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Topic: "At every level CBR was superior"... (Read 5029 times) previous topic - next topic
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"At every level CBR was superior"...

Take a look at this site:

http://www.hearpen.com/technical.html

Quote
Stereo Imaging.
We tested "Joint Stereo" versus Interleaved (or "Normal") stereo files. Interleaving yields dramatically superior results for studio recordings. For live cassette or faux-stereo recordings Joint Stereo can sometimes be adequate.


Quote
Constant Bit Rate (CBR) versus Variable Bit Rate (VBR).
We tested all the varieties of VBR along with variants of KBPS. At every level CBR was superior, most obviously in the depth of field. At every combination VBR yielded flatter audio reproduction. Since the meaning of sound is encoded primarily or significantly in its spatiality this sacrifice seemed to us to be madness itself. That said, a high quality VBR setting can be used for live cassettes and still yield adequate results.


etc.

Pere Ubu is not only one of the artistically most important rock bands ever, most of their records are very well produced, they never fell for the loudness wars. So I was kind of shocked to read stuff like that on their label site. How can experienced producers come to such beliefs? Maybe they're based on an old Xing codec? Or BladeEnc?

I fear, however, it would have little use to tell them about their misbeliefs...

"At every level CBR was superior"...

Reply #1
Pere Ubu is not only one of the artistically most important rock bands ever, most of their records are very well produced, they never fell for the loudness wars. So I was kind of shocked to read stuff like that on their label site. How can experienced producers come to such beliefs? Maybe they're based on an old Xing codec? Or BladeEnc?

I fear, however, it would have little use to tell them about their misbeliefs...


Who? Sorry I listen to some fairly obscure stuff but have never heard of them?


"At every level CBR was superior"...

Reply #3
So, we still would have to buy their CDs even if we prefered music downloads. They think FLAC is "a pain in the butt" and they don't want to waste their time on explaining how to transcode it to MP3... oh well. I guess it's true that David Thomas always had attitude issues.

"At every level CBR was superior"...

Reply #4
What do you expect? He's an arteest, not an engineer. It's your own damn fault if you trust what artists have to say about engineering or psychoacoustics, at least without further justification. I would trust this guy's pronouncements on sound quality about as much as I would trust any random joe at Guitar Center. Or Neil Young's for that matter.

That said, besides the JS and VBR madness, they seem pretty level-headed otherwise.... I give them brownie points for not being tweaky, even if their methods are crap. They're probably using whatever encoding options Adobe Audition or Pro Tools gives them.

"At every level CBR was superior"...

Reply #5
Does anyone know the date of the article. Is it fairly recent or is it dated?

"At every level CBR was superior"...

Reply #6
Oh yeah one other interesting thing. In the article they mention "A/B" testing but don't give any details and most importantly they don't say whether or not it was blind testing. Personally I'd put money on it that all their tests were sighted.

"At every level CBR was superior"...

Reply #7
Quote
Constant Bit Rate (CBR) versus Variable Bit Rate (VBR).
We tested all the varieties of VBR along with variants of KBPS. At every level CBR was superior, most obviously in the depth of field. At every combination VBR yielded flatter audio reproduction.



Flatter/deeper is a frequent call at non level matched tests. I find this whole issue embarrassing for them. They both state obvious and dramatic superiority of CBR and discrete stereo, but every frequent HA reader knows that we haven't even found a single sample showing slight superiority for the latter in all these years and all available data supports the exact opposite of what they are claiming.

My call is that this test was neither blind nor level matched and that they are too ignorant to care about why this would be important.

"At every level CBR was superior"...

Reply #8
I must say this some time and at least once... I have been keeping it to myself for too many times, when such claims are being constantly presented to rationaly thinking people... WILL THIS NONSENSE EVER END?!  Do such people hope, that someday they will convince us, with stronger left side of the brain, that their right side of brain thinking beats logic at logic itself?! OMG, I wish they would stop already and keep those beliefs among themselves. I bet there is faaaaaar less rational or left-brain-side-thinking people going about and trying to convince those people how logic can be scientifically and empyrically proven beyond any reasonable doubt...

I'm sorry, I had to let it out... It might as well be right here, right now...
lame -V 0

"At every level CBR was superior"...

Reply #9
Calm down, y'all. Deeeep breaths.

"At every level CBR was superior"...

Reply #10
When you read their frontpage, it looks a little as if Hearpen was deliberately searching for a technical reason (like an obscure "better" mp3 configuration) to justify that selling through their own site is better (for the consumer) than enqueuing into iTunes' or other catalogs.

"At every level CBR was superior"...

Reply #11
rpp3po, that is pretty much what I am thinking as well.  They looked up a couple technical words and thought they could throw BS at people just to justify why their content is "superior" to that being offered by other services (ie iTunes Store).  I could care less what they have to say.  For every article like this, there are at least 10 rational people here on HA that know the truth.  I don't like this paragraph though:
"We prefer AAC encoding but it is not enough of a standard at this point and our lives are too short to go about offering multiple download formats. Yes, we know about FLAC, and every other encoder you want to tell us about. For the record, FLAC files are a pain in the butt because of the portability issue. We don't want to waste away our lives telling people how to get them to play. MP3 is the standard. Like it or not."

First off, AAC is enough of a standard to start offering downloads in that format.  The success of iPods, iTunes, and iPhones has yielded greater compatibility with mpeg-4 AAC files.  They don't see the big picture when it comes to AAC.  It seems as if they are going off of what Windows Media Player can handle and are forgetting that the good majority of players being sold are iPods.

Secondly, they said that FLAC is a pain because of portability issues yet insist on using 320kbps CBR mp3?  I guess I fail to see the logic in that one.  They are already going with a high bitrate setting such as 320kbps and then blast FLAC because of its large file sizes.  Nope, that is flawed thinking at best.  I also fail to see how they would be wasting their lives by telling people to play them and transcode them to other formats.  Is it too much to make a 2 minute tutorial on the basics of foobar2000?

I find it funny that they make numerous "we don't have the time" statements yet they clearly had enough time to look up the definitions of some technical words and write a half-assed "report" on their flawed logic.  Why didn't they just come out with the truth and say "We offer 320kbps mp3 files because we are too lazy to look at anything else yet we have the time to make a terrible report that tried to convince you that our methods are perfect."?

"At every level CBR was superior"...

Reply #12
Quote
We can't stress this point enough: not one of the decisions they made was a close call. The conclusion to be drawn from every single A/B test they made was apparent within seconds!


Of all the things written on that page, the above quote was the thing that really set my bullshit detector beeping. Can anyone really believe that they could make blind comparisons of high bitrate, high quality VBR and 320kbps CBR and make correct identification of "obvious" differences within seconds (and highly repeatably). The almost inescapable conclusion from that quote is that these were sighted tests.

"At every level CBR was superior"...

Reply #13
If the article were posted directly only Hydrogenaudio, it would have immediately been shut down or removed by a moderator noting a TOS violation based on a complete and utter lack of supporting evidence (writing that there is evidence is quite different than actually having evidence).  All of the actual evidence on this site makes conclusions that are completely opposite to this article.  It's pretty clear that the article is self-serving nonsense.

When you read their frontpage, it looks a little as if Hearpen was deliberately searching for a technical reason (like an obscure "better" mp3 configuration) to justify that selling through their own site is better (for the consumer) than enqueuing into iTunes' or other catalogs.

I would say that rpp3po's comment is the most 100% correct analysis possible and nothing more need be said.

Moderation: Let's avoid playing with fonts, shall we?

"At every level CBR was superior"...

Reply #14
Non-geeks do not use fb2k, transcode, install codecs  etc. Lossless has to do 100% of what mp3 is doing without any additional overheads. To me this means Apple lossless will be sold on itunes, will play on the pc, will play on the ipod without taking more space. What this means is that a transcoding backend will convert the alac to lc-aac without the user even knowing. The music on the pc will remain lossless.

The same has to happen with the smaller labels too. Flac is already a problem if it has no native pc playback. remember normal people do not download and install software to just play music. The other way is to automate the download of the flac codec via a setup.exe type of thing. Portability is a problem so a transparent transcoding mechanism needs to be developed to encode to mp3/aac and that involves legal issues too. All this has to happen without the user being aware. This is way beyond a smaller labels ability.

I would say that AAC is a standard worthy of consideration. It supports lossless and high bitrate lc-aac transcodes nicely unlike mp3.
wavpack hybrid 256k -hx4

"At every level CBR was superior"...

Reply #15
This is way beyond a smaller labels ability.

Sure, but being honest isn't.

I agree with pretty much everything you said, but the fact is, as rpp3po said, they are trying to justify the use of their site/service, and in doing so they are disseminating, to use their own words, "seemingly purposeful misinformation".

But like I said a little while ago, all this misinformation is just businesses trying to deceive people into buying their stuff. Why such deception isn't considered fraud I don't know.

C.
PC = TAK + LossyWAV  ::  Portable = Opus (130)

"At every level CBR was superior"...

Reply #16
I agree and would prefer a big corporation over small time fraudsters that don't have resources to standardize.

The problem is that many people are still stuck in 1998 when blade and xing ruled. Mp3 quality was nearly done by 2001 with lame and fhg.

Moderation: Combined posts and removed unnecessary quotations.  Why make us read everything over again?
wavpack hybrid 256k -hx4

"At every level CBR was superior"...

Reply #17
Quote
We can't stress this point enough: not one of the decisions they made was a close call. The conclusion to be drawn from every single A/B test they made was apparent within seconds!


Of all the things written on that page, the above quote was the thing that really set my bullshit detector beeping. Can anyone really believe that they could make blind comparisons of high bitrate, high quality VBR and 320kbps CBR and make correct identification of "obvious" differences within seconds (and highly repeatably). The almost inescapable conclusion from that quote is that these were sighted tests.

That's a good rule of thumb in the audiophile world, isn't it, the bigger the claimed difference, the smellier the bullshit.

 
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