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High Resolution Audio: Does It Matter?

Fitzcaraldo215

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I will go out on a limb here with a totally unscientific hypothethsis based entirely on anecdotal listening sessions with a good friend who is a known recording critic. To me, and to him, the mostly classical, non-volume-war CDs we listen to seem to have noticeably gotten somewhat better sonically on average over the past decade or more than in previous generations. We both think it is now harder to find SQ differences on them from native hirez recordings. We both believe this may be partly, if not largely, the result of increased use of hirez in the recording chain prior to downrezzing to RBCD for release.

However, we both still prefer hirez file playback over equivalent RBCD file or disc playback. We both think we still hear small but noticeable differences. However, the gap seems to be narrowing. His system, incidentally, maxes out at 96k due to DSP EQ.

We are not particularly interested in testing this or fleshing this out further beyond these casual impressions, since our true love and strong listening preference is for discrete hirez Mch. Now there is a difference that is considerably beyond just subtleties, in our opinion.
 

DonH56

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I know it's been mentioned numerous times before, but AFAIK all the Audyssey implementations top out at 48 kS/s, and I think Dirac Live around 96 kS/s. Don't know about the rest ( YPAO, MCACC, etc.) but suspect they are not above those rates. That means a lot of folk are downsampling their hi-res files whether they know it or not.
 

solderdude

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I will go out on a limb here with a totally unscientific hypothethsis based entirely on anecdotal listening sessions with a good friend who is a known recording critic. To me, and to him, the mostly classical, non-volume-war CDs we listen to seem to have noticeably gotten somewhat better sonically on average over the past decade or more than in previous generations. We both think it is now harder to find SQ differences on them from native hirez recordings. We both believe this may be partly, if not largely, the result of increased use of hirez in the recording chain prior to downrezzing to RBCD for release.

However, we both still prefer hirez file playback over equivalent RBCD file or disc playback. We both think we still hear small but noticeable differences. However, the gap seems to be narrowing. His system, incidentally, maxes out at 96k due to DSP EQ.

We are not particularly interested in testing this or fleshing this out further beyond these casual impressions, since our true love and strong listening preference is for discrete hirez Mch. Now there is a difference that is considerably beyond just subtleties, in our opinion.
So to you and your friend it matters and have nice theories based on personal observations.
Why would you care if others have different opinions ?
Yin and Yang...

Just enjoy the music.
 

Blumlein 88

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That's about the best sort of quote I could find, it suggests it's becoming the norm, but there are no stats to back it up.

I don't see any problem with what apple is saying here, it seems sensible, they claim to be able to create better 16/44.1 lossy files from a 24/96 starting point, mathematically they are probably right. And it's the same logic for why I think using more than CD throughout the chain makes sense even when CD is the target. There is a lot of stuff out there about how DAW plugins sound better when fed 24/96 than lower, how much is BS I have no idea but again mathematically it makes sense to maintain the quality for as long as possible, and only drop it at the final stage. None of this answers the question of if that final 24/96 master sounds any different to the final CD to human ears.
I only have interaction with two studios. Both use 44 if for a CD, and 48 for everything else. Various forums for recording pros regularly have threads on this, and generally most are 44 and 48 with a few saying they prefer to stay at 96 until distribution.

The bit about reducing aliasing for DAW plugins was a real concern at one time and some prefer to keep it at 96 just in case. But it hasn't really been a problem for a number of years. Many plug ins have oversampling for this reason even to the point of it being a setting where you decide the level of internal oversampling yourself. Even so this simply reinforces the idea there is a sliver of a reason to work at 88 or 96, and not higher than that.
 

svart-hvitt

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Am I correct in sensing a consensus here that high resolution (over rbcd 1644) is ok in the production chain, not so much in the playback?

Then I reflect upon all the talk about artificial intelligence. Could it be that we in the future will have intelligent DSP so as to break down some of the barriers between production and playback? Could intelligent DSP bring some of the production home? Would 1644 suffice in this scenario? Or was anything above 1644 not ok in any case, not now, not in the future?
 

Fitzcaraldo215

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I know it's been mentioned numerous times before, but AFAIK all the Audyssey implementations top out at 48 kS/s, and I think Dirac Live around 96 kS/s. Don't know about the rest ( YPAO, MCACC, etc.) but suspect they are not above those rates. That means a lot of folk are downsampling their hi-res files whether they know it or not.
AFAIK, 48k may still be true of Audyssey. 96k is true of Dirac in Arcam, but I think it is 48k in Emotiva and miniDSP. Don’t know the Dirac limit in Datasat. In the current PC platform version, however, Dirac handles up to 192k. The next PC version supposedly will handle up to 384k. I currently mostly use the PC version at 176k with DSD converted to PCM, otherwise at native recorded rate up to 192k.
 

Fitzcaraldo215

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Am I correct in sensing a consensus here that high resolution (over rbcd 1644) is ok in the production chain, not so much in the playback?

Then I reflect upon all the talk about artificial intelligence. Could it be that we in the future will have intelligent DSP so as to break down some of the barriers between production and playback? Could intelligent DSP bring some of the production home? Would 1644 suffice in this scenario? Or was anything above 1644 not ok in any case, not now, not in the future?
It is phrasing issue? Why is hirez not OK in the playback chain if playing a hirez recording?
 

Fitzcaraldo215

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So to you and your friend it matters and have nice theories based on personal observations.
Why would you care if others have different opinions ?
Yin and Yang...

Just enjoy the music.
Indeed, why would anyone else in this thread care about opinions posted by others on their own uncontrolled personal observations? I am not seeing any objective measurements or scientific evidence posted by anyone. Beliefs and observations based on uncontrolled listening abound, except for Amir’s opening opinion. Why pick on me specifically?

Enjoy the music, yourself.
 

solderdude

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I do enjoy music... thanks :)
I just don't fuss about the containers, bit-rates/-depths as long as it sounds good to me (uncontrolled and sighted) I could not care less.
Could it sound even better ? Maybe ... what I don't know I don't miss.

There will never be any scientific objective measured definitive 'truth' about audibility borders nor would that affect public opinion of the masses nor development of even higher resolution formats if there were.
Humans are too divers and those that do the testing keep making mistakes/errors/false assumptions based on observations.

Hires... does it matter ? To some it seems, others don't care, consensus.. there won't be any. Divisive threads ... will always exist.
 

Sal1950

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Hires... does it matter ? To some it seems, others don't care, consensus.. there won't be any. Divisive threads ... will always exist.
Data rates, there is a minimum below which it is very important, as we all know, that goes without saying. Beyond that, like so much else in audio, it matters greatly to those those peddling a line of BS, it puts large amounts of $ in their pockets. ;)
 

Fitzcaraldo215

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I do enjoy music... thanks :)
I just don't fuss about the containers, bit-rates/-depths as long as it sounds good to me (uncontrolled and sighted) I could not care less.
Could it sound even better ? Maybe ... what I don't know I don't miss.

There will never be any scientific objective measured definitive 'truth' about audibility borders nor would that affect public opinion of the masses nor development of even higher resolution formats if there were.
Humans are too divers and those that do the testing keep making mistakes/errors/false assumptions based on observations.

Hires... does it matter ? To some it seems, others don't care, consensus.. there won't be any. Divisive threads ... will always exist.
We totally agree that music is what it is all about. I listen for hours each day to a tabletop FM radio with speakers inches apart. I enjoy that music very much at just a little above background levels. I can focus on the music, read, cook or easily have a conversation with my wife or someone with it on. It is always on during dinner or social gatherings at my home. No one complains.

But, hours of mostly solitary, serious listening has also been part of my DNA ever since my teens ages ago, as is regular attendance at live concerts. For serious home listening, it is vitally important to me to try to make that as transparent as possible and as close as I can to my recollection of the live music experience. I focus only on the music, and I am unable to split my attention to read or do other things during those sessions. I generally don’t fiddle with the system except for volume adjustments once or twice at the beginning of an album. I just want to select an album from the thousands on my NAS, push play and listen to the music for pure pleasure.

The audio hobby for me is only a means to that end, and perceived quality and transparency of the music and the illusion adds greatly to the listening pleasure. So, very occasionally, I do shift gears out of curiosity to see if better quality exists. And, I seek out objective conclusions, based on measurements, specs, etc., but also I form subjective conclusions based on my own comparative listening impressions. Both are essential to me.

But, the last major overhaul of my system was over a decade ago, with a shift toward computer audio as an input source about 5 years ago, and a upgrade to my DAC and my DSP EQ suite a year or so later. There was a lot of analytical evaluation including by ear during those changes and setup. But, I was satisfied after that, so I could go back to what I really wanted to do, which was just listen to the music. I have no burning desire at the moment to make any system changes. I do not lust for any new gear. But, following audio technology and products is also something I have done for many decades.

It all works for me, and I am open to and respect others’ listening habits or expectations or perceptions about audio quality. But, I will voice my own opinions from my perspective, and I will try to get at the truth as I see it if facts or understandings are in question. Popularity or what others prefer or choose don’t matter much to me. We each make our own choices, though I cringe at some others’ choices.

In deference to the thread topic, hirez matters to me. But, if it does not to others, I have no problem with that. I will listen to my choices as they do to theirs.

Never been happier with my music or the quality with which it is delivered. Meanwhile, my wife shrugs her shoulders and prefers watching TV upstairs or web surfing.
 

Frank Dernie

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Intriguing how different we all are.
I never have music on in the background and almost never in the car (here not least since I use my ears a lot for driving).
I go to plenty of concerts and listen seriously at home, but never have music in the background.
One of my daughters has music on in the background all the time, I find it distracting and usually can't stay at her house long because of it.
 

Ron Party

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Funny aren't we. I'm more like Fitz in that I have music on almost every waking hour, including in my law office. Heck, I used to study for finals, both undergrad and in law school with music playing at a pretty healthy volume. I did a lot of studying for the bar exam while sitting on the floor, with my written materials spread around me in a semi-circle, while playing guitar.
 

NorthSky

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I know it's been mentioned numerous times before, but AFAIK all the Audyssey implementations top out at 48 kS/s, and I think Dirac Live around 96 kS/s. Don't know about the rest ( YPAO, MCACC, etc.) but suspect they are not above those rates. That means a lot of folk are downsampling their hi-res files whether they know it or not.
For movies on Blu-ray 4K it doesn't matter. For multichannel hires music it doesn't matter.
For analog mono and stereo music from tapes and turntables (best two music medium formats) it doesn't matter.
 

Sal1950

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Funny aren't we. I'm more like Fitz in that I have music on almost every waking hour, including in my law office. Heck, I used to study for finals, both undergrad and in law school with music playing at a pretty healthy volume. I did a lot of studying for the bar exam while sitting on the floor, with my written materials spread around me in a semi-circle, while playing guitar.
That's amazing to me that you can multi task like that. I'll have music playing in the background most all the time, but not when I'm doing anything that requires my concentration. Music will allways pull me in at some point, whether it's the words of a song or a awesome guitar solo, I'll have hard time doing something of importance with good music playing.
 

Blumlein 88

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That's amazing to me that you can multi task like that. I'll have music playing in the background most all the time, but not when I'm doing anything that requires my concentration. Music will allways pull me in at some point, whether it's the words of a song or a awesome guitar solo, I'll have hard time doing something of importance with good music playing.
Yes, when I was at university, I had to have all music off to do any studying. I'd get lost in it somehow and no studying would occur otherwise.
 

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Yes, when I was at university, I had to have all music off to do any studying. I'd get lost in it somehow and no studying would occur otherwise.
ditto
 

Wombat

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Funny aren't we. I'm more like Fitz in that I have music on almost every waking hour, including in my law office. Heck, I used to study for finals, both undergrad and in law school with music playing at a pretty healthy volume. I did a lot of studying for the bar exam while sitting on the floor, with my written materials spread around me in a semi-circle, while playing guitar.
You don't work in Silicon Valley?? ;)
 
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At present , Definitely higher = better
Even if the audio signals are resampled , you can benefit from higher sample rate.
Because the recording devices we use now are not good enough.
The music is Low-fi indeed , not hi-fi.
 
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solderdude

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Even if the audio signals are resampled , you can benefit from higher sample rate.
What would be the benefit ?

Because the recording devices we use now are not good enough.
The music is Low-fi indeed , not hi-fi.
What would you suggest is needed (minum requirements) for Hi-Fi ?
What samplingrate/bitdepth would you deem to be the minimum to be called Lo-Fi ?
 
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