Hi-fi music streaming: People can't tell it when they hear it

Discussion in 'Streaming Services' started by Condorsat, Aug 9, 2016.

  1. Condorsat

    Condorsat Audio Enthusiast

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    "Pay as cheap as possible for music ... because it doesn't matter"
    Brian Sullivan (news anchor)

    Ouch :(

    CNBC conducts some listening tests .... <<<<<click link.

    The gist of their findings ... most people can't tell the difference between CD quality streaming & high res MP3/AAC.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2016
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  2. botrytis

    botrytis Trying not to be a Small Speaker Hoarder Subscriber

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    Well, that looks like a shitty place to actually listen to music. Why not try it in a more dedicated area to listen and see the difference? What about better equipment?
     
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  3. Hyfi

    Hyfi Addicted Member

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    It's a shame that the 4th and 5th tests were not done using a high quality CD Player and same recording as well as a decent TT and Vinyl so the people could see (Hear) what they may be missing just listening to streaming music.
     
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  4. botrytis

    botrytis Trying not to be a Small Speaker Hoarder Subscriber

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    The test was kind of flawed from the beginning.
     
  5. chicks

    chicks Lunatic Member

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    "But here's the thing: Even when we were in a room with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of audio equipment, people still could not tell the difference. If they can't hear it with such good equipment, they may be unlikely to do so with worse equipment that muddles those differences."
     
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  6. botrytis

    botrytis Trying not to be a Small Speaker Hoarder Subscriber

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    So they said, but they didn't say what the equipment was, what type of room, etc. This is the key we don't know what they used, they could have used a UCA 202 for all we know and that is a mediocre sounding DAC.


    We are supposed to take their word? CNET is known for fibbing (Steven Gutenberberg anyone?) a bit so I take it as just another knock on high res. There is this post, which says people CAN hear differences. http://phys.org/news/2016-06-people-difference-high-resolution-audio.html\

    HELL, even Consumer Reports are saying people can hear differences (I hate CA but just to make a point). http://www.audiostream.com/content/...eports-hearing-difference#2hvJFGWvBKjDtMgV.97

    There will really be no resolution of this topic, just like new vs vintage, etc.

    Just use what you will.....
     
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  7. Alobar

    Alobar Pulling out of the Last Chance Texaco.. Subscriber

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    I would have to agree with this statement. A majority of the general population can't tell the difference, and this could be why CD quality streaming services are having a tough go financially.
     
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  8. botrytis

    botrytis Trying not to be a Small Speaker Hoarder Subscriber

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  9. similost

    similost Rockin and Rollin....

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    I hate to say this, but I've heard a lot of streaming and MP3's that sounded a lot better than many CD's and albums.... Just because it's on CD, or tape, or vinyl DOES NOT mean it's a good recording... It's all about the mastering, and the pressing, or transferring to a different media as to how good something is going to sound... I can take a great sounding MP3 and make it sound bad on a CD, or take a great sounding CD and make it sound like a real crappy MP3... and the industry does the same...

    Tests and stories like this are all pretty much moot... WAY too many variables in the recordings, the equipment, the rooms, the speakers, the listening placement, and so forth.. OH, and let's not forget, they probably used some real shitty power cables that made it sound like dirt anyway...
     
  10. uofmtiger

    uofmtiger Super Member

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    Well, there is something to be said for a comparison of Tidal to Apple and Spotify. People are paying twice as much for Tidal lossless and most don't listen in a "high-fidelity audio "sweetening" room". Of course, they say that it wasn't a scientific test, so I am not really sure I understand the point. Without an ABX test, their results are pretty much meaningless. Would love to see a scientific test with this criteria, though.
     
  11. Alobar

    Alobar Pulling out of the Last Chance Texaco.. Subscriber

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    Well no and yes. It is quite easy for anyone from my dog on up to tell the difference between 64k and 128k, but much less so from 128 to 192 or 256kbps and fewer still going to 320. But I am speaking of the general population here, the ones who butters the existing streaming services bread. For there to be any hope of a viable market for streaming CD quality, there needs to be a few things present. One is equipment. Most people listen through crap plastic soundbar stuff. If "most" people upgrade to equipment that is even capable of playing the differences, then "most" people are going to have to learn how to listen. This, assuming they have hearing that is capable, will need to sit still enough, in low light, without distractions of babies crying, dogs barking, spouses nagging. Of those left who can then "hear the difference" enough to actually care to shell out $20 a month, the numbers will have been filtered down to a mere fraction of what is needed to make CD streaming financially successful in the long term. We audiophiles are now and will always be an odd bunch in this regard, always way out there in the minority. I wish this were not true.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2016
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  12. +48V

    +48V hi-fi or die

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    ^^^This.

    It's not questioning whether there IS a difference.....it's that most don't listen in conducive environments, have the right gear, or the right ear to care one way or another.
     
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  13. bshorey

    bshorey Super Member

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    I think that there are two different things going on here. A, whether or not people can hear a difference, and B, whether or not it matters.

    You could put people in the ultimate sound room, and I would bet 99% of them couldn't tell the difference. Doesn't mean there isn't any, just that most couldn't tell. But say for the sake of argument that half of them could.

    90% of the population at this point is listening to audio on their smart phones with whatever earbuds came with them, in public places, with background noise. Those are the real world listening conditions today, and I would think that even a hard core audiophile would be hard pressed to tell the difference.

    So why bother paying more for differences that can't be heard under the conditions you're listening under?

    Very few people are listening in dedicated spaces with equipment that can resolve finer differences in digital formats, cables, etc.

    bs
     
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  14. chicks

    chicks Lunatic Member

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    Plenty of ABX tests showing AAC 256 to be transparent over on Hydrogenaud.io. Been known for years, nothing new. They show how to set up and perform the tests. Very easy for anyone who is interested in the facts to perform for themselves.
     
  15. botrytis

    botrytis Trying not to be a Small Speaker Hoarder Subscriber

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    Been there done that.... I even put up earlier (in another thread - I pulled the link after 2 months) a link to files I made comparing various flavors of MP3 to FLAC and WAV. From em starting at 320 MP3 and going down - there are differences I can hear.

    You can't that is fine, but I can is all I am saying. People assume we all have the same ears and we don't.
     
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  16. Alobar

    Alobar Pulling out of the Last Chance Texaco.. Subscriber

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    So I take it you have performed these blind ABX tests yourself? I have not but I can hear the difference IMO. One thing to keep in mind is to ask yourself who is it who is taking these tests and failing to identify the better sounding source? For instance I couldn't tell one wine from another in a blind taste test, perhaps because I don't have the palate for it, but more likely I don't have the training and experience to tell what it is I am drinking. I believe there is a skill, as well as good physical hearing involved in listening to music that separates many audiophiles from the general population. Lots of things must happen right for the difference between 320kbps and lossless to become readily apparent. It is more than just putting someone from the street into a room and switching whatever back and forth and asking for immediate identification. For me, any light source in my room distracts me from really hearing any music critically. That includes a TV, bright VU or LED power level lights etc. Also whether I am well rested has a play also. But even then one must really listen, without distractions of any sort. This would include anything that causes the thought process to wander, and I would at least consider to count the ABX test itself as a distraction. Anything that mentally supercedes the listening process .
     
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  17. pdm4606

    pdm4606 Super Member

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    Yes, I cannot tell the difference.
    I am 73 and spent most of my life listening to real crap. Most folks I know couldn't tell the difference between a telephone earpiece and a professional system. Just so it plays.
    At the age of 12 I decided I would have better sound systems than anyone I knew. On a sometimes open budget I put together a JBL / Marantz / Fisher / AR / Empire / Scott (and others) system.
    Hardly ever did anyone comment about the sound. Just so it played. I got tired of trying to please other folks and now just do it for me. F#*& everybody else.
    My ipod sounds very good indeed. So does my DIY tonearm/TT setup. So do my several cassette machines.
     
  18. N8Nagel

    N8Nagel AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I've never tried Tidal, but I can definitely tell the difference between Spotify and my own FLAC CD rips. Yes, on the same equipment using the same source (Oppo BDP-103, FLAC rips over home network, Spotify through Roku plugged into back HDMI port.)
     
  19. sbaradaran

    sbaradaran Active Member

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    You've made some great points in this thread. The only thing I would add is that most people just don't care, or have been conditioned to like an audio signature that is completely unbalanced. For example, most mainstream earbuds and home theater setups (sound bar + subwoofers) are super bass heavy, which muddies up any details there may have been in a high quality source. Or just listening to music on your smartphone speakers, which is essentially all treble.
     
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  20. zebra03

    zebra03 All Audio - NO BS

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    I have listened to free Spotify over my stereo and it sounds pretty good .
     

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