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Am I going mad? Special Ef­fects Plugins
Old 13th June 2018
  #1
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Am I going mad?

Ok for some reason I started to encode in general at full quality VBR and or 320kbps MP3. Last day I had to send a quick demo and from wav I created both a 320 and a 128 Kbps and...

I like
More the 128 kbps! There is kind of a tape like quality to it.
I know about artefacts and if I listen the S especially of the matrix down it sounds awful, but in contest it seem like it's more "open" in a way. Kind of more pleasant. I did the test few more times and concluded the same with different recordings and genres. Don't get me wrong. 320 or wav sounds great of course and there is some sort of degradation to the 128, but that degradation it is kind of pleasant to me, like the high get more pleasant.
I wonder if in future there will be plugins to emulate the warmth of 128kbps as there are now for tape.

Thinking it from point of view of technical aspect it kind of make sense: the masking effect makes some frequency stand out while the one which are covered get removed and therefore there is less information going to the D/A and therefore what gets there sounds more clear. Is this a possible reason? Or am I just a fool? I am sure there are good reason to NOT encode to 128 (one is that a second generation 128 is really awful) but in itself with a nice converter and from a good master, I have to admit it sounds good to me. Anyone agrees?
Old 13th June 2018
  #2
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chrismeraz's Avatar
 

It’s possible it sounded better for one particular song, but if you find the same thing for other songs that you’ve made then you will really need to re-evaluate everything you are doing because NOBODY else is coming to the same conclusion.
Old 13th June 2018
  #3
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I haven't tested 128 vs 320 but I have 320 vs original wav a lot, and in blind tests 9/10 times I prefer or pick the mp3... there's something in the top that makes me like it more. Could be that I'm so exposed to mp3s or compressed audio in general that I've gotten used to that sound.

Today I did compare 256 and 320 after needing a smaller file size for a radio station (at first I couldn't believe they'd use mp3s in commercial radio and when I heard there was a file size limit I was flabbergasted to use an accurate description). I did pick the 320 as a favorite, but couldn't use it due to the file restriction... The 256 sounded more muffled and muddy. The top end wasn't as clear. Maybe I should have tried the 128!?
Old 13th June 2018
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrismeraz View Post
It’s possible it sounded better for one particular song, but if you find the same thing for other songs that you’ve made then you will really need to re-evaluate everything you are doing because NOBODY else is coming to the same conclusion.
To be fair I know in a lot of blind test with random people (not engineers) made in few institute I know directly especially elder people, kids, and housewives actually preferred the MP3 sound...

Leave the picky engineers aside.

It's the same as the sound of multiband compressor or heavy limited music... It become a part of our culture of how we listen music. And if you leave aside all psychology and just focus on pleasure of listening I believe 128 has a shot at life more than we would like to think. I am from your school and believed that I was right and everyone else was stupid but In fact I understand why many people actually appreciate the low quality more
Old 13th June 2018
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Finnmaker View Post
I haven't tested 128 vs 320 but I have 320 vs original wav a lot, and in blind tests 9/10 times I prefer or pick the mp3... there's something in the top that makes me like it more. Could be that I'm so exposed to mp3s or compressed audio in general that I've gotten used to that sound.

Today I did compare 256 and 320 after needing a smaller file size for a radio station (at first I couldn't believe they'd use mp3s in commercial radio and when I heard there was a file size limit I was flabbergasted to use an accurate description). I did pick the 320 as a favorite, but couldn't use it due to the file restriction... The 256 sounded more muffled and muddy. The top end wasn't as clear. Maybe I should have tried the 128!?
I am taking especially of the 128. 320 is nearly as wav if done correctly.
256 is already that halfway compromise where you put a bit more of what you don't need to listen to.

Is 128 high fidelity? no and that's not the question
Is it more pleasant? Possibly in my opinion
Old 13th June 2018
  #6
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Hah i told you “i miss the sound of 128 mp3s” was coming.

Didn’t think it’d be one month later

If you check the visual EQ readout of 128 mp3s you’ll indeed see the high cut.
Old 13th June 2018
  #7
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Lance Lawson's Avatar
 

I don't know how any digital compression format could add warmth. Perhaps a bad cassette deck with crummy tape might have a degraded sound. I've never gotten anything tape like from low res formats.
Old 13th June 2018
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lance Lawson View Post
I don't know how any digital compression format could add warmth. Perhaps a bad cassette deck with crummy tape might have a degraded sound. I've never gotten anything tape like from low res formats.
128 encoding cuts highs noticeably and visibly, gives the high end a particular quality. High cuts tend to move things into the "pleasing" side of things and away from "harsh."

"Warmth" is a non-scientific feelings based word. "Warm and familiar" is a common idiom for a reason, warmth is often emotionally associated with familiarity.

Makes sense that those who've spent a lot of time listening to 128 (which is by far the most common out there) would come to like it and call it warm, for these two reasons.
Old 14th June 2018
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newguy1 View Post
Hah i told you “i miss the sound of 128 mp3s” was coming.

Didn’t think it’d be one month later

If you check the visual EQ readout of 128 mp3s you’ll indeed see the high cut.
With the way some youtubers are using sound in their videos and in meme culture, I wouldn't be surprised if digital clipping would become the same thing too once their core audience grows old.
Old 14th June 2018
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by ayskura View Post
To be fair I know in a lot of blind test with random people (not engineers) made in few institute I know directly especially elder people, kids, and housewives actually preferred the MP3 sound...

Leave the picky engineers aside.

It's the same as the sound of multiband compressor or heavy limited music... It become a part of our culture of how we listen music. And if you leave aside all psychology and just focus on pleasure of listening I believe 128 has a shot at life more than we would like to think. I am from your school and believed that I was right and everyone else was stupid but In fact I understand why many people actually appreciate the low quality more
My car has the function to be able to rip and store CDs. I ignored it after becoming aware, whilst driving, that the top end of a ripped CD (John Mayer’s “paradise valley” was being noticeably crushed. Couldn’t have been at more than 128kbps.

Yep, they play MP3s on the radio, but after the fm transmission (god knows what digital radio is doing - decompressing the MP3?) it’s not really a big issue.
Old 14th June 2018
  #11
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Well the whole point is that an high cut can sound good. and another thing to consider is the encoder... your car encoder I don't think would be a direct licensed Fraunhofer Institute algorithm - something to consider...

Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
My car has the function to be able to rip and store CDs. I ignored it after becoming aware, whilst driving, that the top end of a ripped CD (John Mayer’s “paradise valley” was being noticeably crushed. Couldn’t have been at more than 128kbps.

Yep, they play MP3s on the radio, but after the fm transmission (god knows what digital radio is doing - decompressing the MP3?) it’s not really a big issue.
Old 15th June 2018
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by ayskura View Post
Well the whole point is that an high cut can sound good. and another thing to consider is the encoder... your car encoder I don't think would be a direct licensed Fraunhofer Institute algorithm - something to consider...
It wasn’t a high end cut I was noticing, just obvious digital artefacts on cymbal trails and acoustic guitar picking.

I obviously don’t know anything about the car system - other than it was clearly using a relatively low kbps because most people wouldn’t notice the difference!
Old 15th June 2018
  #13
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By making sure 128 is encoded properly I understand why after so many studies it was chosen as the standard to be CD-like quality. In any way yes purist are always going to prefer FLAC etc but I think I too often dismissed 128Kbps in favour of 320 etc but in fact it is as good under many circumstances, to my hear. Sometimes it sounds awful true, but usually when done with "fast" encoding, with some "compatible" encoder or it is a second generation 128 (MP3 that was burned to CD and then compressed again from CD - too many times I saw this happening!!)
128 for distribution is not bad at all, it keeps the space down and quality is very good. This is more than 20 years of using it I arrived to this conclusion. Listening just the S of an m/s conversion is scaring though. But when you realise this is the craft of such a a long research on audio masking and listening in the complex sounds quite astonishing, especially considering the space saved but not only.
Old 15th June 2018
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by ayskura View Post
By making sure 128 is encoded properly I understand why after so many studies it was chosen as the standard to be CD-like quality. In any way yes purist are always going to prefer FLAC etc but I think I too often dismissed 128Kbps in favour of 320 etc but in fact it is as good under many circumstances, to my hear. Sometimes it sounds awful true, but usually when done with "fast" encoding, with some "compatible" encoder or it is a second generation 128 (MP3 that was burned to CD and then compressed again from CD - too many times I saw this happening!!)
128 for distribution is not bad at all, it keeps the space down and quality is very good. This is more than 20 years of using it I arrived to this conclusion. Listening just the S of an m/s conversion is scaring though. But when you realise this is the craft of such a a long research on audio masking and listening in the complex sounds quite astonishing, especially considering the space saved but not only.
Cassette was an acceptable medium too.
Old 15th June 2018
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
Cassette was an acceptable medium too.
Yes definitively! And in fact cassette recorded properly sound very nice, especially if you lucky enough o have a dbx or at least a Dolby system on them and especially if you can get hold of metal type tape they are close if not on pair with CD but only major difference is degradation with use which digital doesn't suffer.
Old 15th June 2018
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by ayskura View Post
Yes definitively! And in fact cassette recorded properly sound very nice, especially if you lucky enough o have a dbx or at least a Dolby system on them and especially if you can get hold of metal type tape they are close if not on pair with CD but only major difference is degradation with use which digital doesn't suffer.
I can't say I agree. Especially not about "on par with CD"!
Old 15th June 2018
  #17
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
Cassette was an acceptable medium too.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ayskura View Post
Yes definitively! And in fact cassette recorded properly sound very nice, especially if you lucky enough o have a dbx or at least a Dolby system on them and especially if you can get hold of metal type tape they are close if not on pair with CD but only major difference is degradation with use which digital doesn't suffer.
Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm I taking psycho_monkey's comment to mean that cassettes were once acceptable in the same way that only bathing on Saturday night was once acceptable.

Last edited by Brent Hahn; 16th June 2018 at 09:43 PM..
Old 15th June 2018
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
I can't say I agree. Especially not about "on par with CD"!
I would have said the same, but if you record properly a tape, with a metal type cassette, with a proper recorder and the right encoder/decoder it sounds pretty damn good. only proble sound gets ruined by each passage and high frequencies are the first to get lost
Old 15th June 2018
  #19
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ayskura View Post
... if you record properly a tape, with a metal type cassette, with a proper recorder and the right encoder/decoder it sounds pretty damn good.
Sure it does, if you play it on something where you can't properly hear it.
Old 16th June 2018
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm I taking psycho_monkey's comment to mean that cassettes were once acceptable in the same way that only bathing on Saturday night was acceptable.
Indeed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ayskura View Post
I would have said the same, but if you record properly a tape, with a metal type cassette, with a proper recorder and the right encoder/decoder it sounds pretty damn good. only proble sound gets ruined by each passage and high frequencies are the first to get lost
So apart from the obvious degradation and sonic compromise, it’s good? And this is comparable to CD - which doesn’t suffer from any of that (and is perfectly good enough as a delivery format for the vast majority of circumstances)?
Old 16th June 2018
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Sure it does, if you play it on something where you can't properly hear it.
very pretentious
Old 16th June 2018
  #22
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anyway this topic is not about cassette, but the question in a nutshell: because of the removal of masked frequencies which we wouldn't hear/notice would a 128kbps be easier on converter therefore producing a more pleasant sound? Think of it as well as making the speaker moving less leaving space to the frequencies which are more relevant to the human hearing? maybe?
Old 16th June 2018
  #23
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ayskura View Post
very pretentious
This guy just called me the same thing.

You're a little closer to using the word correctly, though.

And just so I'm clear and unpretentious, when I said...

Quote:
Sure it does, if you play it on something where you can't properly hear it.
... the longer way of saying it would be that if you take your best possible cassette recording and play it on, say, a boombox that's old enough that it'll play cassettes, it might sound terrific. In the context of that boombox, that is.

But with anything that approaches a modern monitoring environment, or even with a consumer amp and earbuds, the deficiencies will be immediately obvious. Or they should.
Old 16th June 2018
  #24
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Bollo**s

Just listen with a proper tape machine with a proper tape and a proper recording within a mastering environment and then talk. I did and I was surprised as I thought cassette were ****. They are not.

And better still listen to a reel to reel then we talk.

Anyway the topic isn't about cassette is it? It is about 128kbps MP3, audio masking effect and the effect it has on coversion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
This guy just called me the same thing.

You're a little closer to using the word correctly, though.

And just so I'm clear and unpretentious, when I said...



... the longer way of saying it would be that if you take your best possible cassette recording and play it on, say, a boombox that's old enough that it'll play cassettes, it might sound terrific. In the context of that boombox, that is.

But with anything that approaches a modern monitoring environment, or even with a consumer amp and earbuds, the deficiencies will be immediately obvious. Or they should.
Old 16th June 2018
  #25
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ayskura View Post
Bollo**s

Just listen with a proper tape machine with a proper tape and a proper recording within a mastering environment and then talk. I did and I was surprised as I thought cassette were ****. They are not.
If you really did that, and if that's what you think, this isn't a peer-to-peer debate.
Old 17th June 2018
  #26
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I did that indeed and anyway the debate it out of topic.
Stick with the original topic if you have anything interesting to add
Otherwise there are plenty of discussion on tape and tape emulation etc etc
Remember we are talking of
*pleasant*
Not
*fidelity*

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
If you really did that, and if that's what you think, this isn't a peer-to-peer debate.
Old 17th June 2018
  #27
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

If you put the quote on the bottom, you give the other guy the last word. Just sayin.' :-)
Old 17th June 2018
  #28
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login's Avatar
I can't distinguish between 320 and wav, but 128 vs 320 is quite clear the difference, even between Spotify which is 256 and 320. I can't imagine how someone thing that it adds something special.

128 was ok when our bandwidth as very restricted and in certain context is more than enough but why settle for such a compressed format?
Old 17th June 2018
  #29
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This all comes down to personal preference, and as someone said, what you are used to/grew up with. Some people think you’re crazy, but that’s fine, don’t take it personally.
I actually understand what you’re saying. I kind of like the sound of 128 kB MP3s. I wouldn’t say that I prefer them, it’s just a different sound. My favorite song by my favorite band was never released as anything but a 128 kB MP3 but I still love it.
I love the sound of vinyl, cassettes, and MP3–each one has a character. I wouldn’t say I love the sound of CDs, WAV, AIFF, or high bit rate AAC, because they don’t have a sound—they are transparent. I do appreciate that transparency too.
Old 17th June 2018
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ayskura View Post
I did that indeed and anyway the debate it out of topic. Stick with the original topic.
Hmm. Looks to me like the thread title is "Am I Going Mad" - so really anything relating to your capacity for self-delusion is not only on the table, but as they say on Law and Order: "you opened the door, counselor!"

You would LIKE the thread topic to be: "let's all pretend this is a real thing and make up pseudoscientific reasons why"

We all know why you like it, it's because it's what you like. That doesn't make you "crazy" ... although the specifics of your declared tastes are enough to make you "weird". You are more than allowed to like what you like, but please stop trying to convince other people that there is "more to it" than that. No it's not 'leaving more space' for the "human" frequencies. Please. . Nothing more than your individual preference is required to 'explain' the phenomenon. Some people will prefer mp3s....

...and then there are the normal people.

Quote:
Remember we are talking of
*pleasant*
Not
*fidelity*
here it is how I see it in a nutshell: You did a mix. You liked that mix better after an mp3 compression process removed almost 90% of the file's data, and rolled off a big chunk of the high end.

conclusion you draw: mp3 improves my mix
conclusion I draw: there was something wrong with your mix to start with

Like maybe it had too much top end. If a high frequency roll-off is more "pleasant" to you, why don't you try rolling off the high frequency on your mix?
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