Audiophiles, can you tell the difference between 256 and lossless, there's an app

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by spacepower7, Dec 1, 2012.

  1. spacepower7 macrumors 68000

    May 6, 2004
    This may be old news? If so ignore :)
    I just don't recall this being mentioned on Hi-Fi websites, although I don't follow them closely.

    Anyway, as part of their Mastered for iTunes, Apple offers some free tools. One of those is an Audio Units plug-in to do blind ABX testing. Sorry, not really an App, but most audiophiles have software that support Audio Units.

    I have not tried the plug-in yet but reading about it and looking at screen shots, it will blindly test the listener, switching A and B randomly. If I read correctly, you might also be able to compare both A and B to the known source file?

    Anyway here's the link, it's the bottom (3rd) zip file.

    Please post back here any experiences or point me to a thread that already covers this.

  2. MisterKeeks macrumors 68000


    Nov 15, 2012
    Considering how attached some people are to their lossless, this could get pretty interesting. Let the show begin!
  3. jon3543, Dec 1, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2012

    jon3543 macrumors 6502

    Sep 13, 2010
    PC users have Foobar2000 and its ABX comparator addon. If you're comparing files from different sources, be sure to enable ReplayGain, adding it to the files if necessary, and understand any differences you may hear should be considered the result of different masterings until proved otherwise. IOW, to do a true lossless/lossy test, you need to know the lossy file is derived from the lossless file you're comparing it to.
  4. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    I haven't listened to lossless files, but I can tell you that I have never thought "wow, there's something missing" with 256k files. On my computer, duh, the speakers are $30. But I have replaced the factory speakers in my car with four of six that retail for about $150 per pair.

    The only thing I have ever heard that was better was DTS audio. A friend let me borrow a DTS audio disc of The Eagles, and each speaker had a different band member singing in it. But CDs are nothing like that.
  5. spacepower7 thread starter macrumors 68000

    May 6, 2004
    I agree

    My intention on posting this was that Apple provides a plug-in.

    The usefulness to audiophiles or anyone interested would be having a full quality source file. Rip a cd to Aiff or WAV or Apple lossless. Then create the 256 file from the source file and then commence ABX testing.

    I keep my favorite 100-200 CDs in Apple Lossless. The other 2000+ CDs are "good enough" at 256.

    I'm still impressed with the quality of some of my older 192 MP3 rips from 10 years ago. Time to rerip at 256 or spring for iTunes Match. I wish Apple would raise the limit on iTunes Match now that Amazon has.
  6. Skoopman macrumors 6502

    Sep 24, 2011
    Just to make one thing clear: Trying to hear a difference between a lossless and lossy file on 30$ speakers is bollocks. Not everyone can hear a difference in the first place. Anyway, the problem with lossless and lossy is not always the "listening experience". It's the fact, that once you go lossy, you can't go back. Scratch a CD, loose it and you have to buy it again. I keep my stuff as Apple Lossless because of that reason. If I can hear a difference or not, I really don't care and neither am I gonna sit here and try to hear a difference between the files.
  7. jon3543 macrumors 6502

    Sep 13, 2010
    I'm still leery of iTunes Match. AFAIK, it doesn't consider different masterings when replacing music. (How could it?) And different masterings have a far (FAR!) greater effect on sound quality than lossless vs lossy. You don't even need to be a "trained listener" much less an "expert listener" to hear differences in mastering. I also wonder how it deals with songs that were partly re-recorded or remixed for different releases, e.g. some ZZ Top and Ozzy albums.

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