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Topic: Lossy audio between 200kbs and lossless, what use value is still there? (Read 3274 times) previous topic - next topic
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Re: Lossy audio between 200kbs and lossless, what use value is still there?

Reply #25
I'd say the source audio for a music release is whatever was used during production, usually a 44.1-96kHz / 32-64bit float digital format.
Giving the fact that I talked strictly about philosophy, the source audio for the stems used in production is still an analog, continuous signal. The voice of a signer, live instruments, etc etc - these are all analog signals, not discrete. So no matter what bit depth and sample rate you used in production, you technically butchered the original signal during AD conversion because you made it discrete.

So no matter what you do in a digital sound, you work with butchered signal, and the philosophy is to find a compromise between how much you butcher it and how much data you're ready to spend on a result. Is lossless 16/44.1 really a good compromise comparing to a lot of lossy formats existing in a wild? I don't think so. I'm talking about final masters of course.

It isn't always, as shown by killer samples.
Music industry proved AAC 256-320 to be robust against 99.9% of music material in the world, even if there're extremely rare cases where AAC fails (they're a lot more rare than some labels failing to provide properly mastered versions of music to streaming services for example).
Helix 5.2.1 -X2 -A1 -U2 -V150 -HF2 (maikmerten you are POG)
lossyFLAC Standard

Re: Lossy audio between 200kbs and lossless, what use value is still there?

Reply #26
Giving the fact that I talked strictly about philosophy, the source audio for the stems used in production is still an analog, continuous signal. The voice of a signer, live instruments, etc etc - these are all analog signals, not discrete. So no matter what bit depth and sample rate you used in production, you technically butchered the original signal during AD conversion because you made it discrete.
This is nonsense. You need to educate yourself about how sampling works. All frequencies below 22 kHz are perfectly preserved; nothing is "butchered". Frequencies above 22 kHz are eliminated entirely, since humans can't hear them, and storing them would be a waste of space.

Xiph has an excellent video explaining how digital audio is able to perfectly recreate analogue signals:

https://www.xiph.org/video/vid2.shtml


Re: Lossy audio between 200kbs and lossless, what use value is still there?

Reply #27
This is nonsense. You need to educate yourself about how sampling works. All frequencies below 22 kHz are perfectly preserved; nothing is "butchered". Frequencies above 22 kHz are eliminated entirely, since humans can't hear them, and storing them would be a waste of space.

@Eurobeat_fan's point is that these operations are lossy but good enough.
You are calling nonsense because it is good enough ... ?

Also, humans have in controlled experiments heard frequencies over 22 kHz. (Now look at the volumes they applied.)

Re: Lossy audio between 200kbs and lossless, what use value is still there?

Reply #28
I'd say the source audio for a music release is whatever was used during production, usually a 44.1-96kHz / 32-64bit float digital format.
Giving the fact that I talked strictly about philosophy, the source audio for the stems used in production is still an analog, continuous signal. The voice of a signer, live instruments, etc etc - these are all analog signals, not discrete. So no matter what bit depth and sample rate you used in production, you technically butchered the original signal during AD conversion because you made it discrete.
Just to 100% avoid misunderstanding: my point was that the analog stems are not the music product. They're merely building blocks and additional processing (mixing...) is required, with some rare exceptions maybe.
Now, that additional processing could be done in the analog domain and in some ideal world it would add no additional noise and distortion. And then it would be delivered to end users on an ideal analog medium. But 1. those analog stems would still be butchered by the production processes and 2. we don't live in a world with ideal analog media. The best we can do to minimize noise and distortion is to use digital processing and delivery.
So, while I think I get the philosophical point, I don't see how it applies to the real world or why that's an argument for not using a lossless over lossy format, if high fidelity is required. It might be just 100% vs 99.9%, but that's still something.

Whether 44/16 is in fact always transparent or not is a different can of worms. It could turn out that we need more than that in some cases. But I don't see any evidence that digital audio encoding in general is not good enough.

Re: Lossy audio between 200kbs and lossless, what use value is still there?

Reply #29
Wait... I started talking about "everyone's hearing" rather than "perfect audio preservation"... So what's the point of lossless 16/44.1 then if 256-320 kbps AAC is enough for everyone's hearing as well?

There's a very substantial difference in the amount of assumptions and modelling simplifications/compromises involved in ascertaining that lossless 16/44.1 is transparent to everyone's hearing and that a lossy encoder at any bitrate is transparent to everyone's hearing.

For the former, the only two assumptions you need to make about human hearing are the audible frequency range and the audible dynamic range. That's it.

As for the latter, well... the book Psychoacoustics: Facts and Models has over 400 pages detailing the various assumptions as well as modelling simplifications/approximations and compromises involved. Here's just one example of such a modelling approximation, from page 159 of the book:

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Re: Lossy audio between 200kbs and lossless, what use value is still there?

Reply #30
Just two philosophical cents about why I'm strictly a lossy fan (I use FLAC only for archiving).
Yup, same here, FLAC as a best possible source for good encoding (here SoX resampling to 48k, then Apple LC AAC at tvbr 100/109 - already a bit much security). 48 because native on my devices. Direct listens to flac only on PC, on crappy desktop speakers. I love my m4as, created and tagged with ❤️

Re: Lossy audio between 200kbs and lossless, what use value is still there?

Reply #31
@Eurobeat_fan's point is that these operations are lossy but good enough.
You are calling nonsense because it is good enough ... ?
None of the frequencies that you can possibly hear are lost, so the operation is lossless. This nonsense about digital audio "mangling" analogue audio is a major factor in why the snake oil about needing 192 kHz sampling rates continues to persist. If 44.1 kHz is mangling the continuous analogue sound, then surely 192 kHz will mangle it much less and provide a better listening experience!  ::)

Re: Lossy audio between 200kbs and lossless, what use value is still there?

Reply #32
None of the frequencies that you can possibly hear are lost, so the operation is lossless.
Lossless is not about what YOU hear though, it's about ideally preserving source information. When you start talking about what YOU hear and what's enough for YOU as a human, you enter the lossy area. (which is not bad to me if you ask)
Helix 5.2.1 -X2 -A1 -U2 -V150 -HF2 (maikmerten you are POG)
lossyFLAC Standard

Re: Lossy audio between 200kbs and lossless, what use value is still there?

Reply #33
Lossless is not about what YOU hear though, it's about ideally preserving source information.

Except that's physically impossible, so it makes no sense to define the term that way. I also refer you to my previous message.

Re: Lossy audio between 200kbs and lossless, what use value is still there?

Reply #34
The Monty video is correct about the sampling theorem, but it does not mean every ADC has the same performance (e.g. noise, distortion, decimation filter specs etc) when using the same recording format.

Before things get overly complicated, consumers don't have access to unprocessed raw audio data and DAW project files. In the simplest form, digital source can be from a standalone recorder (e.g. Tascam, Sony , Zoom...) going through a preamp or analog console without using any DAW or intermediate analog storage medium (e.g. tape).

In either case, consumers cannot control any upstream process, apart from worry about things like conversions between DSD and PCM, hi-res and 16/44, and the more destructive perceptual formats <- the original topic.

Re: Lossy audio between 200kbs and lossless, what use value is still there?

Reply #35
You know, this feels like arguing that images can never be stored losslessly, because you must pick a resolution and colour depth to do so, so might as well always use JPEG.

Re: Lossy audio between 200kbs and lossless, what use value is still there?

Reply #36
Yes. It's like complaining that cameras are not lossless, because they don't capture the infrared and ultraviolet portions of the spectrum.