Yes, bought mp3s are missing the full data of CDs and you donīt know how they were encoded. You canīt change quality to a higher level or restore the losses of boiled down digital information once encoded to mp3 (of course you can reduce bitrate further with more audible loss).
The tools i mentioned above will give you the currently best possible results with mp3ing your own CDs (and well made recordings with good equipment of your vinyls from .wav).
Yes, i think mp3s like 224kbit vbr and above are high fidelity and more than good enough to be listened to in a car with a good multimedia system. There is virtually no discoverable difference between CD and high quality mp3s (Lame Encoder at bitrates above 192kbps), even in an excellent studio environment.
Last edited by CFuture; January 29th, 2012 at 02:40 PM.
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Once you've lost the data it's gone and can't be retrieved. So I use FLAC for home and convert to good mp3 or ogg vorbis for travel.
I agree that it makes no difference in a car or with the average speakers people use with computers, but I can tell mp3 from FLAC whenever I listen to a decent system. Quite often I've wondered why the music didn't sound as good, and checked the source to discover I was accidentally playing the lossy version rather than the FLAC.
Of course, a lot of music people listen to is so synthetic and has such a compressed dynamic range it hardly makes sense to compare it to live music anyway, but that's another story.
FLAC stands for Free Lossless Audio Codec, an audio format similar to MP3, but lossless, meaning that audio is compressed in FLAC without any loss in quality. This is similar to how Zip works, except with FLAC you will get much better compression because it is designed specifically for audio, and you can play back compressed FLAC files in your favorite player (or your car or home stereo, see supported devices) just like you would an MP3 file.
I searched on-line regarding FLAC support for head units and car stereos and such.
One individual suggested that because of greater memory/disk drive space coming up in
the future that WAV will be the standard(!).
A laptop in the car was suggested as well.
There are some comments below. I'm glad this isn't urgent because this is more technical
than I originally thought.
There are a number of audiophile forums out there. I've searched enough for now, but that
doesn't mean I've seen every comment that's important on the subject of FLAC.
You realize if you end up not liking it in FLAC or ALAC, you could just convert between the two? Ripping is the hardest part, after that, converting all of them between formats shouldn't take too long (it takes about 2-3 hours to convert 160GB of my FLAC to ALAC, and the size difference is negligible, we're talking less than 1GB of difference per every 100GB, but FLAC is ever so slightly smaller in general at level 8 compression). You can convert from FLAC to ALAC and vice versa a million times without losing data because they're both lossless. The only thing you have to watch out for is metadata support. Converting from FLAC to ALAC shouldn't change metadata (track information, order, album art) but if you convert to WAVE (also lossless) you will lose this metadata (but the music itself is still lossless!).
Also, for greatest compatibility: neither. ALAC works great if you have all Apple devices (iPods play it, Quicktime and iTunes recognize it), but nothing (besides Linux distros and maybe some Android devices) plays FLAC out of the box. Usually it's really easy to install the codec to play it, but if we're talking flat out compatibility, the only thing almost universally accepted it WAVE (which is lossless, but isn't compressed and doesn't have support for metadata like album art).
After using the 448u for a bit, I'm very pleased. And it will play flac over the ipod USB cable although you have to trick it into thinking its playing Pandora first. If anyone needs a new car stereo, I'll endorse this one.
Using FLAC is only benificial if you have the stereo equipment which will allow you to hear the difference. Put on a set of Apple ear buds and listen to FLAC vs MP3 and most people wouldnt be able to tell the difference. Now, put on a set of BOSE headphones listen. Here is where the difference can be heard.
The same with the car stereos. You can have the best audio file format combined with the best head unit in the world, but if you using stock speakers there is really no point.
I had a 10 speaker 2000 watt stereo system using Precision Power amps and a Alpine head unit with a Percision Power Parabolic equalizer. I could hear the artist breathing in the background. I went overboard on my stereo system, but at a minimum you need to go with a good set of component speakers to get the most out of your car stereo head unit. Otherwise you wont be able to hear detail in the audio you are listening too.
nosce te ipsum
Trade what the market is doing; NOT what you think its going to do.
Apparently there are 18 (maybe 23?) lossless audio formats, not including WAV.
Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought I read that there is no lossless
format that can even double the content of WAV, per megabyte or whatever. It doesn't seem,
that if I've got this right, that there is any big savings of data storage by using a lossless file,
especially in these days with huge USB drives that one can carry on ones person.
Maybe it makes sense to scrap all lossless formats and just have WAV.
I used to have more time than now. I used to listen to music at the computer with my headphones
way back. It was a great sound. They say that if you want to know what the artist intended for you
to hear, that you should wear good headphones, because that is what they used at the studio when
they made and reviewed the music they made.
I know what you're saying regarding car stereos. Mine is subpar.
Buick seems to make an effort, but I suppose many of the better car makers also try.
2012 Buick LaCrosse
A Premium 3 model includes 18-inch chromed alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, a 120-volt household-style power outlet and an 11-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system.
At this point it seems easier to just stick with WAV for everything. My computer will obviously play it, and CD
players (which will be around for many more years I assume) also will play WAV. Otherwise it gets a little
messy with 2 formats or more. Mp3 and WAV and let's say Apple iTunes store which uses lossy AAC. Which I must
say is odd since Apple has a lossless format, ALAC. (If I got all this right?)
Links if anyone has great interest regarding Apple: