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Improving sound quality from mp3s

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by Pezerinno, Jun 16, 2005.

  1. Pezerinno

    Pezerinno
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    Hi, hoping you could advise :)

    I'm often in my study/computer room and have many mp3s on my computer (quite a few that I don't have on CD) - I find myself listening to more music here than in the lounge so I was after ways I could improve the sound (if its possible). The mp3s are only 128kbps played through iTunes then out of a Audigy 2 ZS sound card to some Logitech Z5500 computer speakers.

    I have a TAG Mclaren DAC 20 not currently being used for anything so though perhaps using this from the PC via optical then buying a cheap second hand amp and second hand stereo speakers - now I'm talking real budget stuff here - about £300 for both the SH amp & speakers.

    Would this improve my sound much? Or would it still be sub-par? Any other suggestions?

    Thanks.
     
  2. D-man

    D-man
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    Get MP3's that are sampled at a higher bitrate. I find 128kbps a bit thin and raspy. Wouldn't really go lower than 192kbps.
     
  3. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Nick a few things :

    Get that DAC 20 into action I thought I was selling it to be used !!!.

    Replace your speakers with proper hifi versions as your not hearing what the MP3s are actually like.

    Im not the greatest fan of 128 MP3 via a full blown hifi system sounds pretty harsh to me, 256 & 320 are what I use in I-Tunes and these are pefectly acceptable.

    PS Bypassing the anlg output of your SC and via the DAC 20 is a better solution IMHO, but at the end of the day – the DAC 20 can only process what it recieves and 128 aint a lot dude.
     
  4. Mr_Sukebe

    Mr_Sukebe
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    Stop using lossy compressed files for a start.
    I've run dems of 320bps MP3s cut from the original CD using EAX, and still found them to be noticeably worse than the original CD. As that was prior to some fairly extensive upgrades to my stereo, I'd expect the differences to be even more apparent now.
    MP3 may be fine for mobile use (on foot, in a car), but for critical listening at home, stay with CD.
     
  5. Pezerinno

    Pezerinno
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    Well the majority of my listening is from cd. I could hook up a DVD player to the DAC and listen to my cds through that. I've been busy lately and found myself always in the study with no time to listen to my main system which is in the lounge.

    The mp3's I will be using are ones I've downloaded so I can't change the quality now. Anything I have on CD I will continue to listen from CD.

    What sort of amp and speakers should I be looking at for my small budget - I want to go second hand.

    Would it make any difference if I hooked up my iPod to the dac instead of the computer?

    Thanks.

    Oh and yeah sorry CJROSS - the DAC was going to be used in my main system but things changed (I came across a DAC64)
     
  6. Pezerinno

    Pezerinno
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    keep those suggestions coming....
     
  7. CarbonToe

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    I've found that for 128Kbs MP3s that they sound progressivly worse in relation to the quality of the kit you stream them through.

    If I was you I'd re-rip my CDs with WMA Lossless (I hate to recomment MS but a) its a damn good format and b) its supported by nearly all the players out there) or FLAC.

    If you have to use lossey go for 320 MP3 or OGG at the highest bitrate. I'd alway rip thinking ahead toi what player you're likely to have in the future wether its a net streamer, a portable DAP or a PC and future proof your format. Most transfer software will downsample your music as you transfer it to your DAP so dont worry about file size (a uncompressed audio track is about 32Mb in size).

    As for the other tracks that you have in 128Mbs format without the CDs I'd try and re-obtain them at a higher bitrate.
     
  8. tom_nieto

    tom_nieto
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    A stereo amp and speakers will sound much better than the Z5500's, but it'll show up the flaws in 128k mp3s.
     
  9. Pezerinno

    Pezerinno
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    Are there any cheap speakers that sound decent close to the walls?
     
  10. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    Don't use a headphone output but a proper line output on say the docking station
     
  11. Crustyloafer

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    I agree, MP3s are fine for portable use and in a car (unless you have a DB9 with a full Linn system) but for home use and critical listening, forget it. When will people realise that no matter how good your kit is if you feed is horse plop the it will still sound like horse plop.
     
  12. booktrunk

    booktrunk
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    When I wos ikkle at school (meeps that's 20 years ago now) in IT we learnt GIGO that still applies.

    Garbage in Garbage out.

    If you want it to sound good go and buy the cd. Or rip in lossless format if you own the cd.
     
  13. Pezerinno

    Pezerinno
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    lol, guys I know if won't sound good but I still want a second small system for my study. The Majority of my listening will come from a cd, theres just a few rare bands I have mp3s off. Suggestions for cheap amp and speakers that will sound ok close to the wall for around £300 SH.

    Thanks.
     

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