Try this audio test

rezerekted

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See if you can tell MP3 from uncompressed. I got 2 out of 5 right and that was probably luck. Maybe my setup is not "revealing" enough, I used X-Fi analog>Denon receiver>Senn558 headphones.

http://test.tidalhifi.com/
 

djoye

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I got 4/5 and I'm on an X-Fi Titanium -> analog -> Onkyo TX-SR605 -> $99 Sony speakers (SS-MB300H).

My setup is inexpensive and primarily used for making loud noises in games and listening to popular rock music. While going through this test I came to the conclusion that audio quality is based on the listener's ability to detect the faults simply because I'm probably using fairly average speakers at best.

Long ago the weakness of the worst MP3 encoders was high-frequency sounds. In at least a couple of the songs in the test, I could detect a hint of ugliness in the highs; don't know how to describe it, but best I can say is that they weren't smooth sounding compared to the higher-quality option.

The other thing to listen for is the quiet space or the reverb. If reverb is very noticeable in the song, the dynamic range has been compressed out of it. Higher-quality audio will have more dynamic range, which would in turn require you to increase the volume to hear the reverb.

With remasters, I'm typically able to tell the difference because the "remaster" is often significantly louder (dynamic range compressed out) than the original. It seems that in this test they prevented audio volume from being a key indicator of whether or not the original audio had been tampered with.

You don't need high-dollar speakers or headphones to hear that kinda stuff. If you know what to listen for, you'll find it regardless.
 

Voxata

Limp Gawd
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For me it was the lows, I 4/5'd. Essence STX + OPA2134's and Ultrasone Pro 900 cans. I got 2/5 using the AT Pro 700 MK2.
 

rezerekted

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I know what to listen for but just don't hear it, it is probably because I am getting old and I just don't hear the high frequencies as well as you.
 

Zepher

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I got 3 out of 5 using my speakers.
Soundblaster ZX card, M-Audio BX5 D2 monitors
 

HeavensCloud

Oswego, not shitty as Buffalo
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I will try this when I get home, I could never hear the difference between FLAC and 320kbit/s mp3
 

Zepher

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I got 2 out 5 with my Sennheiser HD558's on.
 

Cypher-

[H]ard|Gawd
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4/5 with my HD650's and e17/e09k combo. I'm going to try this again in the future to see if it was a fluke or not. I feel like some of the tracks I could hear the difference, others not so much.
 

Gmok Bonecrusha

[H]ard|Gawd
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Jun 16, 2004
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4/5

Cambridge DAC-WA6-HD800's. I pretty much just listen for the highs.

I can't tell that James Blake at all. I listened 3x to the sample. Just can't tell.
 

atarione

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I suck.. 1 of 5 with Fiio E7 --> E9 --> Sennheiser HD600
hmm interesting I got 0/5 (LOL) with my FiiO E07K/E09K and beyerdynamic DT880 Premium 250 ohms

tried later with my Firestone Audio BlackKey> Sony TA-E77ESD and the beyers and got 4/5
 

HeavensCloud

Oswego, not shitty as Buffalo
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3/5. Guess I was correct and I personally don't need to bother with lossless files.
 

Puterguru

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1/5 - Aune T1 24Bit Tube USB DAC, Sennheiser 558's.

What the hell does this mean, my stuff sucks or...?
 

Udgnim

Gawd
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2/5, Xonar U7 & Alessandro MS-1

got Wilhelm Scream & Hotel California

I flat out preferred the compressed version of Daft Punk & Dixie Chicks, but I also listened with a custom EQ (emphasis on highs & lows)

listening to Dixie Chicks with flat EQ, the high fidelity bass sounds more like a Bass instrument while the compressed bass sounds more pronounced & deeper but not like a Bass instrument

going back to the custom EQ and the high fidelity bass no longer sounds like a Bass instrument and is more similar to the compressed bass except the compressed bass still sounds more pronounced & deeper

oh well, flat EQ bores me and I don't care about sound being reproduced as close to the source as possible
 

qkslvr221

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;)

HDMI-out to a Pioneer 1500w receiver, 7.2 BIC floorstanding speakers with 8" drivers.
 

cageymaru

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That was hard. I hadn't heard those songs before with the exception of Hotel California. Got 5/5 on just critical listening. I guess these $50 Pioneer SE-A1000 headphones + $100 SoundBlaster Zx combo is alright. Guess I didn't mess my ears up with all those years of 150db+ car stereo. :)

The Killers song was hard because I didn't know if it was supposed to be 'airy" sounding or bassy. I figured that since this was critical listening that the airy track was the best choice. The Wilhelm track was just weird. In one his voice is perfectly centered floating slightly high in the soundstage. On the other track it is flipping from speaker to speaker. Since I was clueless as to the artist's intentions; it was hard as hell to figure out! Not my cup of tea so I was prejudiced against it, but I chose the centered soundstage of course.

Then the Daft Punk track was pretty easy. It was a duh moment. The Eagles track was easy to spot as soon as a drum was struck. The Dixie Chicks track was even easier to decipher. One just sounded other worldly and the other sounded like some of the crap on the free version of Spotify.

My only hangup is that I don't listen to modern music unless it's Prince, a protege of Prince, or really damn good. I wish there was a high quality version of this Judith Hill album "Back in Time" that I could buy. So I would need a trial just to see what is available on the service that appeals to my musical tastes. I would expect everyone else to want a trial before spending money on the service also. That's the problem with not having a free version easily available.

Is there information on what cut does the artist get from this service? Making sure that artists get paid is the most important part of picking a music service for me. Otherwise I might as well not bother.
 

jbltecnicspro

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You don't need high-dollar speakers or headphones to hear that kinda stuff. If you know what to listen for, you'll find it regardless.
Pretty much. The only one I wasn't able to get is the one electronic tune (not Daft Punk - but the other one - I took this test a couple of months back), and that's because it was so "produced" that I had a hard time hearing the compression artifacts. But for me the low-ends actually sounded more natural to me on the uncompressed songs. Go figure. Back when mp3's started becoming popular, it was the high-end sound that gave it away. Cymbals sounded like they were under water. :)
 

Puterguru

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They really should add a lot more songs and randomize them. That way if I come back with new gear and want to try again it's totally new music and you cant guess at what you picked before.
 
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I got 2 out of 5 on my work computer with 8 year old budget Dell speakers. I'm guessing if I could have heard more of the frequency range it would have improved things.
 

quiktake

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Got 3 out of 5 using Beyerdynamic DT-850 from Creative Titanium HD. I got the modern tracks, but anything recorded in the 70s or 80s was really hard to tell a difference.
 

Tyler-Durden

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4/5 with DefTech Studio Monitor 55 speakers + Emotiva XDA-2 DAC and UPA-200 Amp. I just guessed since I honestly couldn't tell much of a difference between tracks. :p
 

Matthew Kane

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Tried this test over 2 months ago mentioned on another site, I got 4/5 on first shot with dynamic headphones (the Dixie chicks example was hard to differentiate). Got 5/5 with my Stax and speaker setup.
 

heflys20

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I got 2 out of 5 on my work computer with 8 year old budget Dell speakers. I'm guessing if I could have heard more of the frequency range it would have improved things.
I can do one better! Got a 1/5 with my Lsr305 studio monitors and xonar DG the first try. 3/5 2nd try. Strangely, I had more trouble with more modern tracks.

Honestly, telling a real difference was hard. It seems the "high fidelity" tracks have more bass though.

edit: Finally got a 5/5 after noticing certain traits in certain songs, most noticeably quality of bass and some instruments. Trial and error and all that.
 
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Parak

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Dec 15, 2005
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5/5 first time around with MDR-MA900 connected to Z68XP-UD4 (ALC889) rear panel speaker out. Had to listen a few times to each pairing, and the differences that I thought I heard were extremely minor. Definitely would not matter at all during casual listening, or especially during gaming sessions where I pay even less attention to the music. What bitrate and format did they use for the compressed music, anyway?

 

serpretetsky

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5 songs is not nearly enough to give any useful information. I just got 4/5. My speakers are off.
 

sayu

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0/5 hahahaha. Impressive in its own way?

Schiit Modi 2 Uber, Bottlehead crack + speedball, Senn HD650.
 
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sayu

Limp Gawd
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This is why ABX beats AB testing. You may well have heard a difference but misunderstood what it was.
That is exactly the case. That's enough for me to believe there is a difference, but not that I should actually care.
 

Henri108

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1/5 with my Simple Audio Listens over Bluetooth. 3/5 with 3.5mm jack and 5/5 with Bose Quietcomfort's and 3.5mm straight out of laptop (high end Dell); this should have been 4/5 because I didn't hear any difference on the last one...
It was pretty hard to hear for me actually (never compared high-fidelity to compressed), I could only hear it in the background instruments and a breathing in the voice.
 

cageymaru

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That is exactly the case. That's enough for me to believe there is a difference, but not that I should actually care.
If anything it teaches you what bad compression sounds like. If you're just used to inaccurate music, then naturally you're going to gravitate to that sound. You should try the free High Def trial for a couple days and compare say Spotify to Tidal tracks just to learn the difference. Then cancel it before the sub kicks in. :)
 

sayu

Limp Gawd
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Actually, most of my music collection is lossless, but it's also not in english so maybe that made the difference. I don't feel the lesson here is that I need to "learn" to appreciate lossless, but rather that I shouldn't be so concerned about it.
 

Drudenhaus

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5/5 with Lenovo T540p onboard audio to Senn HD-280 at work. 2 of those 5 were lucky guesses though. If I remember, I'll try this again on my home setup (AMB gamma1/2 DAC to PPAv2 amp to Senn HD-650).
 

Staples

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2/5 using integrated audio and wireless plantronic headphones.

I am not sure if I'd done any better with better equipment since I know from history that I can hardly tell the difference if the bit rate is 256Kbs or higher. At least using cheap equipment.
 

B00nie

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I got 4/5 using a macbook and cheap audio technica noise canceling ear buds - with tv playing on the background.

Tidal is ridiculously priced. I prefer to spend 20 bucks a month on purchased albums instead lol! Also the playlists and 'discoveries' did not impress at all. I get better value from podcasts for free.
 

thekipper

Limp Gawd
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Feb 7, 2008
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4/5 on a quick listen. I missed the first one (Killers) but I really didn't know the "This is High Fidelity" button was the choose button until I did that one. Piece of shit test.

Shitty pair of Panasonic RP-HTF600 cans with velour pads straight out of a Dell XPS 15 L502X jack.

Thanks Tidal for saving me $20 and a shit ton of money on that pair of HD600 cans I've been eyeing for a while lol. Obviously no need for either.
 

B00nie

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4/5 on a quick listen. I missed the first one (Killers) but I really didn't know the "This is High Fidelity" button was the choose button until I did that one. Piece of shit test.

Shitty pair of Panasonic RP-HTF600 cans with velour pads straight out of a Dell XPS 15 L502X jack.

Thanks Tidal for saving me $20 and a shit ton of money on that pair of HD600 cans I've been eyeing for a while lol. Obviously no need for either.
Uh, finding out the differences on a shitty pair of headphones does not imply that you wouldn't benefit from the HD600's it only implies that you can hear the difference between compression levels. If you really think there aren't differences between audio gears then hifi (or God forbid, High End) is not for you.
 
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