I'm listening a lot of music from Play Music All Access lately, at the maximum bitrate which is 320kbit/s LAME mp3

And when I stumble upon a song or an album I've been used to listen to in lossless/FLAC, I'm like hmm no that's not quite it.

I wonder if I would be able to discern random samples using the same codec & bitrate and lossless in ABX test.
Maybe it makes a difference when you know a song very well in it's original lossless format already.

I would describe the main difference being in:
– impact of drums, typically snare drums and cymbals
– some flanger effect and loss of temporal resolution in vocals
– loss of resolution in synthetic instruments like those found in electronic music like trance or dubstep, or practically everything shaped like a square or triangle wave.

I still think All Access is probably the best sounding streaming service, and content discovery is great but boy I would like to be able to stream lossless instead. It's not the same experience.

Also I don't recommend to spend days listening to samples of every available audio compression codecs at various bitrates in order to find the transparency sweet spot for them.
Because you can't un-train your ear after that, too late ^^

#supercurioBlog #audio #streaming #compression #codec

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François Simond

Mobile engineer & analyst specialized in, display, camera color calibration, audio tuning

10 thoughts on “I'm listening a lot of music from Play Music All Access lately, at the maximum bitrate which is 320kbit/s LAME mp3”

  1. I really appreciate all your comments and work on Android audio quality. I'm now fully committed to Google Music (with All Access) using a decent pair of IEMs (Fischer Eterna rev2s). I just couldn't deal with the space issues on my 16GB i9300 with all of my FLAC-encoded music.

    What equipment do you use to listen to music on your mobile? Do you know if the DAC on the Nexus 5 is the same as the G2? (which I've heard is very good)

  2. +Antti Lähtevänoja for some reason OGG Vorbis doesn't work with me at all, regardless of the bitrate.

    I tried Spotify a while ago and had no pleasure listening to music here.
    At that time I ran more serious tests to compare the FLAC I had with Spotify versions and could confirm there was a huge difference indeed.

    So no Spotify for me as long as they don't change their codec or tune the encoder by a huge lot.
    That's why I was so glad to notice a much higher quality during my free month of All Access. Had to find out why. Found out all I was testing was 320kbit/s mp3 encoded by LAME; that explained a lot 🙂

  3. I (also) would like maybe a little bit more pricier lossless option on Google Play All Access! This would be great for all audiophile user who don't want to store more hundred Gigabytes audio files just because one normal album is about 350-450MB. Also would be very nice also to have some high resolution recordings of course also for some more bucks! Jazz and symphonic is simple sky and ground in high resolution vs. normal CD quality.

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