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Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Eric Massey, Dec 6, 2002.
(Admin has amended this post).
The single biggest variable with this test is: How are your MP3s encoded? Bitrate? Encoding engine? A lot of MP3s available for download are quite poor in quality.
I do all my encoding with Lame using the R3Mix.net variable encoding settings. Through my own equipment (and when both sources are passing through the same DAC), I honestly cannot tell any difference. I don't download anything. The MP3s are all for my own use.
With my eqipment MP3 SUCK!!!!!!
I love my SACD and redbook, break out the checkbook!
I use the --alt-present extreme, VBR is clearly the way to go, the r3mix.net settings are quite dated already.
Eric, the best way to conduct that test would be to rip and encode the MP3s yourself(with LAME, of course). The MP3s you download can be extremely different in terms of quality and rarely are they the best MP3 can do...
So Eric, did you really do a blind test, ie were you able to distinguish which was which on a consistent basis without being told before-hand?
I agree with other that the quality of MP3 can vary a lot depending on how it was encoded. I've found that using lame with --alt-preset extreme (tweaked a bit) or --alt-preset insane results in an MP3 that is pretty much indistinguishable from the source.
Even so, I decided to use APE for my ripping, for archival purposes, transcoding, and also so that I can use image/cue/apl's for CD's that have seamless track transitions.
Uhh... it depends what you mean by 'dated'. When it gets to the point of the MP3 sounding the 'same' as the source material, how much further can you go? You might be able to squeeze the file size down or reduce the encoding time, but what real improvements are there in audio quality?
The bulk of my MP3 playback is in the car. I have a Kenwood HU which can play MP3s straight from a CD-ROM. To a lesser extent, I also have a few audio books and radio plays ripped from CD and encoded into MP3. These are done more for convenience than anything else. A good example is the BBC radio play of The Lord Of The Rings. That sits on twelve CDs, but I have VBR MP3 version on just two CD-ROMs (with credit sequences edited out so it plays as one continuous programme). I can leave it playing all day (and it takes all day to get through it!) and only have to do one disc swap I also have that done onto a single CD at 128kbps constant. The two-disc version sounds a little nicer, but there really isn't THAT much difference. It's not like it's a super-high quality recording.
I know one thing for sure. I am not re-ripping, re-encoding and re-tagging my 31gb worth of MP3s again
Ermmm, I use LAME for mp3 encoding and although it's hard I can tell the difference between the original CD and a 192kbps mp3 in my car's system. Have you guys ever tried encoding classical music to mp3?
But again we're talking about CD quality audio here, let's see what mp3 has on SACD.
(Admin has amended this post).
Eric, go here:
Contains everything you need to know.
Wow, thanks for those links Rob. Definitely a lot of good info there. I've been wondering for a while what those constant background clicks on some of my CDR's were caused by.
I'm pretty enthusiastic about MP3 and look forward to improving the quality of my CDR's.
If you have time to dig through the forums here: http://www.hydrogenaudio.org
you'll find some good info. Don't forget to try the search function there...
Well....I certainly wasn't going to take a bunch of audiophiles' word for it. If I did that, I'd only feel like half a man without Pure Silver Kimber Cable for all my speaker wire.
On top of that, nothing was blatantly obvious without comparing the two formats side by side.
Eric, just to make this clear, the HTF has a strong anti-bootleg stance, so please, in the future, don't refer to the sources of MP3s that you, yourself, haven't created, but have downloaded from elsewhere.
Here's a different way to run the same test without bootlegging:
1) Rip your own CDs to WAV files.
2) Encode the WAV files to MP3. Don't erase the WAV files.
3) Burn both the WAV files and MP3 files as consecutive tracks on a single CD-R.
4) Listen to the CD-R and switch between tracks to test.
This approach eliminates several variables such as using different players, ripping errors, and the sound quality of the CD-R media.
Differences can usually be more easily told when comparing using headphones.