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Find out the best quality format

Hello there,
So there is a song which only exists on youtube and soundcloud. I have no clue which one of them is the original upload or if the original upload has been deleted (I think so) so I want to find out which version has the best quality with the least lossy transcodes.
The earliest version is on youtube:

and then there are 2 versions on soundcloud:
The earliest:

And one after that:

So which of those versions is the best? The spectrogram for the youtube version goes higher, but I don't know if this is just some noise.

Re: Find out the best quality format

Reply #1
I suggest listening to them and determine by ear.

Re: Find out the best quality format

Reply #2
See TOS #8.

Yes.   Use your ears.    The spectrogram doesn't tell you everything and it can be misleading.      But since you're asking, I guess you can't hear a difference.  ;)    So, choose one randomly or choose the one with the spectrum you like...

As a rule, the loss of high frequencies is NOT the first thing you hear with lossy compression (assuming you hear any difference at all).    And, if you optimize lossy-compression for "pretty pictures" you can end-up compromising the sound (the part of the sound that you hear).








Re: Find out the best quality format

Reply #3
I suggest listening to them and determine by ear.
See TOS #8.

Yes.   Use your ears.    The spectrogram doesn't tell you everything and it can be misleading.      But since you're asking, I guess you can't hear a difference.  ;)    So, choose one randomly or choose the one with the spectrum you like...

As a rule, the loss of high frequencies is NOT the first thing you hear with lossy compression (assuming you hear any difference at all).    And, if you optimize lossy-compression for "pretty pictures" you can end-up compromising the sound (the part of the sound that you hear).
Well, yeah, I can't hear the difference now but I also don't have the very best headphones and plan to buy good ones in the future (660 s) which are said to make bad quality music audible so I want to get the best file for later ^^ While you can't determine the best quality with spectrograms, I thought you may be able to detect artifacts or something like this in them so you can maybe know that the soundcloud version is a transcode of the youtube version.

Re: Find out the best quality format

Reply #4
Well, yeah, I can't hear the difference now but I also don't have the very best headphones and plan to buy good ones in the future (660 s) which are said to make bad quality music audible

Buying new headphones is very unlikely to change your perception of which file sounds better.

Re: Find out the best quality format

Reply #5
If you're unable to determine the difference now, because you only have a rusty beer can as speaker, just keep both. You can always delete one of them later. I'm sure the extra 5MB or whatever it is, isn't really much of an issue, is it.

They're both lossy anyhow, if one of them was lossless the other lossy, I'd say ditch the lossy one and just keep the lossless file.

Ah, and one quick other thing: Don't be mislead by extra high frequency bands in one of them. That doesn't mean it is the original, or earlier generation file. Some encoders introduce higher frequencies as part of their psychoacoustic normalization. Earlier posters have already mentioned that - I want to reiterate, though.

Re: Find out the best quality format

Reply #6
Personally I think there are two things to worry about when it comes to a codec. Device compatibility and storage space. For example you won't find many players and devices which can't play MP3 files, you might need to use a higher bitrate for the files to get a similar quality as AAC or Opus. Which that is, you need to find out by yourself.

Re: Find out the best quality format

Reply #7
Quote
Well, yeah, I can't hear the difference now but I also don't have the very best headphones and plan to buy good ones in the future (660 s) which are said to make bad quality music audible
That's a common myth.   It's a common belief among "audiophile snobs".   ;)   …"You need $10,000 speakers to appreciate these high-resolution files."  Or, "The MP3s sounded OK in the car, but they sound terrible on my super-expensive home system."   Of course, these guys never do blind listening tests.   

If you can hear a compression artifact on good headphones you can probably hear it on cheap headphones (but you might not hear it on laptop speakers.)      The ability to hear compression artifacts is more related to program material (some sounds are easier to compress than others) and the listener's ability to hear and identify compression artifacts.    And without the uncompressed original to compare, you'll never know if you are hearing a compression artifact or something else. 

If you hear a difference, the one that sounds best on cheap headphones will probably sound best on better headphones.   Usually everything sounds better on better speakers/headphones.  

That's true up to a point...   You can get some very-good headphones in the $200-$300 range and a more expensive pair might not sound better...  You might even prefer the cheaper ones (if you didn't know the price).    Headphones are notoriously difficult to measure, different people hear them differently (because of the way they "interact" with the shape of the ear), and different people have different tastes, preferences, and opinions.   So, I always say choose a pair of headphones that you like (the sound, the comfort, the construction & style, etc.).

Also, the main difference between headphones is frequency response and you can adjust that with EQ.  ;)


Re: Find out the best quality format

Reply #8
Buying new headphones is very unlikely to change your perception of which file sounds better.
Why not? They are like 5 times more expensive than those I have, I expect them to have a much better sound.
If you're unable to determine the difference now, because you only have a rusty beer can as speaker, just keep both. You can always delete one of them later. I'm sure the extra 5MB or whatever it is, isn't really much of an issue, is it.

They're both lossy anyhow, if one of them was lossless the other lossy, I'd say ditch the lossy one and just keep the lossless file.

Ah, and one quick other thing: Don't be mislead by extra high frequency bands in one of them. That doesn't mean it is the original, or earlier generation file. Some encoders introduce higher frequencies as part of their psychoacoustic normalization. Earlier posters have already mentioned that - I want to reiterate, though.

Alright thanks. I just wanted to have it done now so I won't have to remember it.
Personally I think there are two things to worry about when it comes to a codec. Device compatibility and storage space. For example you won't find many players and devices which can't play MP3 files, you might need to use a higher bitrate for the files to get a similar quality as AAC or Opus. Which that is, you need to find out by yourself.
I do not care that much about the codec, I only care about quality. If the quality is better, I would be fine with .wma files laying around :D

That's a common myth.   It's a common belief among "audiophile snobs".   ;)   …"You need $10,000 speakers to appreciate these high-resolution files."  Or, "The MP3s sounded OK in the car, but they sound terrible on my super-expensive home system."   Of course, these guys never do blind listening tests.   

If you can hear a compression artifact on good headphones you can probably hear it on cheap headphones (but you might not hear it on laptop speakers.)      The ability to hear compression artifacts is more related to program material (some sounds are easier to compress than others) and the listener's ability to hear and identify compression artifacts.    And without the uncompressed original to compare, you'll never know if you are hearing a compression artifact or something else. 

If you hear a difference, the one that sounds best on cheap headphones will probably sound best on better headphones.   Usually everything sounds better on better speakers/headphones.  

That's true up to a point...   You can get some very-good headphones in the $200-$300 range and a more expensive pair might not sound better...  You might even prefer the cheaper ones (if you didn't know the price).    Headphones are notoriously difficult to measure, different people hear them differently (because of the way they "interact" with the shape of the ear), and different people have different tastes, preferences, and opinions.   So, I always say choose a pair of headphones that you like (the sound, the comfort, the construction & style, etc.).

Also, the main difference between headphones is frequency response and you can adjust that with EQ.  ;)


Mmh that's interesting. So many sources say that it matters, that good headphones are not worth it if you only listen to low-bitrate audio and so on.. But it's said that with expensive headphones you can hear more details... so those compression artifacts may be in those details which you can hear only with expensive headphones. So you said that "If you hear a difference, the one that sounds best on cheap headphones will probably sound best on better headphones. " but is the inversion really true?

I have some 100€ headphones but I doubt I will prefer them over 450€ headphones if I try them now. Some people say that they prefer the hd 650 over the 660 s but this is also only a 50€ difference.
Quote
Also, the main difference between headphones is frequency response and you can adjust that with EQ
I've heard of things like soundstage which apparently should be better in high end headphones too.

Re: Find out the best quality format

Reply #9
Buying new headphones is very unlikely to change your perception of which file sounds better.

Why not? They are like 5 times more expensive than those I have, I expect them to have a much better sound.

The quality of the headphones you use has very little to do with how transparent the files are to your ears.  Unless one pair of headphones has extreme problems, they shouldn't make any difference with respect to transparency.

It is also a bad idea to assume that more expensive headphones will be better, although they may be :)

Re: Find out the best quality format

Reply #10
@Ookamix don't be so narrowed on price. That's exactly how audiofoolery makes money.

The Sennheiser headphones are nice, I own HD 600's for many years now, and they're still as awesome as back when I got them 16 years ago. Sennheiser has pretty good spare parts supply, which in my case is important. Having said that, a lower-priced pair of headphones doesn't mean they're all that bad. A good example are the Beyerdynamic 880. They're relatively reasonably priced, but are a great pair of headphones. When one pair costs 300 Euros and another 350, it doesn't necessarily mean the more expensive one buys you "50 Euros worth of audio quality".

Re: Find out the best quality format

Reply #11
The first versión is the better one... because does not have a Low Pass Filter, the frecuencies rich up to 20 KHz. The others are cut off at 16 KHz.

I use a cheapers Sennheiser HD 419 with a very good Low Frecuencies... i like to listen... BOOM BOOM and PUUMM PUUMM.. je je.

Re: Find out the best quality format

Reply #12
The first versión is the better one... because does not have a Low Pass Filter, the frecuencies rich up to 20 KHz. The others are cut off at 16 KHz.
Incorrect.

1. The existence of higher frequencies does not necessitate the absence of a low-pass filter at the encoding stage: They might as well be the effects of spectral band replication.

2. The absence of higher frequencies does not equate lower quality. As mentioned above, the better sounding audio might be the low-pass filtered one. Which one it is, is up to the listener. If both files are indistinguishable by an ABX test with low-spec hardware, then it is advisable to either make a decision for one of the two based purely on perceived quality, or to simply keep both.

Re: Find out the best quality format

Reply #13
You have either not read my answer, or completely missed my point.
I'm not making myself understood. I mean the first has the fillest spectogram, up to 20 KHz. They are full of fecuencies. They are not cut off at 16 KHz... but nothing to do talking about of tastes...
"More frequencies" does not mean more information. It might as well be noise introduced by the encoder.

And that's right, the 16 KHz spectogram could sound better in terms of tastes of music, less crispers, sharpen and metalic too. But if i have to choise in term of frecuencies i vote for the first one above...
No. I was pointing out the fact that the absence of higher frequencies like that simply could mean less noise, or less artifacts from a spectral band replication algorithm.
If that's the case, that can only be determined by a listening test.

Re: Find out the best quality format

Reply #14
I'm not making myself understood. I mean the first has the fillest spectogram, up to 20 KHz. They are full of fecuencies. They are not cut off at 16 KHz... but nothing to do talking about of tastes...

And that's right, the 16 KHz spectogram could sound better in terms of tastes of music, less crispers, sharpen and metalic too. But if i have to choise in term of frecuencies i vote for the first one above...
Hm... here you have spectrograms of some mp3 encoded song and then that same mp3 re-encoded to opus. Are you saying that the opus will be better because it has more frequencies?

Re: Find out the best quality format

Reply #15
@danadam this is exactly what I was talking about in my previous posts. Thanks for the example!

Re: Find out the best quality format

Reply #16
Yeah, Opus includes frequencies you probably can't hear anyway. That will improve everything I'm sure.

Re: Find out the best quality format

Reply #17
Quote
I've heard of things like soundstage which apparently should be better in high end headphones too.
I've heard of that too, but I'm skeptical...  

The "soundstage" is (obviously) an illusion and it depends on the listener (and the recording).    I don't hear a soundstage with headphones.   I hear hard-panned sounds coming directly into my ear and centered sounds seem to come from somewhere around my forehead.   So to me, "headphones sound like headphones".  

I've never heard of any scientific studies or scientific explanation of what characteristics make a good or bad soundstage.    I just read non-scientific reviews that say "good soundstage" or "bad soundstage".    I assume the reviewer is trying  to be honest, but these listening tests are never blind or controlled or scientific in any way...     The more expensive headphones always seem to "sound better", and sometimes in magical ways that can't be expressed using scientific or engineering terminology.  

Some headphone listeners like blend the left & right channels so that hard-panned sounds are not "injected" directly into one ear or the other.  (But that's done in electronics or software.  It's not characteristic of the headphones.)

The frequency response/EQ can have some effect on apparent sound location.  It's one of the "tricks" they use to get apparent surround sound in headphones.     But, I've tried Dolby Headphone with a 5.1 channel test-DVD and I didn't perceive rear-channel sounds as coming from behind me.   (Dolby doesn't claim it will, but apparently it does work for some listeners.)

Re: Find out the best quality format

Reply #18
I would reccomend one of the soundcloud ones, as it probably were transcoded less times.

The youtube version probably went like: orignal(mp3) converted to aac on video export, AND THEN converted to opus on youtube(or aac/vorbis again if watched on a incompatible devide). Opus may be a great codec, but you can't keep the same quality when converting from another lossy format multiple times.

The soundcloud one may look inferior for being a 128kb/s mp3, but it probably turns out better because it suffered less from lossy processes.

If still on doubt, an ABX test is reccomended.

Re: Find out the best quality format

Reply #19
Info about file? Is it song? Concert?.. Which one?..

 
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