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High-resolution audio: clarity or confusion?

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Overdose

Well-known member
Feb 8, 2008
279
0
18,890
davedotco said:
Overdose said:
davedotco said:
Secondly there seems to be a move in the music undustry to 'limit' CD quality, so that they can sell 'better' hi-res versions to more discerning listeners.
This is a very cynical viewpoint, but probably not too far from the truth.

I think that high res files though, are unlikely to be anything other than niche and particular to the enthusiast market. The tech savvy 'Beats' generation by and large, will either be uninterested or not sucked in.
Digital 'watermarking' is commonplace on some labels and is said to be audible. That is not to say all watermarking is inaudible, but it certainly doesn't have to be that way.

Furthermore, the heavily compressed 'mass market' product that dominates pop/rock recordings is deliberately produced, the record companies know exactly what they are doing and master their product accordingly.
I have couple of digitally watermarked pre-release and promo albums, they suffer no audible artifacts.

Not everyone uses excessive dynamic compression and loudness that can be gained by the use of compression, is very useful. It's only the mainstream recordings that follow this path en masse anyway though and it's the mainstream the most people buy into.

Those same people that buy into mainstream music in their masses, are also far less interested about compression than most enthusiasts. It is, in most cases, not the big issue that enthusiasts make it out to be and tub thumping about 'quality' just opens up the gullible to buying into the whole high res thing hook, line and sinker.
 

cheeseboy

New member
Jul 17, 2012
245
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0
jacobmorrison said:
The only possible conclusion to draw is that the remaster makes the difference...
yep, that's usually the case. It's quite interesting to see, sometimes if you are listening to stuff on spotify for example, and have it as a CD, sometimes it can sound quite a bit different as it's a different master/remaster.

As you say, WHF should be championing better mastering, not just an excuse for an upgrade. Something which hidden away with the whole Neil Young Pono thing is something that he is trying to champion, yet get's lambasted for it by the very people who want it... :?
 

Tarxman

New member
Jul 3, 2009
64
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0
I myself have both downloaded albums from HDtracks (in 24/96, maximum capability of my DAC) and I have also recorded my own music in 24/96 and down sampled it to 16/44.1 and the difference is obvious on my system. Heck, it's obvious listening through the headphone outlet on my interface. This isn't another cable debate, it's fact. No one can honestly say they couldn't hear a difference when SACD started showing up. Even through my (back then) home theatre speakers I could hear a staggering difference in sound quality.
 

Overdose

Well-known member
Feb 8, 2008
279
0
18,890
Tarxman said:
I myself have both downloaded albums from HDtracks (in 24/96, maximum capability of my DAC) and I have also recorded my own music in 24/96 and down sampled it to 16/44.1 and the difference is obvious on my system. Heck, it's obvious listening through the headphone outlet on my interface. This isn't another cable debate, it's fact. No one can honestly say they couldn't hear a difference when SACD started showing up. Even through my (back then) home theatre speakers I could hear a staggering difference in sound quality.
Then you have done something wrong somewhere.
 

andyjm

New member
Jul 20, 2012
15
0
0
Overdose said:
Tarxman said:
I myself have both downloaded albums from HDtracks (in 24/96, maximum capability of my DAC) and I have also recorded my own music in 24/96 and down sampled it to 16/44.1 and the difference is obvious on my system. Heck, it's obvious listening through the headphone outlet on my interface. This isn't another cable debate, it's fact. No one can honestly say they couldn't hear a difference when SACD started showing up. Even through my (back then) home theatre speakers I could hear a staggering difference in sound quality.
Then you have done something wrong somewhere.
Yep, I may have got the lingo wrong, but I think you've made a gutser, cobber.
 

BigH

New member
Dec 29, 2012
97
1
0
Tarxman said:
I myself have both downloaded albums from HDtracks (in 24/96, maximum capability of my DAC) and I have also recorded my own music in 24/96 and down sampled it to 16/44.1 and the difference is obvious on my system. Heck, it's obvious listening through the headphone outlet on my interface. This isn't another cable debate, it's fact. No one can honestly say they couldn't hear a difference when SACD started showing up. Even through my (back then) home theatre speakers I could hear a staggering difference in sound quality.
But SACD is a different mastering, even on hybrid sacds the sacd and the cd versions are often different.
 

abacus

Well-known member
Sep 24, 2008
499
215
19,270
Tarxman said:
I myself have both downloaded albums from HDtracks (in 24/96, maximum capability of my DAC) and I have also recorded my own music in 24/96 and down sampled it to 16/44.1 and the difference is obvious on my system. Heck, it's obvious listening through the headphone outlet on my interface. This isn't another cable debate, it's fact. No one can honestly say they couldn't hear a difference when SACD started showing up. Even through my (back then) home theatre speakers I could hear a staggering difference in sound quality.
Did you make sure all files were level matched, and when comparing that there was nothing that would indicate which recording was which, if so post your test setup so that others can see if it can be replicated, as if it can then you have proved that more investigation is required, if however you did not follow these test procedures exactly (And cannot post the exact test conditions) then your observations are meaningless to anyone other than yourself.

Bill
 

byakuya83

New member
Mar 14, 2011
63
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0
You should forget science and have faith in hi-res music. Trust those who sell it and give them your money!
 

hifikrazy

New member
Aug 9, 2007
23
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0
Why is everything in hifi somehow a big conspiracy to con consumers of their money for no sonic gain, with the prescribed remedy always the boring old double blind test? If you don't want to spend your money, that's totally fine by me, but there's no need to always create a bunch of excuses to justify your inaction.

It reminds me of vintage gear lovers... They invariably convince themselves that there's no point spending on new gear and will claim their 40 year old system is more "musical", as if a blur, dull and slow sound equates to musicality, and hifi manufacturers somehow through the years lost sight of what is the meaning of good sound reproduction and started going backwards.
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
20
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0
Overdose said:
davedotco said:
Overdose said:
davedotco said:
Secondly there seems to be a move in the music undustry to 'limit' CD quality, so that they can sell 'better' hi-res versions to more discerning listeners.
This is a very cynical viewpoint, but probably not too far from the truth.

I think that high res files though, are unlikely to be anything other than niche and particular to the enthusiast market. The tech savvy 'Beats' generation by and large, will either be uninterested or not sucked in.
Digital 'watermarking' is commonplace on some labels and is said to be audible. That is not to say all watermarking is inaudible, but it certainly doesn't have to be that way.

Furthermore, the heavily compressed 'mass market' product that dominates pop/rock recordings is deliberately produced, the record companies know exactly what they are doing and master their product accordingly.
I have couple of digitally watermarked pre-release and promo albums, they suffer no audible artifacts.

Not everyone uses excessive dynamic compression and loudness that can be gained by the use of compression, is very useful. It's only the mainstream recordings that follow this path en masse anyway though and it's the mainstream the most people buy into.

Those same people that buy into mainstream music in their masses, are also far less interested about compression than most enthusiasts. It is, in most cases, not the big issue that enthusiasts make it out to be and tub thumping about 'quality' just opens up the gullible to buying into the whole high res thing hook, line and sinker.
I have not been troubled by digital watermarking myself in normal use, though I have taken the test and can clearly hear the problem in the examples given. Other people do seem to be bothered though.

http://mattmontag.com/audio-listening-test/

Regarding dynamic range, I would not think it too much to ask that the industry gives us a range that gets into double figures, but in a sense you are right, most of the worse culprits are the kind of 'pop' music that I would not listen to.

That said, I saw Diiv live last year and thought they were great, the album, Oshin, sounds thick and closed in, very disapointing.
 

AlbaBrown

New member
Jun 29, 2012
14
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0
..and amplitude and frequency are the only parameters for sound reproduction?

Example, let's say a (theoretical) perfect recording of a piano being played was created. A single note played would have a variety of different freqencies that, when converging at exact (and differing points in time) govern the overal timbre of that note. A digital representation of that is only samples in time of the original. 16 bit (and more crucially) 44.1khz is not sufficient for rebuilding the original waveforms in their complexity without massive corrective measures in the digital domain to recoup some of the losses.

Even if we are just talking about the frequency range of the human ear, the frequencies you cannot here affect the frequencies that you do. Pioneer's old Legato Link CD players attempted to recreate (to varying degrees of success) parts of the recording above 20khz. It made a noticable difference!

A close friend of the family, worked for what was Philips UK in the early 80's, said an internal memo was released to say that (in Philip's opinion) that when Sony launched the first CD player (going against a gentlemens agreement that Philips would launch first), it effectively froze CD developement at 16bit/44.1khz. Philips wanted further development time to increase the specification to satisfy what they believed would be sufficient for reasonable accurate reproduction of the original (analogue) waveform. Sony, in their greed, launched early to gain a crucial advantage. You judge who the idiots were.

It took years of development to move away from the horrible sounding CD players of the 80's, we've had the whole Pulse Code/Edge/Depth Modulation development battles between firms to try to coax out a more faithful sound. Multi-bit vs Bitstream, all to patch over the cracks in the restricted format we were stuck with. (Although I will concede that Bitstream was originally intended by Philips to be a method whereby much lower power consumption could be achieved for portable products - it just so happened to have a pleasant effect on the sound compared to (still crude) muli-bit DACs at the time.

The same type of people who dismiss Hi-Res now, are no different than those who believe that MP3 is sufficient, or those who bought MiniDisc or DCC years ago (with their PASC and ATRAC compression) based on claims that the data being thrown away was impercievable anyway.

Either tone deaf, or with very poor equipment/setup.

That combined with the pathetic re-marketing of Hi-Res files will probably kill 24 Bit music off.

What creates confusion is marketing b****cks, and forum "experts" who use marketing quotations to back up their lack of experience/perception.
 

Glacialpath

New member
Apr 7, 2010
118
0
0
davedotco said:
The information is not audible and therefore irrelevant. In the broadest terms.

There is a very simple experiment that virtually anyone can do.

Find a good quality hi-res download that you like.

Down sample to Cd standard, 16 bit, 44.1 Khz.

After carefully level matching the two files, listen and compare, but do so blind.

Report what you hear.
Dave you state things with such finallity.

Why would you compabe a down sampled Hi-res audio file to a CD? You would just be making it the same as the CD surely? That sounds stupid to me.

A DTS HD-MA sound track clearly sounds better and more dynamic than a DTS track becuause there is more information there and it's not been compressed. Simple as that.

Blind tested people would say that DTS track would be better because they can hear more more easily due to the compression or dynamic limitation. That doesn't make it better or even as good as uncompressed audio.

Of course a movie mix or album will never be true to life completely because its a fake copy of real life sound. Unless you are listening t one instrument then you could leave it's full dynamic range and nothing would be there to cover up the small subtle sounds.
 

steve4232

New member
May 20, 2014
6
0
0
It's pretty blooming obvious really that Hi-Res is better than standard Redbook 16 bit / 44.1kHz. Only a fool could argue otherwise. If you think about it vinyl cut entirely from analogue sources without any digital futzing in the chain is "infinite" resolution. No one can tell me they can't tell a huge difference between vinyl and CD. Vinyl is better because it isn't digits and numbers limited by file size. Hi-Res audio sounds much better because there is greater resolution. I can see a time not too far away when Hi-Res will match vinyl as far as the human ear can detect a difference anyway. It's already getting there.
 

Covenanter

Well-known member
Jul 20, 2012
63
0
18,540
AlbaBrown said:
..and amplitude and frequency are the only parameters for sound reproduction?

Example, let's say a (theoretical) perfect recording of a piano being played was created. A single note played would have a variety of different freqencies that, when converging at exact (and differing points in time) govern the overal timbre of that note. A digital representation of that is only samples in time of the original. 16 bit (and more crucially) 44.1khz is not sufficient for rebuilding the original waveforms in their complexity without massive corrective measures in the digital domain to recoup some of the losses.

Even if we are just talking about the frequency range of the human ear, the frequencies you cannot here affect the frequencies that you do. Pioneer's old Legato Link CD players attempted to recreate (to varying degrees of success) parts of the recording above 20khz. It made a noticable difference!

A close friend of the family, worked for what was Philips UK in the early 80's, said an internal memo was released to say that (in Philip's opinion) that when Sony launched the first CD player (going against a gentlemens agreement that Philips would launch first), it effectively froze CD developement at 16bit/44.1khz. Philips wanted further development time to increase the specification to satisfy what they believed would be sufficient for reasonable accurate reproduction of the original (analogue) waveform. Sony, in their greed, launched early to gain a crucial advantage. You judge who the idiots were.

It took years of development to move away from the horrible sounding CD players of the 80's, we've had the whole Pulse Code/Edge/Depth Modulation development battles between firms to try to coax out a more faithful sound. Multi-bit vs Bitstream, all to patch over the cracks in the restricted format we were stuck with. (Although I will concede that Bitstream was originally intended by Philips to be a method whereby much lower power consumption could be achieved for portable products - it just so happened to have a pleasant effect on the sound compared to (still crude) muli-bit DACs at the time.

The same type of people who dismiss Hi-Res now, are no different than those who believe that MP3 is sufficient, or those who bought MiniDisc or DCC years ago (with their PASC and ATRAC compression) based on claims that the data being thrown away was impercievable anyway.

Either tone deaf, or with very poor equipment/setup.

That combined with the pathetic re-marketing of Hi-Res files will probably kill 24 Bit music off.

What creates confusion is marketing b****cks, and forum "experts" who use marketing quotations to back up their lack of experience/perception.
It always amuses me when someone who derides others assumes infallability themselves.


Chris
 

Covenanter

Well-known member
Jul 20, 2012
63
0
18,540
AlbaBrown said:
..and amplitude and frequency are the only parameters for sound reproduction?

Example, let's say a (theoretical) perfect recording of a piano being played was created. A single note played would have a variety of different freqencies that, when converging at exact (and differing points in time) govern the overal timbre of that note. A digital representation of that is only samples in time of the original. 16 bit (and more crucially) 44.1khz is not sufficient for rebuilding the original waveforms in their complexity without massive corrective measures in the digital domain to recoup some of the losses.

Even if we are just talking about the frequency range of the human ear, the frequencies you cannot here affect the frequencies that you do. Pioneer's old Legato Link CD players attempted to recreate (to varying degrees of success) parts of the recording above 20khz. It made a noticable difference!

A close friend of the family, worked for what was Philips UK in the early 80's, said an internal memo was released to say that (in Philip's opinion) that when Sony launched the first CD player (going against a gentlemens agreement that Philips would launch first), it effectively froze CD developement at 16bit/44.1khz. Philips wanted further development time to increase the specification to satisfy what they believed would be sufficient for reasonable accurate reproduction of the original (analogue) waveform. Sony, in their greed, launched early to gain a crucial advantage. You judge who the idiots were.

It took years of development to move away from the horrible sounding CD players of the 80's, we've had the whole Pulse Code/Edge/Depth Modulation development battles between firms to try to coax out a more faithful sound. Multi-bit vs Bitstream, all to patch over the cracks in the restricted format we were stuck with. (Although I will concede that Bitstream was originally intended by Philips to be a method whereby much lower power consumption could be achieved for portable products - it just so happened to have a pleasant effect on the sound compared to (still crude) muli-bit DACs at the time.

The same type of people who dismiss Hi-Res now, are no different than those who believe that MP3 is sufficient, or those who bought MiniDisc or DCC years ago (with their PASC and ATRAC compression) based on claims that the data being thrown away was impercievable anyway.

Either tone deaf, or with very poor equipment/setup.

That combined with the pathetic re-marketing of Hi-Res files will probably kill 24 Bit music off.

What creates confusion is marketing b****cks, and forum "experts" who use marketing quotations to back up their lack of experience/perception.
It always amuses me when someone who derides others assumes infallability themselves.


Chris
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
20
0
0
hifikrazy said:
Why is everything in hifi somehow a big conspiracy to con consumers of their money for no sonic gain, with the prescribed remedy always the boring old double blind test? If you don't want to spend your money, that's totally fine by me, but there's no need to always create a bunch of excuses to justify your inaction.

It reminds me of vintage gear lovers... They invariably convince themselves that there's no point spending on new gear and will claim their 40 year old system is more "musical", as if a blur, dull and slow sound equates to musicality, and hifi manufacturers somehow through the years lost sight of what is the meaning of good sound reproduction and started going backwards.
Just as we really don't much care whether you waste your money on hi-rez. It's your choice as you say.

What we do care about is the deliberate 'hamstringing' of CD resolution releases to enable the industry to demonstrate the 'superiority' of hi-res.
 

andyjm

New member
Jul 20, 2012
15
0
0
hifikrazy said:
Why is everything in hifi somehow a big conspiracy to con consumers of their money for no sonic gain, with the prescribed remedy always the boring old double blind test? If you don't want to spend your money, that's totally fine by me, but there's no need to always create a bunch of excuses to justify your inaction.

It reminds me of vintage gear lovers... They invariably convince themselves that there's no point spending on new gear and will claim their 40 year old system is more "musical", as if a blur, dull and slow sound equates to musicality, and hifi manufacturers somehow through the years lost sight of what is the meaning of good sound reproduction and started going backwards.
I asked earlier in the thread about your hearing, and why 20KHz and 96dB wasn't good enough for you. Or is more 'just better'
 

Glacialpath

New member
Apr 7, 2010
118
0
0
andyjm said:
Within the audio band (up to 20KHz) increasing the sample rate above 44.1KHz results in NO more information being output.

Increasing the bit depth above 16bits will increase the dynamic range, but as far as I am aware, no recording uses the full 96dB of dynamic range availabale now. In fact many mixes go out of their way to significantly reduce dynamic range.
Then what is the point of 48kHz for DVD and higher for Blu-Ray if no more information is being output?

Engineers reduce the dynamic range to make it easier to hear the quieter sounds in an overall mix. I'm sure you know that. There are some Japanese movies that have been recorded in 96kHz I think
 

Melchior

New member
Jun 20, 2014
0
0
0
"Resolution" is not the answer, it's recording quality. CDs are more than capable of delivering anything one could want.
 

andyjm

New member
Jul 20, 2012
15
0
0
AlbaBrown said:
..and amplitude and frequency are the only parameters for sound reproduction?

Example, let's say a (theoretical) perfect recording of a piano being played was created. A single note played would have a variety of different freqencies that, when converging at exact (and differing points in time) govern the overal timbre of that note. A digital representation of that is only samples in time of the original. 16 bit (and more crucially) 44.1khz is not sufficient for rebuilding the original waveforms in their complexity without massive corrective measures in the digital domain to recoup some of the losses.
There are a lot of things in physics and engineering where a smart man with a good general education can grasp the fundamentals. Digital sampling is not one of those things. Much of it is counter-intuitive, as is illustrated by your comments.

44.1KHz sample rate is enough to adequately sample all frequencies up to 20KHz without loss. As your ears can't respond to anything above 20KHz, there can be no component or timbre in the note that is lost to your hearing.
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
20
0
0
Glacialpath said:
davedotco said:
The information is not audible and therefore irrelevant. In the broadest terms.

There is a very simple experiment that virtually anyone can do.

Find a good quality hi-res download that you like.

Down sample to Cd standard, 16 bit, 44.1 Khz.

After carefully level matching the two files, listen and compare, but do so blind.

Report what you hear.
Dave you state things with such finallity.

Why would you compabe a down sampled Hi-res audio file to a CD? You would just be making it the same as the CD surely? That sounds stupid to me.

A DTS HD-MA sound track clearly sounds better and more dynamic than a DTS track becuause there is more information there and it's not been compressed. Simple as that.

Blind tested people would say that DTS track would be better because they can hear more more easily due to the compression or dynamic limitation. That doesn't make it better or even as good as uncompressed audio.

Of course a movie mix or album will never be true to life completely because its a fake copy of real life sound. Unless you are listening t one instrument then you could leave it's full dynamic range and nothing would be there to cover up the small subtle sounds.
You are miss-understanding the test, probably my fault, if I am not being clear.

Comparing a CD, or a rip of a CD, to a hi-res download is indeed pointless, we have no idea of the provenance of the material in either case.

In this case the test is to use the best hi-res file that you have and downsample it to 16/44.1 as a copy.

You then compare the original hi-res file to the new 16/44.1 copy in a level matched blind test.

I believe that this can be done in Audacity, though you may need some extra software (plug in) to do so.
 

Glacialpath

New member
Apr 7, 2010
118
0
0
Overdose said:
Limiting dynamic range is not bad per se and allows music to be allowed in environments not totally quiet. It is overuse that is the problem.

Very True. Thoug I hate any compression/limiting

Recordings are typically made at what would be considered high resolutions, eg 24/96. These are then downmixed to CD quality with no loss of audible data whatsoever. The dynamic range of CD is 96dB, vinyl is approx 30dB and with an equivalent approximate bit depth of up to 12 bit.

Ok so the fact the have to limit the dynamic range of the audio negates CD having a bigger dynamic range than Vinyl. The digital file and the means to play it back in a timely and real world fashion means the have to digitally compress the file in order for it to fit on the CD.

With Vinyl you just copy the audio as is right? Alowing it to play back as it would from the master tapes (if it was recorded in analogue in the first place)

Glacialpath said:
If the music/audio has been recorded at 96kHz which is Blu-ray and above then to put that on CD you would have re sample it at 44.1kHz thus reducing the quality. So if it has been recorded in a higher res yet they have still applied so limiting to fit it ona certain format it will be a better quality than CD and even better if they haven't applied any limiting.
CD quality has the capability for all the dynamic range for us humans to hear.

Why is it then we can hear more detail from a BD soundtrack over a DVD soundtrack? DVD has a bigger capacity than CD

If people can't really hear the difference then there is no point in the industry doing it. After all you can't rerecord these old albums as they would sound nothing like the original and basically be a new album. If they make a hi-res copy of the audio (a little like scanning film in 2k or 4k but not exactly) then with out aplying any limiting it might sound better as long the the information is there to be extracted from the original source that older digitising techniques couldn't manage then you will have a better version of the audio than ever before.

Having siad that most people still won't hear the difference but physically there will be more information being output.
That hasn't stopped people making, selling, imagining and buying all kinds of nonsense related to hifi, otherwise known as 'snake oil' or 'foo'.

Old recordings can be cleaned up and a certain amount of clarity retrieved, but again, the remastered piece need not exceed CD resolution.

To clean up old recordings you have to boost some of what is already there but in order to get rid of noise that was recorded in the first place due to the technolegy you have to take away from the sound. It might uncover certain details like reducing mechanical noise from a Hi-Fi system will alow more detail to be heard as it's not being masked but it's neve adding any more info.

[/quote]
 

Glacialpath

New member
Apr 7, 2010
118
0
0
davedotco said:
You are miss-understanding the test, probably my fault, if I am not being clear.

Comparing a CD, or a rip of a CD, to a hi-res download is indeed pointless, we have no idea of the provenance of the material in either case.

In this case the test is to use the best hi-res file that you have and downsample it to 16/44.1 as a copy.

You then compare the original hi-res file to the new 16/44.1 copy in a level matched blind test.

I believe that this can be done in Audacity, though you may need some extra software (plug in) to do so.
Ah now you make sense lol.

That can be done in any recording software I think. I have some sound I recorded at 96kHz I'll save it as a 44.1 file. That's what you mean right then listen to both. Bare in mind there will be no limiting/compression. which is really the main factor and not so much the difference between 44.1 and 96.
 

Overdose

Well-known member
Feb 8, 2008
279
0
18,890
hifikrazy said:
Why is everything in hifi somehow a big conspiracy to con consumers of their money for no sonic gain, with the prescribed remedy always the boring old double blind test? If you don't want to spend your money, that's totally fine by me, but there's no need to always create a bunch of excuses to justify your inaction.
Was that a rhetorical question?

I too would try to bury my head in the sand, rather than face the fact that I'd been sold a line and spent small fortune where I needn't have done so.
 

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