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      04-26-2010, 07:36 AM   #1
FruitCake
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What sounds better: CD vs. USB

I know that both sound better than the iPod option but which sounds better: CD or USB stick?
This is of course consider both audio files are of the same quality?
I think CD is 320kpbs? while USB allows a maximum of 256kpbs?
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      04-26-2010, 10:46 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FruitCake View Post
I know that both sound better than the iPod option but which sounds better: CD or USB stick?
This is of course consider both audio files are of the same quality?
I think CD is 320kpbs? while USB allows a maximum of 256kpbs?
USB does not have a limit on the file sampling rate. As far as CD, if you're talking about a CD with MP3 files on it there should be no difference. If you talking about a CD with music on it that has been converted from 320 kbps MP3 to WAV I would say the difference would probably be undetectable since the source file is the same. If anything, the CD might sound a little worse since everytime you go through a conversion the file is degraded just a little bit.
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      04-26-2010, 10:52 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by 808MGuy View Post
USB does not have a limit on the file sampling rate. As far as CD, if you're talking about a CD with MP3 files on it there should be no difference. If you talking about a CD with music on it that has been converted from 320 kbps MP3 to WAV I would say the difference would probably be undetectable since the source file is the same. If anything, the CD might sound a little worse since everytime you go through a conversion the file is degraded just a little bit.
CD not as MP3 file.
CD as audio cd.
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      04-26-2010, 11:17 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FruitCake View Post
CD not as MP3 file.
CD as audio cd.
then the CD will sound better
unless you are using a lossless codec for your music files
but i'm not even sure of the M3 can decode those
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      04-26-2010, 12:10 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmarei View Post
then the CD will sound better
Wait, but he's saying the source is the same file so I'm assuming that the audio CD was made by converting 320kbps MP3 to WAV for the audio CD format. In that case, you're still listening to a 320kbps file which was sampled again at 44.1 khz which will still sound like a 320kbps sample. Now if we're talking about an original audio CD vs 320kbps MP3, then the CD will sound better.
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      04-26-2010, 01:43 PM   #6
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here is the order of sound quality (1 being best) that you can play on your Enhanced Premium Audio System:

1) DVD using DTS sound track (1509.75 kbit/s)
2) CD in its original form, never converted from lossy format such as mp3 (1411.2 kbit/s)
3) USB using uncompressed WAV file, never converted from lossy format such as mp3 (1411.2 kbit/s) - actually tied for #2
4) DVD using Dolby Digital track (640 kbit/s)
5) USB using mp3 or wmv file; use highest bitrate possible (usually less than Dolby Digital 640 kbit/s)

1,2 and 3 are lossless formats. They will only sound good if their source was not converted from a lossy format such as wmv or mp3. Only place you get these are from the original CD or DVD.

4,5 are lossy. The most the audio system is supposed to handle is 320kbit/s for mp3 and wmv, but I hear people have not problem with higher bitrates.

But, given the limitations of the Enhanced Premium Sounds system in the M3, I recommend sticking with 320kbit/s VBR mp3 on a USB stick or moved over the the iDrive harddisk. You will never hear the difference in sound quality.

However, if the system does pass true 5.1 signal to separate speakers, then by far the best quality would be DVD using DTS soundtrack. The benefit of splitting sound between 5 speakers vs 1 is huge. But I have not been able to get my system to do this correctly. It appears to downmix DTS 5.1 into 2 channels.

Last edited by blueman2; 04-26-2010 at 03:51 PM.
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      04-26-2010, 03:18 PM   #7
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i thought when he said Cd as in audio he meant a regular CD
not one that he made from an MP3
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      04-26-2010, 03:55 PM   #8
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Honestly, whereas I would entertain this analysis - you must all realize we're talking about, yes, a premium sound system, but nonetheless, one that is in a CAR.

Cars are not meant for very high-quality sound like proper home speakers are. Too much happening to be able and appreciate any sound coming out of the speakers unless your car is off...
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      04-26-2010, 04:42 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by GewoW View Post
Honestly, whereas I would entertain this analysis - you must all realize we're talking about, yes, a premium sound system, but nonetheless, one that is in a CAR.

Cars are not meant for very high-quality sound like proper home speakers are. Too much happening to be able and appreciate any sound coming out of the speakers unless your car is off...
while i don't disagree 100% with what you said
but how is that relevant to the original question?
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      04-26-2010, 04:44 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmarei View Post
while i don't disagree 100% with what you said
but how is that relevant to the original question?
Because the OP's talking about what sounds better out of the 2 in an M3. If the OP is asking in general, then the OP is in the wrong forum

Basically I am just saying that I do not believe you will hear any difference above 196k in a car...so he shouldn't stress out!!
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      04-26-2010, 04:53 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GewoW View Post
Basically I am just saying that I do not believe you will hear any difference above 196k in a car...so he shouldn't stress out!!
I am a bit of an audio geek and a purist when it comes to sound quality, but I do have to agree with you. I doubt anyone can really notice the difference between an uncompressed WAV file (same format as on a CD) vs a 256kbps mp3 or wmv file when inside of an M3, especially while in motion. Even at 192 you probably cannot hear the difference. At 128 in an MP3 (VBR or CBR), I know I can tell a difference on my M3. At 128 with wmv it is less stark, as wmv does a more efficient job than mp3.

That said, IF someone can figure out how to get the M3 system to play true 5.1 sources and route them to 5 different speaks plus the sub, then ANYONE would immediately be able to notice the improvement over 2 channel stereo. That is why I started the thread in this link. I know that is not what the OP is asking, but it has in my opinion the biggest opportunity to dramatically increase the quality of sound in the M3. Lexus and Acrua have 5.1 and the sound from a 5.1 source is just amazing. Of course, there are not a lot of 5.1 source recordings out there!!!

Last edited by blueman2; 04-26-2010 at 05:34 PM.
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      04-26-2010, 05:19 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blueman2 View Post
I am a bit of an audio geek and a purist when it comes to sound quality, but I do have to agree with you. I doubt anyone can really notice the difference between an uncompressed WAV file (same format as on a CD) vs a 256kbps mp2 or wmv file when inside of an M3, especially while in motion. Even at 192 you probably cannot hear the difference. At 128 in an MP3 (VBR or CBR), I know I can tell a difference on my M3. At 128 with wmv it is less stark, as wmv does a more efficient job than mp3.

That said, IF someone can figure out how to get the M3 system to play true 5.1 sources and route them to 5 different speaks plus the sub, then ANYONE would immediately be able to notice the improvement over 2 channel stereo. That is why I started the thread in this link. I know that is not what the OP is asking, but it has in my opinion the biggest opportunity to dramatically increase the quality of sound in the M3. Lexus and Acrua have 5.1 and the sound from a 5.1 source is just amazing. Of course, there are not a lot of 5.1 source recordings out there!!!
5.1 would indeed be sick!
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      04-26-2010, 07:11 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GewoW View Post
Because the OP's talking about what sounds better out of the 2 in an M3. If the OP is asking in general, then the OP is in the wrong forum

Basically I am just saying that I do not believe you will hear any difference above 196k in a car...so he shouldn't stress out!!
well he asked which is better A or B
your first reply was neither

this reply makes more sense
but
i can hear the difference between 192 and 320
most of my music was 192
and when i tried a few tracks at 320
i reconverted all my music to 320
biggest difference is at the extremes
very low bass notes and more clarity in the treble at 320 Vs 192
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      04-26-2010, 07:40 PM   #14
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thx guys. Here's my example. I have 1 ORIGINAL CD I buy from the store. Say..Taylor Swift. I put it in my computer, rip it into MP3 with iTunes and put it onto a USB stick. I put the original CD in the car and also the USB stick. Now which TAYTAYSWIZZLE song will sound better?

I hope this clears it up the bitrates and everything
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      04-26-2010, 07:43 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmarei View Post
well he asked which is better A or B
your first reply was neither

this reply makes more sense
but
i can hear the difference between 192 and 320
most of my music was 192
and when i tried a few tracks at 320
i reconverted all my music to 320
biggest difference is at the extremes
very low bass notes and more clarity in the treble at 320 Vs 192
What equalizer settings are you using? Sounds like you must have it tuned in quite well. Maybe I am spoiled by my living room system, but in the M3 I just cannot hear the difference between 192 and 320 (I am using VBR on both, if that matters). Now, between 128 and 320 mp3, I hear a definite difference.
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      04-26-2010, 07:45 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FruitCake View Post
thx guys. Here's my example. I have 1 ORIGINAL CD I buy from the store. Say..Taylor Swift. I put it in my computer, rip it into MP3 with iTunes and put it onto a USB stick. I put the original CD in the car and also the USB stick. Now which TAYTAYSWIZZLE song will sound better?

I hope this clears it up the bitrates and everything
CD

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      04-26-2010, 07:55 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FruitCake View Post
thx guys. Here's my example. I have 1 ORIGINAL CD I buy from the store. Say..Taylor Swift. I put it in my computer, rip it into MP3 with iTunes and put it onto a USB stick. I put the original CD in the car and also the USB stick. Now which TAYTAYSWIZZLE song will sound better?

I hope this clears it up the bitrates and everything
CD will, at least to a well trained ear.
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      04-26-2010, 08:27 PM   #18
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definitely CD

\/ the guy below is right.. if you have rip to MP3 make sure they are 320Kbps and CBR with NO joint-stereo.

on a side note.. I wish cars would support LAME codec.

Last edited by roller; 04-26-2010 at 08:50 PM.
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      04-26-2010, 08:40 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blueman2 View Post
What equalizer settings are you using? Sounds like you must have it tuned in quite well. Maybe I am spoiled by my living room system, but in the M3 I just cannot hear the difference between 192 and 320 (I am using VBR on both, if that matters). Now, between 128 and 320 mp3, I hear a definite difference.
I don't have eq settings
I don't have individual audio, I have base audio but upgraded speakers and amp and subs.
Flat bass and treble
I don't use vbr, too many problems with time remaing etc
I don't use joint stereo

I used to say anything over 192 is overkill
But I now notice 320 sounds better
I can't tell difference between 320 and original CD
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      04-26-2010, 08:43 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FruitCake View Post
thx guys. Here's my example. I have 1 ORIGINAL CD I buy from the store. Say..Taylor Swift. I put it in my computer, rip it into MP3 with iTunes and put it onto a USB stick. I put the original CD in the car and also the USB stick. Now which TAYTAYSWIZZLE song will sound better?

I hope this clears it up the bitrates and everything
Well cd is how the artist recorded it
The ripped/mp3 version has had a lot of data taken out
That's how it's compressed

Think about it, per song
The original rip into wav will be around 50megs
The mp3 will be about 7-8mb
There are 42mb that were removed
Those 42mb contained a lot of audio data that was removed
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