How do I get started with high-res audio - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 24 Old 12-17-2019, 10:09 AM - Thread Starter
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How do I get started with high-res audio

Currently I have an amazon echo hooked up to a Denon X4000 AVR + golden ear triton 2 speakers- the convenience is great "alexa play ... ", but I'd like to try high-res audio
I was thinking of trying out a tidal high res trial , or buy from hdtracks, but I really don't know much about that either
I have a PC next to the AVR , but if possible I'd like something where I can be on the couch (away from PC) and control the high res music
Please spell out what I need to buy/order

thanks for your help

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post #2 of 24 Old 12-17-2019, 10:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cgott42 View Post
Currently I have an amazon echo hooked up to a Denon X4000 AVR - the convenience is great "alexa play ... ", but I'd like to try high-res audio
I was thinking of trying out a tidal high res trial , or buy from hdtracks, but I really don't know much about that either
I have a PC next to the AVR , but if possible I'd like something where I can be on the couch (away from PC) and control the high res music
Please spell out what I need to buy/order

thanks for your help
High res audio takes some special considerations. You definitely want an ultrasonic filter somewhere in the chain otherwise you are actually introducing more distortion to your playback than with normal res audio.

At least with higher sample rates. There is nothing wrong with higher bit-depth, though there is really no need for bit depth over 16 as the dynamic range is already enough for a comfortable dynamic range.

https://people.xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html
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post #3 of 24 Old 12-17-2019, 10:26 AM - Thread Starter
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thanks, when I say "high-res" I mean in a non techincal sense - i.e. how do I get top quality audio listening (lossless, etc) i.e. please spell out what I need to do/bu (keeping my current speakers and AVR)
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post #4 of 24 Old 12-17-2019, 11:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cgott42 View Post
Currently I have an amazon echo hooked up to a Denon X4000 AVR + golden ear triton 2 speakers- the convenience is great "alexa play ... ", but I'd like to try high-res audio
I was thinking of trying out a tidal high res trial , or buy from hdtracks, but I really don't know much about that either
I have a PC next to the AVR , but if possible I'd like something where I can be on the couch (away from PC) and control the high res music
Please spell out what I need to buy/order

thanks for your help
The best way to learn about Hi-Res is to learn what blind tests in peer-reviewed science journals such as the JAES say about it rather than relying on the marketers who have skin in the game:

Audibility of a CD-Standard A/D/A Loop Inserted into High-Resolution Audio Playback - Journal of the Audio Engineering Society
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Last edited by m. zillch; 12-17-2019 at 11:33 AM.
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post #5 of 24 Old 12-17-2019, 11:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cgott42 View Post
thanks, when I say "high-res" I mean in a non techincal sense - i.e. how do I get top quality audio listening (lossless, etc) i.e. please spell out what I need to do/bu (keeping my current speakers and AVR)
You can get High Res audio for sites like HDTracks, store them on a hard drive or server then use the Heos App with the Denon or DLNA to the server for unaltered playback. I access DSD files stored on my server directly from my Denon and it supports the stream no matter the bit depth or resolution. If you want to dip your toes in it, you can search usenet or torrents for 24/192 or DSD files and try them out, experiment then invest in the type of digital collection you want. Last thing you need is to rely on a streaming service, just download what you want and save it accordingly.

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post #6 of 24 Old 12-17-2019, 12:39 PM - Thread Starter
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You can get High Res audio for sites like HDTracks, store them on a hard drive or server then use the Helios App with the Denon or DLNA to the server for unaltered playback. I access DSD files stored on my server directly from my Denon and it supports the stream no matter the bit depth or resolution. If you want to dip your toes in it, you can search usenet or torrents for 24/192 or DSD files and try them out, experiment then invest in the type of digital collection you want. Last thing you need is to rely on a streaming service, just download what you want and save it accordingly.
thanks, is there something (app) that I can use my phone (screen) to select the song (stored on my PC) and have the Denon stream that file from my PC
Also, what is the problem that you mention as far as streaming services (I was thinking of trying Tidal as they advertise good sound quality)
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post #7 of 24 Old 12-17-2019, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by cgott42 View Post
thanks, is there something (app) that I can use my phone (screen) to select the song (stored on my PC) and have the Denon stream that file from my PC
Also, what is the problem that you mention as far as streaming services (I was thinking of trying Tidal as they advertise good sound quality)
The more people support streaming, the more likely and quickly we'll see the demise of physical ownership. I can't condone a process that will one day deny me the right to access my content because some service went out of business or a connection can't be made or some corporate executive decides to flip a switch off somewhere. Do what you will with my opinion. If Tidal offers a free trial, check it out. You want to give them your money to temporarily rent music, that's your choice to.

To your first question, Denon has an app on your app store that will allow you to connect to the receiver and access your shared media once it's been setup on the AVR side.
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post #8 of 24 Old 12-18-2019, 01:16 AM
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Be aware unless you're presented the provenance of the track, even if it's on HDTracks, it can be derived off a cd quality source and you're paying extra dollars for nothing. (High res is the next frontier for audiophools and separating people from their money. So a lot of it is simply faked high res so they could sell you cd quality tracks for 10x the price because it lights up the 192/24 light even though it was 44.1/16).

That said, there are sources which are mastered in high res and kept high res all the way. But you won't find your top 40s on it since high res is a niche thing. Popular high res music is generally fake high res.

If you want an example, Dr. AIX runs RealHD Audio showing things like his, as well as samples from his studio (AIX Records) which is high res all the way. https://www.realhd-audio.com
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post #9 of 24 Old 12-18-2019, 07:04 AM
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m.zilch: I am astounded by the conclusion made in the JAES article, that the perceived improvement of high-resolution discs is due to decisions made by the producers of the CDs to reduce the dynamic range, to accommodate the general public! (read the last paragraph of the article).
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post #10 of 24 Old 12-18-2019, 09:35 AM
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m.zilch: I am astounded by the conclusion made in the JAES article, that the perceived improvement of high-resolution discs is due to decisions made by the producers of the CDs to reduce the dynamic range, to accommodate the general public! (read the last paragraph of the article).
I've read the full article, at the time of its original publication, and there's nothing in it which surprises me. Some of the best recordings I've ever heard were indeed from Hi-res vendors, such as AIX records, but the important point is the improvement was due to excellent recording/production methodology, good microphones, good mic placement, minimal processing, etc.. None of the improvement was due to limitations in the CD format itself (44.1kHz/16-bit).

This horrible "loudness war" thing in lots of pop music is a conscious decision by the record labels to minimize the full dynamic range of what's placed on the CDs and not a limitation of the CD format itself. [This, they believe, improves their profits overall for reasons which I can expand upon if need be.]
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post #11 of 24 Old 12-19-2019, 05:05 PM
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Hi Res audio starts at the original recording. you could have a DSD 512 recording of a poor hand held recorded concert and it would still sound bad.

Getting your system set up to play high Res is best done by external DAC. 90% of all CD's are recorded at 16/44.1. The first CD players up scaled the digital tract 24/192. Most external DAC's will do at least that if not more. USB DAc are plus minus $100 next level is 300-400, then 1000-2000 I personally use a SMSL SU8 retail $250, 0n sale under $200

If you have CD's then you can rip them onto your hard drive. Exact Copy is a typical software program, but there are many others which you can use. Then you can use a player like Audirvana, Plex, or others. When ripping CD's I would recommend FLAC file format predominantly because it allows for better Meda data for you music players display

If your using IPhone music files I would not spend a lot of money as those have been compressed all ready by Apple and it does not get better changing the file format or upscaling again.

If you adventuresome you could get a Raspberry PI4, an Allo Signature One Player, Moode Audio as a software to run the RPI and it plays the music via a browser in your phone or computer, or tablet.

BNC out of the Signature One to the SMSL SU8 DAC then XLR out to a Crown Amp

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post #12 of 24 Old 01-02-2020, 09:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Update:
I downloaded a few free samples and then bought Norah Jones 192Hz FLAC album from HDtracks. I'm able to access it via my Denon App.
In addition, I have a trial Tiday subscription (they have 96Hz files, however they don't allow it via chromecast (or similar).
How do I connect my PC to my AVR to listen to the 96Hz files in good quality?
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post #13 of 24 Old 01-02-2020, 09:13 PM
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Originally Posted by cgott42 View Post
Update:
I downloaded a few free samples and then bought Norah Jones 192Hz FLAC album from HDtracks. I'm able to access it via my Denon App.
In addition, I have a trial Tiday subscription (they have 96Hz files, however they don't allow it via chromecast (or similar).
How do I connect my PC to my AVR to listen to the 96Hz files in good quality?
For high quality sound, setup your Denon HEOS app to play local files from your PC. It can be controlled from your phone

For Tidal, you'll need to learn about MQA in order to take full advantage of their high res content. Bluesound node is the easiest and most cost effective way to listen to full high res Tidal on your AVR. For headphone/2 channel listening from your PC, check out Audioquest Dragonfly. Check out the Tidal thread to learn more.
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post #14 of 24 Old 01-03-2020, 10:52 AM - Thread Starter
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For high quality sound, setup your Denon HEOS app to play local files from your PC. It can be controlled from your phone

For Tidal, you'll need to learn about MQA in order to take full advantage of their high res content. Bluesound node is the easiest and most cost effective way to listen to full high res Tidal on your AVR. For headphone/2 channel listening from your PC, check out Audioquest Dragonfly. Check out the Tidal thread to learn more.
thanks. Bluesound is more than I want to invest (at this point)
Will a simple HDMI cable from my PC to AVR work as well for Tidal MQA (with the given complication that I'll have to make album selections from the PC)?
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post #15 of 24 Old 01-03-2020, 11:26 AM
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thanks. Bluesound is more than I want to invest (at this point)
Will a simple HDMI cable from my PC to AVR work as well for Tidal MQA (with the given complication that I'll have to make album selections from the PC)?
It should work but at the most you'll get first level MQA unfolding on their high res content.
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post #16 of 24 Old 01-04-2020, 06:59 PM - Thread Starter
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It should work but at the most you'll get first level MQA unfolding on their high res content.
Sorry for being newbie - what does "first level MQA unfolding" mean? and how bad is that?
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post #17 of 24 Old 01-04-2020, 07:11 PM
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Sorry for being newbie - what does "first level MQA unfolding" mean? and how bad is that?
MQA files are "folded" when they are encoded (created) and then "unfolded" upon playback. The unfolding occurs in 3 stages, you need a DAC that supports full (all three levels) of unfolding to get the full benefit of the sound quality. First level unfolding still sounds good, just not as good as it is capable of.

https://www.mqa.co.uk/how-it-works
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post #18 of 24 Old 01-12-2020, 08:19 AM
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I use TIDAL streaming from HEOS app to my Denon, works fine and can play MQA, control remotely with your phone, set playlists, etc. I prefer "renting" instead of downloading (although I've never really thought of it as "renting"). I can open the app and play tracks or check out new music in a matter of minutes. Downloading takes some additional time to invest in searching and saving tracks and you kind-of need to know what you are looking for (browsing new music is not as easy). Different people prefer different things, but the convenience of streaming services works for me.
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post #19 of 24 Old 01-12-2020, 09:20 AM
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I use TIDAL streaming from HEOS app to my Denon, works fine and can play MQA, control remotely with your phone, set playlists, etc. I prefer "renting" instead of downloading (although I've never really thought of it as "renting"). I can open the app and play tracks or check out new music in a matter of minutes. Downloading takes some additional time to invest in searching and saving tracks and you kind-of need to know what you are looking for (browsing new music is not as easy). Different people prefer different things, but the convenience of streaming services works for me.
Downloading just means listening offline. You still don't own the content.
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post #20 of 24 Old 01-12-2020, 10:23 AM
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Downloading just means listening offline. You still don't own the content.
But doesn't it stay intact on your hard drive even if you cancel your service? If so, that would effectively be owning it in my book. [I don't have Tidal though so I may not have that correct, re. how it all works.]

Of course one issue with MQA is you are forced to buy MQA decoding in your software or hardware decoder for the rest of your life or the playback of your MQA collection will cease to be optimally decoded. If, say, MQA falls out of fashion in 5 years and your current MQA capable DAC dies so you need a new one, yet they are no longer made, one is up a creek without a paddle except for buying used ones.
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post #21 of 24 Old 01-12-2020, 11:22 AM
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But doesn't it stay intact on your hard drive even if you cancel your service? If so, that would effectively be owning it in my book. [I don't have Tidal though so I may not have that correct, re. how it all works.]

Of course one issue with MQA is you are forced to buy MQA decoding in your software or hardware decoder for the rest of your life or the playback of your MQA collection will cease to be optimally decoded. If, say, MQA falls out of fashion in 5 years and your current MQA capable DAC dies so you need a new one, yet they are no longer made, one is up a creek without a paddle except for buying used ones.
It would be nice if it worked that way but the streaming services (Tidal at least) are smarter than that. Otherwise you could signup for a trial, download a bunch of MQA content for offline listening to last you as long as you wanted to.

The downloads are baked into the app and are not separately accessible as music files to be played. They have to be played using the Tidal app. I was actually able to access my downloads after canceling the service but eventually my access was cutoff .
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post #22 of 24 Old 01-12-2020, 06:57 PM
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Downloading just means listening offline. You still don't own the content.
Not the case. You assumed I meant downloading from a streaming service (TIDAL), but my comment was in response to previous posts that were discussing streaming service versus purchasing/downloading from non-streaming services. Downloading is not just "listening offline" in this context.
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post #23 of 24 Old 01-12-2020, 10:30 PM
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Not the case. You assumed I meant downloading from a streaming service (TIDAL), but my comment was in response to previous posts that were discussing streaming service versus purchasing/downloading from non-streaming services. Downloading is not just "listening offline" in this context.
I misunderstood what you were saying as you started your post talking about Tidal. In any case, it seems that at least some people thought by downloading Tidal for offline use it gave you ownership.
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post #24 of 24 Old 01-12-2020, 10:42 PM
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I have an amazon echo...like to try high-res audio
Well, Amazon recently launched
https://www.amazon.com/music/unlimited/hd so that would seem the simplest high definition for you. Is there HDMI output from that Echo? How does it plug in to your Denon?
As for stuff downloaded to your PC, that's another thing. I'm hardly expert for that, but somehow you will need to get HDMI output so it can go into your Denon. Other inputs like coax and optic can't carry the full high resolution data, only HDMI. You'll also need to figure out how to check that you are actually getting the correct output of the full HD, not some downsampled version.
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