy codecs doesn't tell you much of anything, just which one sounds better to you (which could be the OPPOSITE of which one is closer to the source. Some people like the sound of certain codecs).
*


No this is not correct... ABX tells you *nothing* about your personal preference. It only tells you can hear a difference between the two files you are ABXing. While you can ABX two lossy files against one another, after doing this you can only show people that you can hear a difference between the two files, not which one you prefer.

[edit] removed some unclarities

This post has been edited by stephanV: Jun 2 2005, 23:31


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Pensive
post Jun 3 2005, 00:11
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I'm new, hi everyone, i want to make a suggestion on this subject.

This is my slant:

In a few years ill be buying either an sacd or dvd-a player depending on the climate, which of course will be a wireless device and send the digital data straight to the amplifier, which will also be wifi connected to my media storage device, containing my music collection, very likely with storage in the realm of terabytes.

When i play my SACDs, and then flip to my mp3 encoded tracks, they are going to sound terrible. Even cds will begin to sound a little lifeless. I'm putting all my CDs on my HD with Flac, and thats that - it makes sense for the future, sooner or later we'll all have media devices instead of dvd players.

Don't spoil your expensive systems you'll buy in the future with a poor substitute for lossless when hard drives are getting so cheap and so big.

Soonish, I'm going to mirror raid myself up a terabyte archive beast (current costs = 8*250 gig HDs - Im waiting till i can run 4*500 gig hds without breaking the bank) and once ive got that there is no excuse for worrying about the space my music collection takes up. Some of you may have enormous collections, which causes a problem, but i still like the idea of wifi music throughout my house at CDDA quality with no cds in sight!!

This applies in this thread because I think these days we should be trying move away from lossy over processed codecs, to take advantage of this cheap storage with the highest quality media. What you pump out to portable devices could very easily be done in realtime, and set to encode different bitrates dependant on the device. So your ipod, your car and your house can sync up the audio library, but in whatever bitrates is best for that device. Maybe, 320kbit in the car, 192 on the ipod, reflecting available storage on media devices.

When this sort of system becomes available, you'll want a good quality source.

Just my perspective, in respect of yours

This post has been edited by Pensive: Jun 3 2005, 00:20
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Jebus
post Jun 3 2005, 00:15
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QUOTE (Pensive @ Jun 2 2005, 03:11 PM)
I'm new, hi everyone, i want to make a suggestion on this subject.

This is my slant:

In a few years ill be buying either an sacd or dvd-a player depending on the climate, which of course will be a wireless device and send the digital data straight to the amplifier, which will also be wifi connected to my media storage device, containing my music collection, very likely with storage in the realm of terabytes.

When i play my SACDs, and then flip to my mp3 encoded tracks, they are going to sound terrible. Even cds will begin to sound a little lifeless. I'm putting all my CDs on my HD with Flac, and thats that - it makes sense for the future, sooner or later we'll all have media devices instead of dvd players.

Don't spoil your expensive systems you'll buy in the future with a poor substitute for lossless when hard drives are getting so cheap and so big.

Soonish, I'm going to mirror raid myself up a terabyte archive beast (current costs = 8*250 gig HDs - Im waiting till i can run 4*500 gig hds without breaking the bank) and once ive got that there is no excuse for worrying about the space my music collection takes up. Some of you may have enormous collections, which causes a problem, but i still like the idea of wifi music throughout my house at CDDA quality with no cds in sight!!

Just my perspective, in respect of yours
*


*sigh*. No one has yet been able to prove they can hear a difference between a PROPERLY MASTERED CD (that's a hard thing to come by, unfortunately) and a DVD-A or SACD disc. If you can, please do so. If not, don't spout such misinformation. TOS #8 violation and whatnot.

I'm really getting sick of saying this. I think this is like the 5th time in 2 days.
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Pensive
post Jan 29 2006, 00:39
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QUOTE (Jebus @ Jun 3 2005, 12:15 AM)
QUOTE (Pensive @ Jun 2 2005, 03:11 PM)
I'm new, hi everyone, i want to make a suggestion on this subject.

This is my slant:

In a few years ill be buying either an sacd or dvd-a player depending on the climate, which of course will be a wireless device and send the digital data straight to the amplifier, which will also be wifi connected to my media storage device, containing my music collection, very likely with storage in the realm of terabytes.

When i play my SACDs, and then flip to my mp3 encoded tracks, they are going to sound terrible. Even cds will begin to sound a little lifeless. I'm putting all my CDs on my HD with Flac, and thats that - it makes sense for the future, sooner or later we'll all have media devices instead of dvd players.

Don't spoil your expensive systems you'll buy in the future with a poor substitute for lossless when hard drives are getting so cheap and so big.

Soonish, I'm going to mirror raid myself up a terabyte archive beast (current costs = 8*250 gig HDs - Im waiting till i can run 4*500 gig hds without breaking the bank) and once ive got that there is no excuse for worrying about the space my music collection takes up. Some of you may have enormous collections, which causes a problem, but i still like the idea of wifi music throughout my house at CDDA quality with no cds in sight!!

Just my perspective, in respect of yours
*


*sigh*. No one has yet been able to prove they can hear a difference between a PROPERLY MASTERED CD (that's a hard thing to come by, unfortunately) and a DVD-A or SACD disc. If you can, please do so. If not, don't spout such misinformation. TOS #8 violation and whatnot.

I'm really getting sick of saying this. I think this is like the 5th time in 2 days.
*



For goodness sake read my post first. I believe you just violated one of your own TOS.

I was saying that SACDs will make an MP3 collection sound bad, as opposed to say - an uncompressed CDDA library. If I was saying what you suggested then it wouldnt belong in this thread now would it? Also I'm sure SACDs will make reissues from the master vinyls of old records sound a lot better than a cd equivalent reissue, since it will support the full frequency ranges of audibility, and also has the dynamic range to cope without any processing whatsoever. Im sure you're all aware that they have to compress the audio samples to fit the dynamic range of AudioCDs, since you're all so very knowledgable.

So far youve totally misunderstood a perfectly clear post, been completely arsey and called me a troll, and accused me of spreading misinformation. Its a great welcome to the forum. You know what you can do with your TOS. Cya

This post has been edited by Pensive: Jan 29 2006, 00:44
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William
post Jan 29 2006, 02:39
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QUOTE (Pensive @ Jan 28 2006, 11:39 PM)
For goodness sake read my post first. I believe you just violated one of your own TOS.

Maybe I misunderstood too, but I found your post to be BS.

QUOTE (Pensive @ Jan 28 2006, 11:39 PM)
I was saying that SACDs will make an MP3 collection sound bad, as opposed to say - an uncompressed CDDA library. If I was saying what you suggested then it wouldnt belong in this thread now would it?

It doesn't matter. You post confuses a lot of us anyways.

QUOTE (Pensive @ Jan 28 2006, 11:39 PM)
Also I'm sure SACDs will make reissues from the master vinyls of old records sound a lot better than a cd equivalent reissue, ...blah...blah

How "sure" are you?

QUOTE (Pensive @ Jan 28 2006, 11:39 PM)
So far youve totally misunderstood a perfectly clear post, been completely arsey and called me a troll, and accused me of spreading misinformation. Its a great welcome to the forum. You know what you can do with your TOS. Cya

I don't think your post is "perfectly clear", as this:

QUOTE (Pensive @ Jan 28 2006, 11:39 PM)
When i play my SACDs, and then flip to my mp3 encoded tracks, they are going to sound terrible. Even cds will begin to sound a little lifeless.

Prove it with ABX results.

This post has been edited by William: Jan 29 2006, 02:40
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Pensive
post Jan 29 2006, 12:21
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QUOTE
Prove it with ABX results.


Okay, my post was clear, it was just that you got confused because you didnt read much of it at all. Then your buddy just started dickriding you. That was the only confusion.

One small problem with ABXing that stuff:
1) I have no SACDs
2) I cant be sure any SACD sample I get hold of will be well produced and mastered, taking full advantage of the frequency response, from a master press, which of course would have to be analogue recorded, mixed and mastered all the way. Supply me with this and I'll abx it.


But again youve missed my point.

I was comparing the change between a well mastered SACD, and a 192kb MP3. I dont need to ABX it to know that - in my car I can tell EVERY cd that has been burnt from MP3s by ear, although I admit it gets harder with 320kbps ones. If I put an original CD in there the difference is phenomenal between it and 192kb mp3s. Are you really suggesting that I should waste hours of my time abxing it when I - and everyone else with half a brain on this site knows what the result is going to be?

I think you're just being awkward, perhaps my post was a little out of place but it certainly wasnt BS, you misread it, and what you misread it to be could have been interpreted as BS.

The bottom line is: my statement was based on the fact that 128-192kb mp3s, dont sound as good as CDDA, or SACD. IF you think that is BS without ABX testing then I'm glad you have that much spare time to waste.

I dont. Good day.

Edit:
One addition I should mention is that the main issue i have with mp3s, is listener fatigue, especially at high volums.

ABX testing cannot possibly give any decent results which indicate anything about fatiguing. ABX is not the one ring to rule them all, and it does not sort everything from everything else. These are textured sound waves, you cant use a binary "is it better" system like ABX to say if it sounds GOOD. I think you are all in a world of your own. Try abxing some heavy sections of NIN- The Fragile @ 320kb and @ CDDA. MP3 encoding falls apart with kind of guitar texture.

This post has been edited by Pensive: Jan 29 2006, 12:56
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Posts in this topic
- Street Samurai   High bitrate MP3 vs. Lossless ABX Tests?   Jun 2 2005, 00:10
- - Defsac   You couldn't do an accurate statistically sign...   Jun 2 2005, 03:23
|- - Cyaneyes   QUOTE (Defsac @ Jun 1 2005, 10:23 PM)You coul...   Jun 2 2005, 03:46
|- - Defsac   QUOTE (Cyaneyes @ Jun 2 2005, 12:46 PM)And th...   Jun 2 2005, 07:05
- - Shade[ST]   QUOTE (Street Samurai @ Jun 1 2005, 05:10 PM)...   Jun 2 2005, 03:30
- - skamp   QUOTE (Street Samurai @ Jun 2 2005, 12:10 AM)...   Jun 2 2005, 07:42
|- - Street Samurai   QUOTE (skamp @ Jun 1 2005, 11:42 PM)"los...   Jun 2 2005, 18:43
|- - Shade[ST]   QUOTE (Street Samurai @ Jun 2 2005, 11:43 AM)...   Jun 2 2005, 19:25
- - Lyx   Why make it complicated: Comparing lossy VS lossl...   Jun 2 2005, 19:09
|- - Street Samurai   QUOTE I've done the search I referred to you, ...   Jun 2 2005, 19:59
- - indybrett   I believe that all of the listening tests compare ...   Jun 2 2005, 20:58
|- - Shade[ST]   Basically, any codec that is transparent versus th...   Jun 2 2005, 21:14
- - Jebus   To summarize: a) A "lossless to high-bitrate...   Jun 2 2005, 21:32
|- - Zurman   QUOTE (Jebus @ Jun 2 2005, 12:32 PM)To summar...   Jun 2 2005, 22:01
|- - Lyx   QUOTE (Zurman @ Jun 2 2005, 11:01 PM)True.......   Jun 2 2005, 22:45
|- - Jebus   QUOTE (Zurman @ Jun 2 2005, 01:01 PM)QUOTE (J...   Jun 2 2005, 23:12
|- - stephanV   QUOTE (Jebus @ Jun 3 2005, 12:12 AM)Okay, fai...   Jun 2 2005, 23:22
|- - Pensive   I'm new, hi everyone, i want to make a suggest...   Jun 3 2005, 00:11
|- - Jebus   QUOTE (Pensive @ Jun 2 2005, 03:11 PM)I'm...   Jun 3 2005, 00:15
||- - Pensive   QUOTE (Jebus @ Jun 3 2005, 12:15 AM)QUOTE (Pe...   Jan 29 2006, 00:39
||- - William   QUOTE (Pensive @ Jan 28 2006, 11:39 PM)For go...   Jan 29 2006, 02:39
||- - Pensive   QUOTE Prove it with ABX results. Okay, my post wa...   Jan 29 2006, 12:21
||- - William   QUOTE (Pensive @ Jan 29 2006, 11:21 AM)Supply...   Jan 29 2006, 16:34
|- - Lyx   QUOTE (Pensive @ Jun 3 2005, 01:11 AM)When i ...   Jun 3 2005, 00:16
- - legg   Related to the first posts... Without the intentio...   Jun 2 2005, 23:16
- - Jebus   yes yes, but what is the point of that? Okay, MP3 ...   Jun 3 2005, 00:13
- - Woodinville   Hmm, there's a bit of confusion in this thread...   Jun 4 2005, 23:56
|- - Lyx   QUOTE (Woodinville @ Jun 5 2005, 12:56 AM)So,...   Jun 5 2005, 02:14
|- - Woodinville   QUOTE (Lyx @ Jun 4 2005, 05:14 PM)The most so...   Jun 5 2005, 02:26
|- - Lyx   QUOTE (Woodinville @ Jun 5 2005, 03:26 AM)Non...   Jun 5 2005, 02:40
- - 2Bdecided   Woodinville, I'm not quite sure what you...   Jun 6 2005, 11:54
|- - Woodinville   QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Jun 6 2005, 02:54 AM)Howev...   Jun 6 2005, 18:46
- - ff123   A few things to note about Roberto's tests: 1...   Jun 6 2005, 20:24
- - Zoom   QUOTE (Pensive @ Jan 28 2006, 06:39 PM)For go...   Jan 29 2006, 02:29
- - Pio2001   In case you don't browse the forum using the s...   Jan 30 2006, 02:19
- - ff123   QUOTE (Pio2001 @ Jan 29 2006, 05:19 PM)I...   Jan 30 2006, 04:23


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