Author Topic: Bitrate checkers  (Read 3166 times)

audiobabble

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I'd be interested to know what people's experience is of bitrate checker programs and which ones seem to do the best job...

Myself, I have Fakin the Funk, which in general seems pretty accurate although can sometimes bring up false positives.

I just heard mention of Lossless Audio Checker here on the forum so gave that a try.

It doesn't have the same false positives as FTF, but one obvious problem it has is when checking classical music or "quiet" albums such as acoustic & vocal.. all my classical music came out as "upsampled" even though I know for a fact it isn't.

Ultimately, I prefer to trust my ears and can easily pick out a 320 mp3 next to a flac or wav file, although could be (and have been) fooled if all I'm hearing are 320 mp3's

hiccup

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That's an interesting topic.
In the past I tried some apps, but was never impressed (or agreed) with the results/verdicts.

For now I am trusting my ears and Spek, and these two three are serving me quite well.
Last Edit: March 12, 2022, 10:31:33 PM by hiccup

frankz

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Second vote for Spek.  Very helpful for one-offs when added to the Windows right-click->Send To menu or as a button in MB or tool in mp3tag.

When I have a bunch of files that I want to check, I drop them onto this batch file for ffmpeg to generate spectrograms for each.  I may have gotten the idea from someone here, but I don't remember (sorry):
Code
@ECHO off
setlocal enabledelayedexpansion
cd %~dp0
FOR %%A IN (%*) DO (
set orig=%%A
set filename=%%~nA
set final="%%~nA.png"
"C:\ffmpeg-latest\bin\ffmpeg.exe" -i !orig! -lavfi showspectrumpic=s=2048x1024:color=rainbow !final!
)
pause

hiccup

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When I have a bunch of files that I want to check, I drop them onto this batch file for ffmpeg to generate spectrograms for each.
Are you doing this (going through this trouble) as a general rite of passage for newly acquired music, or only when you want to compare two versions of the same song/album?
I myself am only doing this sort of stuff when I have two or more versions to compare.
E.g. when a 160kb mp3 seems to sound better than a 320kbps version.
And then Spek usually confirms my suspicions. (not always though)

audiobabble

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Interesting stuff...

So I pulled out a track that Fakin the Funk claims to be 320kbps, whereas it sounds just fine to me (was in fact a recorded HD stream from Amazon HD music, downloaded locally at "highest available" first, then recorded via "loopback" in Audacity)

Spek and ffmpeg give me slightly differing results, what I see in Spek suggests it may well be less than full bitrate, whereas ffmpeg is suggesting it's full-quality (allowing for the slightly different scale on the khz)

Spek:


ffmpeg:



audiobabble

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And here's the same track intentionally saved as a lossy 320kbps mp3

spek:


ffmpeg:

audiobabble

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PS.. my hearing cuts off at 17.5hz, so looks like either way my original is good enough!!


hiccup

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…what I see in Spek suggests it may well be less than full bitrate…
What makes you draw that conclusion?
What do you mean by 'full bitrate'?

audiobabble

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Well... I'm a bit new to all this but was reading that if the file is completely lossless I should see frequencies present all the way up to 22Khz, whereas the Spek readout seems to show a cutoff at around 21Khz...

on reflection, comparing it to the deliberately lossy files I can clearly see the difference though!

phred

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...comparing it to the deliberately lossy files I can clearly see the difference though!
I'm curious if you can actually -hear- the difference? In a blind test, without seeing the graph beforehand, would you really be able to the difference between same track at 320 mp3 versus FLAC? I have nothing to back this up, but I would guess that most people wouldn't notice a difference.
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audiobabble

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Good point... that's the rub really. You're right most people wouldn't hear the difference. And indeed if I walked into a room and heard music playing I would not immediately be able to say "that's 320kbps"...

On the other hand, in an A/B test I think many people, myself included, WOULD hear the difference. It's hard to describe such a subjective thing but I would say it's an increased "solidity" to the bass frequencies and overall clarity and detail in the mids and highs.

Of course what it's being played back on makes a huge difference too.

audiobabble

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Another good test would be... on a nice sunny day, put on some 320kbps music through a decent stereo, open all your windows and then maybe potter in the garden for  while. Then put on that same music in a lossless format and do the same. Observe how much more detail you can hear, clarity of lyrics, subtleties of lead instruments and the like

hiccup

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The topic title says 'bitrate', but I am guessing you are thinking of audio frequency range?
(it would be impossible to dissect something like an original bitrate from a lossy audio file)

My eye usually goes out to abrupt changes in density at specific frequencies.
I find that tracks that have a smooth display of frequencies from top to bottom are usually better than ones that have some abrupt stepping stones, even if it displays higher frequencies.
I am guessing some encoders are 'guessing' absent higher frequencies and add them themselves. (or just high frequency noise perhaps)
So only looking at how high the frequencies go is not paramount, nor 'proof' for me.

frankz

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When I have a bunch of files that I want to check, I drop them onto this batch file for ffmpeg to generate spectrograms for each.
Are you doing this (going through this trouble) as a general rite of passage for newly acquired music, or only when you want to compare two versions of the same song/album?
Not that I would ever do this, but say hypothetically someone downloads a playlist's worth of flac files from different artists and albums and wants to see if any of these flacs are just lossless files derived from a lossy source. Dropping all of the flacs on the batch file and seeing if any look decimated in the upper frequency ranges like the spectrograms in this post would be an efficient way to accomplish this.

That person, maybe being older with age-degraded hearing, wouldn't be so concerned with frequency range but rather just in knowing he (or she) had a true lossless version.