CD vs MP3 (sound card/computer related topic)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ryan Peddle, Aug 5, 2002.

  1. Ryan Peddle

    Ryan Peddle Second Unit

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 1999
    Messages:
    473
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I'll start off with my setup:

    (for listening to 2 channel only)
    Paradigm Monitor 7v2
    PW2200 sub
    Yammy RXV 800 receiver

    And my computer is an IBM Aptiva, AMDK62 450Mhz, 256MB, SoundBlaster AWE64.

    Now before I start I'll let you know that I am a college student who downloads a lot of MP3s (90% rock music), and I don't own many cds. Heck I don't own a CD player other than my discman. But I'd like to put the moral/legal issues aside here.

    I listen to a lot of rock music (anything from U2 to System of a Down)(I love classic rock and really hard rock and everything in between). I blast it quite loud from time to time for enjoyment sakes. Critical listening and really loud are equal in my eyes. I have been to friends houses who have lower end systems (ei JVC reciver, OLD Bose 701, Sony 5disc changer) and when we listen to music is sounds louder and more dynamic. I came back to my place and listened to some of the same songs, and it just didn't seem the same.

    I don't download crappy quality mp3s. I try to keep them all above 192k, if not 320k and the larger files size to boot. And I am quite sure that most of the music that I have heard at my buddy's place is MP3's burned on cd.

    I even decided to try out a new soundcard (SB Autigy MP3+ vs my SB AWE64) and it sounded like garbage, very crackly and made my speakers ditort at much lower levels. (I tried many configs but still sounded the same) Popped my old one is and I was back at square one.

    I've been thinking of getting a quality CD changer (NAD, Marantz, or Sony ES) and starting to buy CDs again.

    My only fear is that I won't get the sound I am looking for, or that maybe my system isn't as capable at reproducing music as good as I would like it to. Or maybe my room is terrible for sound, but the problem with that theory is that DVD movies sound absolutly incredible. Very dynamic, lots of bass, wide open soundstage.

    PLEASE HELP!!!

    Is it the MP3's?
    Is it my system?
    Is it my room?
    Or is it just my ears?
     
  2. John Royster

    John Royster Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2001
    Messages:
    1,088
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ryan,
    -rant-
    quit stealing music. period. there I said it.
    Next, MP3s sound like crap, utter crap. You've heard poorly recorded CDs? mp3s take crap to a whole new level of crap on an exponential height of audio crap. crap. Now you can have a quaility ripped 384 VBR lame encoding that sounds OK, but still crap. whole new level of crap. crap kicked up a notch. crapola. [​IMG]
    -end rant-
    I'd say a good CD player and a CD will provide you what you need.
     
  3. Adil M

    Adil M Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2001
    Messages:
    922
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ryan,
    Mp3's sound good, but are a little... dull would be the right word. Pop in the original cd and then the mp3 and you hear the difference. Mp3's are very good compared to tape, bu they are not cd's. As long as they are above 160 kbps they should be as good as they can be. I make don't direct copies of the cd's which I of course had bought and not borrowed from the guy across the hall who did not borrow a couple of my cd's to not copy.
     
  4. ThomasL

    ThomasL Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2001
    Messages:
    963
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ryan, I assume you have your soundcard wired into your receiver - is it via a digital out or L/R stereo analog outs?
    There can be any number of factors why it sounds better at your friends house - different acoustics, different equipment, etc.
    More than likely a dedicated CD player playing a cd is going to sound better than a MP3 being played through a computer's soundcard. Also, if you're not ripping them yourself then you have no control on the settings and quality of the MP3 encoding. The following site has some good information on this subject;
    http://www.r3mix.net
    But hey, once you start buying your own CDs and playing them on your own cd player [​IMG], you can rip them to MP3 and do some tests yourself to see which sounds best.
    cheers,
    --tom
     
  5. Ryan Peddle

    Ryan Peddle Second Unit

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 1999
    Messages:
    473
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    My computer is hooked directly up to my receiver VIA a "line out" connection. A line out connection (alhtough I'm sure most of you know already) looks like your typical headphone jack that changes to two RCA analog connectors to connect to my receiver. I've never been a fan of the connection and always wanted to buy a sound card with at least two RCA outputs on it. But the world isn't perfect, so I am stuck with this one.

    Thanks guys. I think my next step will be to buy a nice NAD cd player and borrow a few of my buddies CDs to have a listen.

    But I think the answer is in a cd player, and some genuine cds.
     
  6. John Royster

    John Royster Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2001
    Messages:
    1,088
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ryan,

    Now that I'm done with the rant I think your poor sound is probably from your sound card and the headphone like connection in combination with MP3. Play a CD in your PC and see if you get the same effect.

    I've been reading tons of info on home theater PCs as well. It IS possible to get really good sound from a computer, but the sound card is the most crucial piece. M-audio cards are capable of outputing pretty darn good sound (analog or digital) - they range from 400 to 800 dollars I believe.

    That might explain why songs sound good on your friend's system, he has burned them to a WAV format and played with a CD player. that eliminates any sound card problems.
     
  7. ted_mpower

    ted_mpower Auditioning

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2002
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    how about using a digital connection to your reciever?
     
  8. Swami

    Swami Agent

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2002
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Use the MAD input plugin for winamp. Get a decent soundcard (not soundblaster!) Maudio Audiophile 2496 is the usual suggestion. Or you can buy a cmedia 8738 card like I did and use the midiman maudio 2448 drivers. The problem with soundblaster is that it converts the sampling rate from 44.1 to 48, which destroys the quality.

    Then use the asio output plugin for winamp to bypass the windows kmixer. Check out the avsforum for details.

    You should get a pretty good improvement then.

    If you are running windows 98 use the vxd drivers and you shouldn't have too much trouble.
     
  9. Ryan Peddle

    Ryan Peddle Second Unit

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 1999
    Messages:
    473
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Great. See, knowing a lot about HT and quite a bit about MP3s doesn't mean anything unless you know somehting about soundcards.

    Thanks for the info guys. I still think the best bet is to go right to CDs (one for the sound, and two for the moral dilema).


    You guys have been great. I guess now I will do a search for CD player recomendations.

    Any help here, I live in Toronto Canada, and will spend $300 - 500 dollars on one.
     
  10. John Royster

    John Royster Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2001
    Messages:
    1,088
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ryan,
    If you're interested in using a computer for DVD, CD-audio and what not you CAN get very good quality from a computer. Check out forums/info on HTPC. I have a hard believing it myself but I'm getting ready to build one out of spare parts for the DVD scaling alone. All I'd need are a good sound card and video. I've got awesome 3d cards laying around, but that doesn't mean jack when dealing with high-quality 2d. Faster doesn't mean better in this case. [​IMG]
     

Share This Page