MP3s and the Rack-a torture test

Digital / WiFi / iPod Media Discussion
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Magnaryder
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MP3s and the Rack-a torture test

Post by Magnaryder » Wed Jan 02, 2008 8:43 pm

I succumbed, well Sherry did and bought me a SPI 2 gig I-pod like thingy for X-Mas. I hooked it up to both the C-19 BigRig(tm) and Lightstar and made some interesting(to me at least)observations. Let me start by saying all of the tunes have been downloaded using the same bit rate, but were downloaded anytime from 1999 to yesterday.

Some sound sorta OK to good and others sound like shite. I can hear what sounds to me like part of the music is missing to severe distortion of the background 'behind' the music.

Anyone else have a similar experience?

Now, it sounds good for going to the gym or just fu(king around, but I don't hear this stuff through my AKGs or my good earbuds.

Ideas?

ray
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Its going to be used equipment when I sell it, so it may as well be used equipment when I buy it.

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Post by Toy Maker » Wed Jan 02, 2008 9:16 pm

There's not much you can do with the already DL'd songs.. They were ripped in a shit format, there is no "fixing them" Your best bet is to get a torrent program running, and DL everything you want in a HIGH bitrate format, FLAC is best, or at least 192 kbps or higher, 320 is good.
If it is a REAL iPod, you are screwed and have to use that freaking Apple Lossless. iPods won't play FLAC files, iTuned won't let you import them, (last I knew at least)

Shit in, shit out man... sorry.

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Post by OBI56 » Wed Jan 02, 2008 9:27 pm

Quite simply, the amplifier circuits in your iPod like thingy aren't all that hi-fi to start with so they can't reproduce what isn't there. I've always contended that MP3s sounded like crap and have repeatedly proved it by identifying with 100% accuracy which songs were MP3s @ 192Kbps and which ones were on CD in controlled blind listening tests, but apparently some people on here using the highest possible bit-rates get sound indistinguisible from CDs.

I'm still waiting to be convinced that it is worth the trouble to convert or even listen to MP3s unless they are @ 320Kbps
Why let facts or common sense get in the way of your opinions.

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Post by tomstat » Wed Jan 02, 2008 11:18 pm

LAME is my favorite encoder, it supports encoding at 320k, runs on just about every commonly encountered OS, and is free.
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Post by Toy Maker » Thu Jan 03, 2008 12:00 am

I use Winamp... it's free, and can rip anything. If you pay the $20 to go Pro. Winamp will rip your CDs to FLAC or any other format you want.

I have used Winamp for over 10 years, and just finnaly paid for it last month. I wanted to rip FLAC files, and you had to register to rip that high a quality. I figure $2.00 a year for the past 10 years is a pretty good deal.

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Re: MP3s and the Rack-a torture test

Post by treitz3 » Thu Jan 03, 2008 12:02 am

Magnaryder wrote:....Sherry....bought me a ....I-pod
Stopped reading at that point. [-(
In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence.

The best way to enjoy digital music reproduction is to never listen to a good analogue reproduction.

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Re: MP3s and the Rack-a torture test

Post by Toy Maker » Thu Jan 03, 2008 12:10 am

treitz3 wrote:
Magnaryder wrote:....Sherry....bought me a ....I-pod
Stopped reading at that point. [-(

Boy, if Tom's puter screen could talk. I'd love to hear what he screams everytime he thinks about my and my DIGITAL/MP3 Lightstar setup.

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Re: MP3s and the Rack-a torture test

Post by Magnaryder » Thu Jan 03, 2008 12:51 am

Toy Maker wrote:
treitz3 wrote:
Magnaryder wrote:....Sherry....bought me a ....I-pod
Stopped reading at that point. [-(

Boy, if Tom's puter screen could talk. I'd love to hear what he screams everytime he thinks about my and my DIGITAL/MP3 Lightstar setup.
He'd say[Homer on/] Hmmm....Lightstar(slurp) makes everything sound good[Homer off/].

ray
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Its going to be used equipment when I sell it, so it may as well be used equipment when I buy it.

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Post by BillD » Thu Jan 03, 2008 10:46 am

FLAC, WAV, WMA Lossless and Apple Lossless are all different encoding techniques (WAV is bit for bit - no compression). Still, they are all lossless formats and, therefore, when decoded, they produce exactly the same bit string as the original. It's like backing up your computer files. They're compressed on the backup media, but when restored, are identical to the original. As such, there is really no difference in the outcome, no matter which lossless format you use - as long as it's LOSSLESS. Non-lossless formats (i.e., MP3, AAC, WMA non-lossless) can be made less lossy by using high sampling rates (like 320 k). But they're still lossy (or should I say lousy).
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Re: MP3s and the Rack-a torture test

Post by tfm75 » Thu Jan 03, 2008 11:30 am

Magnaryder wrote: Let me start by saying all of the tunes have been downloaded using the same bit rate, but were downloaded anytime from 1999 to yesterday.

Some sound sorta OK to good and others sound like shite.
Ideas?

ray

The ones from 1999 to about 2004 I don't expect to sound good. In 1999 I bought the wife a computer CD-Burner for xmas. I thought cool, give her a handfull of CD's of mine and make a greatest hits burnt cd's.

Come home from work, the wife had a look of say anything to me and I will kill you. She would work all day with the programs the were out for Windows 98 at the time to rip music than to compile it for burn back, and the results were shit.

I don't think that until the last couple of years we didn't have the resorces that are a click away on google now. I was big bucks to get a hi-end ripping program back than.

So fast forward better "free" ripping and burning software. People re-ripping the CD collections for the internet.

And it depends where you get your music from on the net. If you use bearshare or something like that most of the music is low quality.

You need a torrent program to find a top quality or at least the best available copy of what your looking for.

It takes some trial and air to get it right, but when you do you can get some perfect 100% copies of what your looking for.

I think at Carverfest 08 Toymaker will change some minds.

The only time I will go for a quick mp3 is to listen, to a new to me music piece to see if I want to go forward and buy it or not. I sure beats you open it its yours, from the record stores.

Just my take :-k

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Post by weitrhino » Thu Jan 03, 2008 11:35 am

There was a point in time where I was acquiring music as fast as I could, and that meant mp3. So I started to educate myself knowing full well it is a lossy format, but accepted that trade-off in place of the sheer volume I was getting. In a fairly short order I managed 96 gigs, much of it ripped myself in VBR averaging around 230bps. For mp3 I prefer VBR for the ability to sound as good as mp3 gets without the wasted space of a CBR 320bps file. Most music doesn't require 320 at all points in the stream which needlessly wastes storeage space. This was all done as part of a project I undertook, the basis of which can be found here: http://www.pjrc.com I enjoyed the build process, the collecting, and the reward of a personalized experience. Is it the end-all of high fidelity? No, but it was never intended to be. I now have more music than I'll ever be able to fully digest including the digitization of most of the old vinyl I collected in my younger days. In light of all this I think I have to side with Toymaker's view of the format.

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Post by treitz3 » Thu Jan 03, 2008 1:51 pm

Hehe. We'll see...... :D
In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence.

The best way to enjoy digital music reproduction is to never listen to a good analogue reproduction.

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Post by Dreamer » Thu Jan 03, 2008 4:23 pm

The key to getting good sound from a portable MP3 player is two-fold:

1) rip your music in the highest-quality format you can (FLAC, Apple Lossless, etc), and

2) run the digital signal from your MP3 player into an outboard DAC, then to the preamp. The analogue signal coming from portable MP3 players is pure, unadulterated crap--crappy headphone amps, crappy DACs, crap crap crap...

If you do it this way, you will notice a marked improvement. I've run my iPod and mu laptop directly into the system via analogue outs, AND through the Benchmark DAC-1, and the difference is NOT subtle. You don't need to use a DAC as high-end as a Benchmark to hear a difference--even an Entec will yield marked improvements...

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Post by TNRabbit » Thu Jan 03, 2008 4:28 pm

weitrhino wrote:There was a point in time where I was acquiring music as fast as I could, and that meant mp3. So I started to educate myself knowing full well it is a lossy format, but accepted that trade-off in place of the sheer volume I was getting. In a fairly short order I managed 96 gigs, much of it ripped myself in VBR averaging around 230bps. For mp3 I prefer VBR for the ability to sound as good as mp3 gets without the wasted space of a CBR 320bps file. Most music doesn't require 320 at all points in the stream which needlessly wastes storeage space. This was all done as part of a project I undertook, the basis of which can be found here: http://www.pjrc.com I enjoyed the build process, the collecting, and the reward of a personalized experience. Is it the end-all of high fidelity? No, but it was never intended to be. I now have more music than I'll ever be able to fully digest including the digitization of most of the old vinyl I collected in my younger days. In light of all this I think I have to side with Toymaker's view of the format.

That's an interesting project...
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Post by BillD » Thu Jan 03, 2008 4:48 pm

I'm getting set up to digitize all of my vinyl right now. What I am going to do is connect my turntable to my modified C-4000 (really quieted down the phono section using great op amps among many other things). That will go into the TGP-III for digitation (probably use one of the analog only inputs) I will take digital out of the Sunfire (it has 24 bit analog-to-digital converters) into a box that converts S/PDIF to USB input (i.e., avoid a sound card). I have some software (spin-it-again) that will take the USB input to a file, and has other software to do digital crackle and pop supression, track division, etc. I doubt I will need much noise reduction because the C-4000 correlator noise reduction circuits are also modified to work much better. It should be a lengthy project. I have about 300 surviving albums to convert (1 a day for the next year). Many thanks to jvandyke_texas.
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