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Do MP3s degrade in quality over time?

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I was having a discussion with a good friend of mine on the difference between FLAC and mp3(320). He made a very startling claim that I didn't think was possible, he told me "Well yes. Hearing the difference now isn?t the reason to encode to FLAC. FLAC uses lossless compression, while MP3 is ?lossy?. What this means is that for each year the MP3 sits on your hard drive, it will lose roughly 12kbps, assuming you have SATA ? it?s about 15kbps on IDE, but only 7kbps on SCSI, due to rotational velocidensity. You don?t want to know how much worse it is on CD-ROM or other optical media."

Is there any merit to what he just said?

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Lmao he's just trolling you or he's really stupid.

It stays the same always. You could play it for a billion years and your hard drive would die before the mp3 loses any "quality".

But still, mp3 will always suck compared to lossless compression. Granted that you have a very expensive system to notice the difference between the two.

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Lmao he's just trolling you or he's really stupid.

It stays the same always. You could play it for a billion years and your hard drive would die before the mp3 loses any "quality".

But still, mp3 will always suck compared to lossless compression. Granted that you have a very expensive system to notice the difference between the two.

You don't need expensive gear, you just need quality gear to notice the difference, and I'm using on board audio, but my speakers are of good quality, I bet that if I invested in a semi decent sound card I would notice it even more.

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Bad sectors form on your drive. Files can become corrupted.

But you should back up MP3's to multiple sources.

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Lmao he's just trolling you or he's really stupid.

It stays the same always. You could play it for a billion years and your hard drive would die before the mp3 loses any "quality".

But still, mp3 will always suck compared to lossless compression. Granted that you have a very expensive system to notice the difference between the two.

My thoughts exactly, I encode to 320 most of the time to save space, some people claim flac is a placebo but not in all cases. I can hear a substantial difference (in some cases) on certain tracks depending on what headphones or speakers I'm using.

I use an ATH-A700

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I don't even... :huh:

MP3s are lossy, but after that you're either being trolled or told something incredibly stupid. "Lossy" means that the MP3 file loses quality compared the original when it is created. They don't lose quality over time! :rolleyes:

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No. A digital file does not degrade "over time".

Now if you were to convert a cd to Flac, and mp3 the flac will always sound better.

MP3 (to make the file smaller) is lossy and will throw out some of the music quality.

FLAC is lossless and loses no sound quality, however the files are a lot bigger.

Also, the quality of the equipment your playing it back on (if it's poor) you may not be able to tell the deference between mp3 and flac.

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Wow. I must have done millions of backups and restores. Oh no!!!! The files have all reduced by half in size, I think. :D on the other hand, I have gained more disk space!

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Also, the quality of the equipment your playing it back on (if it's poor) you may not be able to tell the deference between mp3 and flac.

Or, if you have normal hearing. Or are over the age of 30.

While I can hear the artifacts of really bad compression, most compressed files these days sound fine to me. It's a combination of me getting older, and the standard bit rate of compressed files getting higher.

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A digital file does not degrade "over time".
Correct. Just the medium where it is stored.

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Short answer; No. There is no merit in what your friend has said.

Long answer; No, MP3 files, or any other digital files do not degrade over time. The only risk is due to hardware failures, such as bad sectors or total disc failure. This is where backups come in.

FLAC does indeed have better quality, but that has nothing to do with degradation.

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Haha, you got trolled. He just slapped a whole lot of technical jargon on that makes absolutely no sense. :p

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Thanks guys, I needed a good laugh today.

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Sounds likes he reads to many Wiki post.

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Mmmm, what he said is the same as saying that a Word document or Text file will lose text over the years, i.e. wrong.

As for file corruption, well, FLAC and MP3 are just as susceptible. The benefit of FLAC (Or any other loseless codec) is you can transcode it to other formats in future without further quality loss (As in Lossless -> Lossless / Lossy versus Lossy -> Lossy).

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HE'S RIGHT!

Every-time you listen to the music on your computer it's just like a cassette tape and it slightly degrades... however his math is "slightly" off.

Also you've just won a lottery and I'm actually writing this to inform you of your amazing luck. Please pm me your bank account numbers and social security number so I can start the process of the money changeover.

Best Of Luck.

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haha That's the most ridiculous thing I've heard in a while. Made for a good laugh though. :rofl:

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i still cant believe people think of this stuff these days! :laugh:

oh, and tell you buddy that your hard drive will get heavier when you fill it up w/ FLAC files. totally true.

LOL i just had to re-read the 1st post again. "rotational velocidensity" :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

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wtfbbq?

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Bad sectors form on your drive. Files can become corrupted.

But you should back up MP3's to multiple sources.

Dude that's really grabbing for an explanation. It's bits and bytes. The ONLY way that file is going to lose anything is in a botched copy or format conversion. Period.

But I forget, you start UFO threads. :rolleyes:

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means that the MP3 file loses quality compared the original

Not 100%.

A more in-depth but still easy explanation:

MP3 encoding assumes a standard ear - as such there are parts of the sound that can be considered to not be needed (as they won't be heard) such as the upper and lower ranges. These are filtered out before the encoding.

JPEG is a lossy encoding mechanism too, as some clarity is lost.

Basically Lossy means that when reconstructing from the data, you don't have an EXACT copy of the original.

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Lossless means you don't lose any audio data from the original source you're transcoding from.

Lossy means during the compression process some parts of the original will be lost and cannot be reconstructed later. Depending on the bitrate you will lose more.

For example 320 Kbps CBR will usually have a steep decline at around 20kHz while a lower quality 128 Kbps CBR file may have a drop off around 18kHz or lower. Each time you go down in bitrate the encoder will try to make a smaller file by getting rid of more and more parts of the song. Some parts at the very lowest part of the song are removed too.

Now the important thing is once you've done the transcode you wont lose any more quality. What your friend says about files degrading over time on a hard disk is not true. It is completely false. Files once created do not lose quality unlike older analogue systems. The worst thing that could happen is data corruption but this isn't a normal thing this is what happens when things have gone completely wrong. And that is not usual or even needs to be considered in such a discussion.

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Is there any merit to what he just said?

im more suprised that your actually asking this and didnt already know.

no, what your friend said is false, and im guessing same as others, just trolling you

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Do people still talk about the difference between mp3 and flac? The only real difference worth discussing is that flac files are huge and mp3 files aren't. If storage, bandwidth, and time don't matter to you, this difference is negligible. If you're into the whole cloud streaming movement, flac is a quick way to hitting your data cap with no real detectable return in quality.

As for actual sound quality, double blind tests have shown a lot of interesting results in what people actually detect (with the sort of shame reminiscent of European taste tests preferring American wine, there have been tests that placed WMA lossy as comparable to lossless formats). Mp3 is ancient and has some flaws that hurt it even at the highest encode settings, but other modern lossy compression formats can save a crapload of space (and bandwidth for streaming) with no detectable difference from the much heralded flac.

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