Is High-Resolution Audio Irrelevant? - Page 14 - AVS Forum
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post #391 of 640 Old 05-14-2014, 03:38 PM
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What is the number one determinant of sound quality in an audio system?
The recording you are playing, without the slightest doubt. The recording microphones, acous- tical conditions, and engineering decisions at the recording site introduce much greater sonic vari- ability than any hardware component in a half decent playback system. Buy well-recorded CDs. So if SACDs are better recorded they are worth it, I buy Blu Ray from 2L as the recording is spectacular

What is the number two determinant?
The speaker system, again without the slightest doubt. Even the finest loudspeakers ex- hibit small irregularities in frequency response, the smaller the better but always audible. Sig- nificant differences in f3 (bass cutoff frequency), efficiency, power handling, distortion, wave launch geometry, and other characteristics result in easily distinguishable sonic signatures from model to model. This is a subject worth studying.

What is next in importance?
The listening room. So important, in fact, that it is hardly distinguishable from the quality of the speaker system itself. It would probably be more accurate to say that the speakers, the room, and the placement of the speakers within the room constitute a single system second in importance only to the program material.

Finally a well design amp and an OPPO BDP105 is all you need, and remember.


http://my.clevelandclinic.org/head-neck/diseases-conditions/hic-cerumen-impaction-earwax-buildup-and-blockage.aspx
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post #392 of 640 Old 05-14-2014, 03:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wse View Post

What is the number one determinant of sound quality in an audio system?
The recording you are playing, without the slightest doubt. The recording microphones, acous- tical conditions, and engineering decisions at the recording site introduce much greater sonic vari- ability than any hardware component in a half decent playback system. Buy well-recorded CDs. So if SACDs are better recorded they are worth it, I buy Blu Ray from 2L as the recording is spectacular

What is the number two determinant?
The speaker system, again without the slightest doubt. Even the finest loudspeakers ex- hibit small irregularities in frequency response, the smaller the better but always audible. Sig- nificant differences in f3 (bass cutoff frequency), efficiency, power handling, distortion, wave launch geometry, and other characteristics result in easily distinguishable sonic signatures from model to model. This is a subject worth studying.

What is next in importance?
The listening room. So important, in fact, that it is hardly distinguishable from the quality of the speaker system itself. It would probably be more accurate to say that the speakers, the room, and the placement of the speakers within the room constitute a single system second in importance only to the program material.

Finally a well design amp and an OPPO BDP105 is all you need, and remember.


http://my.clevelandclinic.org/head-neck/diseases-conditions/hic-cerumen-impaction-earwax-buildup-and-blockage.aspx
All if which goes to show that the "hires" formats really AREN'T important in determining the sound of recordings. In short, they're irrelevant, as the thread title states.
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post #393 of 640 Old 05-14-2014, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by HockeyoAJB View Post

That said, if your experiment is to replace the musicians with speakers that are also placed behind the curtain, it would indeed be very difficult to produce the exact same sound. But, mostly, this is due to the difficulty of producing a recording of each instrument (without any of the other instruments), so that you can then play back the recording of each instrument from a speaker placed in the same location as that instrument, in order to produce the same acoustic interaction and directionality of the live performance.
Not to mention that the effects of the acoustics, such as reflections, would be doubled. If this comparison was performed in a very acoustically deadened environment, it may have some legitimacy.
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post #394 of 640 Old 05-14-2014, 06:24 PM
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An issue not mentioned is that as levels are reduced, the effective bit depth is effectively reduced. Worst case is at lowest level where 1 bit is used. A sine wave can become a square wave. Obviously that's at a very low level. The low pass filters will help at higher frequencies because the higher frequency distortion products will be filtered out, but less so at lower frequencies. Success of the 'reconstruction' filter depends on using information across many samples, but that decreases as the digital steps become less accurate. Dithering isn't just to extend dynamic range, it also helps to reduce distortion at lower levels. Worrying about dynamic range on the loud end seems less important. In the case of high-res audio with ultrasonic information which may contain frequencies which can create mixing harmonics in the audible range (distortion-product otoacoustic emissions), louder levels may be required to perceive such effects.

I'll agree with others that increasing the bit depth is probably more productive than sample frequency. 48/20 & 48/24 is common in the video industry.
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post #395 of 640 Old 05-14-2014, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by jimshowalter View Post

To the admins, if you go back through the last 8 or so posts, they all have a decidedly mocking tone, gigawatts, sarcastic, ha ha ha, but I believe that's actually counter to the rules of AVS, so could you please do something to return this to a civil discussion, or just kill the thread?
Sorry, but wow. I'm just always amazed when someone who is not the original poster calls on admins to close a thread. If one finds fault with posts, they can flag them. I would say by audio standards, this is a pretty tame discussion. At least it's not tubes vs. solid state ... yet.
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post #396 of 640 Old 05-14-2014, 07:51 PM
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I'm still on a quest to find an HD audio clip and CD audio variant that I can tell the difference. That led me to the AIX records Real-HD site: http://www.realhd-audio.com/?page_id=2

Send Mark an email and he'll send the FTP URL and password to download various HD tracks, along with their spectrographs, to show that they aren't 16/44 "upconverted" to 24/96. I verified the graphs in Audacity and, indeed, some have frequencies peaking around 48kHz. As far as I can tell, these are the real deal!

It is notable that the demos directory includes a "CD vs BD" comparison of "Say You'll Be Mine" by "Ali Isabella". Indeed, there is a massive and easily detectable difference between those two mixes... but yeah, it's because the CD mix is fantastically LOUD!!!!

Okay, so I picked a clip by acoustic guitarist Laurence Juber which the spectrograph showed has consistent peaks of around 48kHz. I then used Audacity to select a representative clip (wide frequency range) of the 24/96 track and exported it. I then used XLD to convert the the track to 16/44. It's worth saying that I could not do any of this in just one tool AND I needed to do multiple conversions to get them both in FLAC, due to limitations of both Audacity and XLD.

The end result is two clips of the same song with the same master, but one has peaks of 48kHz and the other peaks at 22kHz. The spectrograph difference is very visible!

I cannot tell the difference between them, either playing them straight and knowing their provenance or within an ABX tester. Even watching the spectrograph as it plays and concentrating on the "high" parts -- nada.

So I'm uploading those clips and I want to see if anybody can tell the difference. I don't just mean those with golden ears, either -- maybe I did the conversion wrong and there are audible artifacts that I just can't hear. If so, let me know!

Here are the two files:

https://own.grancloud.com/public.php?service=files&t=dd8fd7ec15650e9a83d8700e5c65501a
https://own.grancloud.com/public.php?service=files&t=9cde958269316647e89744c12eb3e4f5

Ignore the security warning (self-signed cert) and use "music" as the password. They are both FLAC files with their encoding in their names. I figured it made little sense to hide their type since finding that out via any player is trivial.
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post #397 of 640 Old 05-15-2014, 04:33 AM
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This is assuming that microphones that exist are picking up sound in more "physically" linear a fashion than our ears are. For earbuds and microphones to be truly realistic when recording/playing-back binaural sound, it will need to be as natural as possible. It's rather difficult to prove linearity. Certainly some microphones sound more 'lifelike' than others. What's the harm in attempting to model the human ear for recording sound? It's worth the experiment I think.

The shape of the ear and the resonance in the ear canal adds colorations. This on top of the ones you get when you do normal listening.
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post #398 of 640 Old 05-15-2014, 04:39 AM
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Originally Posted by TVOD View Post

An issue not mentioned is that as levels are reduced, the effective bit depth is effectively reduced. Worst case is at lowest level where 1 bit is used. A sine wave can become a square wave. Obviously that's at a very low level. The low pass filters will help at higher frequencies because the higher frequency distortion products will be filtered out, but less so at lower frequencies. Success of the 'reconstruction' filter depends on using information across many samples, but that decreases as the digital steps become less accurate. Dithering isn't just to extend dynamic range, it also helps to reduce distortion at lower levels. Worrying about dynamic range on the loud end seems less important. In the case of high-res audio with ultrasonic information which may contain frequencies which can create mixing harmonics in the audible range (distortion-product otoacoustic emissions), louder levels may be required to perceive such effects.

I'll agree with others that increasing the bit depth is probably more productive than sample frequency. 48/20 & 48/24 is common in the video industry.

The signal strength gets reduced and with it the distortions. The noise floor doesn't come up, it's the spl that goes down. If the signal is attenuated so much that only 1 or 2 bits are used the signal level will be so low that you can't hear it anymore unless you crank up the gain so much that you start to hear the noise floor.
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post #399 of 640 Old 05-15-2014, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Frank Derks View Post

The signal strength gets reduced and with it the distortions. The noise floor doesn't come up, it's the spl that goes down. If the signal is attenuated so much that only 1 or 2 bits are used the signal level will be so low that you can't hear it anymore unless you crank up the gain so much that you start to hear the noise floor.
Digital noise floor is a theoretical value based on bit depth. With 16 bits it's 20(log 2^16) = ~96 db. It's essentially noise produced by 1 bit (or +/- 1/2 bit) bobbling. Distortions become a greater percentage of the total audio signal as levels decrease because the PCM uses linear quantification. Aural intensity perception is logarithmic so there is greater sensitivity on lower levels. While it's good that distortions decrease with increased levels, as opposed to other types of distortions which increase with level, it doesn't eliminate their presence. Dithering can add pseudo steps because the LSB bobble now has a high frequency component which is filtered by the low pass filter and gets averaged to in-between levels.
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post #400 of 640 Old 05-15-2014, 11:45 AM
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There is no need to worry about these distortions because the signal level is at such a low level that it doesn't matter anymore.
Proper dither can be considered mandatory these days.

This is a none issue.
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post #401 of 640 Old 05-15-2014, 02:13 PM
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post #402 of 640 Old 05-15-2014, 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Frank Derks View Post

There is no need to worry about these distortions because the signal level is at such a low level that it doesn't matter anymore.
Proper dither can be considered mandatory these days.
Isn't that a contradiction? Or are you stating that dithering is only used to extend the theoretical 96db noise floor? Dither was originally intended to deal with quantisation distortions. It's also used in imaging. If this is to say with dithering the distortions don't matter, then I would say that's probably true.
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This is a none issue.
Well perhaps with Apple with their love for Beats. biggrin.gif
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post #403 of 640 Old 05-15-2014, 04:24 PM
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Noise (non correlated with signal ) and non linear distortion distortions (correlated with signal) are two separate things.

Dither brings the noise floor up. But the quantization error distortion disappears with proper dither. Correlated quantization distortion is turned into harmless uncorrelated white noise.

The point is that with the volume level in normal listening conditions you are not able to hear the digital noise floor.
A signal at -60dB has a higher distortion percentage wise and the level of that distortion is perhaps at -90dB. You will not be able to hear it. It's a non issue.

Just forget about the 'digital steps' it's not how digital actually works.
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post #404 of 640 Old 05-15-2014, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Frank Derks View Post

Dither brings the noise floor up. But the quantization error distortion disappears with proper dither. Correlated quantization distortion is turned into harmless uncorrelated white noise.

The point is that with the volume level in normal listening conditions you are not able to hear the digital noise floor.
The key is the definition of "normal listening conditions", and I would agree that it's likely to be masked in typical casual listening environments. Dither resolves most of this issue and it largely becomes a moot point.
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Just forget about the 'digital steps' it's not how digital actually works.
That's true if the steps remain accurate, which is altered with finite quantization. If that wasn't how digital worked, we also wouldn't have issues with banding (aka contouring) in video. The connect-the-dots charts to show analog recovery assume the dots are perfectly in place. Digital step size is very much of how digital works, otherwise very few bits would be required. Case in point: I think modern popular music with .5db dynamic range is a 2 bit operation.

BTW, I think a possibly bigger offender is jitter. Once introduced into the path, it may not be possible to eliminate. Jitter involves both amplitude and frequency. It is the digital equivalent of analog wow and flutter.
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post #405 of 640 Old 05-15-2014, 06:33 PM
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Imagine 120db peak levels - 90db and the noise is at 30dB in room close to the speaker. Normal listening conditions are likely to be lower.


"I think modern popular music with .5db dynamic range is a 2 bit operation." this is totally wrong it is still a 16 bit operation. And arguably it makes the most use of the resolution as it uses most of the bits most of the time.
Digital audio has nothing to do with connect the dots at all.


Don't compare digital audio with digital video. Video has fewer bits to work with and is compressed. Any dither used when recording the image is lost in the encoding. Dither to limit the banding added after decoding as some players do helps a little but most displays are only able to resolve 6-7 bits.

Jitter can be a problem in some severe cases but usually it is not really a problem. And once introduced in the path it can be eliminated totally. But usually it's attenuated sufficiently to a level where it is harmless.
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post #406 of 640 Old 05-15-2014, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Frank Derks View Post

"I think modern popular music with .5db dynamic range is a 2 bit operation." this is totally wrong it is still a 16 bit operation. And arguably it makes the most use of the resolution as it uses most of the bits most of the time.
That was meant to be tongue-in cheek as a double entendre. Sorry to others who feel that is against AVS rules.
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Digital audio has nothing to do with connect the dots at all.
All sampling and recovery is connect the dots. A perfect sample is one with an infinitely small time aperture, much like a geometric point is infinitely small, and a low pass filter exactly at the Nyquist cutoff at 1/2 the sample frequency and an infinite slope. Obviously neither is achievable, but in audio it gets close. The dots are created with sampling after the input low pass filter (anti-alias), and connected by the low pass output filter (reconstruction) using information from the target and adjacent dots: A multi-tap FIR (more taps for sharper filter).
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Don't compare digital audio with digital video. Video has fewer bits to work with and is compressed.
Digital video starts as uncompressed baseband and is subsequently encoded for recording or distribution. It needs fewer bits because it is gamma corrected as opposed to the linear PCM used for audio. This gamma correction allow the digital steps to be better correlated to visual sensitivity, although other proposals such as Dolby Vision attempt better correlation. Professional video usually uses 10 bits, and if linear PCM was used at least 3 more bits would be required. Dolby Vision attempts to contain a greater range perceptible intensities and can use 12 bits even with its better correlation. Digital audio and video differ in that:

1) audio is dual polarity while video is single (at least on RGB, color difference signals are dual polarity) and

2) audio encoding is linear PCM with constant step sizing while the steps in video are better optimized for visual perception. Video still uses linear PCM conversion, but the video is altered before and after the conversion. On the display side that alteration was a CRT, but now is typically a LUT. As for the limitations of displays, the exponential gamma correction may be weak in the lower bits. On professional displays from baseband video, this is much less of an issue.

Audio is ahead of video in its ability to capture all that can be perceived, but video is improving.
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Jitter can be a problem in some severe cases but usually it is not really a problem. And once introduced in the path it can be eliminated totally. But usually it's attenuated sufficiently to a level where it is harmless.
Jitter can not be eliminated if it's created in the sampling process. The output clock timing can be made stable, but the points of time each sample represents is not accurate. It's cooked in. The degree to which perception of jitter is a problem depends on the amplitude and frequency of the jitter, as well as the source material.
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post #407 of 640 Old 05-16-2014, 04:38 AM
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I haven't read through the thread, but after getting my first taste of it recently, I certainly hope not.

I managed to get my hands on a few samples of songs I like and wow, my ears felt like they had just listened to a new song. I was probably the most cynical over high resolution audio but feel I need more of this in my life. wink.gif

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I haven't read through the thread, but after getting my first taste of it recently, I certainly hope not.

I managed to get my hands on a few samples of songs I like and wow, my ears felt like they had just listened to a new song. I was probably the most cynical over high resolution audio but feel I need more of this in my life. wink.gif

Yep, I don't think that too many people here would disagree that the high-res audio they've heard sounded fantastic. The source of the (multi-hundred post) argument is whether that fantastic-ness is a result of the increased bits and sampling rate OR if it's just a better mastered version.

Hint - it ain't the bits.
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post #409 of 640 Old 05-16-2014, 07:50 AM
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I haven't read through the thread, but after getting my first taste of it recently, I certainly hope not.

I managed to get my hands on a few samples of songs I like and wow, my ears felt like they had just listened to a new song. I was probably the most cynical over high resolution audio but feel I need more of this in my life. wink.gif

 

It seems that there is a benefit to be had from the existence of hi-res music, but it is an indirect benefit.  From what little testing I have done, there is nothing special about a hi-res format that makes it any better than what could be accomplished w/ the 16/44 format on CD's.  I haven't heard a 24/96 or 24/192 recording that sounds any better than the same recording down-sampled to 16/44.  What I have heard is hi-res recordings that sound better than any commercially available CD recording of the same song.  But, this appears to have nothing to do with the format and everything to do with the superior mix/master used for the hi-res version as compared to what was used for the CD.  To me, it seems that the creation of the hi-res audio market is an attempt by the recording studios to produce a new and "better" format for the purpose of making money.  Of course, in order to not be proven as complete frauds, they will invest some of that money into doing a better job in the mixing and mastering of hi-res music, so that it will stand out from your average CD recording.  While they could do the same thing using the CD format, there is less potential to make money going that route.  People are unlikely to repurchase music they already own in CD/MP3 formats unless a new "more capable" format is created (even if those capabilities have no meaningful advantages when it comes to actual audible quality).  It's as if the CD format has had a governor placed on it to artificially reduce its potential, just so they can sell you a new format.

 

That said, I think it's pretty much pointless to fight against the industry on this subject.  Instead, I will use the higher quality of recording work being done to my advantage, while not completely buying in and spending unnecessarily large amounts of money on playback equipment or up-sampled (i.e. fake) hi-res music, beyond the PC and home stereo system I already own.  Since my PC and home stereo system are already capable of playing back hi-res audio, but my portable and car audio systems are not, my plan is the following...

 

1) Before purchasing music, I will compare the short samples they let you listen to on iTunes and various hi-res music sites.  If the quality sounds the same and the iTunes version is cheaper, I will buy the iTunes version.  If the quality sounds the same or better on the hi-res site and the prices are comparable, I'll buy it from the hi-res site.  If the hi-res version sounds convincingly better then I will even pay a premium for it.

 

2) Assuming their is no DRM that prevents me from doing so, for any/all music I purchase in a hi-res format, I will import a copy into my iTunes library.

 

3) I will then compare the two versions to see if I can tell a difference.  So long as I can't detect any differences when played back on my home stereo system, I will not bother buying a new portable player or car stereo system.  I will continue to make use of the convenience of my current iPod Classic, iPod compatible car stereo, and Airplay.

 

4) If, at some point, I discover that there is a noticeable difference in audible quality between the original hi-res format and the down-sampled copy I imported into iTunes then I may consider purchasing a hi-res portable music player and, perhaps eventually, a hi-res car stereo system.  If I had to bet on it, I would guess that this will never happen so long as I am comparing hi-res and CD quality recordings that originated from the same master.

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post #410 of 640 Old 05-16-2014, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by HockeyoAJB View Post

It seems that there is a benefit to be had from the existence of hi-res music, but it is an indirect benefit.  From what little testing I have done, there is nothing special about a hi-res format that makes it any better than what could be accomplished w/ the 16/44 format on CD's.  I haven't heard a 24/96 or 24/192 recording that sounds any better than the same recording down-sampled to 16/44.  What I have heard is hi-res recordings that sound better than any commercially available CD recording of the same song.  But, this appears to have nothing to do with the format and everything to do with the superior mix/master used for the hi-res version as compared to what was used for the CD.  To me, it seems that the creation of the hi-res audio market is an attempt by the recording studios to produce a new and "better" format for the purpose of making money.  Of course, in order to not be proven as complete frauds, they will invest some of that money into doing a better job in the mixing and mastering of hi-res music, so that it will stand out from your average CD recording.  While they could do the same thing using the CD format, there is less potential to make money going that route.  People are unlikely to repurchase music they already own in CD/MP3 formats unless a new "more capable" format is created (even if those capabilities have no meaningful advantages when it comes to actual audible quality).  It's as if the CD format has had a governor placed on it to artificially reduce its potential, just so they can sell you a new format.

That said, I think it's pretty much pointless to fight against the industry on this subject.  Instead, I will use the higher quality of recording work being done to my advantage, while not completely buying in and spending unnecessarily large amounts of money on playback equipment or up-sampled (i.e. fake) hi-res music, beyond the PC and home stereo system I already own.  Since my PC and home stereo system are already capable of playing back hi-res audio, but my portable and car audio systems are not, my plan is the following...

1) Before purchasing music, I will compare the short samples they let you listen to on iTunes and various hi-res music sites.  If the quality sounds the same and the iTunes version is cheaper, I will buy the iTunes version.  If the quality sounds the same or better on the hi-res site and the prices are comparable, I'll buy it from the hi-res site.  If the hi-res version sounds convincingly better then I will even pay a premium for it.

2) Assuming their is no DRM that prevents me from doing so, for any/all music I purchase in a hi-res format, I will import a copy into my iTunes library.

3) I will then compare the two versions to see if I can tell a difference.  So long as I can't detect any differences when played back on my home stereo system, I will not bother buying a new portable player or car stereo system.  I will continue to make use of the convenience of my current iPod Classic, iPod compatible car stereo, and Airplay.

4) If, at some point, I discover that there is a noticeable difference in audible quality between the original hi-res format and the down-sampled copy I imported into iTunes then I may consider purchasing a hi-res portable music player and, perhaps eventually, a hi-res car stereo system.  If I had to bet on it, I would guess that this will never happen so long as I am comparing hi-res and CD quality recordings that originated from the same master.

Don't get me wrong, there's a couple albums I acquired that don't sound any different to the cd versions, but the likes of brothers in arms, and thriller sound pretty epic.

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post #411 of 640 Old 05-16-2014, 01:17 PM
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this appears to have nothing to do with the format and everything to do with the superior mix/master used for the hi-res version as compared to what was used for the CD.  To me, it seems that the creation of the hi-res audio market is an attempt by the recording studios to produce a new and "better" format for the purpose of making money.
I think AVS members may be able to verify that with the hi-res testing in this thread.

Personally I think many people can stay objective in their comparison of quality with the need to hide the sources. In fact, I think for them it can help. We now have audio formats that are so good that improvement beyond them may be meaningless. If so, in my opinion walking back to what is really necessary is a legitimate exercise.

I still have high hopes on the audiophile industry's faith in "one gets what they pay for" that I can still market the ultimate speaker cables. They will use the most expensive exotic materials which are encased in a thermal jacket which allows liquid nitrogen cooling to eliminate thermal noise and come close as possible to super conductors. With these cables one will demonstrate they are beyond merely golden ears, but titanium ears. This does require one's eardrums to be enhanced with specially placed ultra small particles of titanium, a procedure which comes as part of the package. As far as the cost, if one has to ask they can't afford them. Only with these cables can the total truth be known of hi-res vs 44.1/16. I suspect that if some sparkly material can be added to the cable's exterior, it might attract Apple's attention.
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post #412 of 640 Old 05-16-2014, 01:33 PM
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With these cables one will demonstrate they are beyond merely golden ears, but titanium ears.
Nah, that's the cheap stuff. You should be aiming at unobtanium ears.
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post #413 of 640 Old 05-16-2014, 01:46 PM
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... They will use the most expensive exotic materials which are encased in a thermal jacket which allows liquid nitrogen cooling to eliminate thermal noise ...

Perhaps in that cable. How about anything after it? wink.gifbiggrin.gif
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post #414 of 640 Old 05-16-2014, 02:12 PM
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Perhaps in that cable. How about anything after it? wink.gifbiggrin.gif
As the cables themselves are cold, they will absorb much of the performance robbing thermal activity downstream. In other words, one will have really cool speakers.
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post #415 of 640 Old 05-16-2014, 02:43 PM
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Apple coming to High Audio and they bought Dr. Dree!!! WTH   :confused:

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post #416 of 640 Old 05-16-2014, 03:28 PM
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Apple coming to High Audio and they bought Dr. Dree!!! WTH   confused.gif

To my eyes, this is a match made in heaven if ever there was one. They both sell very expensive stuff perceived as "cool".
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post #417 of 640 Old 05-16-2014, 03:38 PM
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As the cables themselves are cold, they will absorb much of the performance robbing thermal activity downstream. In other words, one will have really cool speakers.
Which is just perfect if your speakers happen to be on the warm side.

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post #418 of 640 Old 05-17-2014, 02:54 PM
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Which is just perfect if your speakers happen to be on the warm side.

Lately San Diego has been very warm it looks like my cable warmed up they self ignited wink.gif
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post #419 of 640 Old 05-20-2014, 02:10 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm still on a quest to find an HD audio clip and CD audio variant that I can tell the difference. That led me to the AIX records Real-HD site: http://www.realhd-audio.com/?page_id=2

Send Mark an email and he'll send the FTP URL and password to download various HD tracks, along with their spectrographs, to show that they aren't 16/44 "upconverted" to 24/96. I verified the graphs in Audacity and, indeed, some have frequencies peaking around 48kHz. As far as I can tell, these are the real deal!

It is notable that the demos directory includes a "CD vs BD" comparison of "Say You'll Be Mine" by "Ali Isabella". Indeed, there is a massive and easily detectable difference between those two mixes... but yeah, it's because the CD mix is fantastically LOUD!!!!

Okay, so I picked a clip by acoustic guitarist Laurence Juber which the spectrograph showed has consistent peaks of around 48kHz. I then used Audacity to select a representative clip (wide frequency range) of the 24/96 track and exported it. I then used XLD to convert the the track to 16/44. It's worth saying that I could not do any of this in just one tool AND I needed to do multiple conversions to get them both in FLAC, due to limitations of both Audacity and XLD.

The end result is two clips of the same song with the same master, but one has peaks of 48kHz and the other peaks at 22kHz. The spectrograph difference is very visible!

I cannot tell the difference between them, either playing them straight and knowing their provenance or within an ABX tester. Even watching the spectrograph as it plays and concentrating on the "high" parts -- nada.

So I'm uploading those clips and I want to see if anybody can tell the difference. I don't just mean those with golden ears, either -- maybe I did the conversion wrong and there are audible artifacts that I just can't hear. If so, let me know!

Here are the two files:

https://own.grancloud.com/public.php?service=files&t=dd8fd7ec15650e9a83d8700e5c65501a
https://own.grancloud.com/public.php?service=files&t=9cde958269316647e89744c12eb3e4f5

Ignore the security warning (self-signed cert) and use "music" as the password. They are both FLAC files with their encoding in their names. I figured it made little sense to hide their type since finding that out via any player is trivial.


I like your approach here! One question for you: Are you certain that all components in your audio system can reproduce frequencies above 22 kHz? If any one of them can't (say, the speakers or an AVR with Audyssey room correction enabled), there will be no acoustic difference between the two files when you play them on your system. This is an issue I'm trying to deal with in my proposed test, which you can read about here.


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post #420 of 640 Old 05-20-2014, 05:31 PM
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I like your approach here! One question for you: Are you certain that all components in your audio system can reproduce frequencies above 22 kHz? If any one of them can't (say, the speakers or an AVR with Audyssey room correction enabled), there will be no acoustic difference between the two files when you play them on your system. This is an issue I'm trying to deal with in my proposed test, which you can read about here.
Yes, this is critical indeed. However, just remembered something from published papers, how will anyone participating in the test know if their speaker is reproducing audible IMD caused by some ultrasonic signals and is absent from the down sampled music?
This was discovered by some researchers doing the ultrasonic detection tests.
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