MP3 decoding

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Andrew Beck, Jan 3, 2002.

  1. Andrew Beck

    Andrew Beck Stunt Coordinator

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    I have a quick question. I need a new DVD player and wonder if getting one that decodes MP3 is even worth it. MP3's sound fine when played out of my computer speakers, but when I convert them to redbook and play them either on my stereo or in my car I can quite easily tell the difference. I'm wondering if it's even worth it for me to have this feature in the DVD player. Can anyone comment on how playing a CD loaded with MP3's sounds on a player?
     
  2. Tom Johnson

    Tom Johnson Stunt Coordinator

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    If you get a DVD player that plays MP3's, such as the Panasonic DVD-RV31K, there is no need to convert them. Therefore they should sound at least as good as they do on your computer.
     
  3. Gordon C Jr

    Gordon C Jr Stunt Coordinator

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    I think it would depend on how often you intend on listening to mp3's on your system.

    It would also depend on where you got the mp3?? If you got some through Napster or over the internet, then the quality of the sound is mainly dependent on whoever recorded them. For all you know, someone could of recorded from album or radio station onto a casette tape and converted tape to mp3 on their computer. Now that is not my idea of quality, but listening to some of the mp3's from the internet, this wouldn't suprise me.

    I have to agree with you that the sound is lacking when played in car or over system.. Actually, I only play them in my car, because my home system will exagerate any poor recordings to the point of being annoying.

    Then again, if you want to plan for the future and it won't cost any more, go for it... Mp3's may be the future??
     
  4. Andrew Beck

    Andrew Beck Stunt Coordinator

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    If MP3's are the future I'm going to have to shoot myself... There are much beter compression techniques out there than MPEG2.
     
  5. Gordon C Jr

    Gordon C Jr Stunt Coordinator

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    That's why I said "MAY be the future"... I guess I should of emphasized the "MAY" a little more.. The way the industry is pumping out new formats every other week, who know's.?
     
  6. GordonL

    GordonL Supporting Actor

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    The sound quality is highly dependent on the bitrate at which it was encoded and, to a certain extent, the encoder. If you're converting CDs that you own, you have more control over this. If you're copying songs off the Internet, the quality will vary and usually suck. If you're encoding your own CDs, use the highest quality VBR or CBR 256+ and it should be virtually indistinguishable from the original CD. The tools that I use are EAC and Lame. Read about them at www.r3mix.net
     
  7. Marty Christion

    Marty Christion Stunt Coordinator

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    [Ben Kenobi voice] You've just taken your first step into a larger world[​IMG][/Ben Kenobi voice off]
    I recently upgraded to the holy triumvariate of CD-Burner, Car MP3 player, and set top DVD MP3 player.
    It is absolutely incredible to be able to burn 10+ hours of music onto a disc, and then listen to it in the car, or in the living room (or at work on my computer). If you use the advice at www.r3mix.net, you can get great sounding MP3's from your own discs. I've also expanded my music collection considerably by checking out discs from the public library!
    With blank CD's available for $.20 (or free, after rebate), there's really no reason not to. I can't believe I was ever happy with 74 minutes (max) on a disc.
     
  8. Andrew Beck

    Andrew Beck Stunt Coordinator

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    I don't think I'd ever take the time to make MP3's from my own discs. I've got the discs already I can just play them, with no loss of quality. It's not too much hassel to get up and change the disc every hour or so.

    I don't really believe in stealing MP3's from the internet either... I will occasionaly download a song from Morpheus (or a whole album) to preview it before I buy it... or in some cases to listen to an album that hasn't been released yet or has only been released in a foriegn country.

    I guess I could see the usefullness of a 10+ hour music cd in the car (great for long trips) or possibly at a party. I don't think I'd get a whole lot of use out of it though.
     
  9. John Royster

    John Royster Screenwriter

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    I have played MP3s on my panasonic rp56. I really think the decoder is pretty bad. I've had much better experience decoding the mp3s on my computer and simply burnings audio CDs than using a built in, never upgradable, MP3 decoder.

    Just an opinion...
     
  10. Andrew Beck

    Andrew Beck Stunt Coordinator

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    I figured as much... that's just what i wanted to know. I wouldn't think that the decoders in the player would be to great... more put in as an after thought.
     
  11. jacek p

    jacek p Agent

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    I agree with John.

    The quality of MP3 playback on my MP3-compatible Toshiba SD3750 DVD player is very dissapointing. Much worse than my PC. Does anyone have a DVD player with a decent MP3 decoding quality?
     
  12. Rick_Brown

    Rick_Brown Second Unit

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    "The quality of MP3 playback on my MP3-compatible Toshiba SD3750 DVD player is very dissapointing. Much worse than my PC. Does anyone have a DVD player with a decent MP3 decoding quality?"

    jacek p, could the "problem" be that a home theater set-up, with is vastly superior amplifiers and speakers compared to a computer, simply highlights the flaws and lack of fidelity in the mp3's? Perhaps your SD3750 is decoding mp3's perfectly, warts and all? I've always noticed that better systems make me more dissatisfied with poor software.
     
  13. jacek p

    jacek p Agent

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    Rick,

    Thanks for your reply.

    The short answer is: no.

    My computer speakers are good (with a subwoofer) but not as good as my HT set-up. Still, I enjoy listening to MP3 on my PC and dislike when it goes through my DVD. Specifically:

    bass (and not only deep bass) is totally gone and imaging is very poor. I will play with it more this weekend and I will keep you posted.
     
  14. GordonL

    GordonL Supporting Actor

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    Again, don't blame the decoder if the MP3 file is bad to begin with. I'm using a really cheap MP3 portable - Chiwanese made, really poorly constructed, its decoder is probably way cheesier than what you get with a stand-alone player - hooked up to my stereo and it sounds fine. It's all in how the file was encoded not how its decoded. I believe all decoders have to be licensed and so the algorithms are more or less the same.
     
  15. Andrew Beck

    Andrew Beck Stunt Coordinator

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    I think the decoder is at least as important as the encoder. I mean you can encode something at super high bit rates with no low pass or high pass filters, but if the decoder assumes that the filters are there then what was the point?
     
  16. John Royster

    John Royster Screenwriter

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    I have to agree that the decoder is just as important. The lame encoded VBR 256 kbit stuff sounds very good when I decode to WAV and play on a CD.

    However the same MP3 file when played on the RP56 doesn't do it justice. Somebody posted a very good link above. rc3mix or something like that. I've also been told the hardware decoders are using an MPEG1 algorithm. Not sure though.

    Believe you me, I'm from the camp that thinks MP3s sound awful anyway. BUT, a properly encoded LAME mp3 VBR at 256 or above and decoded well sounds pretty darn great.
     
  17. Andrew Beck

    Andrew Beck Stunt Coordinator

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    Well it's not an mpeg-1 decoder, because that wouldn't work. It's an mpeg-2 decoder of some kind. I took a few classes on data compression in college where we covered MPEG and JPEG and the like. I know there are many ways the encoder could be bad. One was is for the decoder to assume that any info above 16k or below 20 Hz is garbage. That would seem to make sense since most encoders loose the info anyway, but in a high quality recording this is not the case.

    Another example I like to use is JPEG (because it's easier to understand). I wrote a JPEG compressor/decompressor as a project. To compress JPEG everything is broken up into an 8X8 matrix. Then the DCT transform is applied. Then each number left (most are pretty close to zero) are divided by a set of coefficients. A good encoder will calculate the coefficients on the fly. Mine didn't and the quality was horrible. Something very similar could be going on in these players. It's a whole lot easier to just come up with a set of coefficients that work (there's a set in the JPEG standard) than actually do the work to come up with the highest quality.
     
  18. GordonL

    GordonL Supporting Actor

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    Doesn't this
     
  19. Andrew Beck

    Andrew Beck Stunt Coordinator

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    Gordon, I think you missed the point of the post. We're arguing that even MP3's encoded with LAME that sound great on the computer, and sound great when converted back to WAV and burned on to CD sound bad when played on the internal DVD player decoder.

    My point with the 16kHz filter was that the decoder may have a filter. The designer assumed that no one would use a high quality encoder like lame and figured that anything higher is noise so the decoder filters it.
     
  20. Henry Carmona

    Henry Carmona Screenwriter

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    Gordon is the man! [​IMG]
    OK, IMO if you want the best ripper around go grab Exact Audio Copy
    Then thuroughly read the EAC Tutorial
    This is pretty much considered the BEST audio ripping software there is.
    You will also need the LAME 3.91 codec (the best codec around) and remember where you downloaded it to.
    I have used just a few and found that AudioGalaxy.com has the best downloading software for me. Pretty easy to find music and choose which bitrate you want. They also file your music for you. To play my music i use MusicMatch Plus(great filing system and you can pretty much get it free thru Kazaa).
    But again, if you want the BEST quality MP3's, your gonna either have to download them at 256kb (and still not know which codec was used), or convert your own CD's into MP3's with EAC.
    ENCSPOT is a great analyzer and will tell you which codec was used and what bitrate (variable or fixed) a song was encoded in. Encspot kicks ass!
    And then, for the best RW Drive around You should think about getting yourself a Plextor. Ive also heard good things about TDK.
    i know its a lot of shit, but if you want the highest quality MP3's, this is the way to go
     

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