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MP3 vs OGG - testing 1.2.3.


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As the internet is becoming more and more important a medium to spread music I decided to do some testing.

 

I compared LAME mp3 to OGG Vorbis and found out some (imo) staggering facts.

 

'LAME' mp3 encoding at high quality (2, variable bitrate from 160 to 320kbps) severely screws up the audible high range. Higher quality setting is unacceptible as files just get too big. At lower quality settings it also makes the lows sound wooly, destroying any tightness in there.

 

OGG vorbis using quality management filter set to 8 (it ranges from 1=low to 10=high, at 8 the nominal bitrate 276kbps) Generates files that are just a little bigger then the 'LAME' mp3 at quality 2. Personally I couldnt tell the difference between the original .wav (ripped cd tracks) files and the .ogg ones.

 

Again I used Norah Jones' music for testing as her cd's haven't been mastered into a pancake.

 

I wonder why mp3 still seems to be the standard with ogg clearly sounding better...

 

Could any of you pointy-eared persons do me a favour and test as well please?

 

Here's url's for the encoding tools:

 

Oggdrop for the mac: http://www.nouturn.com/oggdrop/

 

Oggdrop for Windows: http://homepage.ntlworld.com/jfe1205/OggVorbis/oggdropXPdV1.7.7S.zip

 

LAMEdrop for Windows: http://homepage.ntlworld.com/jfe1205/LAME/lamedropXPd-1.3.3.zip

 

This is all legal software to use by the way, no hax0red warezies.

 

.ogg files are easily played back using either winamp 3 or winamp 5 on the PC. I don't know about playing stuff on a Mac as I haven't got one.

Stirring shit up since 1968
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Originally posted by Rog:

Ogg's good :thu:

 

Maybe you could download iTunes and tell us what you think about MP4 (AAC) ?

I did some tests with the Nero MP4 codec - - it was similar to Microsloths WMA - chops off everything above 15 KHz (probably to avoid the flangey/phasey/wooley sound that most compression codecs give you).

 

I wouldn't consider using it for anything where fidelity matters. Might be okay for audio books or something....

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I'm baffled by the statement that mp3 yields unacceptable results. (or, maybe, unsavory).

 

Since the majority of mp3 users are cranking the tunes through headphones, or mini speakers on their computer, the sound quality is fine, it seems to me. I've listened to CDs and MP3s through my stereo, and rarely do I notice the difference.

 

What kind of stereo do I have? What does it matter? Only to the hardcore audiophile does there seem to be problems with the mp3 sound quality. Yes, sure, the 64kbps compression will give you cel-phone quality sounds. But the 128 seems to do fine for me.

 

But, hey, that's just my opinion.

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Originally posted by no_talent_Bum:

I'm baffled by the statement that mp3 yields unacceptable results. (or, maybe, unsavory).

 

Since the majority of mp3 users are cranking the tunes through headphones, or mini speakers on their computer, the sound quality is fine, it seems to me. I've listened to CDs and MP3s through my stereo, and rarely do I notice the difference.

 

What kind of stereo do I have? What does it matter? Only to the hardcore audiophile does there seem to be problems with the mp3 sound quality. Yes, sure, the 64kbps compression will give you cel-phone quality sounds. But the 128 seems to do fine for me.

 

But, hey, that's just my opinion.

I'm afraid you severely underestimate the number of people who can easily hear the difference between mp3's and wavs, or cda files. If I showed you the equivalent in color shift on a picture to what I hear between mp3's and lossless formats you would easily see it. I wonder why you don't hear it. The difference is night and day.

 

I should point out, I've heard one or two wonderfully encoded mp3's that seem to be the exception to the rule, and were near flawless. (Audible compression was still apparent.)

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Originally posted by fantasticsound:

Originally posted by no_talent_Bum:

I'm baffled by the statement that mp3 yields unacceptable results. (or, maybe, unsavory).

 

Since the majority of mp3 users are cranking the tunes through headphones, or mini speakers on their computer, the sound quality is fine, it seems to me. I've listened to CDs and MP3s through my stereo, and rarely do I notice the difference.

 

What kind of stereo do I have? What does it matter? Only to the hardcore audiophile does there seem to be problems with the mp3 sound quality. Yes, sure, the 64kbps compression will give you cel-phone quality sounds. But the 128 seems to do fine for me.

 

But, hey, that's just my opinion.

I'm afraid you severely underestimate the number of people who can easily hear the difference between mp3's and wavs, or cda files. If I showed you the equivalent in color shift on a picture to what I hear between mp3's and lossless formats you would easily see it. I wonder why you don't hear it. The difference is night and day.

 

I should point out, I've heard one or two wonderfully encoded mp3's that seem to be the exception to the rule, and were near flawless. (Audible compression was still apparent.)

ehh, well, what do I know. Maybe it's because I'm deaf and listen to funk. It's like riding in a tank and saying 'feel the road?' versus riding a touring bicycle. Acoustic music is definitely the loser with mp3 files... but funk and rock don't seem to miss too much from the conversion to mp3.

 

to ME, I mean.

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I encode all my mp3's at 320kb and even though there is still some minimal compression and frequency cutoff, it is virtually unnoticable when I play them in my car or on the home stereo. If you're an audiophile, why even bother with mp3's? The whole point of mp3's was to be able to transfer audio files over the internet and it was not geared to audiophiles! Unless some genius comes along and finds a way to shrink audio files and keeping it lossless at the same time, may as well get used to what's available.
www.myspace.com/thefunkfather
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Originally posted by no_talent_Bum:

ehh, well, what do I know. Maybe it's because I'm deaf and listen to funk. It's like riding in a tank and saying 'feel the road?' versus riding a touring bicycle. Acoustic music is definitely the loser with mp3 files... but funk and rock don't seem to miss too much from the conversion to mp3.

 

to ME, I mean.

There may be something wrong with your monitors or your ears, or both. :D
The alchemy of the masters moving molecules of air, we capture by moving particles of iron, so that the poetry of the ancients will echo into the future.
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Originally posted by philbo_Tangent:

Originally posted by Rog:

Ogg's good :thu:

 

Maybe you could download iTunes and tell us what you think about MP4 (AAC) ?

I did some tests with the Nero MP4 codec - - it was similar to Microsloths WMA - chops off everything above 15 KHz (probably to avoid the flangey/phasey/wooley sound that most compression codecs give you).

 

I wouldn't consider using it for anything where fidelity matters. Might be okay for audio books or something....

What kind of tests?

 

I'd love to confirm your findings but Nuendo can't import AAC as yet :(

 

BTW, AAC @ 256 sounds fine to these ears.

"That's what the internet is for. Slandering others anonymously." - Banky Edwards.
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Originally posted by DWBass:

I encode all my mp3's at 320kb and even though there is still some minimal compression and frequency cutoff, it is virtually unnoticable when I play them in my car or on the home stereo. If you're an audiophile, why even bother with mp3's? The whole point of mp3's was to be able to transfer audio files over the internet and it was not geared to audiophiles! Unless some genius comes along and finds a way to shrink audio files and keeping it lossless at the same time, may as well get used to what's available.

There's no harm in comparing different compression techniques is there? Afterall why settle for less if you can get better quality audio with the same filesize? Makes sense to me.
Stirring shit up since 1968
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Originally posted by Rog:

Originally posted by philbo_Tangent:

Originally posted by Rog:

Ogg's good :thu:

 

Maybe you could download iTunes and tell us what you think about MP4 (AAC) ?

I did some tests with the Nero MP4 codec - - it was similar to Microsloths WMA - chops off everything above 15 KHz (probably to avoid the flangey/phasey/wooley sound that most compression codecs give you).

 

I wouldn't consider using it for anything where fidelity matters. Might be okay for audio books or something....

What kind of tests?

 

I'd love to confirm your findings but Nuendo can't import AAC as yet :(

 

BTW, AAC @ 256 sounds fine to these ears.

I did some basic pink noise tests at a few different levels, and also encoded about 50 minutes of the 'Concert for George' soundtrack. It wasn't terrible, but wasn't great either. I used SpectraLab software to compare what went in with what came out.

 

It pretty much had the fidelity of FM stereo, without as much (dynamics) compression. It also compares with basic WMA at 128Kbps, if you want another 'sounds-like' analogy....

 

I was looking at it in the context of a new way to post web music for my clients. Just isn't good enough, though...

 

Note that I'm not criticizing ALL MP4, just this one codec.

 

OTOH, I (so far) totally love the sound of Ogg-Vorbis... this is a real contender, fidelity-wise, for replacing MP3. Now that I've said so, I suppose I better test it, too....

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