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I tried WinABX. I am troubled...

I finished ripping about 90 CDs which I plan to host on a seperate
server.

My initial plan was to compress all the CDs using FLAC.  I like the
idea of lossless compression.  I fear the use of a lossy compression
tool like LAME, OGG or MPC because I know that in a year or so a
better lossy codec will appear that fixes something.  Knowing how anal
I am, I know I will want to re-rip everything and re-compress with the
new tool.  It took me a week to rip 90 CDs so I would like to not have
to re-rip to often.

Yesterday, just for the fun of it, I downloaded some test samples from
here, and I made some myself with my own music.  I encoded all the
WAVs to LAME aps, OGG q6 and MPC q5.  I used WinABX to check whether I
could tell the original WAVs from their compressed form.  Most of the
time, I couldn't.  I couldn't tell LAME aps from the original even for
stuff like castanets.wav, c44.wav, etc.  The only test sample I could
tell most of the time was the beginning of the song "La petite fille
de la mer" from Vangelis (from his "Themes" album).  There was some,
huh, wobbling at the beggining.  My girlfriend could ABX it about 50%
of the time.  I couldn't do better than ~30%.

My test equipment is:

soundcard: extremelly cheap & integrated sound card in a Dell OptiPlex
GX260.

speakers: Koss PortaPro headphones.

Am I unable to tell the difference because of my cheap equipment?

Right now, I don't know what to do... I am VERY tempted to go for a
lossy codec (I can't tell LAME aps from MPC q5 so... I guess any would
do).

Am I just plain deaf or my ears are not trained to pick-up artifacts,
or... ??

I tried WinABX. I am troubled...

Reply #1
Quote
I like the idea of lossless compression.  I fear the use of a lossy compression tool like LAME, OGG or MPC because I know that in a year or so a better lossy codec will appear that fixes something.

[...]

Right now, I don't know what to do...

I think the Warm Fuzzy Feeling is what you're looking for.  It's actually a waste of disk space, but something in the way of MPC --quality 7 sounds right for you. It's far smaller than lossless, and although I consider it to be just as "transparent" as --quality 6 or even 5, it will probably make you feel better.

I tried WinABX. I am troubled...

Reply #2
c44 sounds like garbage even with --alt preset insane to me  Try tihat one again.

Try it at --alt preset CBR 96, then go from that. I find it easier to tell artifacts if I hear it at low quality first.

I tried WinABX. I am troubled...

Reply #3
First, try ABX course here: http://www.pcabx.com/training/index.htm
I hate to send people to FAQ, but...

edit:
LAME aps is very hard to detect on normal samples
problem ones are relatively easy to ABX given some training

My equipment isn't that superb:
SBLive! Value (old) kX drivers 3531
Old Hi-Fi amp and speakers (most probably you wouldn't recognize the brand,
changed plugs and modified tone controls)
Modified studio Thompson headphones (replaced drivers with much better ones)
ruxvilti'a

I tried WinABX. I am troubled...

Reply #4
well aps was designed to be transparent on the majority of samples, so don't feel bad

I tried WinABX. I am troubled...

Reply #5
Quote
huh, wobbling at the beggining.  My girlfriend could ABX it about 50%
of the time.  I couldn't do better than ~30%.

...


Right now, I don't know what to do... I am VERY tempted to go for a
lossy codec (I can't tell LAME aps from MPC q5 so... I guess any would
do).

Am I just plain deaf or my ears are not trained to pick-up artifacts,
or... ??

Picking correctly 50% of the time is exactly zero correlation.  If you pick correctly 30% or less over
a large number of trials, that is actually a negative correlation which means that you can tell
the difference at some level, but can't get it down on the mouse click.

My personal plan in general is to keep lossless files for things that are inconvenient to replace,
like digitized LP's that need manual track naming and maybe manual touchup on clicks.

I tried WinABX. I am troubled...

Reply #6
Problem is with increased cd copy protection, any of my cds are inconvienient to replace!

I tried WinABX. I am troubled...

Reply #7
Maybe you can help me.  When using winabx, how do you get the A file to be a 'wav' and the B file a mp3 file.  The program asks me to load in two 'wav' files.  I want to compare a wav file to a mp3 file, not two 'wav' files.  How do I do that?  Thanks.

I tried WinABX. I am troubled...

Reply #8
Quote
Maybe you can help me.  When using winabx, how do you get the A file to be a 'wav' and the B file a mp3 file.  The program asks me to load in two 'wav' files.  I want to compare a wav file to a mp3 file, not two 'wav' files.  How do I do that?  Thanks.

Convert the MP3 to a WAV and compare it to the original WAV. It won't make a quality difference.

I tried WinABX. I am troubled...

Reply #9
Quote
Quote
Maybe you can help me.  When using winabx, how do you get the A file to be a 'wav' and the B file a mp3 file.  The program asks me to load in two 'wav' files.  I want to compare a wav file to a mp3 file, not two 'wav' files.  How do I do that?  Thanks.

Convert the MP3 to a WAV and compare it to the original WAV. It won't make a quality difference.

If I makee the compressed mp3 file a 'wav' file then aern't I comparing two wav files.  I want to see if I can hear a difference between the compressed mp3 file and the 'wav' file.  How am I thinking wrong?  thanks.

I tried WinABX. I am troubled...

Reply #10
Quote
If I makee the compressed mp3 file a 'wav' file then aern't I comparing two wav files.  I want to see if I can hear a difference between the compressed mp3 file and the 'wav' file.  How am I thinking wrong?  thanks.

The wav file which was converted from mp3 will still have all the artifacts which were introduced
by the encoder.  You ae comparing 2 files of the same format, but the contents won't be the same.

I tried WinABX. I am troubled...

Reply #11
The process of converting to WAV is lossless, so when you do:

Source.wav --> LAME aps --> Source_mp3.mp3 --> any old MP3 decoder --> Source_mp3.wav

You can ABX Source.wav against Source_mp3.wav, and any difference you can detect will be due to the LAME step.

For the gear I listen on, and the sources I listen to, --alt-preset standard is perfectly fine, as is MPC --quality 5. When I want more accurate I usually just take a cd over to the good stereo, and that's where lossless really comes in handy. When I make a CD to listen to on good gear, I like to use lossless, because while I can't hear a difference through my PC, I certainly can in my car.

I tried WinABX. I am troubled...

Reply #12
I got the ABX program to work.  I underestand it now. I've been comparing mp3 and wma encoded files to the original wave file.  I personally can't hear a difference between wma at 128 and the CD most of the time.  I guess wrong about half.  Likewise, MP3 at normal VBR I can't really hear a difference as I guess wrong about half the time.  I think both of these codecs are fine for me.  I suppose there are better ones but when I can't tell the difference half the time I guess it doesn't matter if another codec is better or not.  I have to choose between wma or mp3.  They are both great.  My tendancy is to go with the WMA codec because the files are smaller at 128 than the MP3 is at normal vbr.

I tried WinABX. I am troubled...

Reply #13
Quote
I fear the use of a lossy compression tool like LAME, OGG or MPC

--One hell of a lot of people do, too.  99% of the time, these fears are unfounded, once some real blind testing is done.

What you've got in this community is a gathering of 6000 people from all hypothetical corners of this planet, out of the 6000 million people on this planet.

Every person here is one in a million, and I reckon only half of us can tell the difference between WAV and APS.

Definately no need to feel bad

I tried WinABX. I am troubled...

Reply #14
Don't feel bad about not being able to hear the difference - you're not supposed to!

If you look at the thread samples where aps or ape has a problem you'll find that there are only a few. Half of these were fixed with -Z.

Of those which still cause a problem for aps -Z, awe32_20sec is the most obvious to me. The vangelis sample is another one where there is still a small problem - ditto the Fugue sample. There are a couple of others listed in that thread where I can't hear a problem, but some people can.


And then there's another million hours of audio where aps has been used as no one has ever heard a problem  - I think you see my point.

Cheers,
David.

 
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