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High Resolution Audio: Does It Matter?

Frank Dernie

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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.
What are you thinking might be necessary? My experience is that the recording devices we use now are fantastic.
My own recording experience certainly showed even with 16/48 (StellaDAT) the recording was indistinguishable from the microphone feed on the sort of music I record as long as 30 years ago. Certainly reel-to-reel tape never achieved this, with the recording output clearly not being the same as the microphone feed, despite sounding really nice.
The microphone choice, and microphone position make massively more difference to the sound than the recorder IME.
 
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What would be the benefit ?

What would you suggest is needed for HiFi ?
What samplingrate/bitdepth would you deem Lo-Fi
Since English is not my native language, I hope you can understand.
First question:
The sound will be more natural, just like the sound in reality.The tone of the higher resolution music will be more real, for example, the tone of singer will be more "flat", I mean the tone of one singer of the same piece of music will be vary less.


2:
The most important : dac, audio source ,the music must be high resolution ,and a balanced headphone or speaker.
Important : amp
Less important cables power and other factors

3 :
Lower than 192khz. I am not sure how much the different bitdepth will affect the sound.
 
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What are you thinking might be necessary? My experience is that the recording devices we use now are fantastic.
My own recording experience certainly showed even with 16/48 (StellaDAT) the recording was indistinguishable from the microphone feed on the sort of music I record as long as 30 years ago. Certainly reel-to-reel tape never achieved this, with the recording output clearly not being the same as the microphone feed, despite sounding really nice.
The microphone choice, and microphone position make massively more difference to the sound than the recorder IME.
Since English is not my first language,I hope you can understand it.
I am not an expert of recording.
The sampling rate need to be higher. This will affect a lot.
 

solderdude

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Since English is not my native language, I hope you can understand.
First question:
The sound will be more natural, just like the sound in reality.The tone of the higher resolution music will be more real, for example, the tone of singer will be more "flat", I mean the tone of one singer of the same piece of music will be vary less.
Upsampling doesn't make sound more 'flat' nor more natural. It just produces sample values in between the not yet upsampled values.
It adds no data that has not been in the original file. Just calculated values.

2:
The most important : dac, audio source ,the music must be high resolution ,and a balanced headphone or speaker.
Important : amp
Less important cables power and other factors
You mentioned recording devices which is not the DAC but ADC. It usually is of much higher resolution than the final 'product' you buy which can be CD or some other type of file usually at a lower resolution than the recording.

Most important: recording technique, engineer, microphones and placement, mixing and mastering engineer. After that the most important is the headphone/speaker, after that the ears and brain of the listener.
I think almost all ADC's and DAC's these days perform (much) better than our ears.
The choice of a DAC should be based on the formats you want it to play, which input connections it has (USB/SPDIF/Optical) and other functionalities, looks and how it interfaces with the following gear.
Balanced or not is not of any importance for home playback.
Only interesting for studios and live performances where long audiolines run alongside mains cables for lighting etc.
Amps should be able to properly drive the headphone/speaker with some extra headroom which signifies its importance.
For playback 96/24 is more than enough, why would 192kHz be needed ?

3 :
Lower than 192khz. I am not sure how much the different bitdepth will affect the sound.
Bit depth is more important than samplerate when it comes to resolution.
Why would the sound be Lo-Fi below 192kHz ?
Can you hear up to 60-80kHz ?
Would 192kHz and 12 bits enough ? 16 bits ? 24 bits ? 32 bits ?
 
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Fitzcaraldo215

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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.
Though a supporter of hirez, I don’t agree that simply upsampling on playback prior to the DAC does a whole lot. Don’t a lot of DACs already do that internally anyway? And, it does nothing in itself for filter artifacts already encoded in the music signal from a-d in the recording process. So, I believe that the small audible sonic benefits of hirez really need a hirez recording/playback chain in order to have a chance of being heard more faithfully to the original live musical event.

I also agree with others here that there are diminishing returns to ever higher sampling rates. At some point, increased sampling rates are inaudible. The only disagreement may be where that point occurs, and there is no scientific consensus on that.

Slowly but surely, music reproduction has improved, except for commercial blunders like deliberate dynamic compression. Don’t know what music genres you prefer, but the classical music I prefer has gotten really good in recordings from the past 20 years or so - better than ever - and the increasing trend toward hirez recording may be an important part of that, but there likely are other important factors.

Possibly small incremental improvements are still possible, but I believe we are already at the limit of how much improvement higher sampling rates and bit depth can give us. We have to look elsewhere for further improvement.

I have done so, and discrete hirez multichannel - actually quite a major improvement over stereo - is one such step. Unfortunately for many, it lends itself to and is primarily used for classical music. But, I have never been happier with music reproduction, and I have my doubts that it can become significantly better in sound quality, except for ever decreasing, ever smaller refinements.

I may be foolish to bet against the future like this and whatever it may bring. But, the laws governing mature technologies seem pervasive and inescapable. And, audio is definitely a mature technology, except in distribution and delivery.
 

Sal1950

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Since English is not my native language, I hope you can understand.
First question:
The sound will be more natural, just like the sound in reality.The tone of the higher resolution music will be more real, for example, the tone of singer will be more "flat", I mean the tone of one singer of the same piece of music will be vary less.


2:
The most important : dac, audio source ,the music must be high resolution ,and a balanced headphone or speaker.
Important : amp
Less important cables power and other factors

3 :
Lower than 192khz. I am not sure how much the different bitdepth will affect the sound.
Since English is not my first language,I hope you can understand it.
I am not an expert of recording.
The sampling rate need to be higher. This will affect a lot.
Most everything you've said so far is wrong.
You have a lot to learn here if you are willing to let it in.
 

krabapple

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It is phrasing issue? Why is hirez not OK in the playback chain if playing a hirez recording?
No so much 'not OK', more like just 'not really necessary'. As noted, too, many common home playback chains are already resampling (up or down, depending on the original rates). That's because massive DSP may be in use, making playback more like 'production' in these chains.
 

svart-hvitt

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Alternative medicine -- e.g. homeopathy-- is a darn near *perfect* analogy for hi rez, and much of high-end audio in general. Nothing you've posted suggests otherwise.
You take an extreme position here. Engineers in high esteem argue that there are indeed reasons one should go a bit (sic!) higher than rbcd 1644.

In addition, one can easily verify if material is genuine high resolution (>rbcd) or not.

Apple, one of the biggest distributors and a competent engineering company, argue for source material above rbcd 1644.

So the homeopathy analogy is obviously wrong.

I am not arguing that high resolution makes day and night differences or something. But there is no need to ridicule the formats used to make master material.
 

Frank Dernie

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You take an extreme position here. Engineers in high esteem argue that there are indeed reasons one should go a bit (sic!) higher than rbcd 1644.

In addition, one can easily verify if material is genuine high resolution (>rbcd) or not.

Apple, one of the biggest distributors and a competent engineering company, argue for source material above rbcd 1644.

So the homeopathy analogy is obviously wrong.

I am not arguing that high resolution makes day and night differences or something. But there is no need to ridicule the formats used to make master material.
"Ridicule" is strong language, I see no ridicule anywhere.
 

Thomas savage

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The near information free , analogy heavy tit for tat that’s going on here is worthless. I suggest those involved move on to other topics .

Folks have their personal preference, in terms of high res audio there’s little out there that says it’s important in terms of playback but then why not enjoy it if that’s important to you.

We are not here for trench warfare or battles of egotism.
 

krabapple

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You take an extreme position here. Engineers in high esteem argue that there are indeed reasons one should go a bit (sic!) higher than rbcd 1644.

In addition, one can easily verify if material is genuine high resolution (>rbcd) or not.

Apple, one of the biggest distributors and a competent engineering company, argue for source material above rbcd 1644.

So the homeopathy analogy is obviously wrong.

I am not arguing that high resolution makes day and night differences or something. But there is no need to ridicule the formats used to make master material.

Are you serious? 'Engineers' who record/mix/master commercial records typically are not *engineers* in the sense of having advanced training in physics, materials science, or engineering, much less psychoacoustics. *Apple* is not Bell Labs. And its statement as quoted by you is hardly one founded on science.

One can verify if material is 'genuine high resolution' mathematically but that doesn't mean it actually 'works' audibly the way it claims to. In that sense, once can verify that a pill actually contains gingko biloba, vitamin E, or any other nostrum you could name, but that doesn't mean the claims for it are true. (Homeopathy is even more interesting in that it claims you don't even need to have a particle of the substance in the nostrum; it is enough to have once been provably in the solution, thereby imparting a healing 'vibration' to the dilute solvent. Mpingo Stones/Hallograph/Machina Dynamica/etc, anyone?)

Since there *real* and *demonstrable* issues with sound in consumer rooms, there is indeed a need to ridicule obsession with format tweaks that are , by comparison, as insignificant as a 'solute' in a homeopathic solution. Because every dollar and every effort devoted to 'hi rez' (and much of 'high end') is effort that could have gone towards solving a *real* problem whose solution would have *real* benefits to consumers.
 

svart-hvitt

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Are you serious? 'Engineers' who record/mix/master commercial records typically are not *engineers* in the sense of having advanced training in physics, materials science, or engineering, much less psychoacoustics. *Apple* is not Bell Labs. And its statement as quoted by you is hardly one founded on science.

One can verify if material is 'genuine high resolution' mathematically but that doesn't mean it actually 'works' audibly the way it claims to. In that sense, once can verify that a pill actually contains gingko biloba, vitamin E, or any other nostrum you could name, but that doesn't mean the claims for it are true. (Homeopathy is even more interesting in that it claims you don't even need to have a particle of the substance in the nostrum; it is enough to have once been provably in the solution, thereby imparting a healing 'vibration' to the dilute solvent. Mpingo Stones/Hallograph/Machina Dynamica/etc, anyone?)

Since there *real* and *demonstrable* issues with sound in consumer rooms, there is indeed a need to ridicule obsession with format tweaks that are , by comparison, as insignificant as a 'solute' in a homeopathic solution. Because every dollar and every effort devoted to 'hi rez' (and much of 'high end') is effort that could have gone towards solving a *real* problem whose solution would have *real* benefits to consumers.
It’s as if you disregard the message in the opening post, where @amirm concludes thus:

«As I mentioned at the outset, high resolution audio makes a difference. And a huge one at that in the way it gives us access to stereo masters prior to re-mastering for the CD. That path means the music can be free of loudness compression which will have clear benefit, putting aside any additional sonic fidelity due to use of higher bit depths and sampling. Given the fact that CD has no choice but to go away in the future, we as enthusiasts better get behind high resolution audio distribution. Nothing but goodness comes from having more choices of formats for our music».

Do you think @amirm is a proponent of homeopathy?

Your remark on Apple, where you give the impression that it’s not research intensive, is off the mark given its annual $10 billion R&D budget (needless to say, just a fraction goes to audio).
 

Sal1950

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Nothing but goodness comes from having more choices of formats for our music».
Sorry Thomas,
Awe but there is lots of non-goodness to come out of it, there is and has been. The ridiculous numbers war, (bigger and higher is forever better) and the snake-oil marketing of price layered distribution. They recording engineer who's voice I respect most on the subject is Mark Waldrep but that's just me. How many times would you support the re-selling of 1970s rock at ever higher data rates on the claims of better sound?
There is a point where enough really is enough.
 

Thomas savage

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Sorry Thomas,
Awe but there is lots of non-goodness to come out of it, there is and has been. The ridiculous numbers war, (bigger and higher is forever better) and the snake-oil marketing of price layered distribution. They recording engineer who's voice I respect most on the subject is Mark Waldrep but that's just me. How many times would you support the re-selling of 1970s rock at ever higher data rates on the claims of better sound?
There is a point where enough really is enough.
That’s nothing to do with high res it’s human beings and capitalism.

The same shit goes on at work , companies reinvent the wheel tool wise and guys jump up and down saying how great the new this or that is but when you really look at what’s needed and best execution practices you find it’s all bullshit.

Of course there is the odd example of genuine progress but it’s very unusual. Personally I don’t chose to argue the toss forever more with other drywall monkeys online. They like it , as long as I’m not paying for it I don’t give a toss.

It’s another example of subjective indulgence trumping logical thought, “ man I really love this new tool” yea right jog on mate lol
 

JJB70

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I have no issue with hi-res mastering, as at the end of the day who knows what the future might hold and pushing way beyond what is discernible in terms of listening may reap dividends in terms of mastering and exploiting future technologies and formats. Given that it is easy enough for mastering to do this with not much of a cost uplift then why not? I'm not saying that will necessarily happen as I've no idea what the future holds, but who knows, maybe one day when sounds are beamed directly into our brain via some sort of neural implant a high res file may be useful.

Where I think the disputes start is for replay files and audio equipment, where it is highly uncertain whether there is any benefit from these high res files. And then we get onto the quite separate issue of high res download sites that are borderline fraudulent IMO. Now if people want to spend a lot of money on high res files and equipment then that's their choice and if they believe they can discern a difference then they will enjoy it. I do object to the way certain hi-fi reviewers and magazines are doing their usual jump-into-bed-with-their-paymasters incestuous thing of trying to convince people they need something that they just don't.

I still stand by my view that the whole debate misses the point as it is the skill and artistry of performers and recording engineers that determines whether something is worth listening to. I have old recordings by conductors like Furtwangler, Klemperer and Kleiber which I still love despite rather basic recording as despite limits of technology the performances still shine. A good recording and mixing engineer counts for infinitely more than bit rates, frequency etc.
 

Frank Dernie

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Homeopathy is even more interesting in that it claims you don't even need to have a particle of the substance in the nostrum; it is enough to have once been provably in the solution, thereby imparting a healing 'vibration' to the dilute solvent. Mpingo Stones/Hallograph/Machina Dynamica/etc, anyone?
That is intriguing since it means any glass of water is a homeopathic cure for ever
I still stand by my view that the whole debate misses the point as it is the skill and artistry of performers and recording engineers that determines whether something is worth listening to. I have old recordings by conductors like Furtwangler, Klemperer and Kleiber which I still love despite rather basic recording as despite limits of technology the performances still shine. A good recording and mixing engineer counts for infinitely more than bit rates, frequency etc.
This^
 

svart-hvitt

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Sorry Thomas,
Awe but there is lots of non-goodness to come out of it, there is and has been. The ridiculous numbers war, (bigger and higher is forever better) and the snake-oil marketing of price layered distribution. They recording engineer who's voice I respect most on the subject is Mark Waldrep but that's just me. How many times would you support the re-selling of 1970s rock at ever higher data rates on the claims of better sound?
There is a point where enough really is enough.
I think you miss the point. Nobody at ASR is an advocate of the higher-is-better game. So you make a straw man who is nowhere to be found on ASR.

What I think some ASR readers find worthwhile is the sort of arguments put forward by @amirm in his OP.

I also think some ASR readers find the meta analyses of researchers like Reiss intriguing:

http://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=18296

Comparing this (@amirm’s points and the Reiss analysis) with homeopathy has no purpose.
 
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