August 31, 2011 at 2:53 pm #631
What is a Transcode?
Put simply, a transcode is any audio file that wasn’t encoded from an original lossless source, such as a retail CD (not created from lossy files) or a properly made lossless rip. Converting webstreams to MP3s would be one example of a transcode. Several bittorrent sites, where some leaks are shared originally, do not let users upload transcoded leaks, only allowing one lossy step in the lineage of any upload. A lot of MP3 blogs do not check for transcodes.
Why is transcoding bad?
Whenever you encode a file to a lossy format (such as mp3, m4a(AAC), ogg, or mpc) information is permanently lost. It doesn’t matter what you do, it’s impossible to get this information back without making a new rip from the original lossless source. If you reencode it to a different format or bitrate, all you’re doing is reducing the quality. This applies to any lossy to lossy conversion, so even if you convert from 320kbps to 192kbps, the final file will still sound worse than if you had just ripped to 192kbps in the first place.
It’s also important to remember to verify that lossless rips actually came from an original source. People that download lossless expect it to be identical to the original. There’s no point in people downloading a bigger file just to get another lossy rip.
So how do I verify that my rip isn’t a transcode?
The simplest way is to rip and encode it from the original source yourself. That way, you know that there has been only one lossy step (or that the rip is truly lossless, if you decided to do a lossless rip).
You should also check it by using a wave editor (such as Adobe Audition) to look at the spectral frequency display.
FhG VS. LAME
Most lossy encoders use a low-pass filter when encoding. The filter is set to cut frequencies above a certain point and leave those below. The reason they’re doing it is, that high frequencies are more difficult to encode and hearing is less sensitive in higher frequencies. MP3 encoders at 128kbps will typically use a LPF at 16kHz. As you raise the bitrate, the frequency threshold raises. At 192kbps the LPF is usually set at 18kHz or higher.September 29, 2011 at 7:40 am #924
glad to see you spreading the quality rip gospelFebruary 2, 2012 at 7:04 pm #2528
I hate transcodes. But they are still considered leaks, no?February 2, 2012 at 8:15 pm #2534
Yes, they are considered as leaks. Usually it’s mentioned in the leak reports or comments. Unfortunately most people aren’t aware or know what a transcode is.February 2, 2012 at 8:20 pm #2535
Do you know if there’s a method to detect if it’s a transcode? I’m sure some audiophiles can tell immediately. But I wonder if you can tell anything by inspecting the audio file’s spectrogram. It would be great if we were able to note if the leak is a transcode or not.February 5, 2012 at 12:51 pm #2663
Not the easiest thing in the world, but I posted a guide on how to spot a transcode..February 5, 2012 at 9:48 pm #2680
Francesco De PaoliParticipant@frankie89Level 5
So I guess the point is: enjoy you’re soulless mp3 music but then (if you enjoyed it) buy the vynil, or at least the cd. ;)February 7, 2012 at 6:01 am #2693
Vinyl is special for me. Some albums I will get but generally records I have always loved. ‘The Always Open Mouth’ is one for instance that I own on cd as well as vinyl. I don’t see anything wrong with digital versus physical apart from buyer preference. I don’t mean sound wise, but If you have a record you own it. Regardless of the format.May 29, 2013 at 12:40 am #43679
Never knew about this, thanks for the info c:August 14, 2013 at 6:15 pm #78612
Remi CarreiroParticipant@remicarreiroLevel 1
Thanks for the info about the low-pass filter. That makes a lot of sense. For the sake of saving space on my computer, i dont’ mind the low bitrate files.October 31, 2013 at 12:07 am #82111
Well, I hate transcodes. On many files the audio quality loss is noticeable. I’d rather wait for better rips.February 16, 2017 at 9:55 pm #198062
good post man.April 15, 2017 at 10:55 pm #199631
320 or flac.
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