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High Resolution Audio: Does It Matter?

Krunok

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No the Greeks didn't know it wasn't a sphere.
Read again, that's not what I said. I said Greek knew you can't built a perfect sphere as perfect sphere is a mathematical concept. Greek were very aware that everything you build is only accurate to a certain precision.

You ever learn about standard deviations?
I finished postdoctoral in mathematics, so yes, I vaguely remember hearing about it.
 

Fitzcaraldo215

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I'm not saying latency always has to be a problem, just that it's something that needs to kept in mind as some combinations of software and hardware can cause a lot. @BE718 was explaining the parallelization his crossover/room correction software uses to go from ~600ms to ~20ms in another thread.
Yes. Understood. Throwing ample processing horsepower at it, like I do in my PC, seems to banish any latency problems. The data, video and audio streams are probably all delayed slightly by DSP and other processing, but insignificantly and without any syncing problems between them with simultaneous video, bass management, etc.

I was worried about that myself before embarking on my project to create my multimedia A/V PC, especially with Dirac in DSP. I got enough confirmation from others online that it would all work. The results have been very rewarding. My I7 CPU generally loafs along at 10-20% CPU during playback. And, no glitches whatsoever.
 

Fitzcaraldo215

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I agree with you. But the problem I see with HiRes is that racionalists don't know if everything above say 96/24 is snake oil or not.
Everything, particularly in audio, has diminishing returns. Yes, there is a line somewhere as to how high sampling needs to go to be “good enough”. But, different folks may have different views of where that line ought to be. For most, RBCD is good enough, but not for others. And, of course, some irrationally go to ridiculous extremes of ultra, ultra high sampling rates just because they assume “higher is always better”.

But, if I look at the recording side, a fair number of engineering teams have adopted 96k or 192k with 24-bit depth as their native recording format. That is even for releases intended solely for CD distribution. Yet, there are no big letters on the cover proclaiming it was a hirez recording. So, it does not appear to be a marketing thing, but possibly hirez re-releases are planned for sometime in the future from the archives. Still, I think they record in hirez because they believe from their experience and testing that hirez does a somewhat better job sonically. No one has a gun to their heads, and the hurdle of revamping recording equipment up/down the chain for hirez is not insignificant in cost. So, it is not a trivial decision, and it requires proper due diligence.

Let’s also not overlook the usefulness of 24-bits and its cumulative, but maybe only slight, effective improvement in headroom in the many serial stages of the recording chain, even if the final product is downrezzed to 16-bits.

Personally, I prefer playback at the original, native recorded resolution wherever possible. Even if that makes no audible difference vs. downrezzing, it also does not hurt on playback at all. It might even improve playback, however slightly, but it is not going to degrade it. I do not honor that with DSD playback, however, since EQ and other DSP features are much more important to me than native DSD.
 

andreasmaaan

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I think we all agree that 24/96 is almost mandatory for recording and production. I'm not sure how to explain the use of 24/192 for recording intended solely for RBCD distribution. I'd tend to think it might be some of the engineers thinking: "well, my equipment can process audio at that sample rate with no degradation of performance, surely it couldn't hurt..."
 

svart-hvitt

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I think we all agree that 24/96 is almost mandatory for recording and production. I'm not sure how to explain the use of 24/192 for recording intended solely for RBCD distribution. I'd tend to think it might be some of the engineers thinking: "well, my equipment can process audio at that sample rate with no degradation of performance, surely it couldn't hurt..."
It doesn’t hurt to pay a negligible price for a future which isn’t known. Who knows what future (intelligent?) DSP (and speakers?) may bring.
 

andreasmaaan

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It doesn’t hurt to pay a negligible price for a future which isn’t known. Who knows what future (intelligent?) DSP (and speakers?) may bring.
It's just that I think that the future of the spectrum of human hearing is pretty well known. I don't see how any level of intelligent technology could benefit from source material that goes that far over it..

But yeh, putting that to one side, totally agree that if there is no cost it doesn't matter much that there is no benefit.
 

Fitzcaraldo215

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I think we all agree that 24/96 is almost mandatory for recording and production. I'm not sure how to explain the use of 24/192 for recording intended solely for RBCD distribution. I'd tend to think it might be some of the engineers thinking: "well, my equipment can process audio at that sample rate with no degradation of performance, surely it couldn't hurt..."
Maybe. But, at least a few engineers have said 192k actually sounds a tiny bit better to them. No big deal, though. Today, it may be hard to find hirez recording gear that maxes out at only 96k. So, why not use 192k, since it is already there, unless it causes some sonic downside? I have no problem with that, since there is no evidence of a downside.
 

andreasmaaan

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Maybe. But, at least a few engineers have said 192k actually sounds a tiny bit better to them. No big deal, though. Today, it may be hard to find hirez recording gear that maxes out at only 96k. So, why not use 192k, since it is already there, unless it causes some sonic downside? I have no problem with that, since there is no evidence of a downside.
Do you know which engineers? Would be interested to read the rationale for their views on this.
 

krabapple

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Do you know which engineers? Would be interested to read the rationale for their views on this.
Maybe. But, at least a few engineers have said 192k actually sounds a tiny bit better to them. No big deal, though. Today, it may be hard to find hirez recording gear that maxes out at only 96k. So, why not use 192k, since it is already there, unless it causes some sonic downside? I have no problem with that, since there is no evidence of a downside.
In the Lavry article I linked to already, he extensively discussed the supposed pros and possible cons of 192k.
 
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krabapple

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Everything, particularly in audio, has diminishing returns. Yes, there is a line somewhere as to how high sampling needs to go to be “good enough”. But, different folks may have different views of where that line ought to be. For most, RBCD is good enough, but not for others. And, of course, some irrationally go to ridiculous extremes of ultra, ultra high sampling rates just because they assume “higher is always better”.

But, if I look at the recording side, a fair number of engineering teams have adopted 96k or 192k with 24-bit depth as their native recording format. That is even for releases intended solely for CD distribution. Yet, there are no big letters on the cover proclaiming it was a hirez recording. So, it does not appear to be a marketing thing, but possibly hirez re-releases are planned for sometime in the future from the archives.
How do you know it's not a marketing thing? "Engineering teams' sell their services to artists and labels, not the music-buying public. And engineers, in turn, are 'sold to' by hardware makers and dealers. There's potential for marketing hype at both selling interfaces.


Still, I think they record in hirez because they believe from their experience and testing that hirez does a somewhat better job sonically. No one has a gun to their heads, and the hurdle of revamping recording equipment up/down the chain for hirez is not insignificant in cost. So, it is not a trivial decision, and it requires proper due diligence.
'Testing', hmm, I have not seen or heard much evidence of that, among recording engineers. At least, not the kind of testing that would actually indicate whether 'hi rez' made a real audible difference to them.


Let’s also not overlook the usefulness of 24-bits and its cumulative, but maybe only slight, effective improvement in headroom in the many serial stages of the recording chain, even if the final product is downrezzed to 16-bits.
It's not forgotten. No one , even in the 'hi rez' skeptic camp, argues against using higher bitrates for recording and production. There is a sound, and potentially audible, technical basis for it.
 

krabapple

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On Meyer, no. Look yourself and you shall find, if it is a big deal to you, although it seems your mind is already made up on the subject. But, please do so, to avoid looking like an overzealous jihadi on the subject based on incomplete information that betrays you.

I don’t have to face anything, any more than you do. I like what I like, as can you. But, your speculations about what I hear under what circumstances are just just that - idle speculations, although you think you know all there is to know.

Your mind is clearly made up. No problem if you wish to enjoy your CDs. I go another route and I have other preferences for my own reasons. Why is that such a big problem for you? Why do I have to prove anything to you about my own listening preferences?
Your complete non-answer to even a single question or point in my post hereby noted.
 

DonH56

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More and more I wonder why even post anymore...

Here's a joke I have had in my files "forever". I did not make this one up so don't blame the messenger. And it is old so please do not take any offense at gender or anything else. It's just a joke. Really.

The Girl in the Chair Story:
  • A girl was placed on a chair across the room.
  • A mathematician, physicists, and engineer <all male, presumably> were placed behind a line at the other end of the room. They were told they could walk to the girl but each step had to be half the size of the first.
  • The mathematician immediately started wailing that it was theoretically impossible to ever reach the girl, but turned around to the blackboard and starting writing all sorts of intricate equations to see if a new proof could be found.
  • The physicist cried "not in the macro world" and began mumbling about discontinuities in space-time, uncertainty principles and such, then also turned to begin scribbling on the blackboard.
  • The engineer took a big step forward, then another...
  • The mathematician and physicist, seeing that, turned and yelled "Don't you understand, you can never reach the girl!"
  • Without pausing or looking around the engineer replied "I'll get close enough!"
And that, my friends, is why I became an engineer. :D
 

Fitzcaraldo215

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Do you know which engineers? Would be interested to read the rationale for their views on this.
Maybe. But, at least a few engineers have said 192k actually sounds a tiny bit better to them. No big deal, though. Today, it may be hard to find hirez recording gear that maxes out at only 96k. So, why not use 192k, since it is already there, unless it causes some sonic downside? I have no problem with that, since there is no evidence of a downside.
One I was thinking of from several years ago is Barry Diament, who used to hang around CA Forum. He was clear that he heard slightly better sound at 192k over 96k. Another is the late Doug Sax, formerly the Sheffield Direct-to-Disc LP guy, who preferred 192k when he went digital. But, I am sure there are others. Morten Lindberg of 2L likes 352k. Keith Johnson of Reference likes 176k, etc. Quite a few classical guys also insist DSD64 is way better, and they even might record at DSD256, in spite of the editing and processing difficulties with DSD in general.

I don’t think any of these engineers are idiots who embrace hirez unthinkingly. They are all label owner/engineers who had to pay out of their own pockets for the hirez gear to make it happen. None of them are deft marketing hypesters, either.
 

Sal1950

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I don’t think any of these engineers are idiots who embrace hirez unthinkingly. They are all label owner/engineers who had to pay out of their own pockets for the hirez gear to make it happen. None of them are deft marketing hypesters, either.
Nope, but no matter what their education levels, they are equally susceptible to the different types of expectation bias as any.
 

solderdude

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Can someone please explain to me WHY it matters ?

There are those that hear no (worthwhile ?) differences between RB (or compressed) and higher resolution material.
There are those that do/state/are convinced/feel/suspect/have a hunch/have read/think/assume/reason/conclude that higher resolution material sounds better to them (or this or that person, maybe not even themselves)
So what ? Why the fuss ?
When you don't hear it, you don't, and thus can skip the whole hires hype and live happily ever after.
When you (do/state/are convinced/feel/suspect/have a hunch/have read/think/assume/reason/conclude) you need at least x-kHz and x-bits or this or that format and can enjoy sound that way better than go with that.
One can never prove someone else wrong and even if you did they will ignore that finding the next day and those following that day.

Neither 'camp' has to prove anything to the other camp. The only thing one can do is find out for themselves, IF they are so inclined.
Plenty of 'tests' around on forums and you can make them yourself quite easily.

You don't mind the possibility of fooling yourself?... Do it sighted (preferred)
You want to do it the hard way?... Do it blind, but in that case do it properly (it is well known/established HOW to do it properly).

Go with the knowledge YOU find yourself, ignore other opinions, research and papers and go enjoy music.
There will NEVER be any definitive answer, certainly not one everyone agrees on is the 'truth'.
 
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svart-hvitt

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Asimov's PhD ("doctor of philosophy") degree was in *biochemistry*. Not philosophy.
Do you think universities would use the word «philosophy» in their highest academic degree if they didn’t have philosophy and philosophers in high esteem?

I would go as far as to say that philosophy and ethics are what comes after you really master a field. Techne doesn’t bring you all the way, I believe.

Asimov’s text is a brilliant piece to get ordinary people through a pretty complex subject. I liked the text very much and found wisdom in it.

:)
 

JJB70

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I think much of the high res debate misses the point, my own view is the key determinate of source quality is the recording/mastering. A really well recorded and mastered performance will sound good almost regardless of format. Over compressed badly recorded junk will sound like junk regardless of how high res it is.
 

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