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Topic: OT. Official ruling that compressed files at 128 kb = CD Quality.

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  1. #1

    OT. Official ruling that compressed files at 128 kb = CD Quality.

    For the audio engineers here, what do you make of this?

    The UK official advertising watchdog 'The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in responding to a complaint has ruled that compressed files (MPEG-2 AAC LC at 128 kbps) is comparable to CD quality.

    The full adjudication can be seen here:

    http://www.asa.org.uk/asa/adjudicati..._ADJ_42482.htm

    I've also posted this on the Sonar forums to see what they make of it.

    What do you think?
    Michael
    Patience is a virtue, sensitivity is a gift

  2. #2

    Re: OT. Official ruling that compressed files at 128 kb = CD Quality.

    I think that there are missing info in the article.

    I have no idea what test they did, but I'm ready to bet that it was pop music, with loud bass and compressed and all that.

    I am also ready to bet that classical music would suffer in 128 kbits!

    It all comes down to several issues, none of which is presented:

    1. the type of music
    2. the type of speakers (or headphones?)
    3. the type of audience.

    1. It goes without saying that different genres suffer much more than other genres.
    2. Of course, listening through cruppy mobile speakers will give you the same cruppy results!
    3. Me and you, hanging out here at NSS, will have a much better understanding of music and the quality of music.

    For all of this NOKIA is not responsible of course at all, since their customers are not musicians, do not put a 300$ headphones on the mobiles, and play R&B all the time (for example).

    For the purposes of me personally mp3 files suck for 2 reasons. The quality is lower than a wav file when editing and it has a tiny gap at the begining which throws out all sync...

  3. #3
    Senior Member rayzalaf's Avatar
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    Re: OT. Official ruling that compressed files at 128 kb = CD Quality.

    Surprised! Definitely not.
    We live in a society who’s main concern is convenience rather than quality. The term “CD quality sound” has been compromised on many occasions by poor mastering so it doesn’t mean a great deal. We may know that the bit rate does effect the audio quality but the general listening public, not a clue!
    Some years ago I was invited and visited a local retired sound engineer who had worked for the BBC. He invested in CEDAR hardware restoration equipment costing around £40000.00 with which he began taking old records, placing a bit extra weight on the stylus and extracting every bit of information out of the groove. A quite lucrative business for a retired sound engineer. He then received orders for jobs from companies all over the world. They would extract the information from the grooves onto Sony mini disc as a handy medium to post from where ever to Scotland. He then used his expensive CEDAR processing to remove the noise, tweak the eq and sent a CD back to the customer. Compression used before his processing, answer, “so what nobody knows what these recordings really sounded like 50 odd years ago. So who’s to know any better”. He asked me not to mention this and I haven’t till now. Things have moved on with bandwidth and speed for internet transfer so it is no longer a big issue.

    Ray

  4. #4

    Re: OT. Official ruling that compressed files at 128 kb = CD Quality.

    Why bother? Most of the MP3 community is deaf or will be soon. Real musicians never want MP3 as the Cd standard anyway. Bob Katz wrote: "when poeple start listening again...... " And you know what: silence is the best music ever, compressed or not

    Raymond

  5. #5
    Senior Member Steve_Karl's Avatar
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    Re: OT. Official ruling that compressed files at 128 kb = CD Quality.

    My casual experience tells me I 'suspect' I hear more of a difference between 24/48 and a CD, than I do between a CD and an mp3 of the CD encoded at 160, but I don't have the time or desire to proove it to myself or anyone else.

  6. #6

    Re: OT. Official ruling that compressed files at 128 kb = CD Quality.

    Quote Originally Posted by nikolas

    I am also ready to bet that classical music would suffer in 128 kbits!

    It all comes down to several issues, none of which is presented:

    1. the type of music
    2. the type of speakers (or headphones?)
    3. the type of audience.

    ...
    You've hit the nail on the head. If you choose your music really carefully then 128 kbits can seem absolutely fine - if you don't it can be appalling. I used to try it, because I only have a 512MB mp3 player, and I wanted to be able to put enough stuff on it for some long walks. Most of the pop stuff worked out OK, except music that was dense with crash cymbals. They produced some incredibly prominent aliasing artefacts. Similarly the orchestral music. Every time the violins got a bit active the aliasing started to sound like seagulls.

    Of course there may be better codexes around, but it would have to be about 300% better for it to be even listenable.

  7. #7

    Re: OT. Official ruling that compressed files at 128 kb = CD Quality.

    I don't have an iPod (so no AAC for me) but straight MP3's at 128kb/s is most decidedly not appropriate. The warble from compression is quite distinguishable on classical, jazz, and vocal stuff in particular. Pop likely comes out a little differently, as does the AAC codec.

    Funny that they'd declare only one proprietary codec as a standard, though, isn't it.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Article
    Grey London said the subjective listening test results indicated that MPEG-2 AAC LC at 128 kbps samples provided sound quality which was comparable to that of the original CD, even for expert listeners...


    I wonder who these expert listeners were and what gear they used, because coming out of a phone speaker, of course it's going to sound the same. But with a nice pair of AKG's, it's a very different story.

  8. #8
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    Re: OT. Official ruling that compressed files at 128 kb = CD Quality.

    I recently recorded something with the GPO piccolo. At 196kb/s it was still aliasing pretty badly. Uggh.

    On the other hand, I recently got my first IPod and was pleasantly surprised. In the past I’ve been using a portable CD player and good headphones (NOT my AKGs) for my general listening – I can often concentrate on the music easier if it’s right in my head. When I ripped those same CDs straight into my IPod they actually sound better than they do on the personal/portable CD player. The music is clearer, less distorted and there is far less noise. I was grumbling about the quality of the recordings while the whole time it was the quality of the amplifiers in the CD player, or may be the D-A converters, or, most likely, both. One thing -any time the disk is spinning, the quality drops.

    Putting the last two paragraphs together, I used a wav file version of the piccolo music when I put it into my IPod and it sounds much better than the mp3 file at 196kb/s. I don’t know the “compression rate” (or whatever its called) that the IPod uses by default, but the file sizes are tiny. Somebody mentioned a different compression algorithm – it must be much better algorithm than the plain mp3.
    Trent P. McDonald

  9. #9

    Re: OT. Official ruling that compressed files at 128 kb = CD Quality.

    Let us not forget that mp3 is an old format by now and that there are new forms around. And mostly that I can download a gig in half an hour over here, or have an mp3 player of 40 Gb with some lovely headhpones.

    The time of the mp3 is through...

  10. #10

    Re: OT. Official ruling that compressed files at 128 kb = CD Quality.

    I think there has been a little missunderstanding on this tread. The report is on AAC codec and not MP3. In theory, AAC sounds better than MP3 at the same bitrate. I cannot give my own opinion because I have not compared both, and I'm not an expert at all. But I still long those warm vinyls...

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