Wav vs MP3 audio-blind test
Old 4th April 2012
  #1
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Wav vs MP3 audio-blind test

Old 4th April 2012
  #2
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JSt0rm's Avatar
funny
Old 8th January 2013
  #3
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Thanks for sharing this!
Old 1 Week Ago
  #4
Old 1 Week Ago
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnTennant View Post
A new test! I just took it. I failed it using AKG K240s driven by an Apogee One. Anyone else try this?

How Well Can You Hear Audio Quality? : The Record : NPR
i got 4 out of 6 right on K702...

neil young track i got wrong and jayZ sounds crap at any bitrate..
Old 1 Week Ago
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krevvy View Post
i got 4 out of 6 right on K702...

neil young track i got wrong and jayZ sounds crap at any bitrate..
QFT
Old 1 Week Ago
  #7
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I got 4 out of 6 as well. Oddly I got the JayZ crap right, uggh... Missed Neil Young and surprisingly Suzzane Vega as both are favorite albums for me.
I really thought I nailed Tom's Diner... nope.. 128k...uggh... I picked 320k on Neil's.

Sony 7506.
Old 1 Week Ago
  #8
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I like people that think we need 24/192 uncompressed audio and like to listen to vinyl, which isn't anywhere near the 16/44.1 audio that they think is inferior.

The ones I missed on the NPR test I picked the 320kbps file, except for the Jay Z file which is so loud and distorted that they just sounded the same. On all of them except for the Jay Z track, the 128kbps file was obviously worse. I suspect that says something not so good about the recording and mastering of the track.
Old 1 Week Ago
  #9
Gear Head
 

Years ago when I did a similar non-scientific A/B test and I had a very hard time
hearing the difference wav VS MP3.

I had subscribed to XM radio for classical music and I was disappointed that I lacked
not sure what. I did a test on XM radio vs a CD on a classical music. I believe it was
the online XM radio and I could tell the difference but I was often wrong. So I gave
up on XM radio and listened to CD's in the car. Very happy this way.
Old 1 Week Ago
  #10
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A properly made mp3 at 320k(i've been using for years now) is just fine...
Old 1 Week Ago
  #11
if you compare MP3 to WAV of your own tunes on your own DAW, you might be more likely to hear the MP3 flaws of lack of bass imaging and "fluffy/fizzy"-sounding hi hats and stuf like that.
Old 1 Week Ago
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neenja View Post
I like people that think we need 24/192 uncompressed audio and like to listen to vinyl, which isn't anywhere near the 16/44.1 audio that they think is inferior.
Exactly! The fact is, developers of these codecs WANT to find people who can tell the difference in blind tests so that they can improve the codecs. But most people can't tell the difference these days (in true blind tests).

It is quite laughable (IMO) that people think we need so-called hi-res audio to represent vinyl, which has a resolution equivalent to 12-13 bits max. And of course the sample rate is limited by the range of human hearing; 44.1 to 48 kHz is all a human should need (unless something is broken or implemented incorrectly).
Old 1 Week Ago
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by comfortablynick View Post
Exactly! The fact is, developers of these codecs WANT to find people who can tell the difference in blind tests so that they can improve the codecs. But most people can't tell the difference these days (in true blind tests).

It is quite laughable (IMO) that people think we need so-called hi-res audio to represent vinyl, which has a resolution equivalent to 12-13 bits max. And of course the sample rate is limited by the range of human hearing; 44.1 to 48 kHz is all a human should need (unless something is broken or implemented incorrectly).
Plus, there is nothing on a recording at 20hz or 20khz anyway and even if there were, no one's systems can actually reproduce it. As we get older our hearing tops out at 16kish and it is still more than enough to hear everything in music. Hell, if you think about 5 string bass and some synths, the only place they can exist is on a hard drive. There is nothing that can accurately reproduce their pitches that normal people can afford if it is possible at all.
Old 1 Week Ago
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nystagmus View Post
if you compare MP3 to WAV of your own tunes on your own DAW, you might be more likely to hear the MP3 flaws of lack of bass imaging and "fluffy/fizzy"-sounding hi hats and stuf like that.
I generally find the fizzy, sometimes phasey sounding cymbals to be the giveaway of poor / low bit rate encoding.
In classical orchestral music, the triangle is usually a dead giveaway.

Solo piano miked closely and with a bright piano like a Yamaha can be very revealing as well but the typical classical piano miked from a distance and encompassing much of the room's acoustics is not as revealing in my experience.

One comment though, accuracy does not map directly to "sounding better". That's why people seem to like vinyl. To them, it "sounds" better. So in these tests were are asking people to determine which file sounds better.

I wonder what an approach like comparing the original wav to 2 or 3 different bit rate mp3 one of which is really the same original wav file and ask the participant which one sounds most like the original would yield.

That might yield different results than "which one sounds best" type tests.
Old 1 Week Ago
  #15
@loopy: good point about "which one sounds best". I was listening recently to some AAC's I pulled out of some YouTube videos and they sound really muffled compared to the CD versions of the same tunes. You can see on a spectrogram that they've been low pass filtered somewhere around 16 kHz. There are better results with other AAC encodings but I had no control over this so they are as they are. Anyways, on tunes that were recorded too top heavy/too much treble, the lower-quality AAC's actually sound a little bit better in terms of relief from high frequency ear fatigue. But for normal tunes that are well mixed, the CD's sound better.

As for the fizzy sounds being a giveaway of low bit encoding, that's not necessarily true depending upon how low is low? I notice the fizzy/fluffy/distorted cymbals on SoundCloud streams of my tunes. But the downloadable versions are 16-bit 44.1kHz FLAC (which don't suffer from that problem).

Also, most MP3 encoders default to joint stereo instead of stereo or dual mono, so if you listen very carefully to tunes that normally have wide-sounding bass in lossless formats, you can hear the lack of bass width at those frequencies that were collapsed to mono. And also some MP3 encoders high pass filter some of the bass at sub bass frequencies which can be noticed if the normal versions usually caused some vibrations that just aren't felt in the MP3's.

When I have to use MP3's, I use 320 kBps stereo, but I haven't done that in a long time. I am ready for lossy encoding to be over with. We have the bandwidth for 16-bit FLAC already anyhow. Even my portable media player can do FLAC without being Rockboxed.
Old 1 Week Ago
  #16
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Yea, for me I tend to be real sensitive to the fizzy cymbal sound and in general if I have an mp3 file that exhibits that type of sound, locating another file from a different source, say a collection of hits or something like that, usually solves the problem so I'm guessing it's the encoding. I'm sure there are a lot of other things that can cause it as well.

So in these tests I usually listen for that sound as the "give away" if you will, for me at least, in determining the lower bit rate recordings. Again it's highly source material dependent.
Funny thing is, I don't hear the low frequency problems that others hear with lower bit rate encoding. I guess I'm just not sensitive to that kind of distortion if you will.

I agree a 100 percent with loss-less encoding. Storage is cheap these days and we should be moving toward this.

I think it would be great to get back to high quality audio playback systems in people's homes like we had in the past. Component systems playing back high quality media would be wonderful compared to the typical iPod dock and crappy speakers that pass for "audio" in many people's homes.
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