Help with WMA files?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Henry Carmona, Jun 5, 2002.

  1. Henry Carmona

    Henry Carmona Screenwriter

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    Anyone experienced with WMA files?

    Im experienced in mp3 files and can get excellent results using EAC and the LAME codec.

    I love my MP3 encoded files but was wondering if WMA was actually better?

    What utility (free or purchased) is the best for converting WAV to WMA?

    Is a WMA file at say 160 or 192 better than than an MP3 encoded at 256 with the LAME codec?

    I know that the WMA is suppose to yield a great sound while taking less space to do it, but is it better than an MP3 at the same bitrate?

    What is the max bit rate a WMA can be converted as?

    My truck head unit can also play WMA's and i was wondering if i should get educated on them instead of MP3?

    Thanks!!
     
  2. Henry Carmona

    Henry Carmona Screenwriter

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    Dayum! Am i the only one into mp3's and other compressions?
     
  3. Pete_S

    Pete_S Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, the only encoder I know of offhand is the Windows Media Encoder, which is available for free at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/win...ate/encode.asp . The highest bitrate you can encode at in the version I have (codecs could have been updated since I last downloaded) is 192kbps, and in the couple of tests I've done in the past couple of minutes, I can't notice any difference right away between a WMA file encoded at 192kbps and an MP3 encoded in LAME at 256kbps (joint stereo).
     
  4. Cam S

    Cam S Screenwriter

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    I much prefer MP3 over WMA any day. It just seems as though there are way more coding options available with MP3's.
     
  5. Graeme Clark

    Graeme Clark Cinematographer

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    I could be wrong, but don't wma's also have some built in copyright protection? I copied one over the network from someone at work once and it wouldn't play on my computer.
    I didn't investigate, just told her to use MP3 [​IMG]
     
  6. Henry Carmona

    Henry Carmona Screenwriter

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    Thank you guys.

    Graeme, i actually encoded a song off a cd in WMA, but it is with a default (free encoder) bit rate of only 160.

    It plays fine on my PC, and actually sounds good.

    However, i still think my 256bit MP3's sound better.

    I know its a fairly new format and i havnt been able to find anyone who is familiar, or who works with WMA's extensively.

    Id just like to know the specifics about it and whether or not it is a format i should even consider.
     
  7. David Susilo

    David Susilo Screenwriter

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    from my tests (128kbps, 160kbps, MP3 vs WMA), WMA wins by a HUGE margin regardless of musical genre. That means 128 kbps WMA sounds much better than 128 kbps MP3. Same goes with 160kbps. In fact, I find that 160kbps WMA sounds a bit better than 192kbps MP3.

    I don't test anything further than that.

    WMA does NOT have copy protection built in ALTHOUGH security code CAN be embedded in during the encoding process so it can only work one way (you can play WMA files, but you can not convert WMA back to WAV)
     
  8. Henry Carmona

    Henry Carmona Screenwriter

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    David, thank you for the info.

    But since i only record mp3's at 256kb, as well as tune other parameters,(any mp3's under 256 are inferior and noticeably different from CD's) i wish i had something or some info that would tell me if 192kb WMA was better than my 256kb mp3's.

    In your research, what led you to believe that the 160 WMA was better than the 160 MP3?

    Sound, or data?

    Thanks.
     
  9. David Susilo

    David Susilo Screenwriter

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    The music I used for testing were music that I personally created in my recording studio, so I know exactly how things are supposed to sound like. The music includes the sounds of my own vocal, a baby grand, acoustic guitar, sampled sounds and synthesizers.
    In the beginning of each the recording, I put a 1khz tone so I can adjust every input to the exact same loudness level. After doing so, my studio engineer played back all three recordings from my PC using Midiman Delta 66 as the D/A ( http://www.midiman.com/products/m-audio/delta66.php )
    Across the sound spectrum, the 160 WMA are closer to the original as opposed to the MP3 counterpart. Stereo separation, minute details such as 'plinks' and 'plonk' from the synths that are supposed to be a tiny bit audible in the recording disappeared. Vocal characteristics changed for the worse.
    These listening tests were not only tested on me but to every single studio crew and engineers who happened to be at the studio at the time. We 100% can distinguish which is MP3 and which is WMA.
    Again, we didn't test anything above 160kbps due to memory restrictions (we were creating sample products using 16Mb Smart Media to be sent out worldwide)
     
  10. Graeme Clark

    Graeme Clark Cinematographer

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  11. Kimmo Jaskari

    Kimmo Jaskari Screenwriter

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    I have yet to see anything equal the combination of portability and great sound you get from a VBR MP3-file. 256k CBR is great too, but I think VBR can edge it out by its combination of smaller file size and ability to peak up to 320kbit in the truly demanding passages.

    Personally I would never go to such a proprietary format as WMA without extremely good reason, and for me there is no such reason. In fact, I can see many reasons for not doing it.

    I've never tested 160 kbit WMA vs MP3, and am willing to believe that WMA might sound better at that bitrate. However, the aforementioned VBR mp3's average about 180-190kbit and I would pit them against a 160 WMA any day with great confidence that the MP3's would win out.
     

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