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Do you care about bitrate?

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People seem to care a lot about bitrate. When I first joined this server the bitrate of releases was a central concern for people. I both did and didn't understand it. I can understand the concern for high quality audio if you prize high quality audio for novelty reasons. However in my mind, high quality sound is actually less convenient because of size, and if you're like me and you're obsessed with music, this can easily equate to many gigs of music, which ain't nice when your listening device is restricted by total GB.

 

In my mind, bitrate is an extremely trivial matter to be worked up about, as it hardly makes a difference in terms of sound quality depending on the bitrates compared. As someone who owns a Hifiman-400 set, along with an ODAC 02, I feel I have both empirical evidence as well as data to back this up. 128 KBPS doesn't sound very different from lossless unless you have a really good ear. I could hear slight differences if I pay close enough attention, but for casual listening the difference feels negligible. 

 

Even with a powerful setup, an untrained ear will rarely be able to effectively make out the differences between 192 KBPS and 320 KBPS or lossless audio, which has been confirmed by studies. Furthermore, if you're listening to your music with a pair of apple earbuds rather than high end equipment, noticing this difference would be even more challenging. It's called the placebo effect, and it's very real.

 

Personally, I feel that CD rips are generally high enough quality to suffice, unless they're being ripped below 128kbps. It's Youtube rips and sometimes transcodes that ruin a music file for me. Generally speaking, the production quality makes a significantly greater difference in sound quality.

 

Do you value bitrate? If so, why? Are you an audiophile who believes that the quality difference is significant? Do you just care about quality regardless of whether or not you can make out the difference? Do you think I'm wrong about anything I've stated above? Or do you agree that people make too big a deal out of bitrate? I have no idea if I'm going to get criticized for this thread or what but I just wanted to share some thoughts.

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I didn't care until i got my Walkman A35 and Grado Labs SR80e.

While growing up i hated digital files because they sounded like crap, all i could get my hands on were 128kbps with limewire. When i started working as a live audio tech for my schools occupational program I got tired of carrying my 64 disc folder and the damn thing scratching the CDs. I decided to get a Creative labs Zen Jukebox that started my downward spiral of music hoarding. After a few years I discovered lossless and started filling up ipod after ipod, I blame having studio equipment readily available for me wanting better quality audio.

Fast forward to '13 and I am discovering 24bit and DSD. By '15 my ipod's battery was shot from having it plugged into my gf's car stereos usb all the time, so i had to look for a replacement. I found out about sony's Walkman coming back as a digital player and I decided to look into it. When I got it right away I could hear a difference in the internet's album Ego Death. The difference between the 16bit my ipod could play and the 24bit my walkman could play was like night and day.

 

Now a days I usually go for the highest quality I can get especially, vinyl rips in 192khz or DSD. I do agreee that cd quality and AAC 320kbps is good enough on the go, thats why i have my LG V60 filled with 40k AAC files. But when I plan to just relax at home that's when i'll bust out the Walkman and my Grado Labs, or sometimes I'll hook up my 2tb music collection to my LG V30. But thats what I feel Hi-Res is for, when you want to sit down and listen to your music. If you never plan to do that then yeah higher quality music wont make a difference to your ears.
 

So yeah for me, the higher the better please.

 

The I missed one song on that NPR audio quality test, that Jay Z song. No surprise since that song only used digital samples.

Edited by Aeolus

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I mean, 320 is the goal but if all I can find is a 128 KBPS rip on someone's dusty af, oldest-post-is-older-than-Trump's-presidency VK Blogspot, then beggars can't be choosers. I've ripped some stuff out of my own collection in different bitrates and formats before and I could barely distinguish any difference in audio quality, so it's never a big deal for me. That being said, I try to keep it 320 in case someone else wants it, and for consistency (I'm not particularly worried about file size and storage use, considering that I use Spotify for new school stuff and my hard drive for Kote stuff). 

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Even with shitty $5 headphones I can tell the sound on a 128 rip is often "dirtier" than on a 320 one, and ever since I was gifted a really nice pair of headphones the difference became much more noticeable. However, I really don't hear any difference between a 320 file and a lossless file and I 100$ agree with you on the storage aspect. I even convert lossless rips uploaded here into lossy files so I can fit them in my iPod.

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When I didn't know anything got better than the 100kbps range in 2000s I didn't care cause I had no idea...
Once I heard better though I could never go back. Like Kirito says, I want to hear as authentically as I can...exceptions being maybe noise music that is made to be over-processed and distorted, but for anything else I try to find at least 320. For songs I really enjoy and will hear over 10 times a week I rip/find lossless if I can.
I'm pretty sure almost everyone can hear the difference between 128 and 320 though? One very clearly sounds like the singer is behind a wall or underwater, like the auditory equivalent of deep frying a jpeg full of artifacts, sure I can still see the image but why look that way when I can see it in HD.

I can hear mosquitoes / the screeching the comes from electronics and electrical sockets that no one else around me hears, so I'm sensitive to frequencies / pitch and quality, and probably why I hate high treble or little to no bass. Trying to listen to my old music from 2000s ipod now gives me a headache after an hour because the quality is so bad, like 96-128 max. Same reason I can't listen to Spotify the quality is so ass it irritates my tinnitus and gives me a headache as well.

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I'm used to bad sound quality of mp3 files. Having something with 320 bitrate or more is nice, but sometimes all you can get is youtube audiorip. Sure I can kinda hear the difference but at 192kbps it still sounds like music even if kinda "dirty".

Edited by ShTon

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I got 99 problems but a bit ain't one

 

nah, seriously, I don't really stress this shit anymore, especially since I'm not really in the arena of sharing/trading/collecting music anymore.

 

I'll generally take the best I can get.

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Honestly, no. I'm not too picky.

If 128kbps is the best rip of a single I can find, I'll take it; I'll take whatever's available, really..

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Preferably lossless, for the same reason as stated by @Laurence02. When it comes to casual listening, I'd go with HQ AAC or mp3@320 (VBR V0).

 

I can't agree with the statement that you can hardly hear a difference between 192Kbps and 320/lossless, not to mention 128Kbps. As a matter of fact, you don't even need a high-end audio equipment to be able to do so. Still, the quality of the original recording matters quite a bit as well. We know how it is with some underground vk boiz...

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I won’t even bother with 128kb/s unless it’s rarez and I absolutely have to, and usually those are tapes recorded in a basement with an xbox 360 headset so it’s not that big of a deal. A CD release I wouldn’t listen to in 128kb/s at this point no matter what it is. And also especially in vk those old bad rips are weird and sometimes it doesn’t stop at the bitrate, but the songs might be compiled from different releases, half of them might be youtube rips that cut off prematurely etc. If I get the feeling the rip is from before 2010 I get those very sparingly.

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That is the idea on why I always try to buy the CD from artists that I followed, so I can have best possible sound quality.

 

As for downloads on public forums, we are really at the uploaders mercy. I take what I can get. Being demanding over it when you're the beggar is shitty and ungrateful attitude. 

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Interesting Topic. I was always wondering why there are so many members caring that much for a certain bitrate cuz i can’t hardly make out any difference.

 

I personally rip all my CDs with 192 Kbps because imo it sounds just as good as any higher quality and it’s way better for having a huge collection on one harddrive.

For example when i bought CHOKE’s 2nd full length they gave you automatically a super high end rip for instant download so i did. And i was pretty shocked at how fucking huge those files were…

So for comparing differences i copied the CD once i received it to my harddrive with my usual 192 Kbps and i really couldn’t hear any difference at all. Except the only difference i could make out is again the extremely huge difference in file size.

 

And to be honest i listen to my music (when i am outside) on cheap around 20 € headphones and my PC speakers i just upgraded about 1 ½ years ago so they are not that cheap like the ones i used before but still…

I even once tried out around 150 € expensive headphones at an electronics shop but still i didn’t hear any difference at all…

 

So in the end i really couldn’t care less the only thing i can sometimes hear is hat often (but not always) if you listen to videos on yt and later on get the original CD the CD rip sound definitely better but other than that i don’t care specially cuz i guess if i would rip everything in lossless quality i don’t think i would’ve enough space on my computer which is also a huge factor.

 

But lastly in case at some point that would change i still, for 99% of everything i have saved on my harddrive, i got the original CD anyway so an upgrade would be no big deal although i don’t see it coming any time soon if ever…

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It depends on with which program you rip your CD's too. 
older 128kbps rips sounds also much more worse than if you rip the same CD now in 128kbps. 

 

Unless your hearing is very good (still hearing low and high tones very well) you can tell the difference better between a 128kbps rip and a lossless rip.  I you have hear-loss whenever you listen to 128 or 320kbps some tones are filtered out for you anyway and there is no way that you can hear them 😛 

 

I save anything as 320kbps on my pc. lossless why need them? if you transfer them into good quality 320kbps you cannot tell the difference that good..

 

The only thing which I notice if I play 128kbps, 192kbps, 320kbps(lossless) is if you put your speaker Louder and louder, that you will notice quality loss. however if you don't blast off your hears and play it at a normal good for ears frequent (which doesn't destroy your ears) you can't really notice it anymore. unless the rips are made 10-20 years ago. 

 

I'm happy with 192kbps rips, and more happy with 320kbps. 

 

back in the days I tried to make a lower bitrate than 128kbps couldn't really tell the difference.

Also I don't really hear the quality loss of youtube videos. at least it doesn't bother me.

 

 

But i think it's funny that nowadays people wish for 320kbps, while in the past everybody was happy with 128kbps. Nobody really did know or care about bitrates until you found this forum tho 😛 

LJ time wasn't really 320kbps time XD

 

Edited by BrenGun

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I noticed a difference when I heard a 192kbps rip of a song I had only ever heard at 96kbps, lol. It sounded nice enough to make me start ripping my own CDs at 192. Aside from that I don't really care about bitrate.

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Lossless, or the least I will go for is 128kbs if I don't own the CD or if it's a rare or a demo tape. If you go listen to Girl Goomie's only two song they gave out for free, you would want to rip your ears out at how bad it sounds. If they gave a higher bitrate, the songs would definitely sound better. I also converted my best friend into a lossless listener. I bought him a pair of Sennheiser's for his birthday and he was blown away by all the sounds he never heard in songs he listened to; and realized why I always prefer Hi-Fi man lossless player vs an iWhater or Android. Of course I'm not crazy, so I use my Momentum's on the go, cause I'm not gonna carry a DAC and 1k headphones around.

Edited by JRD

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