Audiophiles i need your help!!!

Discussion in 'iPod' started by Konradx, Nov 18, 2005.

  1. Konradx macrumors 6502

    Konradx

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2005
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #1
    Hi! I am audiophiles on a budget, and i havent put years of research into actual music. But i am obsessive with sound quality. For my computer i have 5.1 suround sound speakers, and a reciever. i love clarity and having well made music flow around me..hearing different sounds flow through different speakers. Now i listen to very heavy music quality bands.

    My question is about bit rates. When i rip mp3s i do it at 256 currently. Now with very high, or pretty high quality headphones and speakers will i notice a difference if i rip any higher or SLIGHTLY lower? Is their a certian level that if you rip any higher you wont notice a difference?

    thanks in advance
     
  2. Lacero macrumors 604

    Lacero

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2005
    #2
    You can rip at the maximum bitrate of 320 AAC for the best sounding compressed music file. Or you can go Apple lossless for true audiophile quality. I personally don't notice a difference at around 160Kbps AAC from that of uncompressed.

    Also you may want to pick up some Aurant Opus speaker cables to go along with your 5.1 setup (that is, if you really are an audiophile).
     
  3. fklehman macrumors regular

    fklehman

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    Sep 19, 2005
    Location:
    Newark, DE
    #3
    I imported all of my CDs using Apple Lossless; I currently keep about 2000 songs at a time on my 60GB 4G iPod photo. With the stock Apple headphones you may as well go with AAC, but if you get better headphones you will likely notice the difference in quality if you go higher to 320 AAC or Lossless. I use a pair of Sony MDR-EX71s, they have nice bass response for buds and I like the detachable extension cord. Before that I was using a pair of REALLY great $80 Sony headphones (MDR-E88 or something like that, I think), but although they always sounded great on my CD and MD players they didn't seem to give as good a sound from my iPod. Sound seemed a little too thin. Anyway, if I was only listening on headphones I may have gone 320, but I often hook up my iPod to my home audio setup (hi-current Sony amp and a pair of Infinity Alpha 40s) and don't want my audio files to be the bottleneck. Right now the bottleneck is probably the cable from my iPod, which is a dock connector-to-composite cable. Better than anything else out there as far as I know--a dock-to-optical would be dreamy.
     
  4. eRondeau macrumors 6502a

    eRondeau

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    Mar 3, 2004
    Location:
    Canada's South Coast
    #4
    Audiophile???

    Any true audiophile will tell you that no digital music is good enough! As soon as it goes from the analog to the digital domain, it's junk. The bit rate doesn't matter. The compression format doesn't matter. It's not music anymore.

    Having said that -- I personally find 128kbps AAC to be just fine for casual listening. But there's no substitute for ALE or hi-bitrate AAC.
     
  5. alex_ant macrumors 68020

    alex_ant

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    Feb 5, 2002
    Location:
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    #5
    I would definitely recommend those Opus speaker cables. I definitely noticed an increase in my music's crispness and life. It brought out the full texture, warmth, and sonic je ne sais quois of the music. At only $30,000 each it's money well spent.
     
  6. quackattack macrumors 6502a

    quackattack

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    Aug 13, 2004
    Location:
    Boise, ID
    #6
    I rip Apple Lossless then compress the files to 256 VBR AAC for use on my iPod. I can't hear a difference between the two. I like to keep the lossless around just so I have an archive of my music.

    I would not use mp3. Go with AAC, or if you must at least use LAME. Anything below 224 AAC I can hear the compression, of course this can depend on the type of music.

    I would suggest you rip at the highest rate you can afford in terms of hard drive space. That way when your ears/gear improves you won't be kicking yourself when you have to rerip your whole collection because you can hear the compression.

    BTW I can't stand the term audiophile. It brings up thoughts of those Aurant cables.
     
  7. mcarnes macrumors 68000

    mcarnes

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    Mar 14, 2004
    Location:
    USA! USA!
    #7
    I've run sample A - B type tests with friends and after many trials I would say there is no discernible difference between 256 kbps AAC and the source CD. There is mathematically, but not to normal human ears (which my group of testers presumably had). Others can disagree all they want but this was my conclusion. This was on high end audio gear, using both headphones and speakers. If you do these tests I recommend high end headphones with a dedicated headphone amp. I used Grado RS-1 and Sennheiser 650 with various amps.

    I should mention that 320 kbps mp3 is not as good as the source CD. It has to be AAC. 320 kbps AAC is not necessary. 256 kbps will do.
     
  8. quackattack macrumors 6502a

    quackattack

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    Aug 13, 2004
    Location:
    Boise, ID
    #8
    Drool.

    Saving up for some 650's as we speak. Lucky dog, can't imagine having two better headphones. If you can't hear the compression on those 2 cans, I doubt it can be heard on anything.

    I am currently loving my Grado SR225's :D
     
  9. mcarnes macrumors 68000

    mcarnes

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    #9
    The 225's are good for rockin' out. The chambers are small so the driver is closer to you ears. This makes the music more upfront and in you face.

    The RS-1 has wider sound stage and a tighter bass. But the 225 is a good phone on it's own. I regret selling mine sometimes.

    The Senns are a whole other beast and need a good (expensive) amp. You also need to replace the factory cable, which doubles the cost.

    But the Grados are great out of the box. Enjoy your 225s.
     
  10. geeman macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2001
    Location:
    At My Mac
    #10
    Don't wanna hijack the thread and turn it into a high-quality headphone thread (now THERE'S an idea...) but don't you find the 225s are just a touch too 'harsh' in their presentation?

    I was listening to a pair of Senn HD650s with a Bithead headphone amp and found the combo to be too laid back for my taste.

    I'm looking for a pair of cans that I can plug into my 4G iPod (transportable, rather than portable - I'm not going to walk down the street wearing them :eek: ) running Lossless, using my SuperMacro V6 headphone amp. I've tried Grados, Senn HD650, HD600 and HD595 (the best of the bunch, surprisingly) and Beyer DT880s. Next stop is to try a pair of AKG 701s. I already have a pair of Etymotic ER-4S, which I just can't get on with.

    I want something nice and revealing - but with a proper bass 'kick'. Since you're into quality headphones, I thought that you might have a suggestion?
     
  11. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    #11
    And these are usually the same people who insist that a digitally-mastered recording will sound better on a piece of vinyl than on a CD.
     
  12. Lacero macrumors 604

    Lacero

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2005
    #12
    Forget vinyl (or CD or even DVD-Audio). I like to listen to my music on Edison cylinders. Those give the warmest, truest-to-life recordings that digital 24-bit/96Khz recordings can only dream of.
     
  13. mcarnes macrumors 68000

    mcarnes

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    #13
    I don't want to jack the thread either so I'll (try) to keep it short...

    All the Grados are bright. That is the only real problem with them. But in my experience nothing beats it for smooth mid range and tight bass, so you just have to deal with the brightness.

    I deal with it by tweaking the eq in iTunes. Unfortunately, on the iPod you can't tweak the eq and are stuck with the presets. 'Bass Booster' seems to balance out the bright Grados about right, although some songs will clip but that's rare (Beatles 'Come Together' always clips, test that one). A good amp will not clip but if you're using the iPod's headphone jack, it is something you need to be aware of when using the iPod eq.

    There is no perfect phone. You just gotta pick one and tweak. Good luck. :)
     
  14. Labi macrumors regular

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    Sep 28, 2005
    #14
    Here's my 2 cents:
    First of all no matter the bitrate, Audiophiles do not listen to compressed audio, thus none of us qualify to be a true audiophile, even tho we all admire a good quality recording. I always ripp my music at 128 kbps and it is without a doubt that you can hear a difference between that and let's say 320kbps, but only if you concentrate and try to spot the difference, which I off course don't do. I like to enjoy the music. If the music I'm listening to does it for me, then 128kbps is perfectly OK with me. That's off course when I'm on the move, otherwise I listen to the actual CD on my stereo which is a fair setup and is a totally different experience.
     
  15. M.Capz macrumors member

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    Nov 16, 2005
    #15
    So what do you guys think of those Grado SR80s :D
    These are going to be my first pair of higher end headphones.
     
  16. Konradx thread starter macrumors 6502

    Konradx

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2005
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #16
    Their is already a thread about these headphones..go search it.

    Thanks for the input. Im 21 and a 3rd year University student so i doubt i'll be able to afford aurant opus cables. I currently run Harman Kardon 5 piece speakers and a Pioneer reciever. I cant wait to finish Uni and start buying high end stuff!
     
  17. M.Capz macrumors member

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    Nov 16, 2005
    #17
    Relax yourself. I was only asking for a little bit of input like everyone else.
     
  18. quackattack macrumors 6502a

    quackattack

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2004
    Location:
    Boise, ID
    #18
    There is some harshness, but nothing that really bothers me. I use one of Xin's SM3s as well. I really like the bass boost feature, unlike the iPods EQ it won't distort the sound. Although, I use this alot more with my Shure E4's than my 225's.

    I also use some C-Pads from headphile with my 225's (http://www.headphile.com).

    They widen the soundstage and take away some of the harshness. I am very happy with that set up.
     
  19. Hemingray macrumors 68030

    Hemingray

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    Jan 9, 2002
    Location:
    Ha ha haaa!
    #19
    LOL! :D That gave me quite a laugh, thanks. :)
     
  20. MikeyHoi macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2005
    Location:
    Phoenixville, PA & NY
    #20
    This is all rather subjective, it depends on the quality of your playback setup, how discerning your ears are, and to what level of attention you are paying to the music. First off, pretty much any compressed music file will not sound as good as the cd in one way or another. In some settings you may not notice a difference, for example listening to my ipod on the train each day...there's enough background noise interfering with the music and I'm usually also reading a book so I don't notice or care about the loss of detail inherent in a compressed music file. On the other hand listening to aac/mp3 on my home stereo or any of the playback setups in the studio where I work quickly reveals the shortcomings of compressed audio. When I'm just on the internet or traveling, sure I’ll listen to compressed files, I'm not paying enough attention to the music to notice or care. But when I sit down to listen to music with no other distractions I go straight to the original cd.
    Bottom line, convert a song or two that you are very familiar with into each compressed format at different bit rates and burn them all onto one cd. Listen to each track on your setup, if you can get someone else to skip around between tracks for you so that you are unaware of what bit-depth setting you are listening too that's even better. You may be surprised at which one you pick for just casual listening.
    BTW, in the interest of conserving space while maintaining reasonable sound quality I use aac-160 files on my ipod. With Sony mdr-7509's sure you can hear the difference, but on the go who cares. Since you're on a budget, search DIY speaker cables on google...for an hour or two of your time you'll get 95% of the quality with 20% of the cost of "high end" speaker cables.
     
  21. ak47-whaaa macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2011
    #21
    five years later u get a post

    but if u haven't realized, shame on you for saying that ur an audiophile

    Number 1
    you only have 256kbs for one any amount of compression is bad, go with apple lossless (m4a i think)

    number 2
    the fact that you are using surround sound speakers is saying audio noob to me, audiophiles usually stick with stereo as you don't need to pinpoint the location of a certain thing, like in an fps

    number 3
    USE HEADPHONES!!!!!!!!!! even with entry level headphones like the Sennheiser HD 558's you will hear the compression and audio loss on anything under 320 kbs

    320kbs is considered ok but you still lack some quality, but most of it is there

    then there is .flac the right out of the CD format which is the best by far

    but these things are pointless if you don't have a decent sound card so the min. budget i spent on my audio setup was about $500 for the headphones and sound card (dang my student budget)
     
  22. Beezy macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    #22
    I have k702s. Tbh I find them to be a little too over the top. The highend extension goes for days but I feel it's almost unnatural that there is no roll off. Some say the bass is lacking but I don't agree. But they are very flat in the low end. You won't get that flattering extra punch in the kick drum. The mids are legendary. I actually use my vintage sextette k240s more but I wouldn't waste my time plugging those 600ohm bastards into my phone.

    To the OP I have been on the FLAC tip lately. I figure you can cut whatever bit rate you want from that. If I go Mp3 it's always 320 cbr. I can hear a difference with 192k above that it's tough but that doesn't mean there isn't a difference.
     

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