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

Peter is trying to create a central location for all his digital music files and is musing on which format–MP3 or Lossless–is better.  He stumbled on this article from Lifehacker that compares the two. Can your ears tell the difference?

I also found this video.

And another…

http://youtu.be/gA_tUCnmry4

 

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ 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!

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  • September 13, 2014 at 6:09 pm
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    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.

    Reply
  • February 19, 2015 at 3:33 pm
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    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.

    Reply

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