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why does the file sound better

Looking over the internet and across forums, [reading articles from to 2000 to date] everybody has testified  and are of the opnion that converting from mp3 to wave makes no difference, just a larger file size.

Here's my dilemna, i have a few files that were converted to mp3 160cbr using lame, 3.998 years ago, i then converted the files from mp3 to wave using dbpoweramp 15r recently, wave settings 'wave' uncompressed 16bit(cd) , channels (2 stereo cd), 44,1khz. the results were interesting.

I compared the wave track to it's mp3 equivalent, and straight away i noticed that the wave track sounded louder, and the drums and snares sounded better, like the wave container, was adding a slight reverb and gain to the same track. The track illustrated no compresssion had taken place, [as duly understood].

I looked at the spectral analysis using spek, and the was no change in the waveforms between the mp3 file and wave file, i was looking at the frequency cut-off and amplitude.

I tested both tracks using headphones and speakers, with no eq, at the same volume, and when i clicked on the wave file, it would instantly be louder than the mp3 and sound better.

It may be in the mind, but was wondering if some people who have a similair  set up could test and publish results. please don't reply with the rhetoric, which is banded over the internet, it will sound worse, actually do the test and post findings.

I also found that going from lame v0 To wave made virtually no difference to the sound quality and gain, and whatever you do after going from mp3 to wave, do not try going to flac, as the quality does deteriorate.

The last note is i used r&b, slow jams and something more uptempto, old skool funk and soul 80's, rock 'bowie' as samples, also about another 14 more tracks, over the last two weeks, taking breaks during lsitening.



Re: why does the file sound better

Reply #1
It's well known that such a test can show WAV to be louder. If you are on Windows newer than XP and use a player that outputs floating point, lossy formats like MP3 can hit the built-in limiter and see quite a bit of amplitude reduction. 16-bit WAV has all the peaks clipped off and won't be affected. But WAV container doesn't add reverb and FLAC doesn't deteriorate quality.

Re: why does the file sound better

Reply #2
Test with fbk2 using Replaygain and ... ?
Memento: this is Hydrogenaudio. Do not assume good faith.

Re: why does the file sound better

Reply #3
I have added and mp3 and wav as an sample,

Re. Case " FLAC doesn't deteriorate quality"

I was refering to the practice from going from mp3 to wave and then that wave file to flac. as i done in this experiement.

I tried the foobar replay gain, as was suggested on the mp3 and it does not have the same polish.

Moderation: Tracks removed per TOS #9.  Please read the rules you agreed to follow upon registering.  This includes TOS #8

Re: why does the file sound better

Reply #4
The MP3 has peaks a bit over 2 dB above full scale. If you play it at maximum volume it will be over 2 dB quieter for the most parts for example in foobar2000.

Re: why does the file sound better

Reply #5
TOS Hydrogenaudio Terms of Service / Notices

TOS 8. All members that put forth a statement concerning subjective sound quality, must -- to the best of their ability -- provide objective support for their claims.  Acceptable means of support are double blind listening tests (ABX or ABC/HR) demonstrating that the member can discern a difference perceptually, together with a test sample to allow others to reproduce their findings.  Graphs, non-blind listening tests, waveform difference comparisons, and so on, are not acceptable means of providing support.
-> 8.

Hydrogenaudio is supposed to be an objectively minded community that relies on double-blind testing and relevant methods of comparison in discussion about sound quality. The usual "audiophile" speak of non-audio related terms which are completely subjective and open to redefinition on a whim, are useless for any sort of progression in discussion.

This rule is the very core of Hydrogenaudio, so it is very important that you follow it.

Here is a discussion explaining why
Subjective vs Objective opinions

You can read how to easily perform double blind listening tests here :
What is a blind ABX test ?
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

Re: why does the file sound better

Reply #6
I was refering to the practice from going from mp3 to wave and then that wave file to flac. as i done in this experiement.
How did you conduct said experiment?

Going from mp3 to wave is no different than going from mp3 to flac.  There is absolutely no quality loss when going from wave to flac.
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

Re: why does the file sound better

Reply #7
I understand going from mp3 to wav is no different than going from mp3 to flac, if you use dbpoweramp, right click your mp3 file [cbr 160 was used] and click on convert, then using the drop down menu, select wave, add in the info i suggested, as a recap,  uncompressed 16bit(cd) , channels (2 stereo cd), 44,1khz.

Once the process is finished [converting] , if i check the file 'hover over using mouse, a window appears showing the track info.

mp3 track will say compressed 89%; - this is source which was ripped from a cd, years back
flac will say 36% compressed
whereas wave say 0 compressed

Now if i convert from mp3 to flac, if i understand correctly the compression on the source will still take place, 'like winzip', the source in this case is mp3, whereas mp3 to wav there is no compression and sounds like the the file has been eq slightly.

As i listen back to the track, i can hear the slight difference between the flac and wave track, as i hone in on the drums, snares and HH [ using my ears], the wave track is slightly brighter, giving better defintion to the instruments.

I picked a host of files ranging from rock, funk & soul and r&b, i also used spek to check the track, all the tracks still illustrated 160kps cbr around 16khz cut off.

Put the tracks on usb stick plugged then into my music rig,  and listened to them, paying attention to the dums, synth, and and other instruments.





Re: why does the file sound better

Reply #8
Quote
Now if i convert from mp3 to flac, if i understand correctly the compression on the source will still take place, 'like winzip', the source in this case is mp3, whereas mp3 to wav there is no compression and sounds like the the file has been eq slightly.

No, you're misunderstanding.  Output is identical in both cases.

Quote
As i listen back to the track, i can hear the slight difference between the flac and wave track, as i hone in on the drums, snares and HH [ using my ears], the wave track is slightly brighter, giving better defintion to the instruments.

Are the output PCM samples actually any different?  If they are, something is going wrong, your software is performing extra processing, etc.  If you do it correctly, the output is identical.

Re: why does the file sound better

Reply #9
mp3 track will say compressed 89%
flac will say 36% compressed
whereas wave say 0 compressed
This is all about file size and nothing about quality.

[using my ears]
Your ears have clearly deceived you.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Placebo

Quote
TOS 8. All members that put forth a statement concerning subjective sound quality, must -- to the best of their ability -- provide objective support for their claims.  Acceptable means of support are double blind listening tests (ABX or ABC/HR) demonstrating that the member can discern a difference perceptually, together with a test sample to allow others to reproduce their findings.  non-blind listening tests [...] are not acceptable
Quote
You can read how to easily perform double blind listening tests here :
What is a blind ABX test ?
https://www.foobar2000.org/
https://www.foobar2000.org/components/view/foo_abx

As it stands your anecdotal evidence of what you hear is useless.

As was mentioned, peaks in mp3 files can go above 0 dBFS.  Insofar as to whether your operating system is limiting the mp3 file, this will need to be taken into account in order to perform an apples to apples to comparison.  However, peaks from mp3 files exceeding 0dBFS will result in wave files that will reach 0dBFS which can and likely will be limited as well.
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

Re: why does the file sound better

Reply #10
Quote
Now if i convert from mp3 to flac, if i understand correctly the compression on the source will still take place, 'like winzip', the source in this case is mp3, whereas mp3 to wav there is no compression and sounds like the the file has been eq slightly.

At the very least, you seem to be confusing types of compression. Lossy compression such as used in creating a MP3 file by using a Psycho Acoustic Model to remove bits of audio that are likely to not be missed. [simplistic explanation].

Lossless compression - flac - as you referenced "like winzip' that removes 0 information and upon decoding is the same audio file as your wav file.

And your results, as others have tried to explain to you, is simply a possible difference in volume [perceived by most humans as better sound], something broken in what you are doing, or delusional, placebo thinking.

Continuing to tell us that you listen carefully and there are differences is pointless. Take the time to learn to volume level match your files and do a ABX test and report back.   Foobar2000 would be an easy and acceptable program to used for double blink ABX test.


Re: why does the file sound better

Reply #11
Guess i was wrong, thanx for the replies, message and tips, understood......

The end .....

Re: why does the file sound better

Reply #12
If you were to tell me that you could discern 160kbit mp3 from the original source, I'd believe you.  An ABX test should be performed, but 160kbit mp3 is commonly accepted as non-transparent.

If you're experiencing a large jump in volume from mp3 to wave then the issue will likely be caused by the mp3 containing replaygain data and the player using this data, whereas the level correction was not employed when the wave file was played back.  This could either be that the replaygain data was discarded during the conversion or was maintained as a RIFF chunk in the wav file which was not used by the player.  It could instead/also be limiting by the OS, but I seriously doubt it.  The existence of replaygain data in the mp3 file can be determined with a proper tag editor such as mp3tag or foobar2000.  If you use foobar2000 for playback and/or conversion you can elect whether not to use this data.  I can't speak for dbpoweramp.

It's also possible, that converting mp3 to flac will retain replaygain data, which would likely mean the playback level between the two won't change.  However, it seems like the differences you're describing do not include the same change in level, in which case it's simply placebo effect.  Decoding mp3 results in the exact same audio data regardless of whether the destination format is flac or wave.

While it might feel insulting to be told you're imagining differences, placebo effect/expectation bias is quite normal.

Without a proper ABX log and audio samples (which don't exceed 30 seconds in order to help address copyright infringement) we can't really know what is really happening.
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

 
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