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Becoming An Audiophile Or: How I Learned To Stop Accepting Sub-320kbps Bit Rates And Love FLAC

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Yeah. For some reason, I've got the bug, and am on the path to a total music library upgrade. Does anyone have any wisdom to offer? Is there some shortcut, or am I in for a lengthy adventure?

I was utterly ashamed to see I had imported the first two LOTR CR's at about 250kbps.

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No you will have to do the re-ripping of your entire library of music as penance for your heathen less-than-audiophile ways! To the CD ripping toil and trouble! Mush, mush!

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Buy Grado GS1000i headphones. I'm blown away each time I listen to something

If you read the reviews about 1/2 consider them the best headphones in the world

and only then you can understand what bitrate you rip your music doesn't matter...as long as it's over 192kbps MP3's

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KM has finally become a spambot! Oddly he didn't spew all that in Russian or Chinese and offer links to a site where they sell those headphones!

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They have a free endorsement by me


Anyways I have various versions of the Jurassic Park expanded soundtrack, from 24bit/96khz to 256kbpsAAC, and they all sound the same to me.

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I don't have 15000$ to spend on equivalent sounding speakers, and how good that sounds depends on how well you calibrate your system and room accoustics

My (carefully chosen) 2000$ speaker high fi system cannot remotely match good headphones

Anyways, I'm talking strictly about Stereo music, not multichannel or movies

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The two offer a totally different experience. That said, no sound engineer uses headphones. All music is mixed on and for speakers.

uh? I've always read most music was mixed on "DJ" type headphones, like Sony MDR V-6

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The two offer a totally different experience. That said, no sound engineer uses headphones. All music is mixed on and for speakers.

uh? I've always read most music was mixed on "DJ" type headphones, like Sony MDR V-6

Never. It's the one thing they don't do. In almost every case, a mix done with headphones will sound terrible on speakers.

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Where did I read it? I've been playing and recording music for 35 years now. I've read and heard enough about the subject to know that mixing on headphones is a big no-go. It's something everyone with a little experience knows. You can read it in every article and every book about recording and producing. I tried it myself, it's true. If it sound good with headphones, it will suck on speakers (not the stereo placement but the balance between the different instruments).

How do they now what speakers to buy? Well, most studio speakers are designed for the occasion. But it needs to sound good on a portable radio or TV too so usually every real studio has three pairs of speakers. Big ones, normal-sized ones (Yamaha NS10 is still extremely popular) and very small ones (like Auratone).

Home recording artists buy budget studio monitors. It's a big industry. Genelec, Mackie, Dynaudio, KRK, Yamaha, Fostex, Adam, JBL, Event, .... every manufacturer will claim their monitors are non-colored or flat, but they don't all sound exactly the same (the components are not the same either), which means sound is still subjective. The differences are not that big though. The trick is to mix on studio monitors (for their so-called flat response) and then check on as many other speakers that are available to you. Listen to the mix in your car, at home, on your friend's system, on that Bose Wave radio in the kitchen, et cetera.

In this fancy English studio they don't go for anything less than the B&W 800 ...

Explore--Abbey--Banner_zps91394690.jpg

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Who?, my wisdom is that it's [320 vs. FLAC] in you're head and you're a nut and you probably see Jesus on your toast on a daily basis. Though you have a stronger case for sub 320.

And yes, I will also counter Alexcremers on his speaker-only assertions. A good mixer will mix on monitor headphones and studio monitors. Studio monitors are still the main workhorse, but headphones are increasingly important these days, because guess what, most consumers are listening on headphones.

Studio monitors vs. monitor headphones is a false dichotomy.

Next.

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I initially ripped most of my c.d's in LAME VBR-Standard , which looks like average 192kbps.

They sound good enough that i haven't bothered to re-rip.

If I d/l something I look for 320k

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As Blume said, as long as it's at least 320, I'll take it. FLAC/lossless is nice but I'm not yet anal enough to demand only that. There's still a massive amount to upgrade though, starting with the unforgivably compressed YouTube rips.

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Any CD I get I always rip to wav (then encode to flac) onto my hard drive. For boots (sessions and such) I always try to get lossless stuff. I know that sometimes they're only available in lossy (mp3) format which sucks but hey better than nothing.

Ya lossless is the way to go...external hard drives are cheap these days you can get a 1 terabyte drive for $100 on Newegg (or Amazon). Of course if you go to a 2TB you'll be paying a bit more but it's worth it.

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(...) and you probably see Jesus on your toast on a daily basis.

That's why I put ample amounts of Nutella on my toast!

I sit between the chairs here, as 90% of my current listening is done with Klipsch headphones, so having high-res files (which are somewhat difficult to handle as well) are not a high priority. However, I do try to get everything in 320. FLAC as a back-up and/or source files to be burned to CDrs. I also agree that sometimes it's all in my head...knowing that I'm listening to, say, a 160 mp3 will (sub)consciously make me think it sounds worse than XYZ.

*shrugs*

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But it's not always just in one's head. The Inception sessions in FLAC are what set me off on this. I heard things there that I just never had before, and I need that experience with everything I can get it with.

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Yeah. For some reason, I've got the bug, and am on the path to a total music library upgrade. Does anyone have any wisdom to offer? Is there some shortcut, or am I in for a lengthy adventure?

I was utterly ashamed to see I had imported the first two LOTR CR's at about 250kbps.

I started upgrading back in February or so. Got half of my collection on my PC so far. Still need to add all of my Herrmann albums, which make up a lot of my collection.

If you're a PC user, I recommend these tools:

http://www.mp3tag.de/en/

(Makes it easier to tag tracks, add album art, etc.)

http://www.exactaudiocopy.de/

(Awesome freeware when you get the hang of it. I rip my CDs as WAV and it converts them to FLAC automatically. Detects an errors in a rip.)

http://www.winamp.com/

(F*ck iTunes.)

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