This might be a noob question and if it was answered already, please let me know (I couldn’t find anything).
If one were to buy the favorite albums on Qobuz for a future use with HQ Player and Roon with a DAC like, for example, the Holo Spring 3, what source type would be best? The standard CD quality or one of the Hi-Res formats (96khz / 192khz)?
Leave HQPlayer out of the equation for this. Buy two copies of the same mastering in different resolutions and see if you can hear a difference without using HQPlayer. If you do, then go with the version you think sounds best.
Maybe not sound worse, but I’ve seen plenty of hi-res on Qobuz and Apple Music, that are fake.
i.e. they show bandwidth of CD quality but have been up-sampled to a higher sample rate.
I’m not saying it is audible but in those example, the CD quality is sufficient - HQPlayer will do a better upsampling than the studio (unless they are using HQPlayer Pro version).
The only way you will know is by analyzing.
I did it as an experiment when hi-res really went mainstream (Apple Music) but it is a tiring process to do every week obviously.
After my several weeks of analysis, I now know enough to not automatically trust a hi-res release is real.
I actually brought this to the attention of Jussi and there are some filters in HQPlayer now to (try to) combat fake hi-res
This is not a new issue - fake hires has been seen on HDTracks and Qobuz a long time ago. But as I mentioned, Apple took hi-res mainstream (giving it out for free for existing customers - Amazon copied the same the very next day) recently. So the amount of fakes has increased a lot.
Only way to know is run a spectral analysis. You likely can’t tell by ear. SO then someone would say, if you can’t tell by ear, why worry? Well if you are buying music, often the hi-res copy costs more than the CD quality.
Thank you for this great answer which addresses the doubt that I had.
I think bringing all answers so far together, it can be summarized as: If it is verified that the hi-res resolution stems directly from the master, the hi-res version should be better than the cd version. Otherwise, it might be safer to get the cd version and take care of the signal processing yourself (less likely to get value for money and potentially worse).
That’s the issue, I would mainly be interested in reissued old albums which may or may not have been retransferred / remastered. I guess that when in doubt, save the money and just go with the cd version.
If you’re willing to do the research to find the right master I would not buy from Qobuz. As far as I know, they don’t supply enough info to determine exactly what it is you’re buying.
On the other hand… Qobuz Sublime gives you deep discounts on almost all their high-resolution content making the hi-rez click easy if you don’t care and just want to hope the higher resolution, if available, has that little extra magic.
I’m in the don’t care camp. If I want to buy something I don’t want to start yet another hobby with now having to determine what exact mastering / release I’m trying to buy. This puts me in the corner of the room of people who don’t know what they are missing and I’m good over here
Audiophilestyle has done some nice write-ups comparing releases of iconic albums though.
There was a short time of magic when a few artists took the opportunity to really embrace SACD by going back into the engineering room and seeing what they could do. Brother’s in Arms, DSOTM, Wish you were here, etc. A few of these masterings later became digital downloads.
Wait a few years and people will tell you the best version is the Atmos version. I’m not sure I’m happy with that.
P.S. MP3 spec says that for 128 kbps and lower it may make sense to limit bandwidth to 16 kHz. Many MP3 encoders do this, but not all. This is because higher the frequency, more bitrate it takes to encode it. And if highest frequencies are encoded at lower bitrates they may end up starving the bit alloocator.
It is one of the tracks from Madonna’s Finally Enough Love: 50 Number Ones album. Of course this album is collection of tracks from very old recordings up to the very latest. But many of these are DJ mixes, so while casually listening this while reading the forums, I just ended up spotting this one.
So far most tracks seem to be upsamples from 44.1k.