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High-resolution audio: clarity or confusion?

Page 4 - Seeking answers? Join the What HiFi community: the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products.

BigH

New member
Dec 29, 2012
97
1
0
hifikrazy said:
I have absolutely no post purchase consumer regrets, so you guys are doing nobody any favours with your unwelcome advice. In fact, the only ones who get any benefit from your wingeing and moaning are the others who share your opinion, so that you can provide one another support and validation for being tightwads.
I suggest you spend some time on the Harbeth forum, you may learn something.
 

Electro

Well-known member
Mar 30, 2011
43
3
18,545
matt49 said:
As these posts about the physical nature of the ear have shown, the question whether an information system is fundamentally analog or digital throws up some surprising and counter-intuitive answers.

If you drill down far enough into the physical nature of an information system, you’ll always reach a point at which things are both quantized (lumpy) and linear (continuous). This is because, according to quantum mechanics, all matter exhibits both wave and particle behaviour.

But doesn’t common sense tell us that the behaviour of a vinyl LP is linear, because the material of the grooves has a smooth, continuous shape? Well yes, but as usual common sense is wrong. The lumpy nature of the polymers that make up vinyl combined with the elliptical form of a stylus means that there’s only a certain number of possible interactions between the stylus and the groove surface. And if you zoom in far enough, those interactions can be adequately expressed in quantized (i.e. digital) form.

Now the degree of resolution you need to express vinyl in quantized form isn’t actually that great. In fact it’s rather less than the available resolution of the red book CD specification. In other words, CD is actually more analog than vinyl.

There’s an easy way to show that digital is able to represent vinyl with complete accuracy. If you record the output of your phono stage on a good enough digital sound card and then play the resulting wav file, then assuming your electronics are transparent it’ll sound identical to the original phono output.

And as Dave will confirm, the better your vinyl replay system, i.e. the greater its resolution, the more like digital audio it’ll sound.

The reason vinyl sounds “smoother” than digital is that it adds noise and distortion that we find pleasing. By contrast, digital lacks this distortion and can sound unpleasantly “dry”. As T. S. Eliot put it in the Four Quartets, “humankind cannot bear very much reality”.

If you think this is nonsense and that no discriminating audiophile could believe such stuff, do have a read of Jim Lesurf’s excellent Information and Measurement, especially chapter 12 (“Analog or digital?”).

:read:

Matt
I think it would be interesting to hear how vinyl sounds on one of these :)

http://www.elpj.com/
 

Jota180

Well-known member
May 14, 2010
23
2
18,525
Frankly, the discussion has veered somewhat off course to the usual flat earthers, personal preferences type stuff. We'll just go round and round in circles doing that and I want to progress the debate on whether CD can deliver all the sound that is recorded or whether we need Hi Rez to deliver that. .

The issue for me is, since this is a drive by the big companies to push music and players termed 'Hi Rez', do the corporations claims stack up. Is there any fact behind their claims that Hi Rez will be superior to CD which will give something better to customers or are we at the first stages of being led up the garden path so they can farm us customers for more money.

Since this magazine/web site has quite properly reported the manufacturers opinions and statements on the subject surely in the interests of balance Whathifi should seek out experts in the field who have no connection with the hifi industry to put these claims to the test.

So +1 if you agree with this.
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
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Electro said:
I think it would be interesting to hear how vinyl sounds on one of these :)

http://www.elpj.com/
The answer to that is, not good..... :doh:

I heard the original Finial product back in the mid 80s. It sounded spitty, scratchy and generally pretty uneasy. Imagine an old record player with a poorly set up arm trying to track at less than half a gram...... :O

The new versions would have to be a hell of a lot better to be listenable, however they have been working on it since about 1989.
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
20
0
0
Jota180 said:
Frankly, the discussion has veered somewhat off course to the usual flat earthers, personal preferences type stuff. We'll just go round and round in circles doing that and I want to progress the debate on whether CD can deliver all the sound that is recorded or whether we need Hi Rez to deliver that. .

The issue for me is, since this is a drive by the big companies to push music and players termed 'Hi Rez', do the corporations claims stack up. Is there any fact behind their claims that Hi Rez will be superior to CD which will give something better to customers or are we at the first stages of being led up the garden path so they can farm us customers for more money.

Since this magazine/web site has quite properly reported the manufacturers opinions and statements on the subject surely in the interests of balance Whathifi should seek out experts in the field who have no connection with the hifi industry to put these claims to the test.

So +1 if you agree with this.
Actually there is something even worse going on.

Their is a growing realisation in some parts of the industry that it does not matter if the basic, cd quality release is pretty poor, the mass market doesn't hear it and doesn't much care, and those that do can be sold a 'better' hi-res version.

Remaster the recording and charge a premium, more profitable than taking the time and trouble to get it right the first time.
 

TrevC

Well-known member
Jun 12, 2013
370
169
19,070
davedotco said:
Electro said:
I think it would be interesting to hear how vinyl sounds on one of these :)

http://www.elpj.com/
The answer to that is, not good..... :doh:

I heard the original Finial product back in the mid 80s. It sounded spitty, scratchy and generally pretty uneasy. Imagine an old record player with a poorly set up arm trying to track at less than half a gram...... :O

The new versions would have to be a hell of a lot better to be listenable, however they have been working on it since about 1989.
The price is mad.
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
20
0
0
TrevC said:
davedotco said:
Electro said:
I think it would be interesting to hear how vinyl sounds on one of these :)

http://www.elpj.com/
The answer to that is, not good..... :doh:

I heard the original Finial product back in the mid 80s. It sounded spitty, scratchy and generally pretty uneasy. Imagine an old record player with a poorly set up arm trying to track at less than half a gram...... :O

The new versions would have to be a hell of a lot better to be listenable, however they have been working on it since about 1989.
The price is mad.
Howmuchisit?

The origional Finial was going to be $20k and that was back in 1985....... :help:
 

andyjm

New member
Jul 20, 2012
15
0
0
Jota180 said:
Since this magazine/web site has quite properly reported the manufacturers opinions and statements on the subject surely in the interests of balance Whathifi should seek out experts in the field who have no connection with the hifi industry to put these claims to the test.

So +1 if you agree with this.
Been done, many times. As was linked to earlier in the thread, the AES (audio engineering society, who should know a thing or two about this) peformed a year long test. Conclusion was that the difference between 16/44.1 and higher bitrates / depths was not detectable:

Claims both published and anecdotal are regularly made for audibly superior sound quality for two-channel audio encoded with longer word lengths and/or at higher sampling rates than the 16-bit/44.1-kHz CD standard. The authors report on a series of double-blind tests comparing the analog output of high-resolution players playing high-resolution recordings with the same signal passed through a 16-bit/44.1-kHz “bottleneck.” The tests were conducted for over a year using different systems and a variety of subjects. The systems included expensive professional monitors and one high-end system with electrostatic loudspeakers and expensive components and cables. The subjects included professional recording engineers, students in a university recording program, and dedicated audiophiles. The test results show that the CD-quality A/D/A loop was undetectable at normal-to-loud listening levels, by any of the subjects, on any of the playback systems. The noise of the CD-quality loop was audible only at very elevated levels.

Authors: Meyer, E. Brad; Moran, David R.
Affiliation: Boston Audio Society, Lincoln, MA, USA
JAES Volume 55 Issue 9 pp. 775-779; September 2007
Publication Date:September 15, 2007
 

Jota180

Well-known member
May 14, 2010
23
2
18,525
davedotco said:
Jota180 said:
Frankly, the discussion has veered somewhat off course to the usual flat earthers, personal preferences type stuff. We'll just go round and round in circles doing that and I want to progress the debate on whether CD can deliver all the sound that is recorded or whether we need Hi Rez to deliver that. .

The issue for me is, since this is a drive by the big companies to push music and players termed 'Hi Rez', do the corporations claims stack up. Is there any fact behind their claims that Hi Rez will be superior to CD which will give something better to customers or are we at the first stages of being led up the garden path so they can farm us customers for more money.

Since this magazine/web site has quite properly reported the manufacturers opinions and statements on the subject surely in the interests of balance Whathifi should seek out experts in the field who have no connection with the hifi industry to put these claims to the test.

So +1 if you agree with this.
Actually there is something even worse going on.

Their is a growing realisation in some parts of the industry that it does not matter if the basic, cd quality release is pretty poor, the mass market doesn't hear it and doesn't much care, and those that do can be sold a 'better' hi-res version.

Remaster the recording and charge a premium, more profitable than taking the time and trouble to get it right the first time.
Then get some sound engineers and reps from the music industry to answer those questions too. This magazine surely cannot leave it at repeating the companies line.
 
T

the record spot

Guest
abacus 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.
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
Unless it's the same mastering then it's like comparing apples and oranges. Waste of time in other words.
 
T

the record spot

Guest
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.
Avoiding the conspiracy and legacy gear chat, if a label says a recording in Hi res or SACD is better than the equivalent recording on standard CD but they've used a different mastering, then that's misleading, plain and simple.
 

AlmaataKZ

New member
Jan 7, 2009
295
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0
davedotco said:
Andy Clough said:
I think you are not addressing the correct issues.

Firstly, you accept that hi-res (greater than CD) is superior to CD quality for reasons of it's extra 'resolution', there seems to be little evidence to support this view.

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.

If you are going to 'champion' hi-res audio, I think you may need to convince a lot of enthusiasts of it's superiority.
Good posting.

Hi-rez is a waste of time and money IMO. People who claim they can hear difference between hi-rez, CD and hi-bitrate compressed formats (of the same master) are fooling themselves. Better masters, less dynamically compressed music - and no-BS explanation of that by the magazines - is what we need.
 

WX

New member
Apr 7, 2012
12
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0
All very interesting reads (all over again) on this HiRes subject. :type: :?

Me thinks the future is something like Qobuz/WiMP 16bit streaming and also just CD-quality FLAC downloads.

With all the 24bit stuff apparently being not always what it seems like, I don't care anymore about it.

Everytime a newly recorded or remastered album comes along there's quite a discussion about it, because usually it's unclear where the 'master' is from or the original Sample rate / Bit dept or it might be upsampled and things like that.

This started with HDtracks and even audio-files from B&Wsociety or Qubuz are sometimes being named doubtful on computer-audio forums.

So... why pay more for something extra that isn't anything but.

Yes, I like what Sony does with it's new hardware that's made not just for the usual audiophile. I hope Sony's HiRes catalogue is good enough.

With Audirvana on my Mac I surely can play any HiRes audio-file available, but in the end the 16 bit audio today is more than fine by me.

:grin: 8)
 

Electro

Well-known member
Mar 30, 2011
43
3
18,545
davedotco said:
TrevC said:
davedotco said:
Electro said:
I think it would be interesting to hear how vinyl sounds on one of these :)

http://www.elpj.com/
The answer to that is, not good..... :doh:

I heard the original Finial product back in the mid 80s. It sounded spitty, scratchy and generally pretty uneasy. Imagine an old record player with a poorly set up arm trying to track at less than half a gram...... :O

The new versions would have to be a hell of a lot better to be listenable, however they have been working on it since about 1989.
The price is mad.
Howmuchisit?

The origional Finial was going to be $20k and that was back in 1985....... :help:
Between $15,000 and $18600 depending on the model you choose .

Here is an interesting video from the small Japanese firm ( ELP Corporation ) that designed and builds them .

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_4sooWCh_Y
 

WX

New member
Apr 7, 2012
12
0
0
Jota180 said:
Actually there is something even worse going on.

Their is a growing realisation in some parts of the industry that it does not matter if the basic, cd quality release is pretty poor, the mass market doesn't hear it and doesn't much care, and those that do can be sold a 'better' hi-res version.

Remaster the recording and charge a premium, more profitable than taking the time and trouble to get it right the first time.

Then get some sound engineers and reps from the music industry to answer those questions too. This magazine surely cannot leave it at repeating the companies line.
There is a very clear and informative video from audio-engineer Friedemann Tischmeyer on YouTube that has statements of famous producers on the 'loudnesswar' and all that.

If it helps to change the music-industry? :shifty: :wave:
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
20
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0
Electro said:
davedotco said:
TrevC said:
davedotco said:
Electro said:
I think it would be interesting to hear how vinyl sounds on one of these :)

http://www.elpj.com/
The answer to that is, not good..... :doh:

I heard the original Finial product back in the mid 80s. It sounded spitty, scratchy and generally pretty uneasy. Imagine an old record player with a poorly set up arm trying to track at less than half a gram...... :O

The new versions would have to be a hell of a lot better to be listenable, however they have been working on it since about 1989.
The price is mad.
Howmuchisit?

The origional Finial was going to be $20k and that was back in 1985....... :help:
Between $15,000 and $18600 depending on the model you choose .

Here is an interesting video from the small Japanese firm ( ELP Corporation ) that designed and builds them .

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_4sooWCh_Y
Finial designed and developed the product in the early 1980s. Samples were shown around the industry in about 1985. it really did not sound that special and the price, for the time was outrageous. There was talk of it being ordered by some archiving institutions to 'play' extremely rare recordings without contact. However the company ran out of money and was wound up.

The design and prototypes were sold to BSR (japan), then in the throws of changing the company name to CTI.

ELP was an offshoot of CTI charged with the task of bringing the laser turntable to market. Was not aware that it had actually done so but it looks like it did.
 
May 28, 2013
33
0
0
HFC has an exellent review of the Chord Hugo DAc including comment from designer Rob Watts. An expert view if ever there was one and well worth a read. Having studied psychoacoustics in addition to electronic engineering, he says that the brain samples at 4 microseconds vs CD at 22ms.

I listened to M Knophlers beautifully recorded hybrid SACD of Shangri La, followed by the Cd layer. No question about increased dynamic range and detail, but the Cd layer is excellent in its own right. I agree with the above, too many CDs are frankly rubbish which shows an arrogant and indifferent industry.
 

CnoEvil

New member
Aug 21, 2009
556
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matt49 said:
CnoEvil said:
matt49 said:
By contrast, digital lacks this distortion and can sound unpleasantly “dry”.
I have yet to go to a Classical concert that sounded "unpleasantly dry", so "if" a digital recording is like this, it has certainly lost something along the way! :shifty:
Live classical concerts don't sound dry because of the acoustic effects of the hall being full of people. Take those people out of the hall, and you'll have a different and dryer sound.

I used the word "can": i.e. CD sound can sound dry in some circumstances, and those circumstances tend to be artificial production environments.

If you've heard a "dry mix" from a recording studio, you'll know what I mean. It lacks the reverb that we find so pleasing. By accident as it were, dry mixes sound better on vinyl, especially on cheaper systems, because TTs have their own inbuilt reverb: it's a fault of analog playback that's accidentally beneficial in some circumstances.

Matt
I was being mischievous, and DDC has put his finger on what I was hinting at.

Though saying that, I disagree with your view that live (unmiked) music can sound dry.

My mother was a Classical Singer and my father an amateur conductor, who put on Choral works locally. I was at many rehersals in empty halls / Cathedrals and we often had musicians / soloists who stayed and practiced in our house; and even though there was a change in acoustics, I would never describe what I heard, as dry.

This is not meant to be argumentative, but is just my perspective.having listened (and even played) in both full and empty spaces.
 

Vladimir

New member
Dec 26, 2013
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Why isn't the title 'Clarity or Scam?' Are they confused each time they upsample a 16/44.1 and sell it as Hi-Res, not even remastering it?

I'm sure they scratch their heads all the way to the bank.
 

Native_bon

Well-known member
Nov 26, 2008
180
2
18,595
emperor's new clothes said:
HFC has an exellent review of the Chord Hugo DAc including comment from designer Rob Watts. An expert view if ever there was one and well worth a read. Having studied psychoacoustics in addition to electronic engineering, he says that the brain samples at 4 microseconds vs CD at 22ms.

I listened to M Knophlers beautifully recorded hybrid SACD of Shangri La, followed by the Cd layer. No question about increased dynamic range and detail, but the Cd layer is excellent in its own right. I agree with the above, too many CDs are frankly rubbish which shows an arrogant and indifferent industry.
The chord Hugo Dac is a product that has really got my attention more than any in the HIFI world. A friend in the states has just got one & tells me it sounds like nothing in the digital world. This will surely put my faith back in the digital domain or I will totaly loose faith in the Hifi indusrty as a whole. This will totaly depend on my findings myself. It may be a great portable product but may not be the type of presentation I may prefer. :pray: Will demo this very soon.
 

Jota180

Well-known member
May 14, 2010
23
2
18,525
emperor's new clothes said:
HFC has an exellent review of the Chord Hugo DAc including comment from designer Rob Watts. An expert view if ever there was one and well worth a read. Having studied psychoacoustics in addition to electronic engineering, he says that the brain samples at 4 microseconds vs CD at 22ms.

I listened to M Knophlers beautifully recorded hybrid SACD of Shangri La, followed by the Cd layer. No question about increased dynamic range and detail, but the Cd layer is excellent in its own right. I agree with the above, too many CDs are frankly rubbish which shows an arrogant and indifferent industry.
Wait, the guy who designed the thing is justifying it? Excuse me if I remain a sceptic. I think you're missing my point despite me thinking I'd put it simply enough.

I'd like to see this magazine invite some experts who have NO links to manufacturers and no incentive to make money out of the result, put their views across.

Either CD captures all the sonic information that humans can hear or it doesn't.

Pinched from t'internets...

The Nyquist–Shannon sampling theorem proves that to completely represent the frequency components of a waveform with frequencies < B, you need 2B samples.

A sampling frequency of 2B Hz is able to completely and accurately represent any waveform composed of frequencies < B Hz. The complexity of the waveform is irrelevant, as ANY and ALL waveforms composed of frequencies < B Hz are uniquely represented by 2B samples. There is nothing "reasonably accurate" in this - it is 100% perfection.

So basically the music is chopped at 20Hz and 20kHz beyond either no human in history can hear and most will not get even close to the 20kHz figure.

If CD can perfectly capture any and all sound between those figures, the limits of human hearing, why the rush for higher rez?
 

cheeseboy

New member
Jul 17, 2012
245
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0
Native_bon said:
A friend in the states has just got one & tells me it sounds like nothing in the digital world.
that's some statement to make, unless he's tested it against *everything* in the digital world ;) (tongue in cheek btw)
 

Native_bon

Well-known member
Nov 26, 2008
180
2
18,595
Jota180 said:
emperor's new clothes said:
HFC has an exellent review of the Chord Hugo DAc including comment from designer Rob Watts. An expert view if ever there was one and well worth a read. Having studied psychoacoustics in addition to electronic engineering, he says that the brain samples at 4 microseconds vs CD at 22ms.

I listened to M Knophlers beautifully recorded hybrid SACD of Shangri La, followed by the Cd layer. No question about increased dynamic range and detail, but the Cd layer is excellent in its own right. I agree with the above, too many CDs are frankly rubbish which shows an arrogant and indifferent industry.
Wait, the guy who designed the thing is justifying it? Excuse me if I remain a sceptic. I think you're missing my point despite me thinking I'd put it simply enough.

I'd like to see this magazine invite some experts who have NO links to manufacturers and no incentive to make money out of the result, put their views across.

Either CD captures all the sonic information that humans can hear or it doesn't.

Pinched from t'internets...

The Nyquist–Shannon sampling theorem proves that to completely represent the frequency components of a waveform with frequencies < B, you need 2B samples.

A sampling frequency of 2B Hz is able to completely and accurately represent any waveform composed of frequencies < B Hz. The complexity of the waveform is irrelevant, as ANY and ALL waveforms composed of frequencies < B Hz are uniquely represented by 2B samples. There is nothing "reasonably accurate" in this - it is 100% perfection.

So basically the music is chopped at 20Hz and 20kHz beyond either no human in history can hear and most will not get even close to the 20kHz figure.

If CD can perfectly capture any and all sound between those figures, the limits of human hearing, why the rush for higher rez?
I think thats why we got ears... me thinks.. What a gift from nature. :dance:
 

Native_bon

Well-known member
Nov 26, 2008
180
2
18,595
emperor's new clothes said:
Perhaps you should read the article, then you will see it is a matter of timing rather than frequency range.
I for one have read the article & the explanation about timing mattering more than frequency response does make sense, but if does not transcend to audible improvement to my ears then its just technical jargon to me... Hence I think it wise to always decide for your self first by listening before condemnig anything which unfortunately is done a lot on this forum.
 

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