HydrogenAudio

Hydrogenaudio Forum => Scientific Discussion => Topic started by: iphoneman on 2020-05-02 22:56:13

Title: FLAC vs. 320 VBR AAC - For OLD People
Post by: iphoneman on 2020-05-02 22:56:13
I'm in my mid 60's. I know to a certainty that my ears just ain't what they used to be (an open question is if they ever were what I think they used to be).

So, I am ripping vast numbers of CD's to FLAC. I've got a pretty decent setup. An A&K SE100 player, good ripper, good quality CD's that were not abused so that they might skip, and, at the end of the chain, a FIIO Q5S portable headphone AMP, and Focal Clear headphones.

I would argue a decent setup.

The main problem, I think, is that my ears are way over 60 years old. I've tried testing AAC vs. FLAC with this setup, flipping back and forth and back and forth a number of times so that I don't know what format I'm listening too, just to see if I can notice a difference. I don't think I do. Not double blind, but worth something ,I guess.

Ok, long-winded. Should I just I let it go and go for AAC, and not be missing anything? I mean, I hate to give up audio quality, but if the ears just don't hear them, what's the point? The issue is size of files, and even with 512gb I'm a little cramped, what with all of both Rock and Classical, and soon really will be.

Have any of you reached this stage, or have thoughts on this?
Title: Re: FLAC vs. 320 VBR AAC - For OLD People
Post by: AiZ on 2020-05-02 23:47:28
Hello,

10 Upgrade to 1TB microSD and go FLAC.
20 When microSD is full and you want to add another album, transcode to AAC 320.
30 When microSD is full and you want to add another album, transcode to lower bitrate AAC.
40 goto 30

More seriously, the answer is in the question. I doubt that you can make the difference between FLAC and AAC, even at 128kbit/s and even if your setup costs more than my car. Rip to FLAC and transcode to AAC.

    AiZ
Title: Re: FLAC vs. 320 VBR AAC - For OLD People
Post by: Apesbrain on 2020-05-03 00:18:50
http://archimago.blogspot.com/2013/02/high-bitrate-mp3-internet-blind-test.html

Rip to FLAC and transcode to AAC.
This is the smart move.  Once you have a lossless master, you can transcode to whatever format you need for portable use.
Title: Re: FLAC vs. 320 VBR AAC - For OLD People
Post by: iphoneman on 2020-05-03 00:33:55
http://archimago.blogspot.com/2013/02/high-bitrate-mp3-internet-blind-test.html

Rip to FLAC and transcode to AAC.
This is the smart move.  Once you have a lossless master, you can transcode to whatever format you need for portable use.

Thanks. I will always rip to FLAC. I just figured that there's no point in actually listening to it in flac.
Title: Re: FLAC vs. 320 VBR AAC - For OLD People
Post by: probedb on 2020-05-03 15:33:10
Thanks. I will always rip to FLAC. I just figured that there's no point in actually listening to it in flac.

Why not? If you have it stored in FLAC and you are able to listen to it without transcoding why go through the extra step? I rip to FLAC. On my phone it's all MP3 but I listen to FLAC at home since that's the format available to me :)
Title: Re: FLAC vs. 320 VBR AAC - For OLD People
Post by: mjm716 on 2020-05-18 16:00:39
You are overlooking the state of aural implants (AKA hearing aids). The modern versions cost in-line with your audio equipment and are advancing in quality and pricing in line with Moore's law. The features can be quite impressive from noise cancelling and equalization to custom fields, ensuring you probably will hear better than ever.
No reason not to consider such technology a part of a modern hi-fi investment and you'll likely appreciate the FLACs if you do.
Title: Re: FLAC vs. 320 VBR AAC - For OLD People
Post by: guruboolez on 2020-05-18 17:40:52
AAC at 320 kbps is more than fine. At this bitrate you can really keep your peace of mind: I doubt you'll find any killer sample. If you need to shrink the size of a lossless collection the choice is really good.
Title: Re: FLAC vs. 320 VBR AAC - For OLD People
Post by: AndyH-ha on 2020-05-19 00:51:47
It is well established that too long exposure to higher sound levels destroys hearing, especially the higher frequencies. Below blast level sounds, which can cause immediate destruction, too high a sound level gradually, and irreversibly, deteriorates hearing ability. I know there are skeptics, I’ve spoken to more than a few, – “I LIKE it this loud – but unfortunately the damage is done regardless of how the individual feels about it.

There are legal standards as to what is too high a sound level but those are (probably) compromises between not destroying hearing before the worker’s useful life span is used up and allowing industry to operate without costs getting out of hand. From my (admittedly limited) reading, more than a few auditory scientists unofficially admit that those official limits of X hours per day at Y decibels, or anything near that, will degrade hearing over time, just not as rapidly as still more would.

Lower levels and less time would (probably), in the general case, extend hearing acuity further into later life. There have, in fact, been published study(ies?) of the hearing ability of older people in isolated, primitive cultures (getting harder and harder to find these days), away from the created sounds of modern life, that reported no apparent lessening of acuity in the elderly compared to young children in the same culture. Possibly I read reference to such a study here but I don’t recall where.

It has longed seemed to me that the logical consequence of using hearing aids is the probably further induced degradation of the ability to hear. One cannot hear as well as before, mostly because of excess exposure over an extended time (yes, I know there are some other causes of hearing loss). The major function of the hearing aid is to deliver a higher sound pressure locally (inside the ear itself). Regardless of whether that seems to make the sounds “normal” or just barely useful, it is exposing the hearing mechanism to higher sound pressure levels and therefore steadily destroying hearing even further.

Does anyone have any factual, or logical, argument as to why this is not so?
Title: Re: FLAC vs. 320 VBR AAC - For OLD People
Post by: rogeriol on 2020-11-21 15:04:04
I find it quite a waste to use lossy codecs on such high bitrates.
Go for lossless always but for portability and day to day, convert all to a lossy on say 160kbps. Even 128k mp3 is good enough for my ears.
Title: Re: FLAC vs. 320 VBR AAC - For OLD People
Post by: clintb on 2020-11-21 17:12:53
Like yours, my ears are up there in age, though I'm only 50. My ears are probably well past that due to too much exposure to loud car stereos in the younger years and lots of motorcycle riding without earplugs.

I also enjoy using a dedicated DAP for listening. I'm using a Sony NW-ZX507 and HiBy R6 Pro. Wired headphones are Sony MDR-1AM2 and HiFiMan Sundara.

Our guy, guruboolez, seems to be a bit modest not including his most recent listening test of AAC at bitrates from 80 to 144. I'm no listening test expert and I know when other people have the experience, so I definitely pay attention to his tests and others here on HA.

Keep ripping straight to FLAC and use that as your gold master. Use it for listening when you're at the computer. Use FLAC on your DAP until you run out of space. When you do run out of space, you'll need to consider a 1TB microSD card or going for the FLAC to lossy conversion.

For my usage, it's all FLAC on the computer and I convert to AAC for portable devices. I was using AAC 160 before getting cramped on a 256GB card, then came guru's recent listening test and I've stepped down to AAC 144. Plenty good for my ears!
Title: Re: FLAC vs. 320 VBR AAC - For OLD People
Post by: Porcus on 2020-11-21 22:08:30
FLAC is a checksummed format, CD rips can be retro-verified against AccurateRip with CUETools etc, and there are good reasons to keep that for archive.

Because I keep it for archive, I don't bother to transcode to lossy. That would just give me another fileset that I don't need. The only reason to do so would be that this other fileset could be on a smaller drive.
Of course I have a backup - also as FLAC - and keeping my working set lossless makes it simpler to verify working set vs backup. Using say foobar2000 and external tags, you can also backup metadata only.

Where I do encode to lossy, is for the phone. But those files are disposable. And so I don't bother going 320 kbps. Heck I once tried to fill up my memory card with 32 kb/s .opus - for the hell of it, because 32 kb/s was the minimum bitrate for mp3, and come Opus, it is actually possible to get that bitrate sounding like music. (I take a chance that the mods will let the latter half sentence pass TOS8.)
Title: Re: FLAC vs. 320 VBR AAC - For OLD People
Post by: rogeriol on 2020-11-22 12:37:28

Where I do encode to lossy, is for the phone. But those files are disposable. And so I don't bother going 320 kbps. Heck I once tried to fill up my memory card with 32 kb/s .opus - for the hell of it, because 32 kb/s was the minimum bitrate for mp3, and come Opus, it is actually possible to get that bitrate sounding like music. (I take a chance that the mods will let the latter half sentence pass TOS8.)

For maximum storage optimization I used to convert a big chunk of my library to HE AAC V2 24kbps which also sounds like music. (TOS8 anyone?) Not really needed nowadays, but I still keep some thousand files on my phone micro SD card just to have them around... I woudn`t go for the trouble of recoding them and wasting more space for non favorite songs. And there`s spotify and similar services to recall 90% of the songs you ever heard in your life.
Title: Re: FLAC vs. 320 VBR AAC - For OLD People
Post by: Porcus on 2020-11-22 14:44:22
come Opus, it is actually possible to get that bitrate sounding like music. (I take a chance that the mods will let the latter half sentence pass TOS8.)
HE AAC V2 24kbps which also sounds like music. (TOS8 anyone?)

This has amused me a bit. Nobody ever bothered to write TOS8 to capture the intention of it. It would have been easy to do - "a statement concerning differences in subjective sound quality" would do, but no.

Saying "we have this smart algorithm that cuts a CD down to a tenth of its size with insignificant loss in subjective quality" is a fecking BIG statement "concerning subjective sound quality" - and there was a statement with big economic implications when HA was started and storage / bandwidth would be expensive. It sounds like the marketing of snakeoil, and would have gotten you banned by TOS8 if mods had applied TOS8 as it was carelessly worded.

Yes.I.Know what the null hypothesis is. I just wonder why whoever penned this did not take the opportunity to add a couple of words to highlight the point. Of course the explanation is that anyone who cares would know - which is wrong: the HA community has explained the point to many a n00b.
Title: Re: FLAC vs. 320 VBR AAC - For OLD People
Post by: ThaCrip on 2020-11-26 12:46:16
Old person or not... I suggest 96kbps for AAC as a set-it-and-forget-it default as that's basically the sweet spot for sound quality/file size combo as beyond this there are diminishing returns on sound quality (generally minimal differences) and the file size start to shoot up for minimal gains overall. I figure 128kbps on AAC as a MAX as beyond that seems like largely a waste of storage space for lossy audio if you ask me since the whole point of using lossy audio is to get close enough to lossless audio quality but at the smallest file size and in this regard it's hard to argue against AAC @ 96kbps (maybe 128kbps MAX).

if the OP is strictly concerned with only himself... it's possible he could lower sound quality a bit further given his age but I figure for the minimal storage space gains it's probably not worth it. if your going to go less than 96kbps on AAC I suggest, if possible, use Opus @ 64kbps as you won't lose much quality and will free up about 1/3rd more storage space.

plus, with the amount of storage one can get on a MicroSD (and the like) nowadays if a person fills up one of those (like say 8-16GB or larger, which should be pretty common nowadays) chances are they got plenty of music on there that they don't really care about all that much as I figure if people tweaked things to where they only put the songs they really care about instead of full albums that right there can free up quite a bit of storage space for songs you actually care about and you won't need huge amount of storage space on say a MicroSD card etc. but on the flip side I realize this can potentially take up more of ones time tweaking this stuff though but it's probably worth it as then you raise the quality of music on your device unless of course you have a boatload of music to tweak etc.

I see the following as a general minimum guideline (and would be my default suggestion for the common person regardless of age as it's a good set-it-and-forget-it setting for the common person) that should be easily 'good enough' for most people while maintaining solid storage space efficiency and all around sound quality...

-AAC = 96kbps
-MP3 = 130kbps (LAME v5)
-Opus = 96kbps or 64kbps (64kbps is a pretty good alternative for someone who's a bit more concerned with storage space as it shaves off 1/3rd of the file size compared to 96kbps, which is worthwhile savings especially if your tight on storage space, and not all that much of a all around drop in sound quality compared to 96kbps)

NOTE: with MP3 one might be able to go a little lower depending on how picky someone is with sound quality but I figure the 130kbps setting is a safe minimum for all ages and is still storage space efficient as I never understood using unnecessarily high bit rates for lossy audio as it defeats the purpose of using lossy audio in the first place which is basically to keep file size at a minimum while retaining a close enough level of all around sound quality to the lossless file as it's not like some small artifact here and there will be a problem when listening to music on-the-go.

but in short... keep the FLAC for long term archival storage of your music but rip to 96kbps AAC for lossy music for general usage on-the-go.
Title: Re: FLAC vs. 320 VBR AAC - For OLD People
Post by: Porcus on 2020-11-26 12:58:27
but rip to 96kbps AAC for lossy music for general usage on-the-go.
I suppose you meant "convert to" rather than "rip to", but if not: there is no reason to do an extra ripping procedure for the lossies! Convert from the lossless archive files.
Title: Re: FLAC vs. 320 VBR AAC - For OLD People
Post by: ThaCrip on 2020-11-27 00:09:37
@Porcus ; Yeah, I meant 'convert to'.

I use Foobar2000 and then convert from FLAC to the lossy file.
Title: Re: FLAC vs. 320 VBR AAC - For OLD People
Post by: Max9000 on 2020-11-30 12:17:29
Despite my old memory and old ears, ostentatiously sized 80kbit mp3's should sound better than this transcode:
Title: Re: FLAC vs. 320 VBR AAC - For OLD People
Post by: midtempo on 2020-12-03 15:31:38
I actually don't think you should rip to FLAC at all.  Rip directly to AAC.  FLAC is original, lossless quality with tags, and that's great.  But you already have lossless quality on your CD's, and those CD's will last the rest of your life.  As long as you intend to keep them, there is no reason why you couldn't rip from them again if you want to change formats at some point.  But chances are you won't.  Chances are, you will always be happy listening to the AAC's and all software will support those and be able to read the tags and organize them.

If you intend to get rid of the CD's then go ahead and rip to FLAC.  If you have huge 8 TB drives and don't mind possibly buying more in the future, then go ahead and rip to FLAC.  For myself, my main hard drive is 2 TB  -- I could maybe load it up with FLAC's, but maybe just barely.  But I also have all my music stored on a Raspberry Pi server whose drive consists of an SD card at only 128 GB.  The server works great but cost me only $100, and that's why the drive is so small.  The server uses only around 3.5 watts of energy when idle, so I don't feel guilty about leaving it on 24/7.  But a low-power server using a solid-state drive necessitates that all of my music be stored in a small, lossy format.  If all my music were stored in FLAC then I'd have to convert EVERYTHING to lossy to listen to my library, or attach an external hard drive that uses quite a bit more power.  I will not spend $500+ for a solid-state drive that is 2 TB or more.

So yeah, I'm all for lossy.  I don't really see the point of FLAC's most of the time if you already have the original CD.  I had started out ripping all my CD's to FLAC but later switched to OGG and finally switched to OPUS.  I eventually converted all my FLAC's to OPUS and deleted all the FLAC's.  I no longer have to worry about hard disk space or buying another hard drive, and I can still use my CD's or get CD's from the library.  My 128 kbit/s OGG and OPUS files sound astounding in my car's Polk Audio speakers.
Title: Re: FLAC vs. 320 VBR AAC - For OLD People
Post by: clintb on 2020-12-03 19:00:57
@midtempo

Suggesting someone to rip any large number of CDs directly to a lossy format ends up being short sighted and a potentially large waste of time.

Discovered there's a bug with your lossy format of choice? Re-rip the CDs.
Didn't ABX lossy formats and/or bitrates before your big ripping project and now you realize you made a mistake? Re-rip the CDs.
Want to change lossy formats? Re-rip the CD.

See where this goes? Lots of people here have gone through this YEARS ago. Rip to lossless, keep it as an archival format, convert to lossy for usage. New, flavor of the day lossy format? Convert from your lossless archive. Easy and so much faster than re-ripping CDs

CDs, while lossless, are subject to damage and loss. And, they take up space. Space = money. Real estate ain't cheap. My time ain't cheap, either. I have way better things to do than re-rip CDs.
Title: Re: FLAC vs. 320 VBR AAC - For OLD People
Post by: Porcus on 2020-12-03 21:55:06
But you already have lossless quality on your CD's, and those CD's will last the rest of your life.
Yeah, and they weigh more than half a ton in their boxes, and ripping took literally months.
Do it right the first time.
Title: Re: FLAC vs. 320 VBR AAC - For OLD People
Post by: jsdyson on 2020-12-16 22:14:03
But you already have lossless quality on your CD's, and those CD's will last the rest of your life.
Yeah, and they weigh more than half a ton in their boxes, and ripping took literally months.
Do it right the first time.

I have been thinking about storage costs lately -- it might not be impractical to keep .wav files direct from the CD.   I DO prefer .flac, but it doesn't always work for me, so sometimes must use .wav.    I know that I am dithering away from the actual topic when talking about HI-RES, but part of my process is deciding which format to standardize on -- .flac or .wav.   The formats MUST be lossless, no matter what.

Since the work that I do has wide dynamic range, and it is difficult to guarantee to avoid clipping -- at least the online work is all 32 bit floating point .wav format.   FP wav files can be huge, esp for higher res stuff.  However, once the material is normalized (if possible), the .flac can save a lot of space, esp at high sample rates and bit depths.

With all of these considerations (and more), depending on source material, standardize on BOTH .wav and .flac, while writing a bunch of metadata conversion programs & scripts so that the files can be copied with minimal damage to metadata.   The otherwise beautiful SoX program isn't very metadata friendly -- sadly.  (My other complaint about SoX is that it would be VERY NICE for the internal representations to be FP instead of 32 bit int.)

So -- my vote is to keep recordings in EITHER .flac or .wav,  and keep complete-as-possible compatibilty implemented by locally developed conversion software.  (I live in command-line world as it is more amenable to scripting and as-needed development of layers of programs/processing.)

With .flac and/or .wav, you can always start with 'perfection', then convert to  .aac, .mp3, .opus or even 8 bit u-law (whatever blows your skirt up...) :-).   Quality issues do accumulate with data compression -- stay away until needed.

John
Title: Re: FLAC vs. 320 VBR AAC - For OLD People
Post by: DARcode on 2020-12-17 01:16:59
http://archimago.blogspot.com/2013/02/high-bitrate-mp3-internet-blind-test.html

Rip to FLAC and transcode to AAC.
This is the smart move.  Once you have a lossless master, you can transcode to whatever format you need for portable use.
Or rip to WavPack hybrid and listen to WavPack lossy saving space too.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WavPack#Hybrid_mode

EDIT: Just noticed that premium player supports Monkey's Audio but not WavPack...
https://www.astellnkern.com/eng/content/shop/specification.asp?mcg=CG110000&mpos=0&scg=CG231960&spos=1&tcg=&tpos=-1&dpos=3&gcode=SC32050
Title: Re: FLAC vs. 320 VBR AAC - For OLD People
Post by: Porcus on 2020-12-17 02:25:45
at least the online work is all 32 bit floating point .wav format.
If you need 32-bit floating-point, use WavPack.

Title: Re: FLAC vs. 320 VBR AAC - For OLD People
Post by: jsdyson on 2020-12-17 02:41:39
at least the online work is all 32 bit floating point .wav format.
If you need 32-bit floating-point, use WavPack.


My program produces 32bit FP wav with all of the pro stuff(BEXT, RF64 when needed) generated from the software itself.   I could use WavPak to store long term, I guess.   The decoder can be set in signed-int mode, but when the decoder 'decodes', it is sometimes possible for the output to clip with the signed representation.   Of course, it has output gain control(s) (both before the poor-mans mastering features, and also the final output gain.)   Predicting the needed gain is frustrating, especially when decoding a long, 32bitFP DolbyA master tape/album.

My solution is to have scripts that do the conversions and maintain proper level coherency when needed.   Most people around here don't write their own utilities or make major mods to existing ones, so I have a lot of freedom.

I have thought about adding a plug-in facility to the decoder, therefore making it easier for the FeralA user -- not needed for DolbyA though.

My archives are all in .flac form, except the master tapes, which are often 32bit FP RF64 96k/192k (I don't know if I have any 384k).

John
Title: Re: FLAC vs. 320 VBR AAC - For OLD People
Post by: soundping on 2020-12-18 12:06:48
I always found that flac (cd) have more upper detailed sounds for my older ears.
Title: Re: FLAC vs. 320 VBR AAC - For OLD People
Post by: peskypesky on 2021-01-27 18:04:15
I'm in my mid 60's. I know to a certainty that my ears just ain't what they used to be (an open question is if they ever were what I think they used to be).

So, I am ripping vast numbers of CD's to FLAC. I've got a pretty decent setup. An A&K SE100 player, good ripper, good quality CD's that were not abused so that they might skip, and, at the end of the chain, a FIIO Q5S portable headphone AMP, and Focal Clear headphones.

I would argue a decent setup.

The main problem, I think, is that my ears are way over 60 years old. I've tried testing AAC vs. FLAC with this setup, flipping back and forth and back and forth a number of times so that I don't know what format I'm listening too, just to see if I can notice a difference. I don't think I do. Not double blind, but worth something ,I guess.

Ok, long-winded. Should I just I let it go and go for AAC, and not be missing anything? I mean, I hate to give up audio quality, but if the ears just don't hear them, what's the point? The issue is size of files, and even with 512gb I'm a little cramped, what with all of both Rock and Classical, and soon really will be.

Have any of you reached this stage, or have thoughts on this?

I'm 54 and I can' tell the difference between a FLAC and decent bitrate AAC, not matter how may times I do blind ABX tests.

I first tried an ABX test about 4 years ago and failed.  I was 50 at the time.

With age, we all start to lose high-frequency hearing....so that probably is the explanation for why you and I can't tell the difference.

17,400 Hz is a frequency that only teenagers can hear.
15,000 Hz is difficult for anyone over the age of 40 to hear.
12,000 Hz is hard for anyone over 50 years of age to hear.
8,000 Hz should be easily heard by everyone with normal hearing.

But I've watched videos of college kids ABX-ing, and even though they did better than me, they had to concentrate REALLY hard and you could see most of them were struggling.

This article has audio samples that allow you to test your high-frequency hearing:
https://decibelhearing.com/high-frequency-hearing-loss/








Title: Re: FLAC vs. 320 VBR AAC - For OLD People
Post by: ThaCrip on 2021-05-08 07:52:07
15,000 Hz is difficult for anyone over the age of 40 to hear.

This article has audio samples that allow you to test your high-frequency hearing:
https://decibelhearing.com/high-frequency-hearing-loss/

Ill be 42 later this year and if I put my Klipsch Pro-Media speakers at more of a lower/comfortable volume (like in a room that's quiet short of general computer noise etc) it's debatable if I can hear it (I think I can but it's faint and turning my head a bit fairly close to the speakers (so my ears might be aiming a bit more directly at speakers etc) seems to somewhat have the sound go in and out a bit. like it seems more detectable by me but it is pretty faint).

but if I increase volume on the speakers to at least a moderate range (the volume knob is about half way, maybe a bit less) I can hear it. NOTE: if I then say play a random song in Foobar2000 the volume out of the speakers is somewhat loud as I generally don't play music that loud (at least not much anymore), for whatever that's worth.

so assuming that's a ball park estimate of ones hearing... I would assume my hearing is pretty much normal (give or take) for my age bracket.

But I've watched videos of college kids ABX-ing, and even though they did better than me, they had to concentrate REALLY hard and you could see most of them were struggling.

Yeah, that's kind of why I tend to consider music pretty much transparent once many start struggling to notice differences. because while you said they can notice the difference, it's not easy for them and once you reach that point where one struggles, or needs certain parts of random songs only to slightly notice the difference, that basically means whatever bitrate lossy audio format they are using is at least 'good enough' at that point, especially when one sits back and just enjoys the music it's unlikely they will notice it.

or one way I might look at it... if someone can't take a random song and ABX it fairly quickly that's probably a good sign the lossy encoder at that particular bit rate is working well.

p.s. like for myself, and especially given the public listening test from 2014 (i.e. https://listening-test.coresv.net/results.htm ), even the weakest of the good lossy encoders, which is basically MP3 (LAME), still does pretty good @ V5 (130kbps average) for what I would assume is just about any age. plus, I am not getting any younger either. I suspect maybe 10-20 years or so ago using a bit higher bit rate might have been a bit more beneficial for me but at this point in time, since I am not getting any younger, and obviously will continue to age, V5 is a pretty good option all-in-all (especially for those who favor storage space efficiency), especially for those who just sit back and enjoy their music. hell, even if my hearing is so-so in say 20-30 years, while I could likely lower bit rates that much lower (even if people are still using MP3 at that point which they might not be) and the music would still sound good enough to me, I would still leave it at V5 just to account for a wider range of people who may listen to it. hell, even not long ago I was doing a bit of ABXing to where I thought I was hearing a difference between V5 and say a V2 file and so I tried to compare V5 to FLAC and on the first couple attempts I was confident I was hearing a difference on my ABX choices but as I kept on going (like attempting to finish the ABX test) after a while I started to lose confidence I could hear a difference and then stopped the test (as when I do ABX tests I like to be confident as I continue that I am hearing a difference and not start doubting myself as I do the ABX). so at this point it's obvious I was struggling even though I did complete a ABX test of MP3 @ V5 on a random song back in the year 2013 and got 11/12 (0.3%). the song has pretty much a 124kbps bit rate. hell, I was trying that same song I ABXed in 2013 a moment ago and I got about 5/16 into the test and I gave up. so I am starting to think at this point, short of 'maybe' a more limited amount of things, I might not be able to reliably tell a difference, especially on random songs with MP3 @ V5, at least as far as testing on my Klipsch Pro-Media PC speakers goes which is what I used in the past (although in the past my test would have been done using the motherboards sound where as currently, while I still have that same motherboard, it's using one of those cheap USB sound cards since the onboard sound on my motherboard died a while ago. but as far as I can tell I don't notice any difference between the two) even though I realize they say headphones are generally considered to be a more proper way to ABX. but just on a personal level... I kind of figure if I struggle to notice differences on these speakers, ill probably be similar enough with my headphones as I would not expect to notice any obvious difference between the two even though I suppose it's possible I may fair a little better with headphones(?). either way, at this point in time LAME @ V5 (130kbps) is easily good enough for me all-around.
Title: Re: FLAC vs. 320 VBR AAC - For OLD People
Post by: peskypesky on 2021-05-12 05:07:46
15,000 Hz is difficult for anyone over the age of 40 to hear.

This article has audio samples that allow you to test your high-frequency hearing:
https://decibelhearing.com/high-frequency-hearing-loss/

Ill be 42 later this year and if I put my Klipsch Pro-Media speakers at more of a lower/comfortable volume (like in a room that's quiet short of general computer noise etc) it's debatable if I can hear it (I think I can but it's faint and turning my head a bit fairly close to the speakers (so my ears might be aiming a bit more directly at speakers etc) seems to somewhat have the sound go in and out a bit. like it seems more detectable by me but it is pretty faint).

Lol. My speakers are the Klipsch ProMedia as well.  Great speakers!!
Title: Re: FLAC vs. 320 VBR AAC - For OLD People
Post by: ThaCrip on 2021-05-13 09:58:13
Lol. My speakers are the Klipsch ProMedia as well.  Great speakers!!

Exactly!

I think for their price range, call it about $140, I can't imagine finding speakers better overall (at least not noticeably better). or another way ill put it... even assuming there are better speakers, if the price range is double or triple, ill default to Klipsch at that point since the difference almost surely won't justify the price difference. they are the best speakers I own/use straight up. I like their clarity as while I generally watch movies on my TV, that's one obvious advantage of watching them on my PC is the sound which is clearly better on the Klipsch than a TV. but since I generally favor a larger image I tend to watch movies on my TV with the basic speakers built into the TV itself. but occasionally ill watch some stuff on the PC's 24" 1080p screen and get a added bonus of better sound with the Klipsch.

I have the four speaker setup on mine as I got mine back-in-the-day (i.e. early-to-mid 2000's) but it seems like they only sell the 2.1 speaker setup now as you can see the ones you can still buy have a basic volume knob and subwoofer control (along with a headphone jack etc which mine does not have) where as on mine it has Subwoofer/Surround/Main volume knobs. since I have not used the 4 speaker/surround setup in many years (probably since sometime before 2006) I just leave that 'Surround' knob all the way down (towards the left) as I only had 2 speakers of the four in use since then (just 2 of the 4 speakers are connected). my only complaint about my current speakers, which have quite a bit of use on them, is the wiring as you can see just moving the sub woofer a bit can tweak the wires (like a bit of pressure etc) to where sound can slightly go out a bit on the left speaker etc. but this is not that big of a deal as I am used to it (it's been like that for many years now) as I just juke/move the sub woofer (which has the main wire connected to it etc) a bit and the sound comes back in like normal (like as long as the sub does not get moved much (since it sits near my feet under the computer desk) the sound will remain normal).

also, since there is no power switch (like on/off switch) on these Klipsch Pro-Media speakers I have, I got it plugged into one of those power center things as it's got a on/off switch which is basically like unplugging the speakers and plugging them back in.

p.s. if my current Klipsch Pro-Media speakers ever die, ill almost certainly buy another set (assuming I got the $). I want to say I have had my current Klipsch speakers since about 2002-2003. because I am pretty sure I initially used them on a PC I got in 2001, so it was probably a bit after that point (i.e. 2002-2003 or so). so closing in on 20 years now.
Title: Re: FLAC vs. 320 VBR AAC - For OLD People
Post by: peskypesky on 2021-05-13 21:48:48
Lol. My speakers are the Klipsch ProMedia as well.  Great speakers!!

Exactly!

I think for their price range, call it about $140, I can't imagine finding speakers better overall (at least not noticeably better). or another way ill put it... even assuming there are better speakers, if the price range is double or triple, ill default to Klipsch at that point since the difference almost surely won't justify the price difference. they are the best speakers I own/use straight up. I like their clarity as while I generally watch movies on my TV, that's one obvious advantage of watching them on my PC is the sound which is clearly better on the Klipsch than a TV. but since I generally favor a larger image I tend to watch movies on my TV with the basic speakers built into the TV itself. but occasionally ill watch some stuff on the PC's 24" 1080p screen and get a added bonus of better sound with the Klipsch.

Not to derail the thread too much...but here's my story:
About 22 years ago, when I was living in Brooklyn, I had no stereo system and needed a set of good computer speakers. I did a lot of research and ended up buying the Klipsch ProMedia 2.1's. I absolutely loved them and had them for many years. But they got lost (long story) and I ended up just using headphones for many years.

Last year I moved back home to Texas, and realized I could blast music again. I'm in a house and not an apartment..no longer have people right on the other side of the wall. So I decided to buy some nice Bluetooth speakers for my laptop. I did a lot of research and ended up buying the highly-regarded Edifier R1700BTs speakers for about $150. When I got them, I was very underwhelmed. The sound quality was good, but the volume was seriously lacking. I was sad.

Then, totally by accident, I was in a Walmart a month later and saw that they had the Klipsch ProMedia 2.1's (non-bluetooth) on sale for $89....so I went ahead and bought them. I took them home and did an A/B comparison with the Edifiers, and it was NO CONTEST. The Klipsch completely destroyed the Edifiers. Not only better sound quality, but a TON more bass because of the subwoofer...and at least twice the volume.

So, I sent the Edifiers back. And I bought a $20 Bluetooth adapter for the ProMedias.

I am literally STUNNED that these speakers, which have not really changed in almost 25 years of production, are THIS great.

In fact, my brother, who is an audiophile, with $13k B&W speakers and MacIntosh components, heard me playing music and said "Wtf???? Your system sounds almost as good as mine! What are you listening on? What's the amp? What speakers?". I laughed and said, "The music is streaming from my laptop to those $89 speakers."  He then said "Those little speakers are making all that music? Where's the amp?". I replied "The amp is in the speakers."

He was completely amazed. My $89 system rivalling his $40k system.

And then I told him, "I'm thinking of buying another set of those speakers and running them together. That will increase the power from 200 watts to 400 watts...and I'll have four satellites and two subwoofers. I'll blow the house up!!!"

P.S. My one gripe is that they removed the power switch from the speakers. It's annoying...but I have mine plugged into a power strip with on/off like you.
Title: Re: FLAC vs. 320 VBR AAC - For OLD People
Post by: ThaCrip on 2021-05-14 08:44:47
@peskypesky

Yeah, I like the Klipsch general clarity and, like you mentioned, has solid bass and good volume. just pretty good all-around sound at a sane/affordable price that many can enjoy as I can't see spending thousands of dollars on fancy sound equipment as it makes almost no sense for the vast majority of people as once you reach a certain standard, it's just putting a match to ones $.

but seriously... he dropped $13k/$40k into a sound system? (you are joking, right?) ; but if your serious that's insane as someone who does that has more $ than sense as I figure even $1-3k or so would be really pushing it for fancy audio equipment etc for the vast majority of people simply because you can likely get more than enough quality at well under $1k. because after a certain point, it's almost entirely a waste of $ for nearly everyone. I just never understood that mindset of people obsessing over sound so much to pay literally thousands of $ more for minimum gain etc as you can only improve the all-around sound so much before the gains are not going to be obvious and at that point it don't make much sense to pay more and more $.

thanks for the story though as it was a nice read ;)

p.s. it does seem like those Klipsch can be had for around $100 or less if one can find a deal here and there. I don't remember exactly what I paid when I got mine in 2002-2003 or so but I want to say somewhere around $200. so to see their price even lower today is that much better and, like you said, their all-around sound quality is solid enough to where it's not like they will be dated as time passes as they were solid 20 years ago and still are today and will be another 20 years from now etc.
Title: Re: FLAC vs. 320 VBR AAC - For OLD People
Post by: peskypesky on 2021-05-14 22:21:07
but seriously... he dropped $13k/$40k into a sound system? (you are joking, right?)

Not joking at all. And there are people who spend a LOT more than him. There are people who spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a turntable alone:
https://moneyinc.com/most-expensive-turntables/

Or $50k on speaker cables:
https://www.thecableco.com/cables/speaker-cables/emperor-double-crown-speaker-cable-pair.html

or $500,000+ on speakers:
https://www.whathifi.com/features/11-worlds-most-expensive-loudspeakers

So his system is modest by high-end audiophile standards. He has MacIntosh amp, MacIntosh pre-amp, MacIntosh CD player, Rega turntable, B&W Diamond series speakers, two audiophile subwoofers and a few other things.

But...he's a doctor...and he has no children....so he can afford it. And he bought a lot of the gear used, so if he should ever need money (which he won't) he could sell and get most of his money back.

I myself am very happy with my $89 Klipsch ProMedia "stereo system". But if they go on sale again, I might get a second pair to really rock the house. At a grand cost of maybe $200.
Title: Re: FLAC vs. 320 VBR AAC - For OLD People
Post by: ThaCrip on 2021-05-19 09:18:04
@peskypesky

While that stuff is insane, I think the wiring is hands down the worst of the three as $50k on wiring/speaker cables, that's pure insanity, regardless of how much $ ones has (it's like they serve no other purpose than just to claim you dropped $50k on wiring as it's not like they even have a plausible case for something that looks great etc like maybe one could argue on the turntable/speakers etc at least I can see that angle for the turntable/speakers stuff). I don't even care if I was Jeff Bezos (on steroids) I could NEVER justify that kind of $ on something like that when any standard wiring gives the same result as it's like taking $50k and putting a match to it. hell, it makes me wonder if those cables are worth more than their weight in gold(?).

but anyways, I get he's a doctor and all (as I would spend more on stuff than I do now if I was in his situation). still, he can almost surely spend that kind money much more wisely/efficiently on nearly anything else. lol ; but just given the fact he spent that kind of $ on audio equipment, that basically ensures he's already got pretty much everything he wants and then some. like house/cars/electronics etc etc, because it's not like dropping insane amounts of $ into audio equipment would be a higher priority over other things in general. so once they get to that point where they can drop stacks of $ into overpriced audio equipment, you know they are already beyond the point where they got everything they want and then some.

even those turntables... looks like they are over-engineered. or that your just paying more for a fancy design/name than anything else.

but thanks for the info as it's kind of funny seeing the price of stuff like that. but at the same time it's kind of hard to believe people actually buy that stuff as after a certain point one would be better off donating the $ etc (hell, one could just go down the road and toss $5k in the air in random areas and watch people flock to it than to drop $50k on speaker cables ;) ) as it's beyond overkill luxury to the point I would feel guilty after a certain point of luxury.

p.s. sorry to the OP for getting off topic and all, but I could not help it ;)
Title: Re: FLAC vs. 320 VBR AAC - For OLD People
Post by: Porcus on 2021-05-19 10:13:24
Wait a minute ...

17,400 Hz is a frequency that only teenagers can hear.

[...]

This article has audio samples that allow you to test your high-frequency hearing:
https://decibelhearing.com/high-frequency-hearing-loss/


Can someone else try the 17.4 and listen if that is "too easy to be true"?

No, I am not bragging about my hearing here, I am trying to debug some unknown. There's got to be something too wrong about the path from upload through YouTube's Opus to this particular soundcard (that isn't my usual one).

Also I tried to download the AAC version, and that doesn't even show up in the spectrogram.
Title: Re: FLAC vs. 320 VBR AAC - For OLD People
Post by: guruboolez on 2021-05-19 11:54:45
17.4 KHz video is far from silence to my ears.
But If I filter all parasit sound below 17 KHz (caused by lossy encoding?) and only let the 17.4 Tone I can't hear anything anymore.
Title: Re: FLAC vs. 320 VBR AAC - For OLD People
Post by: Porcus on 2021-05-19 12:51:20
Thx. After a couple of minutes I was hearing mosquitoes everywhere even in dead silence, that's what I get for listening to beeps like that.

This is 251 kb/s Opus. Yes, both format "251" and bitrate (as reported by foobar2000) 251. Format 251 usually delivers a bit more than half that (and no, this has no "HD" symbol).
It is tempting to ask what transcodes uploader could have done first, but even then: why does YouTube's opus encoder skyrocket like this?
Title: Re: FLAC vs. 320 VBR AAC - For OLD People
Post by: Markuza97 on 2021-05-19 21:28:56
That 17.4 kHz sample is not good at all, like guro said, "parasite" sounds are very easy to hear.
I just created a "pure" 17.4 kHz sample and tested using Foobar2000 and WASAPI, very easy to hear.
I am 23 year old engineer/officer that works in engine room and that place is loud, very loud, so my hearing is pretty far from perfect.

Anyway, I was interested in Porcus' post so I uploaded 48 kHz (for obvious reason) 32-bit float file directly to YouTube.
Opus definitely has some problems. (Nothing to do with YouTube, even if I use opusenc.exe myself it will still have the same problems.)
AAC is, well, lol......
We can pretty much say that "How high can you hear" tests on YouTube are bullshit.

Edit: I totally forgot about clipping. Even with clipping problem fixed, it is still not good.
Lots of parasite frequencies.

Edit 2: YouTube also plays it 17% volume. This simply proves that hearing tests on YouTube are not good.
Title: Re: FLAC vs. 320 VBR AAC - For OLD People
Post by: Porcus on 2021-05-19 23:29:52
AAC offers perceptual noise substitution. "Noise is noise". Except, here it isn't ... noise. That one must be close to four quarter-tones off?

I know that visuals are not TOS8-compliant evidence here, but se-ri-ous-ly ...

Title: Re: FLAC vs. 320 VBR AAC - For OLD People
Post by: Markuza97 on 2021-05-20 00:07:07
AAC offers perceptual noise substitution. "Noise is noise". Except, here it isn't ... noise. That one must be close to four quarter-tones off?

I know that visuals are not TOS8-compliant evidence here, but se-ri-ous-ly ...

Blame Fhg encoder.
qaac is somewhat better but volume is definitely quieter.
Title: Re: FLAC vs. 320 VBR AAC - For OLD People
Post by: Andrew Tonkin on 2021-05-20 17:18:16
"I've got a  ... good ripper ..."

May I ask what a good ripper is?  I was so impressed with the ease, user-control oversight/options, and above all clarity with which way Foobar2000 played various mp3, mp4 files on my PC I leapt into using it (Foobar, using FLAC) to rip CDs, thinking Foobar + USB cable to our B&W Zeppelin speaker was 'the future', as opposed to my Sony CDP-XB930 CD player into the Zeppelin's 3.5mm audio input.  Suffice to say, on first test, I was soon diving head first into my recycling bin in the rain to retrieve all the CDs even if sadly the paper inserts and cases are now gone.  And that was the supposedly lossless-sounds-same-as-WAV FLAC.  Do some tests before you throw anything away, and I'd say if AAC is lossy then it'll be even worse than FLAC!  I too, though only 49, have definite upper frequency hearing loss and struggle with too much bass hurting my brain.
Title: Re: FLAC vs. 320 VBR AAC - For OLD People
Post by: Porcus on 2021-05-20 18:25:25
If you hear the difference between CD ripped to FLAC and CD played, then the explanations would be one of the following:

* One of those pesky pre-emphasis CDs. They have a flag that says to change the EQ curve. You have played your FLAC without correction (actually it takes some work to fix it).
* HDCD. You played back a CD through a HDCD-aware player, and the FLAC via other hardware.
* Simply getting fooled by different volume controls.
* Placebo. You just think they are different.

My money is on one of the two latter.
SimplePortal 1.0.0 RC1 © 2008-2021