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How Well Can You Hear Audio Quality?


VASI
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@Glen, I think for the purposes of this test, fidelity can be defined as faithfulness to the uncompressed master. It's true that you can master a track specifically to the mp3 format, and clearly you do not gain anything by converting it to uncompressed format. But you can only lose fidelity when going from uncompressed to lossy compressed. The listening test is about whether we can hear that loss.

​Agreed. Also something to bear in mind is that this isn't a test of tech in a vacuum (so to speak), it's a test of different distribution formats and what value they offer when compared against one another (size/cost/perceived quality). Since it's about distribution (rather than acquisition), I feel that using mastered files is valid.

Edited by syncsound
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... it's a test of different distribution formats and what value they offer when compared against one another (size/cost/perceived quality). Since it's about distribution (rather than acquisition), I feel that using mastered files is valid.

​Except that these recordings were probably mastered for formats and listening environments where the subtle higher quality advantages would not be appreciated or noticed.

This thread reminds me of 20 years ago when I was introducing Genex magneto-opticle recorder (24 bits. 88.2 sampling) to Nashville mastering studios. We set it up for mastering Vince Gill's "High Lonesome Sound" album, and before leaving for lunch the producer said, "Yeah... that high rez sounds great. Just be sure to mix it as loud as you can".

 

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I'm generally a fan of humility when it comes to actual human performance, hearing or otherwise. It is often too self deprecating to admit that we have incredibly limited abilities of perception. For instance, it is physiologically impossible to hear one tone if it is close in frequency to another adequately louder tone. MP3s use that effect and others like it to achieve the compression it does. 

I would actually be curious about how many incorrect answers were the 320 kbps choice

Edited by NewEndian
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3 of 6. The more complex waveforms where easier to ID (at least) for me I think, except for the  were I picked the Neil Young @128kbps, the other two were 320kbps Susan V, and Coldplay . I used my Dell Desktop's internal card with 2:1 Altec speakers. I'll have to check it out my other desktop with a (pro) Echo card,  the aforementioned Altecs, Equator D5 and Auratones.

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