how do i even get lossless anything!

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by nickslivestri, Dec 2, 2008.

  1. nickslivestri macrumors newbie

    Nov 23, 2008
    how do i download things in high bitrates or lossless?
    like is there an online store? i know in iTunes Plus, you get 256kbps but thats it. and if i have a song in 256kbps, if i convert it to OGG or something, wont it still be the same since it was goodish quality to start out with?

    i dont get it :p i'm kinda a noob
  2. Fiveos22 macrumors 65816


    Nov 20, 2003
    It would be best if you read about what bitrates mean. Wikipedia article.

    You can rip audio (off a CD for example) into lossless quality through the preferences in iTunes, or decide what level of compression you want. There are some online music stores that sell lossless music, or as you mentioned itunes Plus which sells higher bitrate music.

    In my experience it is nearly impossible to tell the difference between 192 kbps and greater bitrate audio files. This may be a function of the speakers I use, but in general you will not notice a difference. That begs the question, why go for a higher bitrate or the coveted "lossless" audio files? Generally, people are interested in higher bit rates because they feel they will be better for longer, or they can transfer the files to CD media without losing any fidelity (a true but imperceptable argument).

    Along the same lines: converting from a lossy format (256 kbps whatever) to OGG lossless is not to your it will expand the "lost" areas and essentially fill them with nothing (i.e. not gaining anything back after having lost it through compression).
  3. nickslivestri thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 23, 2008
  4. drichards macrumors 6502a


    Nov 30, 2008
    iTunes isn't really a big fan of OGG. Do you use songbird or something?
  5. nick9191 macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2008
    Unless you have some extremely expensive audio equipment and a well trained ear, there is little difference of you being able to tell the difference between iTunes bought music and lossless.
  6. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004

    Disagree completely. Even with a pair of average Sennheisers or the Shures I use on the iPod, or even my moderately-priced Denon amp with speakers on stands, the difference is quite clear. You don't have to have a trained ear to hear the difference at all. 228AAC is the minimum I'll rip to and even that doesn't have the same presence, clarity and enjoyability as 320AAC. Hell, you can even tell the difference on the iPod HiFi between the flatness of 128AAC and 320AAC, especially when it's turned up loud.
  7. Fiveos22 macrumors 65816


    Nov 20, 2003

    That level of differentiation is approaching the physiologic limit for hearing...and assuming that the average person has accumulated X amount of hearing loss over however many decades of life, it is probably unrealisitic. Audiophiles will claim that they can hear that and its a virtually untestable claim that I would chalk up to self-validation than any thing else.

    That said, certain types of music compress much better than others. For instance classical music (or very quiet, mono recordings) do require higher bitrates to sound production level clear...but 320? I have a hard time believing that.
  8. nickslivestri thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 23, 2008

    no i was gonna buy an iriver player, and use the files that i bought off iTunes to convert to OGG and then put them in the iriver software, or just not even use it, and just drag and drop files.
  9. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    According to whom? Your hearing?

    Than that is your entirely your assumption based on nothing to go on and your prerogative. If you can't hear the difference, then that's great for you. I wouldn't waste disk space on a limited-capacity iPod and MBP if that wasn't my experience. On the Shure E4Cs the difference between 228 and 320 is clear to me on a wide range of source material... which is why I never buy downloads... I hate the term audiophile; your poor choice of words, not mine.
  10. Fiveos22 macrumors 65816


    Nov 20, 2003
    Ah, Blue, that's why I enjoy sparring with you...its impossible to lose when you battle the dictionary.

    Let's settle this with some education, shall we?

    There is a physiologic limit to hearing. It is not disputed. The human ear can hear tones across a spectrum from 20Hz to 20,000Hz. Generally sounds lower than 20Hz are vibrations are felt as opposed to "heard", by mechanoreceptors called Pacinian Corpuscles not the acoustic apparatus. Frequencies higher than 20K can be heard by very few people and virtually no one can hear above 25KHz. Thus, the tonal range of human hearing is quite finite.

    How hearing actually works is quite remarkable. The vibrations from the environment are transmitted via the tympanic membrane (Ear Drum) through three very small bones to the cochlea. The cochlea is a spiral shaped apparatus in the middle ear that has three fluid filled compartments, the middle of which contains special "hairs" that react to specific vibrations (directly correlating with vibratory frequencies). These "hairs" convert the sound we hear into neuronal impulses that are transmitted to the auditory centers of the brain. Interestingly, these auditory neurons were found to send impulses at the frequency that the "hairs" were vibrating.

    A very interesting experiment revealed that if electrodes were placed on these neurons, it was possible to "play" the sounds that the organism was hearing through a speaker...! I mention all this to lay the groundwork for another very interesting experiment, this one in the realm of music theory and cognition. It was possible to play a song that was purposely missing particular elements of cord to a model organism and, using the electrode to speaker setup, be able to hear the completed cords being interpreted by the organism (which had no education in music theory). The concept can be approximated visually by any of a number of visual phantoms where your "mind fills in the blanks".

    Essentially you can train yourself to unconciously fill in the blanks with sounds. Its a form of auditory hallucination and is entirely psychological. Now we could wax all philosophical at this point and say, for example, that according to Immanuel Kant we don't necessarily know that our surroundings exist except for the notion that we think that they exist and others agree with us (Thought experiment: How do you define the color red? Is the color red that I see the same color red that you see?)...etc. That's running so far from the topic that it changes the discussion to you having to convince us that you hear something.

    From a practical standpoint about audio compression ("lossy" formats and such), the strongest argument for higher resolution (bitrate) audio is the fact that compression algorithms can leave behind audio artifacts such as hisses, crackles, ringing, or warbling. The "bit-rate" of a audio file is the number of bits that are taken for each sample. Almost all CD music (which I will use at the standard for this response) is sampled at 44.1K samples per second. At 128 kbps you are getting 3 bits of data for each sample of sound (which lasts ~0.00002 seconds).

    If you remember back to the threshold of human hearing being 20-25K cycles per second (hertz) and those frequencies being directly inputted to the brain via hairs reacting to those frequencies: you can see that getting 2x the number of samples per-second than you can oscillate per second means you will be filtering out audio information even at the "very low" bit rate of 128 kbps. Now I guess your argument could be that things sound better at 320 kbps than 192, but you would be arguing then that you could you hear a lower percentage of the actual transmitted sounds...but you could hear that lower percentage better. Right?

    The logic is similar to video frames per second: You can watch a movie showing 60 fps, but you will only see 25 of those frames every second due to the physiology of your eye. Beyond that, it is ENTIRELY subjective because it is all psychological. Basically, its an argument to justify liking things of "apparently higher value". That's great if you like it, but saying its better is quite subjective.

    On a final note: Regarding my "poor choice of words", whether or not you like the term "audiophile" is your perogative, but you demonstrate being an audiophile :

    However, if you feel that being a audiophile has negative connotations, perhaps you shouldn't feel guilty for engaging in music snobbery (or stop being a music snob if you feel so sorely about it).

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