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An Audiophile Use AAC file?
Antigen
post Jan 5 2012, 20:17
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Hi to all,

I think that here there is some audiophile...

Do you use AAC file on your HIFI or only lossless (FLAC/ALAC) or CD Audio?

Actually i'm trying to make a good ABX and I admit... I can't find difference with the MP3/AAC file and CD... I don't find differences.


What is your experience?

Do you use AAC file on a 1.000 dollars HiFi system or you will prefer FLAC?

Thanks
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DVDdoug
post Jan 5 2012, 20:42
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If you can't hear the difference on an average system, you are probably not going to hear a difference on an expensive system. (Although, many "audiophiles" who have never bothered to do any blind listening tests will tell you otherwise....)

However, if you have a high-end expensive sound system there is little reason to use lossy compression (unless you only have lossy originals).

Dolby AC3 is lossy, and the some of the best sound I get from my home theater system is from Dolby 5.1 concert DVDs. (And, I have a laptop full of MP3s connected to the system.)

QUOTE
I think that here there is some audiophile...
well... Most people here are "audio lovers", which is what "audiophile" means... But, there is so much nonsense in the audiophile community that "audiophile" is somwhat of a dirty word around here. wink.gif
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Antigen
post Jan 5 2012, 20:54
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I have talked with a "aduiofanatic" biggrin.gif

I think that some of them... lost the contact with the music reality... and try to hear cable... and try to hear if the position of them increase the quality of the system...
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greynol
post Jan 5 2012, 21:13
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QUOTE (DVDdoug @ Jan 5 2012, 11:42) *
However, if you have a high-end expensive sound system there is little reason to use lossy compression (unless you only have lossy originals).

I fail to see how the choice to use lossless compression relates to the price of the system, especially after reading the beginning of your response.


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C.R.Helmrich
post Jan 5 2012, 21:55
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I thought the same but then realized he probably meant: if you own an expensive sound system, why not directly listen to what you bought (CD, SACD, ...) instead of a low-bit-rate lossy encoding of what you bought? At least that's what I do. Btw, I'm perfectly happy listening to AAC at >128 kbps or so if it was encoded with a good encoder.

Chris


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greynol
post Jan 5 2012, 22:01
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If you own an inexpensive sound system, why not directly listen to what you bought (CD, SACD, ...) instead of a low-bit-rate lossy encoding of what you bought?


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db1989
post Jan 5 2012, 22:49
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QUOTE (Antigen @ Jan 5 2012, 19:54) *
I have talked with a "aduiofanatic" biggrin.gif

I think that some of them... lost the contact with the music reality... and try to hear cable... and try to hear if the position of them increase the quality of the system...
I think you’re right! Glad you’re not going to fall for it. wink.gif
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nesf
post Jan 5 2012, 23:35
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Don't know if I'd consider myself an audiophile (most audiophiles probably wouldn't consider me one!) but if I can't hear a difference between mp3/acc/vorbis/whatever and lossless then I'll use any of the above to listen to music. Normally as soon as someone starts talking to me about the need for lossless if you're buying more expensive gear my eyes glaze over.

But, to be fair, before I did blind tests I too believed I could tell the difference between a 128kbs AAC and a flac or alac. My brain assumed there would be differences so it found them. Put those same tracks through ABX and I can't tell a difference. Remember if someone plays the same quality track to you 5 times blind and tells you they are different bitrates and asks you to pick a favourite you'll be in the vast majority if you have a favourite by the end of it and a strong preference towards one of the tracks despite them being identical*. The brain is a funny thing and placebos are fascinating.

Edit:

*I should reference this study but for the life of me I can't find it. Sorry.

This post has been edited by nesf: Jan 5 2012, 23:46
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andy o
post Jan 6 2012, 04:17
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QUOTE (greynol @ Jan 5 2012, 12:13) *
QUOTE (DVDdoug @ Jan 5 2012, 11:42) *
However, if you have a high-end expensive sound system there is little reason to use lossy compression (unless you only have lossy originals).

I fail to see how the choice to use lossless compression relates to the price of the system, especially after reading the beginning of your response.

I guess if you own an expensive audio system, storage is just chump change in comparison.
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LocrianGroove
post Jan 7 2012, 07:33
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I usually play FLAC when I'm listening to music on my computer, so I can avoid maintaining a separate lossy library. It's easier for me to edit a cue sheet if I find an incorrect spelling and be done with it. I also save hard disk space by not keeping extra lossy files.

I also encoded most of my collection in ALAC for my newer iPod, because I had the space on it, and there was a certain novelty in having my lossless collection on a portable player. I encoded to AAC for my older iPod, so I could fit everything. Of course the iPods sound the same, but that's not the point in my decision making. For me, there's just something fun about playing back the lossless files when I can.
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Antigen
post Jan 7 2012, 14:20
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I think that actually:

- for portable use (iPod/Car... the AAC/MP3 is good)

- for home/hifi use: I think that actually FLAC is the best solution

Why?

Because I think that if we can't hear the differences between an AAC and a FLAC is not very important, but at home we can use the best "source" for our audio.

And today the cost of an hard disk is very low, and the advantage of lossless is high, we can have the same quality of the CD forever.

The portable way... is a different situation and I think that for an iPod we can use 256 kbps AAC without problem.
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Pete7874
post Jan 15 2012, 17:47
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QUOTE (nesf @ Jan 5 2012, 16:35) *
But, to be fair, before I did blind tests I too believed I could tell the difference between a 128kbs AAC and a flac or alac. My brain assumed there would be differences so it found them. Put those same tracks through ABX and I can't tell a difference.

Same here. I used to have pretty good hearing, and I can't tell q4.0 AAC apart from the original. Now, at this quality setting, all frequencies above about 17 kHz are cut off, but I'm 37 years old. My ears can't hear anything above 17kHz anymore anyway.

I use my phone as a portable audio player when I travel or when driving. I convert everything to q4.0 AAC (about 128 kbps) before putting it on the phone.
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greynol
post Jan 15 2012, 19:03
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Hearing test tones above 17kHz does not necessarily mean you will hear these frequencies in music.


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brownianm
post Jan 15 2012, 21:48
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QUOTE (Antigen @ Jan 7 2012, 14:20) *
I think that actually:

- for portable use (iPod/Car... the AAC/MP3 is good)

- for home/hifi use: I think that actually FLAC is the best solution

Why?

Because I think that if we can't hear the differences between an AAC and a FLAC is not very important, but at home we can use the best "source" for our audio.

And today the cost of an hard disk is very low, and the advantage of lossless is high, we can have the same quality of the CD forever.

The portable way... is a different situation and I think that for an iPod we can use 256 kbps AAC without problem.


I have a high-end system and I use my iPod, with AAC compressed at 224 kbps, as the main source. I don't see any reason to use FLAC - or more likely, Apple Lossless - as I can't hear a difference between my compressed tracks and the originals. I also use the ipod as the source in my car and occasionally with headphones in portable mode.

I don't see what the advantages of lossless are that you refer to. They take up more space, don't sound any better and take more time to copy from on place to another.

This post has been edited by brownianm: Jan 15 2012, 21:49
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kornchild2002
post Jan 16 2012, 00:45
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QUOTE (Antigen @ Jan 7 2012, 06:20) *
Because I think that if we can't hear the differences between an AAC and a FLAC is not very important, but at home we can use the best "source" for our audio.


And? That contradicts what you are saying. In other words, you are expressing the thought of "who cares if you can't hear a difference, just go with lossless because it is the best quality!" That doesn't make much sense especially if you are going to bring in the listening test argument. If one cannot hear a difference between a lossy and lossless file, then there is no need for them to playback the lossless content anywhere. It doesn't matter if they have access to a higher quality source since they won't need it for listening purposes. Having lossless files and playing them "just because" is not a good enough reason.

I am well aware of the benefits that lossless encoding offers. I rip all of my CDs to ALAC for archive purposes so that I will never have to rip them again. I can easily convert my ALAC files to AAC, mp3, FLAC, WavPack, or any number of different lossy and lossless files. That way, when Apple updates their AAC encoder in iTunes/QuickTime, I can delete my current lossy files and re-encode my lossless sources. That a huge benefit and cuts down on the wear that my optical drive would otherwise go through re-ripping thousands of CDs over and over again. I can also understand that some people are capable of properly ABXing source lossy material to lossy variants. So, for them, it would make sense to playback their lossless content over lossy versions. However, if someone continually fails blind ABX tests between lossy and lossless content, there is no reason for them to playback the lossless content.
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Antigen
post Feb 10 2012, 11:23
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I think that FLAC is a good solution only because preserve all the quality, AAC destroy some part of the sound message... you can't hear difference from an AAC?

At 256 an AAC is not possible, in blind test, to detect it... but I think that the sound is not only what we can hear.

Sound is what we can hear but it include some part of "physical sensation" and the AAC is capable to give us the same sensation?

Some people that call them audiophile, tell that lossy music loose "openness" and seem more flat and loss some "life"... less dynamic.

What you think about this?

I have an idea... placebo effect.

This post has been edited by Antigen: Feb 10 2012, 11:35
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Ouroboros
post Feb 10 2012, 13:53
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Definitely placebo effect. If you can't double blind ABX the differences ("more open", "less flat", etc.) then they don't exist. Even if sound is more than just what you can hear, you'd still detect the other sensations in an ABX test.
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hlloyge
post Feb 10 2012, 13:56
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QUOTE (kornchild2002 @ Jan 16 2012, 00:45) *
And? That contradicts what you are saying. In other words, you are expressing the thought of "who cares if you can't hear a difference, just go with lossless because it is the best quality!" That doesn't make much sense especially if you are going to bring in the listening test argument. If one cannot hear a difference between a lossy and lossless file, then there is no need for them to playback the lossless content anywhere. It doesn't matter if they have access to a higher quality source since they won't need it for listening purposes. Having lossless files and playing them "just because" is not a good enough reason.


And why would I play lossy files when I have lossless source?
You are too narrow minded about this. I have vast collection of audio CDs, which I've ripped and put away; I have FLAC files on my HDD which is connected to media center, and mp3's and m4a's of them on internal HDD in computer, so I don't have to transcode every time when I put music on iPod.
Giving that I can't ABX 160 kbit mp3 from FLAC, do you really think I should stop listening to FLACs and listen to lossy encodes? Why should I do that? I already have lossless files, so why should I listen to lossy at home?

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kennedyb4
post Feb 10 2012, 14:05
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I have difficulty with AAC at 96kbps.

Having said that, I keep flac files on a hard drive because I have re-encoded my music several times with improvements in Lame and now the AAC encoders.

The recent 96kbps test package might interest you as it contains many codec killer samples. See what actually sounds transparant to you.

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brunoleiteb
post Feb 10 2012, 14:17
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But hey, even if it's a placebo, it works right? So just use the placebo in your favor...

I only keep lossless files from Lamb Of God in my iPod, and when I play it in a big sound system very loudly, it really sounds better than a lossy file.

One more thing: why would companies use lossless in CD's if there was no difference? They could just burn lossy files in it right?

(I'm sorry if I said something wrong, this is my first time here)
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Porcus
post Feb 10 2012, 14:34
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QUOTE (brunoleiteb @ Feb 10 2012, 14:17) *
why would companies use lossless in CD's if there was no difference?


Because the CD format, when it was introduced, did not allow for lossless compression – and that again, was simply because it was impossible with consumer electronics. The CD format is more than 30 years old (the first Red Book standard was released in 1980), and the computing power required to decode a compressed signal in realtime (remember, 2x CD spinners were way, way ahead then!) would have been at at cost orders of magnitude off the consumer market. The original IBM PC released in 1981, had a 4.77 MHz CPU, a RAM of 16 kilobytes and cost $1,565 ...

Remember, they even reduced the sampling rate from the then-prevalent standard of 48 kHz to 44.1 just in order to be able to fit certain concertos on one disc.



QUOTE (brunoleiteb @ Feb 10 2012, 14:17) *
(I'm sorry if I said something wrong, this is my first time here)

You are usually not supposed to say 'sounds better than' herein without having tested so – terms of service, item #8.

This post has been edited by Porcus: Feb 10 2012, 14:45


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IgorC
post Feb 10 2012, 15:25
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QUOTE (Antigen @ Jan 5 2012, 16:17) *
Do you use AAC file on your HIFI or only lossless (FLAC/ALAC) or CD Audio?

...
Do you use AAC file on a 1.000 dollars HiFi system or you will prefer FLAC?


A High quality systems can help to hide artifacts. The good response in low frequency can lead to good masking of artifacts in higher range. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auditory_masking
Cheap stock apple phones has very poor bass response. http://www.headphone.com/buildAGraph.php?graphID[0]=853&graphID[1]=3121&graphID[2]=&graphID[3]=&graphType=0&buttonSelection=Compare+Headphones



In other hand high quality systems (DAC, headphones) have less distortion (THD, Noise etc.) that actually can help to hear some quantization and other noises:




This post has been edited by IgorC: Feb 10 2012, 15:39
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Antigen
post Feb 10 2012, 16:46
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Today I have tried to do an ABX test with good headphones.

The result?

I can't detect the AAC@256 from the FLAC version that I have encoded from the original CD.

My girlfriend find some differences in the "space" of some instrument in some song.

It's possible that the compression will alter the "ambience and dynamic" of a song?
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Ouroboros
post Feb 10 2012, 16:53
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What your girlfriend heard or didn't hear ("space", "ambience and dynamics", "more open", "less flat", etc.) is of secondary importance. What is important is that you post her ABX log, so we can see that statistically she could detect the difference in a proper double blind test.

While you're doing that, post your ABX log as well.

Until you do that you are potentially in breach of TOS #8.
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Canar
post Feb 10 2012, 16:56
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Let's not be legalistic about ABX logs. He can't detect the difference. ABX proves nothing in that case.

The matter of his girlfriend though... if her perceptions are not placebo, they should withstand ABX analysis. Even a simple single-blind test might be enough to show that her ability to identify what is what disappears when she has no information about which track is playing.


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