Convert To and loss of quality

Discussion in 'Helium Music Manager Discussion' started by Midasknight, Aug 24, 2011.

  1. Midasknight

    Midasknight New Member

    My question is about how the Convert To function works related to loss of quality.

    If the original song is not lossless, does converting the song to another format further degrade the quality of the recording.

    Example
    If a song is currently recorded @ 192 AAC and is converted to 192 MP3, will that recording be further degraded and sound worse than the original 912 AAC? Should you always convert to the highest bit rate when converting to keep the qualities of the original? 128 AAC to 320 MP3? Is it even worth it?

    It reminds me of the old days when we used to make a cassette copy, the further away from the original the recording was, the worse it would sound. I just want to be sure.

    Thanks
  2. msmiley

    msmiley New Member

    You will lose quality when transcoding from one lossy format to another.
  3. lbc

    lbc Member

    I would appreciate it if someone could elaborate on that. Is is systematically true ? I've been contemplating converting all my files to Ogg Vorbis, but this would be kind of a drag...
  4. mwcem

    mwcem Member

    Well, in fact "msmiley" said it already.

    If you want to convert from a format, that is not lossless (Lossless is only .wav and .flac), to another format that is also not lossless, you will loose additional quality.

    If you care about quality you could transcode the music into .flac-format. You can use it mostly like you can use mp3. You can add tags and use it with HMM. Still .mp3 is the format you can use on all players, although it is not lossless. If you want to use .mp3 I would advise you to encode your music with 320kp. This can be played by all players (encoding into 384 is possible, but only view players can handle that), and there's not a real audible difference between this format and .flac.
  5. Gendji

    Gendji Member

    You'll never get a higher quality version of any music file type by converting it to another file type because the conversion process doesn't magically add higher bit rate streams. All it does is compress it in various ways.

    Wav files are the uncompressed version on a cd, file size being large.

    Flac files are compressed kinda like a zip file (compression which allows the reconstruction of the original data), so no loss in quality there compared to wav and file size being roughly 50% (at lvl 8) of that of a wav file.

    Mp3 files are compresses with the file size in mind, achieved by discarding some data, with which you will always lose quality compared to flac or wav (or even other lossy formats), it's size being roughly 50% of that of an Flac file (at 320kbps).
  6. lbc

    lbc Member

    Thanks for the primer guys : )

    I should have been more specific. Is there really no way one can transcode , say, MP3 to Ogg Vorbis without loosing additional information (quality) in the process ?
  7. Gendji

    Gendji Member

  8. mwcem

    mwcem Member

    For comfort reading here: (Upper link from vorbis.com)

    "Can I convert my MP3 collection to the Ogg Vorbis format?

    You can convert any audio format to Ogg Vorbis. However, converting from one lossy format, like MP3, to another lossy format, like Vorbis, is generally a bad idea. Both MP3 and Vorbis encoders achieve high compression ratios by throwing away parts of the audio waveform that you probably won't hear. However, the MP3 and Vorbis codecs are very different, so they each will throw away different parts of the audio, although there certainly is some overlap. Converting a MP3 to Vorbis involves decoding the MP3 file back to an uncompressed format, like WAV, and recompressing it using the Ogg Vorbis encoder. The decoded MP3 will be missing the parts of the original audio that the MP3 encoder chose to discard. The Ogg Vorbis encoder will then discard other audio components when it compresses the data. At best, the result will be an Ogg file that sounds the same as your original MP3, but it is most likely that the resulting file will sound worse than your original MP3. In no case will you get a file that sounds better than the original MP3.
    Since many music players can play both MP3 and Ogg files, there is no reason that you should have to switch all of your files to one format or the other. If you like Ogg Vorbis, then we would encourage you to use it when you encode from original, lossless audio sources (like CDs). When encoding from originals, you will find that you can make Ogg files that are smaller or of better quality (or both) than your MP3s.
    (If you must absolutely must convert from MP3 to Ogg, there are several conversion scripts available on Freshmeat .)"

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