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Can you really hear the lossy codec? - a public blind test (RESULT)

Which file is better

  • A is Better

    Votes: 6 37.5%
  • B is Better

    Votes: 6 37.5%
  • No difference

    Votes: 4 25.0%

  • Total voters
    16
  • Poll closed .
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#1
Poll is now closed.
Answer is: A is lossless

6 people voted for A, and 6 people voted for B. So basically people are just blindly guessing...
Conclusion is that we generally cannot tell the difference between AAC 256kbps and Lossless.
The pursue of 24bit+ audio and higher bitrate than 48khz is probably not worth it as well.

If you voted for A, you likely only guessed it right
If you voted for B, don't feel bad, I might just saved you from buying that $1000 DAC.

On a side note, This experiment has a sample of 16 and a track downloaded from internet archive. Any "truth" drawn from this experiment is only as real as the invisible pink unicorn.
--------------------
Here is an interesting experiment I always wanted to do
I have an uncompressed wav file, then I compressed it to AAC 256kbps and then decoded it back to wav. I was careful during the conversions so both file is the same size

A: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1GqAUy26nnMXANCO5DSH87HrGvv8hdsCS/view?usp=sharing
B: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1-oJLTa5YOcB839fANwgIUcL0N_LQGAY9/view?usp=sharing

Please pick which one do you think sounded better in the poll
Please ask your friend to cast a vote so we get more data.
Poll will be closed in 7 days and I will post result to see if people can actually hear the difference.

Please do not use any software out there to "see" which file is compressed before casting a vote.
Please do not discuss what you have voted for or what the status of the poll is

To prove that one of these is compressed significantly, I attached a spectrum view where top 2 channels is the uncompressed file and the bottom two is the compressed one.

I got the music from Internet Archive https://archive.org/details/EFJAI1003/06-IfRightIsWrongLeftMustBeRight-Edit.flac
 

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Krunok

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#2
Interesting experiment. Though I would suggest next time you pick a different kind of music as the electronic music with only few instruments playing is not really a challenge for compression algoritm. For that reason I suggest next time you think of something like Pink Floyd - Time as the sound of those 2 clock alarms and the guitar solos will present much harder job for compression than electronic music of this kind.

P.S. I can't hear the difference

P.P.S. If I really have to decide I would vote that A is better :)
 
Last edited:

FrantzM

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#3
Interesting experiment. Though I would suggest next time you pick a different kind of music as the electronic music with only few instruments playing is not really a challenge for compression algoritm. For that reason I suggest next time you think of something like Pink Floyd - Time as the sound of those 2 clock alarms and the guitar solos will present much harder job for compression than electronic music of this kind.

P.S. I can't hear the difference

P.P.S. If I really have to decide I would vote that A is better :)
+1 .. A seems more "open"
 

andreasmaaan

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#5
Interesting experiment. I can't hear an obvious difference between the two after a couple of minutes of back and forth, but my money would be on A being the lossless file.

PS. It's hard to do a test like this though when the transition between the two is not immediate and seamless. Also have to +1 @Krunok on the choice of music, it's a well-mixed track but maybe not ideal for this kind of test.
 

flipflop

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#6
OP
JohsonChou
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Thread Starter #7
Interesting experiment. Though I would suggest next time you pick a different kind of music as the electronic music with only few instruments playing is not really a challenge for compression algoritm. For that reason I suggest next time you think of something like Pink Floyd - Time as the sound of those 2 clock alarms and the guitar solos will present much harder job for compression than electronic music of this kind.

P.S. I can't hear the difference

P.P.S. If I really have to decide I would vote that A is better :)
Yeah... I wish i can freely pick music... because of copyright reasons, I can only use royalty free music since I am pretty much offering it for download. This is the best I can find in 1 hour. If you have any royalty free lossless music, please let me know, I have been looking for a 24 bit high sampling rate one.
 

Krunok

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#8

cjfrbw

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#9
Could be expectation bias from reading previous posts, but A sounds a little less stressed and more reverberant. I wouldn't bet the bank on it.
 
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JohsonChou
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Thread Starter #12
If it turns out that sample B is losless there may be absolutely no need to do that. :D
Well, to correct the bias in the comment section a bit:
Lossy codec would lose a lot of detail in high frequency (since most people can't hear it or won't pay attention to it). And it may cause the music to sound better since it is easier on the ear.
 

Soniclife

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#13
Playing with them in Foobar ABX quietly on my desktop speakers one of these does seem slightly smoother than the other, but my focus kept wandering off and there is no way I could pass a blind test right now. Even if I was passing the blind test I could not pick the lossy version, as it is I have no real preference.
 

FrantzM

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#14
Your systems are not revealing enough. That’s exactly what happens when you don’t use Kevyatta Power Cords and AmZon Woods isolation platforms. The music is homogenized. It loses its texture and organic PRATT. Hence everything sounds the same.
 

cjfrbw

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#15
Now, Frantz. Don't go all WBF on everybody.
 

RayDunzl

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#16
PS. It's hard to do a test like this though when the transition between the two is not immediate and seamless.
The files are aligned,

Drag them into Audacity, and play using the Solo button on one track then the other. I get seamless switching that way.
 

Blumlein 88

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#17
I couldn't find anything to choose between them. So I voted no difference.
 

FrantzM

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#18
On a more serious side, this shows how difficult it really is to discern lossy from lossless. I thought my threshold was mp3/320. It seems to be lower. . My ears’ Golden platina is flaking.
 

Soniclife

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#19
What AAC encoder was used for this? The last time i played with lossy vs lossless the apple AAC encoder was a lot better than the others I tried, especially in it's iTunes plus vbr setting.
 
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Thread Starter #20
What AAC encoder was used for this? The last time i played with lossy vs lossless the apple AAC encoder was a lot better than the others I tried, especially in it's iTunes plus vbr setting.
Just the regular aac codec in ffmpeg, highest quality, 256kbps VBR
 
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