• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

High Resolution Audio: Does It Matter?

DonH56

Major Contributor
Technical Expert
Patreon Donor
Joined
Mar 15, 2016
Messages
1,968
Likes
1,374
Location
Monument, CO
Hi-res includes greater resolution (more bits) so should have correspondingly lower noise and distortion. I suspect that has more impact (i.e. is more audible) than the higher sampling rate.

As to ultrasonic content, the usual argument I have heard is that suprasonic tones can mix and generate lower-frequency beat tones that are able to be heard since they fall within the audible frequency range. Note some nonlinearity must be involved for that mixing to occur (and of course sampling is a nonlinear process itself).

No idea if either of those half-brained ideas will correspond to anything j_j or anyone else might say.

IME/IMO - Don
 

Fitzcaraldo215

Major Contributor
Joined
Mar 4, 2016
Messages
1,417
Likes
475
It must be ego boosting to profess to have super-critical hearing. I have yet to see conclusive evidence that supports it.

Middle-aged(and beyond) males seem to be the ones who unashamedly make these claims. They are the least credible advocates re hearing acuity. Compensation for advancing decrepitude, maybe. :rolleyes:
I admit to being an old geezer, myself. But, I also understand that humans vary widely in, among many other things, hearing acuity. Yes, on average, oldsters lose hearing acuity, particularly in high frequencies, but some more than others. Some youngsters, musicians, factory workers, etc. may have far worse hearing than many old timers.

So, I think it is a pretty weak argument to just declare age a snide automatic disqualifier in this or anything else. I hear what I hear, subject to all the caveats about bias or subliminal influences, just like anyone else. Does old age also inventively mean an inflated ego, as well? While you are there, why not also go into race, gender, etc.?

BTW, many studies of hirez vs. RBCD have already been conducted. I will cite once again the 2016 Joshua Reiss meta analysis that summarizes that scientific research:

https://secure.aes.org/forum/pubs/journal/?ID=591

Please, download it and read it, hopefully completely and open-mindedly. It is free.

I also said about it that, as is clear, not all test sessions revealed a difference, though many also did. I also said that the reader could interpret these results in different ways, also depending on their prior point of view or prejudice. It is not a slam dunk case for or against, and I personally never said hirez made a slam dunk difference. Scientifically, it is a close call. But, nontheless, I claim to hear a difference myself, old age and all, and I prefer it. My reading of the science supports that conclusion, though yours may not.
 
Last edited:

Sal1950

Major Contributor
The Chicago Crusher
Joined
Mar 1, 2016
Messages
4,139
Likes
1,268
Location
Central Fl
I found the below comment by Mark Waldrep in the faked power cord presentation fiasco thread quite revealing from a man who makes a living sell HiRez recordings. Hummm,

"At the present time, I have been offering a casual test of high-resolution vs. standard-resolution audio to my readers. As you know, I’m a strong advocate for high-resolution digital recordings made with no processing or mastering. I’ve won numerous awards for my work. It’s indisputable that a high-resolution PCM recording offers more potential fidelity than another other audio format. Whether the “sound” rivals vinyl LPs or analog tape is preferred is a matter of personal taste. The results of the HD Challenge have been inconclusive. It turns out the audiophiles — even those with fabulous, highly resolving systems — have done no better than chance in determining the difference between CD spec and real high-resolution. So I may have to change my position on the merits of high-resolution audio. I can accept that. When a rigorous study is ultimately performed using double blind ABX testing AND real high-resolution content, the truth may show that I’ve been wrong."
 

Grave

Active Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2018
Messages
283
Likes
94
Again, HRA is a joke. Any form of lossless sounds perfect to me, besides the often shit mastering. This is from someone who can ABX 320 kbps mp3 from lossless. I do no think much of lossy.
 
Last edited:

Sal1950

Major Contributor
The Chicago Crusher
Joined
Mar 1, 2016
Messages
4,139
Likes
1,268
Location
Central Fl
I've got a few "genuine" HiRez recordings that sound amazing here.
But then again I've got some David Manley Vital recordings done with tubes all the way to 2 track tape before a in-house built DAC converted to digital, and they also sound amazing to me.
If we could get the kind of care put into all recordings as were these, the debate would probably be of no consequence.
 

sergeauckland

Active Member
Joined
Mar 16, 2016
Messages
271
Likes
302
Location
Suffolk UK
I've got a few "genuine" HiRez recordings that sound amazing here.
But then again I've got some David Manley Vital recordings done with tubes all the way to 2 track tape before a in-house built DAC converted to digital, and they also sound amazing to me.
If we could get the kind of care put into all recordings as were these, the debate would probably be of no consequence.
Exactly. I don't see any benefit to HiRes(z) recordings whilst there are so many dire RDCD recordings out there. Get the standard up to what RBCD can accomplish, then perhaps think about higher resolutions.

At the moment, it seems to me that most HR is a con, either upsampled standard resolution recordings, or even worse, based on analogue tapes and/or classic large diaphragm condenser mics, so ALL the HiRes part is noise. There are precious few real HR recordings, done with with wide-bandwidth microphones.

S
 

Fitzcaraldo215

Major Contributor
Joined
Mar 4, 2016
Messages
1,417
Likes
475
I found the below comment by Mark Waldrep in the faked power cord presentation fiasco thread quite revealing from a man who makes a living sell HiRez recordings. Hummm,

"At the present time, I have been offering a casual test of high-resolution vs. standard-resolution audio to my readers. As you know, I’m a strong advocate for high-resolution digital recordings made with no processing or mastering. I’ve won numerous awards for my work. It’s indisputable that a high-resolution PCM recording offers more potential fidelity than another other audio format. Whether the “sound” rivals vinyl LPs or analog tape is preferred is a matter of personal taste. The results of the HD Challenge have been inconclusive. It turns out the audiophiles — even those with fabulous, highly resolving systems — have done no better than chance in determining the difference between CD spec and real high-resolution. So I may have to change my position on the merits of high-resolution audio. I can accept that. When a rigorous study is ultimately performed using double blind ABX testing AND real high-resolution content, the truth may show that I’ve been wrong."
Yes, those rigorous, scientific ABX studies have been performed, according to and individually cited by Reiss. The trouble is the results are variable, and they do not fully or clearly confirm Waldrep's position, though they are noticeably improved by training in what to listen for. There is still plenty of room for controversy, however.

But, we have seen this before in DBT testing, such as in Harman speaker testing, although those tend to give a clearer, more obvious result. But, still, not everyone hears or prefers what everyone else prefers, and training in what to listen for has demonstrated improvement to discrimination in numerous DBTs in audio and in many other fields. It is the nature of testing on those infernally variable human beings.

I don't know the details of Waldrep's HD Challenge. But, I find the advantages I hear in hirez to be subtle, of the small but noticeable type. I have always said that. I also don't share Waldrep's expectation that, if I may paraphrase it, any random audiophile should be able to hear it, because it offers more potential fidelity than any other format. I think some of us hear it, but some don't, as the Reiss paper seems to indicate. With Waldrep's test, I think at least some of the don'ts may have unrealistically high expectations since they know they are comparing hirez with RBCD. Like Waldrep, they may believe it will deliver something big rather than subtle. When that is not consistent with their expectations, they have difficulty accurately discriminating in blind testing.

That is all speculation on my part, but I still don't think Waldrep's test is meaningful. And, for my money, I will personally stay with hirez.
 

Thomas savage

Liberation through innovation
Moderator
The Watchman
Patreon Donor
Joined
Feb 24, 2016
Messages
5,952
Likes
1,916
Location
uk, taunton
I wish we’d sort out the RBCD ( to fully utilise it’s potential ) before worrying about hirez BUT unless there’s argument against having files in their native resolution ( assuming that’s highrez) what’s there to really talk about?

We are not constrained by the CD anymore and with storage and streaming rates no barrier why even consider the question.
 

andreasmaaan

Major Contributor
Patreon Donor
Joined
Jun 19, 2018
Messages
1,329
Likes
658
Given the mixed and sometimes confusing research findings, it seems prudent to pursue moderately high res (24/88.2 or 24/96) for distribution.

I think the bigger issue is: if high-res really is discernible from properly implemented redbook (i.e. redbook with flat amplitude and phase response up to 20Kz), then aspects of our theory of the human auditory system would seem to have been falsified.
 

Grave

Active Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2018
Messages
283
Likes
94
What do you even think you hear in HRA which is not in 16/44.1?
 

Fitzcaraldo215

Major Contributor
Joined
Mar 4, 2016
Messages
1,417
Likes
475
I've got a few "genuine" HiRez recordings that sound amazing here.
But then again I've got some David Manley Vital recordings done with tubes all the way to 2 track tape before a in-house built DAC converted to digital, and they also sound amazing to me.
If we could get the kind of care put into all recordings as were these, the debate would probably be of no consequence.
Sal - I agree with that. I think an indirect factor in my continuing preference for hirez is the apparently greater care that engineers and producers usually take with it in recording production, and also the likely more advanced, quieter equipment they use. But, if we are comparing apples to apples, I still find hirez to sound slightly but noticeably better with very decent consistency when comparing it to RBCD, if both are sourced from the same hirez master. Not much worthwhile difference, though, if they are from an analog or RBCD master.

My preference ranks multichannel above hirez in importance. But, all Mch comes as hirez, so I get two for the price of one. And, also, the huge selection of discrete Mch recordings I have assembled are almost all from hirez recordings in sessions over the past 15 years or so. And, most of those are by small specialty labels who emphasize their engineering in hirez Mch and take great technical care with their recordings. Fortunately, they are not "audiophile" recordings with blah musical content. Mark Waldrep/AIX is an example of a small label with very high technical standards, but most of his catalog does not appeal to me.
 

Fitzcaraldo215

Major Contributor
Joined
Mar 4, 2016
Messages
1,417
Likes
475
Given the mixed and sometimes confusing research findings, it seems prudent to pursue moderately high res (24/88.2 or 24/96) for distribution.

I think the bigger issue is: if high-res really is discernible from properly implemented redbook (i.e. redbook with flat amplitude and phase response up to 20Kz), then aspects of our theory of the human auditory system would seem to have been falsified.
Well, it's controversial. So, as you might expect, some believe they have found some of the reasons for problems in the existing RBCD standard as typically implemented. Also, designers are still expermenting with new filters for RBCD all the time. I agree, RBCD playback is largely an adequately solved problem, but can it not be further perfected? It's not that our understanding of the human auditory system needs a complete, radical overhaul. It is that the implementations of RBCD to date aren't perfect, even given known theory. But, even that theoretical understanding may need some adaptation and updating, though probably not radically. Like all science, it evolves.

Dare I mention Bob Stuart? He has been talking about this for years. He implemented apodizing filters years ago, now in much wider use. And, he implemented MQA, for better or most might say for worse, which has many of the same problems of acceptance as hirez, because the incremental sonic gains, if any at all, are so small to most people. But, Stuart is not alone in pursuing similar goals toward higher perfection, including hirez.

I dare say that believing we know it all and we have solved all the problems is never a good idea. But, what seems to be true in audio is that we have solved the big problems, that we have more than adequate sound even with RBCD, and that further improvement will be ever smaller and more incremental, though sometimes requiring big changes, like hirez or Mch or MQA to achieve hoped for modest improvement.
 

andreasmaaan

Major Contributor
Patreon Donor
Joined
Jun 19, 2018
Messages
1,329
Likes
658
Couldn't agree more @Fitzcaraldo215 :)

And I suspect a thorough review of the conditions in which the study was undertaken will show some artefact below 20KHz from the filters and/or dither used (or alternatively/additionally, an artefakt below 20KHz from not filtering; tweeter IM in the audible range has been proposed).

The audible human frequency range seems too well established for the explanation to lie with artefacts above 20KHz to factor in... but there's always a chance ;)

In the meantime, it seems fair to say that higher res formats are more likely to be transparent, all else equal.
 

andreasmaaan

Major Contributor
Patreon Donor
Joined
Jun 19, 2018
Messages
1,329
Likes
658
@Grave I'm not sure what your intention is here, it seems rather close to trolling, since you're repeating the same statement over and over again with no additional arguments or supporting evidence. Your position is very clear, but repeating it is not adding anything to the discussion.

The results of the study are inconsistent with your position. You can't both be right; if you're correct then the study must be flawed. What was the specific flaw(s) in your view?
 

Wombat

Major Contributor
Joined
Nov 5, 2017
Messages
2,500
Likes
941
Location
Australia
@Grave I'm not sure what your intention is here, it seems rather close to trolling, since you're repeating the same statement over and over again with no additional arguments or supporting evidence. Your position is very clear, but repeating it is not adding anything to the discussion.

The results of the study are inconsistent with your position. You can't both be right; if you're correct then the study must be flawed. What was the specific flaw(s) in your view?
Your post #114 contains mainly speculative qualifying terms e.g. I suspect, seems, always a chance, it seems fair to say........... more likely .......... all else equal.
 

Wombat

Major Contributor
Joined
Nov 5, 2017
Messages
2,500
Likes
941
Location
Australia
Mark Waldrep on Dynamic Range and Resolution: http://www.realhd-audio.com/?p=6234

I find his definition of HiRes as applying to only HiRes(digital) source and Hi Res(digital) processing through to HiRes(digital) recording to be logical.

Using low resolution(pre-digital) sources does not produce high resolution recordings even if processed using high resolution digital equipment.
 

andreasmaaan

Major Contributor
Patreon Donor
Joined
Jun 19, 2018
Messages
1,329
Likes
658
Your post #114 contains mainly speculative qualifying terms e.g. I suspect, seems, always a chance, it seems fair to say........... more likely .......... all else equal.
Correct.

Why do you point this out?

And "all else equal" is not specualtive/qualifying btw.
 
Last edited:

Blumlein 88

Major Contributor
Joined
Feb 23, 2016
Messages
4,079
Likes
2,273
Mark Waldrep on Dynamic Range and Resolution: http://www.realhd-audio.com/?p=6234

I find his definition of HiRes as applying to only HiRes(digital) source and Hi Res(digital) processing through to HiRes(digital) recording to be logical.

Using low resolution(pre-digital) sources does not produce high resolution recordings even if processed using high resolution digital equipment.
What about medium resolution?

I agree with mark the only Hires stuff has to be sourced as full higher resolution digital from now. It might still include plenty of analog effects boxes as those can be of widebandwidth and low noise themselves.

So what is medium res? Suppose you owned the old LP's. Very colored by the whole process to make an LP. The master tapes or re-masterings (if they don't muck it up which usually they do) are definitely of potentially better resolution and fidelity than the LP was. So you do a digital transfer and tasteful remastering you can have more resolution than ever was the case with LP, yet still not the resolution possible with modern digital recording. That is an increase in resolution, and fidelity and worth having even if not full hires.
 
Top Bottom