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HI MiniDisc Format versus MP3

Discussion in 'Audio' started by robmill, Jan 28, 2004.

  1. robmill

    robmill Member

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    Hello,

    Figured I would start a heated conversation going,,,,so here goes.

    I have always liked the MiniDisc format first of all and I think with Sonys announcement of the HIMD format and Internet Audio Services with future inclusion of the service into its Home Audio Equipment. Sony will be the first real threat to the Apple/IPOD.

    I have never ever ever like MP3 files (no matter what sampling rate they are done at) I have always been able to hear THE DIFFERENCE. And I alway have disliked formats that do not have removable media. Yes the IPOD and MP3 players have large storage capabilities, but to have a format that has 1 gig discs with 45 hours of music each,,,,I just have to say wow. I have always perferred Atrac over MP3 compression.

    Well, thats what I think. Let the battle begin.

    Robert
     
  2. tigre

    tigre Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't see why there should be a battle...

    Here are some threads at Hydrogenaudio about the topic:
    http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/index.php?showtopic=7192&hl=atrac,and,abx
    http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/index.php?showtopic=12957&hl=atrac,and,abx
    http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/index.php?showtopic=2099&hl=
    http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/index.php?showtopic=3373&hl=
    http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/index.php?showtopic=1722&hl=

    Best mp3 quality you get using the --alt-presets with lame (see sticky thread in this forum), --alt-preset standard (and higher) should be transparent (= no audible difference to original) on 99.x % of music to 99.x % of listeners.

    Discussion on what format sounds closer to the original only makes sense if it's based on double blind listening tests (ABX). Otherwise it's too easy to be fooled by immagination / placebo effect. More about this you'll find in the FAQ of http://www.hydrogenaudio.org .
     
  3. wilkes

    wilkes Regular member

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    hear hear, tigre.
     
  4. robmill

    robmill Member

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    OK OK,

    All I am saying is that I prefer MiniDisc because I can copy directly to it from my stereo system. And I like the portablility/swapability of the system.

    Robert
     
  5. sdifox

    sdifox Regular member

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    Portability? MD is a lot bigger than memory cards and holds a lot less. Sure, MP3s are basically computer bound. But once you get them on memory cards, they are a lot more portable than MDs. As to fidelity, I doubt you can tell the diff if you are comparing similar compression levels. And that doesn't necessarily mean datarate. Each algorithm generate different data rate at the same compression level.
    My problem with MDs is the corrupted track 0. I have about 200 MDs and lost about 20 to that. That is quite bad.

    Best way to test algorithm performance is to take PCM data, convert to MP3 and ATRAC and then run all three through waveform analyzer.
     
  6. Relmak

    Relmak Member

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    Hey Sdifox,
    Your comment "My problem with MDs is the corrupted track 0. I have about 200 MDs and lost about 20 to that." has me worried.
    I use my MD for interviews and can't afford to lose someone's interview. Can you explain (or anyone else who knows) -in simple terms- what you mean? Thanks
     
  7. wilkes

    wilkes Regular member

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    It simply means that the TOC is unreadable.
    Had this a few times myself.
     
  8. Relmak

    Relmak Member

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    Thanks, that sucks.
    Did you do something wrong or did it just happen out of nowhere? The TOC may be gone but the data is still there. Can it be reclaimed?
     
  9. wilkes

    wilkes Regular member

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    I have no idea!
    Probably pilot error, as I never really bothered learning the MiniDisc player/recorder I have properly.
    Not been able to find a way of getting the data back, though. The disc just shows as unreadable.
     
  10. EsirnuS

    EsirnuS Guest

    Im in favour of the MP3 here

    i have a portable mini disc player/recoder and a portable Mp3 player and recently a cd/mp3CD player for my car. the MP3 player is my personal choice above the MD everytime now. The memory cards are far smaller and i have found more rugged for "excessive" use in a portable situation

    Mini discs although great at what they do have been quickly out dated by mp3 players and the "no moving parts" system. The announcement of the HIMD looks interesting and might change my mind about the sony md system butI too have lost MD's due to the corruption of the TOC.

    I have absolutely no problems with the quality of my mp3's and compared with MD and original cd quality there is nothing in it.

    Maybe you have been listening to poor encoded MP3's? i dont know - for me its MP3

    w
     
  11. sdifox

    sdifox Regular member

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    Relmark. It's the Table of Content being FUBAR and not being able to do anything about it. I even have a couple that had bad TOC brand new. It wasn't worth the trouble for me to return them. Tossing was cheaper.

    Memory cards are not infallible either, but it's a hell lot better than spinning disc.
     
  12. Relmak

    Relmak Member

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    Thanks Sdifox and all.
    Tossing a new F'd up blank MD is easy. Even one with a bunch of MP3's on it that you also have in another location. The real problem occurs when you just interviewed someone, get home and the data's not there. That's never happened yet, but I have accidently erased people's tracks by pushing the wrong buttons in a rush. Not a problem for mostly all of you, but if you should hear of a MD data recovery method or service, please pass the word. I've only found one in England. I'd like to stay local to the US.
    Also, MD is the only affordable portable recording method of quality I've found - for microphone.
     
  13. sdifox

    sdifox Regular member

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    Well, how portable do you need it to be? Rumour has it IPAQ will become a recorder too (hackers found the record function) though I don't know how good that is. you may need to carry a good mic (maybe a mic to RCA converter + power supply if you carry a real microphone) and the ipaq and that's that.

    DAT is just too expensive...

    p.s. found this link that you might find interesting

    http://www.minidisc.org/uploader_table.html
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2004
  14. Relmak

    Relmak Member

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    Cool link, you gave me some reading/research to do.
    I like the recording quality I get with the MD. I wonder how it would compare with an MP3 recording? I can notice the difference between MP3 at 128 and CD. I guess I'd need to get one with a higher than 128 sample rate selection.
    You wrote "I doubt you can tell the diff if you are comparing similar compression levels. And that doesn't necessarily mean datarate. Each algorithm generate different data rate at the same compression level.
    Best way to test algorithm performance is to take PCM data, convert to MP3 and ATRAC and then run all three through waveform analyzer."
    Have you actually compared MD & MP3?
     
  15. sdifox

    sdifox Regular member

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    No scientific test was conducted if that is what you are asking. What I am doing is comparison based on listening experience and some calculations. Base MD is 74Min ~ 160MB which translates to ~ 288.3kbps. You would have to encode some mp3 at 288kbps and compare it to MD to do a fair comparison of encoding quality and efficency.

    Problem is there is really no easy way for you to do a scientific comparison simply because they do not exist in the same plane. MP3 is a computer thing while MD is purely audio. I have listened to MDs and mp3 through the same headphones (Sennheiser HD433, it was free, what do you want?) and I would say MD and 160kbps is not that different. But I cannot say it is conclusive because the DAC in my SB16 live could be better than the DAC in my Sharp MD recorder. It could be that my Kenwood mini-system can drive the headphones much better than the portable because of higher current output.

    My read on this is MP3 is a far superior standard compared to ATRAC. Your problem is lack of hardware recorder with good data rate. Base data rate of 128kbps is good for walkman listening, not for anything serious. 160kbps is pretty good on mp3. One thing to consider is the source. You are recording voice and it could be that ATRAC does a better job than MP3 in that area. I never tested conversation comparison so I wouldn't know.

    I really hate the 128kbps people settled on. 160kbps would have been so much nicer. but I guess it keeps it under 1MBpm. 160 would yield 1.2MBpm.

    P.S. Upon actually reading the page at minidisc.org, I discovered some recorders record in WAV. that means CD quality. I guess you can get an digital recorder,specifically the iRiver H110, with a 10GB HD (or the H120 w/ 20GB or the H140 with 40GB) and record in WAV. Assuming you record at CD quality (16bit, 44.1KHz) , that should give you a tad over 1000 minutes. That should do it for you no? :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2004
  16. Relmak

    Relmak Member

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    Ohhh 1000 min! When I saw WAV I thought, nice but too big a space hog.
    Yea, I guess even if Atrac is better for voice than MP3, it probably won't beat wav.
    So many variables, but I guess if we can get things side by side to compare, it comes down to - which sounds better, provided we consider ourselves good judges and most things being as equal as possible.

    Pardon my ignorance but:
    - DAC means digital audio compression - yes?
    - How does Base MD 74Min ~ 160MB equal ~ 288.3kbps? And I guess even more ignorant - what does "~" mean?
    Re: 160 MP3's - I agree, what's more important, getting it under 1MBpm or sound quality.

     
  17. sdifox

    sdifox Regular member

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    read this article for all you want to know about MD

    http://www.minidisc.org/minidisc_faq.html

    DAC= Digital to Analogue Converter or convertion depending on context
    ADC= Analogue to Digital Converter or Convertion
    "~=" is typing equivalent to mathematical symbol Approximately equals to I skippked the = sign thus causing the confusion.

    MB= Mega Byte
    Mb= Mega Bit

    1MB=8Mb

    I arrived at the 288.3 by doing very rough math

    Assuming 74min (it is really closer to 75)
    Assuming 160MB per MD and I am assuming they are doing 1000KB per MB as opposed to 1024KB since all storage maker like to call 1000MB 1GB.

    160*8*1000/74/60 ~=288.3Kbps

    So roughly ATRAC on MD is being recorded at 288.3Kbps.
    If you crank up your mp3 to 260kbps, I bet you'll say the mp3 sounds better. Sony is not exactly the lossy audio compression algorithm giant. (DSD is really more of a Phillips development)


     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2004
  18. Relmak

    Relmak Member

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    Well,
    I have learned a lot and appreciate it.
    I have a lot more to learn but its a good start.
    Thanks for your efforts
     
  19. st_pat

    st_pat Guest

    hey i was just reading this....im a BIG fan of the mds.....but the TOC problem usually occurs if the laser head is dirty and you may want to spend the money on an md cleaner, just a suggestion
    _X_X_X_X_X_[small]LALALA[/small]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2004
  20. tigre

    tigre Moderator Staff Member

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