The problem with hi-res audio is how you might be listening to it

mocenigo

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Dec 16, 2015
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There's an error in the article. The ALAC format is fully documented and royalty free, and many non-apple devices (I would say nearly every device manufactured today) supports it.
 
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manicm

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May 1, 2008
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I'm sorry but the author hasn't even taken a comprehensive view.

Are you aware that all playback equipment, most most notably the amp and speakers must have a frequency response higher than around 30/35 khz to qualify as high res compatible? Not many are!

Becky doesn't even mention this.
 

the Splund

Active member
Jan 29, 2022
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There's an error in the article. The ALAC format is fully documented and royalty free, and many non-apple devices (I would say nearly every device manufactured today) supports it.
Ah, you beat me to it!
I use iTunes to manage my library but run a FiiO X5iii HiRes player that is more than happy to play the ALAC (.m4a) files, some of which are HiRes. Generally ALACs work for me but I have a few FLACs to handle the odd 5.1 and Quad files
 

Friesiansam

Well-known member
we are talking a minimum pairing of something in the realm of the Chord Mojo DAC and Austrian Audio Hi-X55/Grado SR325x headphones for a desktop solution to warrant journeying into hi-res
Well I use a Pathos Converto MK2 and Focal Elegias. Almost all my music is CD quality but, I tried a classical album (a decent recording) in 24 bit 176.4 KHz, from Qobuz and damned if I can say for certain it sounds any better...
 

peterbr

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Jan 29, 2022
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The article also does not mention the other side of the spectrum, the bad to awful quality of sound on some programs and series in TV these days. Audience using streaming services like iPlayer in combination with BlueTooth will probably not notice this so much. BBC news is great example, some presenters sound like they speak through a tube or use a cloth covered microphone. The dialogues in Series like `theResponder and Hidden Assets are almost impossible to follow when using high end audio equipment ( AV-Receivers)
 

Hifiman

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Apr 17, 2020
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Whether you ascribe to the traditional concepts of ‘front end first’ and/or ‘garbage in, garbage out’, then hi-res being offered by all the main streaming services (bar Spotify) can only be a good thing. At least anyone’s system will not be limited by the quality of the digital music as it has done previously. True, many will hear no immediate benefit but, as stated, it should encourage manufacturers and users to offer and buy suitable hardware. And it should be this way around: there would be little point in having 4K televisions if the signal was still in 625 lines.
By the way, I was under the same impression as other commenters here in thinking ALAC has been an open standard for the last decade or so.
 

HappySounds

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Feb 18, 2020
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In my view the article is really well written and covers the ground pretty comprehensively.

However there are two things that I take issue with:

Firstly describing ALAC as proprietary when it is royalty-free (since 2011) and readily useable by any company who chooses to implement it. There are even open-source libraries which support decoding to make its implementation easy, and even Windows 10 & 11 support it natively.

Secondly the big question, which is whether anyone can hear the difference, or more particularly what proportion of people even care. We should by now have moved on from a time when people are simply pursuing "ultimate quality" in anything without any regard to what is already amply sufficient for the purposes.

Technology will keep on evolving but it does get to a point at which it outstrips what is necessary for the purpose, and as consumers we need to know when to get off the bus. What HiFi should be assisting us in judging that point.
 
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davidc

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Jan 21, 2020
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I'm sorry but the author hasn't even taken a comprehensive view.

Are you aware that all playback equipment, most most notably the amp and speakers must have a frequency response higher than around 30/35 khz to qualify as high res compatible? Not many are!

Becky doesn't even mention this.
Any decent quality amp has a frequency response that good.

And pray tell, why do you care if your speakers response if past about 20kHz?
 
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manicm

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May 1, 2008
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Any decent quality amp has a frequency response that good.

And pray tell, why do you care if your speakers response if past about 20kHz?
Actually not many amps are rated to have a frequency response>30khz.

Why do I care if speakers can handle >20khz? Because if I would play hires content I want the equipment up to snuff. And while not wanting to wage a war again, audiologists will tell you frequencies that are beyond our hearing can still touch on those we can - it's called harmonics.

So if you're not interested in high res content then by all means ignore the above. But I'll wager that content will be wasted if you're on substandard equipment. Do high res or don't. Simple.
 

davidc

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Jan 21, 2020
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Umm...no, audiologists will not tell you that. In fact, I am going to see one of the premier audiologists in the country (Dr. Glick), and I can assure that she does not think you can hear above 20kHz. In fact, if you are a male over 50 or so, you are probably down 30dB at 20kHz. Yes, there are harmonics up there...but that doesn't mean you can hear them.

Also, I think pretty much all amps that are decent have a freq response that extends beyond 30kHz.
 
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