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Which is better quality mp3, MD or Atrac?

Discussion in 'Headphones, Earphones & Portable Music' started by Jordan, Nov 23, 2003.

  1. Jordan

    Jordan
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    Hi,

    Im a bit confused as to which is the best quality format out of mp3, Minidisk or Atrac?

    Can anyone help me out?

    Cheers,

    Jordan
     
  2. GaryG

    GaryG
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    Isn't ATRAC the compression method used by minidisk? Not that it matters, given that you have control of the 'bitrate' with MP3 which you don't have with minidisk then MP3 has the 'potential' for the better sound quality by virtue of allowing you to use a higher bitrate. I swapped from minidisk to a hard-disk MP3 player several years ago and use variable bitrate encoding and am very happy with the results. I recently changed players and bought an IPOD, which given it's size is remarkable. I traded a very slight loss in quality over my previous MP3 player for a condsiderable reduction in size and more flexibility in the range of equalisation settings available along with much better useability. Another feature of the MP3 format is the 'meta data' that can be stored with the song, eg, artist, genre, date published etc and I don't have to carry a stack of MD's around with me anymore as all of my favourite collection is stored on the IPOD.
     
  3. Jordan

    Jordan
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    mp3 wins then!

    I thought atrac was the compression method used by MD, but wasnt 100% so thanks for confirming.

    Jordan
     
  4. GaryG

    GaryG
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    If you decide to rip your own MP3's then you'll want to get a copy of LAME which is a free encoding program, which just happens to be the best as well.

    http://lame.sourceforge.net/

    You''ll also need a front end to drive it, EAC is the most common.

    http://www.exactaudiocopy.de/

    After you've ripped your MP3's you might want to set them to the same overall volume level to stop you having to keep changing the volume so you might find this useful.

    http://www.geocities.com/mp3gain/

    Finally, if you decide to go for an IPOD using a Windows PC, Ephpod is the software you'll want to use to manage your collection.

    http://www.ephpod.com/

    Good luck with your purchase, you wont regret going MP3!
     
  5. wizbongre

    wizbongre
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    Have to stress just how good EAC is... It takes a bit of fiddling to get the best results but it is a quality bit of software.

    Also have to say thanks to the previous poster for the link to mp3gain as I've just downloaded it and found it to be spot on.

    I have over 60Gb of music stored on my main computer and get well p1ssed off with the volume differences between tracks - hadn't really tried to sort it out though. Funny how some solutions present themselves without you even looking! :clap:
     
  6. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    The latest Minidiscs do have variable bitrate encoding in the form of ATRAC3. Both LP2 and LP4 reduce the bitrate so you can get far more information on them.
     
  7. michaelab

    michaelab
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    Err...no. That would be ITunes: http://www.apple.com/itunes/ - now available for Windows :)

    And to respond to the original post, MP3 and ATRAC3 (the latest version of ATRAC used on MiniDiscs) are pretty similar. ATRAC3 will give you slightly higher quality for a slightly lower bitrate but there's not much in it really.

    The real question is whether you want to use a MiniDisc player or an MP3 player. Compared to 'old style' solid state MP3 players MD wins hands down - especially the more recent NetMD players which have a USB PC link. You can view them as 128Mb MP3 players with incredibly cheap memory media. OTOH, compared to something like an iPod or Creative Zen then they don't make so much sense.

    I currently have a NetMD Walkman but will soon be replacing it with an iPod :)

    Michael.
     
  8. GaryG

    GaryG
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    Hi Michael

    Nice to hear from you again, it's been quite a while since we last debated our opposing viewpoints.:D

    Thanks for the info on the Window version of ITunes, I didn't know it was available now.
     
  9. michaelab

    michaelab
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    I've been away from AV Forums for a while so I'm ashamed to say I don't remember our previous "encounter" :blush: What was it about....? :devil:

    Michael.
     
  10. GaryG

    GaryG
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    Can't remember either, DAC's and Transports most likely!:blush:

    Well I've downloaded ITunes, interface looks nice, just need to get the hang of it now, trying not to draw any comparisons and conclusions with respect to EphPod, the natural tendency is to go back to something familiar, better read the help file I think. Got my IPOD collection down to just the songs I like, don't want to overwrite them with all the stuff on my PC. Three cheers to Apple for making it available on Windows, hope it lives up to it's reputation.

    Sorry to hi-jack your thread Jordan!
     
  11. michaelab

    michaelab
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    I really like the iTunes interface. Takes a bit of getting used to as it's (obviously) a very "Mac" application but once you do it's really slick. It just "works".

    Michael.
     
  12. andysymonds

    andysymonds
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    I use VBR MP3 (lame/EAC/MP3gain) and it sounds very good. I also use Ephpod/Ipod.

    Atrac was originally designed to take one CD and make one MD so it was a 3x (?) compression. Then came Atrac3 which was meant for the netmd line of solid state devices. Very similar to MP3 but I think Atrac3 is 132K bit encoding. Because they have to compute track length for burning to MD I dont think its VBR like Lame, more like ABR perhaps. Overally the bitrate control on MP3/Lame gives potential for better quality though at low bitrates for low memory players using headphones then atrac would be fine. Obviously ID3 tags that tell you all about a track help a lot in MP3 and these are missing from the atrac format. MD is a storage medium and the MD titles reference the storage medium and are not part of the content 'metadata'.

    I burn lame VBR mp3s to CDR (about 10 albums per CDR) and play them on a phillips DVD963SA and they sound superb. I also play them in car on a Blaupunkt Los Angeles and thats great too.

    Because IPOD does not have a SPDIF line out it does not sound good when hooked up to an amp. I think the Archos players have SPDIF and maybe some of the newer IPOD lookalikes coming from japan will have too.

    Andy
     

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