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  • mp3 vs cd sound quality?

    how does the sound quality of music on the mp3 format compare with the cd format? for example, when you play mp3 files on your stereo system can you hear a difference?
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  • #2
    It depends at what bitrate you downloaded the material.

    Not scientifically, but from my experience, 192 kbs (kilobytes per sec?) is an optimal range, and anything lower gets a bit grainy(160,128,112 kbs).

    I don't know where you're downloading your your stuff from, but any ptp file sharing system usually has a varying qualities of content.

    If you're downloading from iTunes or something like that, the songs will be of the exact same quality as a a CD
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    • #3
      ripping your mp3s at 320 bitrate = true cd quality sound
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      • #4
        I read in a mag. once that CD had better sound quality, but I can't tell the difference.

        I don't really know all that much about that stuff. Just telling you what I read.

        Edit: Read some stuff above, they sound like they know what they are talking about.

        I saw once on the discovery channel that vinyl records (un-scratched) can produce a better quality sound. Is that true?
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        • #5
          Originally posted by JerseyFan24 View Post
          It depends at what bitrate you downloaded the material.

          Not scientifically, but from my experience, 192 kbs (kilobytes per sec?) is an optimal range, and anything lower gets a bit grainy(160,128,112 kbs).

          I don't know where you're downloading your your stuff from, but any ptp file sharing system usually has a varying qualities of content.

          If you're downloading from iTunes or something like that, the songs will be of the exact same quality as a a CD
          Originally posted by Bronco_Armada
          I read in a mag. once that CD had better sound quality, but I can't tell the difference.

          I saw once on the discovery channel that vinyl records (un-scratched) can produce a better quality sound. Is that true?

          you're right that it depends on the bitrate. most podcasts are broadcast at 64 kbits per sec which is fine on a computer but is way too tinny for any decent sound system. cd quality is about 1.2 Mbits/sec - that's million bits per sec, or about four times faster than the best mp3 sampling rate. and remember that cds themselves are digital samples of the original analog sound, so even they are only an approximation of the real mckoy.

          i've talked to some salespeople who swear that you can hear a difference between the best mp3 and cds on good stereo systems. but then i've also heard people say they can't tell the difference.

          so question: are the people here who are saying mp3s are as good as cds playing their mp3 tunes on their stereo systems? and if so, how expensive are those systems?
          Last edited by cabroncofanatic; 10-31-2007, 08:40 PM.
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          • #6
            Originally posted by cabroncofanatic View Post
            i've talked to some salespeople who swear that you can hear a difference between the best mp3 and cds on good stereo systems. but then i've also heard people say they can't tell the difference.
            Well, it's all digital so you can get the full sound by ripping to .wav files instead of MP3. But realistically, CDs contain data that the human ear can't even hear. Audiophiles claim that data is still important to the sound but that could just be a matter of arrogance; I don't know because I'm only what you would call an audio enthusiast, not an audiophile.

            To me, I can sometimes hear the difference between a 128 kbps and a CD but not all the time. When ripping my CDs I usually double that to 256 kbps to be safe and I don't know that I've ever felt I was losing anything.

            Really, I would just rip some at different frequencies and then compare them to the CD on a good system. It's a personal preference but 256 kbps has never let me down.

            Here's more on the issue:
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MP3#Audio_quality

            Quality is heavily dependent on the choice of encoder and encoding parameters. While quality around 128 kbit/s was somewhere between annoying and acceptable with older encoders, modern MP3 encoders can provide very good quality at those bit rates (January 2006). However, in 1998, MP3 at 128 kbit/s was only providing quality equivalent to AAC-LC at 96 kbit/s and MP2 at 192 kbit/s.

            The transparency threshold of MP3 can be estimated to be at about 128 kbit/s with good encoders on typical music as evidenced by its strong performance in the above test, however some particularly difficult material can require 192 kbit/s or higher.
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            • #7
              Originally posted by Javalon View Post
              Well, it's all digital so you can get the full sound by ripping to .wav files instead of MP3. But realistically, CDs contain data that the human ear can't even hear. Audiophiles claim that data is still important to the sound but that could just be a matter of arrogance; I don't know because I'm only what you would call an audio enthusiast, not an audiophile.

              To me, I can sometimes hear the difference between a 128 kbps and a CD but not all the time. When ripping my CDs I usually double that to 256 kbps to be safe and I don't know that I've ever felt I was losing anything.

              Really, I would just rip some at different frequencies and then compare them to the CD on a good system. It's a personal preference but 256 kbps has never let me down.

              Here's more on the issue:
              thanks for the info. i'm thinking of buying some albums on-line and am debating whether to download in mp3 format (@256kbit/s), which is a bit cheaper, or the original cds (plastic and all). it's mainly jazz and classical, and i've read classical strings do not sample well - there's a noticeable loss at higher frequencies.

              does any of your experience with incl classical, jazz, and opera? i'm into more popular genres, too, and would appreciate any comments re these.
              Last edited by cabroncofanatic; 11-01-2007, 07:05 AM.
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              • #8
                Originally posted by cabroncofanatic View Post
                thanks for the info. i'm thinking of buying some albums on-line and am debating whether to download in mp3 format (@256kbit/s), which is a bit cheaper, or the original cds (plastic and all). it's mainly jazz and classical, and i've read classical strings do not sample well - there's a noticeable loss at higher frequencies.

                does any of your experience with incl classical, jazz, and opera? i'm into more popular genres, too, and would appreciate any comments re these.
                I listen to a bit of classical but no jazz or opera. So unfortunately I'm not too experienced with your genres of music to counter what somebody else might have told you.

                All I can say is that I have never had a problem with 256 kbps, even with the classical I've listened to. Then again, I don't know that I made direct comparisons between the CD and MP3 on my classical music. I might have to do that and see.

                In the meantime, I'm afraid I can't help you much with your specific listening tastes. Sorry!

                Here's an interesting site that created a blind "taste" test. They use a max of 192 kbps so you have to figure 256 kbps is even better. They compare a few MP3s to the lossless .wav format which is just as good as the original CD but has huge filesizes. (I don't have time to try it myself right now but I'll try to later.)

                Hope it helps...
                "You can't take the sky from me..."
                ------
                "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding"

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Javalon View Post

                  Here's an interesting site that created a blind "taste" test. They use a max of 192 kbps so you have to figure 256 kbps is even better. They compare a few MP3s to the lossless .wav format which is just as good as the original CD but has huge filesizes.

                  Hope it helps...
                  a missing link?
                  Last edited by cabroncofanatic; 11-01-2007, 05:33 PM.
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by cabroncofanatic View Post
                    a missing link?
                    Oops! My bad... :doh:

                    http://www.eclassical.com/eclassic/e...age=blind_test
                    "You can't take the sky from me..."
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                    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding"

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