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Which MP3 File Sounds Better? Condenser Microphones
Old 1 week ago
  #1
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Thread Starter
Cool Which MP3 File Sounds Better?

One purchased and downloaded from a service, such as Amazon?

Or, one ripped, at 256kb or higher bitrate from ones own CD collection?
Old 1 week ago
  #2
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Could you provide specific examples for comparison? I wouldn't have the slightest idea how to answer your questions as they stand now.
Old 1 week ago
  #3
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Cool

Quote:
Originally Posted by Poinzy View Post
Could you provide specific examples for comparison? I wouldn't have the slightest idea how to answer your questions as they stand now.
Perhaps I should have asked it differently: Would a MP3 file of a song sound better if purchased and downloaded from Amazon, or, ripped at a reasonably high bitrate from a personal CD?

It's a production-related question.
Old 1 week ago
  #4
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Thread Starter
Okay, let me ask it a third way:

Which MP3 file should sound better: One downloaded from Amazon, etc, or one ripped at a decent bitrate from ones own CD?

How are folks not getting what I'm asking?
Old 1 week ago
  #5
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I tried to help you. All you did was get annoyed. Good luck with your problem.
Old 1 week ago
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Phoenix_2018 View Post
Okay, let me ask it a third way:

Which MP3 file should sound better: One downloaded from Amazon, etc, or one ripped at a decent bitrate from ones own CD?

How are folks not getting what I'm asking?
Well, it looks as if your question is sort of like this:

"Which piece of string is longer; the one that is 3 feet, or the other one?"

...and then you're not telling us anything about "the other one".



If you are basically looking for advice about whether to buy a downloaded file from Amazon or buying the CD from somewhere I'd probably personally get the CD and rip myself. That's for more than one reason though, but it includes me having more control over the quality of the ripped audio.

As for "should" I guess if mastering engineers master specifically for both CD and mp3 then either should sound good, but possibly different. I'd hope the CD version would sound better because it's a lossless medium.
Old 1 week ago
  #7
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Quote:
Perhaps I should have asked it differently: Would a MP3 file of a song sound better if purchased and downloaded from Amazon, or, ripped at a reasonably high bitrate from a personal CD?
It all depends. Its out of Amazon's control and out of your Mp3 burning program's control. what sounds better is what was recorded, produced, mixed and mastered better. Then you also have to take into account everyone personnel preferences.

If you wan to find out what would sound better, you need the exact same file. and upload one to amazon and convert one to an MP3. Then you will need to download that file you want from Amazon.

So you will have to do this yourself to see what will sound better. Get it?
Old 1 week ago
  #8
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The answerer here depends purely on two factors. If the same source of audio was used to create the file, and the same program was used to convert it to MP3 then the audio quality is going to be identical.



Fidelity isn't hurt simply because you choose to download it vs creating it yourself. MP3's are binary files consisting of 1's and 0's. If bits are lost when downloading there are only two results. The file will have a download error because bits are lost and it wasn't the same size as the original, or the download program will use something called "Error Correction" to retransmit the data till the file is complete and then it will play back properly.

Transmitting binary Numbers on line isn't going to change the music's fidelity. Digital files make "no sound" until they are reconstructed back into an analog signal by the sound cards converters.

So your answer is a matter of how good the original file was and how good the converter file was.

The original file compression was designed for commercial release by Fraunhofer which became the world standard for MP3.
It didn't take long for someone to buy the converter software with a fake credit card, reverse engineer it and redistributed it for free. After that it didn't take long before you had dozens of MP3 converters being distributed and the RIAA was unable to prevent it or find them for copyright infringements.

Which of these program versions might produce the best fidelity? They used to do shootouts 18 years ago or so when these programs first started emerging. Other then a few bad apples I don't think there were any clear winners. I use the Fraunhofer for two reasons. One I bought and pair for it when I bought a copy of Cool edit. Second any legal site that downloads music will be using a legal copy of the software which should be 100% compatible with any playback systems.

Will a generic or pirated version of a program make a difference in audio quality? You tell me. I sure wouldn't be able to tell by listening. Most MP3s sound like crap to my ears. The high musical frequencies are garbage compared to a normal CD. Even worse when transmitted on radio.

To me its like asking how bad does music have to sound before you cringe. There's an entire generation out there whose never owned a decent stereo and wouldn't know what audiophile grade Hi Fi sounds like. They grew up hearing music on a cell phone, laptop or crappy computer monitors and have no experience hearing decent music. Getting them to recognize the difference between one MP3 converter and another is asking too much from people who have no experience telling the differences. They'll simply latch onto whatever they are told by someone on line in a forum like this without doing any comparisons of their own.

What I suggest is you first read about it from a reliable source so you can answer your own questions. MP3 - Wikipedia
Then do your own testing. If one converter sounds better then another then that's obviously the one you want to use.
Old 1 week ago
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Phoenix_2018 View Post
Perhaps I should have asked it differently: Would a MP3 file of a song sound better if purchased and downloaded from Amazon, or, ripped at a reasonably high bitrate from a personal CD?

It's a production-related question.
if it is production-related why wouldn't you rip a .wav from the CD instead of an mp3?

A .wav file contains the full information with no lossy encoding. It would certainly sound better than any MP3 at any bitrate.

You might have to actually buy the song from Amazon in order to find out what the rate of it is, and then beat that resolution with your rip. I seriously doubt they have some kind of "special" encoding that is so superior to what you own that their 128k sounds better than your 256k if that's what you are asking.
Old 1 week ago
  #10
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Well let's throw this into the discussion: I'm sure Amazon does not rip all of its mp3s from CDs, except maybe for oddball stuff or rarities. Wouldn't a MP3 dithered down from studio level(24-32bit, 96khz sampling) sound slightly better than one ripped at home from one's own CD?
Old 1 week ago
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Phoenix_2018 View Post
Well let's throw this into the discussion: I'm sure Amazon does not rip all of its mp3s from CDs, except maybe for oddball stuff or rarities. Wouldn't a MP3 dithered down from studio level(24-32bit, 96khz sampling) sound slightly better than one ripped at home from one's own CD?
Probably not, because the mp3 is throwing away information on top of cutting the sampling rate and lowering the bits. The rate at which the mp3 is ripped: 128k, 160, 190 etc will totally overwhelm the influence of a superior "source".

But I believe there is only one "source". I would be shocked if Amazon themselves do ANY ripping. I bet they receive the mp3 as a file from the label just like a "record store" receives the CDs in jewel cases from the label.

Otherwise, wouldn't you also have to assume that every other place that sells mp3s has to make their own separate "pilgrimages" to the "studio" to get at the 96k master? I am doubtful that every record released even has a 96k master.

In any case it's an mp3, it's a perceptually encoded lossy format that may have about 10% of the data in the original wav file. Sure it's a carefully chosen 10% but IMO, you are chasing your tail trying to learn whether this pale shadow of the music is a teensy bit better than that pale shadow of the music.

I wouldn't give it a second thought.

If you want the best quality for production purposes, you don't use an MP3 when there are CDs you can take a full .wav from. If you have some strange reason why you must use an mp3, you should download the Amazon one, rip your own, put on a blindfold and pick the "best one". That could guide you for future use. And then you can come back to Gearslutz as the Expert on this question - maybe there are other people who also must use mp3s and this information will be useful to them as well.
Old 1 week ago
  #12
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Cool

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
Probably not, because the mp3 is throwing away information on top of cutting the sampling rate and lowering the bits. The rate at which the mp3 is ripped: 128k, 160, 190 etc will totally overwhelm the influence of a superior "source".

But I believe there is only one "source". I would be shocked if Amazon themselves do ANY ripping. I bet they receive the mp3 as a file from the label just like a "record store" receives the CDs in jewel cases from the label.

Otherwise, wouldn't you also have to assume that every other place that sells mp3s has to make their own separate "pilgrimages" to the "studio" to get at the 96k master? I am doubtful that every record released even has a 96k master.

In any case it's an mp3, it's a perceptually encoded lossy format that may have about 10% of the data in the original wav file. Sure it's a carefully chosen 10% but IMO, you are chasing your tail trying to learn whether this pale shadow of the music is a teensy bit better than that pale shadow of the music.

I wouldn't give it a second thought.

If you want the best quality for production purposes, you don't use an MP3 when there are CDs you can take a full .wav from. If you have some strange reason why you must use an mp3, you should download the Amazon one, rip your own, put on a blindfold and pick the "best one". That could guide you for future use. And then you can come back to Gearslutz as the Expert on this question - maybe there are other people who also must use mp3s and this information will be useful to them as well.

Thanks for this detailed explanation, makes sense. So even from a higher quality starting point(studio master vs Redbook CD) the sonic gains of such a MP3 are insignificant.
Old 1 week ago
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Phoenix_2018 View Post
Thanks for this detailed explanation, makes sense. So even from a higher quality starting point(studio master vs Redbook CD) the sonic gains of such a MP3 are insignificant.
My guess is that if you ripped a 128k MP3 from the Holy Grail 24/96 master master master recording at the mastering studio, and then ripped a 160k MP3 from the CD you own, the the 160k will probably sound a tiny bit better. Because it keeps slightly more data.

The idea of going back to the "source" is a concept that still holds considerable value in the analog domain. If you were making analog copies, etc. then sure. But the mp3s are discarding all information contained in the higher sample rates, tossing away bits, and then mangling - I mean, perceptually encoding - what is left.

That's not even getting into the debate as to the value and audibility of the signals above 22,000 Hz contained in the "high-res" files.
Old 1 week ago
  #14
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Thread Starter
Cool

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
My guess is that if you ripped a 128k MP3 from the Holy Grail 24/96 master master master recording at the mastering studio, and then ripped a 160k MP3 from the CD you own, the the 160k will probably sound a tiny bit better. Because it keeps slightly more data.

The idea of going back to the "source" is a concept that still holds considerable value in the analog domain. If you were making analog copies, etc. then sure. But the mp3s are discarding all information contained in the higher sample rates, tossing away bits, and then mangling - I mean, perceptually encoding - what is left.

That's not even getting into the debate as to the value and audibility of the signals above 22,000 Hz contained in the "high-res" files.
I guess the only way to know for sure is to find out where Amazon and other download services obtain their lossy files from. Apple iTunes hawks AIFF files, so that comparison is not entirely valid.
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