Originally Posted by WayneL
Would an insider confirm that the studios provide audiophile quality movie sound where this would make any difference? Or would it be done just for the sake of doing it?
. With the market dead for high-resolution music where quality matters more than movies to people, you can safely assume that this would be done 90% for marketing and 10% for any real reasons. In a mass market, no movie will sell better because it has 20, 24 or 100 bits of resolution.
I have done extensive tests of 16-bits vs 24-bits on well recorded music. And while I can tell and appreciate the nicer analog quality of 24-bit on my expensive audio system ($15K just for a headphone setup!), I would never be able to convince anyone else around me of the difference and hence, value. It has taken years of audio testing to know what to look for ("quantization noise"). Yet I have also lost my share of double-blind tests in identifying 20-bit signals against 16-bits.
And lest you think people genuinely care about the stuff when setting standards, one of the most contentious votes in DVD Forum was the vote to make DTS-HD-MA/DD TrueHD mandatory in HD DVD. So many companies complained about the extra royalties that I was sure it would not pass. Had it not been because of Disney/Warner getting ready to blow a fuse over it, we would not have lossless audio in either format, let alone high resolution version of it. And oh yeah, BD companies were vocal on this issue too in DVD Forum and they didn't adopt better audio specs until after DVD Forum did so for HD DVD (i.e. put pressure on them to match). After all, the original BD recorders just handled plain old DD coming off air and nothing more.
For those of you who think you can hear the difference above 16-bits, did you know that by just running the video output of your DVD player you stomp on at least 4 bits of resolution? And by leaving the high voltage circuit driving the VL front-panel display, you are destroying more bits, getting your effective resolution to be less than 16-bits (usually down to 12 to 14-bits!). Now you see why it costs so much to experience high-res audio. Preserving those lower bits is very, very hard to do.
This reminds me of the story I always tell when matters of high-resolution audio come up. I was helping the codec team fine tune the WMA encoder years ago. At one point, I insisted that they had regressed in quality when they sent me blind samples to test. The team disagreed but I kept fighting them. To prove their point, they went ahead and gave me two identical files (without telling me) but called them different names. And you know what, I kept thinking the version I liked before still sounded better! Even after they told me the files were identical, I still thought the other version sounded better. Imagine my shock and horror when I did a bit-for-bit comparison, proving they were indeed identical. Armed with this fact, I listened again to both files and by magic, they sounded identical all of a sudden. I haven't told this part of the story before but to figure out why this happened, I tried convincing myself that the other version now sounded better. What is amazing is that despite knowing the files were identical, and that this was a thought exercise, I actually thought the other version sound better! (smoother, etc.). This is the incredible power of suggestion and that we don't always hear what we think we hear.
So I can convince myself to fall sleep on the airplane and proceed to do exactly so
. And this may explain why that above exercise worked for me. But you might have the same ability. Make a copy of one of your music files on your computer and then genuinely try to convince yourself one is better. Then listen to the files. I bet you will be able to hear a difference.
So yes, we will deliver high res audio to you because we know we can market it to you. But among friends, let's not get confused about what the real motivation is...
Finally, please note that that I understand other motivations regarding having higher resolution audio. The "give me what is on the master" comes to mind. And of course, there are those who really can hear the difference (on music, though I am not sure if they would on movies). But to your question, none of this is sufficient motivator to create discs this way.