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  1. #1
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    Routing the compressed bits...

    Long time I listened my mp3's through my SB on my home-receiver. I used the analoge ouputs and was excited! It works!
    Later I bought an digital-coax cable and connected it between the digital out and in of my amplifier. It worked too! Yes, and I found out that the soundstage was improved.
    Then I bought an Behringer Ultramatch PRO SRC2496 wich converted the signal to 24 bits/96Khz and for me (the rest of my family decided there was not) there was again a little improvement.
    Experimenting with cables I bought an optical link (Toslink) for connecting the SB to the converter instead of the coaxial link and thought, that now there was no electrical contact between SB and rest of my hifi-installation, the sound would be different (my family went for shopping, no more interested...). Well, the sound was, for me, again a bit better.
    So, there I was, switching cables, testing the same track over and over again till I got an idea....

    What when I would replace the mp3-decoder with the one I used to encode my libarary (lame 3.96)? Maybe it could deal too with the gaps I heared listening to my life-albums and I was curious to what would happen to the 'sound' again (my wife told me I went crazy).

    So after using this forum for the info I put lame.exe in the BIN directory and changed the convert.conf file like this:

    mp3 aif squeezebox *
    [lame] --decode -t --silent -x $FILE$ -

    I restarted my slimserver-service and there it was! I could choose for the decoding via lame, sending the bits and bytes to my SB wich would simple converted them to the digital output (Toslink).

    Will my wife be right am I getting crazy? I still hear an improvement or is it rather wishfull thinking? I think I do hear a better sound by converting via lame then via the build-in decoder from the SB. The lower tones are more straight, soundstage is widened whereas the SB makes the sound somewhat blurred, still good but comparing to the lame-used decoder (mpg1213 or something).

    Maybe you (mp3-listeners) can help me check if I am right or indeed getting crazy (look out for your home-mates..;-)). I am curious at what your findings are.

    Thanks,

    quick_snack
    (must go using flac to avoid all this.....)

  2. #2
    Senior Member relen's Avatar
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    Interestingly, S/PDIF coax is generally regarded as superior to optical, as the latter can introduce jitter and also can't be too long. Good 75-ohm digital audio cable gives excellent results and doesn't have to be too expensive. (get pro audio digital cable and not absurdly expensive audiophile cable).

    While I think you can obviously improve anything, I think you're right to say that going to a lossless compression technology would make a bigger improvement than you have experience so far...

    --Richard E

  3. #3
    Senior Member Mike Hanson's Avatar
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    Using MP3 files, all of these tests are pointless. The significant negative aspects of MP3 far outweigh any minor improvements you might get in other areas. Change to the FLAC lossless format, and hear a real improvement!

    -=> Mike Hanson <=-

  4. #4
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    Quality MP3

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Hanson
    Using MP3 files, all of these tests are pointless. The significant negative aspects of MP3 far outweigh any minor improvements you might get in other areas. Change to the FLAC lossless format, and hear a real improvement!

    -=> Mike Hanson <=-
    I don't agree. There is a point (bitrate) when mp3 can offer transparancy to the listener. I use Lame version 3.96 in combination with -alt preset extreme. Bitrate's differ from 196 to 230. When ABX-ing with Foobar2000 I could not tell any difference between original and encoded tracks.

    For use with the SB I am curious if the softened decoding sounds better than the hardened decoder (used in the SB).

  5. #5
    Senior Member Mike Hanson's Avatar
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    Your ability to determine the difference between MP3 and the original will be affected by your components (amp, speaker, etc.) You may not hear the difference because your system is not capable of resolving it. It's no different than listening to music in my car while driving down the road: MP3 is fine there, because it's battling against wind, engine and road noise.

    Lossy is lossy, regardless of how "extreme" your encoder settings happen to be.

    -=> Mike Hanson <=-

  6. #6
    Senior Member Mike Hanson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quick_snack
    There is a point (bitrate) when mp3 can offer transparancy to the listener.
    Consider this statement in the context of your reports regarding the impact of different cables on the sound. It just doesn't make any sense to suggest that you can hear the difference between cables, but not between (any) MP3 and the original.

    -=> Mike Hanson <=-

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