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Topic: Great killer sample, easy to ABX on most codecs (Read 8879 times) previous topic - next topic
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Great killer sample, easy to ABX on most codecs

Good evening.
Long time lurker and first time poster in here.

I found THIS great sample by Jari Aalto.
He said he had some problems with LAME's V0 setting so I decided to test it myself including the other encoders, too.



MP3 is the most popular lossy codec in the world so let's test it first.
Using latest LAME 3.100.1 from RareWares.
lame -V0 input.wav

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Very easy to ABX. I also tried --vbr-old switch and results were much better.



The second most popular lossy codec in the world, AAC-LC.
Using qaac 2.71 with CoreAudioToolbox 7.10.9.0.
qaac64 -V127 input.wav

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

I went with the highest quality setting -V127 but the problem is still there.
Drum hit at the beginning sounds different. Easy to ABX.



Opus, the most promising codec at the moment.
Using opus-tools-0.2-opus-1.3.1.zip from https://opus-codec.org/.
opusenc --bitrate 128 input.wav

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

English is not my primary language so I really don't know how to explain the difference that I can hear.
It is right around half a second. I also included the file encoded at 64 kbit/s that is very easy to ABX
and once you hear the difference you will know what exactly you need to listen to.

As you can see, I also had to change my sound card. My USB sound card just skips first ~two seconds on Opus
so I had to use PCIe card.



Everybody is focused on exhale now so let's test it.
Using latest exhale 1.0.8 from RareWares.
exhale 9 input.wav

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Lower bitrates were not really good so I tried with higher bitrates. Still terrible. Deaf person can ABX this.
Not many people have xHE-AAC decoder so I also included the decoded file.
gold plated toslink fan

Re: Great killer sample, easy to ABX on most codecs

Reply #1
I cannot edit the original post so I apologize for double posting.
I just noticed this: DSD : WASAPI (event) : Izlaz (ASUS Xonar DGX Audio Device), 24-bit
I don't have any DSD device so I have probably chosen this by mistake.
Anyway, I didn't want that to affect the results so I redid the test using normal WASAPI.
Still not transparent.

Opus:

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

exhale:

Spoiler (click to show/hide)
gold plated toslink fan

Re: Great killer sample, easy to ABX on most codecs

Reply #2
This may not be of much help but from the Mega download the V0 version created with lame 3.100 has this really obvious additional noise on the beats in the beginning.
Even at V3 with an old 3.98 version this is way better.
Is troll-adiposity coming from feederism?
With 24bit music you can listen to silence much louder!

Re: Great killer sample, easy to ABX on most codecs

Reply #3
AAC & LAME V0 --vbr new both have horrid pre echo clicks enough i don't need ABX to tell. Yet Opus & Vorbis are transparent at 160kbps. Never seen AAC perform so badly here.


Re: Great killer sample, easy to ABX on most codecs

Reply #4
Try alternative Noise shaping mode;

-V0  --vbr-new -f
wavpack hybrid 320k -hx4s.5c

Re: Great killer sample, easy to ABX on most codecs

Reply #5
Try alternative Noise shaping mode;

-V0  --vbr-new -f

Or try --allshort V 0 --vbr-new, Had way more gains with samples in the OP.
Got locked out on a password i didn't remember. :/

Re: Great killer sample, easy to ABX on most codecs

Reply #6
I tried Helix mp3 encoder on this sample using the -X2 -U2 -V130 setting.
Result is pretty good (good enough for me) though bitrate is rather low.

So it is not necessarily the format when an encoder yields a very bad result.

I also tried the suggestions given in this thread for Lame. To me they don't work. It is true that 3.98 behaves better than 3.100, but is still easy to abx.
lame3995o -Q1.7 --lowpass 17

Re: Great killer sample, easy to ABX on most codecs

Reply #7
 I tried different lowpass settings. listening relaxed on my speakers.
-V0 obvious 'thwack' added to drum.
-V0 -- lowpass 17 up to 18 is an improvement, OR  -V0 --vbr-old
 
--abr 256 ads  'clicks' to the drum
--abr 256 -h same but a bit better
--abr 287 -h sounds fixed or not annoying, I'll need abx with headphones
CBR is OK but -b128, -b160 likely b192 suffers ringing on the 'tssssiiiouuuu' part.
adding -f to CBR mode really helps.
-b224 and -b256 sound good enough than I will need headphone abx.

Given this, I  used cbr 160 gogo and -b160 -f lame on older portables.
For compatibility, size and predictability. My gut instincts turned out right.
I didn't need all the fancy, new or whatever back then. Even now I will use
these settings if needed. Or higher cbr up to 320.  Or, ABR 287 -h. Then --vbr-old also worked
for me well , --preset medium 3.90 which is now -V4 --vbr-old. Lame 3.90 -V2 or aps (vbr-old)
was tough for me in most cases (in the past). On lame3.100 I would use -V1 --vbr-old to get an 'aps' like level.
I've never been fully comfortable with vbr-new (angels fall first) though seduced by its speed.
But no more, stabilty over speed for me.

Update; -f screws up the cbr  on the drums, So it works for certain signals but not for others
like the drum part. Just tried -h or -q2 -b192. Its also ads something like -f but less. On around -b224 -h
its not as obvious. 

Now my opinion for -h or -f isn't clear. But i decided for high bitrates i won't use them
and just stick to the default (-q3) for cbr.  -b192 sound much cleaner without them. Also -ms makes it
worse. I tried -V4 --vbr-old 'preset medium'  and it still holds up. -V5 --vbr-old ads  some noise.

wavpack hybrid 320k -hx4s.5c

Re: Great killer sample, easy to ABX on most codecs

Reply #8
Tried lame 3.90.3 and 3.98.4

vbr new V0 is still faulty on 3.98.4 not hard to hear as halb27 said.
3.90.3 V2 (aps) is ok or close as is aps fast ( --preset fast standard)
Strangely, --preset fast extreme adds some noise not very hard to hear.
--preset extreme is better.  I am not convinced its a lame3.100 only issue.

Tried MPC --radio 92kbps , sounds identical or close.
FAAC also falls hard up to -b256.  On -b320 and -b352 I can't hear it on speakers anyway.

Given this, I am happy with spotify's choice of vorbis  160k and 320k

wavpack hybrid 320k -hx4s.5c

Re: Great killer sample, easy to ABX on most codecs

Reply #9
@shadowking
Are you willing to try Lame 3.100 --abr 256 -f --lowpass 16?
I think it should be better.

Re: Great killer sample, easy to ABX on most codecs

Reply #10
Unfortunately,  Wavpack is also a disaster with the default
noise shaping . Setting it to -s0 or -s0.5 sorts it out .

Fortunately, even with default noise shaping its hard to detect around 400k

wavpack hybrid 320k -hx4s.5c

Re: Great killer sample, easy to ABX on most codecs

Reply #11
@shadowking
Are you willing to try Lame 3.100 --abr 256 -f --lowpass 16?
I think it should be better.

Better but still not good. I though abr / cbr behave like  the -Y switch. Not sure.
wavpack hybrid 320k -hx4s.5c

Re: Great killer sample, easy to ABX on most codecs

Reply #12

Fortunately, even with default noise shaping its hard to detect around 400k


So you could say is transparent at 400k?
Did you use additional quality switches like hx4?
I would like to test it at -b450hh which I use but I'm not a trained listener.
Definitely nice sample. :)

Re: Great killer sample, easy to ABX on most codecs

Reply #13
Dualstream  needed up to --Quality 7.  Wavpack 500 something.  Using headphones.
If you look at spectum the hf spike causes extra noise in various codecs . That would explain
why lowpass helped.

lame -b320 is abxable, though not bad quality:

foo_abx 1.3.4 report
foobar2000 v1.5.7
2021/07/15 01:29:38

File A: H:\doc\CodecTest 16bit.wav
File B: H:\doc\CodecTest 16bit.mp3

01:29:38 : Test started.
01:29:48 : 01/01  50.0%
01:29:52 : 02/02  25.0%
01:29:54 : 03/03  12.5%
01:30:13 : 04/04  6.3%
01:30:40 : 05/05  3.1%
01:30:48 : 06/06  1.6%
01:30:53 : 07/07  0.8%
01:31:02 : 08/08  0.4%
01:31:04 : Test finished.

 ----------
Total: 8/8 (0.4%)
wavpack hybrid 320k -hx4s.5c

Re: Great killer sample, easy to ABX on most codecs

Reply #14

Fortunately, even with default noise shaping its hard to detect around 400k


So you could say is transparent at 400k?
Did you use additional quality switches like hx4?
I would like to test it at -b450hh which I use but I'm not a trained listener.
Definitely nice sample. :)

With speakers 400k hx4 seemed near transparent, still got 8/8,
with headphones  ;

transparent
500 .. 550k -hx4 -s0.5
530 -hhs0.5
576 -s0.5
576 -hx4
---
450 -hhs0.5 not annoying abxable
wavpack hybrid 320k -hx4s.5c

Re: Great killer sample, easy to ABX on most codecs

Reply #15
@shadowking:
Nice to hear that Lame CBR >200 kbps works pretty good here. Same goes for the lowpass finding.
Thanks for that.
lame3995o -Q1.7 --lowpass 17

Re: Great killer sample, easy to ABX on most codecs

Reply #16
Because of the lowpass finding I tried my own Lame version lame3995o -Q1.7 --lowpass 16 (199 kbps on avg for a collection of mixed pop music).
Works very well. Doing a quick ABX I didn't succeed.
Good enough for me as with normal listening I listen less carefully than even with my quick ABX.
Being old I don't care about lowpass 16. Only young people should, or those with the golden ears.
Guess that's also the reason why Helix behaves that well. Helix isn't HF friendly.

P.S. one day later:
Must have had a bad day yesterday.  -Q1.7 --lowpass 16 is still rather easily to ABX. Though quality isn't too bad for me. But same goes for --lowpass 17 so I prefer this one now.
lame3995o -Q1.7 --lowpass 17

Re: Great killer sample, easy to ABX on most codecs

Reply #17

Fortunately, even with default noise shaping its hard to detect around 400k


So you could say is transparent at 400k?
Did you use additional quality switches like hx4?
I would like to test it at -b450hh which I use but I'm not a trained listener.
Definitely nice sample. :)

With speakers 400k hx4 seemed near transparent, still got 8/8,
with headphones  ;

transparent
500 .. 550k -hx4 -s0.5
530 -hhs0.5
576 -s0.5
576 -hx4
---
450 -hhs0.5 not annoying abxable


Thanks a lot for this testing. ;)
It seems that my setup is not enough. I didn't expect that.
Probably should go to 550hh or something similar to be sure but it's not longer economical (for me).
How would you describe quality at 450k?
Is this noise small and hard to hear or it's noticable immediately?

Re: Great killer sample, easy to ABX on most codecs

Reply #18
Tried MPC --radio 92kbps , sounds identical or close.
Would you say this is more down to it being a sub-band codec?

Would it also mean -quality 5 and up as being probably safe choices (to your ears at least)?
Listen to the music, not the media it's on.
Wavpack -hb4.3

Re: Great killer sample, easy to ABX on most codecs

Reply #19
550hh

Code: [Select]
foo_abx 2.0.6d report
foobar2000 v1.6.6
2021-07-14 20:50:02

File A: master.wav
SHA1: 86786351d337f5065444a841bf07f1b2319869c1
File B: 550hh.wav
SHA1: 1bd0b77cac5d8faaf6bebcbf7c18dd40211478b6

Output:
Default : Primary Sound Driver
Crossfading: NO

20:50:02 : Test started.
20:50:18 : 01/01
20:50:22 : 02/02
20:50:26 : 03/03
20:50:45 : 04/04
20:50:48 : 05/05
20:50:57 : 06/06
20:51:03 : 07/07
20:51:11 : 08/08
20:51:23 : 08/09
20:51:27 : 09/10
20:51:27 : Test finished.

 ----------
Total: 9/10
p-value: 0.0107 (1.07%)

 -- signature --
36ec4cd6873af7c712e52287ca376cd269788b39

Fan is working behind me + ears are filled with seawater.
If I focus it could be 10/10...
Best way to describe it? Like earbud diaphragm shakes little bit more.

Edit: Fan off + clean ears

Code: [Select]
foo_abx 2.0.6d report
foobar2000 v1.6.6
2021-07-14 21:08:59

File A: master.wav
SHA1: 86786351d337f5065444a841bf07f1b2319869c1
File B: 550hh.wav
SHA1: 1bd0b77cac5d8faaf6bebcbf7c18dd40211478b6

Output:
Default : Primary Sound Driver
Crossfading: NO

21:08:59 : Test started.
21:09:11 : 01/01
21:09:15 : 02/02
21:09:37 : 03/03
21:09:42 : 04/04
21:09:45 : 05/05
21:09:48 : 06/06
21:09:52 : 07/07
21:09:54 : 08/08
21:09:57 : 09/09
21:10:00 : 10/10
21:10:00 : Test finished.

 ----------
Total: 10/10
p-value: 0.001 (0.1%)

 -- signature --
6540c0afb1ca7afac5d380502729d081a07307aa
gold plated toslink fan

Re: Great killer sample, easy to ABX on most codecs

Reply #20
Thanks @Markuza97
So even 550hh is not enough. :D
Do you think that you could hear the difference in normal listening situation (wavpack 550hh)?

Re: Great killer sample, easy to ABX on most codecs

Reply #21
In normal listening situation? No way.

It has more to do with memory. First I have to spend ~10-15 seconds to actually hear the difference so I can isolate it and focus on it.
Then in the middle of the test my brain.exe will stop working and I will have to re-listen to it once again so I can isolate it and finish the test.

Edit: I recorded the video of me ABXing it. You can clearly see how my brain stops working on third and tenth trial.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
Edit 2: MPC sounds great! I'm not even going to try to ABX it.
but............. I am still using the old (unsupported) MPC-HC v1.7.13 and file sounds terrible there.
I guess there is something wrong with their decoder. Anyway, once imported into foobar, its sounds great!
So be careful if you use old audio players.

Off-topic: This is not the first time I am impressed with MPC. It really makes me wonder why this format is not more widely supported.
gold plated toslink fan

Re: Great killer sample, easy to ABX on most codecs

Reply #22
I see. That is imortant for me to know. Hard to make a difference even on abx.
Thanks a lot.

Re: Great killer sample, easy to ABX on most codecs

Reply #23
I see. That is imortant for me to know. Hard to make a difference even on abx.
Thanks a lot.

You can use static noise shaping value like -s0.5 (-b450hhs0.5)
This will shift noise to the higher freq.  In this sample the default setting cause the noise to go
down the spectrum where it has a more audiable or static character.
If encoding time isn't an issue, try  -b450hhx4s0.5
wavpack hybrid 320k -hx4s.5c