24/192 Music Downloads ...and why they make no sense

Hi, a very interesting article about distributing music in 24-bit/192kHz.
It might have been published here before, it is a very informative web page.
My conclusion is to stick to 16/44.1 for my age 62, that is probably the best choice.

https://people.xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html

Cheers, Jan.

Onkyo P3000R
Edge A2-300
Auralic Auris Mini
Quad Z4

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First of all, welcome!

It’s been posted here before several times. It is interesting, but FWIW, I think that it’s a poor article which disguises pseudo-science, misunderstanding, and out-of-date facts with lots of “convincing” charts. I’m not going to go into the details as I’d have to re-read the whole article again to debunk it. (I’ve posted about it before somewhere, but can’t remember where.)

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Thanks Joel,

Well then I won’t take this web page to serious, sorry for posting it again.

I forgot to mention I changed from core on my Mac mini to a NUC8i7.
A very happy Roon user and instead of complaining I took action and installed Rock!

Cheers Jan.

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Hi Jan. I am 66 and I can hear a difference between 16/44 and hi-res content. Would you be willing to concede that it could be system dependent? Many people on this site have invested big bucks on streamers, DACs and other high end equipment. Could it be that their systems allow them to hear deeper into the music than a more modest system might?

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Hi John, true, my system is for sure not the most advanced set-up.
However it is so much better with the Auralic dac and the Quad Z4 speakers.
I will do a listening session with Chopin nocturnes, I have a nice piano music collection. I also listen a lot to more heavy music (Rammstein e.g.) and that makes not much of a difference :wink:

Cheers Jan

No need to apologize at all! It’s freely available on the net and, unfortunately, it looks the part! I imagine that others will disagree with me.

Part of the problem was a very influential and now discredited paper (reference below) which claimed essentially that any supposed benefits of HiRes audio were inaudible. IIRC, they used a system which did not possess suitable transparency to demonstrate the differences…

E. B. Meyer and D. R Moran. Audibility of a CD-standard A/D/A loop inserted into high- resolution audio playback. Journal of the Audio Engineering Society, 55:775–779, 2007

Wow I just had a look what hardware they did the testing with, no wonder they didn’t hear the difference…

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Indeed old hardware, top of the bill in that period.

https://html2-f.scribdassets.com/5vj2013j285ohwsn/images/3-747c1939bf.jpg

Imho, the article is total BS. And mostly opinion. I bet this guy has never done critical listening on a hi end, high resolution system

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I think some (or a lot) of this is going to be subject-dependent. I tend to pick up things like space in the room and imaging, where others would describe what they hear differently (frequency response components, or impact)
Its interesting to note that expert wine tasters will describe the same wine in quite different ways. I’ve found a person (James Suckling) who seems to ‘taste the way I taste’ so I weight his opinions higher than others. Recognize that we have millions of different taste and odor receptors that interact with the specific components in wine. The distribution of these receptors will be different in each person. So for a given wine you may have a lot more interactions of one type than another person, just because you have more of those receptors. And even if the receptors were the same, our brains will process all the incoming nerve inputs in different ways. Some of this can be trained, but some of it is just how you’re born.
I’d imagine hearing is quite analogous. So for all the claims people make about what works and what doesn’t (and why), how you are going to experience it will be somewhat unique to you.

What has that got to do with the xiph article?

I’m 68, my hearing is great up to 12.4kHz, and I can hear improvement in each increase in resolution up to DSD256. People so often stress the high frequencies, but 99% of music is under 6kHz, and I can hear perfectly an octave above that, so differences are easy for me to discern. For me, each increase in resolution improves noticeably the transients and decays, and the ambience of the music. Things like imaging have minor improvements too. I’m so glad we can still hear the differences, although my bank account doesn’t.

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Another problem is often the tests are conducted with people who are not critical listeners, and have not learned how to listen, nor what to listen for. Many tests have been done with critical listeners, including some with reviewers like John Atkinson, Larry Archibald, etc., and in these tests, the listeners were correct something like 70-75% of the time.

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My hearing is certainly not the best, but I agree that HiRes formats have something to offer over regular 16/44. The problem I have is that with downloads in particular, a HiRes album is likely to be massively overpriced compared to its 16/44 equivalent for an improvement that is often small or non-existent, and is probably more dependent on the quality of the (re)mastering than the format.
How this pans out now that HiRes streaming subscriptions are starting to emerge, only time will tell, but I’m cautiously optimistic that they may be worth an extra few quid a month.

I mean, this has already gone wildly off topic. What or where is the rebuttal of the xiph article?

What new insights do we have about
a) the human auditory system?
b) the poor ultra-HF performance of most hi-fi equipment which could cause hi-res recording to measure differently (and sound subjectively worse), never mind be inaudible?

because otherwise this is just the same old entrenched he says she says opinions available in a hundred other threads.

How convenient.

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Classic. :drum::drum::drum:

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I’ve learned not to care too much on subjects like these. So, I’m probably silly for even writing here… :slight_smile:

But I do want to point out, that @browellm is making a very fair point here.

In a nutshell, this article claims :

  1. There are no technical benefits for very high sampling rates, if we consider sound processing by humans;
  2. Listening panels have not been able to hear such benefits, or differences at all with redbook audio;
  3. Most importartly : in real life applications, very high sample rates actually can have a detrimental effect on audio. Which might not be audible, but certainly IS measurable.

Now, people can say ‘No. I can prove that point 2 is untrue’. Which is the case here.
Even if you do prove that, you have only proven ‘point 3’: an effect that is actually detrimental can be proven to be heard.

This is the point that browell was trying to make. And yes, that effect (=additional intermodulation products) is very real and quite easily measured.

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I forgot to include one very important point. I assume that people think that folks like me object to hi-res at all. I think it’s important to know, that this is not the case at all:

I am NOT against high sampling rates in principle. I don’t believe that anyone is…but if so, I’m willing to call that person an idiot ;-).
Makes no sense to try and stop improvements. Even when my own hearing was not able to ‘resolve’ such an improvement. The file itself will be capturing a more accurate version of reality. Cannot argue with that, and have no reason to do so.

But I DO have my strong doubts, about using high sampling rates in the current state of technology. And that includes the highest-end ones.
That means : when using amplifiers and loudspeakers that behave in a non-linear fashion, and in which those nonlinearities grow stronger when you go up in frequency.
In practice, that is each and every component that you can currently buy.

(For a non-technical reader, the above paragraph meant to say : current amplifier and loudspeakers cannot handle the additional high frequency properly. Perhaps they can’t play them, perhaps they can. But in all cases, they will generate additional rubbish by themselves. Which is easily avoided, by simply not recording so high up in the first place…)

As it stands now, high sampling rates are not only a solution to a problem that hasn’t been proven to exist.
It goes beyond that: it in fact makes matters worse.

This is very different from high bitDEPTHS (24bit, etc). Those have no negatives. I don’t need them for audio playback, but I welcome them without reservation.

If it was within my power to stop the hi-res hype, I would. But I know, unfortunately, that I have to accept that I can’t :slight_smile: .
Fortunately, there is an easy solution. Just roll off the highs above 20Khz-ish, so you are sure that no avoidable intermodulation is generated in your analogue audio chain.

Number 3 has not been shown by anything I have ever read, or heard. But I have read and heard a lot that contradicts point 3.

The electronics have been able to handle high frequencies. Forty some years ago, I was into CD4 discreet four channel records, and numerous phono cartridges went up to 60kHz in frequency. But, remember, those high frequencies get filtered out before the analog signal goes onto a preamp or power amp.