• 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?

svart-hvitt

Major Contributor
Joined
Aug 31, 2017
Messages
1,053
Likes
359
Yes but Apple are a commercial company (and how!) with an agenda to set. Furthermore, they're talking about masters for them to process for distribution. In that I don't disagree. 24/94 makes sense if you're going to process further. What matters to me is the distribution format, not any intermediate steps, and judging by the dire quality of many 44.1/16 releases, we still have a long way to go before we run out of RDCD quality and need (note: not want, but need) more resolution. As long as listening is done on human ears, I still come back to my main point in that nobody has yet shown how RDCD is lacking. Yes, HiRes is technically better, in the same way that an amplifier with 0.001% distortion is better than one with 0.01% distortion, but so what? How is HiRes better in a way that 'normal' people can appreciate?

S.
Please see my remark above on domestic DSP. DSP has entered our homes years ago.
 

Blumlein 88

Major Contributor
Joined
Feb 23, 2016
Messages
3,526
Likes
1,634
There may still be a case for domestic DSP. One could also upsample to higher rates for that. Good DAW software upsamples to prevent issues with DSP. It does this automatically to apply processing and then downsamples without the user knowing it happened.

I would also say what I hope is obvious. If 24/96 differed from 44/16 half as much as digital does from LP, reel tape or even high rate MP3 the issue would have been clearly and unequivocally determined long ago. The fact it hasn't means the difference if it exists is marginal to edge cases or is near the very edge of perception for almost everyone. So if you have well done 44/16, the same thing in 96/24 with no other differences would be very, very minor. 99.9% of recordings will be adulterated in some manner at levels well beyond that difference. Likely more than 90% of systems aren't up to portraying that difference in domestic settings.
 

Fitzcaraldo215

Major Contributor
Joined
Mar 4, 2016
Messages
1,288
Likes
411
I'm old enough to have been through a fair few audio changes, from AM radio to FM to FM stereo. From mono LP to stereo LP to CD via cassette (with a side road of Quadraphonics) In each case, there was a clear quality difference, and (Quadraphonics aside) improvement, obvious even to the Great Unwashed. It didn't need blind listening tests and statistical analysis to detect whether there was an improvement. With Hires, we're still arguing whether there actually is an improvement or not, and if there is one, then it's pretty subtle, and what is it? That to me goes firmly into the 'Who Cares' category, the audio equivalent of Angels dancing on pinheads.

If HiRes wants to capture the mass-market, which is the only thing major record companies care about, it's going to have to find something rather more obvious than subtle discussions about phase linearity or pre-ringing which means absolutely nothing to the music-buying general public. That's why I think the whole HiRes business is a nonsense, of interest only to a few geeks.

S.
I completely agree that there have been major advances in audio over the decades. But, as I have said often, audio is mature and further advances are likely to grow ever smaller, with occasional past exceptions, like digital vs. analog, Mch vs. stereo or DSP EQ. Most all of the biggest problems have been vanquished, so only smaller and subtler problems or refinements remain. I conceded long ago that hirez audio is like that and follows the diminishing returns rule as an evolutionary refinement, not a breakthrough.

I didn't need statistical analysis to tell me so, either. I heard the advantage of hirez for myself, and the science, as I have read it subsequently, supports that there is something there. It is not, as I read the science, just another phony snake oil game. I am not trying to convince you there is a difference, and there is no way I can prove it beyond all possible doubt. If you don't hear it, I respect your right to hold that "who cares" opinion and go in a different direction. But, I do hear it, myself, and I value it, subtle though it may be. Others hear it, too, like me with repeatability.

Counter arguments have as much difficulty totally refuting or negating any claims to improvement as do arguments in favor. And, many counter arguments have been bogus and inept, even supposedly "scientific" ones like the now discredited Meyer-Moran study. But, that is where we are in most things in mature audio today - small, subtle, debatable evolutionary improvements at the fringes of audibility as we understand it. Yes, I know, this also opens the door potentially to the snake oil guys. But, they are fairly easy to spot because they have zero testing or honest science to back up their claims. Meanwhile, if the the prospect of an an improvement from hirez is too small for you or others, I cannot argue. Enjoy your sound as you wish!

No, I don't think hirez "wants to" or will capture the mass market, certainly not in my lifetime. The status quo is often instinctively desireable as part of human nature, even if it is contrary to scientific or other objective evidence. Been there, done that in many fields, not just audio. We hold onto older or more established popular ways, just because fear, uncertainty and doubt about newer ways makes the old more comfortable than evaluating evidence about newer ways, even possible direct evidence to our ears. But, then, I am not a mass market guy and never was. No audiophile and nutty music collector like me is. Until I get audio reproduction indistinguishable from my recollection of live music, imperfect though that may be, I will continue to seek improvement. Big, breakthrough improvement would be good, but I often have to settle for the small improvements technologically possible. Hirez itself is merely for me a small stepping stone in that direction.

Ok, I just saw that some of my points independently echoed those of @Blumlein 88, above. Nice to know some of us are on the same wavelength.
 
Last edited:

Fitzcaraldo215

Major Contributor
Joined
Mar 4, 2016
Messages
1,288
Likes
411
All the big problems in audio solved?! Absolutely! But only if we restrict our definition of audio to electronics.
Yes, of course speakers are always the elephants in the room, the big trouble makers. But, they have also improved dramatically. Toole's latest book gives some insight intothe evolution. I think the Thielle-Small papers on speaker design were a major breakthrough decades ago, but other gradual technological improvements to measurement, materials, etc. have made significant differences gradually, as did Toole's own measurement results from CNRC and Harman. But, there is still a long way to go, and probably still too much reliance on voicing and other amateurish games rather than solid measurement and engineering in some quarters.

In that light, I also, tend to believe that the relatively few leading edge active speakers with active xovers, etc. are more evolutionary and incremental rather than breakthroughs. I am not doubting that they are a potentially very worthwhile sonic improvement, and I am all for them. But, like our hirez discussion in another thread, do they really contribute a slam bang breakthrough sonic improvement noticeable to the average Joe? I doubt it.

DSP is really a sort of separate issue, since it has been around for awhile known as Room EQ, but which is really speaker/room EQ, and it was a major breakthrough. Yes, extending that concept to DSP crossovers with biamping seems an excellent idea, far better than traditional analog crossovers. The only issue is the magnitude of audible improvement - better, yes, but really hugely at breakthrough levels, maybe not.

Oops, I hope I did not stir a hornet's nest.
 

Sal1950

Major Contributor
The Chicago Crusher
Joined
Mar 1, 2016
Messages
3,738
Likes
895
Location
Central Fl
Since the CD as the main platform for digital music distribution is dead, is it time to talk about a new "standard" res?
Bandwidth has pretty much become a non-issue today so do we set a new standard data rate for distribution?

Anyone who says MQA will be banned!o_O
 

Blumlein 88

Major Contributor
Joined
Feb 23, 2016
Messages
3,526
Likes
1,634
I think with the importance of video we should use 48/24 as the new standard rez. More than likely since quality gear uses two clocks one for 44,88,176, 352, 704, 1408, and 2816 sample rates, and another for 48, 96. 192, 384, 768, 1536, and 3072 rates we'll have both available for a long time. At least until digital becomes truly as good as analog whatever rate that requires. :cool:
 

restorer-john

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2018
Messages
308
Likes
226
Location
Gold Coast, Quuensland, Australia
...Bandwidth has pretty much become a non-issue today...
Bandwidth may not be an issue for you, but how about worldwide?

The higher the 'res' the greater the bandwidth required to obtain the music in a reasonable time frame. Nobody I know is achieving anything more than 10-20mb/s on their internet connections around me, be that ADSL/4G/Fibre-copper/hybrid coax etc). I'm using a microwave bouncing off a repeater 16km away line of sight and get 16mb/s at best.

internet speeds.JPG
(from wikipedia)

With the worldwide average supposedly around 7mb/s, anything much above 24/96 (even compressed) is going to be a struggle, with it taking longer to download a song than to listen to it.
 

Blumlein 88

Major Contributor
Joined
Feb 23, 2016
Messages
3,526
Likes
1,634
World wide nothing. Here in the USA, I allegedly get 6 mbps DSL. Usually you'll only get 2.5-3 for some of the day, and more like 1 for early evenings or holidays. I can get 5 mbps after midnight for a few hours.
 

restorer-john

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2018
Messages
308
Likes
226
Location
Gold Coast, Quuensland, Australia
World wide nothing. Here in the USA, I allegedly get 6 mbps DSL. Usually you'll only get 2.5-3 for some of the day, and more like 1 for early evenings or holidays. I can get 5 mbps after midnight for a few hours.
So, if the CD is dead, and music is being distributed via the internet, who's going to buy Hi-Res with download speeds like that?
 

Guermantes

Active Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2018
Messages
141
Likes
76
Location
Brisbane, Australia
So, if the CD is dead, and music is being distributed via the internet, who's going to buy Hi-Res with download speeds like that?
It's still faster than ordering said CDs online and waiting a week to a month for delivery, considering that almost all local music stores have closed (excepting JB HiFi which never has what I want anyway and takes even longer to order in).
 

Blumlein 88

Major Contributor
Joined
Feb 23, 2016
Messages
3,526
Likes
1,634
So, if the CD is dead, and music is being distributed via the internet, who's going to buy Hi-Res with download speeds like that?
I'll have to drive to McDonalds which has okay wifi when they aren't busy and download them.

Actually there is a truck stop closer to me which has really good wifi. Usually 50 meg service. Admittedly not so convenient.
 

Sal1950

Major Contributor
The Chicago Crusher
Joined
Mar 1, 2016
Messages
3,738
Likes
895
Location
Central Fl
So, if the CD is dead, and music is being distributed via the internet, who's going to buy Hi-Res with download speeds like that?
Dang, where you at, on the moon?

OH, your down under,
Come out on top. :)
Screenshot at 2018-07-12 01-41-36.png
 
Top Bottom