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Matts (1087)

Matts
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I work for MessageLabs [messagelabs.com] in Toronto, ON, Canada. I write spam filters, MTA software, high performance network software, string matching algorithms, and other cool stuff mostly in Perl and C.

Journal of Matts (1087)

Wednesday February 20, 2002
06:01 AM

MP3's

[ #2987 ]

I've taken to listening to MP3's at work using headphones. I've got a nice pair of cans that seem to give good sound clarity, but I'm increasingly dissappointed with MP3's while listening through them. Case in point at the moment is Toploader's "Dancing in the Moonlight", great track but the clapping that goes through the track is horribly distorted. The other one was King Crimson's amazing "Lark's Tongues in Aspic", which has some incredibly intense sections with cymbals and triangles, and it just sounds like a distorted mess through these cans. Actually as an aside, the vinyl version of Larks Tongues in Aspic actually has significantly more clarity and depth than the CD version. I guess you really do lose something even in 16bit audio.

I didn't encode these, so I don't know what was used (some pointy clicky Win32 thingy), it's just the work jukebox, but I guess headphones make a big difference to how picky you get with your music - I never noticed this stuff over regular speakers, and for the majority of music it doesn't matter, but I'm certainly starting to see why some people complain about MP3's. Maybe I should just unplug the headphones and blare out the music for everyone, though finding King Crimson fans isn't an easy task ;-)

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  • Normally, I try to minimize harsh languages, but fuck 'em if they can't take a little Crimso. When I reflect on of the crappy pop tunes, muzac and hip-hop I've had to endure in public places, I think your musical tastes need to be respected as much as anyone elses.

    Lark's Tongue, of course, kicks ass.

  • Have you tried Ogg (or Ogg Vorbis or Vorbis, or whatever it is they're supposed to be called). I've not tried it myself, but from what I've read, you'll get better quality with Ogg.

    Also, what bitrate are you encoding at? I usually do 192 at a minimum.

    • Like I said, I haven't had chance to re-encode any of this stuff yet. I'm going to have a go with "Lark's Tongues" when I get a spare moment though - the current recording is MP3@128Kbps, which is pretty much as low as you can go quality wise. And IIRC I did it with Bladenc.
      • Re:Ogg? (Score:2, Informative)

        I use iTunes/SoundJam which uses the FhG stuff, and I find that 160 kbps virtually eliminates artifacts (if I turn off the "smart" frequency and encoder adjustments). But on the occasional track that doesn't sound good at 160, 192 is just fine. I've never heard an encoder that does well with lots of cymbals or jangling guitars etc. at 128 kbps.
  • MP3 (Score:2, Interesting)

    I find that MP3 128Kbps is a decent encoding rate for a lot of my percussion-free stuff, particularly things like quartet music and piano music; but for things with high-frequency percussion, that bitrate often makes the percussion very shwoosh.

    I remember Joe Hall telling me the ins and outs of how to give the encoder switches for paying more attention to getting that high-frequency stuff right, but it was way over my head.

  • Never knew you were a KC fan matt.

    Anyway, MP3 for anything other than low-fidelity pop is truly offensive. If you want to listen to LTiA properly, forget the vinyl and come round for visit - I'll play you the David Singleton remastered version thru a set of studio speakers. Fracture (from SaBB) is superb when you hear it properly, oh and I have quite a lot of the "KC Collectors Club Official Bootlegs" too....

    Tim (used to chat to you about Win32::ASP from my days at WestMerchant Bank)