Does the bitrate lie?
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 12
  1. #1
    Tech Wizard
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Mumbai, India
    Posts
    45

    Default Does the bitrate lie?

    Let me preface this by saying I do support my favorite artists by buying their tracks on Beatport, but I can only buy my very favorite songs. I live in India on an Indian salary so I can't afford to spend hundreds of dollars on music. The rest I download legally (but with low bitrates, and I would never use them in public) or I get from friends who are DJ's (high bitrates). I never ask these friends where they get their music. It's sort of like how you don't ask questions about how the clothes you buy or the food you eat was produced, I guess.

    Anyway, the last person to give me music told me (without me asking) that he gets it from a website that (legally) provides links to download the tracks from soundcloud or youtube. He says a lot of the tracks can be downloaded at 320 kbps, and that most of the ones he gave me had come from that site (he says that for a lot of songs, it displays five different bitrates with their corresponding file sizes, and you can pick which one to download, ranging from 64 to 320). All of the songs he gave me were at 320 kbps (I right-clicked and clicked on properties and then the details tab) and were large files.

    I call BS. I thought everything loaded on to soundcloud and youtube was at 128 kbps. How could these be 320 kbps? So is it possible for an audio file to display a high bitrate when it's it's actually low-quality? How can I tell the difference? The 2.1s I use at home are pretty shitty so I don't know if I'd be able to accurately tell. I definitely can tell the difference on really nice speakers but I don't have access to some normally.

    What also makes me doubt is that I once went to this website that could transpose audio files into a different key. I used it to transpose a file that was 128 kbps a half-step down (from F# minor to F minor) and the final file had a bitrate of 192 kbps.

    Edit: it does. It's called upscaling.

    https://www.reddit.com/r/hiphopheads...al_bitrate_of/
    https://www.maketecheasier.com/check...e-audio-files/
    http://www.walterdevos.be/how-to-che...ty-of-mp3-file

    Sorry for posting this. I did google first but I guess my search terms weren't very good. I tried googling again and found these articles.
    Last edited by dolcem; 09-08-2016 at 03:24 PM.

  2. #2
    Tech Mentor
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    183

    Default

    You can use a spectrum analyzer to find out the "true bitrate":

    MP3 file, Bitrate 64 kbps. Cut-off at 11kHz.
    MP3 file, Bitrate 128 kbps. Cut-off at 16 kHz.
    MP3 file, Bitrate 192 kbps. Cut-off at 19 kHz.
    MP3 file, Bitrate 320 kbps. Cut-off at 20 kHz.
    M4A file, Bitrate 500 kbps. Cut-off at 22 kHz.
    FLAC file, Lossless quality (Bitrate usually 1000 kbps or higher). Graph's drawn continuously, no cut-off.

    Here's a free spectrum analyzer: http://spek.cc/ You could use any other too if you already have one.

  3. #3
    Tech Wizard
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Mumbai, India
    Posts
    45

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tilldrop View Post
    You can use a spectrum analyzer to find out the "true bitrate":

    MP3 file, Bitrate 64 kbps. Cut-off at 11kHz.
    MP3 file, Bitrate 128 kbps. Cut-off at 16 kHz.
    MP3 file, Bitrate 192 kbps. Cut-off at 19 kHz.
    MP3 file, Bitrate 320 kbps. Cut-off at 20 kHz.
    M4A file, Bitrate 500 kbps. Cut-off at 22 kHz.
    FLAC file, Lossless quality (Bitrate usually 1000 kbps or higher). Graph's drawn continuously, no cut-off.

    Here's a free spectrum analyzer: http://spek.cc/ You could use any other too if you already have one.
    I downloaded Spek and checked out the tracks. Most of them clearly cut off at 16. There were a few, however, that reached 20...but it seemed like that might have been because of upscaling. As one of the links talks about, some of these upscaled audio files reach 20, but it's a lie. The only way I guess is to look with a more intense audio editing program (the one they recommended was Audition by Adobe, though you have to pay for it...I didn't try the free trial).

  4. #4
    Tech Guru Yul's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Aix-en-Provence, France
    Posts
    1,175

    Default

    http://www.walterdevos.be/how-to-che...ty-of-mp3-file Some good explanations here.

    I bought a track the other day from Beatport (I use only 320kps), it's quite a recent one (from a few months ago), it sounds good, but if you pass it through Speck the graph will show most frequencies are/cut at 16khz (for an unknown reason I can't upload the screen capture picture here, whatever). But some go above that.
    I would have wondered about its quality if I didn't know the source and that's a legit one.

    I also did the test on an older pop track I upscaled myself a loooooooong time ago (because I threw most of my cds, when I started and for convenience, some of them I didn't digitalize in 320kps. Then I took later those same files (128kps) and re-digitalized them in 320). Now that track clearly shows a definitive cut for all frequencies at 16; there's a clear line, nothing pass that.


    My point is if you're using speck only, you'll detect the lower quality files as they will obviously be cut at a drastic level but for others, sometimes the ears are the best detector (and playing the track on proper speakers). It's funny that thread started because I asked myself the same thing recently reviewing my huge Itunes collection, trying to tidy it a bit, and trying to remember what I did to those old tracks. Checking them one by one is just a pain in the ass. I wish there would be a software than could automate this process. That's not a huge issue as I don't play those anyway (I mean I don't DJ with rock, pop and genres like that), but I like to have things tidy and clean and know I have the good stuff and I can clean the garbage and eventually buy again the stuff that's "valuable" to me. Does that make sense?
    Latest mix

    Thereís also an almost hermetic community that exists in many areas of dance music, where serious hobbyists feed off each otherís expertise but barely connect to the industry Ė despite many of those involved actually working in it.

  5. #5
    Tech Mentor Stazbumpa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Blighty
    Posts
    206

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Yul View Post
    but I like to have things tidy and clean and know I have the good stuff and I can clean the garbage and eventually buy again the stuff that's "valuable" to me. Does that make sense?
    Makes perfect sense, I deleted loads of music recently after running it through Spek.

    Most of the stuff I buy online usually cuts at 16khz as you point out, I've tested it with a Wav from Beatport too and that also was cut at 16khz. To be honest anything above 16khz doesn't really matter anyway.
    Fun fact: I did a hearing test and my ears give up at 15.6khz which is pretty good for my age. You don't need any frequencies above 16khz because you can't hear them.
    Live rig: Denon Prime (5000M's)
    Retired: Denon x1700, Denon SC3900's, Traktor, Technics SL1200's, my vinyl
    Wish list: Some Roland Aira stuff.

  6. #6
    DJTT Moderator Dude Jester's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Noiseeland
    Posts
    12,417

    Default

    speak up sonny, granddad can't hear ya ...
    Acer E5 i7 16GB 512SSD 2TBHD ~ WIN 10 ~ TSP 2.11 ~ AUDIO 6 ~ DUAL X1s ~ DN-X1600 ~ SPECTRA ~ TWISTER ~ ATH-PRO500 MK2 ~ ZED6FX ~ AT2020

    " Iím the Dude, so thatís what you call me. That or, uh His Dudeness, or uh Duder, or El Duderino, if youíre not into the whole brevity thing. "

  7. #7
    Tech Guru
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    S„o Paulo - Brazil
    Posts
    778

    Default

    Humans are similar to each other, so if you use decent studio headphones or decent studio monitors you should be able to feel if the track sounds good or not.

    If you feel it sounds good, people will feel it sounds good, regardless of what numbers are involved in the equation.

    That paranoia of sound quality makes no sense, unless you play weekly at million-dolar sound systems, and your public is hungry for clean sound. And if that was the case, your equipment would be another world of paranoia to think about lol.
    Last edited by Daniboy; 09-09-2016 at 05:07 PM.
    13" Macbook Air i7, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD | Traktor 2.7.1 | Ableton Live 9 | DJM-900 Nexus | NI Audio 10 | A&H Xone:K2 | Oyaide USB & RCA | HDJ-2000 | Odyssey BRLDIGITAL Bag

  8. #8
    Tech Guru Yul's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Aix-en-Provence, France
    Posts
    1,175

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jester View Post
    speak up sonny, granddad can't hear ya ...
    You're in the Temple of Boom what did you expect old man?
    Latest mix

    Thereís also an almost hermetic community that exists in many areas of dance music, where serious hobbyists feed off each otherís expertise but barely connect to the industry Ė despite many of those involved actually working in it.

  9. #9
    Tech Guru Patch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Bristol, UK
    Posts
    6,475

    Default

    I'm surprised there isn't a batch analysis version of Spek... I'd love one.
    DJ'ing: 2x1200MK2, DJM 850, Dicers, F1, Zomo MC-1000, Sony MDR-v700, i7 Win 10 HP Envy
    Production: Ableton Live 8 and a mouse, Sennheiser HD400, Sony VAIO

    Click HERE to D/L Free Tracks from Soundcloud!!!
    https://www.facebook.com/Patchdj

  10. #10

    Default

    Anything is possible and even if you have two 320 files side by side they could be mastered differently and one could sound of a lesser quality.

    Gotta trust your ears for most of it.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •