• Does FLAC sound better than 320kbps MP3?
    399 replies, posted
I think it's a pretty interesting question that gets a lot of people riled up in the audio world. Most of the arguments I've seen for FLAC sounding better are purely anecdotal. I've never seen a study saying that one is actually better than the other. What does Facepunch think? For those who don't know. FLACs is a lossless format often at 700+ kbps, which hold all of the song uncompressed. MP3s is lossy format that holds compressed audio usually anywhere between 120-320kbps. Lower bit-rate mp3s are usually pretty easy to tell from higher bit-rate ones. A lot of people would say that MP3s with less than a 100kbps have very apparent artifacts (artificial sounds as a result from compression), once you get towards the higher bit-rates the difference between compressed and uncompressed lessens. Though, in the case of the argument, FLAC users will say they can hear the effects of compression even at 320kbps. Here's a nice video explaining how MP3 works, it includes some ABX testing, if you're interested in how that works. [url]http://www.electronicbeats.net/tv?videopath=tv/video/slices-tech-talk-mp3[/url]
I think anything over 320KBPS MP3 is overkill. I can't tell the difference beyond that point.
I can't hear the difference between the 2, however FLAC is useful for editing with Audacity. Thats about the only advantage I can think of, but as far as quality they sound the same.
To be honest, it's hard to tell the difference. I always choose MP3 320kbps because of the small filesize compared to WAV or FLAC.
Depends on your hardware and maybe your ears to an extent. I run a home studio and can clearly hear the difference between FLAC and MP3 on my studio monitoring speakers. To me FLAC is way clearer and has more presence.
If it gets to the point where you have to struggle to even try and notice a difference, what's the point?
[QUOTE=Maxx;35457309]Depends on your hardware and maybe your ears to an extent. I run a home studio and can clearly hear the difference between FLAC and MP3 on my studio monitoring speakers. To me FLAC is way clearer and has more presence.[/QUOTE] what are your monitor speakers? I'm assuming those are self-powered so I'm not going to ask whats driving them?
[QUOTE=Lamar;35457335]what are your monitor speakers? I'm assuming those are self-powered so I'm not going to ask whats driving them?[/QUOTE] They're nothing special, a pair of old Behringer Truths (B2030A). The sound card also makes a big difference, I have an E-Mu 1212M which has excellent A/D converters.
Even i can tell the difference between 320 and FLAC on my average gamer headphones. FLAC files are huge though, and i'm not enough of an audiophile to really care.
With the right equipment yes. (soundcard, speakers, headphones etc.) FLAC = CD Quality = Uncompressed MP3 = Compressed by chopping low and high frequencies and compacted further by hiding anomalies that make it sound bad. MP3 is definitely not a great format for music, but it's definitely listenable and highly enjoyable. But it has way too many flaws for it to be called the definitive way forward. Anomalies include things like noise and overall depth, CD's are [I]technically[/I] the cleanest way to transfer high fidelity music to your ears. The trouble with this arguement is that nobody here is an audiophile. :v: [editline]6th April 2012[/editline] also 24 Bit FLAC is quite possibly the HIGHEST of the high fidelity digital audio format for now. 1411kbps. That is pretty much for the people who want zero anomalies in their albums' content. [editline]6th April 2012[/editline] [QUOTE=Takoto;35457326]If it gets to the point where you have to struggle to even try and notice a difference, what's the point?[/QUOTE] Think of it this way. Would you rather listen to mp3 versions of your favourite albums and notice noises that clearly shouldn't have been heard, OR never encounter them altogether. You know full well that mp3 is a second standard of audio. There are even similar formats like AAC and OGG VORBIS which sound better than mp3 at the [B]same[/B] bitrate. Now that I can't even explain.
i am pretty sure 95 percent of casual users won't notice the difference between flac and 320kbps mp3. in addition to the storage problem ( i.e flac takes up a lot more space compared to a 8-10mb 320kbps mp3 file ) i am sure most casual users are perfectly happy with choosing the latter option. flac as aforementioned are for the serious users; but i have seen people with flac quality songs and use 10 dollar earpieces :suicide:
I think 128 kbs mp3 sounds perfect. Here is an interesting article on the subject featuring a[B] blind test![/B] Listen for yourselves. [url]http://blog.szynalski.com/2009/07/05/blind-testing-mp3-compression/[/url]
[QUOTE=marcus5;35457723]i am pretty sure 95 percent of casual users won't notice the difference between flac and 320kbps mp3. in addition to the storage problem ( i.e flac takes up a lot more space compared to a 8-10mb 320kbps mp3 file ) i am sure most casual users are perfectly happy with choosing the latter option. flac as aforementioned are for the serious users; but i have seen people with flac quality songs and use 10 dollar earpieces :suicide:[/QUOTE] The music community on the internet is a minority I'm sure you'd know this. I hate to say this, but the folk who really care about discovering new music, put attention to how they listen to it. Secondly, the [I]storage[/I] problem is bollocks, heard about 2 terrabyte hard-drives?
[QUOTE=TestECull;35457210]I think anything over 320KBPS MP3 is overkill. I can't tell the difference beyond that point.[/QUOTE] you must have really bad ears
CDs nowadays are for collectors and audiophiles. It's becoming clear that it's a minority. Not to say that they're inferior, they are interested in sound fidelity more. [editline]6th April 2012[/editline] [QUOTE=lotusking;35457769]you must have really bad ears[/QUOTE] That's his opinion, leave the debate.
[QUOTE=lotusking;35457769]you must have really bad ears[/QUOTE] My ears work fine. I can tell subtle differences in engine notes the average person would never notice even after it's pointed out. With music? If it's above 320KBPS MP3 I can't tell by ear. Maybe that's because I don't listen to music for sound quality? I listen to music because I like the music. I listen to FM radio 24/7, youtube serves as my personal MP3 player, bla-bla-bla.
[QUOTE=Rad McCool;35457739]I think 128 kbs mp3 sounds perfect. Here is an interesting article on the subject featuring a[B] blind test![/B] Listen for yourselves. [url]http://blog.szynalski.com/2009/07/05/blind-testing-mp3-compression/[/url][/QUOTE] Why bother with online tests. Do it yourself: 1. Get a CD and rip the FLAC 2. Encode it to MP3 3. Compare for yourself with your own music. [editline]6th April 2012[/editline] [QUOTE=TestECull;35457787] Maybe that's because I don't listen to music for sound quality? I listen to music because I like the music. I listen to FM radio 24/7, youtube serves as my personal MP3 player, bla-bla-bla.[/QUOTE] Yeah, imo youtube quality is horrifically poor unless it's HD. Radio probably streams at 128kbps too, maybe less. Needless to say, we can still enjoy it.
With my creative Soundblaster card, and my logitech z906 home theater system, i can tell the difference very easily. EDIT: I have some slayer songs i have that are FLAC files converted to lossless Wav, i can definitely tell that the lossless wav songs sound much clearer and vivid, depending on the song, and if you listen hard enough, you can hear things you wouldn't head on a 320kbps Mp3 file. Things such as the guitar pick hitting the strings, hard to hear, barely noticeable, but if you listen, you can hear it.
[QUOTE=zombini;35457878]With my creative Soundblaster card, and my logitech z906 home theater system, i can tell the difference very easily.[/QUOTE] But are you an audiophile?
Look at spectrograms of FLAC's and MP3 320's next to eachother. you can see that the MP3 is missing some of the tops of the highs. Whether you can hear the difference depends mainly on the cans/speakers you're using (for example anything that's rather bassy like the Sony XB's). Another problem is that most people aren't going to be using good enough headphones to tell the difference. For example, lots of people on FP use gaming headsets (this assumption is based on the amount of people coming into the headphone thread and saying that they've used them before) which are ALL awful and muddy and won't let you tell the difference at all because they just aren't capable of the response and frequencies required. The only way that this can be tested fairly would be on a pair of monitors or a good bright headphone as otherwise the top frequencies which are the only bit that is really different won't be noticeable enough. Though there will be a difference it's definitely dependent on what you're using to listen to it whether or not it's massive.
[QUOTE=AK'z;35457904]But are you an audiophile?[/QUOTE] A bit, not psychotically, but i do prefer ultra high quality sound over the cut rate shit. I also try to get the best audio equipment i can afford, without being completely stupid about it, things like headphones, i never break $100 with those, i kinda indulged with my home theater setup and soundcard though, i regret the Creative soundblaster because it was a total pain in the ass to get working properly, but it works great now. The Z906 5.1 surround setup is mindblowing though.
there's literally no benefit to listening to flac over 320k mp3 unless your ears are physically capable of hearing the difference in the molecular fucking structure of the song
[QUOTE=AK'z;35457800]Why bother with online tests. Do it yourself: 1. Get a CD and rip the FLAC 2. Encode it to MP3 3. Compare for yourself with your own music. [editline]6th April 2012[/editline] Yeah, imo youtube quality is horrifically poor unless it's HD. Radio probably streams at 128kbps too, maybe less. Needless to say, we can still enjoy it.[/QUOTE] the problem with that is then it's not a blind A/B test. Psychology plays a lot in the part of how people hear things, that's why so many "audiophiles" think 1000 dollar speaker cables sound better than ordinary speaker cable, when there's not an actual difference. [QUOTE=AK'z;35457904]But are you an audiophile?[/QUOTE] Why would he want to call himself one? Audiophiles are among some of the most stupid and gullible people on this planet.
I still use 1411 kbps .wav's.
[QUOTE=Lamar;35457974]Why would he want to call himself one? Audiophiles are among some of the most stupid and gullible people on this planet.[/QUOTE] From what I've seen, you just described an average consumer. Audiophiles are the people who actually know their shit.
[QUOTE=Kinglah Crab;35457948]there's literally no benefit to listening to flac over 320k mp3 unless your ears are physically capable of hearing the difference in the molecular fucking structure of the song[/QUOTE] Not really. Even on my home theater system, I can hear the difference between a 320kbps mp3 and a FLAC file. The mp3 usually has the very highest and lowest bits chopped off, and the compression, while not noticeable for most instruments on most equipment, is pretty noticeable on others. The easiest difference for me to hear is cymbal crashes. They wind up a little "fuzzy" with mp3s. It probably helps that I've played clarinet for years. After a while, you can even hear the difference between strengths of reeds. The differences are there, but it's hard to tell on most equipment.
Also, it really depends on the song, but honestly if I can't have FLAC, then I have to settle with the next best thing. Whenever I can hear any sort of clear compression, I get pissed off at the song and I end up not listening to it. I think the whole point of FLAC is to preserve the music exactly how it is. Compression ruins that and adds junk to the song, making it unenjoyable.
I own a 320kbps digital download and a CD version of an album, they both sound identical. The only real difference is between <=192kbps and 320kbps, anything after is a waste of space
[QUOTE=KingKombat;35458069]From what I've seen, you just described an average consumer. Audiophiles are the people who actually know their shit.[/QUOTE] no they don't. Most audiophiles are just egotists that put the thought of them having "golden ears" over common sense. That's why you have Audiophiles claiming their $1000 speaker cables make a difference, or that swapping USB cables on a DAC makes a difference. [url]http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3166333[/url] [url]http://www.head-fi.org/t/293165/my-cat-tore-up-my-virtual-dynamics-power-3[/url] Also if you have the time, look at how many horse-shit "audio" companies are out there that market to audiophiles.
Audiophiles are idiots circlejerking over their own delusions. [highlight](User was banned for this post ("This is not debating." - Megafan))[/highlight]
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