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Quality of Sound - Atrac3 Vs Mp3

Discussion in 'Headphones & Portable Music' started by shelteringsky, Feb 22, 2005.

  1. shelteringsky

    shelteringsky Guest

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    OK. Once I´ve learned how to use sonicstage (...****!, how stupid I´ve felt) I have to choose between atrac or mp3 and between different bitrates. I know most of you will recomend 256 atrac3plus but I have really a lot of music and want to put as much files as possible in the NW-HD3 without denying a sensible quality of sound...

    I´ve read from most of you that atrac3 is a good compression system (better than i-pod´s system) but I´ve had a look in internet and read just the opposite. Who can I trust? I´ve tried just a few songs in different bitrates and don´t find differences (am I deaf :suicide: ?) I don´t wan to start converting all before I am sure
  2. RobbySpurs

    RobbySpurs Active Member

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    Hi there. I am going through the same dilemma, and to be honest I have no problems whatsoever with Atrac3plus. As for which bitrate....depends on you. I am certainly no Audiophile, and because I have a fair old amount of music started transfer at Atrac2plus 64. I tried a couple of CD's at 256 kb but to be entirely honest could not notice a huge difference. Yes it may have been slightly better, but not significantly in my opinion to justify the extra space taken up.

    However, this is with the supplied earphones (Am awaiting delivery of alternative ones) and that may alter things. But otherwise no complaints on either volume or sound quality.

    Would be interested to hear what everybody else thinks.
  3. mick's cat

    mick's cat Guest

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    OK, this is probably going to be a long thread, but I'll help to open it up and put myself in the firing line. Everyone else take aim (but please keep it above the belt).

    In terms of *actual* objective sound quality, AAC is generally classed as being the best lossy format, with Ogg Vorbis close behind. Then follows the latest WMA format, with MP3 and ATRAC lagging behind. This has been proven in several double-blind listening tests, so is beyond dispute - despite what may be voiced later here.

    In terms of what compression rates to use, the whole subject becomes very subjective, with some people reporting they can tell differences when others can't. However, as a starter, 128kbs AAC and Ogg Vorbis are generally assumed to be roughly equivalent in quality to 160kbs MP3, or 192kbs ATRAC.

    Speaking personally now, I doubt whether *anyone* can tell the difference between any format once rates over 192kbs are used. I've done several tests, encoding using different formats and rates to come to this conclusion. Certainly, I don't believe it can worth the extra disk space on the digital audio player. But then again, maybe it's just my ears...
  4. shelteringsky

    shelteringsky Guest

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    Is it really better mp3 quality than atrac3 quality?

    I´m with RobbythePat. atrac256 sounds very good but 64kbps atrac3plus sounds pretty good too, considering that it´s the FOURTH PART!!! Does it really worth use four times the space?

    I´ll keep testing with different songs... but I really don´t know

    I want to pass trough all this and start enjoying the player!
  5. mick's cat

    mick's cat Guest

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    I know exactly what you mean. Once you get down to doing tests, you'll find that you hit a limit that you won't want to go below, but I found that the limit is a lot lower than audiophiles would have us believe to be the case. In my case, 128kbs AAC is fine. But then, maybe my ears aren't what they used to be... :D
  6. Stahlhart!

    Stahlhart! Guest

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    You shouldn't make a problem out of nothing. You said that atrac3plus in 64k is enough so why don't you just take it and be happy about the space you got? What ever some other tests or listeners say, if you can't tell any diffenrence that makes it worth to lose four times more space for the same amount of music than you should know which way to go.

    I don't have enough music to reach the limits of my players hd so i went with atrac3plus 256k but i also tried 64k and to be honest i couldn't tell a difference at all.
  7. MysticMouflon

    MysticMouflon Guest

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    I can certainly hear the difference between ATRAC3 132 and ATRAC3plus 64. I have some BBC Radio comedy CDs which I originally "recorded" using SonicStage at A3+ 64 and transferred to my HD3. I noticed definite artefacts, especially when artificial reverb was being used in the original recording. I tried re-recording a couple of tracks which were particularly "bad" at A3 132 and the artefacts have "gone". It really was that clear.
  8. shelteringsky

    shelteringsky Guest

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    Is it true that you suffer a loss of quality when you transfer from mp3 to atrac3?

    I can´t believe it but I´ve read it a few times. I can understand that you can loose from 196kbps mp3 to 256atrac3plus, but for example from 256kbps mp3 to 256 kbps atrac3 (it´s the same rate you shouldn´t loose anything, do you?

    Yeah Stahlhart!, you are right... If its right for me should be ok at 64kbps. the other day when i recieved the player I tested it with a song at different rates and I didn´t notice a huge difference, but now after reading to all of these posts I´m getting a little bit schizofrenic... :suicide:
  9. mick's cat

    mick's cat Guest

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    Yes, it's true. Logical if you think about. Both formats are what is called lossy (ie, they reduce file size by cutting out bits of the sound that are classed as unnecessary). As each format classes different bits as unnecessary, there is inevitably some overall greater loss in bits of the sound, hence a lower overall quality.
  10. Stahlhart!

    Stahlhart! Guest

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    I have the feeling that a lot of people in this forum (including me) are about to get schizofrenic over the whole mp3-player thing, but hey it's too much fun talking about and thinking about and spending money for it (did i really say that? :eek: ) - so let's get it on!
  11. ilindsay

    ilindsay Guest

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    My tuppence worth?

    I have no experience of ATRAC so I can only comment on ATRAC+. Also, I'm using the HD3 with MDR-EX71 earphones which are significantly better than those supplied with the player, so that does make a difference in being able to hear the respective sound quality.

    256k ATRAC+ is very good. To my ears, it's better than a similar bitrate wma, but as a trade off between space and quality, 64k ATRAC+ is perfectly acceptable. In the environment that most digital audio players are used - on trains, buses etc - it's fine for the purpose. I would say that a 64k ATRAC+ is broadly equivalent to somewhere between a 128k-160k mp3.
  12. cylon

    cylon Guest

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    You could go to minidisc.org....they have this arguments about these dilemma. From most of their standpoint it comes to the kind of music you're encoding. Complex kind of music...instrumental, New Age etc..its better at ATRAC3+256 while some kind of other songs like modern Pop songs with exagerated Studio sound you'll find no difference between 256kbs & 132kbs Atrac.
  13. Cloysterpeteuk

    Cloysterpeteuk Active Member

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    I have to stick with mp3, I normalise all my mp3's using mp3gain which only accepts mp3.
  14. raylogic

    raylogic Member

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    Hi

    I have a zen extra 60gb - using bitrate of 192, I have 1800 tracks on it so far and used a 6th of its capacity, I am fairly content with that!!

    Sound quality - bearing in mind the compression I am using of 192 I did not see the point in spending a fortune on headphones so for use whilst in the lakes on my mountain bike I have gone for a set of in ear 'Koss the plug' (£15.00 her in uk) & will be carrying out a modifcation which apparently makes them sound as good as a £150 + set of headphones. http://headwize.com/projects/showproj.php?file=cmoy4a_add_prj.htm <- have a read.

    I am still on the hunt for some over ear headphones for my 15 minute walk to and from work on 3 days of the week, probably going with sennheiser as my store sells them so i get a healthy discount. Just dont know which models yet.

    He Haw :)
  15. shelteringsky

    shelteringsky Guest

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    i´ve decided to do this:

    the original albums i´ll transfer them to 64 atrac3plus

    the albums downloaded in mp3 i´ll transfer as they are (128,160,196,256)


    hope i can fit my favourite albums in 20gb....

    the thing is I always want to have many albums although I never listen to them... just in case... (it´s one of the cons, in my own opinion , of the new digital era... you have more than you can listen to...) I´ll try to be sensible...
  16. extremelydodgy

    extremelydodgy Member

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    ATRAC3+ is noticeably better than similar bitrate MP3 at low bitrates. The two options offered (48K, 64K) offer significantly better quality than same bitrate MP3 files. The 64K ATRAC3+ sounds like a bad 128K MP3 rip...


    ... so the word 'quality' is still a debatable word to use as far as the lower bitrates go.


    132K ATRAC3 (no "+") which is the middle-bitrate that the HD3 supports is no better than (and some would say worse than) similar bitrate LAME MP3. 256K ATRAC3+ is where you can really start to feel the quality, but MP3 (using even the ripper built into iTunes) has caught up at this rate, there is not much in the way of a practical difference.


    The NW-HD3 can't play back lossless or even uncompressed, so to discuss the ultimate fidelity of the Sony against the likes of the iPod or the iRiver is unfair (Or you could say the Sony sucks in this respect. You'd be right, but few people use uncompressed on a portable... although Apple / Rio's lossless compression support is quite handy).


    The problem with ATRAC3+ is that it doesn't have an inbetween rate that maximises storage but sounds good. 160K ATRAC3+ would be good, but so far no device supports this sort of bitrate.
  17. shelteringsky

    shelteringsky Guest

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    yeah. 160kbps atract3 plus would be perfect. Those guys from sony are stupid even choosing bitrates....

    At least I´m very happy with the hardware... :thumbsup:
  18. extremelydodgy

    extremelydodgy Member

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    I think the hardware, apart from the size and the battery life also leaves a lot to be desired.
  19. RobbySpurs

    RobbySpurs Active Member

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    See this is the weird thing. I really can't notice any real difference between Atrac3+ 64 and Atrac3+256...is it just me?
  20. extremelydodgy

    extremelydodgy Member

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    It could be your material, your phones...


    ... and it could also be cloth ears of course :p

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