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It's all ball bearings
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5,258 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
o hai, I just stepped off the plane from 1992.

I am just now finally getting around to this nu skool technology that all these young kids have today -- downloading and playing MP3's!!

Questions: the sound quality thus far has been disappointing, to say the least. Whenever I play an MP3 on my device it sounds almost as if someone is continuously turning the volume up and down at a fairly rapid rate (oscillations something on the order of a half second). Fairly subtle, but plenty noticable and VERY annoying. The crappy quality definitely makes me not want to spend money on further downloads of music.

Is this typical? I'm downloading from Rhapsody onto my PC, then synching to my player.

Is this likely an issue with my player, or Rhapsody, or MP3's in general, or something else entirely?

Also, this guy I work with insists that MP3's degrade with time/use. I don't see how that is possible. True or myth??
 

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Large Suburban Male
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3,599 Posts
I have over 13000 mp3s on my puter. I'm not much of an audiophile, but I have noticed differences between files (songs). The quality of the songs I have varies, depending on the source, whether I purchased, acquired, ripped, or copied them. Naturally, the quality of the source predicates the quality of the copy.

I have no experience with Rhapsody, but the process sounds pretty typical. I have an IPod. I download the music from ITunes to my pc, and then synch my IPod from there. The songs I buy from Apple sound really good, while the tunes I get from other sources vary.

As for the guy who insists that MP3's degrade, I would call him crazy until he can back up his theory. If MP3s degrade, then so would all of our Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and any other file on our machine. They're just data files, and don't show wear, as far as I know.
 

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Grey Manrod
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9,227 Posts
That's weird. My caveman grasp of mp3 technology is that mp3's actually compress the range of, uh, sound......rather than having really quiet parts and really loud parts and stuff in between, everything is sort of flattened out. They literally mix the music differently for when they digitize it.

That said, I have not noticed the effect you've noted. I will say that old non-digital recordings are much quieter than digital recordings played at the same volume.

Audiophiles claim that mp3's are a huge loss in sound quality, but they said the same things about cd's. Personally, for the pop/rock/folk/etc. that I listen to, it's fine. I've read some stuff that suggests most pop music really doesn't need a very dynamic range. Classical and jazz do tend to suffer, however.

Of course, I could be completely wrong about all that.
 

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Registered
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2,799 Posts
mp3's dont degrade, that is silly talk.

and mp3's do present a loss in quality depending on the bitrate. but this was the point of creating the mp3 format in that it saves a lot of space without losing too much quality.
 

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591 Posts
My guess is it's your player (unless for some reason the quality off rhapsody stinks, which I doubt but I can't vouch for). Most of my music is ripped from CD (legally, I own the CD's ;) ); I have yet to get into the downloading thing, so I know the originals are good quality.

Still music sucks coming out of my computer speakers and it doesn't matter if it's mp3, mp4, CD, DVD, USB drive. Plug GOOD headphones or speakers in and all is golden again. My ipod is also much better with decent headphones on rather than the ones that come stock.

I've never had a volume issue except for song to song variations (likely based on variations in original source volumes more than anything).
 

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1,270 Posts
Right-click on one of the "bad" mp3 files, select "Properties," and click on the "Summary" tab. Scroll down. What is the bit rate? Mine are set to 192kbps. It could be much lower. There could also be issues when converting to different formats. I know rhapsody is some proprietary format. Going from program to program, type to type, there's no telling what could have screwed the files up :-/

I have not had any problems with sound quality, except some .wma files I can tell the difference (Windows Media Players format - files about half the size of mp3's), and mp3's with lower bit rate can also be the issue.
 

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Resident Dutchbag
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11,864 Posts
One word: Ogg Vorbis.
 
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