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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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I've been updating my standard VBR files to extreme VBR. I considered lossless, but could never get everything I wanted in lossless without going on a spending spree, which was not an option. Am I wasting time?

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35 minutes ago, bollemanneke said:

I've been updating my standard VBR files to extreme VBR. I considered lossless, but could never get everything I wanted in lossless without going on a spending spree, which was not an option. Am I wasting time?


If you’re directly converting your VBR MP3s to new, higher bitrate VBR MP3s, then you’re gaining absolutely nothing and likely adding additional compression artifacts to your new files. Not recommended!!

 

If you’re creating new, higher bitrate VBR MP3s from uncompressed or lossless source files to replace the old VBR MP3s, then you may get improved quality, depending on the characteristics of the source content.

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I just listen to whatever is streaming or available via illegal downloads if I'm inclined. I feel no guilt downloading a copy of Masters of the Universe that I legally purchased years ago, especially since it's one of the best scores ever made. Chances are, if I've downloaded it, I legally owned a physical copy before I ditched the collection. I only listen to music digitally. I think most are ripped at 320 mp3. Sounds fine.

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Honestly I never really noticed the difference between FLACS and 320 kbps mp3s.

 

All I know is that compression is hard on live recordings, trumpets and loud string parts. I've noticed it with 192 kbps mp3s.

 

I love Spotify!

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24 minutes ago, JTWfan77 said:

I would likely never purchase lossless downloads until they adjust the pricing down to lossy price levels. 

 

Yup. At 7Digital Germany, the 24-bit FLAC of Solo Deluxe comes to 36.49 Euro, or $45. Nah, pass. Or getting it another way. :sarcasm:

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14 minutes ago, Kühni said:

 

Yup. At 7Digital Germany, the 24-bit FLAC of Solo Deluxe comes to 36.49 Euro, or $45. Nah, pass. Or getting it another way. :sarcasm:

On HDTracks, it's only 21 bucks.

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38 minutes ago, Holko said:

On HDTracks, it's only 21 bucks.

 

On 7Digital Canada, the 24-bit FLAC is $20. Or 12,50 Euro. Somebody riddle me this discrepancy, please...

 

(Unfortunately, even with a VPN, I cannot put in an order with the Canada site, as you'd need a Canadian credit card in order to do so. Curses, foiled again!)

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10 hours ago, thx99 said:


If you’re directly converting your VBR MP3s to new, higher bitrate VBR MP3s, then you’re gaining absolutely nothing and likely adding additional compression artifacts to your new files. Not recommended!!

 

If you’re creating new, higher bitrate VBR MP3s from uncompressed or lossless source files to replace the old VBR MP3s, then you may get improved quality, depending on the characteristics of the source content.

I re-downloaded everything, a lot of it in 320.

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4 hours ago, Holko said:

For 2 hours of new music? 2 disc specialty releases go for 30!

 

The most I have and would ever pay for a download is the equivalent of $10-12. Most downloads go for around $5-7 average in my iTunes store. I'm happy with the lossy quality, it sounds fine to my ears. I won't pay more for lossless and/or high-res.

 

Solo DE sells for $12 equivalent on my iTunes, as do the new Varese Club downloads.

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12 hours ago, bollemanneke said:

I've been updating my standard VBR files to extreme VBR. I considered lossless, but could never get everything I wanted in lossless without going on a spending spree, which was not an option. Am I wasting time?


I’d say yes.

 

Get what you can in lossless, leave the rest in whatever lossy quality you already have.

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  • 2 months later...

Just wanted to say this: Listened multiple times to a bit from CE3K by the VPO, both in FLAC and VBR0 MP3. If I really strain, I can hear the contrabassoon SLIGHTLY more clearly in the FLAC file, but it just is not worth the extra space. I tried with two different pairs of headphones, same result. Boy, am I glad I'm converting my collection to VBR0.

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They are several FLAC quality!

 

16 bits, 24 bits... Actually the 32 bits is not supported... but it's only a matter of time!

 

For my part, as I rip CDs, FLAC 16 bits is the only option.

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I always listened my Spotify with the "extreme" quality settings, assuming it meaned 320 mp3s! :lol:

 

But that's okay for me, as I'm using Spotify to buy more CDs... I will not pay for their new Hifi service.

 

No thanks!

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I used to use Apple Lossless but now I use AIFF. I noticed more detail and clarity on AIFF files compared to ALAC. No, I'm not bluffing. I think some devices struggle to decode Apple Lossless. FLAC is not an option because I'm in the Apple ecosystem...

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WAV is unusable because of the lack of support for metadata. Microsoft and Apple really need to update the WAV file standard.

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6 hours ago, Drew said:

WAV is unusable because of the lack of support for metadata. Microsoft and Apple really need to update the WAV file standard.

 

It's not the standard, it's the tooling support (depending on the tools I suppose):

 

Quote

As a derivative of RIFF, WAV files can be tagged with metadata in the INFO chunk. In addition, WAV files can embed any kind of metadata, including but not limited to Extensible Metadata Platform (XMP) data[25] or ID3 tags[26] in extra chunks. Applications may not handle this extra information or may expect to see it in a particular place. Although the RIFF specification requires that applications ignore chunks they do not recognize, some applications are confused by additional chunks.[citation needed]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WAV#Metadata

 

Although I don't see the point in using WAV with metadata in 99.9% of all situations I could think of, when there are more flexible and space efficient formats.

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1 hour ago, thx99 said:

WAV is a container format.  It is not an audio encoding scheme.  WAV files can contain compressed audio data; hell, they can even contain MP3 audio data.  So saying that you have a WAV file of something doesn't immediately equate to you having a file with uncompressed audio inside of it.

 

Reading up on Wikipedia, I was surprised to learn that WAV is in fact based RIFF, which in fact was invented for the standard image and audio formats on the Amiga. At the time, they were pretty advanced (I think) in abstracting the container from the data and codec.

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I’ll take a standard CD-quality rip in FLAC, WAV or Apple Lossless over an mp3 any day.


16 bit/44.1 kHz is good enough though, I’ve been doing some tests regarding higher quality, 24 bit, or 96 kHz, or any combination of those with the CD standard, but all I find that the files are just larger without any practical gain.


If there’s an option, I always go for 16 bit/44.1 kHz, no more, no less.

 

I am not so picky about which format though (WAV, FLAC, mp4) but if they offer AIFF for the same price, I always go for that.

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For the last eleven years, I have been storing all my CD rips as both FLAC and mp3. I keep them in the same folder for convenience and so if I need to change one album, I can change the other. 

 

This is a pain in the butt and a waste of space. Presently I listen to most music by streaming from Plex, so the default playback method is track 1 flac, track 1 mp3, track 2 flac, etc. Pain in the butt. 

 

So now I am deleting all mp3 if I already have it in flac. I will only keep mp3 if a) that's how I, um, acquired it, or 2) I need to re-rip the CD.

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  • 3 years later...

Yeah, so... I'm comparing FLAC to MP3 with cheap headphones now and, God. Updating my library seems such an insane idea. On the other hand, it would be the ideal way to stop having 412 performances of every classical work... Then there's iTunes... Hmmm....

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CDs ripped to AIFF. Cheaper to buy used than off of Qobuz or similar sites offering uncompressed audio. ALAC is close, but not he same.

 

ElNSck.gif

-how I feel doing A/B tests of lossless audio.

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First I was a musical noob and didn't even know about the concept of losslessness. I listened to potato quality recs.

 

Then there was the phase when I sought sonic perfection so that I could hear as many details as possible.

 

Now a decent stream on Youtube and my trusty old headphones are enough for me to pick up what most of the instruments are doing, and guess the rest from the blend.

 

Feels like getting to the other side of the wojak bell curve meme :lol:

 

 

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6 hours ago, Schilkeman said:

CDs ripped to AIFF. Cheaper to buy used than off of Qobuz or similar sites offering uncompressed audio. ALAC is close, but not he same.

 

AIFF is a container format that according to Wikipedia usually contains uncompressed PCM, although optional compression is possible (I can't quickly tell from the provided table whether some of the available compression algorithms are lossy or not).

 

ALAC is, as the name implies, lossless, but compressed (using lossless compression, obviously).

 

In other words: Both should produce absolutely identical audio, but AIFF likely takes up more space for producing the same end result.

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Just now, Marian Schedenig said:

 

AIFF is a container format that according to Wikipedia usually contains uncompressed PCM, although optional compression is possible (I can't quickly tell from the provided table whether some of the available compression algorithms are lossy or not).

 

ALAC is, as the name implies, lossless, but compressed (using lossless compression, obviously).

 

In other words: Both should produce absolutely identical audio, but AIFF likely takes up more space for producing the same end result.

I'm aware. They do not sound the same.

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7 minutes ago, Nick1Ø66 said:

 

Unless you're able to spot in difference in a blind A-B-X test, you really can't say that for sure.

I had my wife do one for me. I can't tell on speakers or regular headphones, there's too much ambient noise, but on the noise-cancelling headphones I do most of my listening on, I could tell the difference.

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