Welcome to the MacNN Forums.

If this is your first visit, be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above. You may have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed. To start viewing messages, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

You are here: MacNN Forums > Community > MacNN Lounge > Do you have ears? Are they any good?

Do you have ears? Are they any good?
Thread Tools
Laminar
Posting Junkie
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Iowa, how long can this be? Does it really ruin the left column spacing?
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jun 2, 2015, 09:19 PM
 
Take NPR's audio quality test.

How Well Can You Hear Audio Quality? : The Record : NPR

With my Apple earbuds and busted ears, 4/6 times I picked the 128k mp3. How about you?
     
ShortcutToMoncton
Addicted to MacNN
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: The Rock
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jun 2, 2015, 10:01 PM
 
Oooooo, can't wait to try this soon
Mankind's only chance is to harness the power of stupid.
     
el chupacabra
Mac Elite
Join Date: Apr 2001
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jun 3, 2015, 01:07 AM
 
I can always pick out the 128 if played on real speakers. It's almost nails on a chalkboard painful. I think it's cause my ears are so bad I barely make out the words if not high quality. This test was hard to tell the difference on my computer but I never picked the 128. It could have just been luck though. 320 and wav sound the same to me.
the largest problem for Americans today is they eat too much food and dont have enough work to do to keep their heart healthy
     
Cap'n Tightpants
Addicted to MacNN
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Shaddim's sock drawer
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jun 3, 2015, 08:26 AM
 
On my PC setup I can't tell the difference between 320k and wav either (I can using my headphone rig). 128k I can pick out every time, though.
"I have a dream, that my four little children will one day live in a
nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin,
but by the content of their character." - M.L.King Jr
     
osiris
Addicted to MacNN
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Isle of Manhattan
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jun 3, 2015, 09:42 AM
 
4/6 I picked the high quality wav file. But there were people talking around me...

The difference was immediately noticeable - within the first few notes. The 128k samples sucked compared to the 320 and wav, but the wav won.
"Faster, faster! 'Till the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death." - HST
     
Waragainstsleep
Posting Junkie
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: UK
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jun 3, 2015, 10:17 AM
 
I tried this with my old MBP speakers and any difference was either imagined or subtle. I think that for most tracks the lower quality streams seemed to have a touch of echo that give the illusion that they are richer when in fact its the tighter sounding versions that are the highest quality. These are seven year old laptop speakers on a soft surface and one of my ears was blocked when I woke up this morning so who knows?
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
ort888
Addicted to MacNN
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Your Anus
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jun 3, 2015, 12:46 PM
 
Sometimes I could tell the difference but for the most part they all sounded exactly the same to me... which is A-OK in my book.

I don't want to have to worry about the audio quality of my music. Get it to good enough and I'll be fine.

I've got some old files downloaded from Napster or somewhere that sound like hot garbage, but my ears can't hear much of a difference one you get to about 128k or so.

I rip all my music at 192k and it sounds great to me.

My sig is 1 pixel too big.
     
Jawbone54
Posting Junkie
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Louisiana
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jun 3, 2015, 03:34 PM
 
1. 320 kbps
2. 320 kbps
3. 320 kbps
4. WAV
5. 128 kbps
6. WAV

(Pair of V-moda M-100s)

I couldn't tell a difference between 320 kbps and the WAV files. Not a bit. The two I got right were lucky guesses.
     
ShortcutToMoncton
Addicted to MacNN
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: The Rock
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jun 3, 2015, 05:31 PM
 
Yeah, part of this depends on your ears, and another part depends on your equipment. Crappy headphones or laptop speakers with no range are almost by definition why audio compression became completely acceptable in the first place. Very tough to do this sort of test on that kind of equipment.
Mankind's only chance is to harness the power of stupid.
     
sek929
Posting Junkie
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Cape Cod, MA
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jun 3, 2015, 05:41 PM
 
I consistently picked the 320 kbps files using the iMac's built-ins.
     
mindwaves
Professional Poster
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Irvine, CA
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jun 3, 2015, 06:12 PM
 
All three files were of sufficient quality for my ears.
{{{ mindwaves }}}
     
Laminar  (op)
Posting Junkie
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Iowa, how long can this be? Does it really ruin the left column spacing?
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jun 3, 2015, 07:13 PM
 
Consider my shit hearing ability as proven by this test, how is XM still a thing if even I can't stand listening to more than a couple minutes of their ultra-mega-super compressed audio? The quality is actually worse than FM.
     
Cap'n Tightpants
Addicted to MacNN
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Shaddim's sock drawer
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jun 3, 2015, 07:34 PM
 
Tested on these again, but this time on the Stax setup, and the only one I got wrong was the Jay Z song (I chose the 320k), but that may have been because I was cringing so hard while listening.
"I have a dream, that my four little children will one day live in a
nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin,
but by the content of their character." - M.L.King Jr
     
Spheric Harlot
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: 888500128, C3, 2nd soft.
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jun 4, 2015, 06:50 AM
 
I consistently chose either 320 or WAV on all but one using the Sennheiser over-ears and Mac's built-in audio output.

Some thoughts:

These kinds of tests are not really conclusive, though, because they rely on material you're not necessarily familiar with.

Point being, we're not talking about what sounds BETTER; we're talking about what has higher fidelity and is truer to the source.

If the source has nasty exciter-induced high-end phasing (which I tend to react to involuntarily if it's overdone), it's quite possible that a 320 Kbps MP3 will mask that away and sound subjectively "better" even if it's less accurate.

At 128 Kbps, the artifacts become bad enough that they're almost always obvious, though.

The Coldplay record and the classical recordings were tough for me because they just sound terrible due to overdone dynamic compression (nothing to do with MP3) — which I the highest-quality version of that piano concerto: the one that sounds the least unnatural? But they messed it up during CD mastering. Hm.

I'll try again using my Hearsafe in-ear monitors and see if I draw the same conclusions.
     
ShortcutToMoncton
Addicted to MacNN
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: The Rock
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jun 4, 2015, 07:59 AM
 
Interesting. On the Neil Young track, I could distinguish between the WAV and 128kbps track but could not tell which was the higher quality - only that they sounded slightly different. I ended up picking the 128k track and it was just a random guess.

The Katy Perry track, I just could not tell any difference between them despite repeated attempts. Anyone want to tell me what their cues are on that track?

The others I consistently picked WAV and one was 320. But as Spheric noted the compression on the Coldplay track is really tough to listen to in the first place, I find.
Mankind's only chance is to harness the power of stupid.
     
ort888
Addicted to MacNN
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Your Anus
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jun 4, 2015, 10:21 AM
 
I was the same way. I could tell their was a difference, but they didn't sound better or worse, just different. Ever so slightly different.

In fact, if you aren't sitting their doing the ear version of squinting and concentrating, I doubt that it would ever matter at all for 99.999% of the world.

My sig is 1 pixel too big.
     
   
Thread Tools
 
Forum Links
Forum Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Top
Privacy Policy
All times are GMT -4. The time now is 03:26 PM.
All contents of these forums © 1995-2017 MacNN. All rights reserved.
Branding + Design: www.gesamtbild.com
vBulletin v.3.8.8 © 2000-2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.,