First a question, then a comment:
Originally Posted by PlanetAVS
Sounds like you are getting HD (CD quality). Which is still better than any other streaming service aside from Tidal/Qobuz/Deezer. Amazon is saying external DACs are not supported on Android right now, to get the UHD content. Check if your AVR has a native Amazon service which you can control with the AVR's app (example, Denon HEOS)
What isn't clear to me yet is how they're handling (or not) bit-perfect playback...
What I know is that with my own FLAC files as well as my streaming subscription to Qobuz, I need to either use Desktop software like Roon, Qobuz's desktop application (not a browser window), or Foobar to make sure I'm outputting via WASAPI or AIOS... or on mobile (Android) I have to use an app like USB Audio Player Pro and configure within settings to output via External DAC... otherwise Windows and Android both will *play* FLAC files (from 16/44.1 to 24/96), but not without first muddling them (for lack of a technical term). To get the 1's and 0's out, unadulterated, for a downstream DAC to D-to-A the original files... is not always easy.
And without using one of those apps/programs and getting bit-perfect output, the results are noticably degraded. When they say Android can support "up to" 24/48, that's clever phrasing, IMO.... Obviously I don't have hands-on run-time with ALL Android devices... but I have/use several. And just relying on something like Plex, which supports playback of these files but (to my knowledge) does not have any way to bypass the native android renderer before output? My NVidia Shield "upsamples" all of my 16/44.1 CD rips and 24/44.1 HiRez files to 16/48 and 24/48, repectively (and does a really poor job at that upsampling). And Roon converts everything to 16/48 when I specify my phone as the endpoint...
I'm not in the Amazon ecosystem. This news has me intrigued... but going and looking at external devices like Echo Dot's and Echo Dot Inputs, etc... it looks like they can only do external output via Analog 3.5mm jack, and don't support USB output?
[Edit/Update] - Amazon Echo Link. still in search of confirmation that it's "bit-perfect", but it certainly *could* be... and at least has a digital output option.
All of these unanswered questions (for me... maybe someone here can shed some light or educate) have me thinking that I can't currenlty "make this work for me" for either my headphone rig or my whole-home-speaker setup...
Originally Posted by mlknez
Ok. Quick education time...
CD redbook quality is 44.1khz/16 bits. The 16 bits represents the dynamic range or the potential difference between the loudest and softest sound in the file. The 44.1khz in sampling theory represents double the highest potential frequency that can be exactly digitized without loss. Thus 22khz or above "human hearing". The ONLY reasons to record music above 44.1khz/16 bits are:
1. Allow additional headroom for filtering, compression, noise correction, etc.
2. Capture as much energy in the room that might come from sounds that we cannot necessarily hear but may be able to sense.
3. Allow for greater range in the quietest to loudest sounds.
Most recordings to date have been done on equipment that could not even come close to these specifications. For example, the Nirvana album cited above was recorded in early 1991 on a Studer 2" tape machine that is almost identical to the one that you will see in my signature below. The microphones, tape and tape machine used in this recording could not produce more that 10 bits of dynamic range and could only capture frequencies below 18khz when freshly calibrated. All you would need to fully play this back would be a file that is 36khz/10bit. Anything above that would be a bigger file padded with zeros.
According to Amazon, if i were to digitize a record that i was playing back from a 1913 Edison player using a $2 plastic Hasbro microphone at 192khz/24bits, that would be called ULTRA HD quality.
I like TRUE High Resolution recordings that are made with high res microphones using Hi Res DACS and saved with 96khz sampling without using low res mixing/mastering plug-ins. There are very few recordings that are true high resolution. You must generally check with the label. Some of these labels are AIX Records, 2L Records, and Naxos.
I would be surprised if the total number of real high resolution recordings that Amazon offers is above 300 even if they label 2 Million of them that way. This is why knowing the provenance of a recording is so important!
Such is the life and struggle of the digital audiophile.
For me, by-far-and-away the #1
reason to buy HiRez 24-bit files is if/when (and they aren't always) the same "mastering". When the CD release has been intentionally mastered to have less dynamic range, so that it and MP3's made from it will sound "better in people's cars"... sometimes the 24-bit version of the album has more dynamics. Software like Roon can scan the file and tell you if it has more dynamic range than the CD or not (assuming you own both). Most (but not all) of the songs on the Fleetwood Mac Greatest Hits CD, ripped losslessly to FLAC, tend to have more dynamic range (as measured by Roon using r128) than the HiRez 24-bit versions I recently purchased of the S/T album and the Rumours album. I recently (within the last 3-4 weeks) bought compies of Green Day's American Idiot (Edition Studio Master's) and Pearl Jam's 10 in 24-bit Hi-Rez, and those versions both sound better to my ears (anecdotally) AND measure better in Roon than previous versions I have.
I am still open to the idea that the 24-bits *can* matter, if only a very very very little bit... to the listening experience. I think there might be more to it than just that it has more TOTAL dynamic range, but that it also moves from minimum to maximum in smaller more nuanced steps... I'm personally pretty skeptical of any value to sampling rates beyond 44.1 and 48 khz... I think that's all nonsense.
I am a big believer in this stuff though. To my ears, the difference between 16/44.1 lossless FLAC and 320 kbps MP3's is noticable/discernible, and contrary to what some will tell you, I can do quite well in a Blind A-B test. Anything that gives you access to that is a good thing, IMO. And having access to and the ability to play back 24 bit HiRez can give you access to some "better recordings" of content, which is also really cool/enjoyable if you're into this sort of thing, as I am...