Hydrogenaudio Forums

Hydrogenaudio Forum => Polls => Topic started by: JAKE196 on 2008-07-31 00:28:55

Poll
Question: Do You ever use 320 kbps mp3's?
Option 1: Yes, rarely. votes: 117
Option 2: Yes, often. votes: 95
Option 3: No, never. votes: 299
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: JAKE196 on 2008-07-31 00:28:55
Hi, I'm kinda new to compressed audio encoding. . .

My Mp3 player supports mp3, aac, wma, and wav files and after doing a lot of listening to the different lossy formats and bitrates I decided to use 320 mp3's because to my ears they sound almost as good as CD quality, minus the frequency cut off.

I'm just wondering if anyone else here uses 320 kbps mp3's at all?

I've looked at some other threads and a lot of people say that if you are going to use 320 kbps mp3's you might as well use a lossless codec, and I understand that. (however, I use them because my player doesn't support any compressed lossless format)

I've also seen a lot of statements that 320 kbps is a pointless bitrate and something like 256 vbr is the highest thats worth using no matter what. I really don't agree with this, there is definitely an audible difference between 256 CBR or 256 VBR files and 320 files, to my ears anyway. (do I have really good ear's? I'm wondering) I have to admit LAME mp3's can pick up a lot of detail at 256 and 192 kbps, but they still don't sound as good as 320 mp3's.

I usually use 320 kbps mp3's, with the exception of fairly simple songs or exceptionally long songs, for which I use 256 kbps.

Just wanted to express my opinion and see how many other people use them, peace. 

So answer the poll if it works. (this is my first post. . . )

I'll check back later.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: Fandango on 2008-07-31 00:45:37
When your main playback device for the MP3s is a portable then you should consider going as low as possible (using VBR settings, of course).

Background noise, the small earphones and the portable's limited fidelity amplifier all degrade the audio compared to your home system anyway, so that you do not need high quality settings.

Considering it's too bothersome to do an ABX test on a portable do some tests with lame's VBR switch (-V) and use the one that is transparent on your home system, it will surely be transparent on your portable audio player as well.

You should gain a lot of space when switching to low VBR settings so you can listen to more music and have to refill the MP3 player with new tunes less often.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: incunabula on 2008-07-31 00:47:16
. . . I decided to use 320 mp3's because to my ears they sound almost as good as CD quality, minus the frequency cut off....

Hello Jake196, welcome to HA!  I hope you've read the Terms of Service (http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=3974), specifically #8.  Conducting a proper ABX test will probably surprise and maybe humble you.  To answer your question, no i don't use 320kbs - I usually don't encode my mp3's much higher than VBR -V4 as that is what works for me.  Your mileage may vary.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: greynol on 2008-07-31 00:51:11
Yes, lets see some blind test results, JAKE196.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: Kitsuned on 2008-07-31 01:31:25
320 is a waste of space with no valuable gain in overall quality.  If you're that paranoid about quality, try -V0 which will average around 250kbps.  Saves space and you still have great quality.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: JAKE196 on 2008-07-31 01:55:24
Sorry, I should have read the rules, I didn't know this forum was so incredibly serious. 

I swear I could tell between a high bitrate VBR version of a fairly complex song and a 320 kbps version of a fairly complex song as long as they were encoded the same. Is there any way we can set up a test on this site?

I agree with the idea that high VBR's sound pretty much as good as 320 kbps mp3's, but any low/medium bitrate VBR just doesn't sound as good. . . 320 kbps songs may pick up more noise, but they do sound better imo.

Also know that I can tell the difference between the specified files on my computer as well as my mp3 player which has a higher quality sound output than most other players. I'm also using some fairly good on ear headphones which were specifically designed for portable mp3 players and portable CD players.

I'm not completely paranoid about quality, I swear I can hear a difference!!!!

I'm not making a blind assumption, there is a difference in how well instruments sound and how much detail is captured. . .

Please don't be mad I'm only saying my opinion and I will take some kind of test if thats possible. I'm sorry I broke the terms/rules.

that's all I'm saying for today. . . good night.

And again, Peace!
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: IgorC on 2008-07-31 01:59:39
My Mp3 player supports mp3, aac, wma, and wav files and after doing a lot of listening to the different lossy formats and bitrates I decided to use 320 mp3's

Why don't switch to AAC? Mostly people already happy with LAME -V 2 or Nero, Apple AAC 130-150 kbit
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: shadowking on 2008-07-31 02:06:17
I never use 320k mp3. I suppose some might use it as an archive so they use it in the portable as well. Transcoding to 320 k for portable use never made much sense to me though as half or less usually suffice given that you are using a decent encoder  / parameters. For a slower PC the old GOGO encoder does a decent job  - I use 140 k ABR instead of the infamous 128k CBR. Other times I used lame -V5 -V4
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: kornchild2002 on 2008-07-31 03:35:01
Sorry, I should have read the rules, I didn't know this forum was so incredibly serious. 

I swear I could tell between a high bitrate VBR version of a fairly complex song and a 320 kbps version of a fairly complex song as long as they were encoded the same. Is there any way we can set up a test on this site?


Yes, Hydrogenaudio is filled with many people (including myself) who take audio claims seriously.  Hence the need for YOUR blind ABX test results if you are going to continue to make such claims.

I agree with the idea that high VBR's sound pretty much as good as 320 kbps mp3's, but any low/medium bitrate VBR just doesn't sound as good. . . 320 kbps songs may pick up more noise, but they do sound better imo.


There is a reason why people keep saying that 320kbps is overkill and it is that they have conducted their own blind ABX tests and analyzed the public tests from the community.  Unless you are listening to a killer sample, there simply is no need to encode at 320kbps.

Also know that I can tell the difference between the specified files on my computer as well as my mp3 player which has a higher quality sound output than most other players. I'm also using some fairly good on ear headphones which were specifically designed for portable mp3 players and portable CD players.


Good for you but that is not what this thread is about.  This thread is about your/everyone's ability to distinguish between a 320kbps mp3 file and lower bitrate ones.

I'm not completely paranoid about quality, I swear I can hear a difference!!!!


It is called the placebo affect, look it up.

I'm not making a blind assumption, there is a difference in how well instruments sound and how much detail is captured. . .


No but you are making claims that violate the TOS here at Hydrogenaudio.  As I said, look up the placebo affect.  That is why you NEED to conduct a blind ABX test if you want your claims to be taken seriously.  Otherwise, your post can be edited, deleted, or blocked.

Please don't be mad I'm only saying my opinion and I will take some kind of test if thats possible. I'm sorry I broke the terms/rules.

that's all I'm saying for today. . . good night.

And again, Peace!


There are differences between opinions and claims.  Opinions have no place here on Hydrogenaudio when discussing this topic.  Only claims can be taken seriously and claims are formed after conducting blind ABX tests, plain and simple.

You are new here so that is alright but you need to understand that what you are saying is complete nonsense unless you have the numbers to back it up.  You coming on here without any proof and making these opinions/claims is like me going to some Catholic Church forums and claiming that I am Jesus.  Well, I can fly, I can turn water into wine, I can heal people, I can walk on water, and I keep on dieing yet always come back.  Do I have any proof for my claims?  Absolutely not but that is OK as people should believe in me and trust what I am saying.  Do you see where we are coming from now?  You need ABX test results (valid results, don't go making them up) in order for your opinions to become claims and for you to be taken with anything other than an extremely small grain of salt.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: lesswire on 2008-07-31 03:42:58
Hi JAKE196

I'm also new to HA which by the way is an awesome source of information. Regarding the quality issue, first get the newest LAME version (3.98) and then use Foobar2000 to ABX the lossless source from the compressed versions at several V settings. You are going to realize that the differences you are hearing are the products of your imagination as long as you stick to V5 values and up (in this case down). Try to use good headphones too.

Cheers.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: greynol on 2008-07-31 03:56:09
He may as well cut to the chase and ABX -V0 and -b320.  If he can't tell the difference then try -V5 and lossless and work up to -V0.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: odious_m on 2008-07-31 05:47:11
Only used -b320 for harpsichord.  But now I've found with 3.98 that -V0 is just as good.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: zombiewerewolf on 2008-07-31 06:02:45
I've never use 320kbps personally, only use it when I have to encode my CDs for friends (they prefer 320kbps). I used to stick with 256kbps MP3 until I found myself hardly distinguish 64kbps HE-AAC from original, I changed to use 160kbps AAC-LC as my maximum bitrate for normal use.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: twostar on 2008-07-31 07:05:54
I never have and won't ever encode 320kbps mp3s. I even avoid downloading 320kbps through torrent. It's a complete waste of space in my opinion. I do use lossless for prized CDs just for the warm fuzzy feeling. And no I can't ABX anything above -V5 even with most of the test samples here (http://www.ff123.net/samples.html). I'm blessed.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: smok3 on 2008-07-31 08:55:31
Quote
Is there any way we can set up a test on this site?

for mp3 vs mp3 and AAC vs AAC it should be possible to write an ABX flash 'applet' (or abchr), so just start coding (I can also host it, if that additional bandwidth would be a problem for HA) - this would also help to prevent threads like this poping out or rather making them shorter.

edit: seems like it is possible to mux pcm into flv as well, check my next post for example.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: itisljar on 2008-07-31 09:03:20
Well, I tend to listen music on the go, on portable player, and I encode it with bitrates averaging 160 kbit to 192 kbit. I've never encountered a problem.
There was a time I considered myself an golden ear (of course I can hear the difference), but then I did some ABX testing with music I know, and was amazed when i couldn't tell a difference from original with 128 kbit mp3s.
I comfort myself with the idea that mp3 encoders got better over time  but in reality, I got myself more space for music on my portables
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: Synthetic Soul on 2008-07-31 09:27:08
Sorry, I should have read the rules, I didn't know this forum was so incredibly serious.
This forum prides itself on being objective; you can't do that if you have members claiming fact without proof.  I guess that makes us serious, but what would be the point of a fact-based forum that was not?  Do you want decent, truthful answers, or the punchline to a joke?

I swear I could tell between a high bitrate VBR version of a fairly complex song and a 320 kbps version of a fairly complex song as long as they were encoded the same. Is there any way we can set up a test on this site?
...
Please don't be mad I'm only saying my opinion and I will take some kind of test if thats possible. I'm sorry I broke the terms/rules.
You need to provide ABX results.  Read the wiki article (http://wiki.hydrogenaudio.org/index.php?title=ABX) for more information.  The easiest way I know of doing this is to use foobar (http://www.foobar2000.org/).  You need to ensure that the ABX comparator is included when installing.  You then load in your two tracks and select "Utils" > "ABX Two Tracks..." from the context menu.  If you get stuck we can provide further assistance.

Until you do provide your ABX results, your opinions will not be taken seriously on this forum.  If you can prove that you can hear a difference then, conversely, we will welcome your input, as someone who has exceptional hearing.  We need members with above-average hearing, to partake in higher bitrate listening tests, and help improve the lossy codecs.

Quote
Is there any way we can set up a test on this site?
for mp3 vs mp3 and AAC vs AAC it should be possible to write an ABX flash 'applet' (or abchr), so just start coding (I can also host it, if that additional bandwidth would be a problem for HA) - this would also help to prevent threads like this poping out or rather making them shorter.
I'd be very interested to see this in action.  It could be useful around these parts.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: zorba on 2008-07-31 09:48:29
Do You ever use 320 kbps mp3's?
  Yes, often. Very Often


Why?
well, this is quite handy cause 320 means quality to me since almost all my 320 rips have been done with EAC (or CDEX) and Lame 3.97.

Other lossy albums are
- old downloaded albums (very poor quality, no ABX tests needed)
- old encoded albums (poor quality, no ABX tests needed)
- rather recent encoded albums (-V5, -V4, -V3, -V2, -V1, -V0 : hardly ABXable I guess)

It's overkill but I'm also a collector. My collection should be made of mp3 of the same bitrate. 
An I like this figure : 320. It sounds warm, high, louder.... I'm totally placeboed. 

In a nutshell, 320 = my own rip = with EAC/CDEX = lame 3.97 = quality

while others are old 128 cbr or very bad encodings (or pretty good rips lame -v4, itunes) : anyway I will rip those albums again.


Can you tell the difference between 256 kbps VBR or CBR mp3's and 320 kbps mp3's?
No. I don't think I can.
I don't want to try blind test. But I'm sure I can't tell the difference between -V5 and 320.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: j7n on 2008-07-31 09:48:31
it should be possible to write an ABX flash 'applet' (or abchr), so just start coding (I can also host it, if that additional bandwidth would be a problem for HA)

What would be the point of that? Secure results?
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: smok3 on 2008-07-31 10:09:59
point would be:

a. to support lazy users which can't download standalone client
(you could make it so that files are loaded depending on GET data), so single clicked link would be all that is required...
example: abx.org/abx.php?file1=http://someplace.org/1.mp3&file2=http://someplace.org/2.mp3
b. to support users which use some other OS
c. somebody with good knowhow could make this probably more secure than offline version could ever be

(this could be java applet as well)

No, i'am not doing it.

p.s. if you need some code, here is my ancient javascript version, which was basically just a gui for offline use (we want 100% online version and mucho simpler gui imho - like the one in fb2k maybe);
http://somestuff.org/javascript/abx.htm (http://somestuff.org/javascript/abx.htm)

edit: seems one can also make flash to play uncompressed audio, example;
http://somestuff.org/flashAVC/flvplayer.ph...CM_x500y100.flv (http://somestuff.org/flashAVC/flvplayer.php?moviename=movies/uncPCM_x500y100.flv)

cmd used was 'ffmpeg -i test.wav -acodec copy out.flv'

edit2: flv specs http://www.adobe.com/devnet/flv/ (http://www.adobe.com/devnet/flv/) (check page 6 in that pdf)
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: 2Bdecided on 2008-07-31 10:46:59
"Can you tell the difference between 256 kbps VBR or CBR mp3's and 320 kbps mp3's?" is a rather general question. The answer is generally no, but there are some samples where it's possible.

Cheers,
David.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: smok3 on 2008-07-31 11:57:46
Quote
Is there any way we can set up a test on this site?
for mp3 vs mp3 and AAC vs AAC it should be possible to write an ABX flash 'applet' (or abchr), so just start coding (I can also host it, if that additional bandwidth would be a problem for HA) - this would also help to prevent threads like this poping out or rather making them shorter.
I'd be very interested to see this in action.  It could be useful around these parts.

I think the simplest way (to avoid coding in flash):
a. some serverside language to read variables from GET type of the url (that is probably doable via js as well, dunno)
b. playback component allready done in flash, that takes variables as input, some player like
http://www.jeroenwijering.com/?about=JW_FLV_Media_Player (http://www.jeroenwijering.com/?about=JW_FLV_Media_Player) | js api http://code.jeroenwijering.com/trac/wiki/FlashAPI (http://code.jeroenwijering.com/trac/wiki/FlashAPI)
c. some javascript for controling the (at least) two instances of the player
or one instance and make it load different clips via js interface
d. js for the buttons, for the math, for filling the X player (if possible)
e. some serverside for storing results (user:date:url_tested:abx_results)
f. some generic user manipulation script, one could upload samples, test sample lenghts to make everything legal, ect
g. abstract: a way to present the test with one url and someuser-results via another url
h. abstract: security layer, smart preloading/hidding system for the samples, they need to be in the buffer before the test starts, ect
h2. study what js implementation had to offer over flash one - security related mostly.

p.s. about b. : with enough abstraction this component could be later replaced with java one for example to load/play some other formats (vorbis maybe).
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: Slipstreem on 2008-07-31 14:33:11
"Can you tell the difference between 256 kbps VBR or CBR mp3's and 320 kbps mp3's?" is a rather general question. The answer is generally no, but there are some samples where it's possible.
Agreed. I replied "no, never" to "Do You ever use 320 kbps mp3's? I never use MP3 in CBR320, but my VBR encodings all the way down to -V5 make at least ocassional usage of blocks at 320Kbps so, in hindsight, I "lied".

Wouldn't it make more sense to ask whether people generally use CBR, VBR or even ABR with LAME and provide options more like this...

Do you use CBR? yes/no

At what bitrate generally? 320/256/192/160/128

Do you use VBR? yes/no

At which -V setting generally? 0/1/2/3/4/5

...(same questions again for ABR)...


Wouldn't that make more sense than answering a poll that seems to set out to prove one thing rather than adequately explore the available options?

If the details were collated on LAME on a version-by-version basis, it could be stickied so that people who genuinely want to be told what bitrate to use and don't want to ABX or don't have the technical know-how can just pick the most popular setting(s) from the sticky. You could put updated poll results in the WIKI, or at least provide an easy-to-find link to it on the WIKI front page.

People answering the poll would still have the chance to comment in the poll thread and explain the reasoning behind their particular choice, but they'd only be answering the poll and not having to give the same reply out to hundreds of people individually every time someone arrives who simply doesn't understand but is keen to encode into MP3, hopefully with LAME as their encoder.

It would save us from being asked the same questions and giving the same answers over and over again at least twice a week by my reckoning.

Cheers, Slipstreem. 
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: JAKE196 on 2008-07-31 16:23:32
"Good for you but that is not what this thread is about. This thread is about your/everyone's ability to distinguish between a 320kbps mp3 file and lower bitrate ones."

Is that what this is about? Really? I believe I've said twice this is simply my opinion and it may not apply to everyone. . . I think I just have sensitive ears. this particular statement just popped out at me and I had to reply.

I'm not going to bother you people any more, but i just did a sound test comparing a 320 kbps mp3 and a 282 kbps mp3 of the same song and I am absolutely sure there is a difference. I am not hallucinating. Mind you, it was a very complex electronic rock song. . . most songs i suppose 256 is all you need, but I listen to a lot of complex electronic, electronic rock, alternative rock, and metal. The main things I could tell is the vocals sounded a lot more 'real' and sound effects and guitar solos sounded better. . .

If you really think that there is no difference or 320 kbps actually sounds worse, maybe your ears just aren't good enough. If you think the difference is negligible and it only worth using about 256, that's very understandable to me.

Once again, I made this thread only to express my opinion and hold the poll, not to force this idea on to you like a nazi, as you guys seem to see it. I only ask that if you have good ears and you don't have to worry about memory, consider the bitrate.

Sorry for all the hullabaloo, you guys are practically experts after all, you don't have to listen to me.

EDIT: if you want me to take a test though, I'm willing, pm me or something and i'll reply eventually. . . I don't know how to set up one.

Good bye.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: kornchild2002 on 2008-07-31 16:51:15
"Good for you but that is not what this thread is about. This thread is about your/everyone's ability to distinguish between a 320kbps mp3 file and lower bitrate ones."

Is that what this is about? Really? I believe I've said twice this is simply my opinion and it may not apply to everyone. . . I think I just have sensitive ears. this particular statement just popped out at me and I had to reply.


Yes, that is what you have made it out to be and that is what your poll consists of.  Your poll doesn't focus on different audio hardware, it focuses on the use of 320kbps.  Feel free to make a poll about audio hardware though.

I'm not going to bother you people any more, but i just did a sound test comparing a 320 kbps mp3 and a 282 kbps mp3 of the same song and I am absolutely sure there is a difference. I am not hallucinating. Mind you, it was a very complex electronic rock song. . . most songs i suppose 256 is all you need, but I listen to a lot of complex electronic, electronic rock, alternative rock, and metal. The main things I could tell is the vocals sounded a lot more 'real' and sound effects and guitar solos sounded better. . .


Placebo, placebo, placebo, placebo.  The difference you are hearing is in your mind.  You see, your brain knows that (theoretically) higher bitrate songs should have better sound quality.  So you listen to track A at 256kbps (still overkill) and then track B at 320kbps.  Your brain knows that track B should be of higher quality so it makes you think that you are hearing a difference when in fact you aren't.  That is called the placebo affect.  Psychiatrists do this all the time with their patients in that they think they are depressed and want meds.  So the doctor will give them a placebo, basically a sugar pill and that will make the patient happy.  If the patient's status still doesn't improve, the doctor will look further into the problem and prescribe any real medication if need be.  That is how things used to be done in the Psych industry but I think that they have since changed their methods.  Still, you are suffering from the placebo affect.

If you really think that there is no difference or 320 kbps actually sounds worse, maybe your ears just aren't good enough. If you think the difference is negligible and it only worth using about 256, that's very understandable to me.


Ears being "good enough" have nothing to do with whether or not one can distinguish between 320kbps, 128kbps, and the source lossless file.  I guess I don't see how you can make that statement when we come on here and say "you need ABX tests to backup your claims" and then scoff at everyone for saying so.  We are not trying to insult you but to me, this comment comes of as insulting.  I might as well say that all people who aren't named David aren't good enough to live on this earth.

Once again, I made this thread only to express my opinion and hold the poll, not to force this idea on to you like a nazi, as you guys seem to see it. I only ask that if you have good ears and you don't have to worry about memory, consider the bitrate.

Sorry for all the hullabaloo, you guys are practically experts after all, you don't have to listen to me.

EDIT: if you want me to take a test though, I'm willing, pm me or something and i'll reply eventually. . . I don't know how to set up one.

Good bye.


Yes, you are making an opinion but many users here at hydrogenaudio (ie the majority) will only take valid opinions.  Why else make such statements and not back them up.  Again, I can say that I am Jesus and can walk on water.  It is only my opinion though.  Why am I expressing this opinion without any proof?  Who the hell knows.  So I am Jesus and everyone who isn't named David deserves to die.  That is my opinion and I have absolutely no proof but that is OK, it is just an opinion.

Again, having "good ears" (whatever that means) has nothing to do with whether or not one can distinguish certain levels of compression.  Most of us know what to consider when choosing a lossy format and bitrate/setting that is good for us.  We know that we should conduct ABX tests if we want to find out anything about our perception.  Part of the problem is that many people come onto hydrogenaudio and don't want to conduct blind ABX tests.  They simply want to read people's claims and use them.  That is where threads like this become problems as some people can read your opinion and then use it to help decide their encoding needs.  That is why all opinions/claims here on hydrogenaudio need to be backed up with blind ABX tests.

You can setup a blind ABX test rather easily using foobar2000.  It has been discussed extensively here on hydrogenaudio.  I think it is your responsibility to search for those threads and to post your results.  That is fine if you don't want to do that but I wouldn't expect to ever be taken seriously here on HA again if you don't.

We aren't trying to insult you or drive you away, we are just trying to give you factual information and make sure that your posts follow HA's TOS.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: incunabula on 2008-07-31 18:50:56
Not to beat a dead horse, but you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by doing a simple ABX (http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=16295) test using foobar.  The key concept i didn't see mentioned previously is that you should ensure you are testing using your own rips and using a current version of LAME (3.97 or the newly released 3.98) so you are comparing apples to apples.  I think most people on this board could discern between a random 256 mp3 from somewhere (that may have been transcoded from a 128 original) and another 320 file from some other source.  That is not surprising.  Personally, i have fun doing ABX tests but i also enjoy dabbling with audio software and testing the abilities of different codecs.  If it turns out you can't discern between 256 and 320 (or, say 128 and 320) you can potentially save alot of storage space on your portable device as well as your hard drive.  If you aren't limited to MP3 you should check out AAC which yields pretty incredible detail at very low bitrates. 

On the other hand, if it turns out that you can reliably discern between say LAME 256 vs 320 or even 320 vs. lossless (as your first post states), you have exceptional hearing and can prove very valuable to this forum as well as the development of future codec releases.  If you hadn't noticed (or searched at all) the developers of the LAME codec, the nero AAC codec and loads of lossless codecs are frequent posters here and actively seek input folks with exceptional hearing abilities.  They are not here by accident, but more likely because this forum is more scientifically-oriented and not about dubious claims.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: JAKE196 on 2008-07-31 21:21:11
I'll test myself then, what specific program should I use and where do i download it?,  How do these tests go about, do they ask you to guess the bitrate or something?

EDIT: I'll look up foobar.

I'm fairly sure this is not because of the placebo effect, when I compare tracks I try to pick out the layers of music very carefully and compare how they sound. I'm not an idiot. In addition my library consists of different bitrate files including 320, 256, 256-320 vbr, 192-256 vbr, and 192, and often i can tell if a song is slightly lower quality than the rest of my library. And to answer another question All of my CD's are encoded with LAME 3.97 or 3.98, and most of my downloaded files are from amazonmp3, which are supposed to be LAME encoded. And no one has "good ears?," surely some people have more sensitive ears than others, most of my friends who listen to mp3's and aac's can't even tell the difference betwen mp3 and cd quality. . . the n00bs.

If you guys are really mad at me for having an opinion however 'invalid' it may be, I will take some kind of test.
My opinion seems factual to me I'm not just lying for my own amusement. I'm not expecting anyone to just straight up believe it like one of you said I was.

I was going to let this thread be. . . but it's hard to ignore people when they are so determined to not even listen to your point of view however radical it may be. I had no idea it was so radical until I made this thread. I would not have made it if I knew. . . I'm sorry.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: smok3 on 2008-07-31 21:30:37
there is nothing radical in your point of view and as you figured out 'opinions' don't really matter....

Quote
most of my friends who listen to mp3's and aac's can't even tell the difference betwen mp3 and cd quality. . . the n00bs

did they make some ABX test, or how did you figure that out? 
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: tpijag on 2008-07-31 21:35:02
I'll test myself then, what specific program should I use and where do i download it?,  How do these tests go about, do they ask you to guess the bitrate or something?

EDIT: I'll look up foobar.

I'm fairly sure this is not because of the placebo effect, when I compare tracks I try to pick out the layers of music very carefully and compare how they sound. I'm not an idiot. In addition my library consists of different bitrate files including 320, 256, 256-320 vbr, 192-256 vbr, and 192, and often i can tell if a song is slightly lower quality than the rest of my library. And to answer another question All of my CD's are encoded with LAME 3.97 or 3.98, and most of my downloaded files are from amazonmp3, which are supposed to be LAME encoded. And no one has "good ears?," surely some people have more sensitive ears than others, most of my friends who listen to mp3's and aac's can't even tell the difference betwen mp3 and cd quality. . . the n00bs.

If you guys are really mad at me for having an opinion however 'invalid' it may be, I will take some kind of test.
My opinion seems factual to me I'm not just lying for my own amusement. I'm not expecting anyone to just straight up believe it like one of you said I was.

I was going to let this thread be. . . but it's hard to ignore people when they are so determined to not even listen to your point of view however radical it may be. I had no idea it was so radical until I made this thread. I would not have made it if I knew. . . I'm sorry.



Nobody is mad at you. They are showing incredible restraint in not locking your topic. They are tying to teach.

"I am fairly sure this is not because of the placebo effect"

Forget about audio....the above comment from you show clearly you do not understand the effort that is being made to educate. Please understand, this is not an audio thing it is a science thing.

Human brains are tricky. Your brain may very well be able to hear distinctions. That would make you a very important part of this site if you should choose.... your brain is not immune to the placebo effects...that would make you stone, cold, dead.

terry
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: greynol on 2008-07-31 21:57:48
I was going to let this thread be. . . but it's hard to ignore people when they are so determined to not even listen to your point of view however radical it may be.
We've heard this point of view countless times.  However it would seem that you really aren't listening to us.  You've already been given information about ABX testing, but it would appear you haven't payed much attention.

http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....st&p=580176 (http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?s=&showtopic=65026&view=findpost&p=580176)
Hint: the words underlined are links for you to click on.

EDIT: It's been brought to my attention that a kind member has chosen to provide personal assistance to JAKE196 in order to help him with ABX testing.  I think it would be great to find another person with golden ears.  I for one wish Guru would come back.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: kornchild2002 on 2008-08-01 01:01:35
I'm fairly sure this is not because of the placebo effect, when I compare tracks I try to pick out the layers of music very carefully and compare how they sound. I'm not an idiot.


Falling for the placebo affect does not make you an idiot, it makes you human.  Also not being able to hear the difference between a 128kbps mp3 file and the source lossless file doesn't make you an idiot either.  Now, making claims without backing them up and then continuing to make said claims, even though you were told otherwise, makes you stubborn and ill-informed.

It looks like you are accepting the need for a blind ABX test though and I applaud you for taking the steps to conduct one.  You will probably be surprised by what your ears hear even at the lower bitrates.  Just remember to not take anything personal here said on Hydrogenaudio.  We understand that you were just expressing your opinion but there are rules here that must be followed.  You will be able to safely express your opinion after you conduct your blind ABX tests as you will know the purpose of conducting such a test and understand how it really tests you.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: Bodhi on 2008-08-01 20:43:14
VBR V0 here!
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: Tahnru on 2008-08-01 20:44:48
VBR V0 here!


I ... don't understand.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: Bodhi on 2008-08-01 20:52:08

VBR V0 here!


I ... don't understand.

I encode my MP3 using Lame 3.98 VBR V0 (bitrate included between 220 and 260 Kbps) and I'm surely not gonna make the difference between V0 and 320 Kbps!
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: Tahnru on 2008-08-01 20:58:16
@ Bodhi

Ahhh!  Sorry - I have been watching the thread for a while now.  I had forgotten where it started.  The conversation had touched on ABX tests, which I tried to associate your comment with.

Confusion has been cleared.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: Bodhi on 2008-08-01 21:05:54
@ Bodhi

Ahhh!  Sorry - I have been watching the thread for a while now.  I had forgotten where it started.  The conversation had touched on ABX tests, which I tried to associate your comment with.

Confusion has been cleared.

Sorry for the pseudo out of topic 
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: sld on 2008-08-01 21:16:03
but it's hard to ignore people when they are so determined to not even listen to your point of view however radical it may be. I had no idea it was so radical until I made this thread.

The truth is, Hydrogenaudio is radical for instituting ABX testing. There are many forumers here who frequent (or used to frequent) some of the pseudo-science audio forums scattered around the Web. To them, your opinion is a tired old one (by that, I mean typical stuff without the necessary scientific backing to it; I don't intend any offence).

With Foobar2000 (on Windows, or on Wine on Linux), ABX becomes as easy as just raising one's hand, to borrow from a Chinese idiom. =)
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: krabapple on 2008-08-01 22:21:03
Sorry, I should have read the rules, I didn't know this forum was so incredibly serious. 

I swear I could tell between a high bitrate VBR version of a fairly complex song and a 320 kbps version of a fairly complex song as long as they were encoded the same. Is there any way we can set up a test on this site?



(to HA)This is the sort of report I had in mind when I started my thread about what types of music are hardest to lossy encode 'transparently. 

Over and over on the interwebs I see people assuming that 'long and complex music' must be harder to lossy encode well.  Meanwhile, the music in samples actually used to tweak LAME ('killer samples') doesn't bear that out. 

Anyway, just sayin'. Maybe this super-common misconception can be dealt with in an HA wiki or something.

(to JAKE196) It's called an ABX test, and you can perform it yourself by downloading WinABX (http://www.kikeg.arrakis.es/winabx/) or downloading foobar2000 (http://www.foobar2000.org/), which includes an ABX comparison tool.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: HotshotGG on 2008-08-01 22:50:04
Quote
I swear I could tell between a high bitrate VBR version of a fairly complex song and a 320 kbps version of a fairly complex song as long as they were encoded the same. Is there any way we can set up a test on this site?


No we can't  . Now go away! Unless you have a problematic test sample. ABXing is for your ears only. 


Quote
Anyway, just sayin'. Maybe this super-common misconception can be dealt with in an HA wiki or something.


This kind of reminds me of the whole "joint-stereo" ordeal.  I don't know how or where these myths come from, but they are generated some force of evil.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: JAKE196 on 2008-08-01 23:42:06
Well, I tried a couple of ABX tests and failed. 

Wow. . . .  all I can say is, holy crap! That there 'placebo effect' must be powerful!  How F'd up is the human mind?!

I'm sorry for all the trouble I've caused.

I'm an epic n00b. seriously. I'll punch myself later.

I think from now on I'll stick to 256-320 kbps VBR's as an absolute max, and I'll usually just use 256 CBR.
I might do some more tests.

One more thing though, If you guys tried to explain your points to me a bit more nicely I may have believed you, but to me you all just sounded like angry nerds. 

I'm glad this whole thing happened though, I learned something and it saved me some memory.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: Tahnru on 2008-08-01 23:52:24
Well, I tried a couple of ABX tests and failed. 

Wow. . . .  all I can say is, holy crap! That there 'placebo effect' must be powerful!  How F'd up is the human mind?!

I'm sorry for all the trouble I've caused.

I'm an epic n00b. seriously. I'll punch myself later.

I think from now on I'll stick to 256-320 kbps VBR's as an absolute max, and I'll usually just use 256 CBR.
I might do some more tests.

One more thing though, If you guys tried to explain your points to me a bit more nicely I may have believed you, but to me you all just sounded like angry nerds. 

I'm glad this whole thing happened though, I learned something and it saved me some memory.


I'm glad to read that you were successful in performing your tests.  Don't beat yourself up - keep doing tests!  I think I can speak for everyone here in this:  We'd LOVE to see ABX tests performed that successfully demonstrate audible differences in previously indistinguishable files.  The feedback is invaluable for making improvements.

Cheers,
Rob
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: greynol on 2008-08-02 00:15:55
@JAKE196:
Regardless of the result, kudos for trying the test!

As for settings, I don't think it's a good idea to use 256 CBR.  I would suggest -V0, if you are still gunning for this type of bitrate.  Some passages may actually require 320kbit frames in order to be reproduced properly, even with lower quality settings such as -V5.  Yes the reservoir can help, but it makes no sense to tie Lame's hands telling it that it can't use 320kbit frames.  There are some here who will suggest something like 270 ABR and I really don't have much to say about it except that they may have different opinions now that 3.98 has been released.  Personally I use -V3.  I have been able to ABX some of my more typical tracks with -V5 and have chosen -V3 over -V4 for a bit of margin and don't have an issue with the extra space.  These tests were conducted with 3.97.  I haven't done any testing with 3.98 yet.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: JasonQ on 2008-08-02 00:25:15
Well, I tried a couple of ABX tests and failed. 

Wow. . . .  all I can say is, holy crap! That there 'placebo effect' must be powerful!  How F'd up is the human mind?!

I'm sorry for all the trouble I've caused.

I'm an epic n00b. seriously. I'll punch myself later.

I think from now on I'll stick to 256-320 kbps VBR's as an absolute max, and I'll usually just use 256 CBR.
I might do some more tests.

One more thing though, If you guys tried to explain your points to me a bit more nicely I may have believed you, but to me you all just sounded like angry nerds. 

I'm glad this whole thing happened though, I learned something and it saved me some memory.



Jake, glad you did a test.  That was a real eye opener for me as well.  Another eye opener for you might be how low your settings go (with regard to bit rates) before you can consistently ABX.  It will be much lower than you think.  The V0 setting is nice because it uses the full 320 bits when Lame thinks it needs to but retains a nice level of efficiency.  I personally use V3 which is probably still slightly overkill.  These days the V5 setting is difficult to ABX (for me) most of the time for me.

I think the response here was due to the fact that the people here have seen this a million times before and so they assume they are just dealing with another troll.

- Jason
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: kornchild2002 on 2008-08-02 00:28:32
I agree with greynol.  Look into using even lower settings than 256kbps CBR.  Also remember that the Lame mp3 encoder was tuned for VBR encoding, hence the different -V values.  To me, not using a -V preset is like purchasing a nice car and then only driving it backwards.  You are going to get limited performance out of the car when doing this.

So start off with -V 5 and try to ABX that from the lossless source.  If you pass, move on up to -V 4 and test that.  Keep going until you fail your ABX test.  More than likely you will find -V 5 to -V 3 very satisfying.

Edit:  Kudos on taking the ABX test.  Just so you know, JasonQ is right as many, many people come on here and make these claims just to troll around.  They like to see people get fired up.  So other people come on here, sharply reply, and that user is either banned, has their post locked, or put in place.  It is hard to tell the difference between a troll and someone who is just ill-informed.  No offense but your posts were coming off like a troll's in the beginning but they changed over time.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: SpasV on 2008-08-02 04:21:47
 Sorry, I am not going to answer the questions in the poll.
I would answer this way:
Personally I prefer not to use fixed bit rate. Instead, I use VBR at the highest quality (-V0).
Maybe I cannot hear the difference between mp3s @256 kbps and @320 kbps but most probably I can tell it with a spectrum analyzer which is my working tool.
Lame cut the spectrum at 20 kHz when works at fixed 320 kbps and at 19 kHz, ignoring parameters --lowpass or -k if they work at all, when -V0 is used - it is for sure.
And finally, if you use -ms instead of -mj Lame adds ~60 kbps in VBR mode of compression.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: Synthetic Soul on 2008-08-02 06:52:10
One more thing though, If you guys tried to explain your points to me a bit more nicely I may have believed you, but to me you all just sounded like angry nerds. 
If you didn't - even now - continue to use patronising name-calling then perhaps I may give a damn.  It's taken days from your initial post for you to actually take our advice.  Kudos for doing so, but I for one am still pissed with the effort that had to go into this thread to get a sensible post from you.

Sorry for being an angry nerd, but we see this too many times; you're not a special case: just another noob wasting my time.

Maybe I shouldn't post so early in the morning...
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: Bodhi on 2008-08-02 07:36:45
you're not a special case


Maybe we should just highlight the fact that he is one rare noob to decide to go through an ABX test.

Maybe I shouldn't post so early in the morning...


Indeed, he is the one who "pays" for the others.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: Synthetic Soul on 2008-08-02 07:59:23
Maybe we should just highlight the fact that he is one rare noob to decide to go through an ABX test.
I think others have done that more than enough before me. 

 
Indeed, he is the one who "pays" for the others.
I don't remember previous noobs being so uninformed and patronising all at the same time.  He needs a little humility in order for me to care whether he is educated or not.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: Bodhi on 2008-08-02 08:15:37
I don't remember previous noobs being so uninformed and patronising all at the same time.

Well, that's for sure...
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: Alexxander on 2008-08-02 09:01:21
...
I think from now on I'll stick to 256-320 kbps VBR's as an absolute max, and I'll usually just use 256 CBR.
I might do some more tests.
...

Using CBR below 320 kbps is not a good choice, you can get better quality by using VBR or ABR. If you want to control de resulting filesize use ABR. For a start try ABXing ABR 200 kbps files, you will see how hard or possibly impossible it is to match tracks. Depending on result you can go up or down in bitrate.

If you like the challenge try to ABX VBR -V4, with good ears you might be able to distinguish the tracks after some training. Like most abilities you can improve them by training.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: j7n on 2008-08-02 09:26:18
In comment to the very first post:

I'd use 320 kBit/s MP3 in case when absolutely best possible quality is required, but lossless or hybrid formats are unavailable, or would cause confusion. Archival is definitely not a use for high bitrate lossy. Possible application could be a radio retranslator in a LAN.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: sld on 2008-08-02 09:32:29
If you didn't - even now - continue to use patronising name-calling then perhaps I may give a damn.  It's taken days from your initial post for you to actually take our advice.  Kudos for doing so, but I for one am still pissed with the effort that had to go into this thread to get a sensible post from you.

Sorry for being an angry nerd, but we see this too many times; you're not a special case: just another noob wasting my time.

Maybe I shouldn't post so early in the morning...

Whoa there, yes it's too early in the morning for you.

There's a small community of us here who know how to deal with audio objectively. That means there are many others out there who do not give audio the scientific treatment it deserves. When they come to HA.org they are definitely going to bring in their old mindsets and prejudices. Give them a chance; look, our patience in this thread has paid off already.

And Jake, CBR is old-fashioned and outdated. Use VBR if you want quality, the technology has matured a few years back. Sorry for being the 5th or so guy to repeat this. Perhaps this is baggage from Fraunhofer or r3mix, but 256 and 320 are no longer magic numbers. In contrast, 128 is still a magic number.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: JAKE196 on 2008-08-05 03:01:15
Synthetic Soul,

I knew I shouldn't have said that last remark, don't take it seriously.

Your right, if you've seen this many times before you have the right to be annoyed.


Anyway I've done some more tests now and I've found out the following:

I can't tell the difference between 256 CBR and 320 kbps. (took two tests and failed) (fair enough)

I can't tell the difference between 224 CBR and 256 CBR. (took a test and failed) (hmm. . . )

I can tell the difference between a VBR averaging 235 and a VBR averaging 277 kbps. (took a test and got 11/12)

Weird how I can tell the difference between 235 VBR and 277 VBR, yet not between 224 CBR and 256 CBR.

I might use VBR's averaging a bit higher than 256 just to be on the safe side, I've got enough memory to fit my library 3 or 4 times over anyway. I'm sure 320 kbps is overkill now, but I'm still a bit skeptical about VBR's at averages a bit below 256. I might also try ABR's around 272. . .

I'm a bit OCD about some things.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: timcupery on 2008-08-05 05:16:26
Jake, I'm just reading over this thread and was thinking how nicely and patiently people were treating you and hoping you'd take to it. Glad you did. I remember before I tried ABX-ing I would do blind tests on Winamp playing two tracks back-to-back on repeat so I didn't remember which one I was on, and seeing if I could tell any differences. ABX makes blind testing a lot easier.

One thing for you: I wouldn't recommend comparing 256 to 320 or 224 to 256 etc. as you report in your most recent post.
Rather, I assume what you're really interested in is, at what quality level of encoding can you tell a difference from the original (pre-encoding) .wav file?

So, you should compare 256 to the wav file, and 224 to the wav file, and see at what level you can start to notice differences.

Or better yet, compare Lame -V4 to the original wav file, and if you can tell differences there, try -V3, and if you can tell diffs there, try -V2, etc.
People have strongly made the case (and correctly) that you should use VBR encoding with Lame's -V settings.

There is really no reason anymore to use CBR encoding. It used to be that certain players had problems decoding VBR or didn't correctly display the time-length of a VBR file, but those days are past.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: kornchild2002 on 2008-08-05 06:15:50
It is nice that you are conducting blind ABX tests but you are still doing them wrong.  You should compare a lossless file to a lossy one.  You should also use the different presets (ie -V values) that Lame offers.  Start off with something low such as -V 6 or -V 5 and ABX it against the lossless file.  If you hear a difference, move onto the next higher -V value.  Do this until you fail your ABX test.

There is no reason to start at such high bitrates.  You also must compare to the source lossless file.  Never compare two lossy files directly unless one lossy file is a source and you transcoded to a lower bitrate (or different format).  Being able to hear a difference between 235kbps VBR and 277kbps VBR (what -V settings where those?) means nothing other than you were able to hear a difference.  It doesn't signify which one was better as both are lossy files.  Using a lossless file and being able to hear a difference means that you were able to pick out the lossless file as being better than the lossy.  Being able to hear two different lossy files means nothing as you don't know which file had the better sound quality, you just know that you could hear a difference between the two.  For all you know the 235kbps VBR file could have produced better results than the higher bitrate one (it has been known to happen).

So start off with a lossless file and transcode it down to -V 6 or -V 5 using Lame mp3.  ABX the lossless and lossy file.  Fail the test and you know that -V 6 or -V 5 would be perfectly fine for you.  Pass the test and you know that  you need to go higher.  No offense but it seems that you are still a little stubborn when it comes to using lower bitrate files.  I am giving up now unless you start off with lower bitrate files and compare them to lossless ones.  So feel free to post back if you do that.  Otherwise, enjoy yourself.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: Soap on 2008-08-05 12:30:21
Using a lossless file and being able to hear a difference means that you were able to pick out the lossless file as being better than the lossy.

I agree with you throughout this thread, but feel I must be pedantic on this one.

A successful ABX test does not mean he finds the lossless sounds better than the lossy.  It means he finds the lossless sounds distinguishably different than the lossy.  Nothing more.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: timcupery on 2008-08-05 14:13:16
I agree with you throughout this thread, but feel I must be pedantic on this one.

A successful ABX test does not mean he finds the lossless sounds better than the lossy.  It means he finds the lossless sounds distinguishably different than the lossy.  Nothing more.

This is technically true. But for most people, the point of lossy compression is to sound indistinguishable to the original, but at a much lower bitrate.
So you're right, ABX testing means being able to hear a difference, not being able to hear which one sounds better. But if we assume the whole point of the endeavor is that the lossy sounds like the lossless, the lossy sounding unlike the lossless is worse.

[you're probably on the same page with me here, now that I think about your vs. kornchild's phrasing more carefully, but I figured this is worth elucidating]
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: Soap on 2008-08-05 15:51:27
[you're probably on the same page with me here, now that I think about your vs. kornchild's phrasing more carefully, but I figured this is worth elucidating]

Yes I am, I had just come back to clarify my position but you replied first.
I was just trying to be absolutely clear for our self-professed "noob" original poster that ABX testing determines differences, not quality.  That quality is subjective and something determined by personal preference. 

Clearly in the case of lossless vs lossy there is an ability to ABX (lack of) transparency (and therefore a reasonable claim of "better"), but in the case of lossy vs lossy better is completely subjective.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: JAKE196 on 2008-08-06 03:11:17
Am I doing ABX tests the wrong way? Well this is the first time I've done any, someone should have told me.

I don't think comparing .mp3's to .wav's would work because I can always tell between them simply by listening to the cymbals. cymbals often sound like a jingly mess on mp3's but they sound good on .wav's.

. . . I guess that's because the frequency cutoff, before I decided to use mp3's I also tried AAC files with frequency cutoff's at 18khz, 20khz, etc. The cymbals on those files sounded better, but I decided the higher frequency cutoff wasn't worth the extra memory because the difference wasn't that big. Then I eventually decided to stick to mp3's because the frequency cutoff doesn't really effect the music that much. (cymbals, pffft)

I know there has been numerous debates about frequency stuff in the past, and i don't want to start another one, but also note that I am under 20 which means i should be able to hear higher frequencies than middle aged people. (I've at least done my homework on this one) (yay wiki) (also, you know those annoying ring tones that only young ppl can hear? Well if your old you don't, but yeah.)

I have tried comparing lower bitrate files and higher ones and i can tell the difference. . . I don't think comparing mp3's to .wav files would help much. I guess I'll try it just to make sure though, I will compare a 320 kbps mp3 (just to be safe) and a .wav file and see if I can beat an ABX test.

And of course remember that I have so much memory I can use slightly overkill bitrates if i want.    I'm not going to use 320 kbps any more but i might as well use the highest bitrate for which I can tell the difference between lower ones. If quality is subjective like one of you said, I'll use the highest bitrates I deem fit, ABX tests or not.

Seriously, I got almost 8 gigs and the player wasn't even that expensive. Cheaper than those dam ipods, and better sound output. My Library isn't that big either.

You guys aren't going to convince me to use a lot lower bitrates, but I appreciate the continued input.

. . . and one more time, sorry, I guess you guys were fairly patient considering I was rambling on about something that isn't true. I was quite ignorant.

And all right, I get the point, CBR isn't as good as VBR, I knew that. But it isn't terrible.

That's all my thoughts.

Damn, that has to be one of the longest posts I've ever made on a forum. top 5.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: lesswire on 2008-08-06 03:25:20
Quote
I don't think comparing .mp3's to .wav's would work because I can always tell between them simply by listening to the cymbals.


If you can always tell the difference between the lossless and lossy files you should post your ABX results here because you could help LAME developers improving it. As mentioned before, statements here are worthless if you can't back them up.

Cheers
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: greynol on 2008-08-06 03:44:01
For the record, I believe JAKE196.  His ability to determine high-bitrate lossy encodings from one another was enough for me.

Let's assume I cannot ABX 320 from lossless for a given sample, we can conclude that for that sample 320 is transparent for me.  If I were to test -V5 against 320 of that same sample it would be no different than if I were to test -V5 from the lossless version of that same sample.  Let's also say that I cannot ABX -V0 or -V2 the original.  It is perfectly acceptable to conclude that I cannot ABX -V0 from -V2.  If I were able to ABX -V0 from -V2, then it is safe to say that I would be able to ABX at least one of these from the original, if not both.

Anyhow, this pretty much sums it up...
note that I am under 20

Jake, if you have the time post your logs to shut these guys up, please do.  It would be great to post some 30 second clips as well.  Mp3directcut may be a useful tool if you're posting mp3 clips, though I think people usually like a clip of the lossless original to convert themselves.

Also, as has been said already, please stick around and perform some listening tests on behalf of the developers.  Sebastian Mares (http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showuser=6613) is a good person to contact.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: kornchild2002 on 2008-08-06 03:47:17
Am I doing ABX tests the wrong way? Well this is the first time I've done any, someone should have told me.


We were told that someone was helping you with your ABX tests.  How were we to know that they didn't tell you (or maybe they did but you just didn't see) how to properly set them up.

I don't think comparing .mp3's to .wav's would work because I can always tell between them simply by listening to the cymbals. cymbals often sound like a jingly mess on mp3's but they sound good on .wav's.


I said it before and I say it again: placebo, placebo, placebo, placebo, placebo!  Switching back and forth between tracks is NOT a good way to judge audio quality.  The whole point of ABX tests are to compare lossless with lossy tracks.  Otherwise we shouldn't even take ABX tests and just use lossless for everything.

. . . I guess that's because the frequency cutoff, before I decided to use mp3's I also tried AAC files with frequency cutoff's at 18khz, 20khz, etc. The cymbals on those files sounded better, but I decided the higher frequency cutoff wasn't worth the extra memory because the difference wasn't that big. Then I eventually decided to stick to mp3's because the frequency cutoff doesn't really effect the music that much. (cymbals, pffft)


The "decrease" in sound quality that you are hearing cannot be justified unless you perform ABX tests.  Again, your comments are meaningless unless you have your ABX tests to back them up.

I know there has been numerous debates about frequency stuff in the past, and i don't want to start another one, but also note that I am under 20 which means i should be able to hear higher frequencies than middle aged people. (I've at least done my homework on this one) (yay wiki) (also, you know those annoying ring tones that only young ppl can hear? Well if your old you don't, but yeah.)


There is actually a difference between hearing a certain frequency and hearing a certain frequency while playing music.  Hell, I can hear certain tones up to the extent of the human ear but, when those tones are playing inside of a song, I can't hear them at all.

I have tried comparing lower bitrate files and higher ones and i can tell the difference. . . I don't think comparing mp3's to .wav files would help much. I guess I'll try it just to make sure though, I will compare a 320 kbps mp3 (just to be safe) and a .wav file and see if I can beat an ABX test.


I have said it before and I will say it again: placebo, placebo, placebo, placebo, placebo!

And of course remember that I have so much memory I can use slightly overkill bitrates if i want.    I'm not going to use 320 kbps any more but i might as well use the highest bitrate for which I can tell the difference between lower ones. If quality is subjective like one of you said, I'll use the highest bitrates I deem fit, ABX tests or not.


Again, you don't compare lossy formats directly to lossy formats like that.  You compare a lossless file to lossy files.  You can use the highest bitrate that you want.  We are just trying to show you the light, take the blindfold off your eyes, and let you know that you don't need to keep using these 256kbps+ bitrates that you keep insisting on using.


Seriously, I got almost 8 gigs and the player wasn't even that expensive. Cheaper than those dam ipods, and better sound output. My Library isn't that big either.

You guys aren't going to convince me to use a lot lower bitrates, but I appreciate the continued input.

. . . and one more time, sorry, I guess you guys were fairly patient considering I was rambling on about something that isn't true. I was quite ignorant.

And all right, I get the point, CBR isn't as good as VBR, I knew that. But it isn't terrible.

That's all my thoughts.

Damn, that has to be one of the longest posts I've ever made on a forum. top 5.


You know what?  I don't even know why I bother.  I am sorry but if I knew that this was going to be your end response then I just would have told you to bugger off (no, I am not English) from the very get go.  There have been so many people here on these forums trying to help you and many of them are experienced.  You then take their experience, spit on it, and throw it in the garbage.  The whole point of blind ABX tests are to determine the right lossy encoder and setting for your ears.  You keep insisting that you must use high bitrates even though you can't hear a difference.  Why?  What is the point to carrying around 256kbps+ music if you can't hear the difference between 128kbps files and the source lossless ones?  That is like buying a car and only driving it at speeds of 100 mph or higher.  Again, don't take anything the wrong way but you have all this experience and advice about this topic and you continue to ignore it.  Why?

timecupery and Soap, you are both right.  I was a little simplistic in my wording though as I didn't want to complicate things for Jake.  But yes, all an ABX test does it tell if you can hear a difference or not, it doesn't give you any notion of sound quality.  That being said, not being able to hear the difference between a lossy file and lossless file means that to you, the lossy file produces the same perceptual sound quality.  This is just looking at ABX tests from a basic standpoint.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: Tahnru on 2008-08-06 04:20:23
Am I doing ABX tests the wrong way? Well this is the first time I've done any, someone should have told me.

From what I have seen, you aren't doing them the wrong way.  An ABX test is conducted to determine whether or not a difference can be reliably detected between two files.  The important thing to keep in mind with ABX tests, is what your test hypothesis is.

If your aim is to test whether or not you can tell the difference between two differing bitrate MP3's, then you use 2 differing bitrate MP3's.  To determine if you can tell a difference between a lossless copy of the original and a particular bitrate MP3, you use those two files as your test material.

I don't think comparing .mp3's to .wav's would work because I can always tell between them simply by listening to the cymbals. cymbals often sound like a jingly mess on mp3's but they sound good on .wav's.

Noted above by Greynol, you would do us a great favor to generate a battery of tests and post the results.  For example, grab a 30 second clip of your choosing in a self-ripped lossless format, and test it against different bitrate MP3's encoded with LAME.  Post the results here for collaboration with the developers.

I have tried comparing lower bitrate files and higher ones and i can tell the difference. . . I don't think comparing mp3's to .wav files would help much. I guess I'll try it just to make sure though, I will compare a 320 kbps mp3 (just to be safe) and a .wav file and see if I can beat an ABX test.

You're not trying to beat an ABX test.  Don't take an ABX test personally - the test is set up to provide you with evidence.  Collect and interpret, young scientist!

That's all my thoughts.

Damn, that has to be one of the longest posts I've ever made on a forum. top 5.

Long posts are fun!
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: timcupery on 2008-08-06 04:31:17
I don't think comparing .mp3's to .wav's would work because I can always tell between them simply by listening to the cymbals. cymbals often sound like a jingly mess on mp3's but they sound good on .wav's.

You're very confident on this. And I'm not ready to write you off yet.
But remember how confident you were before that it was easy for you to tell differences - and then you couldn't tell the difference when you took an ABX test?
Well, just to say with kornchild, it wouldn't surprise me if that happens again. Greynol may be right that you actually ARE hearing differences and could reproduce them in a blind-test environment. And if so, you and your ears would be very valuable to this forum. Though if I were to bet, my money would be with kornchild, and you only THINK you're hearing differences.

Anyway, it's not a matter of comparing mp3's to wav's "not working" because you can easily hear a difference in the cymbals. If you can easily hear this difference, then the test will simply show that you ACTUALLY CAN hear the difference. Which would be useful information.
Just remember, if you make a statement about how well you can hear something - back it up. Give evidence. People will get tired of you pretty quickly around here if they have to remind you to provide ABX results every time you say you can hear a difference. Lots of smart and knowledgeable people have taken time to try to explain stuff to you in this thread. Don't be hardheaded about it. (for example, CBR "isn't bad" - it's true - but that doesn't mean there's any reason to use it instead of using VBR)

Good luck. I'm interested to hear just how good your ears actually are.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: Tahnru on 2008-08-06 04:47:59

Am I doing ABX tests the wrong way? Well this is the first time I've done any, someone should have told me.


We were told that someone was helping you with your ABX tests.  How were we to know that they didn't tell you (or maybe they did but you just didn't see) how to properly set them up.


I was the one helping Jake with his initial setup of the ABX test.  His initial goal was to conduct a test to determine whether or not he could tell the difference between a 320 kbps CBR mp3 and a lower-bitrate VBR MP3.  I would invite you to explain what was wrong with his methodolgy, given this test objective.

The whole point of ABX tests are to compare lossless with lossy tracks.  Otherwise we shouldn't even take ABX tests and just use lossless for everything.

This is a mistake.  The point of an ABX test on audio files is to determine whether or not a difference can be identified between the two samples.  The collected evidence must then be correctly interpreted for what it is.  There is NO requirement that the samples be lossless versus lossy.

ABX tests can also be used to tell the difference between speaker cables, power cables, and a host of other things that may affect sensory stimuli.  Please read for more information. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ABX_test)

And of course remember that I have so much memory I can use slightly overkill bitrates if i want.    I'm not going to use 320 kbps any more but i might as well use the highest bitrate for which I can tell the difference between lower ones. If quality is subjective like one of you said, I'll use the highest bitrates I deem fit, ABX tests or not.


Again, you don't compare lossy formats directly to lossy formats like that.  You compare a lossless file to lossy files.  You can use the highest bitrate that you want.  We are just trying to show you the light, take the blindfold off your eyes, and let you know that you don't need to keep using these 256kbps+ bitrates that you keep insisting on using.


Again, why not?  We are here to educate on proper ABX test methodology.  We aren't here to "show the light" or "unblindfold" anyone.  Once someone learns to properly collect and present evidence to back up any factual claims they make, they have what they need to constructively participate here.

-Rob
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: timcupery on 2008-08-06 05:07:18
Rob - I'd agree with you in technicalities.
But the main point of ABX testing in the context of HA is to see which encodes are distinguishable from the original. Since, presumably, the thing we're all aiming for is indistinguishibility from the original.
Now, I'd agree with you that if someone can tell a difference between 320 CBR and 128 CBR, it's pretty safe to assume that the 320 is closer to the original (so long as they're from the same or similar encoder, at least).

But figuring out which encodes can be differentiated from the original is closer to the point, even if not closer to the original question that Jake asked which started this thread.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: Tahnru on 2008-08-06 05:28:49
As far as the context for HA is concerned, I am in total agreement.

However, presentation methodology has been sorely lacking at times in this thread.  In this case where we have a willing student like Jake, it seems to me that telling him that he is wrong and that his methodology is wrong WITHOUT understanding what his original test was trying to achieve and without fully understanding ABX testing in general, is BAD teaching.  (apologies for the run-on sentence)

Proceeding then to imply that he should "bugger off", without attempting to pose a new question and to explain why the new question is more valid than the old one, adds nothing to the discussion.

First, you learn the technique to measure your test of a hypothesis and interpret the results.  Later, you learn how to ask increasingly meaningful questions.

-Rob
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: shadowking on 2008-08-06 05:46:27
I'd like to know what these differences are in cymbals - subtle,  annoying etc.. You say mp3 cymbals sound like a mess. What does 18-20k lowpass have to do with it ? cymbals swoosh comes much earlier than even 16 k

I am interested in seeing abx logs for V5 and ratings out of 5, then for V4..V3.. V2 if V5 is indeed a crappy mess. And good abx logs too like < 3 % pval. So crappy V5 should give 8/8 abx on any cymbal sample.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: kornchild2002 on 2008-08-06 06:41:26
Rob - I'd agree with you in technicalities.
But the main point of ABX testing in the context of HA is to see which encodes are distinguishable from the original. Since, presumably, the thing we're all aiming for is indistinguishibility from the original.
Now, I'd agree with you that if someone can tell a difference between 320 CBR and 128 CBR, it's pretty safe to assume that the 320 is closer to the original (so long as they're from the same or similar encoder, at least).

But figuring out which encodes can be differentiated from the original is closer to the point, even if not closer to the original question that Jake asked which started this thread.


That is my whole point and I guess I shouldn't have come off so negative.  I just get frustrated that we have someone come on here and tell us that the sky is green when we say that the sky is blue and then tell them to run some tests.  They do run some tests but still come back with the notion that the sky is green.

Part of my problem when comparing directly between lossy formats is that one cannot tell which was closer to the actual lossless file.  There have been some cases (I would be happy to point them out and even provide a sample out of my library) where a -V 2 encoded Lame mp3 actually did better than a -V 0 Lame mp3.  I am not sure what caused the problem but I could hear the artifact more easily at -V 0 than -V 2 and no, the artifact is not in the lossless song.  So I myself could take an ABX test with said song, distinguish between the two lossy files, but then that means nothing as theoretically the -V 2 file should produce the better results.  That is why I prefer and preach ABXing between lossy and lossless formats.  That way one can easily narrow down the proper encoder, format, and setting rather than comparing two lossy formats and making some educated guesses.

Oh, as for my bugger off comment, it was provoked from Jake's comment of "You guys aren't going to convince me to use a lot lower bitrates..."  That right there leads me to believe that Jake is still using the 256kbps or 320kbps mindset even though he is being told otherwise and we are asking for tests.  So, to me, we keep telling Jake that the sky is blue or feel free to prove us wrong with tests, Jake performs some tests, says that the sky is blue-ish, and then makes comments like the above which entirely regress what we are saying.

So I am in agreement with shadowking here as I want to see some ABX logs for -V 5, -V 4, -V 3, -V 2, and -V 0.  Jake might be able to hear the difference between those files and the source lossless one.  The point is that no one can truly know until they conduct a blind ABX test and from the sound of it, Jake won't be doing that as they use bitrates below their unestablished standard.

That is all I am trying to say and I am sorry if I came off negative.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: Synthetic Soul on 2008-08-06 07:41:54
I don't think comparing .mp3's to .wav's would work because I can always tell between them simply by listening to the cymbals. cymbals often sound like a jingly mess on mp3's but they sound good on .wav's.
Quote
...you do it to yourself, just you; you and no-one else...
You're setting yourself up for a TOS #8 warning here again.  For us to continue we really are going to need to see ABX results.

Given your previous misconceptions I am surpised at such a statement.  I agree wholeheartedly with shadowking, that you should provide ABX results from tests of various VBR quality levels, and even 320 CBR, given the generalistion (you can tell the difference between any MP3 and a lossless source?).  Thankfully, I believe that you are interested enough in the subject to perform these tests, and honest enough to post accurate results (as you have proved).

note that I am under 20
No shit.

My Library isn't that big either.
My wife always tells me that size doesn't matter.

For the record, I believe JAKE196. His ability to determine high-bitrate lossy encodings from one another was enough for me.
I agree.  He obviously has good hearing and could be a really useful member of the community, if he stops violating TOS #8 and is willing to have an open mind.  However, if anyone states that they can tell a difference between (by inference, 320 CBR) MP3 and WAVE we must see ABX results.  Them's the rules.

I would dearly love to see JAKE196 post ABX results of lossless/lossy tests, achieve spiritual enlightenment, start wearing a mu'umu'u, and become an active member in the Listening Tests forum.  As I am a huge fan of irony I would then, months down the line, love to see him posting in threads like these, batting for the other side.

I miss Guru too BTW.  I wonder if Gabs still hears from him.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: smok3 on 2008-08-06 08:12:28
Quote
note that I am under 20

i belive ~ 25 is the age when hearing ability starts to drop, so welcome aboard.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: shadowking on 2008-08-06 08:36:43
I think i've just about read enough of this messy cymbals, HF  lowpass, i am young stuff on the net over the years. Even if its true I think its nothing to brag about . If normal masking which works on most people doesn't for you its NOT a good sign of ear health.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: JAKE196 on 2008-08-06 23:25:20
I think i've just about read enough of this messy cymbals, HF  lowpass, i am young stuff on the net over the years. Even if its true I think its nothing to brag about . If normal masking which works on most people doesn't for you its NOT a good sign of ear health.


I'm not bragging! Not what I meant to sound like!  >_>

If anything it's a bad thing because it effects how much i enjoy mp3's, which is mainly what I listen to. . .
------------------------------------------------------
So many mixed replies!!! OK, from now on I won't make a single post about something without ABX test support, and I'll try to document exactly what I did, I should have done that in the first place like Tahnru said. I won't post again until I do a lot more tests involving lossy vs. lossless and lossy vs. lossy.


It could take a while. . . . I'll be back. . .
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: Slipstreem on 2008-08-07 04:21:54
Good man! Nobody here is trying to tell you what to think. We're just advising you on what not to assume. Awaiting your ABX results eagerly.

Cheers, Slipstreem. 
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: Synthetic Soul on 2008-08-07 09:18:23
So many mixed replies!!!
Yes, it is a shame that the issue has been clouded slightly; this whole thread is pretty fubar, but that's what always happens with TOS #8 violations.  However there is really only one thing that you need to remember here: you've made a claim, you need to back it up.  The more test data you can provide the happier we'll be.

OK, from now on I won't make a single post about something without ABX test support ...
I have never posted results of an ABX test in my life.  You just have to remember: if you state that you can hear a difference between one encoding and another you must be prepared to post results of an ABX to prove it.  If you don't want to create FUD then really you should have performed the test before making such claims, to ensure confidence in your claim.  TOS #8 is there to combat FUD, caused by members posting claims that simply are not true.

... and I'll try to document exactly what I did, I should have done that in the first place like Tahnru said. I won't post again until I do a lot more tests involving lossy vs. lossless and lossy vs. lossy.
Good man.  Looking forward to it.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: JAKE196 on 2008-08-08 21:25:47
Well I've done some more tests and I was surprised, high-ish bitrate mp3's are harder to tell from .wav files than I thought. Thats a very good thing. I was wrong again though. doh.

Them ABX tests are hard.

I don't have any important conclusive tests worth posting, sorry to disappoint. So I didn't document anything.

There was this one test were I got  the first 10 trials right right when comparing a really high VBR file and a 320 kbps file. But after that I failed and passed 50/50 so in the end the results were no good. Maybe I just have no patience. I was comparing lossy to lossy anyway so I guess it wouldn't count even if I did get good results.

One day I'll probably switch to lower bitrate VBR mp3's after I do some more extensive tests, but for now I'm kind of sick of tests. I'm still half convinced that if you are looking for the best quality possible and you have no access to lossless formats, 320 kbps might be reasonable overkill.

I can't be bothered to do any more tests right now because summer break is almost over and I have books to read, the Olympics to watch and beaches to go to and junk. I don't have access to this computer every day either.

If and when I do some more tests, if I get any interesting results I'll be sure to post them on here and document everything. I won't claim anything, I'll just say here is some results from an ABX test.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: kornchild2002 on 2008-08-08 23:14:16
One day I'll probably switch to lower bitrate VBR mp3's after I do some more extensive tests, but for now I'm kind of sick of tests. I'm still half convinced that if you are looking for the best quality possible and you have no access to lossless formats, 320 kbps might be reasonable overkill


Thank you, thank you, thank you.  That is all I wanted to hear from you.  I wanted to hear that you would test lower bitrate files.  You don't have to use lower bitrate files but I think that you should at least test them given the quality of the Lame mp3 encoder.  I am sorry but that one comment of "You guys aren't going to convince me to use a lot lower bitrates..." just rubbed me the wrong way.  We weren't trying to convince you to use lower bitrate files.  We were only trying to get you to look at the possibility of using them.  In other words, we wanted you to test the lower bitrate files.

You might want to re-think that "I'm still half convinced" statement.  It is true that 320kbps is the highest bitrate that the Lame mp3 encoder can offer without going into the free format range.  Technically speaking, the mp3 format can encode at bitrates of up to 600kbps but those files won't be compatible with any portable players (at least the ones that I know of) and software playback will be slim to none as well.  Having the highest bitrate does not always mean the best quality.  It is often thought that -V 0 can produce the same perceptual results as 320kbps.  That means that one can have the same quality as 320kbps with file sizes that are much lower.  Of course your mileage will vary.  Still, I think you should get that "320kbps is the best" mentality out of your head as it is only going to cloud  your judgment.  When it comes to lossy encoding, it is always better to have an open mind and not be influenced by any of these age old arguments.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: digital_music on 2008-08-09 00:14:43
Hi, am interested in the general discussion you are having on high bitrate mp3s.
I have discovered through experimentation since 2002/3 that a higher bitrate does improve the sound quality, using LAME (all versions) and outboard Hi-fi amp/headphones.
The actual audio is 'closer' to the original CD.
In fact, taking advantage of the '--athlower' setting you can increase the amount of audio you can hear, by moving the absolute threshold of hearing below that of which has been set by the algorithms.
By using V0 and Q1 (and for an ultimate quality - Q0) the file quality is very good, with no audible artifacts and using Metal tracks with complex passages and other - pop dance punk newage synth etc.
Being middle age, I cannot hear above 16khz myself and give an HF rolloff  at 16k5Hz (it may affect cymbals and other transients)
I do find it important, however, to actually enjoy the music once encoded!
So the settings I use are :-  (LAME 3.97)
-b 128 -m j -V 0 -B 320 -F --lowpass 18.8 --lowpass-width 3 -q 0 --athlower 12
and have never had any problems.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: Slipstreem on 2008-08-09 02:58:44
Another person who thinks he knows better than the devs and the guys who've helped to road-test LAME over many years! I'm getting very close to giving up now.

Cheers, Slipstreem. 
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: lesswire on 2008-08-09 04:08:06
Quote
The actual audio is 'closer' to the original CD.


By closer do you mean you can absolutely distinguish a high bitrate mp3 from the lossless source? Have you done any ABX tests?

Quote
So the settings I use are :- (LAME 3.97)
-b 128 -m j -V 0 -B 320 -F --lowpass 18.8 --lowpass-width 3 -q 0 --athlower 12


Instead of this complicated command line why don't you just use the V settings? I'm not by any means a Lame expert but the experts here will tell you to simply stick to the V settings instead of this crazy line you have come up with.

Cheers
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: carpman on 2008-08-09 04:22:39
-b 128 -m j -V 0 -B 320 -F --lowpass 18.8 --lowpass-width 3 -q 0 --athlower 12

Yeah, but wow! Doesn't it look impressive!   

C.

"Often, mud gives the illusion of depth"
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: slimserver on 2008-08-09 06:12:06
From following this thread I went ahead and did an ABX test myself with 4 tracks from my favorite artists. I started with a FLAC and a transcoded LAME 3.98 V5. Using my cherry picked tracks, I thought I would be able to easily pick the V5 but I could not. I actually got pretty upset when I could not tell the difference between A and B. Now I wonder if LAME V5 is that impressive or is my hearing nowhere near as good as I thought it was. I used to use V2 for my portables now I have switched to V4.
Thanks to those who've contributed to this thread. My opinion and use of lower bit rates has positively changed.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: Synthetic Soul on 2008-08-09 08:36:03
Hi, am interested in the general discussion you are having on high bitrate mp3s.
Yet you appear to have ignored all the warnings that were made to JAKE196.

I have discovered through experimentation since 2002/3 that a higher bitrate does improve the sound quality, using LAME (all versions) and outboard Hi-fi amp/headphones.
The actual audio is 'closer' to the original CD.
There is obviously some logic in saying that higher bitrate means better quality; however this is not necessarily the case, and certainly becomes untrue the higher the bitrate.

In fact, taking advantage of the '--athlower' setting you can increase the amount of audio you can hear, by moving the absolute threshold of hearing below that of which has been set by the algorithms.
By using V0 and Q1 (and for an ultimate quality - Q0) the file quality is very good, with no audible artifacts and using Metal tracks with complex passages and other - pop dance punk newage synth etc.
Being middle age, I cannot hear above 16khz myself and give an HF rolloff at 16k5Hz (it may affect cymbals and other transients)
I do find it important, however, to actually enjoy the music once encoded!
So the settings I use are :- (LAME 3.97)
-b 128 -m j -V 0 -B 320 -F --lowpass 18.8 --lowpass-width 3 -q 0 --athlower 12
and have never had any problems.
We've already had a report of trolling, and I can't help but think it may be right.  Posting a command line like this in such a thread is like sneaking up behind a calmed bull and flicking his testes.

To conclude: Where is the proof to your claims?  ABX?

Thanks to those who've contributed to this thread. My opinion and use of lower bit rates has positively changed.
At least some use has come from this thread. Have you purchased a mu'umu'u yet?
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: mr budzone on 2008-08-09 11:07:10
From following this thread I went ahead and did an ABX test myself with 4 tracks from my favorite artists. I started with a FLAC and a transcoded LAME 3.98 V5. Using my cherry picked tracks, I thought I would be able to easily pick the V5 but I could not. I actually got pretty upset when I could not tell the difference between A and B. Now I wonder if LAME V5 is that impressive or is my hearing nowhere near as good as I thought it was. I used to use V2 for my portables now I have switched to V4.
Thanks to those who've contributed to this thread. My opinion and use of lower bit rates has positively changed.


Welcome to the club man! =)
When I tried out the latest 64kbps test on HA I got kinda blown away since the high anchor (Im kinda certain it was itunes aac 96kbps) could not be distinguished for me on any track from the original. I mostly use V 5 for my portable nowadays and V 4 for the stereo @ home.

digital_music is either a troll or unable to read the previous text in this thread.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: DonP on 2008-12-11 15:26:45
I think i've just about read enough of this messy cymbals, HF  lowpass, i am young stuff on the net over the years. Even if its true I think its nothing to brag about . If normal masking which works on most people doesn't for you its NOT a good sign of ear health.


Being able to hear high frequencies is a different issue than masking.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: xSerpentx on 2008-12-13 01:39:27
I always stay away from 320, you never know what it's encoded with.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: Synthetic Soul on 2008-12-13 08:54:51
I always stay away from 320, you never know what it's encoded with.
Unless you encode it yourself.

If you are concerned about legal downloads from stores I am sure that you could easily find out.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: bwat47 on 2009-02-21 15:08:57
320 kb/s mp3s are a total waste of space.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: kwanbis on 2009-02-21 19:56:40
This post needs more votes, so it is more representative
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: B7k on 2009-04-14 07:18:47
I have only used Mpeg-1 layer2 (Mp2) @320kbps or AC3 @ 384kbps for my collection of music as for mp3 iv'e used lame @ 192-160kbps vbr it is not bad in my own opinion
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: Rei Murasame on 2009-07-03 21:00:22
I have discovered through experimentation since 2002/3 that a higher bitrate does improve the sound quality, using LAME (all versions) and outboard Hi-fi amp/headphones.
The actual audio is 'closer' to the original CD.
[...]

Being middle age, I cannot hear above 16khz myself and give an HF rolloff  at 16k5Hz (it may affect cymbals and other transients)
[...]

So the settings I use are :-  (LAME 3.97)
-B 320 -F --lowpass 18.8 --lowpass-width 3 -q 0 --athlower 12
Sorry for reviving this thread, but I just couldn't resist, in light of that muddled-looking commandline. Once upon a time I felt the need to start submitting to ABX tests to see if I could actually find any difference between lossless source and 320kbps LAME.

My hearing is pretty decent, and my listening as well, but over the years I've failed to pass an ABX with LAME 320kbps about 100% of the time (which is why I personally never encode at 320). I'm now 23yrs old. I'd be astonished if you were able to tell the difference between the files you're generating with that 'custom' commandline, versus just using just -b 230 by itself - and that's before we even get into asking if 320kbps is overkill or not.


An ABX I took last month:
Code: [Select]
foo_abx 1.3.4 report
foobar2000 v0.9.6.6
2009/06/12 08:57:43

File A: J:\[LonE]_Various_Artists_-_CODE_GEASS_Lelouch_of_the_Rebellion_O.S.T._[w_scans]_(FLAC)\[LonE]_Various_Artists_-_CODE_GEASS_Lelouch_of_the_Rebellion_O.S.T._[w_scans]_(FLAC)\02 Stories.flac
File B: J:\[Nipponsei]_Code_Geass_Hangyaku_no_Lelouch_Original_Soundtrack\02 - Stories.mp3

08:57:43 : Test started.
09:01:59 : 00/01  100.0%
09:02:39 : 00/02  100.0%
09:04:27 : 01/03  87.5%
09:06:57 : 01/04  93.8%
09:09:49 : 02/05  81.3%
09:11:55 : 02/06  89.1%
09:14:23 : 02/07  93.8%
09:15:04 : 03/08  85.5%
09:15:43 : 04/09  74.6%
09:16:27 : 05/10  62.3%
09:17:22 : 06/11  50.0%
09:18:18 : 06/12  61.3%
09:21:59 : 06/13  70.9%
09:22:19 : 07/14  60.5%
09:23:00 : 07/15  69.6%
09:23:31 : 08/16  59.8%
09:24:30 : 09/17  50.0%
13:37:01 : 09/18  59.3%
13:37:57 : 10/19  50.0%
13:39:59 : 11/20  41.2%
13:41:35 : 11/21  50.0%
13:42:36 : 11/22  58.4%
13:44:19 : 12/23  50.0%
13:45:34 : 12/24  58.1%
13:48:39 : 13/25  50.0%
13:51:42 : 14/26  42.3%
13:53:30 : 14/27  50.0%
13:54:19 : 15/28  42.5%
13:55:49 : 15/29  50.0%
13:57:43 : 16/30  42.8%
13:58:29 : 16/31  50.0%
13:59:18 : 16/32  57.0%
14:00:10 : 17/33  50.0%
14:00:50 : 17/34  56.8%
14:02:24 : 17/35  63.2%
14:05:34 : 17/36  69.1%
14:08:54 : 18/37  62.9%
14:09:57 : 19/38  56.4%
14:11:58 : 20/39  50.0%
14:13:09 : 21/40  43.7%
14:14:05 : 22/41  37.8%
14:15:17 : 22/42  43.9%
14:16:24 : 23/43  38.0%
14:17:20 : 23/44  44.0%
14:21:05 : 23/45  50.0%
14:23:18 : 24/46  44.1%
14:24:00 : 24/47  50.0%
14:26:05 : 25/48  44.3%
14:26:26 : 26/49  38.8%
14:26:49 : 26/50  44.4%
14:27:41 : 26/51  50.0%
14:29:36 : Test finished.

 ----------
Total: 26/51 (50.0%)
A 7 hour ABX test of FLAC versus LAME CBR320, which as you can see, I failed spectacularly. You claimed that a high bitrate like that is 'closer' to the original, but I think that it's actually transparent.

Can you show me any ABX test you've taken where you've actually detected a difference?
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: rpp3po on 2009-07-03 21:30:36
Can you show me any ABX test you've taken where you've actually detected a difference?


The Castanets (http://lame.sourceforge.net/quality.php) sample should bring that 'custom' command line to its knees without too much effort...
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: /mnt on 2009-07-03 22:57:19
Can you show me any ABX test you've taken where you've actually detected a difference?


Here's a list of samples that i've successfully ABXed at 320kbps CBR:

PTP - Show Me Your Spine [sample] (dance club track from Robocop) (http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=70598)
Welcome To Drexciya [sample] (http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=72395)
Skinny Puppy - Human Disease [sample] (http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=67882)
eig sample (http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?s=&showtopic=70598&view=findpost&p=622980) (no ABX log, but almost anyone can ABX this at 320)
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: Eli on 2009-07-03 23:07:52
I use lossless (FLAC) for archiving and ABR ~128 mp3 for my lossy files. This is more then good enough for me in most situations in terms of quality, the files are small, and mp3 is compatible with all players. I use ABR because I had some problems with ipods and VBR LAME files.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: gorgekko on 2009-07-04 01:04:03
I use VBR. Back in ye olden dayes when MP3s were new and annual deficits measured in hundreds of billions were considered enormous I used 320 but ABXing later proved that years of Slayer turned my ears into concrete.

I haven't ABXed lately but I wouldn't be surprised if these days I didn't have problems differentiating between 160 and 192.

I wonder whatever happened with Jake and his ABXing.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: Rei Murasame on 2009-07-04 03:19:31
Can you show me any ABX test you've taken where you've actually detected a difference?

Here's a list of samples that i've successfully ABXed at 320kbps CBR:

PTP - Show Me Your Spine [sample] (dance club track from Robocop) (http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=70598)
Welcome To Drexciya [sample] (http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=72395)
Skinny Puppy - Human Disease [sample] (http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=67882)
eig sample (http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?s=&showtopic=70598&view=findpost&p=622980) (no ABX log, but almost anyone can ABX this at 320)
Oh my goodness. Well, let me just say, you've inadvertently put me through quite a lot there! I chose one of those samples at random (the "Show Me Your Spine" sample), and tried to ABX it. I used LAME 3.98 @ 320kbps and went for 50 turns just to be sure.

Code: [Select]
foo_abx 1.3.4 report
foobar2000 v0.9.6.8
2009/07/04 01:28:24

File A: D:\Show_Me_Your_Spine__Sample_.flac
File B: D:\_ Show_Me_Your_Spine__Sample_.mp3

01:28:24 : Test started.
01:30:39 : 01/01  50.0%
01:35:43 : 02/02  25.0%
01:37:57 : 02/03  50.0%
01:41:25 : 03/04  31.3%
01:42:41 : 04/05  18.8%
01:44:22 : 05/06  10.9%
01:47:03 : 06/07  6.3%
01:54:24 : 07/08  3.5%
01:54:58 : 08/09  2.0%
01:56:19 : 09/10  1.1%
01:58:49 : 09/11  3.3%
01:59:16 : 10/12  1.9%
02:03:22 : 11/13  1.1%
02:04:57 : 12/14  0.6%
02:05:28 : 12/15  1.8%
02:07:20 : 13/16  1.1%
02:11:03 : 13/17  2.5%
02:11:53 : 14/18  1.5%
02:12:30 : 15/19  1.0%
02:12:56 : 16/20  0.6%
02:13:26 : 17/21  0.4%
02:13:49 : 17/22  0.8%
02:14:20 : 18/23  0.5%
02:15:16 : 19/24  0.3%
02:16:11 : 19/25  0.7%
02:16:31 : 20/26  0.5%
02:18:32 : 21/27  0.3%
02:18:57 : 22/28  0.2%
02:19:56 : 22/29  0.4%
02:20:44 : 22/30  0.8%
02:22:41 : 23/31  0.5%
02:24:36 : 23/32  1.0%
02:26:08 : 24/33  0.7%
02:26:40 : 25/34  0.5%
02:27:47 : 25/35  0.8%
02:28:50 : 25/36  1.4%
02:29:38 : 25/37  2.4%
02:35:24 : 26/38  1.7%
02:35:47 : 27/39  1.2%
02:37:36 : 28/40  0.8%
02:39:01 : 29/41  0.6%
02:39:46 : 30/42  0.4%
02:40:25 : 31/43  0.3%
02:43:58 : 31/44  0.5%
02:44:14 : 31/45  0.8%
02:44:46 : 32/46  0.6%
02:52:42 : 33/47  0.4%
02:54:04 : 34/48  0.3%
02:55:21 : 35/49  0.2%
02:55:53 : 36/50  0.1%
02:56:14 : Test finished.

 ----------
Total: 36/50 (0.1%)

It's one of those "what? how is this happening?", kind of moments. This evidently is not transparent to me either. I'll have to retract my previous claim after all. 

As an aside, I have to say, /mnt, that the speed at which you arrive at the finish in your tests is seriously, really impressive, it's like you're able to latch onto an anomaly immediately and just find it again and again in rapid succession.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: /mnt on 2009-07-04 12:21:29
It's one of those "what? how is this happening?", kind of moments. This evidently is not transparent to me either. I'll have to retract my previous claim after all. 

As an aside, I have to say, /mnt, that the speed at which you arrive at the finish in your tests is seriously, really impressive, it's like you're able to latch onto an anomaly immediately and just find it again and again in rapid succession.

The Show Me Your Spine sample has a very oblivious precho artifact on first few secends with the third synth drum. Also theres precho all over the place on this track at 320.

Most of those samples do have oblivious atifacts at a certain time i.e 0:05 - 0:08, which i can detect and hear and then ABX to see if there is a real problem. Sadly after passing a lot of ABX tests you can start to hear or just sense artifacts all over the place, at lower bitrates or your prefered bitrate i.e V 2.

Anyway i managed to ABX yet another track from my music collection at 320 CBR:

Code: [Select]
foo_abx 1.3.4 report
foobar2000 v0.9.6.8
2009/07/04 11:58:34

File A: E:\Music\Albums\Skinny Puppy - Too Dark Park\01. Convulsion.flac
File B: C:\Temp\Convulsion b 320.mp3

11:58:34 : Test started.
11:59:24 : 01/01  50.0%
11:59:35 : 02/02  25.0%
11:59:44 : 03/03  12.5%
11:59:55 : 04/04  6.3%
12:00:09 : 05/05  3.1%
12:00:31 : 06/06  1.6%
12:00:54 : 07/07  0.8%
12:01:11 : 08/08  0.4%
12:01:24 : 09/09  0.2%
12:01:33 : 10/10  0.1%
12:01:42 : 10/11  0.6%
12:01:47 : 10/12  1.9%
12:01:56 : 11/13  1.1%
12:02:05 : 12/14  0.6%
12:02:16 : 13/15  0.4%
12:02:25 : 14/16  0.2%
12:02:35 : 15/17  0.1%
12:02:53 : 16/18  0.1%
12:03:01 : 17/19  0.0%
12:03:20 : 18/20  0.0%
12:03:24 : Test finished.

 ----------
Total: 18/20 (0.0%)

Precho on the distortion clipping at 0:04, making it sound louder.

Convulsion sample (http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?act=attach&type=post&id=5079)
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: shadowking on 2009-07-04 16:47:01
320k for transform codecs is too high because wavpack lossy can be transparent with even lower bitrate - Why does a super tuned psymodel need 320k?

I say no more than 250 k for the quality headroom / transcoding stuff . AAC transcodes great @ 220k and even 190k. It typicaly won't need 320k to fight preecho either.

Sometime in the near future AAC 200k is the new 320k mp3. A universaly compatible high quality solution for everything.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: /mnt on 2009-07-04 19:18:16
It typicaly won't need 320k to fight preecho either.

Yeah 320kbps is still useless against major precho artifacts, due to the limitions on the Mp3 codec spec. Which is why i don't bother with higher bitrates and stick to a bitrate or setting that sounds not too bad or transparent most of the time e.g -V 2 or 192 CBR (with Joint Stereo).

Sometime in the near future AAC 200k is the new 320k mp3. A universaly compatible high quality solution for everything.


IMO Nero AAC at q 0.55 (~200kbps VBR), seems to almost come close or better with LAME V0 on some personal tests i did. Also all those killer samples linked above, that i've ABXed at 320 Mp3 sound alot better on Nero at 0.50 - 0.50, but still ABXable though.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: Rei Murasame on 2009-07-04 20:03:52
Precho on the distortion clipping at 0:04, making it sound louder.

Convulsion sample (http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?act=attach&type=post&id=5079)
Well, this one I seemed to be totally unable to distinguish even though you told me it was there. The clipping sound seemed to be about the same loudness to me on the encode, so I had a lot of difficulty telling it apart.

Code: [Select]
foo_abx 1.3.4 report
foobar2000 v0.9.6.8
2009/07/04 18:58:57

File A: D:\Convulsion__Edit_.flac
File B: D:\_ Convulsion__Edit_.mp3

18:58:57 : Test started.
19:02:19 : 01/01  50.0%
19:02:49 : 02/02  25.0%
19:03:18 : 03/03  12.5%
19:04:14 : 03/04  31.3%
19:04:37 : 03/05  50.0%
19:05:04 : 03/06  65.6%
19:05:35 : 04/07  50.0%
19:05:56 : 05/08  36.3%
19:06:14 : 05/09  50.0%
19:06:28 : 06/10  37.7%
19:06:57 : 07/11  27.4%
19:07:15 : 08/12  19.4%
19:07:38 : 08/13  29.1%
19:07:55 : 08/14  39.5%
19:08:49 : 08/15  50.0%
19:10:11 : 09/16  40.2%
19:10:43 : 10/17  31.5%
19:11:07 : 10/18  40.7%
19:12:21 : 10/19  50.0%
19:12:58 : 10/20  58.8%
19:13:24 : 10/21  66.8%
19:13:35 : 10/22  73.8%
19:13:51 : 11/23  66.1%
19:14:21 : 12/24  58.1%
19:15:09 : 12/25  65.5%
19:15:52 : 13/26  57.7%
19:16:25 : 14/27  50.0%
19:17:40 : 15/28  42.5%
19:18:04 : 16/29  35.6%
19:18:30 : 16/30  42.8%
19:19:04 : 17/31  36.0%
19:19:29 : 18/32  29.8%
19:19:52 : 19/33  24.3%
19:20:47 : 19/34  30.4%
19:21:10 : 20/35  25.0%
19:21:37 : 21/36  20.3%
19:22:28 : 22/37  16.2%
19:23:08 : 22/38  20.9%
19:23:33 : 23/39  16.8%
19:23:57 : 23/40  21.5%
19:24:22 : 24/41  17.4%
19:24:46 : 25/42  14.0%
19:26:09 : 25/43  18.0%
19:26:32 : 26/44  14.6%
19:27:59 : 26/45  18.6%
19:28:53 : 26/46  23.1%
19:29:17 : 26/47  28.0%
19:29:53 : 26/48  33.3%
19:30:23 : 26/49  38.8%
19:30:50 : 26/50  44.4%
19:30:57 : Test finished.

 ----------
Total: 26/50 (44.4%)

Any suggestions on how it could be so elusive? I'm assuming it's just a lack of experience on my part?
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: /mnt on 2009-07-04 20:38:29
Well, this one I seemed to be totally unable to distinguish even though you told me it was there. The clipping sound seemed to be about the same loudness to me on the encode, so I had a lot of difficulty telling it apart.

Any suggestions on how it could be so elusive? I'm assuming it's just a lack of experience on my part?


You have to be very picky and sensitive to precho artifacts on that sample. I have to admit that sample is quite hard to ABX, am surprised i managed to ABX it at 320, with my left ear playing up due to ear wax building up quite bad like it does at every summer, and also not having my headphones on proply to avoid headphone hair.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: Meeko on 2009-12-24 16:08:50
Ugh, no way...320kbps cbr is a waste of space.  My hearing isn't that good to hear any benefit of such a compression ratio.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: SonyHeadphonezRule on 2010-04-08 09:40:49
I did the test and I actually pick the V7 file over V6, V5, V4, V3,...does this mean legal tone deaf?
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: Zarggg on 2010-04-08 17:46:28
No, it means you can fit more music on your device, since you can create smaller encodes!
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: dyneq on 2010-04-08 23:38:51
No, it means you can fit more music on your device, since you can create smaller encodes!


This would only be true if the rest of his/her collection is similar to the tracks he/she tested. Make sure to test using the different styles of music that are representative of your collection.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: JohnnyL on 2012-08-22 04:21:03
Wow.

Even here.

Brilliant.

Maybe you should ask, what is the specifications of the SOURCE recording format from
which the mp3 is derived?

I don't know, you can call me crazy now.

JohnnyL
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: db1989 on 2012-08-22 12:08:37
Even if we wanted to, first we’d need to have the faintest idea of what you’re talking about.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: DonP on 2012-08-22 16:08:25
point would be:

a. to support lazy users which can't download standalone client
(you could make it so that files are loaded depending on GET data), so single clicked link would be all that is required...
example: abx.org/abx.php?file1=http://someplace.org/1.mp3&file2=http://someplace.org/2.mp3
b. to support users which use some other OS
c. somebody with good knowhow could make this probably more secure than offline version could ever be


It would cater to people who, for whatever reason, are not allowed to install programs on the computer they use.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: eahm on 2012-08-22 16:21:54
It would cater to people who, for whatever reason, are not allowed to install programs on the computer they use.

foobar2000 portable works flawlessly.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: greynol on 2012-08-22 16:57:02
Great, now that this thread has been brought back from two-and-a-half-year slumber by a first-time poster who couldn't seem to manage to make a coherent point the rest of you pile-on.

It is clear that the author of the last post didn't even bother to check the context of what was being said before posting, potentially dragging this discussion off-topic.

Do I close it now or will you people exercise a little care before posting?
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: kwanbis on 2012-08-22 17:00:54
Close it.
Title: Anyone else use 320 kbps mp3's?
Post by: greynol on 2012-08-22 17:09:36
You're right; besides, the poll has run its course.
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