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General question about lossy vs lossless

I know I'm throwing something very subjective out there, but how many people would you say are able to tell the difference between lossless and a good lossy format? I had heard the number 10% at some point, just curious. Thanks.

General question about lossy vs lossless

Reply #1
I know I'm throwing something very subjective out there, but how many people would you say are able to tell the difference between lossless and a good lossy format? I had heard the number 10% at some point, just curious. Thanks.

This depends heavily on the lossy codec and the chosen quality setting.

With an extremely high quality lossy codec like lossyWAV --standard or --extreme (+ FLAC or TAK or wvPack) or wvPack lossy (all at a bitrate of ~500 kbps) chance is close to 0% that anybody can hear an issue on whatever track.
With lossyWAV or wvPack lossy demanding for absolute transparency (that is not being able to differentiate from the original) makes sense.

With the more common codecs like mp3, AAC, Vorbis, MPC with a good encoder and with a quality setting which yields an average bitrate of roughly 200 kbps or more usually everything is alright for everybody.
There are exceptions to this with certain spots on certain tracks, especially with mp3, and with some of these exceptions it doesn't take golden ears to hear the differences from the original. These exceptions are called problem samples. The higher the bitrate the more are these issues negligible usually.
With mp3, AAC, Vorbis, MPC, etc. it's more appropriate demanding that usually the results are transparent, but allowing for non-annoying exceptions. Indivual demands here vary, that's why in the latest Lame mp3 usage poll most users prefered a quality setting which yields ~190 kbps, followed up by those who prefer quality leading to ~240 kbps, again followed up by a still significantly large group prefering a quality yielding ~130 kbps.
lame3995o -Q1.7
opus --bitrate 140

General question about lossy vs lossless

Reply #2
Personally, I am unable to distinguish wave from my v1 lame encoded mp3s. I scored 5/13 on my ABX test in foobar, which means I was basically guessing and unable to distinguish the difference.

 
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