FLAC Vs. 320kbps


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I personally haven't noticed a difference between most of the major file types at reasonable quality levels (200kbs +) so the one that's most compatible with your hardware (perhaps including portable / in-car hardware) and software is surely the more important factor at this point?

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It's just inefficient space wise.

The reason Variable bit rate is better is because silence/quiet parts of a song aren't encoded in 320Kbps, the bitrate will dip for these parts. They don't need to be encoded in 320. Who wants to listen to silence at that bitrate? :p

It's not that there's anything wrong with the quality of 320, you'll just save yourself hard drive space and be more effecient with V0 (highest quality Variable Bit Rate).

Is that really how variable bit rate works (and I will assume it is for all codecs)? I have heard people make the argument that VBR is better because the bit rate selected (lets say 256kbs) is the average bit rate of the song. So if half the track is silent, then the music really would be encoded at 512kbps. What you are saying makes a lot more sence that the audio really is encoded at 256kbps even if half the track is silent.

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It's one thing to say that there's no apparent/audible difference between FLAC and 256-320/VBR mp3 files.

But claiming that 128 files are good and don't have a significant reduction in audio quality... yes, even those magic Apple store 128 AAC's which in the RDF has the same quality as a 320 mp3. That's just over the top, then you either have terrible hearing or a terrible sound setup, even by cheap laptop standards.

but yeah as has been said, lossless is great for archiving, but serves little purpose if you only want to listen to the music. HOWEVER, as a counterpoint, I don't see any reason to store my music twice, once as as lossless and again as lossy for listening and portability. And I'm not going to encode the music to lossy formats from my non lossy archive every time I put them on the mp3 player. So Lossless pretty much ends up a storage format for the really good music, and the music where having it actually serves a purpose(like Pink Floyd) while the other rap stays in the regular 250+vbr mp3's only.

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Is that really how variable bit rate works (and I will assume it is for all codecs)? I have heard people make the argument that VBR is better because the bit rate selected (lets say 256kbs) is the average bit rate of the song. So if half the track is silent, then the music really would be encoded at 512kbps. What you are saying makes a lot more sence that the audio really is encoded at 256kbps even if half the track is silent.
Actually what you are describing is average bitrate (ABR), which is a form of VBR.

True VBR actually tries to reach it's average considering an entire collection of music. So tracks that are very "thick" and hard to encode will actually average more than the target bit rate while files that are easier to encode might average under the target bit rate.

It's one thing to say that there's no apparent/audible difference between FLAC and 256-320/VBR mp3 files.

But claiming that 128 files are good and don't have a significant reduction in audio quality... yes, even those magic Apple store 128 AAC's which in the RDF has the same quality as a 320 mp3. That's just over the top, then you either have terrible hearing or a terrible sound setup, even by cheap laptop standards.

You'd probably be pretty impressed with what 128 VBR can sound like if you took a blind listening test.

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Well you need to make sure you have good quality audio gear so you can actually hear the difference if there is one. Some people have different experiences so just because you can't tell the difference doesn't mean there isn't one.

Exactly. Depends on your equipment. We're not talking about "THX Certified" equipment which has been pushed by marketers. Try it on audiophile equipment. You won't be saying "I can't hear the difference" after that.

With the advent of cheaper hard drives with larger capacity, is space really even an issue anymore?

But honestly, if you can't tell the difference, just use what's right for you. Ignorance is bliss sometimes (and easier on the wallet).

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Unless you have hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of audio equipment. I really don't think it'll matter. Hell, you probably won't even hear a difference with a 200 dollar pair of earphones. So MP3 it is...

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Unless you have hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of audio equipment. I really don't think it'll matter. Hell, you probably won't even hear a difference with a 200 dollar pair of earphones. So MP3 it is...

There is a huge difference which I can hear between say a setup that costs $500 and one that costs $5000, but the difference between that and a setup that costs $300k+ is very small and one that I can't hear.

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Actually, NeoXY is more correct about this.

Environment noise floor and listener sensitivity (i.e training) makes a much larger difference when it comes to identifying compression artifacts like pre-echo than speaker quality does.

Also, don't assume that you can hear a definite preference or even a difference between systems in a sighted listening test.

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I DJ a lot and always purchase/rip my music in MP3-320kbps or .WAV

I have used .FLAC in the past although i can't hear any difference.

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But claiming that 128 files are good and don't have a significant reduction in audio quality... yes, even those magic Apple store 128 AAC's which in the RDF has the same quality as a 320 mp3. That's just over the top, then you either have terrible hearing or a terrible sound setup, even by cheap laptop standards.

128k MP3's are crap. AAC's aren't.

I used to be a big MP3 supporter until I listened to AAC songs at 128k.

I can honestly say that all my music was encoded from CD to AAC and even with my Seinheiser headphones they all sound great.

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I have so much music (around 270ish GB) that I have to compress my files. What I do is, whenever I download something new, I immediately down convert it to 128kbps. I then listen to the CD, if I like it, I go out and buy it, and rip it onto my computer with WMA lossless (because of my Zune), replacing the crappier version. That way, for music I am not too ecstatic about, I have okayish audio quality, and for the music that I love I have CD quality, through my ATH-AD700s... Bah, I spend too much on CDs. :p

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I have so much music (around 270ish GB) that I have to compress my files. What I do is, whenever I download something new, I immediately down convert it to 128kbps. I then listen to the CD, if I like it, I go out and buy it, and rip it onto my computer with WMA lossless (because of my Zune), replacing the crappier version. That way, for music I am not too ecstatic about, I have okayish audio quality, and for the music that I love I have CD quality, through my ATH-AD700s... Bah, I spend too much on CDs. :p

Don't transcode your audio files man... :/

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It depends on what audio equipment you are using... I have a tune from both iTunes and in .Flac and with my Shure SE530s, I can hear a HUGE difference, through my hifi, it sounds the same.

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  • 2 years later...

Took me a loooong time to finally notice a difference in bit rates.

I used to archive music long ago @ 128 mp3 and it seemed fine and

eventualy i found some tracks i had that after testing it was obvious which one was better.

I decided right there it was time to save music at higher bit rates.

My point is you may not notice much on most music, depends on the track your playing

And most importantly a persons ears.. we don't all hear the same.

*Almost nobody is gonna say they can tell the difference between mp3 320 and flac

but your better off 'collecting' music on your hard drive at the best possible bit rates etc..

I save a permanent collection of flacs and then encode to mp3 V0 for average playback

such as my portable mp3 player (mp3 V0 mostly for less space used on my portable)

AND my mp3 player plays flacs too so since i save both formats i can use either on the road.

Flac is gaining popularity too..

Lastly my advice is if your interested in comparing files / formats ?

Go get Foobar Media Player (its free) and search for the ABX plugin and try that out

and see what YOU can tell from your own personal tests.

And while your at it why not test your hearing too ? lol

Equal loudness contours and audiometry - Test your own hearing

http://www.phys.unsw...jw/hearing.html

edit:

Just wanted to add that i don't really like Foobar and i use Winamp for music on my PC lol

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No matter how good the hardware is, 128kbps files will always sound like 128 flat sound missing significant frequency specters. You just can't hide it. 192 is a bit better and are usable.

And no matter how crap the hardware is you'll still hear better quality from a 320 files. No one should use 128 or even192 anymore today.

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To be honest, I find that q0.8 encoded ogg Vorbis files to be near indistinguishable from their lossless counterparts, and also about a fourth the filesize. They are smaller than 320 kbps MP3's, slightly larger than V0 MP3's, and sound better than both.

I strongly recommend using ogg.

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I would like to add. I personally can detect difference between 320kbps and 160kbps. So im happy with 192kbps as the minimum. Above that i personally cant makeout any difference. Maybe some very heavy songs sound richer. Or thats placebo?

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Yeah sure, if you don't EVER want to listen to your files on anything portable. On the other hand the file size difference in modern times is so insignificant yu may as well go with the best mp3 forth pro tale device, and any kind of the 3 major lossless files for yourncomputer archival.

The advantage there is that you can then live encode on transfer to the best format supported by the device. And if you switch between an iPod device, a zune device or some other device, you can comver your whole lossless library to another lossless format without quality loss. Whereas if you archive in a lossy format, any transcode even to a higher bitrate will cause a quality loss.

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FLAC for backups, 320 CBR MP3's for manageable file sizes and listening on portable devices.

My music player of choice is currently iTunes which doesn't support FLAC without some plugins and other mods. It does however support ALAC which is Apples lossless format but if I converted my FLAC to ALAC then I'd be locked in to Apples proprietary format and although I could still convert it back I don't feel like converting 500GB of music back and forth.

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