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[POLL] Hi-res music

Hi-res music?

  • I do pay for hi-res music files and I can discern an improvement over lower rate files

    Votes: 40 15.4%
  • I don't pay for hi-res music files and I can discern an improvement over lower rate files

    Votes: 21 8.1%
  • I do pay for hi-res music files but I can't discern an improvement over lower rate files

    Votes: 83 32.0%
  • I don't pay for hi-res music files but I can't discern an improvement over lower rate files

    Votes: 103 39.8%
  • Dont think I have ever heard a hi-res music file.

    Votes: 12 4.6%

  • Total voters
    259
OP
Jimbob54

Jimbob54

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Was this kind of use approved by JAS, which licenses the Hi-Res audio sticker? I would assume it's abuse, considering the criteria of the mark: at least 96/24 format for digital processes and 40 kHz bandwidth for analog processes.
Couldn't possibly say. Werent at least one of the hi res download sites caught out by this?
 

JEntwistle

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70 % of responders currently saying they don't detect an improvement. So either only the sceptics are answering, people are fibbing o_O, people genuinely can't tell or some mixture of the above.

You will note I didn't state that having undertaken a controlled listening test was a requirement for answering. I would hazard a guess most havent done one. I certainly haven't.

A few people commenting (rightly) that the hi res sticker doesn't mean it isn't just upsampled redbook.

Exactly. There are too many moving pieces when you are talking about the streaming services. Assuming no bandwidth or other delivery issues, the different masterings of albums makes it impossible to do a direct comparison. It's not just whether the file is actually 96/24, but also how the mastering of that particular file was done; which could mean both technical prowess and "likeability" of the new mix. (Not to mention what kind of filtering the user is doing on the end of it.)

I can only see testing whether people hear a difference by using known files with exactly the same mastering, other than the format.

I know you are asking whether people prefer the "hi res" versions of these services to the "standard" versions and are willing to pay for them. The next step of saying whether there really is a discernable difference in resolution/quality/etc is fraught.
 
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Jimbob54

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Exactly. There are too many moving pieces when you are talking about the streaming services. Assuming no bandwidth or other delivery issues, the different masterings of albums makes it impossible to do a direct comparison. It's not just whether the file is actually 96/24, but also how the mastering of that particular file was done; which could mean both technical prowess and "likeability" of the new mix. (Not to mention what kind of filtering the user is doing on the end of it.)

I can only see testing whether people hear a difference by using known files with exactly the same mastering, other than the format.

I know you are asking whether people prefer the "hi res" versions of these services to the "standard" versions and are willing to pay for them. The next step of saying whether there really is a discernable difference in resolution/quality/etc is fraught.
Yup. Agree. And I would guess that if the net was cast wider than ASR, the figures would shift remarkably. Im more interested in how "hi res" the product is perceived by this site than the actual audible differences or lack of.
 

KeithPhantom

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Im more interested in how "hi res" the product is perceived by this site than the actual audible differences or lack of.
The proble is how you are asking the poll questions. Instead of only including interest, you included options for the audibility of Hi-Res. That’s why people are discussing this matter more than the interest in the format.
 

JEntwistle

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Yup. Agree. And I would guess that if the net was cast wider than ASR, the figures would shift remarkably. Im more interested in how "hi res" the product is perceived by this site than the actual audible differences or lack of.

I assume your guess is that there would be much more value assigned to the hi res/premium services?

All this aside, I have come to the view that ultimately what I want is an unadulterated signal. Let me decide on how much I want to enhance/equalize/whatever it, rather than having someone else monkey around with it before it gets to me.

I think this viewpoint is also why I appreciate ASR and Amir's reviews. He sheds light on which devices are closest to delivering just that.
 

taner

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Are you being obtuse on purpose? Resolution is the bit depth and sample rate a PCM file is encoded in.
Engineers are doing things for some purpose. 16/44.1 wasn't Sony and Philips engineers lucky numbers. They decided upon this because they rely on some science. If you rely on same science, you should better describe it rather accusing people like that.

You can explain extra 8 bit depth of 24bits that gives possibility of -144dB dynamic range. But this is also far beyond of audibility limits of human hearing. Another thing is, such a noise level cannot be achieved electronically due to the thermal resistance of electronic circuits. Well, we can say that the 20bits is ok but we should consider other practical benefits.

I won't even put extra sampling rate on table. There is no way to defend it in scientific terms. My only complain is that it should be 48kHz instead of 44.1kHz. In this case I think that 16/48 DVD format is ideal for consuming audio. 16/44.1 is ideal too, but close to the limits.
 
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Thomas savage

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In the main i think we should be happy theres some demand for hirez or whatever you want to call redbook and above .

Finding new and clever ways to make music files smaller while maintaining perceptual integrity is great and all but I'd rather that effort be put into enhancing music playback rather than just not losing ground when you make the file smaller .
 

Atanasi

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As for the poll, I think I haven't paid extra for hi-res files, a few times I got them for the same price as CD quality downloads as an offer.
 
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Freeway

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You may have volume levelling switched on one not the other (I would guess Spotify?)

Yep, Qobuz volume way down, Spotify full up in desktop players.
Qobuz has options for all the different drivers on my PC. That's opens up a whole lot of new (to me) variables. Qobuz likes to hog some drivers so a quick switch to Spotify is not happening.
I do not wish to hijack this topic, so at some point when I have figured this all out as far as I can, I will open a thread with my questions
 
D

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I don't disagree with most of that. I'm not sure how the poll reinforces anything though.

"hi res" as defined here is a "thing"/ a brand/ a marketing concept and it is being bought and sold. The assertion made elsewhere on this site recently was along the lines of "I assume most of the people here can tell the benefits of hi res over redbook". I was interested to find out if that were true.

"hi res" is being bought and sold as "different" audio quality that is often restored/remastered music (including MQA). The resulting albums are often "better". People can definitely hear better processing (modern engineering).
However, this is _not_ because they are sampled at higher bit-depth or frequency.

So here we are. Some people will answer based on (i) their 'remastered' hi res albums sound better, (ii) their 'down-sampled' hi res albums sound the same, or (iii) their few hi res 'recorded' albums compressed and down-sampled sound different.
Hence, the outcome will be skewed towards 'redbook is sufficient' but should not be used to justify it.
 
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OP
Jimbob54

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As for the poll, I think I haven't paid extra for hi-res files, a few times I got them for the same price as CD quality as an offer.

Haha- a split decision. That was the hardest part- determining what "paid for" meant. No simple answer but I went with, if you have handed over cash for a file/ stream that can be listened to as hi-res, youve paid for hi res, like it or not (or indeed use it or not)
 
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Jimbob54

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"hi res" is being bought and sold as "different" audio quality that is often restored/remastered music (including MQA). The resulting albums are often "better". People can definitely hear better masters.
However, this is _not_ because they are sampled at higher bit-depth or frequency.

So here we are. Some people will answer based on (i) their 'remastered' hi res albums sound better, (ii) their 'down-sampled' hi res albums sound the same, or (iii) their few hi res 'recorded' albums compressed and down-sampled sound different.
Hence, the outcome will be skewed towards 'redbook is sufficient' but should not be used to justify it.

I have only one use for the results which is to answer / rebut the assumption that "most of the people here can tell the benefits of hi res over redbook".

I fully recognise this in no way gives us anything towards to question of if hi -res is actually audibly better as that would require far more variables in play, and actual controlled testing. But its pretty clear already what the view of the majority of responders is of "hi-res" the brand/ product.
 

cursive

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I used Tidal for about 3 years, and recently started a trial for Qobuz. Obviously a lot of this content is just 44.1/16bit but there is high res stuff mixed in. As many have stated, differences come down more to the master, or the conversion though, so that's where it gets complicated.

I definitely cannot hear a difference between it and well made .mp3's in a blind test, but to me there's some sort of peace of mind that comes from having high res files, almost like I don't have to worry about it, because I'm getting the best quality streaming that's available, and that's that, whether audible or not. To me the hifi streaming prices are cheap, I mean getting access to thousands and thousands of songs, many of which I would never own or have access to if I was just buying cds, is amazing. I also listen to lots of stuff I would probably never own, and am more open to trying new types of music with streaming services. I remember buying a cd for one song in the past and hating the rest of the album, or buying albums without ever being able to hear them before hand and being disappointed. That was a part of the fun for sure, but also can be frustrating.

Ultimately it would be nice to actually own the music, or have exact info on what master I'm listening to, but I think the benefits of streaming in general, especially high res outweighs all of that. I think where we can make better progress with the streaming services is just providing more info about the actual file, and the process it's been through to get to that point.
 
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Jimbob54

Jimbob54

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I used Tidal for about 3 years, and recently started a trial for Qobuz. Obviously a lot of this content is just 44.1/16bit but there is high res stuff mixed in. As many have stated, differences come down more to the master, or the conversion though, so that's where it gets complicated.

I definitely cannot hear a difference between it and well made .mp3's in a blind test, but to me there's some sort of peace of mind that comes from having high res files, almost like I don't have to worry about it, because I'm getting the best quality streaming that's available, and that's that, whether audible or not. To me the hifi streaming prices are cheap, I mean getting access to thousands and thousands of songs, many of which I would never own or have access to if I was just buying cds, is amazing. I also listen to lots of stuff I would probably never own, and am more open to trying new types of music with streaming services. I remember buying a cd for one song in the past and hating the rest of the album, or buying albums without ever being able to hear them before hand and being disappointed. That was a part of the fun for sure, but also can be frustrating.

Ultimately it would be nice to actually own the music, or have exact info on what master I'm listening to, but I think the benefits of streaming in general, especially high res outweighs all of that. I think where we can make better progress with the streaming services is just providing more info about the actual file, and the process it's been through to get to that point.

Im in pretty much the same place as you. I struggled with one of those online "can you spot the lossless" tests so pretty sure I would struggle to pick hi res out from redbook assuming same master etc. But cant say I have done proper controlled tests. I suspect the market relies on people being lazy or at least not too challenging of the blurb.
 

maverickronin

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:facepalm: A file's resolution is defined by the data in the file itself.

Engineers are doing things for some purpose. 16/44.1 wasn't Sony and Philips engineers lucky numbers. They decided upon this because they rely on some science. If you rely on same science, you should better describe it rather accusing people like that.

It is independent of humans. The math is still true even if there is no one around to acknowledge it.

You can explain extra 8 bit depth of 24bits that gives possibility of -144dB dynamic range. But this is also far beyond of audibility limits of human hearing. Another thing is, such a noise level cannot be achieved electronically due to the thermal resistance of electronic circuits. Well, we can say that the 20bits is ok but we should consider other practical benefits.

It is independent of the laws of physics. Things can be mathematically represented which cannot be reproduced physically.

I won't even put extra sampling rate on table. There is no way to defend it in scientific terms. My only complain is that it should be 48kHz instead of 44.1kHz. In this case I think that 16/48 DVD format is ideal for consuming audio. 16/44.1 is ideal too, but close to the limits.

Deciding what bit depths and sample rates are best for the distribution of music to humans on the planet Earth is an empirical scientific question with results that I actually agree with you on.

What I don't agree with your bizarre definition of resolution which seems to set a maximum at the empirically determined limits of human hearing. The resolution of PCM encoded data is math not science. A 24/96 file is higher resolution than a 16/44 even though most of the data is wasted on ultrasonic noise which is not properly captured by microphones, reproduced by speakers, or heard by human ears. It's pretty much a waste of space, but it's a higher resolution waste of space.
 
D

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I have only one use for the results which is to answer / rebut the assumption that "most of the people here can tell the benefits of hi res over redbook".

And herein lies the problem ;)
 
D

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Enlighten me

Let us assume a good share of people agree that MQA is worse than CD quality, they will answer 'cannot hear a difference' (at best).
This (and all the remastering that becomes hi res) will skew the answers. No?
Yes, 'hi res' is so inflated that even technically inclined people don't understand it - and this may have created the environment that enables stuff like MQA.
 
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