Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 2nd Oct 2012 00:05 UTC
Multimedia, AV "On October 1 1982, Joel's sixth studio album, 52nd Street, was the first commercially released CD album... Which means CDs are 30-years-old today. It's worth noting here that 52nd Street wasn't a new album - it was launched initially in 1978, but it was selected for relaunch on the new digital audio disc, rolling out alongside the first CD player - the Sony CDP-101 - in Japan. But of course, the CD didn't spring up overnight - the road to launch started long before 1982." I'm still 100% CD when it comes to music. The act of physically holding a new album in your hands for the first time and gently placing the disk in the tray can't be matched by pressing a download button behind a computer.
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RE: I don't like cds but
by unclefester on Tue 2nd Oct 2012 02:39 UTC in reply to "I don't like cds but"
unclefester
Member since:
2007-01-13

I'm one of those oddballs that can actually hear the difference between a cd and a compressed file (note though that cds themselves are compressed, just to a lesser extent).

Like all "audiophiles" you think you can tell tell the difference. The fact is that properly controlled tests show you can't.

Even professional concert violinists can't tell the difference between a $2 million Stradivarius and a $10K violin when the player is behind a screen.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: I don't like cds but
by kurkosdr on Tue 2nd Oct 2012 10:17 in reply to "RE: I don't like cds but"
kurkosdr Member since:
2011-04-11

"I'm one of those oddballs that can actually hear the difference between a cd and a compressed file (note though that cds themselves are compressed, just to a lesser extent)."

Switch your consumer electronics player with a PC with a good audio player installed and you won't be able to tell the difference. Any real audiophile or videophile always plays things on a PC, and preferably with open-source software. For some reason, open-source players offer the highest precision. Proprietary software players and consumer electronics a)take shortcuts in the decoding part and b)distrort the audio or video to give average Joe a "more impressive" version of the content.

Reply Parent Score: 0

RE[3]: I don't like cds but
by daedalus on Tue 2nd Oct 2012 10:33 in reply to "RE[2]: I don't like cds but"
daedalus Member since:
2011-01-14

Eh, are you for real? Find yourself a good CD player and amp and, while they will have options for shaping the sound, it will always have a direct through setup, so the sound from the source is unaltered (except by amplification) as it passes through the amp.

Besides, inside the average PC is one of the most horrible, electrically noisy environments you can get. That's why they usually put them in metal boxes - to screen the rest of the world from their nasty electrical interference. If you really wanted to be seriously audiophilic about your PC, you'd probably want to be using an external Firewire sound card. Anyway, you'll still need to put it through an amp and speaker set, and therefore risk misshaping your sound anyway.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[3]: I don't like cds but
by darknexus on Tue 2nd Oct 2012 12:00 in reply to "RE[2]: I don't like cds but"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Switch your consumer electronics player with a PC with a good audio player installed and you won't be able to tell the difference.


What? I mean I can take a cd, rip to lossless, encode it to a lossy format, decode the resulting file on my pc, play the new file and hear the difference. Way to go making assumptions. Also note that I do not claim to be an audiophile, but I'm able to hear the difference. I can only hear the difference on my computer for the most part, as you are correct that most consumer players have crap hardware. You're assumptions match the opposite of what I was saying though, as it's on such crappy players that I can't tell the difference precisely because the hardware and software driving them are crap, often intentionally so. The worse the hardware, the less likely you are to be able to hear minute artifacts from either data compression or recording glitches. Of course, on the flip side, such players often introduce artifacts of their own into the audio while playing it.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: I don't like cds but
by daedalus on Tue 2nd Oct 2012 10:25 in reply to "RE: I don't like cds but"
daedalus Member since:
2011-01-14

Well, it depends on the compression (level, quality, type etc.) Of course you'll hear the difference between a 96kbps MP3 and a CD - most people should be able to. My limit is around 192kbps for MP3s - some songs at that bitrate I can tell are missing something after the encoding, others I can't. When you get to 256kbps or 320kbps, it's pretty indistinguishable to me. It also depends on the equipment - I can tell the difference on some tracks using headphones or my home stereo, but not on my car stereo for example.

What is nasty though is transcoded audio. I've come across some music encoded at 192kbps which sounds like 96kbps. It seems to be caused by someone taking an already compressed version and transcoding it to MP3. That sounds awful compared to the same track encoded at 192kbps from a CD.

Bottom line is there'll be a threshold where the difference becomes so small it can't be detected. This threshold will change from user to user, from track to track, from equipment to equipment and from situation to situation. You can't make a blanket statement like nobody can tell the difference, just as much as you can't say that everyone can always tell the difference.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[3]: I don't like cds but
by ilovebeer on Tue 2nd Oct 2012 16:13 in reply to "RE[2]: I don't like cds but"
ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

Well, it depends on the compression (level, quality, type etc.) Of course you'll hear the difference between a 96kbps MP3 and a CD - most people should be able to. My limit is around 192kbps for MP3s - some songs at that bitrate I can tell are missing something after the encoding, others I can't. When you get to 256kbps or 320kbps, it's pretty indistinguishable to me.

No, no, no. Bitrate is only one part of the equation. The very first piece is the source material. If 96kbps is enough to represent the source accurately, you will not hear any difference with a 192kbps, 256kbps, or 320kbps encode. Bitrate is not a representation of quality!

It also depends on the equipment - I can tell the difference on some tracks using headphones or my home stereo, but not on my car stereo for example.

Yes, yes, yes. Headphones vs. non-headphones matters because of how the audio arrives at your ear. A speakers ability to produce accurate frequency counts. Converts in amplifiers counts. Every piece of hardware & software in the signal chain has the ability to alter quality.

What is nasty though is transcoded audio. I've come across some music encoded at 192kbps which sounds like 96kbps. It seems to be caused by someone taking an already compressed version and transcoding it to MP3. That sounds awful compared to the same track encoded at 192kbps from a CD.

Using the wrong encoder settings (for the piece) can produce a bad result in the same way cooking food with poorly matched ingredients and quantities can result in something that tastes terrible.

Bottom line is there'll be a threshold where the difference becomes so small it can't be detected. This threshold will change from user to user, from track to track, from equipment to equipment and from situation to situation. You can't make a blanket statement like nobody can tell the difference, just as much as you can't say that everyone can always tell the difference.

The main reasons people can't tell the difference are a result of any combination of the following; Bad recording technique, bad mixing (especially over-compression), bad mastering, bad playback equipment. If any of those are crap, you're going to get crap out. Every single step has the potential to ruin great audio, and once it's ruined there's very little you can do from that point on to fix it outside of redoing what ruined it in the first place.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: I don't like cds but
by quackalist on Tue 2nd Oct 2012 13:18 in reply to "RE: I don't like cds but"
quackalist Member since:
2007-08-27

Hmm, the Strad v 10k violin story is not quite as it seems and certainly not applicable to the "debunking" of those oddballs who think they have golden ears.

Actually, just about anyone including "oddballs" can distinguish between a CD and it's MP3 if it's bit rate is low enough for compression artifacts to be evident. The bit-rate in which music is transparent to even "oddballs" has come down over time as MP3 codecs have improved and most, probably, would be surprised if they did a proper double-blind test on how low this is.

True, the occasional, probably overstating the issue, sample can still cause problems which is why MP3 codecs are still being worked on. There are also other codecs and you can get some rally remarkable quality at low-bit rates with Opus, for example: http://opus-codec.org/

Nonetheless, I'm an old-fashioned kinda guy and nobody gets any monies out of me without giving me a thing (the CD) in exchange and when I encode it I firstly do so to lossless for backup and thence to VO MP3 (belt & braces, just in case even if I know it's largely a waste of space) for playback.

"Oddballs" can think themselves golden eared and pay a fortune for cables if they so care...

Edited 2012-10-02 13:20 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1