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Topic: MP3 vs WAV

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  1. #1

    MP3 vs WAV

    Okay, so I'm not a sound engineer and I probably have a bad ear as it is. I undersdtand that MP3s are substantially smaller than WAV files due in part to their compression wherein they eliminate the overtones heard in natural instruments. Now, considering that many people enjoy MP3s, I wonder how important these overtones are to your listening enjoyment.

    Still, this idea of overtones being missing brings up a question in regards to GPO productions being saved as either WAVs or MP3s before being burned to CD. Do the Garritan instruments produce overtones that would be lost in an MP3 file compression?

  2. #2

    Re: MP3 vs WAV

    This a very good question. All that trouble getting the sound put together, you should read some of the old bull written about getting the sound, mixing this, adding that, compression etc. Then go and convert it to MP3 and lose half of it. It's probably of less quality than our good old vinyl. It's the Kings New Clothes, but the punters don't know it.
    Derek
    Things may come and things may go but the art school dance goes on forever
    NOW WITH Cubase 5, JABB,GPO, Fender Strat, Ibanez RG, Yamaha Fretless Bass, Framus Archtop, The Trumpet and Mr T Sax, together with GREEN SEALING WAX


  3. #3

    Re: MP3 vs WAV

    If my goal is to burn to CD then I make .WAVs.

    Once I have my .WAV files I can use SoundForge to convert/save to any other format I wish.

    I convert to .MP3s quite a bit for compatibility reasons but actually I prefer to use .WMA - to me the sound is better and the compression is better (more efficient at being decoded for play). File sizes for .WMAs are also smaller. I use .WMA for all my personal CD ripping. I also consistently rip at 96Kbps - having found that 128 or higher makes not that much difference to me on an .MP3 player.

    I never render directly to .MP3 or .WMA.

    But, to recap, I always make .WAVS for burning to CDs.

    Hope that made sense.
    In theory there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is.

    http://reberclark.blogspot.com http://reberclark.bandcamp.com http://www.youtube.com/reberclark

  4. #4

    Re: MP3 vs WAV

    Definitely makes sense... I just wonder if GPO does actually produce anything that would be lost in the compression.

  5. #5

    Re: MP3 vs WAV

    Most of the loss converting to mp3 is inaudible to human ears. Only a very small number of us could hear a difference. I know I can't, once its above 128 I can't hear any loss.

    These are very high and low frequencies they generally want to be eq'ed out anyway.
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  6. #6

    Re: MP3 vs WAV

    Converting a wav file to an MP3 does not ever remove overtones.
    The computer that converts the file to an MP3 has no clue what frequencies are overtones.
    Overtones are all there, just like the rest of the (root) intended notes.
    MP3 files have the same frequency response as a wav file.
    The MP3 is grainy sounding if the MP3 file is lower than 192kbps.
    The lower the number, the more nasty the sound.

    Dan

  7. #7

    Re: MP3 vs WAV

    Quote Originally Posted by DPDAN View Post
    e.
    The MP3 is grainy sounding if the MP3 file is lower than 192kbps.
    The lower the number, the more nasty the sound.

    Dan
    Ah! So that's why all of my rips at 96Kbps sound like they have sand in them!


    (I knew it was something)
    In theory there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is.

    http://reberclark.blogspot.com http://reberclark.bandcamp.com http://www.youtube.com/reberclark

  8. #8

    Re: MP3 vs WAV

    I recommend the OGG format instead of mp3 as it takes half the size at the same quality compared to mp3 or wma. This is especially audible with plucked strings, solo percussion, cymbals and intimate solo vocals, generally everywhere, when there are short notes with many high frequency overtones. To archive music, I recommend lossless compression using the FLAC format.

  9. #9
    Senior Member rwayland's Avatar
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    Re: MP3 vs WAV

    I confirm wholeheartedly that the difference is great (and horrid) at 128 Kb, but at the highest mp3 rate, there is not much detectable difference between the mp3 and the WAV. For transferring files via the internet, 128 kb is commonly used because of the smaller file size, hence faster transmission. I too always make a WAV first. Then I make a 128kb mp3 for internet use, and a 392 KB wave for my Sony Walkman, which I listen to with good quality 'phones.

    Some of the preference for the mp3 is probably similar to the preference for 45 rpm vinyl or AM radio. I remember many years ago giving my ex-wife a good quality audio system which she would not use because it did not sound right, meaning that it did not contain the hisses and scratches. There were many people who resisted transistorized audio systems for this reason.

    I once designed and built a high quality AM radio set, and later, put together a low fi stereo phono, and once, while an instructor in electronics, rigged up an am stereo transmitter-receiver system. But now I am rambling, which may be a sign of aging!

    Richard

  10. #10

    Re: MP3 vs WAV

    Not sure what it is, but when I listen to mp3s I just feel like there is something missing. It is just not quite getting through to me if you know what I mean - it doesn't quite touch me.

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