Old 9th September 2003, 06:41   #1
isamu
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What is a compressed "Wave file"?

I heard somebody mention that they would rather listen to compressed waves files rather than mp3s. He basically said compressed waves are the same size as mp3s but without ANY loss of quality whatsoever. Can anyone tell me if this is true? And what are the benefits of listening to compressed waves? Are they as clear as the original full size wave file?
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Old 9th September 2003, 08:56   #2
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There are lossless codecs that make it possible to reduce the size of wave files while keeping the original quality (hence the term lossless compression).
The most popular is Monkey's Audio, but there is also FLAC, LPAC, Shorten and some others...
The advantage is that every single bit of the original file is kept.
The drawback is that the compression rate is average at best (about 1/3rd of the original file at most). Considering that a mp3 compressed at about 200 kbps is virtually equivalent to audio cd quality, lossless compression is overkill unless you're an audiophile who is very anal about quality
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Old 9th September 2003, 21:21   #3
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Old 10th September 2003, 00:37   #4
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Anal what?...

Oh, nevermind.


Compressed wav files? Just stick a wav file into a zip archive. Presto! j/k
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Old 10th September 2003, 00:40   #5
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I thought that wav's were uncompressed! Hmmm

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Old 10th September 2003, 01:19   #6
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Wav files are uncompressed. You can compress a wav file in several different ways, but when you do, it's no longer a wav file (unless you shtuff it in a zip archive like I said).
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Old 10th September 2003, 01:37   #7
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WRONG!!! A .wav file is a container, it can have many different types of audio data streams in it; some compressed, some not. The most common type of audio data in a wav container is raw PCM, which is pure uncompressed audio. The most common compressed wav would be in ADPCM format. ADPCM is a non-psycoacoustic form of compression, which means it simply adds quantisization noise uniformly to the audio track, instead of trying to mask this noise. If you are not very sensitive to background hiss, or if you are very sensitive to pre and/or post echo, this type of compression may be right for you, although WavPack lossy (hybrid mode) would be a far better choice than ADPCM for compression. Note: although most mp3 files you see floating around p2p networks suck, they can be encoded well. LAME 3.90.3 with the command line options --alt-preset standard should be indistinguishable from the uncompressed wav for most people, on most samples.

Note: If you want to use WavPack as a lossy format (like mp3) just delete the .wvc files it gives you, when using hybrid mode, and keep only the .wv files.
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Old 10th September 2003, 01:41   #8
isamu
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Quote:
Originally posted by Twilightseer
There are lossless codecs that make it possible to reduce the size of wave files while keeping the original quality (hence the term lossless compression).
The most popular is Monkey's Audio, but there is also FLAC, LPAC, Shorten and some others...
The advantage is that every single bit of the original file is kept.
The drawback is that the compression rate is average at best (about 1/3rd of the original file at most). Considering that a mp3 compressed at about 200 kbps is virtually equivalent to audio cd quality, lossless compression is overkill unless you're an audiophile who is very anal about quality
Twilightseer...thank you very much for the response. I do not consider myself anal about sound quality, as I practically grew up on 8 tracks and cassettes. But I can tell you in all frankness, that I can hear the differences between mp3s and CDs, even mp3s I've decoded using Lame and VBR at the highest setting! I've encoded over 2500 mp3s using EAC and play them usually through my Nomad Jukebox. The songs sound acceptable, but upon switching to the same song directly off my CD player, I can instantly tell the difference! Now, it *MAY* be that the sound quality from my Nomad Jukebox is shit, but I doubt that's the issue.

I don't underastand how so people came to the agreement that mp3s, even encoded at 256k or at a high VBR sounds as good or clear as the original CD. WAKE UP peoople!!! You've been duped! There is, and will always be a noticeable difference!

That is the reason I'm so interested in using compressed waves! It's not overkill to me. If I can compress a wave at even half the size of the original and keep it "lossless" that would be fine. A 200gig HD could hold thousands of waves at that compression.

Bottomline...quality>>>space!
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Old 10th September 2003, 01:49   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by isamu
I don't underastand how so people came to the agreement that mp3s, even encoded at 256k or at a high VBR sounds as good or clear as the original CD. WAKE UP peoople!!! You've been duped! There is, and will always be a noticeable difference!
Sounds like you should join HydrogenAudio .

If you want the best quality out of mp3 possible, see my last post. You can also use --alt-preset extreme and --alt-preset insane, although the difference in filesize is quite large and the gain in quality is almost negligible.

If you think you can hear the difference between --alt-preset standard and the origonal go to HydrogenAudio and read up on ABX. This is the only way to prove that you are not falling victim to a placebo.
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Old 10th September 2003, 03:07   #10
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Quote:
WRONG!!! A .wav file is a container, it can have many different types of audio data streams in it; some compressed, some not. The most common type of audio data in a wav container is raw PCM, which is pure uncompressed audio.
Well, for the sake of the discussion, let's just assume that I was suggesting that the wav files are uncompressed PCM... as compared to other compressed files such as mp3. Ok?
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Old 10th September 2003, 05:24   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by sgtfuzzbubble99
Well, for the sake of the discussion, let's just assume that I was suggesting that the wav files are uncompressed PCM... as compared to other compressed files such as mp3. Ok?
I know thats what you were suggesting, but the fact remains wav files CAN contain compressed audio data.
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Old 11th September 2003, 00:43   #12
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You're right, they can... but how many people put compressed data into wav files? I certainly don't.

I'm sure that whenever someone else on these forums mentions a wav file, they're talking about uncompressed audio. Let's keep it simple.
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Old 12th September 2003, 02:50   #13
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I'm here!!! :lol:

Sorry for the delayed response guys!

WOW this forum is busier than I thought. I'm glad it isn't dead here like a few other forums I belong to

Anyway I wanted to respond to many questions people had but I can't remember all of them so I'll make some points...


First of all I must clarify...the majority of my CDs were encoded using Lame @ aps, while some using ape. I'd say about 75% aps/30% ape. I do kinda notice that ape sounds better than aps.

I would describe the difference as this: mp3s coming out of my Nomad sound good but the sound doesn't quite burst out at you the way the music from my CDs do. I listen mainly to 80's British alternative rock...Depeche Mode, The Smiths, The Cure, U2, theThe, etc. Let's take How Soon is Now by The Smiths for example. The opening, coming off my nomad sounds kinda flat, kinda muffled. The same opening off my 15yr old Sony D-555 discman comes off as clear and punchy! It appears to have more depth. It's not as hollow sounding. Not a HUUUGE difference but a noticeable one.

My equipment...I am running both players through my Yamaha RV-X77 receiver using a pair of professional grade Sony CD-555 headphones. I wouldn't say I can hear artifacs, but there just seems to be a kinda muffley, not as punchy aspect when listening from my Nomad.

However, I am starting to suspect you guys are right...I am starting to think it's the quality of the Nomad instead of the mp3. I used to somtimes listen to my music off my PC via Winamp, running from my soundblaster soundcard to and through the exact same receiver and wasn't too bothered by the quality. So you may have a point.

The thing is, I have already encoded 95% of my 400 disc collection thinking I would be satisfied with the sound. I would hate to have to re-encode them all over again since, from my experience, the process of encoding mp3s isn't as fast as I'd like it to be(what's your average?). Ripping just to waves would be a whole lot faster, since it only takes a few seconds per song, as opposed to an average of 5-15 minutes to encode to mp3.

I have NEVER of abx testing before. And I'm a little hesitant to try it at this point, since I've read some encouraging replies in this thread that is making me think twice about giving up on mp3s.

You know what's strange though? I don't know if it's just me, but it seems that the few mp3s I encoded at full 320k(non vbr) bitrate sound better than the ones I encoded using VBR. Is it possible that a constant, non VBR mp3 encoded at a steady 320k sounds clearer than one that *was* encoded using VBR? I mean, now that I thinka about it, I remember encoded my first CD last year, my best of Oingo Boingo CD at 320 constant bitrate using CDEX and being very pleased with the sound quality.

I also noticed that for some reason, the songs I encoded using CDEX(I *think* that's what it's called) appear to sound slightly clearer than ones I encoded using EAC. Could it be possible that out of these three variables, one of them is causing me to notice the difference between CD and mp3? Could a constant 320K encoded song actually sound better than a VBR encoded one? Could VBR be overrated? Could CDEX be better than EAC? Or could my nomad simply be shit and I'd be better off getting an iPod?

Hmm...feel free to cast your opinions/flames/advice/ whatever
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Old 12th September 2003, 05:01   #14
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320KBPS is gonna sound better than a VBR because its 320KBPS! aka huge files. VBR files can vary in how they are created. There is kind of like a quality setting. Low quality will result in lower size shitty quality files where as high quality will encode your mp3 using the upper echelons of the bitrate spectrum. Different people have different prefernces for VBR quality.

You can also compress your audio using other lossy formats like mp3. For example ogg vorbis is good and is supported by winamp. aac is good too, thats what they use for mac's itunes and its based off the mpeg4 standard.

*Lossless* compression formats for sound result in larger files (10 or more MB per song as opposed to mp3's average of 4MB per song). A few examples of lossless compression are Monkey Audio which has a plugin for winamp and i think Flac.

Or you can be cool like me and listen to uncompressed waves of all your songs

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Old 13th September 2003, 02:03   #15
isamu
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Quote:
Originally posted by whiteflip


Or you can be cool like me and listen to uncompressed waves of all your songs
Thanks for the resply whiteflip. Can you explain your reasons for listening to your collection via waves instead of mp3? I'm just trying to gauge your rationale on your decision to do so.

Also, can you speculate on how many wave files, each one an average of say, 5 mintues long, can fit onto a 100gig HD?
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Old 13th September 2003, 04:40   #16
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Because I have terraquads of data storage space on iso linear chips

(I use OGG to compress my ripped cd's using a quality level 4 i think. It results in files that hover around 132kbps or something. I think they sound awesome so I use it.)

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Old 13th September 2003, 04:46   #17
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Old 27th January 2004, 19:46   #18
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So you're saying that without a doubt an mp3 encoded at 320kbps absolutely positively sounds just as good as the uncompressed WAVE? If I do indeed suffer from placebo, how can I get rid of the biasness?

And are there terabyte hard drives out there for sale?
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Old 28th January 2004, 02:45   #19
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An mp3 compressed to 320kbps is almost an exact reproduction of the original uncompressed file. The mp3 format, by its nature, is a lossy format. So no matter what bit-rating you compress it to, it's going to lose quality. But at 320kbps, the loss of quality is negligible. I don't know of anyone with ears good enough to tell the difference between a 320kbps mp3 and it's original counterpart.
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Old 28th January 2004, 09:00   #20
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the thought of having mp3s at 320kbps throws me off. such big files and still loss of data. why not just go flac at that point.

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Old 28th January 2004, 09:19   #21
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I am not a phreaking audiophile, but I have ripped all my CDS (150) into 320kbps MP3s - using CDex - and as said before, the quility drop is almoust inaudible. (OK, 70% of my music is HARDCORE-PUNK-ROCK, so it's hard to tell, but I am satisfied with the quality) So If you have a big HDD, the why not "go 320kbps"?

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Old 28th January 2004, 12:47   #22
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Guys 4 kreissake the key word is in every one of your posts...."almost"...ALMOST!!! Well, almost doesn't cut it in my book. That's saying The Lakers almost won the championship last year. Well, they almost won but they didn't. So saying something like "the quility drop is almoust inaudible" falls on deaf ears. The fact remains there *is* a quality loss and that can't be disputed. I listen to alot of rock also, but I also listen to a lot orchestrated anime and videogame sountracks too and with those, there can't afford to be a loss in quality or else you're likely gonna notice it.

Oh and this just in...I just read an article saying that ABX testing doesn't work because it's bias towards lossless quality.
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Old 28th January 2004, 16:13   #23
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I'd like to be a die-hard audiophile as you other guys around here but i can't just afford a good hifi-equipment...

I listen to music mostly with Winamp or with my Sony MP3-CD or in my dad's Ford Galaxy's audio system (quite good speakers).
When you're making MP3-CD's you will learn to play with the Quality/Size-function.

At the moment I use CDex with CDparanoia and LAME.
The settings are:
vbr: 96-224 (I don't listen to metal, but I would probarly use higher values with that kind of extremely high-frequency music)
VBR quality: 3 (this results in files ith about 170-180 kbps depending on the music).
Joint Stereo
Encoding Quality/Time: 02
44 khz

I have found that these values just maekes my music sound so good that i have to listen very closely and comparing it with a 320kbps MP3 or APE/WAVE to hear the difference (muffled sound, echoes caoused by Joint Stereo etc). Very interesting, right ?

Anyway what I'd like to ask is a thing about Dolby ProLogic signals in MP3. I'm going to make some DivX'es and I'd like to use ProLogic compatible downmix, but some people say I can't be sure that the PL signal is included in my MP3's when I encode them from the source material.

The CDex documentation (the hlp-file) in the other hand claims that the normal joint stereo-mode of LAME would encode ProLogic-signals. Does anyone know???
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Old 28th January 2004, 16:46   #24
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Quote:
Originally posted by isamu
Guys 4 kreissake the key word is in every one of your posts...."almost"...ALMOST!!! Well, almost doesn't cut it in my book. That's saying The Lakers almost won the championship last year. Well, they almost won but they didn't. So saying something like "the quility drop is almoust inaudible" falls on deaf ears. The fact remains there *is* a quality loss and that can't be disputed. I listen to alot of rock also, but I also listen to a lot orchestrated anime and videogame sountracks too and with those, there can't afford to be a loss in quality or else you're likely gonna notice it.

Oh and this just in...I just read an article saying that ABX testing doesn't work because it's bias towards lossless quality.
The thing about their responses is that you're asking for basically subjective data. You have to test and experiment for yourself to determine if the "almost no data loss" is equivalent for you to "no audible loss". If you can not ever hear a difference, does it matter what the size, or method of encoding of the file is? Going lossless is a fine idea for longterm storage and listening at a pc, but when you want portability, you either sacrifice your lossless files for lossy versions or you sacrifice hard disk space and playback times (because lossy files are small, the hard disk needs to be accessed less frequently--that's a more meaningful factor than the power needed for decoding a lossy vs. lossless file).

If you don't want to ABX (link to the article would be appreciated, if possible), you've got to accept people's responses as-is. With ABX results you can objectively point to your results and tell someone that what they are saying isn't supported by the evidence in front of you.

Personally, lame -aps works for me 99.9% of the time. I encode very important material to flac and back that up, just in case. But I honestly almost never listen to or look at those flac files...and seeing the space they take up just reminds me that I could be using it for full length movies or other stuff I need more space...
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Old 28th January 2004, 17:04   #25
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Quote:
Originally posted by Gonzotek
I need more space...
http://www.lacie.com/products/product.htm?id=10118



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Old 28th January 2004, 23:29   #26
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And it still has an 8mb buffer.

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Old 28th January 2004, 23:30   #27
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Holy shit.
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Old 29th January 2004, 00:38   #28
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If your a HiFi audiophile Junkie do you use Winamp to play your music?


... ... ... Sonique.... sounds ... better ...

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