What am I missing (bitrate discussion)?

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by emvath, Oct 28, 2011.

  1. emvath macrumors regular

    Jan 5, 2009
    I do a lot of music listening at home and had originally (unknowingly) ripped all my CD's in 128 aac like Apple told me to. Learning later what the different bitrates actually meant let me to panic that I was listening to "crap".

    Since then I've started re-ripping my albums (at different bitrates depending on how much I like them).

    I've also been using WinABX to try and find my hearing tolerance. The results kind of shocked me. I can't tell a difference between 128 mp3 and WAV, much less 256 aac and WAV. I've tried 320, v0, alac, flac, etc. and I really end up guessing everytime. I cannot hear a difference at all.

    So, long story short...am I just deaf or am I doing something wrong?

    I use dbPoweramp to rip from the real (not burned) CD's everytime. I listen through my headphones that aren't terrific, but are certainly better than the stock iPod headphones. They are Sennheiser HD515's. I'm just using my integrated soundcard on my computer (not sure what it is other than a Realtek built into a Abit motherboard from about 2 years ago).

    The songs I've been using are from Pink Floyd - Darkside, Brian Eno - 2001, Jay-Z - the black album, Avenged Sevenfold - City of Evil, etc.

    Any thoughts?
  2. zimv20 macrumors 601


    Jul 18, 2002
    could be that your listening environment obscures any difference (including the headphones and amp).

    could be that you don't know what to listen for. e.g. you may want to listen to the high freqs of cymbals, especially as they trail off, for differences.

    disk space is cheap. if you've got it to spare, you may as well continue your higher bitrate efforts; someday you may listen on a system where you can tell the difference.
  3. jdsingle macrumors regular

    Oct 28, 2011

    There is a reason they can sell 128kbps and people do not notice it. It can vary based on your system setup. If I play a 128kbps vs a 320kbps on my monitors it is very noticeable. When my gf plays 128 or 320 on her headphones she doesn't know the difference.
  4. TMRaven macrumors 68020


    Nov 5, 2009
    It's hard. Compression just gets better and better with time, and even a lot of well-encoded, recorded and mastered songs at 128kbps sound very good. I've a pair of DenonD2000, Beyerdynamic DT990 600Ω running off a Little Dot, and a pair of PSB Image B15s running off a t-amp, and even I think it's hard to tell the difference.

    I rip all of my songs at 320kbps aac just to be on the safe side of things, and a couple albums to wav, but only once in a blue moon. I have to really like them, and I have to know they're certified great recordings to rip them in wav.

    Besides your equipment and listening environment, a good bit of it is just having a trained ear. If you've been a drummer all your life, you'd know what an accurate drum sounds like compared to a compressed drum moreso than others probably.

    For me, the most noticeable differences in compression come in the treble. Lower bitrate compressions have 'underthewater' type artifacts for treble.
  5. emvath thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 5, 2009
    Hmm...okay, thanks for the responses. I am always listening in a nice quiet room in the house fyi. I guess I'm just ignorant of the differences because I'm still not noticing anything. Oh well, I'm ripping most things in v0, 256 aac, or 320 mp3 anyways because I have plenty of space. If nothing else it will sound better to other people listening with me I guess.

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