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Is lossy outdated in 2019 & onwards?

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#1
Ever since i switched to Flac wither on my PC or portable. I never understood the arguments by pro lossy users and even HA forums. Since they get super rude when lossy can't cover all music without issues even Opus still groans on some content.
 

amirm

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#2
Definitely obsolete except streaming on the phone on limited bandwidth.

HA forum built its entire core on lossy audio codec technologies and as such, doesn't want to hear that their time has come and gone.
 

Ron Texas

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#3
Ever since i switched to Flac wither on my PC or portable. I never understood the arguments by pro lossy users and even HA forums. Since they get super rude when lossy can't cover all music without issues even Opus still groans on some content.
Well, storage is a lot cheaper than it used to be and flac is only twice the size as 320k MP3 (both redbook).
 
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#4
HA forum built its entire core on lossy audio codec technologies and as such, doesn't want to hear that their time has come and gone.
Yeah 90% of the activity is them abusing TOS#8 when people pour in showing how easy they can break. To me AAC/Vorbis aren't even transparent at 256kbps with industrial music/experimental and metal music.
 

JJB70

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#5
Yes in so much as memory is cheap now. No in so much as high quality MP3 remains very good and for music listening purposes (as opposed to critical listening with the intent of discerning differences) as good as FLAC for most recordings and listeners.
 

jasonq997

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#6
As a technology used by the vast majority of people every day it is highly relevant. It is extremely important technology which is at the core of content we all consume. For people on a website like this in which people want perfection beyond what is audibly transparent when doing serious music listening? Yes, for this specific context it is outdated.
 

Xulonn

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#7
As with wax cylinders, shellac/vinylite 78rpm records, vinyl records, magnetic tapes (R-R, casette, elcaset), optical disc (CD, SACD, DVD, Bluray, LaserDisc), new technologies leave original recordings on older, inferior media behind. And now we have reached, indeed, even passed - the ability of technology to reproduce music at a level of accuracy that surpasses the hearing abilities of even humans with the very best and well trained ear. The remaining challenges are not with the storage and processing of music data, but rather with the music source to and through the microphone, and from loudspeakers to our ears.

Although I am not an opera fan, I am very much aware of the part Italian tenor Enrico Caruso played in the "grammophone" days of the early years of commercial recorded music. Listen to a recording in made in 1902,


and another in about 1920,


and you will appreciated the tremendous progress made in audio recording quality during the first couple of decades of recorded music. But there will be no further degradation of the quality of those recordings that are now stored on lossless digital media.

Nine years ago, I ripped all of my CD's to VBR MP3, and they still sound good enough" for me with my 77 y/o ears when played on my decent 2-channel audio system. I occasionally find some FLAC versions, and download them to replace my lower bit-rate copies, but replacing all of them is not a priority.

I still watch 1080p/2-channel video on a 40" LCD TV, listen to 64kbps internet radio as background music, and thoroughly enjoy listening to my old CDs as VBR MP3's. However, as many of you know from my other posts, I was an usher for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra during the Fritz Reiner era when the 63 famous RCA "Living STereo" recordings were done, and I have a number of those recordings in FLAC format.

So yes, for new recordings, and those beginning at the start of the digital music age, there is no longer any reason to add anything other than lossless recordings to your library. However, from my perspective, it is probably not worth the effort to replace one's 320kbps MP3's with Flac files. (Except by hard-core compulsive audio perfection fanatics. If it means that much to you - go for it. No harm done, and simply the knowledge that they are "perfect" recordings may make you enjoy them even more!)



MI0003169272.jpg
 

Hugo9000

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#10
I'm not representative of the typical consumer in most ways, I'd say. I have always valued having a large physical media collection. I want the original, with artwork or booklet, and I want authorized copies (so I wasn't interested in torrents or any of that).

I did own one tiny portable MP3 player, and that's the only time I ever made lossy copies of any music. I bought the player to use at the gym, because I didn't want to take my 3rd Gen iPod Nano there. The Nano was a Christmas gift from my boss the year that model came out, and I only put Apple Lossless (I don't think I thought of it as ALAC or knew it by that name at that time) copies of my favorite Leontyne Price albums on it. It only had a capacity of 8GB, I think. It might be in a drawer somewhere still. The tiny MP3 player was from SanDisk, maybe the Sansa Clip+ and since I only wanted it for working out at the gym, I put pop and rock music on it. Casual music for casual gym listening, so I wasn't worried about lossless. I think I used 192 kbps, not sure what encoder. Probably whatever Roxio's media software had at the time. LAME? I don't know. Those lossy files were only for that purpose, everything else I ever ripped was in FLAC, ALAC, or Windows Media Lossless which is what I used on a work computer starting in 2004. I just looked that codec up, and apparently I was an "early adopter." I guess I figured Windows had a lossless compression long before that.

One reason I avoided lossy files is that when I heard you could put vast amounts of music on a single CD, I put a whole opera on one (2 CDs worth of music). When I played it back, there were all these little clicks or other brief sounds throughout the music. That's when I learned that the early lossy formats were incapable of gapless playback, so it was useless for the majority of my music. I never tried to see if I could hear the difference between lossless and 320kbps lossy within a track, because the non-gapless nature made the whole thing a non-starter no matter how good it might be otherwise. For pop or rock that has songs with clear beginnings and endings, it's okay, but that's it. I was always surprised that I seldom read any complaints anywhere about the butchering of playback, because outside of opera and certain other classical music, there are actually a fair number of famous rock albums that transition smoothly from one song into the next. Maybe most people don't mind the discontinuity. Even now, the only lossy codec I know of that allows true gapless tracks is Ogg Vorbis. But there are also a lot of media players and streamers that don't playback gaplessly, even if the music files are encoded correctly. Pathetic. lol

All that said, I can't imagine anyone needing lossy nowadays, between devices with huge capacities, streaming speeds, processing speed, etc. Lossy is beneficial for some of the rights holders, because it's probably easier to sell the same music again in a better format later. I never bought anything from iTunes. Why get lossy crap when the CD was often the same price or cheaper? Then if I want a lossy version for on-the-go, I have the option of doing that myself from the CD, in whichever codec I like, at whatever rate. My home internet is actually pretty slow for the times, but I can still stream Netflix in very nice quality, and had no problem with CD-quality streams from Qobuz, never a glitch or interruption. With crummy internet, I can see problems with uninterrupted streams of 24/192 "high res," but I'm not sold on the necessity of 24/192 for anything other than studio use. The CDs I have that don't sound great are clearly held back by the source material and mastering choices. Aged and poorly produced recordings can sound like crap, and then certain record labels had a habit of effing everything up. None of that is due to limitations in 16/44.1, though.
 

q3cpma

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#11
As long as both storage space and network bandwidth aren't infinite and free, lossy codecs won't be "obsolete". My rather small music collection is 400 GB of FLAC, which would never fit on my portable player if I didn't use Vorbis.
Pitting lossy against lossless is idiotic, anyway. Do you see people comparing raw Y4M or FFV1 with AVC or VP9?
 

Sal1950

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#12
I came to music files late in the game, never participated in the early download scenes like Napster and then Itunes and such. Bought all my music on LP till CDs came along, then they were king at my place. My first adventures into music files was in 2009-10 when I retired and did needle drop recordings of my LPs and ripped all my CD's, everything always went into lossless flac's. I've later done some high-def downloads but I've mostly turned my back on them unless it's some special remastered classic I want.
All that said, for my casual listening I'm totally satisfied with the quality of Spotify's 320kbs premium streaming service. Only when there's something that flips my "gotta have the best available" switch will I go and buy a used CD off ebay. Don't know for sure if they sound any better but it does soothe my audiophile SQ paranoia. I'll only switch to a higher bit rate service if and when someone offers a multich streaming service.

Oh yea, I do have a little Sansa Clip+ I use to carry music down to the pool with each day than then play over a small speaker thing. For that I resample and volume normalize to Ogg files. Sounds just fine to our senior afternoon crowd. :)
 

jasonq997

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#14
Everyone here should worship hydrogenaudio.io Whether or not you are agonizing over the debate between lossless or lossy codecs the folks over there for years have tested and refined the products that the rest of the world uses. We on this website will rip to our FLAC files and subscribe to lossless services. The rest of the world will enjoy lossy files that are (99% of the time) transparent because of the efforts of lots of people, and because their efforts were verified by the folks over at Hydrogenaudio.
 

BillG

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#15
Everyone has a different usage case - Ex. I've a home server/desktop, and Android smart devices, that I listen from. I can rarely, if ever really, hear the difference between *.flac and high bit rate (>320 kbps) *.m4a. As a matter of fact, I've stopped trying to compare the two after failing numerous blind listening tests. So, instead of continously having to convert from lossless to lossy for my mobile devices, which I'd need to do often since I'm always grabbing something new, I just use high bit rate (q 0.95 in NeroAAC) *.m4a for all platforms. This gives me ~50% savings on storage, which is important to me on mobile as the storage is fixed on mine with no microsd slot, with absolutely no detectable loss in quality... :cool:
 
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amirm

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#16
Everyone here should worship hydrogenaudio.io Whether or not you are agonizing over the debate between lossless or lossy codecs the folks over there for years have tested and refined the products that the rest of the world uses. We on this website will rip to our FLAC files and subscribe to lossless services. The rest of the world will enjoy lossy files that are (99% of the time) transparent because of the efforts of lots of people, and because their efforts were verified by the folks over at Hydrogenaudio.
Come again? Lossy compression standards were developed by research and industry with the exception of Ogg Vorbis. HA forum played no role in their development. MP3 was designed by FHG (German research group). AAC was designed by a group of companies (FHG, AT&T Bell Labs, Sony, NEC, etc.). Both of these were within umbrella of MPEG, not a forum much less HA.

My team at Microsoft developed a suite of lossy codecs (WMA, WMA Pro, etc.) and we have some of the luminaries in that field here (j_j). So if people have questions about them, we are happy to answer.

HA's contribution came from open-source and otherwise encoders for MP3 which I am not sure any commercial service uses.
 

watchnerd

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#17
Definitely obsolete except streaming on the phone on limited bandwidth.
+1

/closethread

BUT OH WAIT...

Then why do I need MQA?

Because this implies that, with ever-increasing bandwidth, the need for compressed high rez will eventually be rendered obsolete, much like the need for compressed RBCD is, today.

MQA = 2019 MP3?
 

jasonq997

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#18
Hydrogenaudio plays the same role as this website. Read again what you are quoting. I didn't claim that Hydrogenaudio created the various codecs. Their contribution was as a verifier via DBT tests of the lossy codecs.
 

Wombat

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#19
+1

/closethread

BUT OH WAIT...

Then why do I need MQA?

Because this implies that, with ever-increasing bandwidth, the need for compressed high rez will eventually be rendered obsolete, much like the need for compressed RBCD is, today.

MQA = 2019 MP3?
I wasn't aware of compression being part of the RBCD spec. Isn't compression related to what may be on the source recording used to produce what is on a RBCD.
 

amirm

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#20
Hydrogenaudio plays the same role as this website. Read again what you are quoting. I didn't claim that Hydrogenaudio created the various codecs. Their contribution was as a verifier via DBT tests of the lossy codecs.
I did read it. You said: " the folks over there for years have tested and refined the products that the rest of the world uses. " That simply is not the case. Not remotely so.

As to verifier and DBT, they did not do that for any international standards either. As I said, they did that for encoders and such. International standards were designed using their own formal objective and subjective testing. They predated HA forum and regardless, HA has not played a role in their development in what the mass market uses.

Their role has been in evaluating encoders and various codecs for enthusiasts of lossy audio. Such a role does not extend to rest of the world.
 
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