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Old 6th April 2012, 11:30 AM   #1
GregH2 is offline GregH2  Australia
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Default Can compressed music be better?

Haha, if this doesn't start a flaming war I don't know what will.

Don't get me wrong, I generally advocate lossless and/or analog music recordings. But here is something I have been pondering.

I have a song on CD and 256kps AAC. It's called "Cut" by the band "Plumb". It's a simple song with simple vocals and piano. Not too taxing on the equipment.

Guess what? I prefer the compressed version. Not because it sounds compressed, but because it is so quiet. To pull out a term, it sounds "black". There is absolutely no noise. It just has this amazing silence in the background that is breathtaking. I did the best A/B test I could do with two friends and we picked up on it most of the time.

So here's a theory. Given that audio compression usually removes the frequencies we are supposedly unable to hear, is it possible that as a neat side effect they also remove HF noise which either sounds bad, or has negative effects on the amplifier's operation?

Let the flames begin.

P.S. Why does Pink Floyd's "Welcome to the machine" always make my dog go crazy? haha. Listening to it now.
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Old 6th April 2012, 11:35 AM   #2
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There is a big difference between COMPRESSED and UNCOMPRESSED music.

However, nearly all recordings are compressed in some shape or form.

MP3 to my ears is HORRIBLE, I use it to see if I like the album then I buy the Cd, which is also compressed, but to a lesser extent.

I've never heard of compression affecting the frequency bandwidth. Under sampling will affect the frequency bandwidth.

Maybe your dog likes Pink Floyd !!!!

Mine likes horses on the TV.
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Old 6th April 2012, 11:39 AM   #3
GregH2 is offline GregH2  Australia
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Yes, I should have said I like the AAC version over the "hopefully less compressed CD version".

BTW, AAC is noticeably better than MP3 of the same bit rate.
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Old 6th April 2012, 12:07 PM   #4
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I'm waiting to see if SACD migrates its way from Europe into the UK. It's supposedly far superior but for soem reason or other it is being twarted at the English Channel.

Maybe its got Spanish galleons built into it.
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Old 6th April 2012, 12:21 PM   #5
DF96 is offline DF96  England
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This thread seems to be mixing up two different meanings of 'compression' when applied to audio. One is compression of digital data, either by clever recoding (lossless) or throwing away data (lossy e.g. MP3). The other is signal compression, which means making the quiet bits louder. In the first sense of the word a CD is not compressed at all, although most modern CDs suffer badly from the second sense of the word.

So which of the two types of compression are we talking about? They are very different.
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Old 6th April 2012, 12:25 PM   #6
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Must admit that I'm not familiar with AAC.

MP3 compared with CD is just awful.
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Old 6th April 2012, 12:28 PM   #7
GregH2 is offline GregH2  Australia
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Sorry, I can see how my last post was misleading - it does not read the way I intended.

I am referring to the type of compression that actually throws away part of the information to reduce file size. Not the the one that makes everything equally loud and kills dynamic range - as per most modern songs on most modern CDs.

There was a golden age of digital recordings in the early 80s where the equipment was top notch AND the compression (the dynamic range killing kind) was low. Love CDs from that era.
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Old 6th April 2012, 12:43 PM   #8
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MP3 is a compression algorithm with massive proprietary ultimately expensive cost for the end user and everyone in between. its a case of now we got them ... what a trap.

OGG is a better sounding compression algorithm with total freedom of its use as a file type.
see: PlayOgg! — Free Software Foundation — working together for free software

Compression can be good if it is matched precisely in playback to expand that known rate of compression. Hence DBX Type 1 represents a very viable means of compression and then expansion resulting in a better listening experience. DBX can be made to work real time and the 150x model can achieve that. But about 30% improvement again can be had by recording compressed to a dedicated hard disk recorder and played back expanded with Type 1 DBX. The yamaha CDR HD1500 and CDR HD1300 are such hard disk recorder devices.

Cheers / Chris
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Old 6th April 2012, 12:54 PM   #9
SY is offline SY  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Daly View Post
MP3 is a compression algorithm with massive proprietary ultimately expensive cost for the end user and everyone in between.
Massive cost? Really? Software to play MP3 is cheap-to-free, likewise software to convert about any file format to MP3. For most people for most purposes, it's an excellent technology; many in the niche group of audiophiles are unhappy with the small compromises in fidelity and that's OK, it's opinion, but I am surprised that "cost" is used as an argument against it.
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Old 6th April 2012, 12:57 PM   #10
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Its a real shame that MP3/MP4 may ultimately destroy UNCOMPRESSED music.

Where will true SUPER-Fi go ??
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