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Have you ever regretted ABXing?, How has it changed your feelings about your stuff?
BearcatSandor
post Nov 3 2010, 21:30
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By "stuff" i mean equipment and music?

Have you ever ABXed something and found yourself not enjoying it as much as you did now that you know it's not all you thought it to be? Has the opposite ever happened to you?

I don't have the set up to ABX sound files yet (i'm a Linux user and both options seem to be dead). After participating in this forum for only a few days and reading of others experiences with 24-bit vs 16-bit music i'm now looking at my 24-bit collection of DVD-As, SACDs and 24-bit Studio Master downloads and thinking "..Damn it?" with a bit of confusion. I don't feel as secure with them anymore. I thought i had the 'best' sound i could get which is always a goal for folks like me.

Conversely, i might enjoy my redbook CDs more now as i won't be thinking "well they aren't 24-bit :"( " and i might not be hearing deficits that aren't really there.

I'm not sure how to feel about that.

I'm sure i'm not the only one here who's gone though this. Some of you started out as 'audiofools' too, right? How did you deal with this?

In a sense i'm kinda feeling "No, i don't want to look up ABX testing for loudspeakers. I waited 10 years for just the right pair to come to me and i really don't want to know that my $2.5k Anthony Gallo Acoustic Reference 3.1s are 'the same' as a pair of BestBuy specials." That's a bit of an exaggeration given how different speakers can be ...at least i think it is.

I'm uncertain. Honestly, i think i'm changing quickly and looking for support.

So how did you deal when the ABXing didn't work out how how you hoped it might?

Thanks

edit: Brought it back on-topic a bit.

This post has been edited by BearcatSandor: Nov 3 2010, 21:59


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BearcatSandor
post Nov 5 2010, 03:00
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I appreciate all of these posts. I'm still de-programming as i think of it, and the though of taking my lossless file collection and turning them into a lossy format kinda makes me want to run for the hills. I know it's "just music" but i'm one of those people who sometimes, when i play a piece that moves me i feel like i might never have to eat again if i kept listening to it. It "feeds" me so to speak. In resturants and other public places, background music does not exist for me. It's always part of my foreground.

What if one does ABX testing and finds that MP3s at high bitrates are 'good enough'. Then one gets a different amp or moves the audio system to a different room? Then you'd have to test all over again to see if it's still good enough in the new room/with the new amp/and the dog not shedding as much this time of year.

(i assume that dog fur creates a -.005 db suck-out at 80 hz when a dog is standing a meter away from the speaker tongue.gif )

I always knew it was a case of diminishing returns but it is nice to know that a $20k amplifier compared to a $2k amplifier makes little to no difference, according to what i've been reading lately.


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Engelsstaub
post Nov 5 2010, 07:13
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QUOTE (BearcatSandor @ Nov 4 2010, 21:00) *
I'm still de-programming as i think of it, and the though of taking my lossless file collection and turning them into a lossy format kinda makes me want to run for the hills.


Don't do that, BearcatSandor. Keep your lossless files (as storage, especially for lossless music, is very reasonable nowdays.) I'm sure you already know this, but using those lossy files as "source" to re-encode to the next great lossy would not be wise at all. If you can't hear the difference now you'll likely do so if you try that even once!

That's the benefit of lossless archiving: you can always go to the source, when the want arises, to get a transparent copy for your current needs.

You've actually inspired me to run some ABX testing myself. I'm finding I can tell the difference (most of the time) between a Lame-encoded mp3@128Kbps (CBR) and the FLAC...but I'm surprised by how negligible it is to me with my current equipment. I'm actually afraid to try 256 or 320 CBRs. I may shatter what remains of my audiophool ego. biggrin.gif (To be fair I do have a huge earwax problem that I need to remedy one of these days and am thirty-six years old. Fire guns on a regular basis and went to way too many heavy metal concerts in my youth.)

BTW "current equipment" is less than "audiophile" ideal. Alienware m15x laptop/Sennheiser HD 595s/Creative X-Fi Soundblaster external with the stupid fake 5.1 shit turned off. I am 100% certain that if I buy those $1400 "Hand-assembled in Germany instead of China" (whoopty-doo) cans that Stereophile is always raving about and a Grado headphone amp I'll DEFINITELY hear the difference!

If I had ten thousand US dollars to spend, I couldn't even get a recently-reviewed set of speakers featured in that fish-wrapper of a magazine.

...but yeah: I am finding that it actually irritates me that I don't hear a big difference even at the low bitrate that I've thus far ABXed with Foobar. Great post and thanks for the kick in the butt.

Edit: sorry, greynol. If I had been paying attention I'd have seen you covered that part about lossless archives being advisable above.

This post has been edited by Engelsstaub: Nov 5 2010, 07:18


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knutinh
post Nov 5 2010, 08:20
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QUOTE (Engelsstaub @ Nov 5 2010, 07:13) *
I'm sure you already know this, but using those lossy files as "source" to re-encode to the next great lossy would not be wise at all. If you can't hear the difference now you'll likely do so if you try that even once!

Are you sure that it is "likely" to hear degradation from going lossless->"sensible lossy encoding"->"another sensible lossy encoding"? Depends on what is "sensible", I guess, but I would not dare to say that its likely. I'd rather say that chances of hearing flaws increase as the number of transcodes increase.

I also agree on keeping the lossless archive. Hard-drives are cheap, most of us dont have more than 1000 albums but ripping those 1000 albums a second time is no fun. It may not matter, but even the slight chance that it might matter is enough for me to keep the flac files. I guess that makes me an audiophile?

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Engelsstaub
post Nov 6 2010, 06:29
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QUOTE (knutinh @ Nov 5 2010, 02:20) *
QUOTE (Engelsstaub @ Nov 5 2010, 07:13) *
I'm sure you already know this, but using those lossy files as "source" to re-encode to the next great lossy would not be wise at all. If you can't hear the difference now you'll likely do so if you try that even once!

Are you sure that it is "likely" to hear degradation from going lossless->"sensible lossy encoding"->"another sensible lossy encoding"? Depends on what is "sensible", I guess, but I would not dare to say that its likely. I'd rather say that chances of hearing flaws increase as the number of transcodes increase.


OK, I can happily agree with that. My wording isn't always perfect and I tend to sound "absolute" in print when I didn't mean it that way at the keyboard smile.gif

I've never ABXed lossy-to-lossy trascodes and am going by things I heard on other people's stuff. (The type of people who just looked at me blankly when I tried explaining to them that taking an MP3 @128 and converting it to 320Kbps was not going to "improve its sound quality.)

Be that as it may, I've ABXed a few passages from certain songs over and over 100% positively @128Kbps LAME-encoded MP3. My point is I don't think it could get "better" if it was transcoded. The results are here:

CODE
foo_abx 1.3.4 report
foobar2000 v1.1
2010/11/05 00:36:34

File A: C:\dBpoweramp\EAC-FLAC\Jars of Clay\02. Unforgetful You.flac
File B: C:\Users\Engelsstaub\Desktop\New folder\02. Unforgetful You.mp3

00:36:34 : Test started.
00:37:46 : 01/01 50.0%
00:38:52 : 02/02 25.0%
00:39:34 : 03/03 12.5%
00:40:41 : 04/04 6.3%
02:07:57 : 05/05 3.1%
02:09:05 : 06/06 1.6%
02:19:47 : 07/07 0.8%
02:20:04 : Test finished.

----------
Total: 7/7 (0.8%)


(...I grew bored with this one after the seventh round. The passage was annoying to listen to over and over.)

I'm not taking some great pride in this because I do go out of my way to find passages that I "just know" I'll be able to ABX and, as before, I'm humiliated at how subtle the difference is. I have to concentrate very hard to hear such "differences" and wouldn't likely notice a thing if I were just listening to them without prejudice. That bugs the crap out of me...I realized that I could actually live with it if I had to.

I used to believe (until recently) that "even at higher bit-rates the high-hats wash out!" But I have heard this effect on transcodes. Truth is, I never heard "the high-hat thing" on my MiniDiscs in the nineties. I knew nothing about ATRAC compression then and believed that these were basically 1:1 digital copies via fiber optic transfer. ...but I know there were a (very) few instances where I was like "what happened to this effect?" or whatever.

...so anyway: I was just thinking "logically" that what was nearly transparent before would likely become apparent after. My bad for making assumptions and claims without more than anecdotal proof. Sincerely.


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Posts in this topic
- BearcatSandor   Have you ever regretted ABXing?   Nov 3 2010, 21:30
- - dv1989   QUOTE (BearcatSandor @ Nov 3 2010, 20:30)...   Nov 3 2010, 21:39
|- - BearcatSandor   QUOTE (dv1989 @ Nov 3 2010, 14:39) At the...   Nov 3 2010, 21:45
|- - greynol   QUOTE (BearcatSandor @ Nov 3 2010, 13:45)...   Nov 3 2010, 22:04
|- - dv1989   QUOTE (BearcatSandor @ Nov 3 2010, 20:45)...   Nov 3 2010, 22:17
- - greynol   If it's any consolation, the most common advic...   Nov 3 2010, 21:48
- - mixminus1   Oh, I don't think you should regret buying the...   Nov 3 2010, 22:20
|- - BearcatSandor   QUOTE (mixminus1 @ Nov 3 2010, 15:20) Oh,...   Nov 3 2010, 22:32
||- - mixminus1   QUOTE (BearcatSandor @ Nov 3 2010, 14:32)...   Nov 3 2010, 22:48
|- - Northpack   QUOTE (mixminus1 @ Nov 3 2010, 22:20) I...   Nov 3 2010, 22:39
- - greynol   That's funny, I was thinking the opposite: th...   Nov 3 2010, 22:51
|- - mixminus1   Oh, then you'd positively LOVE these. >:D ...   Nov 3 2010, 23:14
- - mixminus1   ...and now attempting to at least get myself back ...   Nov 3 2010, 23:45
- - Roseval   QUOTE (BearcatSandor @ Nov 3 2010, 22:30)...   Nov 4 2010, 00:22
|- - odigg   I think I had two simultaneous feelings after I st...   Nov 4 2010, 01:29
- - Josh358   QUOTE (BearcatSandor @ Nov 3 2010, 15:30)...   Nov 4 2010, 19:23
|- - greynol   QUOTE (Josh358 @ Nov 4 2010, 11:23) An ex...   Nov 4 2010, 20:54
||- - Josh358   QUOTE (greynol @ Nov 4 2010, 14:54) QUOTE...   Nov 5 2010, 00:18
||- - 2Bdecided   QUOTE (Josh358 @ Nov 5 2010, 00:18) a sys...   Nov 5 2010, 01:08
||- - Josh358   QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Nov 4 2010, 19:08) Tha...   Nov 5 2010, 01:46
||- - 2Bdecided   QUOTE (Josh358 @ Nov 5 2010, 01:46) I...   Nov 5 2010, 08:44
||- - Josh358   QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Nov 5 2010, 02:44) ......   Nov 5 2010, 17:38
|- - Porcus   QUOTE (Josh358 @ Nov 4 2010, 19:23) Thoug...   Nov 23 2010, 14:40
- - hlloyge   Personally, my aac's are now around 160 kbit V...   Nov 4 2010, 21:54
- - greynol   While that may be, this forum requires different c...   Nov 5 2010, 00:41
|- - Josh358   QUOTE (greynol @ Nov 4 2010, 18:41) While...   Nov 5 2010, 01:19
|- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (Josh358 @ Nov 4 2010, 20:19) Surpr...   Nov 5 2010, 17:50
|- - Josh358   QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Nov 5 2010, 11...   Nov 5 2010, 22:46
||- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (Josh358 @ Nov 5 2010, 16:46) QUOTE...   Nov 8 2010, 14:00
||- - Josh358   QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Nov 8 2010, 08...   Nov 8 2010, 17:28
|||- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (Josh358 @ Nov 8 2010, 11:28) QUOTE...   Nov 8 2010, 20:11
|||- - Josh358   QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Nov 8 2010, 14...   Nov 9 2010, 01:05
|||- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (Josh358 @ Nov 8 2010, 19:05) I ass...   Nov 9 2010, 13:48
|||- - Josh358   QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Nov 9 2010, 07...   Nov 9 2010, 23:52
|||- - Engelsstaub   QUOTE (Josh358 @ Nov 9 2010, 17:52) Inter...   Nov 10 2010, 07:27
||||- - Josh358   QUOTE (Engelsstaub @ Nov 10 2010, 01:27) ...   Nov 10 2010, 17:20
||||- - BearcatSandor   QUOTE (Josh358 @ Nov 10 2010, 09:20) QUOT...   Nov 10 2010, 18:00
||||- - Josh358   QUOTE (BearcatSandor @ Nov 10 2010, 12:00...   Nov 10 2010, 18:54
|||- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (Josh358 @ Nov 9 2010, 17:52) Of co...   Nov 10 2010, 14:19
|||- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (Josh358 @ Nov 9 2010, 17:52) Inter...   Nov 10 2010, 15:00
|||- - Josh358   QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Nov 10 2010, 09...   Nov 10 2010, 18:49
||- - krabapple   QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Nov 8 2010, 08...   Nov 17 2010, 18:19
|- - krabapple   QUOTE I see the Fielder paper as being a justifica...   Nov 17 2010, 18:15
- - DigitalMan   Interesting OP Did ABX after ripping to LAME 256kb...   Nov 5 2010, 02:06
- - Canar   I have never regretted ABXing. Double-blind testin...   Nov 5 2010, 02:20
- - BearcatSandor   I appreciate all of these posts. I'm still de-...   Nov 5 2010, 03:00
|- - Josh358   QUOTE (BearcatSandor @ Nov 4 2010, 21:00)...   Nov 5 2010, 03:51
|- - greynol   QUOTE (BearcatSandor @ Nov 4 2010, 19:00)...   Nov 5 2010, 04:23
|- - Engelsstaub   QUOTE (BearcatSandor @ Nov 4 2010, 21:00)...   Nov 5 2010, 07:13
||- - knutinh   QUOTE (Engelsstaub @ Nov 5 2010, 07:13) I...   Nov 5 2010, 08:20
||- - Engelsstaub   QUOTE (knutinh @ Nov 5 2010, 02:20) QUOTE...   Nov 6 2010, 06:29
||- - dv1989   QUOTE (Engelsstaub @ Nov 6 2010, 05:29) I...   Nov 6 2010, 11:10
||- - googlebot   QUOTE (dv1989 @ Nov 6 2010, 12:10) What y...   Nov 6 2010, 11:39
|- - dv1989   QUOTE (BearcatSandor @ Nov 5 2010, 02:00)...   Nov 5 2010, 23:53
- - greynol   No worries. I think the fear that transcoding is ...   Nov 5 2010, 07:42
|- - Josh358   QUOTE (greynol @ Nov 5 2010, 01:42) No wo...   Nov 5 2010, 17:32
|- - greynol   QUOTE (Josh358 @ Nov 5 2010, 09:32) Has a...   Nov 5 2010, 18:34
|- - Josh358   QUOTE (greynol @ Nov 5 2010, 12:34) QUOTE...   Nov 5 2010, 22:00
|- - greynol   QUOTE (Josh358 @ Nov 5 2010, 14:00) Which...   Nov 6 2010, 21:07
|- - Josh358   QUOTE (greynol @ Nov 6 2010, 15:07) QUOTE...   Nov 6 2010, 23:50
|- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (Josh358 @ Nov 6 2010, 17:50) Elect...   Nov 8 2010, 14:17
|- - Josh358   QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Nov 8 2010, 08...   Nov 8 2010, 19:32
- - simonh   I wonder whether lossy will formats distributed ov...   Nov 5 2010, 08:52
- - Takla   The only damage I've caused by abx testing has...   Nov 5 2010, 16:07
- - DigitalMan   After a humbling fail on ABX with MP3 at 192kbp/s ...   Nov 6 2010, 05:33
- - dv1989   Yeah, I may have overgeneralised. I think I meant...   Nov 6 2010, 11:56
- - Meeko   Never regretted learning that my hearing isn't...   Nov 11 2010, 15:18
- - Onebeforezod   The weird thing for me was that I really could tel...   Nov 25 2010, 02:36
|- - greynol   QUOTE (Onebeforezod @ Nov 24 2010, 17:36)...   Nov 25 2010, 02:42
|- - Onebeforezod   QUOTE (greynol @ Nov 24 2010, 17:42) QUOT...   Nov 26 2010, 10:37
- - analog scott   QUOTE (greynol @ Nov 25 2010, 03:42) QUOT...   Nov 25 2010, 20:55
|- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (analog scott @ Nov 25 2010, 14:55)...   Nov 25 2010, 22:38
- - greynol   Your ABX report saying you can tell the difference...   Nov 27 2010, 03:22
|- - mjb2006   QUOTE (greynol @ Nov 26 2010, 19:22) Your...   Nov 29 2010, 22:53
- - Wombat   QUOTE (greynol @ Nov 27 2010, 04:22) Your...   Nov 27 2010, 03:29
- - BearcatSandor   QUOTE (Wombat @ Nov 26 2010, 19:29) QUOTE...   Nov 29 2010, 21:50


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