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My take on MP3


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There has been a lot of talk here on CA lately about the dubious merits of MP3. Some think it's fine, other think it has its uses, while some think that such an opinion should disqualify one from even posting here. As usual, the truth is a combination of all these opinions. Here's my take on it (for what it's worth).

 

* MP3 was never designed to be a high-fidelity format, but then again, neither was the compact cassette back in the late 1960's. That didn't stop people from developing it as a music format; the use of closed-loop captain drives, Dolby B & C noise reduction, Dolby HX-Pro, and exotic tape formulations eventually got cassette to within ear-shot of being a high-fidelity medium. But it always had artifacts that kept it from being even as good as an LP, for instance.

 

* MP3 is somewhat similar. Since it's introduction, CoDecs have improved, and the introduction of high-bit-rate streaming as well as variable bit rate, have reduced the audible compression artifacts to the point where many listeners cannot hear them. To these people MP3 is "almost" a hi-fi-medium - like cassette did at one time.

 

* While I would not ever rip an LP at MP3 quality (even the highest quality), I do believe that it has it's uses. When I was growing up, FM was the highest quality signal source one could have in their home (even better than reel-to-reel tape). A live symphony concert over a good FM receiver (with a full-quieting signal) had wide frequency response, low distortion, and excellent dynamic range. It also had a background so quiet that the music emerged from the proverbial "black background". Of course, it was monaural, not stereo, and when stereo FM was introduced, that quality was severely compromised. The frequency response dropped from 20-20KHz to 50-15KHz, things like multi path distortion became more of a problem, and the signal-to noise ratio dropped tremendously. There went that velvet background. To add insult to injury, as FM moved from being the purview of Hi-Fi nuts and classical music listeners to more mainstream audiences, it became popular and the dials became very crowded, especially in urban markets. This caused the FCC to clamp down on over-modulation, a phenomenon where a station exceeded their government allotted bandwidth. This wasn't a problem when FM stations were few and far between because there were likely no stations near-by on the dial for the over modulation to interfere with. The FCC ignored the problem unless somebody complained. Starting in the 1960's, FM went stereo and started to get popular. As more and more of the available channels got used, the need to control modulation absolutely to a maximum of 100% became de riguer. This meant electronic limiters to keep the stations from using more than their allowed +/- 200KHz of bandwidth. These limiters essentially lopped-off everything over 100% creating terrible distortion. Since sidebands were now needed for the stereo component, this problem was compounded. The final nail in the coffin of FM as a quality music delivery system were the "loudness wars" where FM stations started to compress their audio more and more so that the stations were pumping-out signals that were modulated to 99% modulation all the time.

 

With this being the case with modern, over-the-air FM, Internet radio has become a very viable way of listening to "radio". Sure, Internet radio can be very digitally compressed (as low as 32 kbps) and MP3 does have artifacts, but I've found that quality stations around the world use 128 kbps or higher for their broadcasts. This minimizes the compression artifacts to point where they are mostly undetectable on speakers, and "overlook-able" on headphones. Compared to the artifacts of modern FM broadcasting; multi-path, fringe reception, hard-limiting, and high amounts of volume compression, I find the MP3 digital artifacts much more benign. Internet MP3 returns to velvet background and full frequency response to "radio" listening along with a wide dynamic range. I think the trade-off is worth it.

 

* So, while MP3 might be anathema for ripping CDs, transferring music from LP and listening critically on an iPod or some such, for Internet radio, I'm glad it exists. If MP3 (or some similar extreme data compression scheme) didn't exist, I doubt if we'd have Internet radio at all.

George

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but I've found that quality stations around the world use 128 kbps or higher for their broadcasts.

 

Hi George

Sorry, but you will never convince me that 128kbps sounds even half decent through a good speaker system.

Recently I mentioned FM, similar to what you have written here, but without mentioning potential multi path problems, in another thread. Originally, AM radio was also very good with up to 15kHz bandwidth for the non commercial national broadcaster, but you needed decent wideband tuners (e.g. T.R.F.) to fully appreciate it. I got very good results using a DIY Homodyne tuner (MC1330P I.C. ?) The equalised 15kHz program lines sounded great at the patch panels of the telephone exchanges they went through ! The audio of the TV stations sounded pretty good via a Esaki (tunnel ) diode receiver too, back in those days.

 

Kind Regards

Alex

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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In the other thread (where this one sprung from) I said that I was going to make test signals for MP3 and look for filtering merits (merits are positive). But I know think this can't even be done since MP3 is about filtering signals which are masked by others anyway.

 

See ? we can't even approach it professionally.

ahum

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Why would I be next? I was not going to post until I read your remark as I have no interest in FM mono, FM stereo or MP3. Before high resolution digital I preferred 4 track 7 1/2 IPS prerecorded reel to reel tapes.

 

If memory serves well, you prefer MP3 over 16/44.1 native - for all the reasons of your world.

 

...

 

Now I must honestly say that only now I see the text in your sig right above my typing. So my text above of course contains some cynicism or whatever to call it, but I said it before I read that. But I let it be ...

 

Peter

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Why do people get so hung up on internet radio or degraded FM etc. while it is my opinion that not any radio will provide what I like to listen to anyway ?

 

What I mean is, the degraded sound of radio these days should not be taken as an argument that MP3 sucks ?

So why not leave it in the realm of MP3 in itself ?

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I'm perfectly happy with Beats Music for casual portable listening.

 

I'm surprised, with ears as large (and discerning?) as yours. What kind of headphones do you use with them? Everything's an IEM for you I guess.

 

Chris

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Why do people get so hung up on internet radio or degraded FM etc. while it is my opinion that not any radio will provide what I like to listen to anyway ?

 

Peter,

There's actually some very good internet radio these days (if you consider places like MOG and Quobuz internet radio--I do). They carry much of your favorite music, and I'm not kidding, at a very reasonable price in 320 kb mp3. Sounds very good to me, but I have relatively small ears.

 

Chris

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I really feel sorry for the younger members who haven't been able to hear FM and AM radio, even TV audio, at it's very best. Much of the source material came from expensive vinyl set ups.

Progress ? I think NOT !

 

Maybe this is too hypothetical ? Do we really think that when the "younger members" would be subject to good quality music from TVs etc. the would, say, start to buy the better equipment themselves for their bedrooms or whatever ?

 

Point is, I recognize what you said there Alex, and George put it out even more extensively. So yes, I sure and explicitly recall that broadcasts from back in the days could excel my fathers vinyl rig - sort of. Or from his side - he explicitly listened to radio because it was the best. and the mere point - *that* is where I got it from. It gets in the blood and besides that my first obtainment of "rig" wasn't really done all by myself. That starts with using depleted rig of your father ... Build your own turn table. Build your own speakers with fine Peerless drivers your father can tell about. That sort of thing.

 

Now from the other perspective, look what happens today;

Our boy of 15 *is* subject to this. The whole day through when he is at home. Does that help ? yes it sure does, but that doesn't mean such a boy will ever be able to find the time or priority to dive into it. The guy has headphones engraved in his head and the Battlefields are burned in his eyes forever.

 

If I look around, I don't see/know any youngster who is different. Not regarding the music, but regarding the games. It's in 100% of them. I am serious. Outside homework it occupies 100% of their time and the prickies even prefer it over having a party. All of them.

 

I obviously twisted the subject somewhat, but the message is that without the better quality music around them there is just no reason for diving into music playback at all. Yeah, on a bike but this is part of their culture and not different from me being in the car with fine music to kill the time.

 

We can also turn the radio sh*t into a positive; those with some blood for it will be able to clearly recognize that it takes something else to out-better that. Here's a small conversation from last week for indication with the notice that our boy thus is in the middle of it all and only unconsciously recognizes a few things :

 

"Hey dad, your bass really improved".

Oh ?

"Yea, sure. I never heard bass there".

But boy, I never play this Paranoid for ages so how can you know ?

"Oh, I know it; it's often on the radio and I listen to it through my phone".

 

Makes me drop dead from one side. From another there's still hope.

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Peter,

There's actually some very good internet radio these days (if you consider places like MOG and Quobuz internet radio--I do). They carry much of your favorite music, and I'm not kidding, at a very reasonable price in 320 kb mp3.

 

But of course Chris. But now something strange is in order and this is the opposite of the youngster realm from my previous post :

 

Now I must organize my physical listening set up such that this can work. So not assumed I am to connect some earplugs to an iPod (etc.) already knowing that I don't even own any headphones and never did, I see no feasible means to turn an ever tweaked "noise free" best playback means in an internet connected set up. Internet connected ? heck, we guys turn off the LAN during playback because SQ improves because of it.

 

I am sure we are talking from different angles here, but if I want to listen something I don't own, in minutes it is downloaded in FLAC just because it is available. This might not be everybody's world and as I understood even this is now forbidden over here since two weeks back (it was explicitly not) but this is how it works (workED officially). Really everything is available you know (FLAC/WAV) so there is no reason to travel other paths.

But then this is about normal listening and not about listening in the car or something; I just dropped that at all because it merely disturbs than satisfy, even to kill time. This is how I mentioned in the other thread how (multi path) reporting disturbs even more because of being chopped off and repeats and what not. And *that* is radio but over here only wrong for such "interviews" and not when music is played. That's OK in itself (for multi path etc.).

 

With all this said, and as said in the other thread, I am OK with MP3 as long as I don't compare and when I listen to it it's because I don't have it available otherwise.

But now a nice contradiction :

 

I also have 100s of "vinyl rips". Now THOSE I can not listen to. I try often (because not available in normal digital) and they lack so much dynamics that I can't stand it. Stuffed ear phenomenon.

Odd eh ?

 

Peter

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If memory serves well, you prefer MP3 over 16/44.1 native - for all the reasons of your world.

 

Peter, I did flirt with MP3 in the beginning as I felt it threw away part of what I didn't like in the sound of CDs. Sorta of throwing out both good and bad.

 

Anyway here is what I wrote when I changed my mind back in 2009:

 

See An Analog Lover's continuing Adventure in Digital Land

 

Part Six: I was wrong and too forgiving of lower resolution PCM

 

"When I first got iTunes and a iPod a year and a half ago (2007), I was thrilled with the 192kbps and higher MP3s especially the free ones from Download.com. I never liked the sound of CDs but these MP3s were warmer and more ambient with less strident highs. I commented at the time part of what they threw away were the things that made CDs sound so bad ...to me at least.

 

I learned over time that MP3's frequency response starts rolling off at 16kHz or lower, thus the highs were smoother because they were lower in level. This could also be what caused the extra warmth. It is possible the extra feel of ambiance is artificially created by the lower signal to noise ratio of MP3.

 

However, over time I just could not live with the loss of resolution caused by encoding to MP3, so I started listening to uncompressed lossless WAV and AIFF music files, and they indeed have more resolution. However there was some of the stridency and dryness of CD, only not quite as bad.

 

I had the iPod shuffle so I cannot do Apple lossless which in my early tests I found warmer than WAV or AIFF. (Note that was the early 1GB iPod shuffle, the later 2 GB one did play Apple lossless).

 

It seems on my iPod with 44.1kHz, I can either have resolution or warmth and ambiance, but not both at the same time.

 

I find 24 Bit 96kHz lossless uncompressed music files have much greater resolution than any type of 44.1kHz music files. They have even more warmth and ambiance than MP3, which would be "real" warmth and ambiance instead of artificially created variety used in MP3s. However I couldn't play my 24 Bit 96kHz music files on my iPod, so I sold my iPod, and deleted all computer music files lower than 24 Bit 96kHz. Now on my trips outside my home, I carry no music. I just experience the real world instead. At first I thought I might wait for an acceptable 24 Bit 96kHz portable player, but now I am not so sure I want to have music with me on walks and other travels.

 

I now recommend NO digital products or music files with resolution lower than 88.2kHz PCM with the sole exception of the Telarc historical 50kHz Soundstream recordings on SACDs or LPs."

 

End of quote from the 2009 article.

 

Note: With 24 bit music files I still think Apple Lossless sounds warmer than WAV or AIFF. And WAV sounds the most detailed. Since Apple Lossless is bit perfect I can only guess that it is in the unpacking while playing since I can convert Apple Lossless to WAV and it has the sound qualities in my system of a native WAV file. Nowadays since with Pure Music I can play pretty much any format I just keep the music in the format it was downloaded in.

I have dementia. I save all my posts in a text file I call Forums.  I do a search in that file to find out what I said or did in the past.

 

I still love music.

 

Teresa

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Peter,

 

I've heard a few people around here say that they like the sound of their digitized lps better than the cd issue of said lp. Now that's odd--assuming of course that the cd isn't a remaster of the original lp. Bits is bits unless you record them yourself I guess. Just kidding, no explanation needed or asked for.:)

 

Chris

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Alex, stick with Blu-Rays which have lossless high resolution audio. 1080p/720p YouTube's are all lossy, they may look good but they don't sound very good.

 

Current YouTube Audio Quality July 2012 to date

 

1080p - 192 kbps AAC

720p - 192 kbps AAC

480p - 128 kbps AAC

360p - 128 kbps AAC

240p - 64 kbps MP3

 

I'm surprised you find this OK.

I have dementia. I save all my posts in a text file I call Forums.  I do a search in that file to find out what I said or did in the past.

 

I still love music.

 

Teresa

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Teresa, I don't recall that you put up exactly this text back at the time (2-3 years ago ?) but it I read it like this I could very much concur (could, because not 100% sure). We don't need debating how it can happen that the higher frequencies (16KHz+) start to disturb (but reasons surely exist), but if this is held against resolution - which is a phenomenon not so easy to understand in this realm - then I can only agree. From the mere technical "insight" I would say this :

 

Above 16KHz things start to go nasty for 44.1 material (this can be measured);

 

Cut that off and because of the nastiness being out of the way things sound more smooth (make that warm if you want);

 

But when done with MP3 (which inherently rolls off there) you'd lose resolution as well. Compare the really low rates (64) and it emphasizes the choppyness ("ugly" in Chris's words).

 

The latter is how MP3 also smears into gray.

 

 

Hmm ... maybe I finally understood what you said back then. Or merely why you said it (why you judged it like you did). I personally think it is quite legitimate.

 

Regards,

Peter

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...I also have 100s of "vinyl rips". Now THOSE I can not listen to. I try often (because not available in normal digital) and they lack so much dynamics that I can't stand it. Stuffed ear phenomenon.

Odd eh ?

 

Peter

 

Peter, sorry to hear about this. Are any of those audiophile LPs? Such as direct to disc, original audiophile recordings or audiophile remasters? Were they cleaned with a record cleaning machine before recording? Many LPs such as those from Reference Recordings have a very huge dynamic range.

 

Peter,

 

I've heard a few people around here say that they like the sound of their digitized lps better than the cd issue of said lp. Now that's odd--assuming of course that the cd isn't a remaster of the original lp. Bits is bits unless you record them yourself I guess. Just kidding, no explanation needed or asked for.:)

 

Chris

 

Chris, most people save their LPs at 24/96kHz or higher and many are now saving them to DSD. So it is no surprise to me they sound much better than CDs.

I have dementia. I save all my posts in a text file I call Forums.  I do a search in that file to find out what I said or did in the past.

 

I still love music.

 

Teresa

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Teresa

I am not saying that I find 192 kbps aac audio O.K. I do however find it tolerable if the video content is good and it hasn't suffered too much from the Loudness Brush. If I was to demultiplex the audio from the video and just listen to it without the vision, the audio only file would end up being quickly deleted again.

 

Alex

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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Alex, I wanted to add this to post 26 but hit the 30 minute time limit for editing posts.

 

Lossy Dolby digital (AC-3) used for digital TV is 448 kbps at 48kHz PCM so HDTV is sonically much better than YouTube, and sounds quite acceptable through the optical input on my Teac UD-501 DAC.

 

Still, for the best sound quality with picture, Blu-Ray's 24 bit lossless codecs are the way to go.

I have dementia. I save all my posts in a text file I call Forums.  I do a search in that file to find out what I said or did in the past.

 

I still love music.

 

Teresa

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Teresa

I have heaps of downloaded .ts streams from some of the musical performances from HD U.S.A. Late Night shows, some even in 5.1 audio, and they can sound more than acceptable, especially if the clip was in 1080.

With some of this material, I then demultiplexed the audio, and processed it using SeeDeClip Duo Pro to reverse much of the compression, then normalised the level and multiplexed the new audio with the video. An example that I revisited just now , was " Faith Hill-Mississippi Girl." in HD.The audio is so much better than the current .mp4 crap. and that was without further processing.

 

Alex

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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Peter, sorry to hear about this. Are any of those audiophile LPs? Such as direct to disc, original audiophile recordings or audiophile remasters? Were they cleaned with a record cleaning machine before recording? Many LPs such as those from Reference Recordings have a very huge dynamic range.

 

It is not about that - it is about LP in general; I don't think it's discussion worthy in this thread (plus it has been discussed numerous time) but for some LP really can't cut it (haha). All is about the system behind it and how resolving that is, and mine is "quite". To name something (well, if it tells something at all), my speakers are 118dB sensitive; if I turn that into 115dB a whole world is lost already - seriously. So let alone that ... etc.

 

With the notice that Mr Van den Hul (The Frog cartridge and such) lives 150 meters from me here I should be able to judge.

 

But my remark was about the comparison to MP3, where MP3 doesn't lack anything really (ok, it does, but not much super disturbing), with that indicating that dynamics are sustained with MP3 while resolution is not (and HF rolls off). This was said in the other thread already (by me).

So never mind the measured DR of particular LPs what's inherently not there for transients, just is not. So it is abut that - transients. Or put differently : how fast the system as a whole is and this starts with the source.

Of course it is not difficult to see how vinyl can not carry infinite transients (needle break) while e.g. tape can to some extend and tranfers from that to digital also can. And they do, because a random digital audio file contains 1000s of those. Think jumps from 0V to 1V from sample to sample. I don't want to deviate too much, but this is not high frequency, should also not be filtered and in my case (Arc Prediction Filtering) it doesn't. We can ignore the existence of those transients, or we can acknowledge that's what there should be represented through speakers as far as possible. This is how super speed of speakers is important, how very high sensitivity is and how, well, LP sounds stuffed in comparison to "digital" which for this day includes MP3. This in itself is how MP3 is interesting because no matter it filters whatever, apparently it lets remain the transients which is my ever goal. However, before I really (really) know that it should be measured, and this is how I mentioned the MP3 test signals earlier in this thread. But whether the representative measurement can exist ... I now wonder.

 

Regards,

Peter

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Hi George

Sorry, but you will never convince me that 128kbps sounds even half decent through a good speaker system.

Recently I mentioned FM, similar to what you have written here, but without mentioning potential multi path problems, in another thread. Originally, AM radio was also very good with up to 15kHz bandwidth for the non commercial national broadcaster, but you needed decent wideband tuners (e.g. T.R.F.) to fully appreciate it. I got very good results using a DIY Homodyne tuner (MC1330P I.C. ?) The equalised 15kHz program lines sounded great at the patch panels of the telephone exchanges they went through ! The audio of the TV stations sounded pretty good via a Esaki (tunnel ) diode receiver too, back in those days.

 

Kind Regards

Alex

 

Well Alex, I suggest that you listen to a streaming Boston Symphony concert over WCRB/WGBH Boston at 128 kbps:

 

The Boston Symphony Orchestra in Concert

 

Or the Streaming Archive of Boston Symphony concerts at 192kbps at:

 

The BSO Concert Channel | WCRB

 

Then come back and tell me that you still find it unlistenable. I'm not saying that there are no compression artifacts, or that they are not audible; don't get me wrong. What I am saying is that the compression artifacts at 128 and especially at 192 kbps are much less annoying than analog FM artifacts and Boston Symphony concerts over the Internet sound much better than San Francisco Symphony concerts do over the air on FM, with the audible pumping of audio compression, the brick wall of limiting and the vagaries of multi-path distortion.

George

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Hi George

Sorry, but you will never convince me that 128kbps sounds even half decent through a good speaker system.

Recently I mentioned FM, similar to what you have written here, but without mentioning potential multi path problems, in another thread. Originally, AM radio was also very good with up to 15kHz bandwidth for the non commercial national broadcaster, but you needed decent wideband tuners (e.g. T.R.F.) to fully appreciate it. I got very good results using a DIY Homodyne tuner (MC1330P I.C. ?) The equalised 15kHz program lines sounded great at the patch panels of the telephone exchanges they went through ! The audio of the TV stations sounded pretty good via a Esaki (tunnel ) diode receiver too, back in those days.

 

Kind Regards

Alex

 

Perhaps AM radio was, at one time, good to 15KHz in some parts of the world, but not here in the USA. There used to be a class of AM stations in this country that were called "clear-channel" stations. Due to their long wavelength at the bottom of the dial (550-800 KHz), they were far away from the crowded parts of the dial and were therefore allowed to run high power (50,000 Watts, max) and were allowed wide bandwidth - but only up to about 10 KHz. This was at a time when the program content didn't have anywhere near that bandwidth - a 78 RPM record, for instance, was limited to about 7K as were most broadcast microphones (like the ubiquitous RCA 44BX).

 

TV was even worse. Here in the USA, until the 1970's, NTSC sound, though FM, was limited to 5KHz.

 

During the heyday of mono FM, the "Class A" Bell System equalized phone lines were flat to 20 KHz for interurban use. That signal sounded excellent as was the resultant FM broadcast. I grew up just south of Washington D.C. in suburban Virginia (near the Quantico Marine base) and we got an excellent, full-quieting signal from the D.C. broadcasters. I fondly remember live concerts of the National Symphony Orchestra with conductor Howard Mitchell) and the various President's bands (Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine) concerts given at the Watergate Amphitheater in the summer, and the State Department Auditorium in the winter. My setup might have been modest (Eico HFT-90 FM tuner, Knight-kit 18-Watt integrated amplifier, and a 12" coaxial speaker in a bass reflex cabinet that my dad built for me), but the sound was most satisfying to my young ears.

George

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George

Our 2 Sydney A.B.C. radio stations, then named 2FC and 2BL, were also at the bottom of the band. IIRC, 2BL actually was the first AM radio station in Sydney and was a classical music station. I used to spend several hours a day when on shift work listening to crystal clear music in mono before regular transmissions commenced , from a Canberra TV transmitter at full quieting. That was before we started regular FM transmissions and the frequency allocations were changed.

Canberra is around 230KM (direct) from Sydney. Later, they changed the antenna lobes of the Canberra TV transmitter to restrict out of area coverage. Where I was living in Sydney at the time had a relatively clear view looking south.

The mono audio bandwidth of our analogue TV was 15kHz too using FM.

I find it sad that the bulk of the younger generation haven't been exposed to the higher audio transmission standards that have been slowly dumbed down due to commercial requirements and the Loudness Wars.

 

Let's hope that initiatives like Pono help push back the clock a little.

 

Regards

Alex

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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Well Alex, I suggest that you listen to a streaming Boston Symphony concert over WCRB/WGBH Boston at 128 kbps:

 

 

I tuned into WGBH BSO Concert Channel, the piece was from Debussy, transmitted at 192kb/s MP3 48kHz. The tuner used, Magnum Dynalabs 806T, was fed balanced analog and to compare the coax output to regular DAC.

 

As far as sound stage is concerned, bit of a hole in the middle,some depth actually for individual instruments, but no height to speak of, just in the height of the line of the tweeters. I gave up on serious listening, when the piano keyboard extended some 3m...even discovered hiss to the recording with many frequent pianissimo. Maybe this is actual information that should be there giving us better soundstage being rounded off by the algorithm.

 

If I listen to DSD, even redbook, there's a bit of height to the performance, usually another 0.5m to 0.8m above the tweeter line.

 

For listening, and to compare to regular FM radio, the codec is acceptable to have in the background, for the content provided, which is a high quality to begin with. Bring it down a few notches in the reign of popular music, that's the problem. Compression on compression.

AS Profile Equipment List        Say NO to MQA

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There has been a lot of talk here on CA lately about the dubious merits of MP3. Some think it's fine, other think it has its uses, while some think that such an opinion should disqualify one from even posting here. As usual, the truth is a combination of all these opinions. Here's my take on it (for what it's worth).

 

...

 

One serious problem with the MP3 format (and also AAC), that you haven't mentioned, is that they are both heavily patent encumbered. The Fraunhofer Institute charges everyone a fee for using and encoders/decoders based on MP3. At least with lossless formats you don't have to pay for using them, apart from their better sound quality.

System (i): Stack Audio Link > 2Qute+MCRU psu; Gyrodec/SME V/Ortofon 2M Black/EAT E-Glo Petit/Magnum Dynalab FT101A) > Glow Amp One > Klipsch RP-600M/REL T5x subs

System (ii): Allo USB Signature > Bel Canto uLink+AQVOX psu > Chord Hugo > Tandy LX5/REL Tzero v3 subs

System (iii) KEF LS50W/KEF R400b subs

 

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One serious problem with the MP3 format (and also AAC), that you haven't mentioned, is that they are both heavily patent encumbered. The Fraunhofer Institute charges everyone a fee for using and encoders/decoders based on MP3. At least with lossless formats you don't have to pay for using them, apart from their better sound quality.

 

Very true. I didn't mention it because I thought that piece of information to be beyond the scope of my comments which were purely about sound quality. And in case anyone missed my point, it was that while MP3 is seriously compromised and not really high-fidelity, it does provide for Internet radio which is, under most circumstances, better sounding than over-the-air FM, at least in the U.S.A., has more variety than is available on any FM dial in even the most eclectic urban market, and allows us to listen to radio from other parts of the world in stereo with "perfect" reception. Do I wish we could have the above without the need for lossy digital compression? You bet. But if the choice is lossy digital compression or NO Internet radio, I'll take the compression, thank you.

George

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