Hi Res Audio Confusion

Gazzip

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I’m bored today so I started looking in to hi res downloads. The prices, although still high, seem to have come down a bit since I last looked, so my interest has been pricked. However, the number of different bit depths and sample rates on offer has left me a little at sea. I thought that 24/96 was the next logical step up from CD’s 16/44 but I am seeing 24/88.2 and 24/48 quite a lot also. What is going on and what is “hi res”?

Also, my Dirac software upsamples everything to 96Khz anyway, and then my PC upsamples it all again to 32/384. Then my DAC does other stuff to it. By the time it has been through that digital mill is the benefit of hi res going to be lost anyway? I’m well confused. Heads in bits about all of this if you’ll pardon the slightly geeky pun.
 

davedotco

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Gazzip said:
I’m bored today so I started looking in to hi res downloads. The prices, although still high, seem to have come down a bit since I last looked, so my interest has been pricked. However, the number of different bit depths and sample rates on offer has left me a little at sea. I thought that 24/96 was the next logical step up from CD’s 16/44 but I am seeing 24/88.2 and 24/48 quite a lot also. What is going on and what is “hi res”?

Also, my Dirac software upsamples everything to 96Khz anyway, and then my PC upsamples it all again to 32/384. Then my DAC does other stuff to it. By the time it has been through that digital mill is the benefit of hi res going to be lost anyway? I’m well confused. Heads in bits about all of this if you’ll pardon the slightly geeky pun.

The CD standard of 16/44.1 is by common usage standard resolution/definition.

This is of course a playback standard, most good modern digital recording will be at 24/96 or better. The 24/96 master is then downsampled to 16/44.1 for domestic playback.

Hi-res is simply any recording that is made at better than 16/44.1 that is then mastered and released at better than 16/44.1. This can not be a CD, but can be a DVD or SACD of some type or a download. The important point here is that the original recording is hi-res, if it is not then you are just altering the size of the (digital) packaging.
 

CnoEvil

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I put the quality of the Mastering above the bit rate. I have Red Book recordings that sound much better than some of my Hi-Res......but great Mastering in Hi-Res is the ideal.
 

Gray

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...try this 56 minute talk! This link was posted on the forum earlier this week. Actually, there's a hell of a lot of sense here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5S_DI99wd8&t=1189s

Beware of some of the 'high resoution' available - even at discounted prices.
 

Blacksabbath25

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I’ve read some stuff as well about this subject and going by the experts they say that cd quality is the range of our hearing and that this was decided when cd was first invented .

so they say flac high-res is pointless when your hearing can’t pick up them frequencies I do not no what to believe I felt I could hear small difference in flac or it was just my mind playing tricks on me .
 

CnoEvil

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Blacksabbath25 said:
so they say flac high-res is pointless when your hearing can’t pick up them frequencies I do not no what to believe I felt I could hear small difference in flac or it was just my mind playing tricks on me .

I have also hear differences...but I don't know whether its because it uses different Masters, or whether 24 bit allow recording to sound better.

I have Linn Record tracks in 350 k/bits vs 16bit vs 24bit.....and the higher the bits, the better they sound - but I don't know if they are all from the same Master, as Linn have said that could be the case to Steve_1979, when he asked.
 

Blacksabbath25

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CnoEvil said:
Blacksabbath25 said:
so they say flac high-res is pointless when your hearing can’t pick up them frequencies I do not no what to believe I felt I could hear small difference in flac or it was just my mind playing tricks on me .

I have also hear differences...but I don't know whether its because it uses different Masters, or whether 24 bit allow recording to sound better.

I have Linn Record tracks in 350 k/bits vs 16bit vs 24bit.....and the higher the bits, the better they sound - but I don't know if they are all from the same Master, as Linn have said that could be the case to Steve, when he asked.
yes that’s what I found one recording would sound slightly better then different one or the same album as standard album then that same album in flac and they also say you wouldn’t notice between 16. -24 bit rate
 
Talking of original masters

I used to have a Rochford album (yes I know)....but a song I'm fond of "Kathleen on the original vinyl I used to have had a very wide meaty sound with decent production ....today I fancied a wee listen to that very song...I used tidal hi-fi through the superuniti......it was thin and flat as a pancake....they had about three different versions of the album and all sounded the same...I also checked the best of collection..yes it was there....but only louder......a victim of the loudness wars maybe...but I'm pretty dissatisfied and just wonder how many more album's out there are like that.....I'm kinda wishing I held on to my vinyl and turntable now *dash1*
 

davedotco

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By common usage, CD standard is pretty much the the definition of a standard resolution recording. This is 16bit 44.1kHz and in it's purest state, .WAV or .AIF format on a computer is uncompressed in anyway.

Such files can be created at higher resolution such as 16/48 or 24/96 and if this is done during the recording process, then we have a hi-res recording. Many modern recordings are 24/96 that are then downsampled to 16/44.1 to be recorded on cd and some are not downsampled at all but made available as a 24/96 hi-res recording.

In each case, when the 24/96 studio recording is prepared for commercial release, the file is constructed using the desired sample rate and at the same time 'adjusted' to sound as the artist/producer/record company desires, this is called mastering. It can be different for each released version of the original.

When comparing 'standard' 16/44.1 versions with 'hi-res' 24/96 versions you do knot know what, if any differences have occurred during the mastering process so you do not know what is causing any differences you might hear.
 
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Mark Rose-Smith said:
Talking of original masters

I used to have a Rochford album (yes I know)....but a song I'm fond of "Kathleen on the original vinyl I used to have had a very wide meaty sound with decent production ....today I fancied a wee listen to that very song...I used tidal hi-fi through the superuniti......it was thin and flat as a pancake....they had about three different versions of the album and all sounded the same...I also checked the best of collection..yes it was there....but only louder......a victim of the loudness wars maybe...but I'm pretty dissatisfied and just wonder how many more album's out there are like that.....I'm kinda wishing I held on to my vinyl and turntable now *dash1*

For what it's worth Mark I think you should have held onto them too. It's all a lottery with these different formats as to whether the best master has been used.

As an example, Brothers In Arms, I've got it on: mp3, hi-res, original CD, remastered CD, SACD and vinyl and to my ears the vinyl kicks butt over all the other formats. SACD comes damned close, but no cigar.

I have several hi-res albums and I really do not rate all this bulls**t. I've said many times before that it's all a ruse to get us parted from our hard-earned cash by purchasing our beloved albums all over again.
 

Blacksabbath25

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Definitely true about the remastered stuff you think your getting better quality and I’ve also fell for it quite a lot just to get 1 - 2 songs that have never been released .

and a lot of the time the artist who make the album they do not always have a say so in the recording process
 

Gazzip

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Thanks for all of the clarifications, but I still don’t really get what effect (if any) my electronics may have.

My Dirac software upsamples everything to 96Khz, and then my PC upsamples it all again to 32/384. Then my DAC does other stuff to it. By the time it has been through that digital mill is the benefit of hi res going to be lost anyway?
 

CnoEvil

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Gazzip said:
Thanks for all of the clarifications, but I still don’t really get what effect (if any) my electronics may have.

My Dirac software upsamples everything to 96Khz, and then my PC upsamples it all again to 32/384. Then my DAC does other stuff to it. By the time it has been through that digital mill is the benefit of hi res going to be lost anyway?

Fcuk knows. *unknw*
 

davedotco

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Gazzip said:
Thanks for all of the clarifications, but I still don’t really get what effect (if any) my electronics may have.

My Dirac software upsamples everything to 96Khz, and then my PC upsamples it all again to 32/384. Then my DAC does other stuff to it. By the time it has been through that digital mill is the benefit of hi res going to be lost anyway?

These are all techniques for preserving as accurately as possible the original music file, be that file hi or low-res. Upsampling is effectively just adding noise to give you more bits, you can then process these files in a number of ways without compromising the actual, real music signal.

In all cases here, the aim is to process these files as accurately as possible so that you preserve the musical integrity of the original recording. It's just playback, you can not add resolution to a digital file but you may be able to process that file more effectively if you resample or upsample it 'so that it has more bits' prior to processing.
 

Gray

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Gazzip said:
Thanks for all of the clarifications, but I still don’t really get what effect (if any) my electronics may have.

My Dirac software upsamples everything to 96Khz, and then my PC upsamples it all again to 32/384. Then my DAC does other stuff to it. By the time it has been through that digital mill is the benefit of hi res going to be lost anyway?

If it was a genuine high resolution recording to start with, you won't lose the benefit. (Anything less and there's no benefit to lose)
 

MajorFubar

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DougK said:
Brothers In Arms, I've got it on: mp3, hi-res...

Now that should be a laugh, it was only recorded at 16/44.1 to start with. Talk about a complete marketing gimmick to ensnare the gullible and naive... (no personal offence intended of course).
 
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MajorFubar said:
DougK said:
Brothers In Arms, I've got it on: mp3, hi-res...

Now that should be a laugh, it was only recorded at 16/44.1 to start with. Talk about a complete marketing gimmick to ensnare the gullible and naive... (no personal offence intended of course).

None taken Major. I think DDC sums it all up very nicely. But I refer to my previous comments that all this hi-res bull is just marketing hype anyway. Problem is how do you find the best master recording amongst so many pretenders to the throne? My guess would be the original recording. Trial and error is an expensive luxury which I have now decided to dispense with. Find something that sounds sweet to your ears and do not be lured into all this remastered or hi-res smokescreen.
 

jimmy1

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I think its more mastering and dynamic range that make a recording sound better but i have some high rez and it does sound better than the cd version but maybe i just been lucky getting it from the best master on the ones i do have
 

Gazzip

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jimmy1 said:
In other words eff knows *ROFL*

Exactly my thoughts. The CD Red Book parameters for 16/44 are a reference standard. It strikes me that no demonstrable standard exists for hi-res, so the foo merchants can merrily work away in the hi-res realm unchecked. Add to that the fact that nobody seems to really know what a DAC actually does to the dignal when it upsamples etc., I think my money is staying in my pocket.
 
Even that's a bit of a problem these days....everything going is some kind of deluxe edition or nth fekin remastered cd......why can't we get some gen up decently recorded fekin music.....classical and jazz do OK but the rest is pretty much garbage . sometimes I reckon I'd be just as well off with my old technics midi system from the early nineties...
 
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Mark Rose-Smith said:
Even that's a bit of a problem these days....everything going is some kind of deluxe edition or nth fekin remastered cd......why can't we get some gen up decently recorded fekin music.....classical and jazz do OK but the rest is pretty much garbage . sometimes I reckon I'd be just as well off with my old technics midi system from the early nineties...

Bah deluxe editions and remasters are all sh*te. Like you I wish there were somewhere online where you could go to find the best recordings; got the DR database but that doesn't tell the whole story. In the early nineties you we were probably listening to some of the best recordings ever released before loudness became the flavour of the decade.

I use foobar as my media player, it has a dynamic range meter plug-in which I have used on all my collection, the results are interesting. One particular original album in my collection has a DR score of 16 in 1984, the 2014 remastered version has a DR score of 8! From about mid-90s to now every release just gets louder and louder.
 

Gray

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Might get that DR checker into my Foobar. Though during that long speech, the man from the recording industry questioned the accuracy of DR testers. He seemed to be saying that some (or all?) of the checkers include the (variable length) start silence and fade-outs of tracks, which affects the score. (You'd sort of hope they'd start and stop tight on the music, in which case there wouldn't be a problem)

Who knows? At least, by using the same checker to compare all files, there should still be a meaningful comparison between them (If not a consistency between different DR testers!)
 

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