MP3 files and sound quality

Perhaps only peripherally DIY but there's such a lot of computer expertise here.
I was surprised today to see a reference to "a poor quality fifth-generation
mp3 file" - I thought that digital files (of whatever format) reproduced exactly from generation to generation with no deterioration at all. Am I mistaken? If mp3s do indeed get progressively worse when repeatedly dubbed I'm going to have to rethink the audio project I'm currently working on.
Thanks.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 18/05/2020 19:27, Bert Coules wrote:

MP3 is lossy, the compression removes detail you can never recover.
For editing you need a lossless format, WAV or FLAC or …?
--
djc

(▀̿Ĺ̯▀̿ ̿)
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"DJC" wrote:

Oh sure, I appreciate that. But I was concerned about subsequent copies mp3 - mp3. Does the quality (compressed though it be) remain constant?

Some of the files I'm working with are m4a which isn't a format I was familiar with. Where do they stand in the quality hierarchy? Better than mp3?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Basically if you decode to wav then re encode to mp3 every single time you change a file then it will sound terrible in very short order. Brian
--
----- --
This newsgroup posting comes to you directly from...
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 18/05/2020 20:20, Bert Coules wrote:

If you simply copy the file, then you will have an identical file in the same way as copying any other digital file.
The only way you would introduce further quality loss is to in some way re-encode it, transcode it, or reconvert an analogue capture etc.

Its a successor to MP3, generally better results for the same bit rate, but still a "lossy" format.
--
Cheers,

John.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
John Rumm wrote:

Ah, right. Thanks, John.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Exactly, always do your edits in a lossless format and try to find a lossless original if you can as well. Brian
--
----- --
This newsgroup posting comes to you directly from...
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Brian Gaff wrote:

That's the tricky bit unfortunately, in some cases, at least.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Bert Coules wrote:

Or import all your MP3s to a lossless format, that won't degrade anything, then produce your project, and do a single export to MP3/M4A at the end (keep a lossless copy around too).
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 19/05/2020 08:13, Andy Burns wrote:

+1
--
Climate Change: Socialism wearing a lab coat.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Andy Burns wrote:

Following this discussion that's exactly the course I decided on, so thanks for reinforcing it.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Bert Coules wrote:

If you copy the file over and over, it'll retain the same quality, but if you keep-re-encoding it, e.g. to mix in other channels each time, you'll get gradually worse, if you can arrange it so you mix in all the extra channels just once, so there's effectively only one extra generation you'll get away without problems.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Andy Burns wrote:

Thanks for that. I'm using a multichannel mixer (MixPad) so I can keep all the components separate and just export the mix down to a single file when I'm finished. But since many of the separate tracks are mp3 files the subsequent final mixdown does represent a first-generation dub of many of them. But you confirm my suspicion that no deterioration is involved.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Well its still not clear to me that you are not re encoding. For example if you import all the sounds you need all will have been decoded. When you do a mix it will be still not re encoded. Save a non compressed master of this intermediate mix, then save your new mp3. If changes are then required go back to the uncompressed version and add to that, not the mp3. Or use Reaper and simply save the project and do the editing afresh, but that software is really hard to grasp and not good for simple stuff. Brian
--
----- --
This newsgroup posting comes to you directly from...
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Brian Gaff wrote:

That's essentially what I'm doing.

I'm not familiar with Reaper and while I wouldn't exactly categorise what I'm doing as simple, I'd prefer to stick to software that I'm familiar with. But Reaper sounds interesting and I shall give it a look, thanks.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

In which case I'd say you will get some losses over the original MP3 file. As to mix it with others means decoding and re-coding the final mix.
--
*No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver,purple

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 18/05/2020 19:27, Bert Coules wrote:

It depends. Obviously if you copy the file, it will be the same, but if you encode to MP3, then re-encode that again for some reason, you get even more loss and it will start to sound (even more?) horrible. If you take a WAV, encode to MP3, then convert back to WAV, you don't get the same file back.
Quite *why* you'd re-encode an MP3 is another matter.
If you take a lossless format (FLAC or WAV), then encode that to MP3 there's only one lot of loss.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Chris Bartram wrote:

Does saving my MixPad mixes (which include quite a few mp3 tracks) to single mp3 files mean that I'm re-encoding those particular elements?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 18/05/2020 20:46, Chris Bartram wrote:

many non computer devices (some Tvs, cars) don't understand anything else..
--
No Apple devices were knowingly used in the preparation of this post.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
No no no. Every decode and encode of a lossy compression adds more losses. If you want to edit mp3s then turn them into wav or flac files then you will only have two generations of loss. Brian
--
----- --
This newsgroup posting comes to you directly from...
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.