Old 23rd July 2008, 19:20   #1
Fraz_2008
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OGG Vorbis q10 (500kbps) v Lossless

Would it even be possible to tell the difference?

Keep in mind that OGG files are better quality than mp3, so a q10 OGG file is like a 700kbps mp3 file!

I can't tell the difference between a lossless file and a q10 OGG file on my laptop with portable headphones.

But would there be a difference on more advanced equipment?!!

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Old 24th July 2008, 01:35   #2
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For normal determinations of sound quality, nothing above perceptual threshold matters. Most people cannot differentiate MP3 encodings at or above 128kbps from an uncompressed source - assuming a decent encoder version. And, barring a few exceptions, the same holds true on any "level" of audio equipment. So for most folks, MP3 at (or, to be safe, slightly over) 128kbps is perfectly equal in sound quality to Ogg Vorbis at 500kbps, even to lossless encoding, and would be measurably so on a $100 sound system or on a $100,000 one.

Either use a moderate bitrate - 128kbps to 160kbps - which modern MP3 (LAME) and Vorbis (Lancer) encoders can do easily while providing quite adequate perceptual transparency, or go lossless because you need something other than just sound quality, such as a stable transcoding source.

Not being able to "tell the difference" between q10 Vorbis and lossless isn't the least bit surprising, as hardly anyone in the world could even tell the difference between q5 Vorbis and lossless. The only difference is that the people using Vorbis at q5 have a lot more hard drive space left over.

There are methods and tools out there to help you determine your own actual perceptual threshold for audio encoding. Google "ABX Testing" for more information.

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Old 24th July 2008, 02:05   #3
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There are a lot of audiophiles who are obsessed with lossless because they claim they can hear the diffrence. They are usually wrong. Now I use nothing but FLAC, but that isn't so much for audio quality, but for archiving. I get a CD, I rip it to FLAC. If that CD is lost or destroyed, I can burn a new CD at the EXACT same quality as the original CD. Or I can transcode it to MP3 for my Zen and know I am not loosing quality by encoding something twice.

Wanna know what you can tell the diffrence from or not?

http://www.kikeg.arrakis.es/winabx/
http://www.ff123.net/samples.html

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Old 24th July 2008, 02:30   #4
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But I do notice a difference.

And 128kbps files are my arch enemy.

I can defo notice a difference between a 128kbps and a lossless format. Especially with songs that contain great detail (as most do these days)

And thats me noticing a difference on my laptop!

But if you ever consider playing a 128kbps file on your hi fi system... or equipment with a better sound card..... it would be a total nightmare, as better sound cards demand more frequencys from audio data.

Even a 320kbps mp3 wouldnt sound like CD quality on a more advanced sound system!

Mp3 was designed for portable device use, but not for more hi tech equipment.

Thats why im wondering if there would be any noticable difference between a 500kbps OGG file and CDA on a more advanced system.

(Sorry, i like those smileys)
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Old 24th July 2008, 02:40   #5
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I might add.... I also notice a difference between 320 mp3's and 500kbps ogg files.

Thats what made me switch to ogg.

Im not saying mp3's at 320 sound terrible..... they are still great quality..... but I have such deep hearing.... I cant help but notice that something is missing from a 320 mp3 file.

I remember doing a frequency test once where they played this really sqeaky noice..... and the freqency keeped increasing..... and I was the only person left out of about 50 that could still bearly hear the frequency.

Perhaps thats why I notice a difference.

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Old 24th July 2008, 02:46   #6
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Personally, I think that you notice a difference because you want and expect to. Unless of course these were double blind tests.

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Old 24th July 2008, 02:54   #7
Fraz_2008
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Quote:
Originally posted by k_rock923
Personally, I think that you notice a difference because you want and expect to. Unless of course these were double blind tests.
In some ways, that is correct.

If you dont have the original file to compare with the Mp3 file.... then you would have no idea that quality from that track was ever missing.

But if you do have the original, and listen to every single back ground noice in the track, and compare it too an mp3 file... you will notice that the very deep background noices are a miss.

How do you think mp3 files compress so much?

They compress by removing information that it doesnt expect the "average" listener to notice on a "portable device"

But anybody could tell the the difference between Mp3 and lossless on a more high tech sound device.
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Old 24th July 2008, 02:58   #8
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Part of it is paying close attention and looking for artifacts, as well as knowing what to look for. I've seen sites that will help teach you to recognize artifacts in compressed music.

Personally, I think ignorance is bliss. Although I generally encode my music to FLAC for the same reasons Sawg mentioned, I enjoy being able to listen to my music at substantially lower qualities without noticing enough of a quality loss for it to bother me.

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Old 24th July 2008, 04:00   #9
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Generally speaking, I can tell the difference between 128 and 192, but anything 192 and up is indistinguishable unless I'm specifically listening for artifacts with a $200+ set of head phones. I use FLAC mainly because I can transcode it freely (and because I have hard drive space to burn).

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Old 24th July 2008, 05:21   #10
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Go for lossless if you need to reencode it to other formats down the line, go for ogg if you don't. As far as sound quality is concerned, technically the ogg will be lower quality than the lossless, but it would be a challenge to tell in most circumstances. Personally, I usually stick with ogg or mp3s because they require the least effort to maintain a large collection currently. This is all stating the obvious, however.

As for hearing differences between bitrates, most people cannot distinguish mp3s at 192 kbps from its lossless counterpart. -V0 LAME encodings are even more difficult to distinguish. OGG Q10 encodings would be, for the most part, impossible to distinguish in most circumstances.

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Old 24th July 2008, 09:16   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Fraz_2008
But I do notice a difference.
No worries. Until you perform some form of double-blind listening test and really determine your perceptual threshold for differentiating audio encoding results, then it's just the placebo effect. Not worth wasting money or hard drive space over.

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Old 24th July 2008, 10:11   #12
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Otoh I've got some $500 network cables I could sell you. I'm sure they'd improve things dramatically.
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Old 24th July 2008, 15:05   #13
Fraz_2008
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Quote:
Originally posted by ScorLibran
No worries. Until you perform some form of double-blind listening test and really determine your perceptual threshold for differentiating audio encoding results, then it's just the placebo effect. Not worth wasting money or hard drive space over.
I perform blind tests all the time.

It seems that the more song information (layers) that are in a track, the higher the bitrate must be to achieve transparency.

Very quiet/solo songs perform just fine at lower bitrates.
But songs containing more detail, such as rock, trance, and classic type of songs demand a higher bitrate to achieve transparency.

And there is a huge difference between an Mp3 file, and lossless on more hi tech equipment with better sound cards.

Because another way that Mp3 uses compression is by taking away a certain level of dynamics from the audio.

You dont notice the dynamic is missing though a portable device because the ear plugs are right in your ears, but if you play them though some decent speakers with a decent sound card, the mp3 files dont have as much of a surround sound as lossless audio data does.
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Old 24th July 2008, 15:27   #14
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Sorry, but what you're writing shows you have absolutely no idea how mp3 works, or what its artifacts sound like.
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Old 24th July 2008, 16:18   #15
Fraz_2008
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Quote:
Originally posted by gaekwad2
Sorry, but what you're writing shows you have absolutely no idea how mp3 works, or what its artifacts sound like.
Mp3s are compressed by removing high and low frequencys that it does not expect the average human to notice though a portable device.

Note 1: "Average human" - not every human
Note 2: "Portable Device" - not advanced sound equipment.

But if you feel that you know any better.... then please feel free to try and correct me.
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Old 24th July 2008, 17:50   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by Fraz_2008
Mp3s are compressed by removing high and low frequencys that it does not expect the average human to notice though a portable device.
I forget the details, but basically, the human ear is only capable of hearing one sound out of many at one instant (iirc, is it the loudest one we hear?). An mp3 encoder makes use of this to remove sound data that the human ear cannot hear anyway. Of course, the complexity of the audio file and the bitrate can reduce quality in such a way that we can hear it, but in most cases, with a quality encoding, this is not the case. It has nothing to do with what it expects you not to notice through a portable device, but what the human ear cannot physically hear irrelevant of the source.

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Old 24th July 2008, 18:29   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by Vil
I forget the details, but basically, the human ear is only capable of hearing one sound out of many at one instant (iirc, is it the loudest one we hear?). An mp3 encoder makes use of this to remove sound data that the human ear cannot hear anyway. Of course, the complexity of the audio file and the bitrate can reduce quality in such a way that we can hear it, but in most cases, with a quality encoding, this is not the case. It has nothing to do with what it expects you not to notice through a portable device, but what the human ear cannot physically hear irrelevant of the source.
The point I was trying to make was that the changes in frequency may not be noticed through a portable device with portable headsets.

But it can easily be noticed when you try and use them with a surround sound system, as the change in frequency also causes a change in dynamics, that then causes the Mp3 file to sound more flat and bold compared to the original lossless file.

Perhaps not everybody would notice the change in dynamics, but I have, in my own experiences with using surround sound technology.
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Old 24th July 2008, 18:36   #18
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Is there any benefit in making quality better with portable headsets, they are rarely close to acceptable quality when compared to a proper amplfier

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Old 24th July 2008, 18:36   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by Fraz_2008
Mp3s are compressed by removing high and low frequencys that it does not expect the average human to notice though a portable device.

Note 1: "Average human" - not every human
Note 2: "Portable Device" - not advanced sound equipment.

But if you feel that you know any better.... then please feel free to try and correct me.
http://www.mp3-tech.org/tech.html
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Old 24th July 2008, 18:40   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by cooky560
Is there any benefit in making quality better with portable headsets, they are rarely close to acceptable quality when compared to a proper amplfier
But im not talking about making compressed files for portable use. Im trying to find a compression format that will be exceptable for surround sound systems.

Most people seem to think that because Mp3's sound good on a portable device, they will automaticaly sound just as good on a surround sound device, although this is not the case.
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Old 24th July 2008, 18:53   #21
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Quote:
Originally posted by gaekwad2
http://www.mp3-tech.org/tech.html
http://forums.winamp.com/showthread....hreadid=294984

Its basically saying what I have already said.

"Khz" is a measurement of frequency.

Mp3 compresses audio by removing lower frequencys while a higher frequency is being played.

But when you use Mp3's with surround sound systems, the lower frequencys are amplified, so you can tell the difference between an Mp3 and a lossless file, because in a lossless file, you will hear lower frequencys, even when the higher ones get player, but not with mp3 files.
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Old 24th July 2008, 19:12   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by Fraz_2008
Most people seem to think that because Mp3's sound good on a portable device, they will automaticaly sound just as good on a surround sound device, although this is not the case.
People who care to actually know what they are really hearing vs. what they "think" they're hearing use double-blind listening tests rather than going around saying "I can differentiate MP3@320kbps from lossless!" And even more so when you say "...but only on my good equipment". (Many listening testers can tell you, equipment level or type rarely ever make a difference in their ability to differentiate artifacts in encoded audio tracks.)

Seriously, some test results could only help you. If it demonstrates what you're saying, then you'd be one of only a (relative) handful of people in this world with true "golden hearing". I've done such tests many times, and they continually demonstrate that I can't tell any difference once the bitrate goes over 128kbps on ANY of my equipment. And very often, even 96-112kbps is quite well sufficient (and I'm not just talking about on my portable player, either). I encode all my music with Vorbis Lancer at q5 (~160kbps), just to make myself a little "headroom" without wasting too much HDD space. (And, of course, all my Pink Floyd stuff is also archived straight from CDA -> FLAC.)

You see, the kinds of statements you're making are heard VERY often without any reference to listening test results, and therefore aren't taken seriously. Please don't take offense to this - it's not personal, it's just coming from long experience by regulars of audio-related forums, that's all.

And it's not really different than anything else in life, is it? If you make an extraordinary claim, you should expect people to ask for evidence to support it. For instance, if a purple elephant flies over my house (again), I'll have to produce some pretty darn good photos if I expect anyone to believe me (next time).

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Old 24th July 2008, 19:13   #23
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There is no point in discussing this further. None of us are going to change our minds.

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Old 24th July 2008, 19:20   #24
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Quote:
Originally posted by ScorLibran
People who care to actually know what they are really hearing vs. what they "think" they're hearing use double-blind listening tests rather than going around saying "I can differentiate MP3@320kbps from lossless!" And even more so when you say "...but only on my good equipment". (Many listening testers can tell you, equipment level or type rarely ever make a difference in their ability to differentiate artifacts in encoded audio tracks.)

Seriously, some test results could only help you. If it demonstrates what you're saying, then you'd be one of only a (relative) handful of people in this world with true "golden hearing". I've done such tests many times, and they continually demonstrate that I can't tell any difference once the bitrate goes over 128kbps on ANY of my equipment. And very often, even 96-112kbps is quite well sufficient (and I'm not just talking about on my portable player, either). I encode all my music with Vorbis Lancer at q5 (~160kbps), just to make myself a little "headroom" without wasting too much HDD space. (And, of course, all my Pink Floyd stuff is also archived straight from CDA -> FLAC.)

You see, the kinds of statements you're making are heard VERY often without any reference to listening test results, and therefore aren't taken seriously. Please don't take offense to this - it's not personal, it's just coming from long experience by regulars of audio-related forums, that's all.

And it's not really different than anything else in life, is it? If you make an extraordinary claim, you should expect people to ask for evidence to support it. For instance, if a purple elephant flies over my house (again), I'll have to produce some pretty darn good photos if I expect anyone to believe me (next time).
Im not here to try and prove anything to anyone. Im here to voice my own opinions.

And from my own experiences (whether I am testing or not) I notice a difference.

If you cant notice a difference from 128kbps and lossless, then good for you. It saves you a lot of hard disk space.

But what if I ask you to "prove" that there is not a difference?

It's stalemate on that one.

Because, although you may not notice a difference, other people can.
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Old 24th July 2008, 19:23   #25
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Science cannot prove that something does not exist. It can only prove or fail to prove that something does. So the onus is entirely upon you, friend.

I'm not disbelieving you out of hand, but don't you really think that anyone who makes a steep claim should reasonably expect confirmation requests?

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Old 24th July 2008, 19:30   #26
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That's it. I call troll.
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Old 24th July 2008, 19:41   #27
Fraz_2008
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Originally posted by ScorLibran
Science cannot prove that something does not exist. It can only prove or fail to prove that something does. So the onus is entirely upon you, friend.

I'm not disbelieving you out of hand, but don't you really think that anyone who makes a steep claim should reasonably expect confirmation requests?
So sceince cannot prove that non-perfect mp3 files exist. But they can only prove or fail that perfect ones do?
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Old 24th July 2008, 19:43   #28
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Originally posted by gaekwad2
That's it. I call troll.
Why is that?

Because you are sending me links that you clearly never read yourself, or you never read any of my posts in this thread, because then you would have realized that the link you sent me only agreed with my point of view.
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Old 24th July 2008, 20:46   #29
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Originally posted by Fraz_2008
So sceince cannot prove that non-perfect mp3 files exist. But they can only prove or fail that perfect ones do?
"Perfect and non-perfect MP3 files" are abstract concepts. Science prefers to work with specific materials whenever available, such as...

Science cannot prove than an encoding artifact does not exist in an audio track. It can only prove or fail to prove that it does.

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Old 24th July 2008, 22:14   #30
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Old 25th July 2008, 00:18   #31
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In this person's defense, there is a little bit of merit to this.

In Scor's defense, you are absolutely correct. No one really can tell the difference just listening. I as well have proved that to myself time and time again on just about all of the sound systems I have run across.

The difference that I notice is when trying to DJ from mp3 files that have a quality lower than 224k. 128k sounds like garbage when pitch bending and key changing, though loops go off ok; 160k breaks down with significant pitch bending and significant key changes; 192k works for the most part when using reasonable pitch changes (tanks around +/- 14% imho), though key changes are fine; 224k can be pretty much pushed to sane limits in all respects; 320k can withstand pitch changes +/- 100% without showing huge signs of crap.

But then again, this thread is about listening, not DJ'ing
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Old 25th July 2008, 01:17   #32
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i use 192 cos i swear i can hear the difference to some tracks in 128... it might be psychological... i haven't tested it

the pitch/key changing dj thing makes sense... your ears have a certain frequency range they are most sensitive too and by changing the pitch you can bring the artefacts down to a more audible frequency.

i'd guess most artefacts are high frequency chirpy noises...

Quote:
Originally posted by Fraz_2008
But what if I ask you to "prove" that there is not a difference?
what can be done though is to prove that your hearing is superhuman in order to detect artefacts at 320kbps. don't forget that as bitrate increases the effects of compression decrease. including the removal of low (inaudible btw) frequencies and any other type of artefact you hear... what else do you think it does with the extra bits?

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Old 25th July 2008, 01:56   #33
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Just remember an essential aspect of anything which is scientifically verifiable: If you haven't verified it yet, then for the sake of prudence all differential observations must be assumed to be tainted by placebo until you do.


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Old 25th July 2008, 02:14   #34
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Quote:
Originally posted by fc*uk
In this person's defense, there is a little bit of merit to this.

In Scor's defense, you are absolutely correct. No one really can tell the difference just listening. I as well have proved that to myself time and time again on just about all of the sound systems I have run across.

The difference that I notice is when trying to DJ from mp3 files that have a quality lower than 224k. 128k sounds like garbage when pitch bending and key changing, though loops go off ok; 160k breaks down with significant pitch bending and significant key changes; 192k works for the most part when using reasonable pitch changes (tanks around +/- 14% imho), though key changes are fine; 224k can be pretty much pushed to sane limits in all respects; 320k can withstand pitch changes +/- 100% without showing huge signs of crap.

But then again, this thread is about listening, not DJ'ing
Hey, im into DJ'ing myself, and perhaps that why I notice these differences more as well.

But I can honestly swear that I notice a difference on a more hi tech device.

Do you think professional DJ's use Mp3 files in night clubs?

I very much doubt that.
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Old 25th July 2008, 02:20   #35
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Honestly swearing isn't necessary when you have tools at hand which are both completely free and easy to use.


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Old 25th July 2008, 02:52   #36
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Quote:
Originally posted by Fraz_2008
Hey, im into DJ'ing myself, and perhaps that why I notice these differences more as well.

But I can honestly swear that I notice a difference on a more hi tech device.

Do you think professional DJ's use Mp3 files in night clubs?

I very much doubt that.
Absolutely not. CDJs are just getting accepted by "the industry". Digital DJ's (aka mp3 or other) are quite far from it.

I made the "I don't give a shit choice" because I can stick more songs on a 16 gig thumb drive than a CDJ can in a 50 cd wallet. Simply put, when I go it gigs, I am not limited by what I bring with me because I bring it all; most CDJ's, or others, simply can't do that.

I would agree with you about the DJ'ing and noticing a difference. It does become more apparent once you start messing with the music. Personally, I have my entire collection at 320k mp3 as that is what nearly all software dj packages support ... plus, it is what you get when you download from beatport/trackitdown (I don't feel like paying a dollar extra for the wav when I can't tell the difference between the wav and mp3).
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Old 25th July 2008, 03:04   #37
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Am I the only one here that uses AAC?
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Old 25th July 2008, 03:22   #38
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Am I the only one here that uses AAC?
AAC is just another lossy audio format, so the same points of the discussion still apply.

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Old 25th July 2008, 07:15   #39
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Many iTunes users are on the AAC train. In most cases, if they're not using MP3, the file format they do use has a file extension of either .M4P (DRM-ed) or .M4A (non-DRMed), both of which are Apple container formats for AAC-encoded audio streams.

Listening tests from the past few years have demonstrated that the AAC encoding format generally ranks among the top psychoacoustic encoding formats in sound-quality-per-bitrate, most often tied among the best in the group, often with itself holding one of the highest scores in the results set.

AAC's downside is that it has less hardware support than it's big brother, MP3. Other than iPods, many (and perhaps most) portable audio players in the world still don't support AAC.

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Old 1st August 2008, 21:27   #40
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Re: OGG Vorbis q10 (500kbps) v Lossless

Quote:
Originally posted by Fraz_2008
But would there be a difference on more advanced equipment?
in short: not likely.

Another question: Even if there is some difference, why do you care if the quality is that high already?

Sometimes I get the idea that people care more about the encoding format than about the actual music, but it could be just me.

btw, I do hear the difference between 128kbps and 192kbps mp3. To me, it sounds more 'vivid'.

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