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Does lossless really matter?

PierreV

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he can discern differences and is mostly 9/10 right, pretty impressive?

Did you watch the whole video?

The guy is fairly honest in what he admits. And he is very, very far from 9/10 in general.

4:31 ... and ran the test again. ( Correct 40/62 -> confidence 98% )
5:53 What I also haven't shown you is how difficult those tests are and how many I failed...

If the guy expressed a strong conviction, it would be worth discussing his approach to statistics.
 

xaviescacs

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The fact that I can't pass a test (I haven't even tried) to distinguish a lossless and a compressed track only proves that I'm not able to pass the test, and therefore not able to demonstrate others that I can hear the differences. However, that doens't prove that I'm not able to "hear" and enjoy differences at all. There are many things that we perceive and process that skip our conscience, in the sense that we aren't consciously aware off but they are being processed by our brain affecting its outcome. If there is some technical measurement that proofs that the differences between two DACs are inaudible, it means that my ears, as measurments instruments, have some limitations and therefore there is no point in arguing that there is a remote possibility that my brain can indeed somehow capture those differences. It would be like arguing that I can hear what someone else is thinking. But I can't just stay happy listening to half of the data, knowing that there is the other half out there and keep saying to myself that until I can't pass a test I don't deserve to listen to the full version.
 

levimax

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Nowadays, for the cost of about a single CD you can get basically every recording ever made streamed right into your portable device (phone) at super high quality and deliver that right into your headphones or speakers either wirelessly or wired...it's crazy!

I have ABX'd 320 kbs MP3 vs lossless and occasionally on some songs I can successfully tell them apart but I never score 100% and differences are barely audible a best. I do however collect different versions (mastering's) of some of my favorite older music and those differences can be orders of magnitude more apparent than lossless vs lossy and this is the one area where streaming can really fall down. The streaming services, even the lossless Hi-res ones, usually serve up the "latest remaster" which is often highly compressed and EQ'ed compared to the original. For the price of one new CD you can buy 10 to 20 used older original uncompressed CD's and after a few years you would have a nice collection of music that you can continue to add to that can't be taken away, re-mastered or MQA'd. I listen to streaming when convenient and for new music but for my favorite older music I find hunting down good mastering's to make way more difference than 40 dB's of SINAD or lossy vs lossless.
 

Wes

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The fact that I can't pass a test (I haven't even tried) to distinguish a lossless and a compressed track only proves that I'm not able to pass the test, and therefore not able to demonstrate others that I can hear the differences. However, that doens't prove that I'm not able to "hear" and enjoy differences at all. There are many things that we perceive and process that skip our conscience, in the sense that we aren't consciously aware off but they are being processed by our brain affecting its outcome. If there is some technical measurement that proofs that the differences between two DACs are inaudible, it means that my ears, as measurments instruments, have some limitations and therefore there is no point in arguing that there is a remote possibility that my brain can indeed somehow capture those differences. It would be like arguing that I can hear what someone else is thinking. But I can't just stay happy listening to half of the data, knowing that there is the other half out there and keep saying to myself that until I can't pass a test I don't deserve to listen to the full version.

if you can reliably perceive a difference, then you will pass the test

of course, your ability to perceive the difference can vary from day to day, with age, fatigue, etc. - not to mention different musical samples
 

tmtomh

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I have ABX'd 320 kbs MP3 vs lossless and occasionally on some songs I can successfully tell them apart but I never score 100% and differences are barely audible a best. I do however collect different versions (mastering's) of some of my favorite older music and those differences can be orders of magnitude more apparent than lossless vs lossy and this is the one area where streaming can really fall down. The streaming services, even the lossless Hi-res ones, usually serve up the "latest remaster" which is often highly compressed and EQ'ed compared to the original. For the price of one new CD you can buy 10 to 20 used older original uncompressed CD's and after a few years you would have a nice collection of music that you can continue to add to that can't be taken away, re-mastered or MQA'd. I listen to streaming when convenient and for new music but for my favorite older music I find hunting down good mastering's to make way more difference than 40 dB's of SINAD or lossy vs lossless.

Yes, this is a crucial point - the format, codec, and "resolution" of a streaming service's offerings don't mean much if you can't control which mastering you can listen to.
 

DimitryZ

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This is really good thread/question.

I was recently surprised how good Apple AAC256 was. I haven't checked Spotify recently, but would expect to be excellent as well.

I think I hear differences on my hires system, but they aren't large.
 
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DavidMcRoy

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Most of my music listening is on speakers, not headphones, but for really critical things like ABX testing, headphones simply reveal more in midrange and high frequencies. I mostly listen to jazz, pop, rock and classical. When I compare lossy vs. lossless and various sampling rates and bit depths with headphones, I have a problem: the masters of the test tracks typically presented, usually pop and rock selections, mostly sound so crappy that it hardly matters what the resolution of the distribution medium is. I mixed broadcast TV production audio for 30 years and I find spoken word or a solo singer very useful as test material because (a) I’m familiar with real sound of the source, and (b) the stark contrast between the words and a dead quiet background leave no place for audio reproduction artifacts to hide. Getting the original recording right is key. Unfortunately, it’s seldom achieved in the music industry. (The movie industry and BBC radio would make better sources of suitable test material for me.) When I take an ABX test it’s usually: “the vocals are distorted. Next…” over and over again.
 
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xaviescacs

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if you can reliably perceive a difference, then you will pass the test

of course, your ability to perceive the difference can vary from day to day, with age, fatigue, etc. - not to mention different musical samples

I guess so. OK, I can't resist, I will try with a classical piece with high dynamic range and lots of details. I've down-sampled the flac of 129 MB to a 320 mps of 80 MB. I'll give it a try when I have a quiet moment.

I also wanted to emphasize that the level of confidence in the test allows for rejecting or not the null, but one can't never prove the null.
 
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Frgirard

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I have been using Tidal (Hi-Fi and Master quality) for almost half a year.

Recently i started using Free Spotify (160 kbps) and it’s surprisingly very good sounding.

There is this soothing sensation behind the imperfections you hear, kind of like of listening to Vinyl.

I feel like the sound with lossless is very technical and can quickly fatigue you.

What are you your experiences?
Many people like a smooth sound that is poor in harmonics.
A long time ago i readed a the result of a comparaison between cd and mp3 128. The young people had preferred the 128 because more smooth.
 

nerdstrike

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Yack, I would be hearing artifacts often at 128kbps, and sometimes 160kbps. The music would be perfectly listenable, but compression artifacts make me sad when another 12 kilobytes per second would almost eradicate them. For some reason nobody bats an eyelid at 2 megabytes per second from Netflix for a similar price to these services.
 

Wes

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Besides the Euphonicizer, Phlogiston Audio also manufactures a Dephonicizer! You just rotate the main knob to subtract resolution and Clarity. The main knob works in combination with the knobs for Compression and Muddiness.
 
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