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Dan Burns-Findlay
Director , Sound Engineer , 3D / CAD Modeller or Animator
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MP3 ≪ FLAC ≡ WAV

Geeky blog post for the techies out there ... found this interesting graphical comparison of the various audio encoding formats. Most of this stuff is common knowledge to studio engineers, but I'd never seen it represented in this way before.

All graphs taken from & fully explained at the URL below:

http://www.stereophile.com/features/308mp3cd/index1.htm

Original test / audio signal:

Test signal encoded using FLAC:

Test signal encoded 128kbps MP3:

Test signal encoded using 128kbps AAC MP3:

So next time you download a song, you are only actually getting the gist of it. Make the effort to hear the whole thing. It's the same as looking at a massive painting scaled down a 10% quality JPEG or drinking fine wine mixed with 90% water.

almost 16 years ago 0 likes  8 comments  0 shares
Photo 33427
Most of the damage is in the 12kHZ and up ... which is really just the shine & polish of the recording. The 'musical' content is quite narrow, you only need between 100Hz to 5000Hz to get representative playback. But by destroying upper & lower harmonic data the end result is the music becoming more & more lifeless. I'm trying to draw attention to FLAC as a viable alternative to WAV files and MP3s for digital music sales. If only iTunes / iPod supported it then it would be the most popular format right now ... but it's open source, so Apple has no commercial interest in supporting the format ... selfish bastards :')
almost 16 years ago
Photo 35167
The best system I ever had in my red pickup truck was a K-mart floor demo radio for 20 dollars and one functional jambox speaker I bought at a yard sale. Will this flac chart help Mono recordings! My Thriller album is already sounding mega killer.... Thanks for the tech info!!! :)
almost 16 years ago
Photo 37059
Ha! I totally agree! To this day I dis people listening to music at 128kbps... I hate the sounds of the drums especially!!! sounds like crap radio!
almost 16 years ago
Photo 33427
I've been complaining about MP3 for years, on any forum I post on. It's a compromise, always has been. With the prevalence of broadband there really is no need for it anymore. Although the recording industry is partly to blame, trying to push crap digital audio standards online in an attempt to protect 'pristine audio' CD sales. Frequency information is thinned out to the mathematical "essentials" and the dynamic range is chopped in half. It irks me 'cause I spend hours mixing tracks and days on sound design only to have an algorithm ditch what it deems un-necessary. Plus when I mix commercial work I ALWAYS get given MP3 reference material. What am I referencing here?! WAV sounds great. But file sizes are a tiny bit cumbersome and there is no meta-data (artists info etc). FLAC retains all the info of a 16bit master and also allows meta-data tagging ... no brainer. Musicians should start promoting this format to their online audience. I will dig out a list of encoders / decoders plus hacks to make these files work in iTunes and blog them here shortly. It ain't pretty but then pioneering never was :)
almost 16 years ago
Photo 33427
Beatport requires 16 bit file uploads, from which they create M4A and MP3 files. The WAVs, therefore, are direct bit for bit copies of whatever the labels give them. Also, companies like iTunes, Amazon and eMusic all require 16 bit source files even though they do not sell WAV. One issue though ... (here we go again!) .. is that to get vinyl created you HAD to have the song mastered. ie: paid someone to make it sound 'right' then get a metal plate made from that for mechanical duplication. These days, I would hazard to guess that 90% of digital labels skip mastering altogether, which results is some pretty fucking awful sounding music for sale. For the record I always use Heathmans (London) for vinyl mastering, Bohus Sound (Sweden) for CDs & album music and more recently Martin Eyerer at Speed Productions (Berlin) for club music destined to remain digital. Because I care :)
almost 16 years ago

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