Author Topic: Editing MP3s losslessly — Who needs FLAC?  (Read 1345 times)

digdeeper

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Re: Editing MP3s losslessly — Who needs FLAC?
« Reply #15 on: June 14, 2020, 06:36:19 PM »
By the way, why haven't post-MP3 lossy codecs caught up? I rarely see AAC / .M4A files. 320 CBR MP3, then 16-24 / 24-48 FLAC, nothing else.

kimhill

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Re: Editing MP3s losslessly — Who needs FLAC?
« Reply #16 on: June 14, 2020, 07:08:22 PM »
By the way, why haven't post-MP3 lossy codecs caught up? I rarely see AAC / .M4A files. 320 CBR MP3, then 16-24 / 24-48 FLAC, nothing else.

I think that's a lowest-common-denominator history issue. MP3s came first and software support for them is essentially 100%. AAC started as mostly Apple (btw it's not proprietary), but has mostly caught up. Still, MP3 has the inertia of history behind it.

kimhill

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Re: Editing MP3s losslessly — Who needs FLAC?
« Reply #17 on: June 14, 2020, 07:19:17 PM »
Quote from: digdeeper
Who needs FLAC? Are you out of your mind?? You want yourself get killed?

Ha! You're right. ;) Well, I immediately backed away from that in the body of my comment- but it seemed like a good way to get the conversation started. At this point, I realize I'll probably never get help with a re-up request. ;)

Still, in a group of people for whom the exchange of digital audio is such an important thing, I really think it's worthwhile to examine one's assumptions from time to time.

[(Sub)]

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Re: Editing MP3s losslessly — Who needs FLAC?
« Reply #18 on: June 14, 2020, 09:26:15 PM »
Advice Kimhill, buy yourself a good pair of speakers rather than tell us about your codec science

stackjackson

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Re: Editing MP3s losslessly — Who needs FLAC?
« Reply #19 on: June 14, 2020, 11:29:13 PM »
I'm enjoying this thread, and I'm not, nor have I ever been, a techy audiophile. I get what kimhill is saying here. The lossless format is not being questioned. People should stop for a moment and read his comments more carefully.

I have a question about lossy formats, since ACC, M4A were brought up above. Is there a meaningful difference between MP3 and these other formats? If so, I doubt I could hear the difference, but I'd still like to know from a technological angle.

Cheers, folks.
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Greta

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Re: Editing MP3s losslessly — Who needs FLAC?
« Reply #20 on: June 15, 2020, 01:29:38 AM »
For almost everyone, under almost all real-world listening conditions, the difference does not exist.
I did read carefully Kimhill posts, and I don't argue the convenience of editing mp3 when that's all you got.
But I do argue the quoted above.


As for the difference between .mp3 and .m4a, unfortunately, we fall in the same problem. Many people would say they don't hear the difference, but the difference is clear in terms of range dynamics and frequencies.
At the same bitrate, .m4a has much higher frequencies than .mp3, much less data is cut-off. And that's true, whether you hear it or not.


For all these reasons, I would always prefer audio formats that contain the most original data. Each under it's most proper use.
And there's more. Honestly, I would think the same even without the chance of hearing the real difference between two formats.
The only fact to know one is better than the other one in terms of quality, simply make me prefer the best one.
It's something like having an original Picasso and a perfect copy made by some of those brilliant authorized painters of fakes.
Even if I'm not an art critic or expert, I would always prefer to own an original one (without considering the economic side in this case, obviously).
« Last Edit: June 15, 2020, 01:48:11 AM by Greta »
G.

kimhill

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Re: Editing MP3s losslessly — Who needs FLAC?
« Reply #21 on: June 15, 2020, 02:51:38 AM »
Quote from: Greta
The only fact to know one is better than the other one in terms of quality, simply make me prefer the best one.

But there's more than one criterion for "the best one." Currently, I have 51,346 tracks in my music library. That's about 335 GB of disk space, which means that all 50k+ tracks fit on my (512 GB) iPhone. I can't describe how cool it is to have my entire music collection in my pocket — all the time.

I was driving from NYC to Boston last week, and with Apple CarPlay, I was able to just tell Siri what I wanted to hear, and the track info & cover art were also on the LCD. It's just great. I was following musical impulses instantly, across genres & eras. There's no way I could do that with all-lossless.

Actually, some of my all-time favorite music IS lossless on the phone — in this case, using Apple's lossless ALAC codec. That way, my most-valued music is "future-proofed" without maintaining parallel libraries/archives.

If I insisted on lossless for everything, I'd lose the ability to have a unified and portable music library, for zero perceptible gain in audio quality, in virtually all my likely listening scenarios. So, when it comes to codecs, I also "prefer the best one" — the best one for MY music habits. The "best one" for you may well be something different.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Lossless
« Last Edit: June 15, 2020, 02:54:09 AM by kimhill »

kimhill

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Re: Editing MP3s losslessly — Who needs FLAC?
« Reply #22 on: June 15, 2020, 03:16:44 AM »
Quote from: stackjackson
I'm enjoying this thread, and I'm not, nor have I ever been, a techy audiophile. I get what kimhill is saying here. The lossless format is not being questioned. People should stop for a moment and read his comments more carefully.

Thanks, stackjackson. I think it's a worthwhile discussion to have, for people who derive so much life enjoyment from these 1's and 0's…

As for MP3 vs. AAC etc… AAC is a more modern codec, and it's more efficient than MP3, so you get more quality at a given bitrate. I wouldn't call it a massive difference though. In the beginning, it was more Apple-specific, but at this point support of AAC is almost universal. Gritty details here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Audio_Coding#AAC's_improvements_over_MP3

Greta

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Re: Editing MP3s losslessly — Who needs FLAC?
« Reply #23 on: June 15, 2020, 08:30:42 AM »
You don't get me Kimhill. I mean "the best one" in terms of quality, nothing else. Audio quality, frequencies. Criterion in judging audio quality is just one.
I don't mean "the more portable", nor "the lighter" in terms of space, nor anything else.
Those are different aspects, everybody with his needs and likes. But a bit off topic, at least in my idea of this topic, that is pure audio quality.

G.

kimhill

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Re: Editing MP3s losslessly — Who needs FLAC?
« Reply #24 on: June 15, 2020, 12:08:46 PM »
Quote from: Greta
I mean "the best one" in terms of quality, nothing else. Audio quality, frequencies.

It's worth noting that if file size were not of first-rank importance, there would be no such thing as FLAC. FLAC exists to reduce file size.

I also think one needs to consider the idea of "theoretical" audio quality, because for most people, a lossless quality advantage is only theoretical. But… FLAC is valuable — even crucial — for groups like LMT, regardless of whether people have audiophile-level gear. FLAC/lossless provides a neutral starting point for everyone. We all get to make our own compression decisions (or not) according to the dictates of our conscience.  ;)
« Last Edit: June 15, 2020, 01:32:31 PM by kimhill »

zoomo

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Re: Editing MP3s losslessly — Who needs FLAC?
« Reply #25 on: June 15, 2020, 12:57:21 PM »
Let's keep this simple and to the point.

Lossless mp3 editing? Are you saying that you take a lossless file such as wav or flac and convert this to mp3?

Once a source is ripped as lossless it stays lossless until it is converted to mp3, there are reasons for doing this but for sound frequency lossless is preferred.

kimhill

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Re: Editing MP3s losslessly — Who needs FLAC?
« Reply #26 on: June 15, 2020, 01:12:05 PM »
Lossless mp3 editing? Are you saying that you take a lossless file such as wav or flac and convert this to mp3?

No. Of course, MP3 is never lossless, but the point here is the ability to make (some) edits to existing MP3 files without having to re-encode the audio back to MP3 after the edit, and thus causing generational quality loss. At least in the case of the MacOS "Fission" app I mentioned, you can do the same with AAC files.

For example, if you have an MP3 with an excessively long lead-in or lead-out, you can trim the file without losing any audio quality.

https://rogueamoeba.com/fission/
« Last Edit: June 15, 2020, 01:28:46 PM by kimhill »

stackjackson

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Re: Editing MP3s losslessly — Who needs FLAC?
« Reply #27 on: June 15, 2020, 01:35:18 PM »

As for MP3 vs. AAC etc… AAC is a more modern codec, and it's more efficient than MP3, so you get more quality at a given bitrate. I wouldn't call it a massive difference though. In the beginning, it was more Apple-specific, but at this point support of AAC is almost universal. Gritty details here:


That's funny. Back when iTunes first came out, I was annoyed by this (to me) unknown .m4a format, assuming it was inferior in some way, so I would always reconvert the files to .mp3 (!) :D

Thinking back to those early iTunes days, remember everything came *only* in 128kbps. That was the default! LOL
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Dick Turpin

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Re: Editing MP3s losslessly — Who needs FLAC?
« Reply #28 on: June 15, 2020, 03:10:46 PM »
It's a debate that tickles me no end about FLAC and MP3, I challenge anyone to a blind listening test of 320kbps MP3 and FLAC and I'd bet my house on you not being able to tell the difference. However this is all moot and people need to see what happens to your hearing beyond the age of 18 and age related hearing loss, presbycusis.

« Last Edit: June 15, 2020, 03:13:28 PM by Dick Turpin »
Hands up, give me all your hammond !

kimhill

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Re: Editing MP3s losslessly — Who needs FLAC?
« Reply #29 on: June 15, 2020, 08:33:03 PM »
Thinking back to those early iTunes days, remember everything came *only* in 128kbps. That was the default! LOL

I remember those days well. "iTunes Music Store" purchases came only in 128k DRM (".m4p"), although 128k in AAC was probably equivalent to 160k in MP3. iTunes always had the ability to rip/encode to higher bitrates, though. I remember starting one quality notch higher than the default 128k (a generous 160k AAC), just to be careful. ;)
« Last Edit: June 15, 2020, 08:35:07 PM by kimhill »