The breakdown of the MP3?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Charles J P, Feb 13, 2002.

  1. Charles J P

    Charles J P Cinematographer

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    I am only 23 years old, so obviously I was not around druing the Beatles hayday. I also passed on the Beatles re-birth during the early 90s that people like my older sister for example got into. Now, as a ameture musician (sax player) wanting to pick up the guitar, I am looking for some music to learn by/from, and I know that the Beatles pretty much defined a genre and would be a good source to learn from.

    So, to actually get to the question at hand... I downloaded some beatles songs to decide what albums I want to buy (hey RIAA pay attention here, people use MP3s to make a purchase decision, not to avoid purchasing) and I noticed something odd. I have, as hand-me-downs, several Beatles LP's and my sister owns several Beatles compilation disks. Now the LPs I own are not a good comparison, and I dont have access to my sisters disks b/c she lives in california. Any way, several of the songs I downloaded are on the Beatles 1962-66 compilation 2 disk set which I was considering looking for second hand. Many of the MP3s exhibit some kind of distortion. There is almost a sibilance. "S"es almost break up and crackle. I dont know if this because the recordings are old or if its the MP3 compression or what. Given my purpose, I will probably buy the disks anyway, and now that I'm older, I enjoy and respect the music so I wouldnt mind owning them, but I cant help but wonder, if distortion is the recording or the MP3s. All the MP3s I used for sampling were 128kbps. Any thoughts?
     
  2. Kolya

    Kolya Stunt Coordinator

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    Never trust the quality of downloaded mp3s. Sure, you know the bit rate, but you don't know the encoder used or the quality of the source material.

    When I download music, I always sort the results of a search by size, and download the largest files.
     
  3. Anthony Hom

    Anthony Hom Supporting Actor

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    I'm sure there are better experts out there, but I can attest from experience that not all MP3 rippers are created equal. You can't always equate that a free ripper will work just as well as one that costs $49 or vice versa.

    You can test this by getting the same song ripped from diffrerent people and hear the differences.

    On another note, the Red and Blue albums on CD are some of the best sounding sources for Beatles music ever released. Capitol claims they are the same masters as the regular CDs, but I have a hard time believing that. I have heard all of their CDs many times (US and British LPs, too) and the Red and Blue CDs definitely sound diffrerent (better).
     
  4. Jagan Seshadri

    Jagan Seshadri Supporting Actor

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    Charles J P,
    The 'esses' breaking up and crackling sounds like digital clipping to me. MP3 artifacts sound like "wrrlyp" and "fwzwsh" on high treble stuff.
    And the most commonly used MP3 rate used (128kbps) tends to massacre older recordings because they used less dynamic compression than most stuff nowadays. I own the entire Beatles catalog on CD and I found that I had to MP3 them at 192 kbps to avoid distinguishable MP3 artifacts.
    But as for learning guitar from the Beatles, great idea!!
    That's how I learned guitar. "Day Tripper / We Can Work It Out" on repeat will teach you well [​IMG] Go out and get '62 to '66 on CD. Beatles albums are well-engineered, for sure. The Beatles '1' compilation also sounds good...more like the albums of today in that they're "louder" due to more dynamic compression (and there's a less tape hiss too). Or you could be like me an "collect them all!"
    For learning guitar, you can't go wrong with "'62 to '66", especially since earlier tracks like "A Hard Day's Night" (1964) are presented in stereo, not in mono like on the namesake album, and stereo helps you pick out the guitar parts more readily.
    -JNS
     
  5. Keith Paynter

    Keith Paynter Screenwriter

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    128K MP3's also exhibit poor separation, I've heard drum tracks sound off-center on many current recordings. What I have done to alleviate this is many things - use a software application to convert them to .wav files, and normalize and even compress the audio slightly so that tracks have more similar volumes.

    I use Audio Catalyst to convert to MP3's, and the results are fabulous. You can even get higher resolution of 320k using their software, but you need to share this with other people, since most free programs like Windows Media Player (skins version) only support up to 256k unless you install the software so that the WMP accepts the protocol.
     
  6. Jeff

    Jeff Supporting Actor

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    In many cases I've downloaded a song at 256kbps or 320kbps and a 192kbps version of the exact same recording will sound better. It just goes to show that some people don't know how to encode.

    Jeff
     
  7. Mark Dubbelboer

    Mark Dubbelboer Screenwriter

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    and charles all music lovers should own at least the red and blue albums:p[​IMG]
     
  8. Anthony Hom

    Anthony Hom Supporting Actor

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    In my encoder, I have 2 settings, normal stereo and joint stereo. What's that? Could it be that joint stereo slightly pans both channels in an attempt to make it sound fuller? Maybe that's why some MP3s bleed?

    If you are looking for Beatles on the internet, try searching for 24-bit remaster at 320b, you will not be dissapointed with these.
     
  9. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    Actually start saving, because while Red and Blue are great starts The Beatles are one of the rare bands that I can honestly say just about all their albums live up to their greatest hits albums.
    That's how strong their album tracks are. You get into Rubber Soul or Revolver (heck Help and Hard Day's Night too) and every album becomes 100% kick ass front to back. For me only Zep and Stones had that kind of album strength over and over (besides the Beatles).
    But start with what you can buy, Red and Blue will carry you for awhile. [​IMG] I started with those on tape many many years ago.
     
  10. Greg_Y

    Greg_Y Screenwriter

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    Unfortunately the Beatles album have a relatively poor presentation on CD. Even to a non-audiophile like myself, they are disappointing. But that is and has been the topic of a completely different thread.
     
  11. RicP

    RicP Screenwriter

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  12. Anthony Hom

    Anthony Hom Supporting Actor

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    -------------------------------

    These are MP3s of MoFi Needle drops. They sound good, but nowhere near what the actual LP sounds like or a very well done digital rip.

    --------------------------------

    of course they don't sound as good as the actual LP, but the first four Beatles CD 24-bit rips sound much better than the official mono cds. would anyone dispute that? As in life, you get what you pay for.

    Can't really buy those LPs anymore except on eBay, and not all of us have access to a 20K turntable.
     
  13. Greg_Y

    Greg_Y Screenwriter

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    I can understand artists or labels holding back specific material because they don't think the song or performance is up to their standards for release. Usually these things are distributed, intentionally or not, through unofficial channels, and among the fans.

    But when the best way to hear the most important (notice I didn't say best) rock band on CD is via black-market MFSL CD dupes, you gotta scratch your head in amazement.

    To me, the Beatles CDs sound so flat that it detracts from the listening experience.
     

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