The Much Maligned MP3?


There is a school of thought that regards any form of lossy data as inherently flawed and unsuitable for the use in high performance audio playback.

But is this really so?

When even Redbook CD is now regarded by some as inadequate, you can imagine their opinions on streaming via broadband Wi-Fi - or even, shock horror - Bluetooth 5!

Even the fact that equipment manufacturers and dealers routinely use it for demonstration purposes doesn’t deter these naysayers.

Not does the fact that the 128kbps MP3 used on YouTube is found to be perfectly acceptable to billions of users worldwide.

Some still regard the use of 320kbps MP3 (with over twice as much data) as heretical.

They also seem to be oblivious to the various ongoing discussions about user perceptions of quality such as the ongoing 720p v 1080p / Blu-ray v 4k resolution debate or the 60Hz v 90Hz v 144Hz monitor refresh rates issue etc.

Surely the fact that many uploaders are now seeking to post videos with better sound quality on sites such as YouTube surely demonstrates that there might be a huge demand for better sound quality out there.

As well as the inescapable fact that provenance matters far more than the means of transmission.

So isn’t it high time for audiophiles to shed some of these long held prejudices?
cd318
There is a school of thought

It is an observation. MP3 simply sounds like crap. 


As well as the inescapable fact that provenance matters far more than the means of transmission.

Provenance is history of ownership. Where it came from. Provenance really only matters when counterfeit and stolen property, in other words criminal activity, is a concern. That is why provenance is so big in the art world. Or with real estate. Absolutely essential you be secure in your title of ownership.

You're saying provenance matters ... with digital??! Really?!?


So isn’t it high time for audiophiles to shed some of these long held prejudices?

First it was "a school of thought". Then it's where it came from. No wait, never mind. Now it's prejudice. Make up your mind!  

PS- you posted this in music. But the subject- which granted it is hard to tell just what the subject is, but it sure ain't music- would seem to be tech talk. Or philosophy. Or prejudice. Care to clarify?
There are differences between lossless and too much compressed files in any relatively good system, especially if rightfully embedded...

But most dont even own an audio room adequately acoustically controlled then how to listen and perceive differences without the shred of a doubt?


We could be spared by all these steriles controversies and polemics about files, sources, analog and digital , tube and S.S. if we could concentrate on the main audio problem for ANY system at ANY price: controls of his 3 main working dimensions or embeddings ...

We could even be able to listen to the audible differences on any relatively low cost good system...

Now it is not the case because MOST people had never listen to their system at his peak utmost level to begin with...They prefer to argue about secondary choices of sources or formats etc instead of concentrate in fundamental installation decisions and about the measures to be taken in the 3 working dimensions...

Simple....
@millercarbon,

"MP3 simply sounds like crap."


I would like to start by apologising if you were triggered by the word prejudice, but your reply perfectly highlights the very point I was making.

You do realise that many folk cannot distinguish between CD and 192kbps, let alone 320kbps?



"You’re saying provenance matters ... with digital??! Really?!?"

Provenance refers to the original source of something. In painting or photography it would be the original canvas or the negative.

In audio it’s usually the original master tape.

2nd or 3rd generation tapes can never be improvements, can they?

Even with digital there are often different masterings, so comparing like for like is not always so straightforward.

When you stream you are often presented with different masterings. Sometimes their provenance is made clear, but not always.

For example when listening to Revolver you might want to know is it the 1987 or the 2009? Is it stereo or the mono.

It gets even worse with Pepper.


"PS- you posted this in music. But the subject- which granted it is hard to tell just what the subject is, but it sure ain’t music"


The clue is in the title. For sure it’s a wide ranging subject but I hope we can both agree that the music matters most.




@mahgister,

"There are differences between lossless and too much compressed files in any relatively good system, especially if rightfully embedded..."


Yes, but at what point are they too much compressed?

Is ’too much’ at 128, 160, 192, 256 or even 320kbps?

I don’t mind confessing that I can’t easily hear any difference above 192kbps. As far as I know, no one else can either.

Yet the derision for MP3 continues.
I don’t mind confessing that I can’t easily hear any difference above 192kbps. As far as I know, no one else can either.
I dont mind either, save that the perceptive threshold varied more in relation to the rightfull embeddings controls of the system than even of the system quality in many case... It is not your ears perhaps the problem with this 192 kbps... 😁


Among all embeddings controls (mechanical and electrical) which are powerful, acoustic rule .....


Acoustic is so powerful that most upgrades seems small compared to it after the treatment and especially the acoustic controls are in place, unbeknownst to most people conditioned by market consumerism of gear in the form of reviews....

Unbeknonwst to most that boast about very highly costly audio system, peanuts costs system are not also so far behind, when rightfully embedded...

It is my experience and experiments of 2 years conclusion....


 My best to you from my heart.....






«Why are you free spirit? Because i know my schackles»-Groucho Marx
CD double breasted yamaha"
Many folks cannot distinguish.."

My money says most can. They just don’t care.
WE DO.



@mahgister,

"Acoustic is so powerful that most upgrades seems small compared to it after the treatment and especially the acoustic controls are in place, unbeknownst to most people conditioned by market consumerism of gear in the form of reviews...."



What would be the easiest step you could recommend for all of us to try for ourselves?
What would be the easiest step you could recommend for all of us to try for ourselves?



It is a difficult question...Because each room is very different and pose an exclusive problem...a small room could be made a magnificient active acoustical tool...

It take me 2 years with a hundred at least modifications, with each one adding something to the others....

Some modification implemented in a first move will not give an extraordinary audible effect, but a barely audible one for example...There is an order to the acoustic treatment and controls...

The best is to begin with passive material treatment...

Remember that my room is exclusively an audio room and not a common room....

I dont think it would have been possible for me to go on with this acoustical journey in a living room...


i think the best possible thing to try in a living room, would be to use my Helmholtz-Fibonacci tubes and pipes...With crafty hand they can be made very esthetical work of art....

I created 18 of them , tubes or pipes with lenght around the golden ratio, by group of three...3 pipes inserted in a brick with a series of holes in it...You can begin with 3 sets of three for example....It takes few space and could be beautiful to see....

The pipes are regular copper plumber pipes and the tube are 2 types of PVC regular plumber tubes... I obstruct them with a sheet of thin plastic and introduce into the mouth of the tube a straw with a very thin diameter, half of the regular straw....You must experiment yourself with the diameter of the straw and his lenght....It is related heavily about the dimensions of the room and its geometry...

The goal with my 18 pipes and tubes was to work simultaneously on many frequencies scale in a complementary way.... And that work good.... I dont recognize any of my files ..... We dont know what we dont have in S.Q’ save if we experience it first.... Most people have no idea of what is lacking in their S.Q.


Acoustic is the golden road of audio, not upgrading......upgrading before listening to his system in the optimal condition and at his peak level is a waste of money....Upgrade must be made AFTER the embdeddings controls not before....


Bare in mind that passive materials treatment are only half of the way, the other way is the active non electronical controls, in the form of Schumann generators, Ionizers, and Helmholtz tubes and pipes....

The passive material treatment with reflective panels, absorbent panels and diffusive volume and their balancing distribution are half of the job... It is possible to make it in an incremental way but it takes time and it has been fun and rewarding...

The active way is also necessary why?


Because we dont listen only to the sound coming from the bouncing from the passive walls no more... We listen to the activated room now with the S.G. the ionizers, and the Helmholtz-Fibonacci pipes and tubes acting like different pressuring engines in the room.... The sound is a creation of the room now interacting with the speakers but the room is like a dynamical pressured engine but no more an homogenous one and a passive one....

The audible impact is huge....No upgrade can beat it save for the highly costlier one and even that to be satisfying must be in their controlled working dimensions.... A highly costly system can sound unnatural in a non controlled room and environment..I listen to some on youtube....Even with youtube the deficiencies were very audible coming from a bad room...

The sound waves in a room are like the tensed strings of a violin where the minimal touch create an intense precise sound.... The waves can make near a 100 bouncing in a second in a small room and this boucing in different pressure engines and zones of the room create a frequencies response very strong....Instead of making complicated calculus i decided to install with Fibonacci ratio different pipes with 3 different diameter and lenght and with different neck lenght and sometimes no neck only a hole in the plastic sheet....

The idea was to make the different pipes and tubes working complementarily.... Without calculus it worked for me i used my ears to decide for the lenght of the straws and their diameters.... The slightly modifications were very audible for me but in a room already heavily modified....

This is the best i can give for an advice.... It is fun but it takes time and cost me almost nothing....I dont need any upgrade now.... Consumerism is not always the way to create a very high S.Q. and it is not necessary the best way at all....

Dont upgrade, embed everything rightfully....Mechanically, electrically and acoustically.... It is the motto resuming my method....


My best to you .....
What would be the easiest step you could recommend for all of us to try for ourselves?
i forgot to say that i put a photo of the first set of my Helmholtz-Fibonacci three pipes room tuner in my virtual system thread... It is very simple and will make a difference.... optimizing the differences ask for more tough..... I had 18 pipes and tubes with one with 8 feet high.... 😁😊😎


You must experiment, for example nobody says to me then adding today a 2 feet 1/2 metal pipe with a 3/4 inch diameter, with a thin hole like a toothpick diameter in his mouth wrapped in plastic, will improve extraordinarily the bass perception over 43 hertz(first room node) in my room...

Experimenting is fun...... Cost nothing..... And gives you the golden key to audiophile experience.... All others are hypnotized by their pricey product that most of the times unbeknownst to them dont even work at their peak potential....My gear did work near his peak potential now and is so good i will probably never upgrade, the cost of a real upgrade will be too high for the S.Q. increase come back anyway....A real piano already fill my room in 3-d...

Enjoy....


My best to you....