Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

3 thoughts on “When Ripping Music, Is MP3 Better Than Lossless? Let’s Take an Audio Test!

  • Pingback: Scherzo TV | When Ripping Music, Is MP3 Better Than Lossless? Let’s Take an Audio Test!

  • September 13, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    These videos are goofy because…they’re all re-compressed by YouTube. You have to set up your own ABX tests to do it right.

    Once you reach around 192 kbps, or -V 2 preset standards in MP3, I personally can’t tell a difference in home listening. I think I’ve heard problems when high-quality MP3s have been blasted at high volumes at like say, weddings.

    I still generally rip to FLAC however for future-proofing, and I don’t know how long I’m going to keep my CD collection for. Can always go from FLAC to any other format.

  • February 19, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    Agreed, if you have the space, the best idea is to rip to/download FLAC and just convert to everything else depending on your needs.

    One thing the second video gets a bit wrong is that it uses an MP3 which obviously has a 16kHz low pass filter. Many CBR settings have this – yes even 320Kbps – but VBR does not. To be safe, encode to 256Kbps VBR -0 setting on LAME and you’ll retain the fullest spectrum of frequencies. It’s basically the closest you can encode to lossless; I’ve done the same comparisons. 320Kbps CBR is a waste anyway – the files are too far too big and ultimately lower quality than VBR, so don’t bother.

    Blind A/B tests with 256Kbps and FLAC 16/44.1 aren’t going to change any minds – I doubt anyone could tell the difference enough of the time to not be guessing.


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