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Will CDs ever go Hi-Res?

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Wil

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May 8, 2020
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2/3 of the Posts since I last commented are wayward. The OP wanted to talk about higher "bitrate and sampling levels" than 16bit/44.1

As WHF link explained back in Post #8, 16bit/44.1 isn't Hi-Res:
"The Recording Academy, together with record labels, formally defined high-resolution audio as “lossless audio that is capable of reproducing the full range of sound from recordings that have been mastered from better than CD quality music sources".

In its simplest terms, hi-res audio tends to refer to music files that have a higher sampling frequency and/or bit depth than CD, which is specified at 16-bit/44.1kHz."
 

Friesiansam

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Feb 3, 2015
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EAC is a very good piece of software, been using it for years with great success. Once you've entered your drive details and selected user preferences it's really easy to use, plus has plenty of tools at your disposal. Does exactly the same job as dBPoweramp, but it's free. I've had several used CDs which my player has refused to play but EAC managed to rip them all. I run it in the test and copy setting.
I've just listened to the first rip with EAC, Pink Floyd: Meddle, one of my favourite albums. I'm very pleased with the result. Most noticeably, it sounds cleaner than my previous FLAC rip and there seems to be extra life in the treble. Needs more testing to make sure that is real and not imagined... Free upgrades are the best ones.
 
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Wil

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Recalling your initial question, regarding the 12cm disc, I notice companies adopting D+M's SACD-M3 transport mechanism e.g. dCs & Playback Designs.

From my own player's product description:
"This new mechanism promises exceptional sound quality from conventional CD and SA-CD discs and allows listeners to create their own high-resolution audio compilation discs using a computer DVD burner. The SA-KI Ruby supports FLAC files from 44.1kHz to 192kHz at up to 24-bit resolution, DSD2.8MHz and DSD 5.6MHz, ALAC (Apple Lossless), AIFF and MP3 files. Creating and playing hi-res disc compilations is as simple as it is enjoyable."
This Goldmund joins the list:
 

MrReaper182

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Apr 6, 2014
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It's never ever going to happen as music will never ever be released on another a physical format again. There is zero money in it and everything is done to make loads and loads of cash.
 

iMark

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May 16, 2008
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CDs are actually a standard. Remember in the early 2000s audio discs with DRM were produced by some record companies? They couldn't be called CD because they didn't comply with the CD Redbook standard.

A decent explanation of the CD Redbook standard can be found at https://www.travsonic.com/red-book-cd-format/.

The simple answer? CDs will never be produced to a different standard than the Redbook standard. There could be another type of 12cm disc but it can never be called CD.

People seem to have forgotten what a huge step up in sound quality and convenience the CD was compared to the analogue systems of the time.
 

Wil

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May 8, 2020
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CDs are actually a standard. Remember in the early 2000s audio discs with DRM were produced by some record companies? They couldn't be called CD because they didn't comply with the CD Redbook standard.

A decent explanation of the CD Redbook standard can be found at https://www.travsonic.com/red-book-cd-format/.

The simple answer? CDs will never be produced to a different standard than the Redbook standard. There could be another type of 12cm disc but it can never be called CD.

People seem to have forgotten what a huge step up in sound quality and convenience the CD was compared to the analogue systems of the time.
You're again merely praising the-technicalities of CDs. I remember you've not answered my last question to you:
I fully agree with what Lou Ottens said about the CD. A wonderful medium and a major leap forward from analogue recording and LPs.
What was said in that WHF piece:
"When NRC Handelsblad had asked Ottens in 2018 what he thought about the renewed interest that cassette tapes were having in recent years, the pioneer thought it was silly, noting that CDs were unbeatable for audio quality."

Tried linking through to NRC Handelsblad to see the full original context? I tried, there's a paywall. But regardless, SACDs (what I'm getting into) beats its CD version/release.

Name a CD you'd recommend me, after looking into it, I'll tell you honestly whether I'd buy it.
Share with the reading audience what CDs you've actually bought recently—say, in the last month. Let's deliberate what specific wonderful albums I'm missing-out-on. Others too may buy…
 

Wil

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May 8, 2020
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A good master is the key and occasionaly a good remaster that sounds a bit fresher.
I posit that CD-quality (aka 16bit/44.1) for music is akin to Instagram-quality for visuals (master and remaster all you want, you'll still limited to be re-coded into 1080x1080 pixels).
Okay, I've just Googled the-problem I had wanted to convey… key search words being "studio quality downsampled cd 44.1" and this resulted:
"In a conversation with Keith Johnson (whose ears I trust completely) he told me the single worst thing that ever happened to any of his work was the downsampling of the master tapes to CD’s. He hated the results…

Downsampling may be one of the worst things to ever happen to the CD and one of the central reasons we judge it so harshly.

It may also partially answer why we can make a digital copy of an analog event without much in the way of loss. We don’t have to mess with the final result of the conversion, just play it back at whatever sample and bit rate we recorded it at."
 

manicm

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May 1, 2008
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I posit that CD-quality (aka 16bit/44.1) for music is akin to Instagram-quality for visuals (master and remaster all you want, you'll still limited to be re-coded into 1080x1080 pixels).
That‘s a bit disingenuous. There have been some beautifully recorded CDs with none of the associated sterility. Have you heard the original CD pressing of Peter Gabriel‘s US? I have it and it’s beautifully recorded.

Kudos to you for buying SACDs, but they’re more rare than hen’s teeth, good ones anyway, and life is too short for me.

CD can still be stunning, and Sony has itself to blame for the demise of SACD. If DVD and Blu Ray hardware were democratised, then so could have SACD players.

Please stop shoving this down our throats.
 

iMark

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May 16, 2008
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I've got many CDs with classical music digitally recorded in the early 1980s. The bitrates weren't very high (obviously) in those years but many of them still sound very good. In the right hands the early digital recordings were better than analogue recordings made at around the same time.

People seem to have forgotten what problems there were with analogue recordings when it comes to things like tape hiss, not exact recording speeds etc.

An example of a great sounding classical CD from the early 1980s is Decca's recording of the Ravel piano concertos by Pascal Rogé with the Orchestra Symphonique de Montréal conducted by Charles Dutoit. But there are many other great recordings from the same era on Philips, DG, CBS Masterworks/Sony, RCA etc. Many great CDs to choose from. No wonder classical music lovers loved and still love CDs. No more tape hiss, clicks and pops etc. Just music at incredible fidelity.
 
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Wil

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I've kept to the-topic-of-this-Thread, it's others (like you) trying to make-it-below-Hi-Res.
Why can you not just accept that not everyone agrees with you and move on?
And we know you appreciate humour (but evidently also exceptionalism)… when you say "move on" readers clearly see you're (definitely) the one going-round-in-circles/getting-nowhere).
 

iMark

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May 16, 2008
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@Wil
You haven't stayed on topic at all.

The original question was if CDs will ever go "hi-res". That question has been answered. The Redbook CD standard is not going to change. CDs will never go "hi-res".

The fact that @Wil doesn't like CDs is completely irrelevant for answering the question. There is only a minute portion of the general population for who CD quality isn't good enough.
 

Wil

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May 8, 2020
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The Post above is not from the OP, but is trying to define the-topic-of-the-Thread—its intent.

And at the top of this Page, I reiterated what Hi-Res is.

Plus, even earlier, I drifted the scope of CDs (beyond Red Book) to "12cm disc" so as show how the compact-disc went Hi-Res.
It's called thread drift Wil, happens a lot :)


For those buying into the-immutable Red Book Standard argument, see https://obsoletemedia.org/audio/compact-disc-rainbow-books:
Red Book (published 1980)
Compact Disc (1982 - )

CD single (1985 - )

CD+G (CD+Graphics) (1985 – )

Double-duration Compact Disc (1987 – 1988)

Mini CD single (1988 – early 1990s)

Minimax Compact Disc (1990s – )

Holographic Compact Disc (1991 – 1996)

CD-i Ready (1991 – 1998)
A hybrid audio/data disc, with Green Book data in the pre-gap before track 1.

QSound Compact Disc (1991 – 2001)

Enhanced CD (1994 – )
Only the audio portion of the disk conforms to Red Book standards. See also Blue Book.

High Definition Compatible Digital (HDCD) (1995 – )

XRCD (1995 – )

Super High Material CD (2007 – )

VinylDisc (2007 – )

Blu-spec CD (2008 – )

UHQCD (Ultimate High Quality Compact Disc) (2015 – )
 
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AJM1981

Well-known member
Mar 26, 2021
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"24-bit/192kHz file has a data rate of 9216kbps. Music CDs are 1411kbps.

The hi-res 24-bit/96kHz or 24-bit/192kHz files should, therefore, more closely replicate the sound quality the musicians and engineers were working with in the studio. And they could be that very same recorded file, too. These files are labelled as "Studio Masters" in some cases.

With more information on the file to play with, hi-res audio tends to boast greater detail and texture, bringing listeners closer to the original performance – provided your system is transparent enough."
This would kind of imply that the holy grail in detail will be found by a listener in a recording studio. While there is a whole process of editing, mixing, equalizing and mastering to end up with the details hearable.

Also when this vision would extend to logical choices I would also recommend getting studio monitors.
 

iMark

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May 16, 2008
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@Wil
Remember the original question by @radioprog?
"Couldn't see where best to ask this question.... but as title, could CD's ever go hi-res quality and move up bitrate and sampling levels, and if not why not? Simple question i'm sure.
Cheers!"
I'm pretty sure he's talking about the CDDA, (Compact Disc Digital Audio), the Redbook standard and not anything else. As you point out there have been many attempts to come up with alternatives to the Redbook standard. But the Redbook standard itself is not going to change.

This is only relevant to a minute proportion of the general population. For almost everyone an audio CD is a CD produced according to Redbook standard. And that standard is not going to change. Obviously other 12cm disc formats exist but they're not Redbook audio CDs. CDs as we know them will never be "hi-res". Standardisation and backward compatibility are the main issues.

The industry missed a great chance by not going to producing Hybrid SACDs on a large scale in the early 2000s. AFAIK know that is still the only disc format that actually caters for different markets on one 12cm disc while completely conforming to the Redbook CD standard for the CD layer. There is an argument to be made that for most people CD quality is already more than good enough and that there simply wasn't a huge demand for anything better than CD. The format war between SACD and DVD-A didn't help matters either.
 
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manicm

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May 1, 2008
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The Post above is not from the OP, but is trying to define the-topic-of-the-Thread—its intent.

And at the top of this Page, I reiterated what Hi-Res is.

Plus, even earlier, I drifted the scope of CDs (beyond Red Book) to "12cm disc" so as show how the compact-disc went Hi-Res.




For those buying into the-immutable Red Book Standard argument, see https://obsoletemedia.org/audio/compact-disc-rainbow-books:
Red Book (published 1980)
Compact Disc (1982 - )

CD single (1985 - )

CD+G (CD+Graphics) (1985 – )

Double-duration Compact Disc (1987 – 1988)

Mini CD single (1988 – early 1990s)

Minimax Compact Disc (1990s – )

Holographic Compact Disc (1991 – 1996)

CD-i Ready (1991 – 1998)
A hybrid audio/data disc, with Green Book data in the pre-gap before track 1.

QSound Compact Disc (1991 – 2001)

Enhanced CD (1994 – )
Only the audio portion of the disk conforms to Red Book standards. See also Blue Book.

High Definition Compatible Digital (HDCD) (1995 – )

XRCD (1995 – )

Super High Material CD (2007 – )

VinylDisc (2007 – )

Blu-spec CD (2008 – )

UHQCD (Ultimate High Quality Compact Disc) (2015 – )
You’re correct on the variance of the red book standard, but most of these could be played on standard CD players or pc disc drives. But NONE of them were really high res, even HDCD - and those were largely a joke.
 
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manicm

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@Wil
Remember the original question by @radioprog?
"Couldn't see where best to ask this question.... but as title, could CD's ever go hi-res quality and move up bitrate and sampling levels, and if not why not? Simple question i'm sure.
Cheers!"
I'm pretty sure he's talking about the CDDA, (Compact Disc Digital Audio), the Redbook standard and not anything else. As you point out there have been many attempts to come up with alternatives to the Redbook standard. But the Redbook standard itself is not going to change.

This is only relevant to a minute proportion of the general population. For almost everyone an audio CD is a CD produced according to Redbook standard. And that standard is not going to change. Obviously other 12cm disc formats exist but they're not Redbook audio CDs. CDs as we know them will never be "hi-res". Standardisation and backward compatibility are the main issues.

The industry missed a great chance by not going to producing Hybrid SACDs on a large scale in the early 2000s. AFAIK know that is still the only disc format that actually caters for different markets on one 12cm disc while completely conforming to the Redbook CD standard for the CD layer. There is an argument to be made that for most people CD quality is already more than good enough and that there simply wasn't a huge demand for anything better than CD. The format war between SACD and DVD-A didn't help matters either.
There wasn’t really a war between DVD-A and SACD, they were just two different formats which lived side by side until both fizzled out. It’s not like one eventually won like VHS vs Betamax, HD-DVD vs Bluray. DSD has somewhat prevailed though, but hardly any streamers support it in a meaningful way.
 

iMark

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May 16, 2008
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Actually, there was a format war between SACD and DVD-Audio. Just like there was a format war between Bluray and HD-DVD a couple of years later.
One example is that Sony players couldn't play DVD-Audio and Panasonic players couldn't play SACD. Only manufacturers like Pioneer made "universal" players. In 2016 I bought the first Sony Bluray player that plays DVD-Audio: the UHP-H1. A nice feature so I can play my 5 DVD-Audio discs.

In hindsight there were only losers. It was very confusing for consumers because they weren't sure which equipment to buy to play their discs. Then there were some record companies that released discs as DVD-Audio rather than SACD. The Hybrid SACD overcame the format problems because for all consumers there was always the CD layer available. Unfortunately the format was abandoned by the major record companies.

The power of the standard Redbook Audio CD is that any disc from any manufacturer will play on any player in the world. It doesn't get any better than that for consumers.
 
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manicm

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Western Hi-Res music seems to be gravitating to 24bit/44.1Khz led by American music Artists.

Japanese Hi-Res mainstream is either 24bit/48khz or 24bit/96Khz. It makes me smile that in Japan you can buy some of the same western music off places like Mora or Recochoku at better bit rates than Western Hi Res music shops.

As for anything Hi-res I notice it truly sounds better if it's been recorded at the higher resolution formats rather than remastered. In that regard, their is an audible difference between CDs and Hi Res audio files (I own both of some Japanese Music)

In Japan the CD isn't going to die anytime soon. Especially when you look at how they release and market CDs in Japan with exclusive content. MQA CD doesn't surprise me. I've got some blue laser CDs here that they still churn out.
It was precisely because of the Pioneer and similar universal players that there was no war between the two formats as such, and also because getting the most out of SACD required exacting hardware - the AV receivers had to preserve the DSD stream through HDMI but only the very expensive ones were doing that. Budget receivers were converting the DSD stream to PCM which kind of defeated the purpose.

I don’t even think they were competing with each other. And the market for both formats were miniscule.

It reminds me of one Asterix comic where the British and Gauls are having a war, and come midday the Brits lay down arms to have tea. Both formats were not really bothered.

Unlike Betamax vs VHS both audio formats were completely lost on the general public - at a time when MP3s exploded. In fact the HD-DVD vs Blu-ray war was also largely lost on the general public because to my knowledge Blu-ray sales have yet to surpass DVDs.

Both SACD and DVD-A arrived at completely the wrong time.

Neil Young was a big DVD-A proponent though.
 
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Wil

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Since my previous Post, replies were about discs. It's myopic to be focusing on physical-media.

The OP sought Hi-Res for its higher (than CD) quality:
Sorry for late reply (to all), have been recovering from covid and getting back to work. Thankfully it wasnt too bad, but enough to keep me off work for a couple of weeks (would have taken time off even if hadnt needed to isolate). 95% over it now.....

Yeah, so the benefits I was envisaging were that I can clearly hear the difference on my system from regular bluetooth to Aptx, to was presuming I would hear subtle but significant differences in other digital source upgrades. Was thinking that as people are into Hi-res music, and most people seem to be saying that there is a difference between this and CD quality, so I was thinking could you not then put those Hi-res files straight onto disc, to be played, albeit on an upgraded player. And if there is no difference in quality, then why is Hi-res a thing?
That's why, last time, I had specifically included the word intent.


I'd love for CDs to be around as long as possible but don't think there will be demand. You can't download a vinyl record. CDs won't be able to compete with downloads, streaming and vinyl.
I'll be brief. Disregard physical CDs' future , expand your opinions about 16/44.1 vs your favoured 24/48 in (present/coming) the-age-of-streaming.
If consumers are basically led to believe 16/44.1 (CD-quality) is enough, then with not enough demand for Hi-Res (Studio Master-quality), music releases will…

Whatever? Just like how you're happy in an Instagram-quality world? You haven't a Ultra HD monitor, phone screen resolution is enough?

A CD-quality (resolution) system is enough?
Say it's-a-time-effort, Premier League is equivalent to Hi-Res Audio. Will the addition of a player always significantly change a club's performance? May be the-club excels only in the First Division.

And consider this:
"What we need are audio components that are capable of delivering High-Resolution Audio. For example, the D/A converter (DAC) built into the typical DVD player usually has a "24-bit" DAC that only delivers a 90 to 95 dB SNR. This is the equivalent of 15 to 16 bits (CD performance at best).

But, an outboard DAC is only a partial solution to the High-Resolution Audio dilemma. A second key part of the problem is the performance of the audio power amplifier. A 24-bit audio system is useless if it passes through the typical power amplifier. It is nearly impossible to find power amplifiers that can deliver an SNR higher than about 102 dB. This is the equivalent of 17 bits (adequate for CD applications, but definitely not adequate for High-Resolution Audio). Anyone who thinks they can hear the difference between 16-bit and 24-bit digital audio through a "17-bit" power amplifier is fooling themselves."

Forget format-war, for me, it's more about lifestyle-choices e.g. I don't do Instagram—because it's free, I look but I don't Post. Because CDs aren't free, I choose not to buy any more—but will listen and access when others lend or gift me their copy.
 
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ThisIsJimmy

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It was precisely because of the Pioneer and similar universal players that there was no war between the two formats as such, and also because getting the most out of SACD required exacting hardware - the AV receivers had to preserve the DSD stream through HDMI but only the very expensive ones were doing that. Budget receivers were converting the DSD stream to PCM which kind of defeated the purpose.

I don’t even think they were competing with each other. And the market for both formats were miniscule. Unlike Betamax vs VHS both audio formats were completely lost on the general public - at a time when MP3s exploded.

Both formats arrived at completely the wrong time.

Neil Young was a big DVD-A proponent though.
Not sure where my comments come into this. Ultimately JEITA didn't define HI Res Audio until March 2014, well after the SACD/DVD/CD-DA war ended. Things may have been so different if a standard was defined before from a physical format standpoint

The different hi-res standards countries/regions are now gravitating to is irrelevant to the format war which started 20 years ago (that's scary).

Whilst the CD is in rapid decline in many regions, whilst declining in Japan the CD still accounts for 70% of all Audio sales. Until they stop offering exclusive content on the formats, and prices of Hi-res online audio decrease, their is still a market for innovating with the format.

On a seperate note, for those looking to buy Hi Res Audio from Japan, the 3 main sales periods to look for are:
- End of Spring (usually March/easter time)
- End of September
- December
 

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