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Loss of quality with MP3's
Loss of quality with MP3's
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Old 14th March 2003, 09:07 PM   #1
TomJ is offline TomJ  United Kingdom
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Question Loss of quality with MP3's

It has begun to intrest me the loss of quality when a CD track is turned into MP3 or downloaded on P2P software with a quality of 128k/sec what the loss of quality and what is lost. I know the basics of MP3 from .howstuffworks.com . Is the loss of quality diffrent say if you are listening to it on a personal stereo compared to a soundsystem.
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Old 14th March 2003, 09:16 PM   #2
Cobra2 is offline Cobra2  Norway
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Loss of quality with MP3's Loss of quality with MP3's
Default MP3

MP3 converted to 128k/s gives something like 12:1 compression (or loss), and is like pictures in .jpg a lossy compression.
Wich means that parts of the information are removed, and cannot be restored.
On boom-boxes or pc's, most people hardly notices, but as soon as you try on a better stereo, you will notice the low quality...

Arne K
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Old 14th March 2003, 09:34 PM   #3
GLF is offline GLF  United States
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I have noticed that the highs suffer the most degradation when you rip them into an mp3. If what ever they are played out of has a decent tweeter you will notice a difference.

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Old 14th March 2003, 09:54 PM   #4
Thomas is offline Thomas  Denmark
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The harder compressed, MP3 removes much of the ambience and atmosphere in the music. There are also a big difference between different enchoders. I think LAME and BLADE is the two best. Audio Catalyst the worst, wich destroyed the sound totaly.

Played thrugh a good system the difference between the original CD and MP3 are very clear. I think 192kb/s is 'minimum' for good quality.

The best way to find out is by experimenting. Try different enchoders at different bitrates and try to compare the sound. If you own a good system you will notice the differnce, if you got PC speakers, I think not...
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Old 15th March 2003, 12:32 AM   #5
Sch3mat1c is offline Sch3mat1c  United States
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Yeah, MP3s are pretty crappy... I can usually get away with it by adjusting the tone controls a bit. The higher the bitrate, the higher the quality, if KaZaA comes up with two bitrates, take the higher..

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Old 16th March 2003, 06:15 PM   #6
jpg is offline jpg  Germany
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MP3 = crap? frankly, that's BS. not only IMO, but also as the conclusion of a couple of professionally done listening tests and technical analyses i know of. people who say MP3 is crap usually refer to the crap they download with kazaa instead of doing decent testing or analysing (not all MP3s one can find with kazaa are crap!).

LAME v3.9x is by far the best encoder. don't use anything else. other encoders may produce crap.

128 kbps: not enough in many cases.

160 kbps: very hard to tell what's original and what's MP3, even on good headphones.

192 kbps: should be sufficient (=CD quality) for almost every music and almost every stereo. i don't know anyone who is able to tell what's 192 kbps and what's 256 kbps, even with difficult to compress audio material.

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Old 16th March 2003, 07:22 PM   #7
SkinnyBoy is offline SkinnyBoy  Australia
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Well, for a start, i don't have good headphones, I have good speakers... SECOND!!! using a good quality CD player, not one of those cheap ones will yeild better results than a 192kb MP3... and.. 192 is by NO stretch CD quality..
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Old 16th March 2003, 08:06 PM   #8
jpg is offline jpg  Germany
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"192 is by NO stretch CD quality.. "

hi skinnyboy,

as i said, i'm referring to decent listening tests and technical analyses.

my personal experience is that with most speakers (and i'm not talking of 300$ mini boxes), one can't tell the difference.

over a year ago, the webmaster of one of the biggest german DIY audio boards (who is a passionate gambler and loves betting) started the following "contest":

-each "contestant" yould choose a five music tracks from his own CDs

-the webmaster then burned the tracks on CDR, each encoded with different bitrates (LAME 128, 192, 320) AND as an 1:1 copy, with the different qualities being in mixed up order

-the contestant now had to tell which tracks were MP3 and which were original (and which MP3 were 128, 192 and 320)

-anyone who could tell which track is which quality was granted EUR 10.000 (=US$ 10.000).

the contest is over now. most contestants were able to recognize the 128 kbps MP3 (which is easy), but no one was able to fully recognize the quality order of the five tracks (and among the contestants, there were not only hobbyists, but also musicians, audio pro's, engineers and even gold ears who claimed before that even 320 kbps MP3s are worthless crap that one can't listen to even on a PC and who had to learn that they can't even tell what's original and what's MP3).

nuff said, i think.

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Old 16th March 2003, 08:18 PM   #9
jpg is offline jpg  Germany
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PS: get me right: i don't make my living with MP3s () and i'm always open to good arguments. i want the best sound possible in my room, too! but i haven't seen (better: heard) a system that offered the possibilty to tell the difference between an excellent MP3 and CD.
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Old 16th March 2003, 08:27 PM   #10
Wombat is offline Wombat  Germany
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mp3 really isn´t crappy at all!

There is a forum that tuned the Lame encoder to a quality it will
surprise every "Audiophile". You can find recommended settings for
every particular bitrate there at hydrogenaudio.org (audio-illumination)


Myself i prefer the variable bitrate encoding. This is why i did a little
testing for lame and offered some test samples.

--alt-preset standard -Z together with lame is my limit where i can´t
really discern from the original with good headphones.

Be aware that all counts for lame 3.90 to lame 3.92.

The newer versions have better algorythms but are not tested to a big

For more info just search hydrogen or ask your question. There you will be helped
further for sure!
If time permits - stuff some parsley in your ears and listen how it grows!
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