Mix: Search, Stereophile, Ever Green, Samsung | iLounge News

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Mix: Search, Stereophile, Ever Green, Samsung

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By Charles Starrett

Contributing Editor
Published: Tuesday, March 11, 2008
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A screenshot taken from Apple’s iPhone Software Roadmap event shows a search icon in the iPhone’s Contacts screen. The icon, which appears at the top of the alphabet, is similar to that of Apple’s Spotlight search icon. Interestingly, the icon appeared on a screenshot shown during the presentation, but was absent from the menu during a demo.

Stereophile has posted a guide to the effects of CD to 128Kbps Fraunhöfer MP3 and AAC format conversion, showing audible and inaudible areas of the audio spectrum that are impacted by CD ripping. After showing how certain audio data is artificially accentuated or lost during encoding, the guide recommends lossless encoding for critical listeners, as it is the only format that preserves an original CD’s sound image bit for bit. [Thanks, Jon]

Ever Green Electronics has launched what it bills as a “100% environmentally sustainable” iPod and iPhone repair and recycling service. “Not only do we offer the best prices in iPod repair, fast service, and an unparalleled recycling program we have taken the steps necessary to be a certified green company,” said Richard Hauf, CEO of EverGreen Electronics. “We see the importance of having incredible customer service while championing the care of the environment. With nearly 200 million iPods and iPhones in circulation, keeping toxins out of our water and landfills is an important part of business today and we are committed to creating sustainable business practices.”

Scott Huang, vice president of mobile communications with Samsung Taiwan, has reportedly resigned his post, and will soon begin working for Apple Taiwan. It is currently unclear what position Huang might fill at Apple.

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Comments

1

The Stereophile article was pretty fascinating and usefully shows some real data. Although it’s not exactly pragmatic for most iPod users…

Posted by mattwardfh in Texas on March 11, 2008 at 12:33 PM (PDT)

2

This just in, lossless encoding preserves things bit for bit, Lossy encoding, takes some things away… *gasp*

Posted by studogvetmed in Loveland, CO on March 11, 2008 at 12:53 PM (PDT)

3

I went to lossless for classical music a couple of years ago because

1) Personal paranoia.  I’m just sure that my upper tri-lateral trans-megdelleneum or whatever in brain that hears the uppermost overtone of the fifth oboe would feel deprived with 192 kbps.

2) Even though I don’t have faith in my skills of audible discernment, classical music felt limited in my car.  The music felt like it was coming from the center of my car rather than from all around.

For all other genres of music, I’m happy with lossy compression.

Posted by alexarch in Dallas, TX on March 11, 2008 at 1:51 PM (PDT)

4

The Stereophile article is deeply flawed because it is meaningless to analyse perceptual encoders using spectral graphs. Lossy encoders are not designed to produce nice or accurate looking graphs. They aim to produce a transparent sound.

If we listened to MP3s (or AACs) with our eyes, then those graphs would be somewhat useful. But we don’t, we use our ears, which have to be what we use to judge the quality of the sound. Using graphs in this way is a beginner’s mistake, which suggests the writer still doesn’t understand the purpose of lossy codecs.

What’s more, why does he only test CBR encodings? Anyone interested in quality uses VBR which always produces higher quality at the same average bitrate.

Note: The iLoung earticle has a spelling error, it is “Fraunhofer” not “Frauenhofer”

Posted by ShowsOn on March 11, 2008 at 6:41 PM (PDT)

5

D*mn you studogvetmed, I wanted to say that!

Posted by otaku on March 12, 2008 at 5:53 AM (PDT)

6

I had half of my library in Lossless, but had to convert them back to AAC when I got my 160GB classic.  It’s 2008, and there’s still no option for iTunes to transcode files on the fly to anything other than the shuffle.

Posted by Galley in Greenville, SC on March 12, 2008 at 6:21 AM (PDT)

7

Stereophile is written for people who spend thousands of dollars upgrading the power cords to their multi-thousand dollar stereos, claiming to be able to hear the difference.

Posted by afolpe on March 12, 2008 at 7:59 AM (PDT)

8

ShowsOn (The person who is the 4th to comment on this article)
    I, to, believe that the ear should be used to discern audio quality. So I made a test. I burned a couple of my CDs in three ways, Apple Lossless, 128 kbps AAC, and 320 kbps AAC. Henceforth, I loaded them on my iPod with no identifier as to which format it was burned in and listened to the 3 copies of each album, rating each when finished. When I put the ratings on my computer it turned out I always rated Lossless the greatest, 320 as the next, and 128 as the lowest. Please correct my procedure if I did something wrong, but otherwise my short (admittedly boredom-inspired) test conforms the article. By the way, I used iTunes to convert, a fourth generation 20gb iPod, and both Shure ec2 headphones and a Denon amp hooked up to some (sadly)Bose speakers.
e-mail me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Posted by Kurt on March 12, 2008 at 7:54 PM (PDT)

9

I tried something similar with FLAC and MP3 (between 128-320k VBR). I used dBpoweramp for ripping/encoding. I used a Rio Karma for playback, connected to a (factory) car stereo, home shelf-stereo and my Shure E4’s. Also did similar Apple Lossless/AAC comparisons with a 5G iPod, as well as AAC/MP3/WMA/OGG codec comparisons.

What ‘I’ found was:

Above 160k, I really couldn’t tell much difference in sound quality, regardless of bitrate/codec.

AAC did sound better than MP3, but I only have one device that can play AAC.

WMA starts losing its file size advantage above 128k (plus it’s Microsoft), so…

Ogg Vorbis is nice, but compatible with next to nothing.

For me, the happy compromise is a VBR MP3 at around 192k (standard preset), MP3Gain @ 89dB for the iPod. And in the end, compromise is what it’s all about.

I don’t own an expensive home audio setup, partly because I don’t spend much time listening to music in a static position, and partly because my hearing isn’t accurate enough to get any use out of one.

My theory is that even if my ears were good enough to justify such an expense, I probably wouldn’t stoop to the level of using a portable audio device as the music source anyway.

This whole thing seems like apples-to-oranges. Too bad for audiophiles that iTunes doesn’t sell lossless singles. It would probably encourage more people to ‘listen’ to music, rather than just ‘hear’ it.

Posted by Paul on March 14, 2008 at 6:33 AM (PDT)

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