Do MP3s degrade in quality over time?


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people still have not really mentioned that a quality made MP3 (i.e. LAME (LAME v3.99.3) @ v2 setting (average of around 190kbps) it's very unlikely the vast majority of people would be able to detect it from the original when you do a ABX test (which you can do using Foobar2000 with the ABX plugin) as that's pretty much only way to prove if you can as ill bet there are many people out there who 'believe' they can hear a difference but when you actually do a ABX Test ill bet most will do a lot worse than they think they will.

I agree, there is no audible difference between a correctly encoded MP3 at enough bitrate and a lossless codec like FLAC. Most people who say there is a difference hasn't done any real listening tests. For storage and archiving lossless is great though, because you can use it to encode to smaller files for portable media when you need to without any re-encoding. So even if there is no audible difference between FLAC/MP3, I often use FLAC just to have that option. Space isn't a problem if you got a few big HDD's.

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I agree, there is no audible difference between a correctly encoded MP3 at enough bitrate and a lossless codec like FLAC. Most people who say there is a difference hasn't done any real listening tests. For storage and archiving lossless is great though, because you can use it to encode to smaller files for portable media when you need to without any re-encoding. So even if there is no audible difference between FLAC/MP3, I often use FLAC just to have that option. Space isn't a problem if you got a few big HDD's.

sure, for PC use FLAC is not bad especially nowadays when you got space to burn with these TB hard drives. but i am mostly talking about for general portable use in which case lossy in most cases will make more sense.

but i still generally stick to lossy even on my PC as i just keep flac around for archive reasons in case i need to re-rip to another lossy format etc.

i got a Sandisk Sansa e250 (2GB internal storage) with a 8GB MicroSDHC card (10GB total space) so with that i tend to prefer MPC (Musepack) format overall due to it being more battery efficient to decode vs AAC on Rockbox (www.rockbox.org) firmware as out of MP3/MPC/OGG/AAC, AAC is the overall worst for my device due to it eating battery quicker than the others (but on most devices that won't be a problem but for those of us who prefer Rockbox (due to control it gives you over your device) it's more of a issue). plus the MPC format in standard mode (i.e. 170kbps) typically uses less space than MP3's V2 mode (i.e. 190kbps) which is the equvilent in that format and those are the general settings that are transparent for most people and most samples. so i typically use that for good measure even though i am pretty sure i won't be able to notice the difference on 128kbps-ish ranges (less in OGG/AAC cases) either on modern encoders.

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Your friend is an idiot. I have MP3's on here from the day's of Napster and they're still the same quality now, as they were then...So, no. the others are right thought. FLAC is lossless while MP3 suffers from some loss in quality but not by much at all it just really depends on the actual quality of the recording itself i.e poor quality etc.

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I don't store MP3's on my Mac ... I store the odd AAC or whatever ... but I have a Spotify Premium account, and I dunno what bit rate it's at, but it sounds perfectly fine to me.

Degrading over time is ludicrous ... funny tho.

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Personally I use 192kbps CBR MP3s and they sound good to me on a Audigy 2 ZS with decent headphones and sound great also on my Logitech speakers.

FLAC doesnt really do it for me yet. Not only that, it takes WAY to much space for a album.

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Your friend is an idiot. I have MP3's on here from the day's of Napster and they're still the same quality now, as they were then...So, no. the others are right thought. FLAC is lossless while MP3 suffers from some loss in quality but not by much at all it just really depends on the actual quality of the recording itself i.e poor quality etc.

i think it also depends on how old the encoder is (especially if your using lower bit rates (say 128kbps area on a MP3))... as i am sure the earier encoders are typically noticeably worse than encoders over the last 3-4 years as anything fairly recent has gotten to the point that the quality is basically just as good as the original source if given sufficient bit rate.

Personally I use 192kbps CBR MP3s and they sound good to me on a Audigy 2 ZS with decent headphones and sound great also on my Logitech speakers.

FLAC doesnt really do it for me yet. Not only that, it takes WAY to much space for a album.

there is NO reason to use 192CBR as it just wastes bits. if you generally want around a 192kbps bit rate ALWAYS use LAME @ v2 mode which basically gives you a average of around 190kbps (sometimes higher, sometimes lower) as it gives some higher bit rates (can go up to 320kbits if needed for some samples) for harder to encode audio samples and lower kbps for the easier to do samples. but the average size of the file floats around 190kbps (in the 170-210 range is where nearly all of your MP3 will land) and will give the same or better quality than a 192CBR can.

point is... it's completely pointless to use 192CBR over LAME (current version is 3.99.3) on v2 mode (i.e. 190kbps average bit rate (file sizes typically range between 170-210kbps for the average of a song) as it's more efficient use of the encoder that way and will give the same or better quality than a 192CBR can with basically similar kbits.

this is not me just talking out my butt either as it's common knowledge over on hydrogenaudio.org which are experts in this stuff in general. but i guess if your happy with you 192CBR then that's cool but just some thoughts there ;)

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I use AAC mostly and really i don't listen to music. Real listening is to sit down, relax and concentrate at the music only. The number of people that does that today is very limited. Personally i use music in the Bus/Subway and at home when i eat or do the dishes so the Itunes AAC audio file are enought for me

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I use AAC mostly and really i don't listen to music. Real listening is to sit down, relax and concentrate at the music only. The number of people that does that today is very limited. Personally i use music in the Bus/Subway and at home when i eat or do the dishes so the Itunes AAC audio file are enought for me

Yeah, those iTunes are already high quality as i believe most of those files are using around 256kbps (VBR) which AAC at those rates is high quality for sure. (even AAC around 100kbps (q0.35 setting on Nero's AAC Encoder) is pretty solid quality)

but i think for most people who really enjoy their music they will sit down and really listen as if your doing other stuff while playing the music your not really enjoying it when your only half paying attention ;)

as for the number of people being 'very limited' , i don't think that's totally accurate as anyone who really enjoys their music will find sometime here and there and really listen to it. because i figure thre is no real point in music if your only semi paying attention to it.

p.s. but basically iTunes made AAC or Nero's AAC (i use Nero's since it's simple without needing all the BS iTunes includes installed) are both high quality.

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