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Oleg
Premium
join:2003-12-08
Birmingham, AL
kudos:2

Lossy vs. Lossless audio

How many of you can hear the difference between Lossy and Lossless audio?



Steely
I rise when the sun goes down
Premium
join:2000-10-15
Princeton Junction, NJ
kudos:1

Usually I can but not always. It depends on the playback equipment and the quality/bitrate of the "lossy" file.



Jehu
Hodor
Premium
join:2002-09-13
MA
kudos:2
reply to Oleg

i hear the difference. The high frequency range is typically the tell-tale sign. Other instances you may notice the lack of space and separation in recordings, causing by the compressed signal. The loss of dynamics through compression makes recordings lifeless and worst of all, psycho-acoustically boring.

When I first delved into MP3s I was always stumped why I was disinclined to listen to my favorite records even though I still enjoyed them on CD. Turns out, my ears were bored and fatigued by compression.

now it's all wav all the time. I will buy CDs until the disappear from the planet.



Sarah
Premium,ExMod 2002-05
join:2001-01-09
New York, NY
kudos:6
Reviews:
·MegaNet Communic..
reply to Oleg

I can hear very lossy or low quality compression (e.g. the mp3s I made in 2002, or old Youtube videos). But if I rip something today at 256k lame vbr, I can't tell the difference from lossless.

I've purposely tried not to analyze it too much; I'm afraid I will end up like Jehu See Profile and not be able to enjoy mp3s. I'd hate to lose the ease and convenience of having my whole music collection in my pocket.
--
My music blog



Vchat20
Landing is the REAL challenge
Premium
join:2003-09-16
Columbus, OH

1 recommendation

reply to Oleg

Same as Steely See Profile and Sarah See Profile. It depends on the lossy source. If done at a decent bitrate and encoded from a lossless source, majority of the time can't tell the difference. I'd say anything 160k and under starts losing frequency response and is a dead giveaway. Though normally I don't complain much especially depending on what equipment I am playing back on. For example my car can play back Mp3's from CD (no USB and Aux support would be an added cost of around $75) and with the combined stock radio and speakers and road noise, 160k is just fine and allows me to fit more on a single disc. My phone though with a good set of earbuds I won't go lower than 256k.
--
I swear, some people should have pace-makers installed to free up the resources. Breathing and heart beat taxes their whole system, all of their brain cells wasted on life support.-two bit brains, and the second bit is wasted on parity! ~head_spaz



Oleg
Premium
join:2003-12-08
Birmingham, AL
kudos:2
reply to Sarah

I thought it was just me. I could hear the differences between Lossy, and Lossless as well.



aurgathor

join:2002-12-01
Lynnwood, WA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Frontier Communi..

Things like this should be tested by a double blind test.

I can usually notice very low bitrate (96 kbps or less) material, sometimes can even differentiate between the original and 128k or 160k mp3s, but once at 256 or 320 kbps the difference is either very small or inaudible.

Of course, if one were to do any such testing, it would be nice to include either the original analog sound, or a high sampling frequency (96 kHz or more) high bit-rate (at least 20, but preferably 24 even if not all but are usable) recording of the same audio.
--
Wacky Races 2012!


TheMG
Premium
join:2007-09-04
Canada
kudos:3
Reviews:
·NorthWest Tel
reply to Oleg

I find at 192kbps and above it becomes very difficult to tell the difference. Below 192kbps it's usually a clear difference when doing a side-by-side comparison.

Below 128kbps it becomes so obvious I can tell even without comparing to the original lossless track.



Jehu
Hodor
Premium
join:2002-09-13
MA
kudos:2

after 192 much depends on your listening equipment. With headphones in the $100 range you can start to hear the audio fall apart at the ends of the wave.

320kbps can be tough to perceive, but usually the overall loudness and crunching of dynamics persist while there's less frequency distortion.

I have the Beatles FLAC collection @ 24bit, 44.1khz and I can hear the difference from 16 bit, but only because I know the songs so well...otherwise I would likely not notice.

Now 96khz is something else. A lot of contemporary recording is done at 24bit 96khz before eventually downsampling to 16, 44.1.

The Flaming Lips released a DVD album "Embryonic" that included the album @ 24/96 (it's native resolution) before downsampling... essentially listening to the music like everyone else in the studio.

The hi-res version is fantastic on good audio gear.
I wish more artists would release hi-res, pre-downsampled CDs, but I suppose it is too much of a niche market and there's always Vinyl.