MP3s-Are they changing the way we hear???

general questions, comments and ideas about recording, audio, music, etc.
User avatar
Bad Halen
gettin' sounds
Posts: 129
Joined: Thu May 29, 2003 10:11 pm

MP3s-Are they changing the way we hear???

Post by Bad Halen » Thu May 29, 2003 10:24 pm

What I'm looking to find out is what exactly is happening when an AIFF file or WAV file is turned into an MP3?

I know that things are getting truncated but would like to know "WHAT" is being truncated exactly. I mean, am I crazy for thinking an MP3 sounds awesome?

If the average joe is given a song he/she has never heard and it's an MP3 would that person be able to tell?

How about the average Joe producer guy?

Then whats up with the new.aac MP4 stuff from Itunes? WTF?

Thanks!
-Spotty

User avatar
heylow
george martin
Posts: 1265
Joined: Fri May 02, 2003 2:27 pm
Location: The Dreadful Midwest
Contact:

Re: MP3s-Are they changing the way we hear???

Post by heylow » Thu May 29, 2003 10:57 pm

Spotty wrote:
I I mean, am I crazy for thinking an MP3 sounds awesome?
Depends...

Do you mean:

A) sounds awesome as a simple and easy way to share information quickly or do you mean

B) "awesome" compared to the original album cut?

If you aswered yes to the first, then I'd say you're OK for the most part as it IS a simple and fairly painless way to share ideas and samples. Sometimes those samples might not even be heard by a casual e-passerby if it werent so easy.

If you answered yes to the second.....my condolences....your sonic perception is fucked irretrievably.....learn a trade, brother. :shake:


All in all MP3s are frowned on by anyone who gives half a damn about sound. Add in the fact that some of these records are mastered into sonic oblivion and THEN converted to MP3 and some shit just gets unlistenable, period....even as a simple sample.

I dont know EXACTLY what goes into MP3....I just know it aint pretty. I imagine you could search Google and get tons of tech info though.

There is a format called OGG VORBIS which is actually a bit nicer to sound, though still not really near ideal.

I dont know about .aac stuff at all.


I dont know that someone would be able to tell from a cut they never heard before...I mean...people do cut stuff that sounds like ass. I dont think an MP3 would be putting your best foot forward.

Unfortunately, many average Joe's just dont give a damn about what sounds good...they think the radio sounds good. Its up to you....but I fear the day MP3 becomes a seriously acceptable mass medium :tear:

The average producer? Jeez....I dunno...what with everybody and their mommas claiming to be one these days. Now...I would say that MP3s might be JUST THE TICKET if you were going to work with a producer and wanted to give him a taste of your demos without taking up a lot of time and resources....over the net, that is.


Love it or hate it.....but understand what it is and what it isnt....dont be another vote for the dark side, young Jedi. :alien:


heylow

evan
buyin' gear
Posts: 568
Joined: Wed May 07, 2003 2:18 am
Location: Olympia, WA

Re: MP3s-Are they changing the way we hear???

Post by evan » Fri May 30, 2003 3:47 am

Spotty wrote:I know that things are getting truncated but would like to know "WHAT" is being truncated exactly.
The basic idea of audio compression is to truncate off all the data that is "imperceptible" by the human ear. Of course, the problem with this is that this standard varies with the various bitrates, types of compression, etc., whilst the human ear's perception level is constant and consequently suffers from the data losses of compression.

For more detailed information, check out Howstuffworks.
I mean, am I crazy for thinking an MP3 sounds awesome? If the average joe is given a song he/she has never heard and it's an MP3 would that person be able to tell?
I don't think you're crazy to say that MP3s sound great, but ask yourself this - what do you have the MP3s to compare to? The MP3's quality is entirely relative; if you've never heard the original, uncompressed version, you can't know if it's better or worse - and chances are, it's worse. You don't know what you're missing until you've tried the other.


All in all, I think there's absolutely no chance that MP3 will ever become the standard audio format - MP3 is hardly the best form of audio compression out there, and it's popularity was incidental. Primarily, though, engineers, producers, and audiophiles will never let it happen, and as data storage and bandwidth increase, there'll be little reason for it.

Lostboy
gettin' sounds
Posts: 126
Joined: Fri May 09, 2003 7:57 am

Re: MP3s-Are they changing the way we hear???

Post by Lostboy » Fri May 30, 2003 8:22 am

i hate the way mp3's sound, and that's one of the reasons i don't download songs.

i have heard rumors of the development of better-quality mp3's ... is this an absurd notion, or could it happen? i mean, does the technology allow for an improvement in the quality of the sound?

User avatar
ottokbre
deaf.
Posts: 1996
Joined: Wed May 07, 2003 8:54 am
Location: sanfranzizko

Re: MP3s-Are they changing the way we hear???

Post by ottokbre » Fri May 30, 2003 8:36 am

mp3 data varias a lot. I think it's rather absurd to blanket a comment about the quality of an mp3 when the same song can vary from 2500kb to 8,000kb. The compression systems are getting smarter in what they extract, and in many ways, good mp3's now are better than CD tracks 15 years ago regardless of file size. I think it's funny to be able to tell the quality of a recording despite it being squashed to a pea. See the thread about the fella listening to Beck on crappy headphones while on an airplane.

I'm not trying to make one of those 'everything is relative' arguments. What I would rather point out is that the media technology itself is going faster than we could ever argue. Now it's up to us to make some danm fine recordings regardless.

Personally, I'de dare anyone to engineer something for intent of it being an mp3 only release!
boobs are life's fountain

User avatar
trashy
dead but not forgotten
Posts: 2128
Joined: Wed May 07, 2003 10:30 am
Location: Red Bluff, CA
Contact:

Re: MP3s-Are they changing the way we hear???

Post by trashy » Fri May 30, 2003 9:03 am

Yeah, you're crazy. MP3s sound like sheeyat. Listen to an original recording, and then listen to an MP3 (especially at 160 or less). Turn it up and listen to the top end. It should (will) sound "watery". That's the trunication, so to speak, trying to keep up with what should be trunicated.
That being said, at 192 and above, especially for most modern pop music, the average listener is not going to notice the difference.
The new Apple mp4 stuff is actually pretty cool. It sounds better at lower bitrates than mp3s.

joel hamilton
zen recordist
Posts: 8876
Joined: Mon May 19, 2003 12:10 pm
Location: NYC/Brooklyn
Contact:

Re: MP3s-Are they changing the way we hear???

Post by joel hamilton » Fri May 30, 2003 11:53 am

I have iTunes 4 with the AAC encoder. It is good for making a mix for in the van.

I always feel like i am taking polaroids of the mona lisa when i import a cd i like. but whatever. I like playing aiff's in itunes. If I am going to listen to a digital playback format, I would rather not have it take up any phisical space in my apartment. jewel cases suck anyway. We should be working on higher bandwidth infrastructures and not a "better sounding Mp3."

Oliver Straus/Mission
ass engineer
Posts: 46
Joined: Sun May 25, 2003 6:50 am
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Contact:

Re: MP3s-Are they changing the way we hear???

Post by Oliver Straus/Mission » Fri May 30, 2003 1:59 pm

As 16 bit digital changed it for us who actually listened to vinyl, so mp3 once again degrades audio. I hear the difference clearly( and don't like it), but there is a whole generation that has never heard vinyl - for whom CDs are the standard medium. And further still, to younger Kids MP3 is the standard they know.

I have faith though... Eventually we all realized that SSLs sounded bad. We realized that 16 Bit wasn't enough. ETC... ETC.

MP3s are great for the internet but they are not music just a representation.

Cheers
Oli Straus/Mission Sound Brooklyn
http://www.missionsoundrecording.com

juanmaclean666
audio school graduate
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun May 11, 2003 9:37 am
Location: Manhatten

Re: MP3s-Are they changing the way we hear???

Post by juanmaclean666 » Fri May 30, 2003 4:39 pm

For those of us that grew up on vinyl, the advent of MP3's as an acceptable format for mass distribution to the public is scary. CD's were released a decade before they even verged on sounding acceptable, but from the beginning people were duped by the industry spreading the word that cd's blew away viny, due to nonsense like 'clarity' 'lack of noise' 'presence,' whatever. This girl I know who just got a cd player for her car told me how psyched she was that she could put in a cd with hours of MP3's. I was like "yeah but they sound so bad." She just looked at me like I was some douche bag at a French restaraunt complaining that the wine tasted like the bottle hadn't been turned the proper number of times as it sat in the rack over the years. She has a nice rack though, so I apologized for raining on her parade.

User avatar
ottokbre
deaf.
Posts: 1996
Joined: Wed May 07, 2003 8:54 am
Location: sanfranzizko

Re: MP3s-Are they changing the way we hear???

Post by ottokbre » Fri May 30, 2003 5:11 pm

Yeah, I'm really digging Vinyl again (oh the power of a new needle!)

I don't think the mass distribution of mp3's is scary, I think charging .99 cents per song is though. Somehow they are conveying to people that lower and lower grades are acceptable for the money. Cheap sh*t is taking over way too fast. My issue is'nt quality as much as it is all of a sudden acceptable to charge gobbs for it all. It's bad enough a .05 cent CD costs 17.99 and the artist MAYBE gets a buck out of it.

The real benificial push of any digital audio is advertising genuinly good music. I don't know how many artists I went well out of my way to purchase stuff from (often special ordering) that I heard because of a download or streaming broadcast. As bandwitdth becomes available, we can tune into a million braodcasts and will no longer be enslaved to bad radio. Well, at least that's what I hope.

A return to vinyl and live music. What a concept that would be.
boobs are life's fountain

juanmaclean666
audio school graduate
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun May 11, 2003 9:37 am
Location: Manhatten

Re: MP3s-Are they changing the way we hear???

Post by juanmaclean666 » Fri May 30, 2003 5:47 pm

I'm sure this will make me no friends here, but I think the idea of 'musicians' offering their music direct to the public through the internet is fucking horrible. I think there is something to be said for the filtering effect of record labels. Believe me, I grew up with punk rock, post-punk, indie rock, and collected and loved all kinds of obscure shit. But, and I know this is not very pc, there is a reason why most music gets rejected by labels. I do not believe that there is brilliant music out there that just will not be put out by any label, and that the revolution of the eradication of record labels will solve this 'problem.' Some people are good doctors, some people are good teachers, some people are good road pavers, but a fraction of a percent of the population have something worthwhile to offer musically. I think it's great if you like to make music as a hobby, that is much easier now, and that's how we all start. But spamming day after day to get people to listen to your mp3 download is depressing.
Holy shit that sounds terrible.

djslayerissick
buyin' gear
Posts: 584
Joined: Wed May 07, 2003 12:02 pm

Re: MP3s-Are they changing the way we hear???

Post by djslayerissick » Fri May 30, 2003 8:41 pm

this may be off topic, but i occasionally use the crap-ification process of lo-fi mp3's as a musical tool - especially for electronic sounds. sometimes when i have a sample or synth line that is too present in the mix (too much clarity, too much high-end, etc.), i'll convert the sample to a 64k mp3 and then convert it back to wav and put it back in the mix. it gives it a slightly smeared sound with some high-end flutter (yeah, the stuff everybody complains about) that i cant seem to replicate using standard EQ, compression, limiting, chorus, and reverb. its just like anything else, if it effects audio in anyway, theres usually some way to put it to good use - even if its not the way it was intended to be used.

back on topic - when i want the public to sample my music online, heres an mp3, have fun with it. when you want the real thing, you'll but the cd - or come to a show (the REAL, real thing). my whole cd collection has been converted to 192k mp3's and stored on my computer. i have a $40 mp3 cd player i travel with. i HATE getting my cd's so scratched up that i have to re-purchase the whole cd, when usually its only a song or two that got screwed. and yes, i can hear the difference - its blatantly obvious. when i'm traveling, i really dont care about sound quality - i just want some entertainment to keep me occupied over the sound of traffic or the rubble of an airplane.
but who among us has never owned or listened to cassette tapes? those things freakin suck! and the audio quality is MUCH MUCH worse than any 128k mp3 to my ears. and heaven forbid you try to make a copy to another tape.

and just to say it (and its true), the crackle and pop of vinyl makes my skin crawl - yuuuuuuuck - if i never have to hear that sound again, it'll be too soon.

Oliver Straus/Mission
ass engineer
Posts: 46
Joined: Sun May 25, 2003 6:50 am
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Contact:

Re: MP3s-Are they changing the way we hear???

Post by Oliver Straus/Mission » Sat May 31, 2003 9:07 am

We as engineers have been LO Fi-ing things for years. That is one thing... It is intentional and thought out. But to have a substandard medium passed off as standard to the unknowing is criminal.... And then to charge money for it as well? You want 99 cents - give me SDII OK?[/quote]
Oli Straus/Mission Sound Brooklyn
http://www.missionsoundrecording.com

User avatar
logancircle
tinnitus
Posts: 1092
Joined: Fri May 09, 2003 8:45 am
Location: Washington, DC
Contact:

you're not crazy

Post by logancircle » Sat May 31, 2003 12:09 pm

You ever take a shitty little radio outside to go fishing or work in the garden or smoke a cigarette? Isn't it nice? Depending on your reception, it's often a lot worse quality than even a 128 MP3. But it doesn't matter. When a song comes on that totally fits with your mood, it doesn't matter if it's MP3 quality or DVD-audio quality. This is a different experience than kicking back in a nice room with a sweet stereo and really getting into the sound of hi-fi (one shouldn't fool oneself into thinking MP3 even 256 are hifi), but IMO there is room for both. I listened to Pet SOunds in mono on a crappy little kid's toy phono player the other day--it was very nice!

brian beattie
steve albini likes it
Posts: 370
Joined: Wed May 07, 2003 6:37 am
Location: Austin, Texas

Re: MP3s-Are they changing the way we hear???

Post by brian beattie » Sat May 31, 2003 3:53 pm

mp3's ain't changing the way I hear music. I've only heard mp3 files a few dozen times in my life!
But I HAVE noticed that it's kind of krap filter. If the original production was bad, it'll sound exponentially worse on mp3. Logancircle's point is significant, the "hi-fi" application of music, (listening on a good system) esp. music meant for mass consumption is a luxury. Why should I need a perfect listening system just to hear to a tune? AND, significantly, a well produced track doesn't NEED an ideal stereo system. (pet sounds)
so, anyway, gitcher ipod, cram the history of recorded music into it and go walk the pacific rim trail. If you're smart, you'll turn it off anyway and listen to the wind in the leaves and your crunching footsteps. heck, that's probably even better than VINYL!!!
brian

Locked

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests