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Audity

112kbps-320kbps MP3 vs. FLAC VGRemixes?

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Aren't there other lossless formats which compresses somewhat more than FLAC? What are your thoughts about those?
There are lossless formats that compress better than FLAC, but compatability is minimal, and the general rule is the more you compress the more processing it takes to decompress. FLAC is reasonable in this aspect.

Compatability, eh? My Winamp FLAC plugin always ends upcrashing if it plays too long a track (ie, CD-rips). For that reason, I tend to prefer APE a bit more, but for the most part, I have to agree that the differences between lossless and hi-vbr mp3 or ogg or aac or whatever often is psycho-pyschoacoustical.

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Yeah, uh I guess I forgot about compatibility. More reason to think about 320 MP3 or whatever. Like I said, there's still time for I make such a site (and more time to discuss whatever needs to be discussed).

"unless they're doing their own hosting (highly unlikely) or using a dedicated server that allows them to install scripts and shit, that's never gonna happen."

Who's they? My friend is doing all the coding. I'm hoping to learn something in the summer or in the fall from a class (I'm not too motivated without a class). If he makes a good way for me to update it not involving too much code, I can run it. We won't be doing the hosting and we won't have a dedicated server. But...I'll leave that at that.

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--Bandwidth issue on user upload - some remixers might not be interested in that for what it's worth, especially if using FLAC. But would it have any benefit for remixers to have a site full of lossless/higher encoded versions of their works?

Remixers are usually not getting paid for their work (unless the remix is commercial) - most of the people don't really care, don't feel the hassle and the like. In other words... they want to get their stuff to the masses. Audiophiles might think different, but the majority goes the mp3 way.

--More standardized lossless forms will eventually come. I heard that FLAC is the most compressed lossless format right now (might be wrong), but then that just leaves the question of whether or not there will be way better/standardized lossless formats in the future anyway.

Dolby HD is the future, according to Dolby. Same counts to MLP or DTS+, or in short: the new formats for BlueRay and HDTV. Though as with the eternal struggle between "DVD-A and SACD", even here there's no set standard yet.

--I'd say the majority of people don't care or don't even know anything about kbps. That doesn't mean it won't be more enjoyable at much higher quality rates, though.

It's a fact that the majority still uses boomboxes (aka crappy amps, portable systems, CD players, mp3 players). And those systems can't reflect everything perfectly anyway. Only highend studios can level that out. Testing the files with "special testing tools" is another thing, but without completely perfectly setup room/environment, you can forget to hear anything drastic in terms of "artefacts".

I mainly thought of doing this for myself, but might as well have others benefit. It would help if I had some examples between a 128kbps-160kbps remix and 320kbps MP3 or FLAC of the same remix. I definitely won't be taking any source files themselves.

Like I said... it depends on the system you listen to, and in this case even on the encoder. For this "audiophile babling", there's Hydrogen Audio. Ton of crackheads who ate the wisdom with spoons and flame everybody who thinks different (I had to feel the wrath of them a while ago, this is why I wrote "flame war" and "deja vu", as this discussion turns out the same). It also depends on the music material.

For example: An orchestra track that is in -14dB to -12dB RMS (like the Chrono Symphonic project) can sound totally awesome in 128kbit, while rocksongs in -8dB to -6dB RMS can sound totally messed up. Depending on the encoder of course and each listeners tells different things (like I said: different environments, not to mention preferences).

Difference technically between 320kbit and FLAC. *pft*

I barely know anybody who can distinguish the mp3 from the FLAC. Well if we talk about dynamic and not "squarewave pushed" music again.

I see where you come from, but I don't see any practical use in this "crusade", if I may say so.

I'll never want to get stuff in FLAC or OGG format really, because of one reason - they don't work on my mp3 player and I don't want to have to convert.

I totally agree here. I used tons of mp3 players so far. Most of them can't even play something different than mp3 in 44kHz. I'm lucky that my latest one can play mp3s in VBR and 48kHz 24bit, which is rare. But "getting inspiration" is so much easier this way. Most players can play mp3 VBR however, but only in 44kHz. And we don't wanna talk about DRM (WMV and AAC) issues here.

Anyway... just my 2c on this issue. Do whatever you feel like to do. But don't expect too much from the mixers. I stick to mp3 however, in the kbit I want, not somebody "forced" me too. Same counts to FLAC - so "sorry" from my side already.

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eww WMA *cringe*. don't get me wrong, it's not a bad format, but the DRM stabs it in the chest, turns it into a horse and beats it, places it in a coffin, drives in the nails, and buries it 6 feet underground somewhere outside of seattle.

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If I encode stuff nowadays, I use AAC. Yeah, it's proprietary, but it's also a standard.

Also, the encoding format is not Ogg. It's Vorbis. Ogg is simply a wrapper (that's why you can get Ogg/Vorbis or Ogg/FLAC).

CompyFox, I don't really think the poster is trying to start a war of which format is better, but rather, trying to solve a problem that is a neat idea, but not really a problem, so to speak.

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Erm, what the hell does DRM have to do with anything? Completely irrelevant to the topic at hand.

as irrelevant as a post pointing out how irrelevant it is? or a post pointing out how irrelevant a post that points out how irrelevant another post is? ;)

i think i just confused myself.

also, DRM ftl.

[/irrelevant]

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Erm, what the hell does DRM have to do with anything? Completely irrelevant to the topic at hand.

as irrelevant as a post pointing out how irrelevant it is? or a post pointing out how irrelevant a post that points out how irrelevant another post is? ;)

i think i just confused myself.

also, DRM ftl.

[/irrelevant]

Well, it wasn't you who brought up DRM in the first place. But still, why on earth would DRM be an issue?

This is becoming what it shouldn't be - a format wars thread.

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To get back on.

This post of mine actually has some direction/progression of thought! So be forwarned.

Geoffrey Taucer wrote:

"It's not so much about immediate audible differences as the fact that when mixing, etc, it's a good idea to mix with lossless formats. You may not be able to tell the difference between a lossless version and a 320k mp3, but if you reincode that mp3 at 320k several times in the process of mixing and then compare it to the original, those differences are greatly magnified."

What exactly is meant by "in the process of mixing"?

I could always have people submit wav files and then have a bunch of tutorials on what to do to convert it to a variety of useful formats. Barf. Or do something like that AND allow 320kbps MP3s. But I won't do any of those things (FLACs and WAVs are pretty much interchangeable anyway, right? No loss between constantly converting those back and forth?) Below:

Something to consider, for CompyFox I guess: yes, there are multiple things you can do to an MP3 to make it the most compressed without having practically anything be heard different by ear for 99% of the people who listen to it. But, for the purpose of my site (whatever it's going to be), I can't be listening to individual demands, or be giving advice on what to do before submitting to make whatever style arrangement sound the best while being the most compressed (since I would suck at that anyway, and would be impractical for anyone who wouldn't suck). So, why not just play it safe at 320kbps? Now that that is established, time to thrash it! -> if someone wanted to convert 320k to something lower for space saving issues, a FLAC type would be better, since there's that fact mentioned in the above quote (minus "in the process of mixing"). Saying all this comes to my temporary-once-again conclusion: FLAC would be the thing to do. Wouldn't any future lossless audio formats just have more compression ability? They're always going to be lossless, so no matter which lossless format I would do, I could always upgrade. I might be losing sight of some knowledge at this point...

My original inquiry in the thread title was mainly to see about one aspect about distinguishability, but with all this input from these posts and the gradual move in the topic simply towards one subject: my site I want to create, it seems there's more to it than distinguishability. Having one standard format, lossless compression, for such a site seems like a good idea. Those lossless compressions could be converted to mp3s, or whatever, for that percentage of site-goers willing to seek out that one potential worth of having FLACs.

At first I was thinking I would just do OCR. Then I thought of VGMix's upper tiers. But just now I thought, if I'm doing FLAC, which is hard to make remixers want to give in the first place, why not just make the site accept any vgremix from anywhere? More exposure.

It would seem daunting for the average listener to download FLACs, but who knows when the times will change. If a site is made now, then there won't be regretting in the future.

FLVGR.

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I don't see it as being worth your time or money. I don't believe that there's a market out there for people who want to download lossless mixes (or even mixes encoded at 320kbps MP3).

Your bandwidth costs would be horrendous, too. Grabbing a CD's worth of lossless music would easily be 200-300MB, maybe more. If 100 people download a CD in a month, you'll easily break the maximum bandwidth permitted by most entry-level hosting providers.

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Torrents: there goes 95% the money motivation requirement. I'd offer them individually but gradually move toward bulk torrents, since in utorrent you can just pick and choose which songs you want.

Other than that, I think it would be an extremely worthy investment of my time, because I really enjoy the remixes that I keep on my hard drive, but I don't want to be selfish, so I'll create a site that benefits at least a few others. Then again, I still don't have an example of what a difference from a 128kbps mp3 to a FLAC sounds like. Disco Dan's SnakeManGetsDown is only 112kbps, but I thought that was one of the best songs on the site at the time. It would be that much more enjoyable, possibly (no examples), if it was a little less muddy. Like I said earlier, there's also how the mix was mastered, among other things that could attribute to the song being muddy or whatever, so I might be running into a ton of variables here. This is why I think an example would be good. I don't really want to make something in Reason and find out myself, because I'd rather have someone who's more knowledgeable about quality produce an example.

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What all this boils down to is personal opinion.

Audity: There is no need to ask for opinions and then try to defend yourself. You want to start a site like that? Start it, don't worry about other people's opinions. Maybe some audiophiles will tag along with you and help you in the making of the site and other things for it. But remember: you will be seeding the files yourself, along with maybe a few other people. This is going to take up your computer's speed and you may constantly get comments like "Can somebody please seed this file" and such like that.

But go right ahead and make it. If the idea doesn't take off, then use the site for something else.

Good luck!

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Torrents: there goes 95% the money motivation requirement. I'd offer them individually but gradually move toward bulk torrents, since in utorrent you can just pick and choose which songs you want.

Torrents only work when the files are in high demand. As Chavous said, you'll probably be seeding virtually yourself.

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Yes. I know all I have to do is create the site in the first place and see what happens.

I could always convert everything I receive to massive different formats, and offer every single one of them via the bit torrent client: utorrent. All I would have to do is tell people to choose which format they want by using that program, unchecking everything by right clicking any box and selecting that option, then checking the ones of interest. I would try to use as little torrent files as possible.

So yeah, if uh, someone wants to try this site idea out without torrents I'll have no complaints =).

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I can certainly appreciate Audity's desire to preserve the integrity of the work he enjoys and cares about. From a personal standpoint, I share much of his mentality. My stance is quite an impractical one, but (as the result of a combination of philosophical reasons and minor OCD) I prefer files (or at least ones that I value) that have not undergone compression, unnecessary or proprietary encoding, and are not left with remnants distinguishable from the original work itself. Additionally, a lack of compression and such irreversible alterations would allow one to 'future-proof' artistic works as much as reasonably possible in the current state of digital media and their associated limitations.

On the other hand, audiophiles (of which, in most senses, I am not one) are frequently victims of their own self-induced placebo effect—often claiming to detect sonically trivial differences that are likely only the result of psychological suggestion. You have people who will spend thousands of dollars on platinum wiring, and spend exponentially more than that trying to build an acoustically 'perfect' room sensitive enough to detect fluctuations in the astral plane. Sometimes people end up focusing too much on their equipment and forgetting that their ears have limits (and possibly even damage and/or hearing loss), no matter how 'trained' or sensitive they may be. If preserving auditory quality is their objective, most of these people would be better off saving their money from being spent on that $5 million studio and instead buying some $5 salmon oil and gingko biloba supplements. But to each his own, I suppose.

All of this being said, Audity's idea could be put to use and still maintain its practicality. Simply offering files with better compression rates in formats such as MP3, however, would defeat much of its purpose. I'd suggest sticking with a lossless format if archival integrity is your goal. Then again, in the end it's up to you. Perhaps you should invent a 'gainy' format and use that. It'd be like lossless—but better! It actually adds tons of unnecessary data to the files, just for the purpose of taking up more space and being hardcore. Afterall, Why worry about breaking even when you can Gain?™

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