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How Well Can You Hear Audio Quality?
How Well Can You Hear Audio Quality?
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Old 9th November 2017, 02:01 PM   #1
HarryY is offline HarryY  United States
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Default How Well Can You Hear Audio Quality?

You can test yourself Here
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Old 9th November 2017, 02:32 PM   #2
TNT is offline TNT  Sweden
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2 out of 6 :-D

If one plays a real good live recording of an orchestra over speakers in a good system, mp3 is quite easy to pick out. Already highly processed/distorted material is of course not so easy.

More distortion to the people!
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Old 9th November 2017, 03:14 PM   #3
RNMarsh is offline RNMarsh  United States
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Originally Posted by TNT View Post

If one plays a real good live recording of an orchestra over speakers in a good system, mp3 is quite easy to pick out. Already highly processed/distorted material is of course not so easy.


Agree. same
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Old 9th November 2017, 04:28 PM   #4
Konzentr8 is offline Konzentr8  United Kingdom
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I tried but after listening to Katy Perry 3 times and knowing i still had Coldplay to endure i had to give up
If it's not broken let's fix it until it is
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Old 9th November 2017, 04:39 PM   #5
gdan is offline gdan  Greece
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How Well Can You Hear Audio Quality?
Also 2 out of 6.
And I was not absolutely sure for the 2 correct answers.
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Old 9th November 2017, 05:02 PM   #6
gpauk is offline gpauk  Scotland
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Tom's Diner was of course the track that broke the early mp3 encoding...

See "the mother of mp3":
Tom's Diner - Wikipedia

... with the audio in this device you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference between the tunes, let alone the various samples... And I draw the line at contemplating Jay Zed....
"...when you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, ... your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind..." Lord Kelvin
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Old 9th November 2017, 05:04 PM   #7
Johnny2Bad is offline Johnny2Bad  Canada
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Very similar to this YouTube video (uses the NPR files):

Audiophile or Audio-Fooled? How Good Are Your Ears?


Note that the listener made her choices very quickly, and using Audio-Technica 'phones that would be considered "good" rather than "great".
" ... Go back to the beginning of a technology before the priesthood was established; that was the time when people were communicating information, not proving why there needs to be Priests. This is why the old texts tend to be so good. ..."

Last edited by Johnny2Bad; 9th November 2017 at 05:10 PM.
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Old 9th November 2017, 05:19 PM   #8
CharlieLaub is offline CharlieLaub  United States
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My opinion, based on lots of listening, is that the audibility of compressed formats like MP3 depends on a number of factors, including the bit rate of the MP3 and the type of music that is being encoded.

As a drastic example, I live near Sacramento CA. Our local NPR type station (KXJZ) has several different programs that come on during different times of the day or week, e.g. news, classical, jazz, acid jazz and new music, etc. The content is GREAT. Each "program" is available with extended playtime (e.g. 24/7) via free audio streams. About a year or so ago, some loser at the station made the executive decision that all online streams should go out at 96kpbs! That is totally fine for a "news" program that consists of people talking, but I absolutely cannot stand to listen to e.g. the jazz program at that low of a bitrate. Any time there is complex harmonics (e.g. piano, trumpet) it is totally obvious that something sounds "wrong", I mean in a way that makes it irritating - I honestly have to turn it off after no more than a minute or two. It's terrible! I no longer use an analog tuner (my system is either internet streams or ripped music) in my system, so I just stopped listening to all but the news stream now and then. Several times I have been contacted to donate to the station, or even to participate in an online focus group about the music streams. I have replied multiple times that the horrible sound quality forced me to stop listening to their streams, telling them that the low bit rate is the problem (I can see this as part of the stream info in my player) and BEGGING them to please go to 192k, saying I would even PAY for that. Nope! They still broadcast crap. So I stopped donating money.

In contrast, I can find plenty of free streams at up to 320k that are totally listenable and there is nothing about the sound that would make me guess that it is compressed. With jazz music anything at or above 256k seems fine to me. With classical music I have even found MP3 streams at 128k that sound great (but not all at this rate).

My home system streams audio to a number of loudspeaker systems. At one time I was trying to decide what sample rate to use, and was streaming audio as MP3 format and so I did a lot of listening to see just what bit rate was needed to sound good. My experiences are summed up in the last paragraph. Later I figured out how I could stream PCM audio, so I no longer use compression. But the time I spent checking into bit rates and formats (also tried streaming AAC, etc.) has made me feel comfortable with compressed formats as long as they are meeting some minimum rate for the type of music in the stream.
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Last edited by CharlieLaub; 9th November 2017 at 05:23 PM.
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Old 9th November 2017, 05:20 PM   #9
VenusFly is online now VenusFly  Australia
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How Well Can You Hear Audio Quality?
This test is completely invalid. I also got 2/6 while listening through my regular setup with Frugalhorns.

The comparison should be between two sources not three. It confuses the mind too much to be comparing between three sources of audio. I have to juggle the information that I'm processing between three differing soundtracks? Are you kidding me? The human mind cannot do that not in a million years and it would take hundreds of hours of listening and then even if you are lucky. Its difficult enough comparing just two sources.

I KNOW that I can hear the difference and I know the differences between 128/320 MP3 and WAV because I've listened to my own rips and compared them and I know exactly what to look for. However 320KBps MP3 is far too close to WAV to make a guaranteed decision on the differences and the difference between 320KBps MP3 and 128KBps MP3 is again too close to make a guaranteed decision. But even saying that I can tell the difference between two format bitrates and types. I'm not a dumbarse.

I've ripped and encoded MP3s with 128-160-192-320 and VBR and can tell the difference between all of them and that is the reason why I prefer VBR at about 200KBps avg because I know that it sounds almost indistinguishable from the original wav files. I've put a lot of time in doing these tests on myself aswell. But I am so well focused on the task that I can tell you the difference between 128-160-192-320 and VBR and WAV.

However making a decision between 3 sources leaves it too much up to chance that you'll hit the wrong answer because I'm trying to remember how three soundtracks sound and differ between one another. Much like winning the lottery.

The test is fundamentally flawed and for shame on NPR for setting it up, its designed to fool and disenfranchise everyone into believing that they cannot tell the difference between any file format and/or bitrates. It is a fatal test and should be burned in a fire then nuked from orbit.

I guarantee you that if the test was between two choices you and I would've gotten high if not perfect scores.

Last edited by VenusFly; 9th November 2017 at 05:41 PM.
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Old 9th November 2017, 05:39 PM   #10
Earl Grey is offline Earl Grey
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I got 5 out of 6, because I quickly noticed that the highest quality buffered the longest before starting to play on my connection. Which is perhaps instructive only on the difficulty of removing all cues from supposedly blind tests.

Last edited by Earl Grey; 9th November 2017 at 05:41 PM.
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