Apologies if this is a dumb question. Assume for a moment a streaming device that accepts only a CD-quality (16 / 44.1) audio signal. Now assume I am trialing two music services -- Deezer, and Amazon. Deezer HiFi maxes out at CD-quality. Amazon maxes out at 24/192. We are talking lossless in all cases.
I assume, then, for a given track, Deezer is sending it to the streamer "natively" in 16 / 44.1, and presumably "bit perfect." Amazon, I assume, has to downsample their superior track to 16 / 44.1 then send it. I assume the downsampling process makes it not technically bit perfect, at least not for the entire chain. Even if I use Qobuz, which has the option to lock playback at CD quality in the settings, I assume it is still downsampling, because presumably the service doesn't have multiple copies of the same file at different sample rates.
Any thoughts on impacts to audio quality between "native" 16 / 44.1 and 16 / 44.1 downsampled from hi res? My inclination is it will be undetectable even on high end gear, as I assume even Deezer's native CD-quality tracks were themselves downsampled from a higher quality master at some point. Granted, that's professional downsampling vs. in-app downsampling, but I can't imagine this making an audible difference. Thoughts? Discussion? (I know, buy a better streamer is a solution, which I may do eventually, but I'm kind of curious regardless).
It is currently common practice for sound engineers to record digital music using high-resolution formats, and then down sample the files to 44.1kHz for commercial release. This study aims at investigating whether listeners can perceive differences
In this study, only 2 out op 16 were able to discriminate between the two above change level.
Fun fact, both participants preferred the 44.1!
There are times I'd prefer the hi rez version. Sometimes a CD has some dynamic range compression (loudness wars). Generally more care is taken in mastering of hi rez releases. When buying from someplace like HD Tracks and now Quboz (you an buy albums there) I usually buy the hi rez version, sometimes it's only a couple of bucks more.
Great info above. You probably cannot hear a difference between them at the end of the day. That said, if it's not a significant cost difference, I'd probably side on the best possible resolution recording available and if it down-samples that's fine and you'll never know probably; but if you could hear the difference, then you have the better version (potentially) so it's less questions and anxiety about it later on.
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