Which music format do you use?

Discussion in 'Serious Discussion' started by Katzenfreund, Jan 31, 2017.


Which music format do you use? (For MAC etc pick the equivalent)

  1. MP3 128/160 kbps

    11 vote(s)
  2. MP3 198/256 kbps

    9 vote(s)
  3. MP3 320 kbps

    29 vote(s)
  4. FLAC/WAV (CD)

    40 vote(s)
  1. parazuu

    parazuu MDL Novice

    Feb 28, 2017
    I would use AAC over MP3. If I have to use MP3, I prefer 192kbps or greater.
  2. bloodstone

    bloodstone MDL Novice

    Mar 5, 2017
    i pretty much do with any mp3. my ears barely care about quality or cut off highs and lows in a song.
  3. TrancëJay

    TrancëJay MDL Novice

    Apr 10, 2015
    I do not care anymore about this. In fact I have plenty of music in wma format
  4. mbpowner

    mbpowner Guest

    Actually, Yen, I suggest trying out streaming service Tidal. Just from research and others'.comments. Tidals plays lossless format 1000kbps or something, certainly equiv to Cd Depends what your stereo system is like. Do you have a high end hi-fi system/stereo/etc ? It only makes a difference with that. With lower and mid range speakers you honestly couldnt tell the difference between lossless and 320 !
  5. Yen

    Yen Admin
    Staff Member

    May 6, 2007
    While you have to spend a lot of money for hifi-stereo, you can have great enhancement with headphones/amp at lower costs.
    I am 'modern' at portable/heaphones/headamp, but 'old-school' at hifi-stereo, lol.

    I bought some new stuff. :)
    A new (dream) headphone the Beyerdynamic T5p second edition and an external DAC/headamp the ifi micro – iDSD BL.

    I play it with USB audio player pro who has access to tidal as well. It's an android software player who can communicate with the external DAC properly (actually the only one that can).

    With that new setup I also got interested in new audio formats. There are not only different sample rates (sampling) there is also the bit depth (Quantization) of the amplitude.

    And besides of PCM (Pulse Code Modulation) there is DSD (Direct Stream Digital) revival which is known from SACD.
    DSD uses very high sampling rates but has only a bit depth of 1 bit.

    There are a lot of discussions about audio formats. While one can fight about what is still 'better' or not, it makes sense when you master your tracks to do it with a higher bit depth and as final step to get it to PCM16.
    This is maths. (Best to round once finally).

    The ifi can convert and play any formats directly, even DSD512 and PCM32/768kHz, there is no conversion from DSD to PCM needed.

    I usually rip my CD-DA as 320 mp3s. But I also favour 24 bit PCMs (as FLAC) when I can get some (real ones).
    Two relations I keep in mind: At PCM half of the sampling rate is maximum frequency and dynamic range at 16 bit is around 96 db (enhanceable with a noise-shaped dither), at 24 bit 144 db.

    What one actually prefers and if one can hear a difference depends on setup and personal impressions.
    But what I've noticed is that people who have tried with a 'scientific' setup can actually hear no difference to anything above 320 mp3.

    I'm still testing but what I can say it strongly depends on how the track comes mastered. A crappy track sounds crappy at CD-DA already. And it depends on the setup of course and personal likes.

    It seems to distinguish 'hype' from real quality enhancement has become a big thing, not only at audio formats.
    Many people just fall for the hype to be 'cool'...
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  6. mbpowner

    mbpowner Guest

    With really high quality hi-fi there is a massive difference between 320 and lossless actually, i've heard ppl comment on other forums - with a phone/laptop no difference whatsoever, but high quality speakers makes a world's difference.
  7. Yen

    Yen Admin
    Staff Member

    May 6, 2007
    It's hard to make general statements. Different phones have different amps/DACs integrated. The Samsung galaxy s7 for instance has good ones already, also the S6 and the S3 had.
    High quality speakers yes. But that applies even more to headphones and at mobiles the impedance.

    I'd say to beat the quality of an high end headphone with amp you need to spend factor X on speakers.
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  8. mbpowner

    mbpowner Guest

    I thought speakers are always better quality than headphones, no matter what ? No point investing in headphones TBH. Speakers, maybe, for party purposes. But that's just me.
  9. mbpowner

    mbpowner Guest

    Also what do you mean by spending factor X ?
  10. Yen

    Yen Admin
    Staff Member

    May 6, 2007
    #90 Yen, Apr 28, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2017
    x times more money for the speakers/amp than the corresponding headphone setup to get the same sound quality.

    Let's say one has a headphone 1000 $ with headamp 600 $. This sound quality compared to speakers/amp 1600*X bucks to spend to beat it. Where X is greater than well hard to say 3?! But definitely greater than 1 lol.

    I could test a lot of setups. Hi-Fi stereo with decent amp and speakers at a friends home and at decent stores. He also has built own speakers and sold such.
    Sure speakers finally beat headphones if you have a good place for them and if they are well chosen for your room. But you have to spend more money then.

    With headphones you cannot 'feel' the music elsewhere but to hear.
    At speakers there is also the room/place where they are, where you are listening to them (listener's position), the interferences with it, all these play no role at headphones.

    Another issue are the neighbours, lol. With headphones you can hear really loud.

    I like both. At daytime/party time I of course play the hi-fi stereo. I DJed privately a few times on parties nowadays I do some mixes for friends and myself only..

    But tbh my hi-fi stereo (old but has cost 5000 bucks) does never beat the sound quality of my new headphones, especially the resolution/stage/dynamic.
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  11. mbpowner

    mbpowner Guest

    Do ppl acc care about headphone quality though ?

    I wish xenforo would support iPhone emojis unlike IPB ah well, i have no right no complain :p
  12. mbpowner

    mbpowner Guest

    exactly, it's expensive though. obviously.

    still sounds better though.
  13. Yen

    Yen Admin
    Staff Member

    May 6, 2007
    Some do some not. Depends on interests. But I suggest to anybody who wants to get an objective impression to try headphones.
    You'll be impressed as I had been and also friends I know! They can sound very very impressive and you have to look twice to get the same form speakers.

    The headphone market is also influenced by 'hype', though. Some just find it cool to walk around wearing expensive headphones from cool brands.
    Perfect example is headphones by beats electronics by Dre. Once a pioneer project by artists it has degenerated, firstly acquired by HTC and finally refused and then acquired by Apple.
    I tried them and only the very expensive ones have a nearly similar quality to reasonable other brands such as AKG or Beyerdymamics or Sennheiser.

    The thing with sound is just like with other stuff like wine or whisky or good cuisine. Once you have trained your senses you are able to distinguish from 'normal'. And when you are involved you want more while others cannot comprehend until they get involved. :)

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  14. mbpowner

    mbpowner Guest

    Ah well, I'm only 19, so not easy for me in terms of money, wouldn't spend my parents , plus I have a phobia of headphones, call me weird. My friends think I'm weird, as a 19 year old. lol

    anyway since you said once you have trained your senses you are able to distinguish from normal, did between 320 and lossless make a difference on those really good headphones for you ? everyone seems to say different things

    Is it a bit like ppl who upgrade their phone every single time a new one comes out ? suppose some ppl think it cool to... seems unnecessary and expensive to upgrade a phone every year over minor updates.
  15. mbpowner

    mbpowner Guest

    How would you rate your laptop speakers compared to your headphones @Yen ?

    My macbook pro 2015 15' speakers are pretty decent tbh - hella expensive though
  16. Katzenfreund

    Katzenfreund MDL Expert

    Jul 15, 2016
    Speakers cannot match the sound "transparency" of headphones and are also heavily dependent on positioning and room acoustics.

    The only weakness of headphones is that the sound seems to come out of your head.
  17. Yen

    Yen Admin
    Staff Member

    May 6, 2007
    #97 Yen, Apr 29, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2017
    That is really the point. I never did a real test on my own.
    You'd have to rip a particular CD-DA to wav and from the same rip make a conversion to 320mp3.
    Then somebody would have to play randomly either one or the other format.
    I think if I could distinguish then at some remarkable positions of the track if at all.

    What I can distinguish are the qualities of several audio setups and the fact that high end headphones really have a far better sound. You clearly notice it from 200$ headphones to >1000$.
    This already requires some 'training'. And when you use the first time a headphone that plays all the details very clear and with presence in that way that you can localise the instruments some people are 'overchallenged' and don't know if it is 'good' lol

    And there are people who don't like straight/flat attributes, especially clear and high resolution highs and 'dry' clear basses. They want to have actually distorted sound with less resolution/detail. Or a warm and amplified bass.

    There had been a test. They had a decent setup with B&W Nautilus 803 speakers. Unfortunately it's in German.
    The result is that 128mp3 are clearly distinguishable to CD, this I can confirm myself.
    But already at 256mp3 there has been no significant difference anymore.

    Last week I did a test. I also listen to classic music with natural instruments. I had my standard rip (320mp3) of a particular CD and listened to it with the new headphone. Then I thought, hey rip it again as FLAC and listen again. I cannot say definitely it is better or not.

    I'd say one can rather hear a difference of PCM16/44.1 to PCM24/44.1 than from PCM16 to 320mp3.

    The conclusion of the test has been there is no clear statement and the discussions about can go on, lol.

    Concerning unnecessary upgrades I agree. I like to have good devices but I seldomly do upgrade.
    My latest upgrade had been the headphones with DAC/amp.

    My hi-fi stereo is old from the 90s lol. I do have my third smartphone only. And I do have a 5.1 system from Teufel for my PC.

    I don't have a laptop. tbh I never have got an own. I have a PC, a tablet and a phone and a mediaserver besides of my hi-fi stereo. And I have 3 different headphones besides of the standard in-ears that came with the phone(s).

    The 5.1 system for my PC is also a decent one. It does not beat the headphones, but makes a lot of fun when sitting in the center of the room. The body feeling (sub woofer) is of course better, but the headphone plays more detailed with even more dynamic.

    Well I've posted a lot.:)
    Most important is to have fun with the own stuff.
    I am still listening with joy with my new headphones, with them I discover details at tracks I know very well I haven't noticed before.
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  18. mbpowner

    mbpowner Guest

    #98 mbpowner, Apr 29, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 29, 2017
    idg why ppl would prefer compressed music tbh unless trying to save money lol
    Then again i never tried fully

    I heard from ppl that compressed music sounds pretty dull with high end audio equipment but sounds okay with lower end

    You can test using Tidal not just CD rips

    Yup you have posted a lot. Over 10k posts, pretty impressive since as the site owner you have a lot of other work to do :p Unless the site owner is ancestor ?
  19. mbpowner

    mbpowner Guest

    #99 mbpowner, Apr 29, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 29, 2017
    and wow, i guess you dont like laptops? Is it the trsckpad ?:p

    Are your desktops all wifi then ? Just curious

    i love my mbp - could never go back to windows
    as my username suggests lol

    just personal taste TBH but honestly its expensive compared to the same level in windows, especially since the surface pro is out which is made by microsfot so should be equally optimised :cool:
  20. Yen

    Yen Admin
    Staff Member

    May 6, 2007
    #100 Yen, Apr 29, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2017
    I wouldn't consider it as weakness, though. It's different and there are headphones with a clear soundstage you can localise the positions of instruments yes 'in your head'. What I miss at headphones is the body feeling of music.

    Actually nobody of us owns the site. The owner has the username admin and is rarely here. It seems we love MDL and post a lot, lol.

    I never missed one. At first they were expensive compared to power and then tablets came. For business yes, but they belong to the company.

    Concerning network my PC and mediaserver are connected to power line. (dLAN, LAN over power line) Also my TV. The mediaserver is connected to my hif-fi stereo simply via RCA and to the TV via HDMI. And an extra 5.1 system is connected to the mediaserver via S/PDIF

    Since w7 I don't like windows anymore. I am on Linux at PC mostly at home and Android on mobiles, lol.
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