Has anyone compared 128 bit songs to 256 bit songs yet?

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
Has anyone been able to hear an improvement with the newer 256 bit music files over the older 128 bit ones? I'm interested if the average music listener could tell a differenece between two identical songs from Apple with the differenet bit rates.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 17
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sc_markt View Post


    Has anyone been able to hear an improvement with the newer 256 bit music files over the older 128 bit ones? I'm interested if the average music listener could tell a differenece between two identical songs from Apple with the differenet bit rates.



    Why don't you download foobar2000 and do an ABX test and find out for yourself. It's quite fun and since you do it yourself you'll know for sure whether or not you can actually hear the difference. I did one a while back and found out I couldn't tell the difference between a 320 AAC and a WAV half of the time so now I encode all my tracks at that bitrate.



    Cheers



    http://www.foobar2000.org/

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foobar2000
  • Reply 2 of 17
    shetlineshetline Posts: 4,695member
    I've got a few DRM-free 256 kbps tracks now, but I haven't done any listening comparisons yet with the old 128 kbps versions of the same music. Of 46 tracks I had an opportunity to upgrade to iTunes Plus tracks, which I ordered about 42 hours ago, 15 are stuck in a state of partial download and all attempts to finish those 15 downloads result (after long, long delays) in further timeout/dropped connection failures.



    I'm guessing that Apple underestimated the bandwidth hit they were going to take when a lot of people tried to upgrade a lot of music all at once. You'll probably have to wait until the download situation improves before more people are ready to chime in on this topic.



    For some reason I find it hard to relax and just listen to the music when I'm fretting and being annoyed about all the downloads that haven't completed yet. \
  • Reply 3 of 17
    sc_marktsc_markt Posts: 1,393member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by shetline View Post


    I've got a few DRM-free 256 kbps tracks now, but I haven't done any listening comparisons yet with the old 128 kbps versions of the same music. Of 46 tracks I had an opportunity to upgrade to iTunes Plus tracks, which I ordered about 42 hours ago, 15 are stuck in a state of partial download and all attempts to finish those 15 downloads result (after long, long delays) in further timeout/dropped connection failures.



    I'm guessing that Apple underestimated the bandwidth hit they were going to take when a lot of people tried to upgrade a lot of music all at once. You'll probably have to wait until the download situation improves before more people are ready to chime in on this topic.



    For some reason I find it hard to relax and just listen to the music when I'm fretting and being annoyed about all the downloads that haven't completed yet. \



    I would also be annoyed over a glitch like that... It wouldn't be over the small chump change possibly being lost but rather the time and pain of having to deal with Apple to get the tracks.
  • Reply 4 of 17
    slewisslewis Posts: 2,080member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sc_markt View Post


    I would also be annoyed over a glitch like that... It wouldn't be over the small chump change possibly being lost but rather the time and pain of having to deal with Apple to get the tracks.



    You wouldn't need to worry about losing money anyways. The first album I downloaded was a success for the most part... except there were some songs at the end that didn't finish downloading because iTunes (on Windows of course) crashed. I was horrified and was actually prepared to re-buy some of the songs... but when I clicked the buy now button they basically said I already bought the music so they're not going to charge me and they would be happy to continue downloading the songs that didn't finish. (of course that's just a summary... I forgot the exact wording because I haven't had a problem since then)



    Sebastian
  • Reply 5 of 17
    aplnubaplnub Posts: 2,582member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by shetline View Post


    I've got a few DRM-free 256 kbps tracks now, but I haven't done any listening comparisons yet with the old 128 kbps versions of the same music. Of 46 tracks I had an opportunity to upgrade to iTunes Plus tracks, which I ordered about 42 hours ago, 15 are stuck in a state of partial download and all attempts to finish those 15 downloads result (after long, long delays) in further timeout/dropped connection failures.



    I'm guessing that Apple underestimated the bandwidth hit they were going to take when a lot of people tried to upgrade a lot of music all at once. You'll probably have to wait until the download situation improves before more people are ready to chime in on this topic.



    For some reason I find it hard to relax and just listen to the music when I'm fretting and being annoyed about all the downloads that haven't completed yet. \



    Same here, I am down to one song. They must be overwhelmed. I had 31 songs and 2 albums and it only cost me $7.95 to upgrade. I would upgrade my entire library after hearing the quality difference. I just listen to music, but it was unbelievable when I listened to my DRM free high quality iTunes song.
  • Reply 6 of 17
    idaveidave Posts: 1,283member
    Personally, I doubt it's worth getting only half as many songs into my iPod.
  • Reply 7 of 17
    tiger58tiger58 Posts: 1member
    Scott Blaszak at Slate answers your question:



    http://www.slate.com/id/2167390/fr/flyout
  • Reply 8 of 17
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iDave View Post


    Personally, I doubt it's worth getting only half as many songs into my iPod.



    For the record, because of the way the songs are compressed, 256Kbps songs are only 10-15% larger than their 128Kbps counterparts. Despite being twice the data throughput. So you're not losing "half" of the songs. But still gaining quite a bit of improvement on the audio quality.



    To answer the OP though, it all depends how you listen to your music. If you're just using your iPod and a pair of $10 headphones, then no, the extra Kbps will not really make a difference. You can't hear every soundwave on the spectum with such headphones. Bass especially.



    But if you frequently listen to music on your computer's desktop speakers, home entertainment center, or through a high-end car stereo system, then yes, you'll notice a HUGE difference in the 256Kbps songs.



    In my own research, while I can tell the difference in every bitrate compression increment from 56Kbps all the way up to lossless, I believe that the jump from 128 to 256 is the most significant. This is because the bass is essentially removed from any song under 128Kbps. So when you play 256Kbps songs on a good stereo system, you instantly realize how "hollow" the song sounded at 128Kbps.



    Now I'll admit I'm something of an audiophile, so even 256Kbps is a bit low for me. However, I can still respect the quality improvment from 128Kbps.



    The biggest advantage to iTunes' 256Kbps songs though is the fact that they're DRM free. Meaning that you can copy them as many times as you want, play them on as many computers as you want, and never be limited to one iPod. the 256Kbps is really just a bonus.



    Sorry this was long winded, but hopfully that clears things up for you.



    To sum things up, yes, the quality improvement is worth it.
  • Reply 9 of 17
    chuckerchucker Posts: 5,089member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by smashbrosfan View Post


    For the record, because of the way the songs are compressed, 256Kbps songs are only 10-15% larger than their 128Kbps counterparts.



    Wha?



    The Kooks ?*Ooh La. 256 kbit/s. 3:28 playing time, 6.6 MB. Converted to 128 kbit/s? Still 3:28 playing time, but now 3.5 MB. 89% is a far cry from "10-15%".
  • Reply 10 of 17
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Chucker View Post


    Wha?



    The Kooks ?*Ooh La. 256 kbit/s. 3:28 playing time, 6.6 MB. Converted to 128 kbit/s? Still 3:28 playing time, but now 3.5 MB. 89% is a far cry from "10-15%".



    Hm... Well thanks for correcting me. Always eager to learn more.



    However, I've several songs that only went from 3.5 to 4MB. So it obviously depends on the song.



    Thinking about it now, I'd think songs that have a lot of instruments wouldn't compress as much as those with few instruments.



    But even with your correction, my initial point remains. It's still not "twice" as big.
  • Reply 11 of 17
    idaveidave Posts: 1,283member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by smashbrosfan View Post


    For the record, because of the way the songs are compressed, 256Kbps songs are only 10-15% larger than their 128Kbps counterparts. Despite being twice the data throughput. So you're not losing "half" of the songs. But still gaining quite a bit of improvement on the audio quality.



    The biggest advantage to iTunes' 256Kbps songs though is the fact that they're DRM free. Meaning that you can copy them as many times as you want, play them on as many computers as you want, and never be limited to one iPod. the 256Kbps is really just a bonus.



    To sum things up, yes, the quality improvement is worth it.



    Kilobits per second is kilobits per second, so 256k songs are going to be roughly twice the size of 128k.



    I've never really felt limited by Apple's DRM. I can play my tunes on five different computers and as many iPods as I like. There is an inconvenience when I want to make MP3 discs for my car in that the DRMed songs can't be easily converted. And if sometime in the future, I get a different portable device on which to play my music, I won't like Apple's DRM at all!



    As for sound quality, I admit to not being able to hear any difference between 128k songs and anything higher but I realize my hearing is probably not so good or my sound systems aren't so good. So the jury's still out in my mind. When I buy an EMI album from now on, I'll probably get the 256k version since the price is the same but I'm not going to lose sleep if I can't get all of my iTunes music in that format.
  • Reply 12 of 17
    idaveidave Posts: 1,283member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by smashbrosfan View Post


    But even with your correction, my initial point remains. It's still not "twice" as big.



    Perhaps with variable bit rate encoding, the difference isn't always two times, but it's a significant difference.
  • Reply 13 of 17
    davidzladavidzla Posts: 63member
    Is this the iTunes Store business plan? What's the introduction date for new, improved 320 kbps tracks?



    512...

    1 Mbps...



    please wave your PayKey at the PaySensor... thanks, enjoy your music.
  • Reply 14 of 17
    squall58squall58 Posts: 29member
    lolo~ it is hard to tell difference in two differenct bit rates songs,i used Xilisoft Audio Maker to rip a new 256bit music , and compare with the older 128bit,in my sony earphone, i can decide which one is better, the same as the music from Apple
  • Reply 15 of 17
    eric1285eric1285 Posts: 29member
    You have to use at least a decent set of headphones or speakers to be able to tell. No way you'll be able to tell using iPod earbuds.
  • Reply 16 of 17
    mbaynhammbaynham Posts: 534member
    it all depends on the number of channels that the track has got.
  • Reply 17 of 17
    i have cd rips at 320kpbs and 192kbps. the difference is very, very noticeable, so i presume the same would go for 128/256, but hey i'm listening through a decent set of headphones, if not, maybe not.
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