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Public MP3 Listening Test @ 128 kbps - FINISHED
DigitalDictator
post Nov 25 2008, 16:15
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Why would Helix struggle with metal? IIRC it also struggled with classical music. It can't struggle with everything and still be on par with Lame, can it?
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uart
post Nov 25 2008, 16:30
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QUOTE (Alex B @ Nov 25 2008, 05:51) *
In general, I found the choice of the low anchor a bit problematic.


Yeah great test but I'd have to agree about the low anchor being too badly broken. That low anchor really was just a little too low IMHO.
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Sebastian Mares
post Nov 25 2008, 16:32
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Well, one thing you have to consider is that Helix struggled with classical music for one person: Guru. These test results however are based on over 300 results.

QUOTE (uart @ Nov 25 2008, 16:30) *
QUOTE (Alex B @ Nov 25 2008, 05:51) *

In general, I found the choice of the low anchor a bit problematic.


Yeah great test but I'd have to agree about the low anchor being too badly broken. That low anchor really was just a little too low IMHO.


Yeah, I guess you are right. The thing is that I also wanted to see / show how the quality for MP3 developed since the first days. 0.99a was a public version BTW. It's not that is was leaked from somewhere.


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/mnt
post Nov 25 2008, 16:38
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QUOTE (DigitalDictator @ Nov 25 2008, 16:15) *
Why would Helix struggle with metal? IIRC it also struggled with classical music. It can't struggle with everything and still be on par with Lame, can it?


I encoded a few metal albums from Metallica (Ride The Lightning), Iron Maiden (Powerslave) and Fear Factory (Obsolete) and plenty of the tracks on those albums warble like hell on guitars and have a swush noise on the drums. Hell just try any Fear Factory track on Helix such as Replica or Linchpin (Sample 11), it will choke like it was Blade. I will post some ABX results and possibly samples later.

This post has been edited by /mnt: Nov 25 2008, 16:46


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Synthetic Soul
post Nov 25 2008, 17:21
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QUOTE (Neasden @ Nov 25 2008, 15:07) *
/mnt told me that Helix is not gapless, which is to me a serious shortcomming.
Agreed. I thought about this last night and meant to test myself today. I can confirm that foobar certainly does not play Helix files gaplessly. This is a killer for me, although I am unlikely to switch from LAME in any case.

Well done Sebastian. Very interesting results.


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IgorC
post Nov 25 2008, 17:23
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I can confirm statements of /mnt . Helix isn't good on my collection of rock and metal samples. But it's good for a bunch of overkill samples.
I noticed that LAME has a problem with a few first seconds of each sample while Helix doesn't. It can explain surprising reults at least partially.

Should admit interesing test. Thank you, Sebastian.
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ff123
post Nov 25 2008, 17:26
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QUOTE (IgorC @ Nov 25 2008, 08:23) *
I can confirm statements of /mnt . Helix isn't good on my collection of rock and metal samples. But it's good for a bunch of overkill samples.
I noticed that LAME has a problem with a few first seconds of each sample while Helix doesn't. It can explain surprising reults at least partially.

Should admit interesing test. Thank you, Sebastian.


There should have been an option in the configuration files to specify that the first second or two of each sample would be ignored. This would prevent the problem you mention creeping in.
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Alex B
post Nov 25 2008, 17:34
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QUOTE (Sebastian Mares @ Nov 25 2008, 17:32) *
0.99a was a public version BTW. It's not that is was leaked from somewhere.

Out of curiosity, where did you get that info? Do you know someone who was involved?

I suppose it wasn't difficult for FhG to prevent it from leaking. Dial-up internet connections were starting to become popular, but you couldn't easily download leaked or any other files at that time. I recall that I bought a couple of programs after checking the manufacturers websites in mid-nineties, but I sent the orders by fax and the floppy disks & manuals were delivered by snail mail. If you needed an update to a driver or program you connected the manufacturer's modem bank directly by a dial-up modem or got it on a floppy disk which was posted to you.


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guruboolez
post Nov 25 2008, 18:04
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The 2 or 3 first seconds were already ignored in this test.

Interesting results anyway. Conclusion is far from what I reached in the past. I only tested the last 11 samples ; my results are therefore not totally comparable but are significantly different:

iTunes: 2.98
Lame 3.98: 3.30
l3enc: 1.171.00
fraunhofer: 3.51
LAME 3.97: 3.68
Helix: 2.95

This is also the very first test I performed with my new headphone I just owned the day before I started the test. The new sound signature was so different and therefore so disturbing that I didn't bother to spend more than a few minutes to test and give an evaluation to each sample. It was a strange experience for me. I wonder how much a different headphone may change results. But it becomes clear to me that a different material configuration could heavily disturb a listener.

Anyway, even in this highly confused listening environment my results in this test tend to confirm that Helix doesn't please me at all, even with completely different samples / musical genre.

This post has been edited by guruboolez: Nov 25 2008, 18:18
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Sebastian Mares
post Nov 25 2008, 18:08
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QUOTE (ff123 @ Nov 25 2008, 17:26) *
QUOTE (IgorC @ Nov 25 2008, 08:23) *

I can confirm statements of /mnt . Helix isn't good on my collection of rock and metal samples. But it's good for a bunch of overkill samples.
I noticed that LAME has a problem with a few first seconds of each sample while Helix doesn't. It can explain surprising reults at least partially.

Should admit interesing test. Thank you, Sebastian.


There should have been an option in the configuration files to specify that the first second or two of each sample would be ignored. This would prevent the problem you mention creeping in.


2000 ms were given as run-in time.


QUOTE (Alex B @ Nov 25 2008, 17:34) *
QUOTE (Sebastian Mares @ Nov 25 2008, 17:32) *
0.99a was a public version BTW. It's not that is was leaked from somewhere.

Out of curiosity, where did you get that info? Do you know someone who was involved?

I suppose it wasn't difficult for FhG to prevent it from leaking. Dial-up internet connections were starting to become popular, but you couldn't easily download leaked or any other files at that time. I recall that I bought a couple of programs after checking the manufacturers websites in mid-nineties, but I sent the orders by fax and the floppy disks & manuals were delivered by snail mail. If you needed an update to a driver or program you connected the manufacturer's modem bank directly by a dial-up modem or got it on a floppy disk which was posted to you.


Do you have any info that it was leaked? I never heard about l3enc being leaked. fastenc, yes, but l3enc, no. Roberto can also backup my claims for sure. smile.gif

This post has been edited by Sebastian Mares: Nov 25 2008, 18:09


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Alexxander
post Nov 25 2008, 18:27
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QUOTE (Synthetic Soul @ Nov 25 2008, 17:21) *
...
I can confirm that foobar certainly does not play Helix files gaplessly. This is a killer for me
...

I just tested it also, Helix does not play gaplessly and gapless play is a must for me. Helix doesn't do bad on track 01 - Pet Shop Boys - In The Night though but it doesn't mind to me anymore.
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Alex B
post Nov 25 2008, 18:50
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QUOTE (Sebastian Mares @ Nov 25 2008, 19:08) *
Do you have any info that it was leaked? I never heard about l3enc being leaked. fastenc, yes, but l3enc, no.

I didn't think it was leaked. I meant the first part: "0.99a was a public version BTW." At that time "public version" probably meant that there was an official release announcement, product pricing was determined and it was made available to potential buyers. I assume it was initially offered to professional users who needed to compress audio files for a reason or another. There wasn't any consumer market for MP3 encoders yet.

Actually, I think you may have read the RRW's l3enc story hastily. I think it says that the first public version was 1.00 (1994-07-13). The 0.99a version happens to be just below the *****The First Ever publicly available MP3 Software Encoder***** text line, which is a bit misleading.

from http://www.rjamorim.com/rrw/l3enc.html
QUOTE
FhG l3enc MP3 Encoder

Fraunhofer l3enc was the first MP3 (back then called MPEG layer 3, that's why l3enc) software encoder. The first public version was released on 1994-07-13, and before that only very expensive hardware encoders existed (not that l3enc wasn't expensive itself, registration for version 2.0 cost 350DM - ~U$250) ...

*****The First Ever publicly available MP3 Software Encoder*****
Date: 1994-03-16
Version: 0.99a
Interface: Command Line
Platform: DOS
Download: l3enc099a.zip - 311Kb ...

Date: 1994-07-13
Version: 1.00
Interface: Command Line
Platform: DOS
Download: l3enc100.zip - 126Kb ...

Date: 1994-06-13
Version: 0.99c
Interface: Command Line
Platform: DOS
Download: l3enc099c.zip - 312Kb


Edit: fixed: 2004 -> 1994

This post has been edited by Alex B: Nov 25 2008, 19:02


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Jillian
post Nov 25 2008, 19:13
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I like the part where test result (quality and encode speed) should raise the popularity of Helix, but instead people try to proof that Helix is bad in their test, while the others blame Helix for not support gaplessness.
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Canar
post Nov 25 2008, 19:34
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QUOTE (Neasden @ Nov 25 2008, 07:07) *
/mnt told me that Helix is not gapless, which is to me a serious shortcomming. Another thing is that Helix is not that robust as LAME is. But what is stunning people here is the encoding speed of a encoder it hasn't been worked on for 3 years, while latest fresh LAME is so so much slower to encode!


QUOTE (Synthetic Soul @ Nov 25 2008, 08:21) *
Agreed. I thought about this last night and meant to test myself today. I can confirm that foobar certainly does not play Helix files gaplessly. This is a killer for me, although I am unlikely to switch from LAME in any case.


QUOTE (Alexxander @ Nov 25 2008, 09:27) *
I just tested it also, Helix does not play gaplessly and gapless play is a must for me. Helix doesn't do bad on track 01 - Pet Shop Boys - In The Night though but it doesn't mind to me anymore.


Did you guys try encoding to MP3/CUE for an album then splitting with pcutmp3? That should retain gapless information even with Helix. I haven't tested this out yet myself, but it could solve the problem. I think I might go give it a try and report back.


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Alex B
post Nov 25 2008, 19:36
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QUOTE (Synthetic Soul @ Nov 25 2008, 18:21) *
QUOTE (Neasden @ Nov 25 2008, 15:07) *
/mnt told me that Helix is not gapless, which is to me a serious shortcomming.
Agreed. I thought about this last night and meant to test myself today. I can confirm that foobar certainly does not play Helix files gaplessly.

I thought that this gapless issue was common knowledge. Only the LAME encoders and nyaochi's ACMENC (a command line frontend for the ACM MP3 encoders) can create the LAME info headers which contain the needed info for gapless decoding.

FhG has developed a newer proprietary header style that serves the same purpose, but as far as I know only FhG's own decoder and Winamp support it.

It would be nice if nyaochi would create a version of his tool that would support .exe CL encoders like Helix and FhG. Or maybe someone else would like to modify it. I think the source code is available under LGPL license.

More info about ACMENC:
http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....st&p=239454
http://nyaochi.sakura.ne.jp/software/acmenc

This post has been edited by Alex B: Nov 25 2008, 21:11


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Canar
post Nov 25 2008, 19:51
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Gapless encoding using Helix is possible by encoding the entire album to one MP3 and a cuesheet, then splitting the MP3 with pcutmp3. I've just verified that. It's a bit of a hack, but it works with foobar2000. It should work anywhere pcutmp3 is known to work already.

C'mon guys, think outside the box. wink.gif

This post has been edited by Canar: Nov 25 2008, 19:52


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sld
post Nov 25 2008, 20:05
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QUOTE (Squeller @ Nov 25 2008, 16:28) *
Basically you are right, but: People with dysfunctional brains who don't find this out themselves aren't the target audience of HA I guess wink.gif

Ironically, I learnt about confidence intervals from a similar listening test conducted by roberto (rjamorim). It was him or a fellow forumer who kindly posted the correct way of interpreting such graphs.

Now, if that poster had your attitude, this forum would have been the poorer for it. smile.gif

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Neasden
post Nov 25 2008, 20:06
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Do you mean having to "split" manually the entire album, just to obtain gapless!? Ouch that's way too much...
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Sebastian Mares
post Nov 25 2008, 20:10
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Created 7 / 14 sample graphs...

BTW, Tukey's HSD for all samples is 0.537.


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kwanbis
post Nov 25 2008, 20:18
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Sebastian, where it says, "The results are graphed below. They show that all encoders are tied on first place, except l3enc which of course comes out last being the low anchor."

You should bold, colour, etc, like this:

"The results are graphed below. They show that all encoders are tied on first place, except l3enc which of course comes out last being the low anchor."

Or something like that wink.gif

This post has been edited by kwanbis: Nov 25 2008, 20:37


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Alex B
post Nov 25 2008, 20:33
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QUOTE (Neasden @ Nov 25 2008, 21:06) *
Do you mean having to "split" manually the entire album, just to obtain gapless!? Ouch that's way too much...

As Canar said, it's a hack.

If you would like to quickly convert a bunch of already ripped lossless track files to MP3 you would first need to create the image & cue files in a way or another.

Personally, I would propably first use foobar for converting the files to an MP3 image file and cue sheet, then cut the file with pcutmp3 and finally copy my extensive tags from the source files with foobar or Mp3tag, but that isn't really very practical.

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Bodhi
post Nov 25 2008, 20:44
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Great Job once again. Thank you Sebastian!
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Neasden
post Nov 25 2008, 20:58
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QUOTE
As Canar said, it's a hack.


That alone wouldn't compensate a switch from LAME!
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guruboolez
post Nov 25 2008, 21:00
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QUOTE (Alex B @ Nov 25 2008, 21:33) *
Personally, I would propably first use foobar for converting the files to an MP3 image file and cue sheet, then cut the file with pcutmp3 and finally copy my extensive tags from the source files with foobar or Mp3tag, but that isn't really very practical.

Not practical at all. Statistically speaking, Helix is tied to LAME (on 14 samples). Mathematically, the difference is close to be unsignificant. The biggest advantage of HELIX lies in encoding speed ; manipulating cuesheet and external tool would simply ruin this advantage.
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Neasden
post Nov 25 2008, 21:05
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unless someone patches Helix and release it with that hack in LAME...
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