Register FAQ / Rules Forum Spy Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read
Go Back   MacRumors Forums > iPhone, iPod and iPad > iPod

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old Mar 11, 2013, 07:55 AM   #1
TooLowToZero
macrumors newbie
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
256 or 128 bit rate.

Hi, I am sure this question must have been answered before, so please forgive me.

I have a new Nano 7 gen and have put selected playlists on it, as much as will fit on.
I have a pair of skullCandy headphones of medium quality,

If I reduce the bit rate down to 128 from iTunes 256, will there be a noticeable difference? I have tried 128 and cannot make my mind up if there is any difference!

I listen on the train with noise around me and was curious what you think and am I missing out on sound quality. Thanks
TooLowToZero is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 11, 2013, 09:11 AM   #2
dXTC
macrumors 68000
 
dXTC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Up, up in my studio, studio
The difference is a bit more noticeable in a quiet environment, and the compression in the 128-kbit versions tends to affect high-frequency sounds like hi-hats.

However, you may have answered your own question. If you can't really tell the difference in your usual listening environment, then sync at a lower bitrate.

If you believe you'll be in a quieter listening environment in the future and want a little bit better quality, but still like the extra space, then "take the middle of the road" and sync at the 192 bitrate. It's a nice compromise between the two; well over 95% of listeners have problems hearing the difference between 192 and 256 kbits.
__________________
dXTC
A good bit of stuff: iMac 21.5" i3 · MBP 17" i5 · Two 5g iPod nanos · and more
...geeve to me LAAAHRGE keess!
dXTC is offline   1 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 11, 2013, 09:29 AM   #3
TooLowToZero
Thread Starter
macrumors newbie
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Thanks for that. I needed a second opinion, as I find it difficult to tell the difference. Going to use 192, just wish I hade more room on my iPod to fit all my music. Thanks
TooLowToZero is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 11, 2013, 12:11 PM   #4
Menel
macrumors 68040
 
Menel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Atlanta
It's subjective, every user is different.

For earbuds, 128kbps is going to be fine. That's what I do for my old nano that I use for running with buds.

For my iPhone that I use in car or dock in my big receiver. 256kbps, or it highs/lows get distorted especially with volume.
__________________
iPhone 5, iPad Air TMo, Mac mini i5
Menel is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 11, 2013, 12:11 PM   #5
gnasher729
macrumors G5
 
gnasher729's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by TooLowToZero View Post
Thanks for that. I needed a second opinion, as I find it difficult to tell the difference. Going to use 192, just wish I hade more room on my iPod to fit all my music. Thanks
With 128 KBit/second, I find it hard to consciously hear a difference, but a lot of music is less interesting or boring.
gnasher729 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 11, 2013, 12:19 PM   #6
DisMyMac
macrumors 65816
 
DisMyMac's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Questions from 2003....
DisMyMac is offline   2 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 11, 2013, 12:39 PM   #7
TooLowToZero
Thread Starter
macrumors newbie
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
A lot of my music is old stuff from the 60's & 70's, so I guess 128 is ok. Everyone has there own opinion and you get a biased opinion on the forum.
TooLowToZero is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 11, 2013, 01:43 PM   #8
gnasher729
macrumors G5
 
gnasher729's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by TooLowToZero View Post
A lot of my music is old stuff from the 60's & 70's, so I guess 128 is ok. Everyone has there own opinion and you get a biased opinion on the forum.
Wrong. If you have music that is recorded with lots of noise, a lot of these 128 KBit are used/wasted to reproduce the noise, so you've got fewer bits left to reproduce the music. In other words, you may have more loss of quality than with a high quality recording.
gnasher729 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 11, 2013, 01:46 PM   #9
dXTC
macrumors 68000
 
dXTC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Up, up in my studio, studio
Quote:
Originally Posted by gnasher729 View Post
With 128 KBit/second, I find it hard to consciously hear a difference, but a lot of music is less interesting or boring.
That's because much of the audio processing that creates the illusion of "space" or "ambience" in a well-engineered recording is in the extremely high frequencies. Both AAC and MP3 tend to discard these frequencies in order to represent the overall sound in the more audible frequency spectrum using less data. This results in what is often described as "flat" or "lifeless" sound.

Example: The tracks on the CD release of Madonna's Immaculate Collection (volume 1) were re-engineered in QSound to give a "virtual surround" effect when played through regular stereo speakers. The effect is almost completely lost when run through lossy compression at rates lower than 256.
__________________
dXTC
A good bit of stuff: iMac 21.5" i3 · MBP 17" i5 · Two 5g iPod nanos · and more
...geeve to me LAAAHRGE keess!
dXTC is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 11, 2013, 02:06 PM   #10
Antgb84
macrumors regular
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
I use FLAC format with a set of quality earphones. 128kbit you can definitely hear digital artifacts. I wouldn't go any lower than 256.
Antgb84 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 11, 2013, 02:08 PM   #11
DisMyMac
macrumors 65816
 
DisMyMac's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by dXTC View Post
That's because much of the audio processing that creates the illusion of "space" or "ambience" in a well-engineered recording is in the extremely high frequencies. Both AAC and MP3 tend to discard these frequencies in order to represent the overall sound in the more audible frequency spectrum using less data. This results in what is often described as "flat" or "lifeless" sound.
Are there tricks or equalizer settings that can compensate? iMovie can adjust things according to room size- small, medium, cathedral...
DisMyMac is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 11, 2013, 02:17 PM   #12
dXTC
macrumors 68000
 
dXTC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Up, up in my studio, studio
Quote:
Originally Posted by DisMyMac View Post
Are there tricks or equalizer settings that can compensate? iMovie can adjust things according to room size- small, medium, cathedral...
Unfortunately, such EQ settings will usually only amplify the artifacts left behind. That's the problem with lossy compression for many audiophiles-- the original recording's "soundstage" is forever altered.

It's like taking a relatively high-resolution picture, 1920 x 1080 HD for example, resizing it down to 720x480, then re-expanding it to HD. The blockiness tends to be rather apparent on the re-expanded picture, and any anti-aliasing filters won't help that much.
__________________
dXTC
A good bit of stuff: iMac 21.5" i3 · MBP 17" i5 · Two 5g iPod nanos · and more
...geeve to me LAAAHRGE keess!
dXTC is offline   1 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 11, 2013, 03:14 PM   #13
TooLowToZero
Thread Starter
macrumors newbie
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
I have synced the same track at 128 & 256 bit rate to my ipod Nano. Played it over and over via my earbuds and concluded that the 128 recording is very similar, but sounds duller, or that's how it sounds to me.

During the London games last year, BBC Radio 2 reduced its output from 128 to 96 on digital radio and what a difference it made. It was like being played in the bathroom and distorted. I guess this is the same principal. I record a podcast each week and that is 128 off the radio in mp3, you can def tell the difference from music at 256 then.

Going to use 256 and reduce the amount of tracks I put on my Nano.
TooLowToZero is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 12, 2013, 03:39 AM   #14
phrehdd
macrumors 65816
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Something to think about -

If you have a CD and you convert a song to 256 and 128 - can you hear a difference? More to the point both 256 and 128 are compressions with loss.

When you take a 256 file it is already compressed and there is already loss and then convert it to 128 you get even more loss than say creating a 128 from a CD.

CD to Lossless - best
CD to 256 - excellent
CD to 128/192 - good
256 to 128 - mediocre and sometimes bad

As others have mentioned if you can't tell the difference then you have your answer. As for some of us - I can tell the difference right away on the same ear phones/plugs if the ear phones/plugs are medium quality or better.
phrehdd is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 12, 2013, 05:17 AM   #15
Ffosse
macrumors 6502
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Invest in a decent set of cans - all Skullcandy products are crap..

Then talk about file bit rate.
Ffosse is offline   2 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 12, 2013, 05:41 AM   #16
Gym Hellwig
macrumors regular
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
You're going to ruin your hearing listening to music on a train without noise cancelling earphones.
Gym Hellwig is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 13, 2013, 10:28 AM   #17
aarond12
macrumors 6502a
 
aarond12's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Dallas, TX USA
This topic has been beaten into the ground elsewhere... but apparently I need to remind people this:

128kbps MP3 is NOT the same as 128kbps AAC

I find 128kbps MP3 files unacceptably noisy while 128kbps AAC files are okay but not great.
__________________
Voted "Most likely to start his own cult" by my high school class.
aarond12 is offline   2 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 13, 2013, 12:08 PM   #18
gnasher729
macrumors G5
 
gnasher729's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by phrehdd View Post
As others have mentioned if you can't tell the difference then you have your answer. As for some of us - I can tell the difference right away on the same ear phones/plugs if the ear phones/plugs are medium quality or better.
Just remember: You may not be able to _tell_ the difference but still enjoy the higher quality music more than the lower quality. Without being able to say why.
gnasher729 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 13, 2013, 01:15 PM   #19
Zwhaler
macrumors 603
 
Zwhaler's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
128kbps is a noticeable difference from 256. If you listen on crappy speakers you won't notice as much but anything in the car or half decent speakers/headphones you will notice!
__________________
2x2.93 24GB 25TB 2x1TB 840EVO 2x UAD OCTO, Apollo, 4-710d
Check Out My YouTube Channel~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Zwhaler is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 13, 2013, 01:53 PM   #20
phoenixsan
macrumors 65816
 
phoenixsan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
For me....

256 bit is the sweet spot between file size/quality. Having said the latter, it is my experience that higher bit rates can be appreciatted having a quiet environment, good hear and quality audio equipment.

__________________
Mac Pro 2012 3.06 Westmere version, 12 Core 64 GB RAM, 4 TB , iPhone 5 (black), Moto G 8 GB (black)
phoenixsan is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 13, 2013, 02:18 PM   #21
SnowLeopard2008
macrumors 603
 
SnowLeopard2008's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Silicon Valley
Send a message via AIM to SnowLeopard2008
Technically, 256kbps will provide you with better quality than 128kbps. Whether or not you care, hear the difference or otherwise matter to you in any way is totally up to you.
__________________
YouTube | @beautifulcode
Mac Pro | Thunderbolt Display | iPhone 5 | iPad mini | Apple TV | AirPort Extreme | iPad signed by Steve Wozniak
SnowLeopard2008 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 16, 2013, 05:15 AM   #22
iEvolution
macrumors 65816
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
I convert to 128kbps AAC on my iPod Shuffle & Nano and find that the difference is not that big...unless I use my higher end head phones. In your case since you consider your phones to be "medium grade" then I think you'd be good to convert to 128kbps.

As one poster said, 128kbps AAC is not the same as 128kbps MP3 as the 128kbps AAC is superior to the mp3 format. Its not until you get up to 192kbps where the differences start to get smaller.
iEvolution is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 16, 2013, 06:37 AM   #23
TooLowToZero
Thread Starter
macrumors newbie
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Thanks, I have loaded my Nano with 128 AAC tracks. I am not able to tell the difference between 128 & 256, with my headphones. When listening on the train and bus, or playing via my mini speaker, I must admit no difference for me. I have a little better earbuds than Apples own. Only ever tried Apples own the once and it was very poor sound. At least with the Nano I can fit all my 4,000 tracks on it. I would love something like the Classic iPod to hold all music at full bit rate, along with my podcasts. May consider iPod touch 64gb unit one day, but I have the iPhone 5, so a bit of a waste. Thanks for all your responses above.
TooLowToZero is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 16, 2013, 09:42 AM   #24
Mr. Retrofire
macrumors 601
 
Mr. Retrofire's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: www.emiliana.cl
I increase the sample rate in the iTunes encoder to 48.000 Hz and use 320 kBit/s as the encoding bit rate (see attachment). Joint Stereo is a lossless, channel difference encoding algorithm. If this algorithm finds similarities in the two channels, the algorithm stores only one copy of the signal. That means the encoder can store more information in this 320 kBit/s data stream, without a loss of quality. And before someone says 48.000 Hz is not necessary: Many audio decoders support 48.000 Hz, and in my experiments i can hear the difference between 44.100 Hz and 48.000 Hz (3900 more sample points per second).
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	screen.png
Views:	22
Size:	50.1 KB
ID:	402805  
__________________

“Only the dead have seen the end of the war.”
-- Plato --
Mr. Retrofire is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 20, 2013, 10:09 AM   #25
dXTC
macrumors 68000
 
dXTC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Up, up in my studio, studio
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Retrofire View Post
...
Joint Stereo is a lossless, channel difference encoding algorithm. If this algorithm finds similarities in the two channels, the algorithm stores only one copy of the signal. That means the encoder can store more information in this 320 kBit/s data stream, without a loss of quality.
...
(Bolding and snipping the above quote is my own; the text, however, is verbatim.)

I respectfully disagree that storing only one copy (one half of the stereo spectrum) is "lossless". Efficient? Yes. Lossless? Not entirely.

The article to which you link makes no mention of Joint Stereo being a lossless algorithm. Instead, it states that Joint Stereo may use several types of encoding schemes in the same file, in an attempt to achieve the best balance between compression ratio and quality at a given bitrate.

For a considerable amount of music that is recorded with all instruments panned center (i.e. placed close to the center of the stereo field), the most efficient way to compress this would indeed be to store one copy, with a lower-bit-depth side track denoting the minor differences between left and right signal. This, however, would turn out to be very inefficient on passages with different elements panned hard left and right (i.e. only come out either the left or right speaker); Mama Cass's "Dream A Little Dream Of Me", James Brown's "I Feel Good" and Howard Jones's "New Song" are examples of this.
__________________
dXTC
A good bit of stuff: iMac 21.5" i3 · MBP 17" i5 · Two 5g iPod nanos · and more
...geeve to me LAAAHRGE keess!
dXTC is offline   0 Reply With Quote

Reply
MacRumors Forums > iPhone, iPod and iPad > iPod

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Similar Threads
thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
MBA i5/8/256 vs MBP Retina i5/8/128 jonasdamn MacBook Air 4 Aug 14, 2013 01:02 PM
New MBA 13" 128 or 256 SSD? AlexNapo MacBook Air 22 Aug 13, 2013 02:41 PM
128/256 ssd Ollifi MacBook Air 13 Jul 26, 2013 08:48 AM
rMBP 13 128 or 256 MajkJaro Buying Tips and Advice 6 May 16, 2013 11:09 AM
Air:128 or 256? nightlong MacBook Air 38 Aug 5, 2012 06:56 PM

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:17 AM.

Mac Rumors | Mac | iPhone | iPhone Game Reviews | iPhone Apps

Mobile Version | Fixed | Fluid | Fluid HD
Copyright 2002-2013, MacRumors.com, LLC