Is High-Res Music ‘Dead’?

Interesting comment from John @John_Darko

Maybe time to support Qobuz & Tidal, if we want to make sure they’re still there in the future…?


I have a subscription with both Qobuz and Apple Music (through Apple One).

When it comes to value for money. Both cost me 15 Euro per month. But Apple wins here, because those 15 Euro not only gives me access to Apple Music, but also to several other services.

When it comes to sound quality. Qobuz wins so far, because I don’t have fancy audio equipment. I can hear the difference between a Qobuz FLAC based file and an Apple AAC. But I can’t hear a difference between a FLAC and a highres track to be honest.

I’ve paid a yearly sub to Qobuz which expires in June next year. I guess it’ll be a wait and see what the current state of streaming affairs will be by then.

It will also influence my decision to keep a subscription to both Roon and Audirvana.

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“High-Res audio is ‘Dead’”

May be it’s high time?
Don’t you think, that’s enough with this chutzpah?

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I am happy not to belong to that mainstream :wink:


They are not mutually exclusive. FLAC can encode any PCM resolution/bitrate.


Hi-res is a hoax and should be dead for anybody, whether you have a high-end or a low-end system. It’s not dead because the industry keeps manufacturing demand.


Is anyone here saying they actually cannot hear a difference between a 16/44 file and 192/24 file?!?!



Yes, I am.


People that cannot hear the difference between CD quality and 24/192 are lucky. They don’t ever need to buy or track down anything other than CD quality tracks. They may even be ok with lossy formats. But, they should not believe that other people cannot hear the difference just because they can’t.


I too will admit that I’m unable to hear the difference between CD quality and Hi-Res. Now, that may have something to do with my equipment. About three years ago I started listening to music in a serious way again (more time, less work stress). I started out with a 3500 € system, on which I couldn’t detect a difference between 320 mp3 and CD quality; then I bought a 12000 € system (streamer + amplifier + speakers) – there seemed to be a difference; now I’ve upgraded my speakers (to Sonus Faber Olympica Nova III), which means a 20000 + € system – and I can hear a difference between lossy and CD quality, but NOT between CD and Hi-Res. The speakers had the biggest impact (I must say that AAC 256 sounds as good on the Sonus Faber speakers as lossless on my previous ones (KEF R7).
What does this mean? Will I have to upgrade to a 50000 or 60000 € system before I might hear a difference?
I don’t think so. 1) There are no serious tests that would indicate that, apart from very very few people, anyone can actually hear the difference. And how can they hear that difference? Because they pay attention to certain elements and artefacts, but that is not how one should listen to music. It’s like attending a piano recital and waiting for the pianist to play a wrong note. 2) My benchmark is the sound of a live performance – say a string quartet: and depending on the recording, when I listen to the CD or the stream, I truly believe that I am in the concert hall – so it cannot possibly sound better! (that works less well with a symphony, as even the best sound engineer is unable to record the full dynamic range of a live symphonic performance).
I know, lots of people will claim that they can hear a significant difference. Good for you, I say, although at the same time I pity you, as I wonder how with such exquisite hearing you can possibly cope with the auditory molestations of daily life. Your nerves must be shot to pieces. That said, I may just have bad ears, like 98% of people, who can’t hear the difference either.


Anyone can believe what they want. But human physiological capacities are pretty clear on the subject. In my case the tests show that I hear nothing beyond 15 Khz. I know this is only part of the equation, but the other explanations in favor of Hires are very inconclusive. Do a blind test with a playlist including CD, Hires and Lossy files, you will probably be surprised.


I do not believe it has really anything to do with frequency in the higher ranges, I’m 61 I know I don’t have anything above 15k, probably less.
To my ears the higher resolution files have more texture, more fleshed out, hard to truly describe but just more of everything.
It’s something you need to hear but if you can’t hear it I’m not sure how else to explain.

All I know is that I easily hear the difference on a well recorded piece.

If it’s garbage mastering then it makes not a toss of difference really.

Old saying… Garbage in, garbage out.


It doesn’t matter what you believe. Mathematically, higher sampling frequencies are just allowing for a larger bandwidth, nothing else. 44.1 kHz has a bandwidth of 20 kHz, which is plenty. Bit depths higher than 16-bit also don’t help when it comes to dynamic range or quantization noise since noise shaping pushes most of the noise to higher frequencies - over 15 kHz, the ones you can’t hear anymore. Perceived dynamic range can thus be as high as 120 dB, the equivalent of 20 bits un-dithered.

If it’s not a blind test, it’s not valid. Placebo is real.


You don’t really have to be able to actually hear those higher frequency though for them to have an effect on the sq.

But it’s all good, you believe what you wish to and I will do likewise.


Please explain how not hearing something can affect sound quality, which is 100% based on hearing.


Are you being serious?
You truly think just because you cannot hear something it does not have any effects on the sound waves, pressure, air molecules etc.

You do know that all of those have a bearing in what you eventually hear…or perceive you hear.

I’m out as this is pointless.


Very serious. Distant quasars could have an effect on our hearing, but unless that’s actually revealed by practical listening tests, you might as well believe in pixie dust.

Next we will be told that vinyl doesn’t really sound so much better!

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I’ve done the test using track downloaded from the 2L Test Bench, and can easily hear the improvement from MQA to 44.1/16 FLAC, 44.1/14 to 96/24, 96/24 to 192/24, etc. With each step, I got noticeably better transient response and better overall oomph and ambience, along with virtually all aspects of the music. I have also done the same test using the downloads from PS Audio’s Octave Record label with the same outcome. Playing randomly without looking makes it a blind A/B (I used all formats of the track in it’s own unique playlist), and I’m almost always right when I check to see what it is, and if the playing track is higher or lower res that the preceding track.


That’s not valid though. You need to compare each track to a version of itself that went through the 44/16 bottleneck, not to other tracks. Besides, don’t you know already how each track is encoded?