Flutterby™! : MP3 and Audio Quality

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MP3 and Audio Quality

2007-09-26 21:04:08.444469+00 by ebradway 8 comments

I think it's common knowledge around here that MP3s are sorely lacking in audio fidelity. I won't even bother with the technical details. I was just browsing around at eMusic and Amazon and started to wonder:

  1. Who encodes their MP3s?
  2. What settings do they use (96kbps, 128kbps, variable???)?
  3. Does anyone actually offer other formats (ogg, aac, etc.)

I first started "buying" mp3s about nine years ago usually in response to promotions eMusic ran in the dot-com hey day. I usually netted some hardware of equivalent value to the money I spent on mp3s. But now I know that even my CDs are subject to some crappy recording engineering and my own ripped music carries over these problems. I'd sure like to be able to buy music in a format that attempts to maintain fidelity.

[ related topics: Books Music Currency ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2007-09-26 22:04:57.298483+00 by: Dan Lyke

The problem with much music on CD as you mention isn't the CD, it's crappy engineering, or more likely engineering driven by the marketing department. Someone commented that there's a DVD audio standard that's got some ungodly number of bits per sample, I don't know if it's enough that you can save the suits from themselves, but it might be able to.

FLAC is lossless compression, if you've got a well-engineered audio CD that'll probably do as well. But for all the music listening we've done in this household I think the answer is "hear it live". Yeah, it might not always be the perfect venue, but if there's clipping it'll be under the control of the artist, if they're selling CDs you'll likely actually get one that's well engineered, and there are tons of people out there with at least the talent of your average radio one hit wonder playin' for tips.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-09-27 00:29:33.60371+00 by: Ben Williams

eMusic actually has the LAME command-line switches that they use to encode their MP3s posted. Now that's the level of detail I'm looking for!

The only people who seem to care enough about their music to offer it in high-quality formats are the prog rockers and the jam bands. You can generally get all of their live performances as FLACs.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-09-27 02:34:02.076772+00 by: Dan Lyke

For smoother sound, be sure to "burn in" your cables using the FryBaby...


#Comment Re: made: 2007-09-27 15:02:48.678708+00 by: ebradway

The only people...are the prog rockers

ha... was downloading the Pink Floyd tribute CD by members of Yes and King Crimson from eMusic as I wrote the post!

BTW, you can gather a nice sample of King Crimson and Robert Fripp by Googling "free tickle site:dgmlive.com"

#Comment Re: made: 2007-09-27 15:12:40.623182+00 by: ebradway

So, do they make a FryBaby for USB or Firewire? As we know, using a Firewire hard drive introduces less noise than a USB drive in the digital recording process ;) (I can't seem to find the source for that argument anymore...)

#Comment Re: made: 2007-09-27 15:36:10.141715+00 by: ebradway

You really got me started now... To get a sample of MP3 vs. FLAC, you can download the same Robert Fripp ambient guitar exploration in both MP3 and FLAC for free. You can also score a variety of FLAC players and encoders here.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-09-28 19:50:59.688356+00 by: Nung


#Comment Re: made: 2007-09-30 19:01:27.890758+00 by: baylink

TMBG release all of their material as FLAC, direct from either the mixdowns or the masters, but I'm not clear on which.

I'm pretty sure it's the mastering process you're unhappy with.