Would human ears notice a difference for anything above 320kbps?

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by gusping, Apr 28, 2012.

  1. gusping macrumors 6502

    Mar 12, 2012
    London, UK
    most music tracks nowadays are 320kbps and i was wondering if you upped it to 450-600kbps would humans be able to hear the difference? this is with a good sound system or headphones btw :p

  2. FeaRThiS macrumors 6502

    Mar 25, 2011
    With a decent hifi setup I can tell the difference between 320kbps and lossless flac or alac but only when played at loud volumes. When playing them at lower volumes they sound pretty much the same but the mp3 always sounds considerably worse as the volume gets louder.
  3. dj-anon macrumors member


    Mar 23, 2011
    If you are talking about mp3, then yes, some people can. It also depends on the music.

    However, when it comes to AAC, very few people on earth should be able to tell the difference at 192kbps, let alone 256kbps, the default quality for the iTunes store.
  4. PAPO macrumors 6502

    Aug 24, 2009
    imo MP3/ AAC wouldn't be used for anything higher than 320Kbps (maybe 350 ish, (that's what ATRAC goes upto)) you'd go to lossless from there up, and depending on your library size and available storage just use ALAC and be done with it
  5. Yoder54 macrumors newbie

    Mar 30, 2009
    For me bit-depth is everything, 24-bit audio sounds far superior to 16-bit regardless of the sample rate.
  6. d0vr macrumors 6502a

    Feb 24, 2011
    I completely agree. No point in going over 320kpbs, but not because there is no difference, but instead because there is better formats for that.

    As to the original question, yes, some people can hear a difference. I all honesty though, you're more likely to *feel* the difference if you are play the audio loudly as it's the typically the inaudible sounds (such as sub) that go when converting to lossy formats.

    When I listen through proper gear, there is a lot more definition in lossless tracks, which I love. It's exciting hearing all the hidden sounds in songs when you listen carefully.
  7. \-V-/ Suspended


    May 3, 2012
    It's very noticeable if you have a decent setup. It's not very noticeable on crappy speakers or headphones (though lossless audio can sometimes make your crappy speakers sound like good speakers ;)). I can't stand MP3, honestly, but I'm an audiophile. I have to make due with MP3 when I transfer music to my phone, however... since I can't store nearly as many songs with lossless FLAC... or ridiculously sized 24-bit rips, for that matter.

    Lossless really isn't revolutionary... it's how the music is supposed to sound in the first place... you know... back when buying CDs was more popular than downloading crappy lossy/degraded versions of songs/albums. MP3 has made us all forget what the original quality is supposed to be.
  8. dknightd macrumors 6502

    Mar 7, 2004
    I've never been able to tell 320 from lossless. Though it has been awhile since I tried. Actually that is not quite true - I could easily tell the difference when I knew what I was listening to, but once I did proper abx listening tests I could no longer hear the difference.

    I tested using benchmark dac1 and either hd650 of k701 headphones.
    Maybe they are not revealing enough. Or maybe my ears and brain are not trained enough.

    I encourage you to try for yourself - doing double blind listening tests.

    (that said I still rerip things lossless every once in a while, and anything new added goes in lossless - just in case)
  9. EvilC5 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 22, 2010
    Hanover MD
    I guess my ears have been damaged with years of being around loud music because I cant really tell a difference between 256 and AAC and I have a pretty good setup with martin logan's, adcom amps, onkyo receiver, and audioengine DAC.

    I suppose if someone with a better ear were to sit with me and point out the differences, I would know if im hearing them. I did notice with the DAC, the sound did seem to get more depth, but I also accomplished a similar effect by just a slight tilt change on the martin logans.
  10. nuckinfutz macrumors 603


    Jul 3, 2002
    Middle Earth
    You sir have pretty good taste in music equipment!

    I think as we age or do stupid things, like fire off AR-15 without ear plugs, we lose the high frequency hearing.

    That used to bug me until I realized that most of the qualitative differences in speakers comes from the vastly important region of audio that resides around 1k.

    I don't necessarily need to hear the high end sizzle of a cymbal but the vocal range is most important to me and my favorite speakers are the ones that avoid doing driver crossover within this range.

    The ideal speaker to me therefore is something that can handle mid-dbass frequency all the way up to the 4khz or so that a tweeter takes over without needing a crossover. Well doing this well.

    With that in mind I don't think it's as important to have a high kbps rate so long as the fidelity is preserved in the all important frequency ranges.
  11. EvilC5 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 22, 2010
    Hanover MD
    there are times when in certain recordings, I hear things that I normally dont in a car, or from a CD. but lots of times I chalk it up to a placebo....

    I bought a pair of B&W P5's last week, took them home expecting to be wow'ed, and I wasnt. they were nice, but not 300 dollars nice. I expected to have my socks blown off with some of the reviews I had read.
  12. nuckinfutz macrumors 603


    Jul 3, 2002
    Middle Earth
    Good cans the P5 are. (that should be read in a Yoda voice)

    But I'm beginning to realize or at least fantasize that that huge update in sound quality from some cans is going to cost nigh a kilobuck.

    I'd love to hear these Audeze cans but they are HUGE.


    I presume my thoughts on audio codecs will change when I get good listening time with the proper chain of high quality electronics.

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