Any Noticable Sound Diff. between 128 and 160KBPS?

Discussion in 'Mac Help/Tips' started by swahilibill, Feb 18, 2003.

  1. swahilibill macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2002
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    Highlands Ranch
    #1
    I just noticed in my damn iTunes library that most of my songs are either in 160 KBPS or 192(very few in 192). I really need all of the space I can get on my iPod and I was wondering if there really was a sound difference between 128 and 160, I didn't really notice, I just wanted a second opinion!!??? Thanks alot in advance, adios!!!
     
  2. TyleRomeo macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 22, 2002
    Location:
    New York
    #2
    Re: Any Noticable Sound Diff. between 128 and 160KBPS?

    if youre an audiofile then it is, if you can't tell and it doesnt bother you then youre all set.

    I need all mine at 1411 AIFF files, becuase once you compress you cant get the original back unless you reimport it.

    Tyler
     
  3. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #3
    It only makes a difference if you don't like the difference. If it sounds fine to you then that's all that matters.


    Lethal
     
  4. yosoyjay macrumors regular

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    Canada
  5. Gus macrumors 65816

    Gus

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    Minnesota
    #5
    That, and unless you listen to Classical music. I know that that isn't a popular genre nowadays, but being an orchestral musician, I have a lot of Classical on my iBook. It's gotta be AIFF, or at the very least for the iPod 192 KB, or there is a noticable hiss in the soft sections.

    Regards,
    Gus
     
  6. losfp macrumors regular

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    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Sydney
    #6
    I think there is, but you may not :)

    I'm not overly fussy with my mp3 quality, most of the time I listen on the train, or in the car where there is a lot of external noise anyway - so a little bit of dodgy quality is alright by me. 160kbps is my prefered encoding bitrate, I find that at 128, acoustic instruments, guitars, cymbals etc have a certain "squashiness" to their sound that is not as apparent at 160. some people prefer 192+
     
  7. springscansing macrumors 6502a

    springscansing

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    New York
    #7
    192 is a good rate. It saves you a ton of space, and yet, the sound quality isn't too bad for casual listening. For classical music or very detailed music, I'd go for 256.

    To be honest, an mp3 is never going to sound close to as good as the original, but, usually it doesn't matter.
     
  8. Sol macrumors 68000

    Sol

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    Jan 14, 2003
    Location:
    Australia
    #8
    MP3 settings

    All my MP3s are encoded at 160kbs because it is a good balance between audio quality and size. 128kbs is good enough generally but if you pay close attention to the quiet bits in your music you will hear a type of hiss there. At 160 kbs one-hour CDs take no more than 100MB of space. There are other factors of course, such as the kHz (44.1 kHz is CD-quality, 48 kHz is DAT quality). Also remember that if you select Variable Bit Rate encoding, you can set 160 kbs to be the minimum so that more complicated bits in the music track can use higher bit rate settings.
     
  9. Bear macrumors G3

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    Jul 23, 2002
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    Sol III - Terra
    #9
    Re: Any Noticable Sound Diff. between 128 and 160KBPS?

    Yes, there is, but it's easier to detect on Soundsticks then it is on the iPod earphones.

    You could try using VBR o get better sound quality without using up all the extra space. You just need to pick the minimum bit rate as well as the general quality level. I use 160 Minimum VBR to Max. I'm averaging about 200kbps for the music I've checked the bitrate on.
     
  10. Bear macrumors G3

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    Jul 23, 2002
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    Sol III - Terra
    #10
    Actually, the sound quality will be noticed in other genres besides classical.

    Artists/Groups like Loreena McKennit, David Arkenstone, Ian Anderson, Legend, Mediaeval Baebes, Tempest, (I could go on.) And of course movie sound tracks in a fair number of cases have full orchestration, so they would benefit from a higher bitrate.

    But as has been pointed out...all that matters is if you can hear the difference in the sound. I can, so that makes the difference.
     
  11. King Cobra macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2002
    #11
    swahilibill, I want you to scrap everything you have read in this thread up to this point.

    There is a better solution to audio compression, but it will require reimporting your music. First, go into iTunes > Preferences > Importing > Configuration: Custom
    Select these options:
    Bit Rate:
    >Mono: 32Kbps
    >Stereo: 64Kbps
    >Use Variable Bit Rate Encoding (VBR)
    >>Quality: Highest
    Smart Encoding Adjustments (check)
    Filter Frequencies Below 10 Hz (check)
    Sample Rate: preferably Auto
    Channels: preferably Stereo
    Stereo Mode: preferably Normal

    Now import all of your music from CDs again.

    What you have just done is imported all of your music in MPEG-2 layer 3 audio, not the standard MPEG-1 layer 3 so many people have been using. Your audio files have now been cut in more than half, so you can store at least twice as much music on your iPod.

    If you have a 5GB iPod, that's about 2500 songs.
    If you have a 10GB iPod, that's about 5000 songs.
    If you have a 20GB iPod, that's about 10000 songs.
     
  12. springscansing macrumors 6502a

    springscansing

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    New York
    #12
    swahilibill, I want you to scrap everything King Cobra has written up to this point.

    Yes, that might be a viable solution, if it didn't sound so god-awful. What are you talking about man?

    Not that it really matters when you listening to Disturbed I guess.

    Swahilibill, do NOT do this, unless you want all your audio to sound like crap. Go ahead, try it. You'll see what I mean.
     
  13. springscansing macrumors 6502a

    springscansing

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    Oct 13, 2002
    Location:
    New York
    #13
    Basically, anything with high-end detail and a lot of dynamics is going to be affected heavy by mp3 encoding.

    In fact, Xing encoding, like the type used in AudioCatalyst, just plain cuts off virtually all sound above 16k. It's terrible.

    If you are going to be doing encoding, use software that uses a LAME or Fraunhofer encoding algorithm. Fraunhofer is better for 192+, and LAME is better for standard 96 and down. In the middle its a tossup.

    LameBrain is good for this. (www.versiontracker.com) -- Just make sure you feed it files that are 16-bit. iTunes will handle 24 bit files by converting them to 16, but LameBrain will just output a lot of harsh noise.
     
  14. King Cobra macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2002
    #14
    >Yes, that might be a viable solution, if it didn't sound so god-awful. What are you talking about man?

    I should have mentioned that effectively you get sound quality at or above 128Kbps. If you have quality earplugs/quality audio equipment (PSB, CSW, anything of that nature) the sound quality is almost indifferent from 160Kbps. I'll admit it's my error that I should have mentioned this before and did not mention so.

    >Not that it really matters when you listening to Disturbed I guess.

    Actually, I am listening to something other than Disturbed through Sony's $50 earplugs and the sound quality is more than acceptable.

    And why would it matter what band I listen to anyways? The only reason I have Disturbed as my avatar has nothing to do with what sound quality I get out of my earplugs or my 4.1 system.

    Again, the type of audio equipment has a big effect on how you perceive music quality. I may be flamed for saying this, but I feel any audio equipment from Apple (Pro Speakers, iPod earplugs) is degradable as to output quality for music at a low bitrate.

    I have encoded more than 9/10 of my music in MPEG-2 and have gotten quite used to it. Yes, it may take a day or two to get used to the quality, again, depending on your speakers, but once you do, you'll be glad you compresssed your music.

    I need to ask you, springscansing. What bitrate are you using and what audio equipment do you use? Have you also tried getting used to MPEG-2 audio?
     
  15. springscansing macrumors 6502a

    springscansing

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    New York
    #15
    I'm using a 300 dollar pair of AKG 270 Studio pro monitoring headphones. Not Sony earbuds. Even Sony's 300 dollar CD-2000s are crap... I know, I had them. Sony makes junk generally... ask anyone in the audio engineering field, and they'll tell you (maybe with the exception of 7506s), that Sony is crap, especially their supposed hi-fi stuff.

    No wonder you cannot tell the different listening on earbuds. They've got nothing about 12khz.

    And yes, I did try mpeg-2 layed 3 audio. It sounds terrible.

    I cannot believe you think you should "get used" to audio compression. Why just not compress it to hell in the first place? Is 1000 songs on your iPod not enough?

    You obviously do not know what you're talking about here, touting mpeg-2 and sony earbuds as good things.
     
  16. howard macrumors 68020

    howard

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2002
    #16
    i've just noticed on my itunes that my tunes are ripped at all different bit rates...from 320 something to 56!! but i never changed the setting on my itunes from 160...whats up with that??? these are all songs that i've ripped myself!!
     
  17. springscansing macrumors 6502a

    springscansing

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    #17
    Either you have VBR on, or you are totally insane. :)

    Maybe some are streams?
     
  18. King Cobra macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2002
    #18
    >I cannot believe you think you should "get used" to audio compression. Why just not compress it to hell in the first place?

    Even with my desktop 4.1 system anything lower than 128Kbps MPEG-1 (i.e. 64Kbps in MPEG-2) is not worth encoding to.

    >Is 1000 songs on your iPod not enough?

    To answer your question, yes, 1000 songs is plenty, for now. But the topic was to address swahilibill's situation about compressing his audio further. If he wishes to not use MPEG-2, that's up to him. If he wants to use something other than Sony's earbuds (btw: I have this model) that's also up to him.

    Also, from what I have seen on the forums, "audiophiles" will continue to gather music in iTunes and on their iPod until they either remove music or compress it further. Since removing music is not an option because of the senario at hand, compression is the only option.

    This brings me back to your first post in this thread. You recommended 192 or 256Kbps audio for casual listening. Just so you get an idea, 64Kbps MPEG-2 is approximately 128Kbps MPEG-1 audio compression, which may explain why you like to keep your audio at a high quality. I respect that, but I'm afraid this will not help swahilibill's situation, as swahilibill has most of his/her music compressed around 160Kbps and needs to further compress it.

    One last thing I should mention is there may also be an update to iTunes, possibly enabling MPEG-4 audio compression, which may allow 256Kbps quality at a 64Kbps encoding. There have been rumors as to what date iTunes 4 will be released, so check those out, swahilibill, if you are willing to wait a few more months or so.

    >You obviously do not know what you're talking about here, touting mpeg-2 and sony earbuds as good things.

    springscansing, I'm sure you have heard the phrase "each to its own". If I am "touting" MPEG-2 compression and Sony earbuds and you are not, that means we each have various taste of preferences, thus, different opinions. If you say I "obviously do not know what you're talking about here" because of my choice of preference, then you equally "do not know what you're talking about here", because of your choice of preference.

    Also, from my personal experience, I use to encode all my music in MPEG-1 192Kbps and was used to that for a long time. If swahilibill is used to 160Kbps then I am certain he can get used to MPEG-2 audio, much like myself.
     
  19. Kid Red macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2001
    #19
    He didn't say they were good things, he said they were acceptable. So he's passing along his personal experience to someone asking a question. Just cause you claim to be an 'audiophile' doesn't mean an opinion you disagree with is wrong, it's just, well uh, different.

    To each his own, you don'y need to be nasty with your opinion.
     
  20. springscansing macrumors 6502a

    springscansing

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    Oct 13, 2002
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    New York
    #20
    Ehhh I'm sorry everyone. I woke up at 4AM today. I am cranky. lol

    I never ever read the original post. Apologies all around. Buy you a drink if I could.
     
  21. Gus macrumors 65816

    Gus

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    Jan 1, 2002
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #21
    Sorry, I wasn't trying to be a "Classical snob". You will, of course, hear a difference if you have a good ear in ANY genre, but, I was just pointing out that even to an untrained ear, (like my mother who still doesn't understand why I do what I do), classical music will show up as compressed.

    If you are an audiophile, or are in the business, you will be annoyed by pretty much any compression. Good point, though.

    Regards,
    Gus
     
  22. WinterMute Moderator emeritus

    WinterMute

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    Jan 19, 2003
    Location:
    London, England
    #22
    Just wanted to say, as an audio professional I was always dead against any form of compression, including PCM onto any of the "Pro" digital formats. I was always of the opinion that 2" 16-track 30ips analog was the boss, mastered to a nice 0.5" 2 track machine...

    I recently bought an iPod to run .aiff files around with, and thought "what the hell..." and ripped some CD's for easy listening on the train to work.

    At the max setting MP3 with the variable bitrate setting turned on, I think think the iPods audio delivery to the standard "in-ear" speakers is remarkably good, sure, if you run through a decent system you can hear the coding work, but then you're driving a line input with a headphone amp, so you'll suffer in the HF range anyway...:D

    I think the argument as to what you're personally happy with is the important one, music is about emotion, not bitrates.
     
  23. Jaykay macrumors 6502a

    Jaykay

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2002
    Location:
    Ireland
    #23
    yes

    nearly all my music is 128 and it perfect, or maybe i have bad hearing, but i like it.
     

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