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Topic: 96 AAC VBR that good? Or am I deaf? (Read 5739 times) previous topic - next topic

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  • Carsi
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96 AAC VBR that good? Or am I deaf?
Hi there.

This is my 2nd topic here at HA. My first post was about a Rammstein sample where i ABX'ed 20/20 at 128 AAC VBR. That's the only sample so far that I can ABX 20/20. I recently tried 96 AAC VBR, and it sounds surprisingly good. I can't ABX it :/ Apart from that particular Rammstein sample.

My question is this, I've finally re-ripped all my cd's to ALAC. If I convert them to 96 AAC VBR, would you say it would be transparent? I'm using Creative Aurvana Live headphones, not high end. I'm trying to fit as many songs as possible on my iphone 5 32GB.




  • probedb
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96 AAC VBR that good? Or am I deaf?
Reply #1
Only you can say it's transparent. We don't know what you're hearing. You need to decide

  • Carsi
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96 AAC VBR that good? Or am I deaf?
Reply #2
Only you can say it's transparent. We don't know what you're hearing. You need to decide


But what is the general consensus on 96 AAC VBR on average gear? I may not hear the difference, but it would be nice to know what HA thinks of this bitrate/codec combination?

  • dhromed
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96 AAC VBR that good? Or am I deaf?
Reply #3
This is your music played to your ears on your player. No other experiences are relevant to you.

  • db1989
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  • Global Moderator
96 AAC VBR that good? Or am I deaf?
Reply #4
The general consensus is that means drawn from large samples of other people using other equipment cannot be relied upon to predict anything meaningful about what you will experience on your equipment!

Even to obtain some general comments from others, you would really need to specify which types of music you will be listening to (e.g. classical is less likely to be audibly altered by lossy compression than is metal) and in which environments (e.g. artefacts may be masked in noisier places such as a car). But still, any ‘advice’ would be ultimately speculative in regards to your hearing and sensitivity to compression.

  • DonP
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  • Members (Donating)
96 AAC VBR that good? Or am I deaf?
Reply #5
After a bunch of ABX'ing I've concluded, at least for me, that anything I can ABX with difficulty I'm not likely to notice in any normal listening situation and is certainly good enough for a space constrained player.

If you're worried about becoming more able to hear differences with experience, then you can re-encode without much difficulty when that time comes, or just redo the particular problem tracks.

  • Nessuno
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96 AAC VBR that good? Or am I deaf?
Reply #6
I recently tried 96 AAC VBR, and it sounds surprisingly good. I can't ABX it :/ Apart from that particular Rammstein sample.
...
If I convert them to 96 AAC VBR, would you say it would be transparent?

As others already said, only you can answer... and it seems to me you've already answered!

Keep lossless files of course, convert to that bitrate you yourself said you can't ABX, fill up your phone, then forget the whole question and start listening for pleasure, with your equipment, your music, in your usual environment. Should you find in those conditions another critical sample, go back to lossless file and transcode it to a higher bitrate... or if there are only a few, keep them lossless even on portable!
... I live by long distance.

  • DonP
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  • Members (Donating)
96 AAC VBR that good? Or am I deaf?
Reply #7
Everyone is climbing on the bandwagon of saying only the OP can judge his own level of transparency, but if other people are going to listen to his music on his player, then it is a fair concern whether it will sound ok to most people.   

You may not have noticed that there is a category on the forum for listening tests.  Take a look there, and some of the larger participation ones are archived at:
http://listening-tests.freetzi.com/
  • Last Edit: 18 January, 2013, 01:07:08 PM by DonP

  • benski
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  • Developer
96 AAC VBR that good? Or am I deaf?
Reply #8
At the risk of violating TOS #8, here is my experience with ~96kbps VBR AAC LC:

If I listen critically while comparing with the original during an ABX test, I can usually tell the difference.  If you put a file on the stereo and asked me if it was lossy or not (without being able to validate against the original), I probably couldn't tell. 

The recent 96kbps AAC Listening Test corroborates this claim, with the average score coming in for most encoders above 4.0 (Perceptible, but not annoying)

  • yourlord
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96 AAC VBR that good? Or am I deaf?
Reply #9
If it's any help, I encode to Ogg Vorbis at quality 2 (~96kbps) for use on my space constrained portable devices. If you put me in a quiet room with quality gear and a lossless original I might find a few tracks I could ABX.. But even then any audible issues with Vorbis at that bit rate are typically innocuous enough to me that I won't notice them outside a critical listening test.

AAC tends to be roughly as good to slightly better than Vorbis at these bit rates. Not enough to make me compromise my freedom though.

  • IgorC
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96 AAC VBR that good? Or am I deaf?
Reply #10
Everyone is climbing on the bandwagon of saying only the OP can judge his own level of transparency, but if other people are going to listen to his music on his player, then it is a fair concern whether it will sound ok to most people.   

You may not have noticed that there is a category on the forum for listening tests.  Take a look there, and some of the larger participation ones are archived at:
http://listening-tests.freetzi.com/

Right, what can be more usefull than 7-8 years old outdated tests with LC-AAC?
If the test should be outdated to call atention ... So let it be.

  • Dynamic
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96 AAC VBR that good? Or am I deaf?
Reply #11
The Wikipedia page Codec Listening Test lists a lot of listening tests, with the most recent, and thus most relevant to current codecs, towards the bottom of the page, with references and links to the tests themselves, where possible.

Some are public, some are single-listener. The results pages and analysis often give a pretty good overview of what sort of quality to expect (and I sometimes look for the lowest scores or the variability in scores to guide me also).

I've often used these as a good source of information and starting points for my own trials and been happily enjoying the music even when I've pushed it a bit.
Dynamic – the artist formerly known as DickD

  • Mach-X
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96 AAC VBR that good? Or am I deaf?
Reply #12
Heres the single best answer: yes its that good. The fact you posed the question indicates the encoder is doing its job and doing it well.