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Comment Re:$10 for placebo quality (Score 1) 77

I suggest looking at the result of codec comparison in https://tech.ebu.ch/docs/tech/.... The EBU performed A/B comparisons with different lossy codecs for 5.1. They trained people in how to spot the difference in challenging areas to encode, and then evaluated various codecs with challenging pieces.

Keep in mind that FLAC is typically 3x as large as 320kbps, and storage sizes are quite huge now.

Comment Re:$10 for placebo quality (Score 4, Interesting) 77

Last summer I wrote a program to compare two audio files, mostly to get an objective understanding of how sound degrades in a lossless format: http://andrewrondeau.com/blog/2016/07/deconstructing-lossy-audio-the-case-for-lossless

My conclusion is that, even at 320 kbps, formats like MP3 and AAC still screw with the sound. The newer Opus codec at 320 kbps is better than an 8-bit flac, though.

What happens with lossy audio is that it's more about "will someone notice an objectionable artifact" then "can someone notice the difference in an A-B test." Even then, the difference is usually in details that people don't pay close attention to. So, what you pay for in lossless is that the subtle echo in the fadeout sounds perfect, and that the equalization is always perfect, and that the cymbals and clicks of the guitar sound exactly like they do in the studio. Most people will never hear the difference, even in A-B testing.

In my very subjective experience, I find that AC3 has a certain dullness that lossless doesn't have. MP3 has a particular thinness that's noticeable compared to AC3. I personally don't have any opus files in my collection, so I can't comment there.

Comment Re:Oh for goodness sake (Score 1) 303

I really missed the artwork when I started ripping DVD-As. So now when I get a new DVD-A I go through a lengthy process to dig out the artwork out of the DVD-V portion and actually make a video with it. Works well for most DVD-As, but the Flaming Lips releases had a very different setup for the DVD-V version, and there's no way to go back and get the artwork unless you have a physical DVD-A player.

Comment Re:Oh for goodness sake (Score 1) 303

I have shelves full of DVD-As, which I treasure. I also treasure my vinyl when I love an album enough to want a physical representation. Why? Two reasons:

  • Cover art: Vinyl is the best way to deliver large scale artwork
  • Simplicity: DVD-A has DRM. CDs require complicated playback hardware. You can build your own record player if you want to.

I don't run around pretending that records sound better... They don't. But that's not the point, the point is to have a physical recording of music that I love that'll still work when we can no longer play our DVD-As and CDs, and to be able to appreciate the printed artwork. Otherwise, I just stream it.

Comment Pay-per-view (Score 1) 162

The one thing I really miss about the mailed disk version of Netflix was its recommendation system. It always recommended good movies that I never got to see. The reason why I continued to subscribe to Netflix was because of its recommendation system. I really wish they had everything, even if most movies were pay-to-stream.

Comment Re:I still have a turntable (Score 1) 316

I'm currently listening to III that I bought used about 15 years ago. (I haven't listened to the remaster yet.) I assume the pressing is from the '70s.

"Out of the Tiles" really suffers from inner groove problems. The highs are so blurry and limited, it sounds like someone downsampled a CD to 22050 hz. Even my MP3 sounds crisper.

Comment Re:MP3 (Score 1) 316

Dynamic range was up until the late 90s.

Then someone invented noise shaping, which basically improves dynamic range where the ear is sensitive, and reduces it where the ear isn't as sensitive. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/....

Basically, the tradeoff is that a small amount of high-frequency hiss is added where you can't hear. A CD (or 16-bit Flac) will have dynamic range problems when noise shaping isn't used.

Comment Re:MP3 (Score 1) 316

For what it's worth if you're going to buy music online you should probably get it in a lossless format (FLAC) so that if you format-shift it won't result in additional degradation beyond what the lossy codec would normally involve. In practical terms it doesn't matter that much since audio codecs aren't changing terribly often and almost everything is backwards compatible with the older formats, but if you re-encoded your lossy files enough they would eventually sound like garbage.

AAC, when done right, will sound better than CD when created with a 24-bit source. Just make sure to buy without DRM.

Anyway, if you're streaming, should you care? You don't own it anyway.

Comment I still have a turntable (Score 1) 316

I use my turntable a couple times a week. It's mostly because I want an excuse to get up from the computer to walk around while I flip the record, and because I like the artwork. New vinyl costs about $30 an album, so I only buy it when I really want it. Vinyl's really a crapshoot for audio quality, though. The modern digital remasters of anything printed before 2000-ish sound better than the original vinyl. A shibata stylus will reproduce the full human frequency range of hearing, although with more surface noise. (Humans can hear up to 28khz, but streaming services will limit it between 15-20khz.)

For streaming, I use either Amazon Prime or Youtube. I still like having my collection of music; but I know its days are numbered.

One thing that I'd like is an audiophile grade streaming service. There's evidence that humans can hear up to 28khz; although lossless 24/96 is overkill.

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