Lossless

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idc

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Jan 2, 2008
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I had similar thoughts but now I think that a slightly different volume gives you an impression that the higher volume has more to give.

......
That makes ABX blind testing difficult. There has to be a level volume, or else anything even slightly louder will sound better and render the results useless.
 
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idc

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1. Lossless adds no extra information; it is 100% of the original.

2. Lossy removes information that can never be recovered, thus it will always be inferior to lossless.

3. Whether you can tell the difference only you can decide, but, if you go with lossy and something changes that allows you to hear the difference (Different equipment, room etc.) you’re stuffed, whereas if you go lossless then no matter what happens in the future, you will always have 100%.

The choice as they say is yours and yours alone.

Bill
I suspect just knowing that you are listening to the lossless version and you know nothing has been taken out, will on its own, enhance the listening pleasure.

I listen to Spotify at "Very High", but in all honestly, struggle to tell the difference between it and "Normal". One time when the site updated, I was kicked off the best rate onto the low rate (they had different names back then) I realised after about a day of listening, things were not as they should be. I had to manually switch back to the best rate. So, a blind test without knowing I was being blind tested and I could tell a difference.
 
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amormusic

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Feb 24, 2016
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I struggle to comprehend that you cannot distinguish between these. Whilst I've never tried qobuz as I understand it to have more limited choice, I do understand that potentially it sounds the best. Certainly as good as tidal and from what I understand, much much better than Spotify.

My own experience is I have used Spotify and I now use tidal. For me, Tidal is very clearly much better SQ.... It's not even close... I will return to Spotify when they offer the hi-res option later this year as I prefer the control app, but currently tidal is where it's at as it sounds so much better.

Is this a case of you just don't have resolving enough kit?
Or, without meaning to sound offensive, could it be that you don't have youth on your side and the potential greater range of hearing that entails, which is working against you noticing these differences?

I'm no spring chicken and am almost 40 myself, but hearing no difference in SQ just sounds wild to me.

*Edit - I've not done the tests as I have no interest in that. For me the SQ difference is clear. I do not claim to have superman hearing etc. I'm just a normal bloke. Just surprised at this whole stream
 
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idc

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I struggle to comprehend that you cannot distinguish between these. .....
Listening to Spotify "very high" and You Tube, switching back and forth with the same music, and I cannot reliably tell the difference. My hearing is good for someone in his 50s and my headphone kit majors on detail. A friend uses Tidal and even though there no back to back and it is on his system, I cannot say it is better than mine, just different.
 

mizzor

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Oct 1, 2015
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God don’t get me started on vinyl……a 19th century technology that destroys the media it’s playing…… cannot even produce full frequency range without ‘equalisation’ (fudging….)
Here we go……🙂
I've edited the text it was clearly off topic
 

mizzor

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Oct 1, 2015
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That makes ABX blind testing difficult. There has to be a level volume, or else anything even slightly louder will sound better and render the results useless.
I don't think you are changing the volume using this test
 

mizzor

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Oct 1, 2015
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I struggle to comprehend that you cannot distinguish between these. Whilst I've never tried qobuz as I understand it to have more limited choice, I do understand that potentially it sounds the best. Certainly as good as tidal and from what I understand, much much better than Spotify.

My own experience is I have used Spotify and I now use tidal. For me, Tidal is very clearly much better SQ.... It's not even close... I will return to Spotify when they offer the hi-res option later this year as I prefer the control app, but currently tidal is where it's at as it sounds so much better.

Is this a case of you just don't have resolving enough kit?
Or, without meaning to sound offensive, could it be that you don't have youth on your side and the potential greater range of hearing that entails, which is working against you noticing these differences?

I'm no spring chicken and am almost 40 myself, but hearing no difference in SQ just sounds wild to me.

*Edit - I've not done the tests as I have no interest in that. For me the SQ difference is clear. I do not claim to have superman hearing etc. I'm just a normal bloke. Just surprised at this whole stream
I am in my early 30's and perform very well in hearing tests. Maybe I am not testing correctly. Don't they have a test mode in Tidal to help you check the difference?
 

mizzor

Well-known member
Oct 1, 2015
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I struggle to comprehend that you cannot distinguish between these. Whilst I've never tried qobuz as I understand it to have more limited choice, I do understand that potentially it sounds the best. Certainly as good as tidal and from what I understand, much much better than Spotify.

My own experience is I have used Spotify and I now use tidal. For me, Tidal is very clearly much better SQ.... It's not even close... I will return to Spotify when they offer the hi-res option later this year as I prefer the control app, but currently tidal is where it's at as it sounds so much better.

Is this a case of you just don't have resolving enough kit?
Or, without meaning to sound offensive, could it be that you don't have youth on your side and the potential greater range of hearing that entails, which is working against you noticing these differences?

I'm no spring chicken and am almost 40 myself, but hearing no difference in SQ just sounds wild to me.

*Edit - I've not done the tests as I have no interest in that. For me the SQ difference is clear. I do not claim to have superman hearing etc. I'm just a normal bloke. Just surprised at this whole stream
Not sure what you call SQ/HQ. If SQ is low enough obviously you can hear it easily
 

Vincent Kars

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Mar 6, 2021
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Maybe I am not testing correctly.
Don't think so.
You are doing blind testing, the only right way to eliminate our expectation bias from our perception.
Observe those who don't do blind testing are listening with their eyes and as a consequence most of all hear their believes. That is how our perception works.

Of course when comparing one must be sure all is level matched.
In case of audio file formats this is not a problem because a FLAC converted to MP3 will be equally loud.
However, when in doubt, you can check e.g. using MusicScope: https://sourceforge.net/projects/xivero-audio-tools/files/
 

mizzor

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Oct 1, 2015
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If you are not able to hear the difference between lossy and lossless in a unsighted test, you can't draw this conclusion :)

BTW: one of the tricks used in lossy compression is to roll of the treble. If a recording is harsh, it might become more agreeable because of this.

High bitrate lossy is almost indistinguishable from lossless most of the time.
But not all of the time, the famous killer tracks exposing the limits of MP3

A nice read imho: https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques/what-data-compression-does-your-music
Very interesting article. Not convinced though by the conclusions especially on 320kbps. I don't but the "hear the record as intended" argument. Artists and audiophiles are not focusing on the same things.
 

mizzor

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Oct 1, 2015
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Don't think so.
You are doing blind testing, the only right way to eliminate our expectation bias from our perception.
Observe those who don't do blind testing are listening with their eyes and as a consequence most of all hear their believes. That is how our perception works.

Of course when comparing one must be sure all is level matched.
In case of audio file formats this is not a problem because a FLAC converted to MP3 will be equally loud.
However, when in doubt, you can check e.g. using MusicScope: https://sourceforge.net/projects/xivero-audio-tools/files/
I could be making a mistake by thinking that I am streaming lossless through my computer without knowing it's reenconding the stream in a lower quality. I have done some tests through the Qobuz app where I know it is streaming lossless and I am often tempted there a slight difference but deep down I know I have no idea.
 

mizzor

Well-known member
Oct 1, 2015
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Because compression reduces the bit depth to reduce file size. So the difference between the loudest and the softest sounds is reduced…..hence less dynamic range.
there is no dynamic range compression in mp3. This would make a huge difference if there were.
 

Tinman1952

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May 19, 2021
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there is no dynamic range compression in mp3. This would make a huge difference if there were.
Well I thought Spotify used OGG Vorbis not mp3 but they both use variable bit rate encoding. I’m not sure why you say there is no dynamic range compression…..
 

iMark

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May 16, 2008
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Dynamic Range Compression is a problem that is caused at mastering level rather than playback level. Modern recordings have been suffering from this since the "loudness war" started.
The masters that are used for CDs and digital platforms cannot be used to produce LPs. I think that's one of the reasons why people like the sound of many modern recordings on LP more than on CD. The cutting engineers simply can't use masters that are too loud.

In the world of classical music and acoustic jazz nobody prefers LPs over CDs. Classical recordings on CD have a wider dynamic range than on LPs and sound better. CDs also don't suffer from hiss, surface noise, wear etc. A much better medium for pristine recordings.
 
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Sorreltiger

Well-known member
Apr 22, 2008
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I was waiting for someone to mention classical and jazz! Production choices are clearly going to be important in 'popular' genres, often playing a massive part in the sound, over and above what the musicians play. Whilst production skills are also critical in classical and jazz, the aim is generally to faithfully reproduce the immediate aural experience. I can certainly hear whether that is successful and I can certainly hear the difference between Spotify Premium and CD. My experience is then that a good recording will sound even better via lossless.
I'd also add a plea to download or buy if you intend to listen more than once. Streaming is an exploitative disaster for most musicians.
 
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