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Old 17th September 2013, 20:32   #11
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hi Ryerman,

I finally got the time to do proper listening tests. see below:

Originally Posted by ryerman View Post
I don't have earbuds but I listened (in Safe Mode) with some old headphones as well as with the stereo system speakers.

For each example, each encoding sounds the same to me.

If there were (are?) drastic and obvious differences in the sound of the different encodings, our personal set-ups wouldn't matter much.
But we don't have identical hardware and software, not to mention brains and ears. That could explain our differing experience if there are only subtle differences in the files.
Or maybe I should schedule an appointment with an audiologist.
I am using an alienware laptop with SSD. that's important b/c mechanical system drives tend to bleed noise into the headphone jack of laptops. the files are on a usb 3.0 1TB drive, but would sound the same even if on the SSD.

I am also using a nice set of earbuds, not real expensive but not cheapo either. I do think its important to have earbuds since you can really get proper feedback when comparing files. for instance, I use them to decide between orig vers and remasters (remasters aren't always necessarily better!)

anyway, take my last attachment, it has our files in it. put them in track # order, then title order. they will then go: orig flacs, my ALAC conversions (conv), your ALAC stereo conversions. I have RG track on for all of them.

imo some sound the same basically, while others are drastically different, meaning not subtle or a shade of difference, but different enough so you could always tell them apart easily.

here are my results:

chess2 = orig sounds muted, more static than signal by comparison to the other two, the conv sounds better, fuller, much louder, and yours sounds even just a bit more fuller and echo-ier than the conv

excellent = the orig sounds quiet, the other two sound louder and basically the same

fine = ditto excellent

greetings = this is one where all 3 sound basically the same.

playgame = ditto excellent

sprkplug = ditto excellent, although if someone said ditto chess2 just not as pronounced, I wouldn't argue

sucks = ditto chess2; after several listens, I think your conv sounds a bit better than mine, more natural

in all cases, either conv is better than the orig, and louder.

it is important to point out that I am hearing clear differences between my flacs and my alacs, even though the RG value is in most cases EXACTLY the same. your values are different, but your files are mono-> stereo conversions, and so I would expect them to be somewhat different, but they are in some cases drastically different, and really, its weird b/c it should just be 2 channel mono, so I can't explain the specs or the better sound!

Originally Posted by ryerman View Post
As for your original .flac files; I can't prove they are garbage. So I'm just relying on the circumstantial evidence mentioned in my first post.
The fact that they play in Winamp does not guarantee that they are not faulty.
I agree, and I wouldn't even know how to approach the issue.

maybe flac only officially supports some specs and semi unofficially others? or maybe what I made from the original wavs, (which themselves were oddballs) has faulty header info or something, although again they were made with either the 1.2.1 Flac frontend, or Audacity using 1.2.1

...OR it may be the case that the apps / results from your first post are simply less tolerant than winamp is?

but what seems to be true is the following:

1. winamp has a problem with displaying the proper bitrate on some ALACs.
2. winamp likely has a problem with mono ALACs, and/or maybe ALACs with "low specs."
3. winamp seems to be slower handling ALAC metadata than other formats.

its clear to me that the devs need to at least look into ALAC handling and behavior. the concern is that I might be making a fairly serious erroneous assumption, and winamp actually is not handling HQ ALACs properly either; but just isn't "as obvious" about what its doing wrong as it is here with these examples.

eventually I will run the same listening tests as above with another player. I am very curious as to whether its winamp making them sound different, or the files themselves, (I suspect the files).

BUG #1 = Winamp skips short tracks
Wish #1 = Multiple Column Sorting
Wish #2 = Add TCMP/Compilation editing
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