This topic is about mastering. If you wish to debate formats and encodings, please go elsewhere.
I’ve heard some pretty bad (loudness war) 44.1k masterings recently. With Qobuz 24/44.1 streams now available via Roon, I’m trying to get a feel for whether – as I suspect – the 24-bit versions suffer similarly from dynamic range ruination.
Are the 24-bit versions simply the same as the 16-bit versions, but without the final word size reduction from 24 to 16 bits?
I’m interested in your experiences with 24-bit material (HDTracks, Qobuz, etc.) vs. their 16-bit counterparts? Let’s keep this to the 44.1k sample rate for now.
Hey Joel, I think that it varies. I suspect that there is not a lot of “digital upkeep” and the first set of files the service gets is what it stays with; except for specific “white gloved” examples. That is why there are still non-MQA 2L files for sale on HDTracks.
One of the best sources for different masters was actually the old Pono store. They initially had a total data dump and just put everything that existed out there for purchase. For example, the 80s and early 90s Genesis masterings were both available for download alongside the current 07 masters. Eventually, they started getting the data “cleaned up”, but that first year was a treasure trove of unique stuff. And I’m not talking HD. Unique CD stuff.
24bit is just a red herring - the dynamic range of the music, you know the audio that was recorded, of the 24bit version is EXACTLY the same as the 16bit version. This can be very easily verified within Roon, which gives the dynamic range for each album. Just a bigger file. There is one possible advantage to having a 24bit file - when using digital volume control.
Absolutely correct and the dynamic range provided by 16 bits is way more than enough for all recorded music. And yes I do mean ALL. The extra 8 bits are useful for editing and mixing but not needed for the final released version.
And as the OP said we are not talking about the sample rate just the bit depth.