Do you think High res audio is an audible improvement over CD quality sound?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Higlander, Jan 12, 2018.

  1. Higlander

    Higlander Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Florida, Central
    Just curious to see where the consensus falls in the forum.
    If we can truly get enough to vote.
    My vote is "Maybe, not sure"

    PLEASE-No Bickering about it. Just answer is all.
    RickH and ccbarr like this.
  2. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    With the same master, I've never heard anything make me go "WOW! What a difference!"
    ronbow, Dan C, fortherecord and 22 others like this.
  3. Higlander

    Higlander Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Florida, Central
    My uncertainty, is based on mostly lacking the knowledge as to if the master was the same for Certain.
    Night Version likes this.
  4. missan

    missan Forum Resident

    I voted 'not really'; meaning there might be special needs for higher resolution, but the way I normally hear things, no difference really. I use 24/96 for some needle drops, but for most I just use 16/44.
    I will also say when I use 24/96 it´s always for classical acoustical music, normally compressed music I see no point.
  5. enfield

    enfield Forum Resident

    Same master.Same sound.

    The 'Perfect sound forever ' slogan is sometimes used to deride CD (16/44.1)..In my view it justified that slogan..Even after 30 years no one has devise a better format.With regards to sound quality/cost/ease of use.
    Hi-rez has not been proven to be better in blind listening tests.Although even i like the equation of record in 24 bits/Playback in 24 bits .But am not prepared to pay more for it than 16/44.1, because its sounds identical to me..
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
    Ahab, LarryP, Dan C and 17 others like this.
  6. gingerly

    gingerly Forum Resident

    I answered "YES", but want to add that it's not ALL about the resolution of the audio - I also notice that audio sounds much better played back from a computer/DAC rather than a transport/disc/DAC.
    bleachershane and Mr. Explorer like this.
  7. enfield

    enfield Forum Resident

    Its rarely about the resolution.Its mostly about the recording/mastering.

    For me a CD played in a good transport has the edge over PC/DAC..But it all depends on individual equipment you are comparing i suppose.
  8. gingerly

    gingerly Forum Resident

    As an audio engineer, I have experimented with different resolutions on a number of different 1/4 and 1/2 tape program materials, and found that higher resolution audio commonly results in longer cleaner reverb tails, and greater intelligibility and detail in the upper frequency ranges - provided the ORIGINAL recording has captured those qualities. Mastering is obviously an important factor - but there is plenty of difference between two files of different resolutions where the EQ and compression are untouched and the material itself has the information to demonstrate the difference.

    Computer playback through a decent external DAC eliminates a number of pressure points in the disk playback chain. Playing back a bit-perfect digital file from buffered RAM alone makes a massive difference VS disk playback, in my experience, regardless of the equipment.

    To each his own. :)
  9. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    I'm pleasantly surprised at the levelheaded objective nuanced opinions so far. Thumbs up!
    Manimal, 100423, Higlander and 6 others like this.
  10. missan

    missan Forum Resident

    Anybody has the guts to vote 'impossible'?
  11. enfield

    enfield Forum Resident

    Quoted from a previous discussion

    'It’s mainly due to the CD player having a cleaner circuit and better power supply. Computers are bad music transports due to all the noise they generate. If you introduce a USB (or SPDIF if that’s what you use) conditioner such as the UpTone Regen, Schiit Wyrd / Eittr, etc, there’ll be an improvement. To really take the computer to the next level you need to do a number of things like filter/isolate SSD/HDD power, replace the switching power supply with linear, etc. Using a gaming motherboard that features clean USB outputs would help a lot just by itself (some MSI models from 2014, current Gigabytes that have "USB DAC-UP").'
  12. Claude Benshaul

    Claude Benshaul Forum Resident

    This poll just made me realize that I a suck terribly at being an audiophile. Sadly, I've been known to even indulge in the occasional MP3 and later tried to justify the act by claiming I loved the music and got too engaged in the piece to notice how terrible the format was.

    Honestly, I don't think that you can polish away the imperfections of a CD record by just releasing it with as HiRes. I've heard more differences, some good some bad, by just switching headphones or moving from one place to another on the couch.
  13. steviej

    steviej Active Member

    Calgary, AB
    I can't say that I have many examples of proper recordings to A/B between 16/44 and 24/96 or whatever, so in the cases of the few Hi-Res releases I own (Neil Young, Tom Petty, etc.) it likely comes down to mastering.

    However, I will say that as a musician and hobbyist home-recorder, I notice a huge difference when listening to my own multitrack files when recorded in hi-res. So while I'm not certain that bouncing down to a 2 track stereo file makes a HUGE difference in 16 or 24 bits (I like to think it does), recording each individual track in 24/96 makes an incredible improvement on depth and sound staging. Everything just fits better in 24 bits.
    Mr. Explorer and luckyno13 like this.
  14. c-eling

    c-eling Forum Resident

    I went mastering. Unfortunately for my tastes many of today's are modern mastered with overused compression. I'll take the old 16/44 anyday compared to some of these monstrosities.
    However, even though the peaks for example Enya's 2015 Dark Sky Island (24-96) are near identical to my compact disc I could detect more 'distortion' or possible clipping from the 16/44.
    The 24/96 gave a smoother presentation.
    Both were being played back through the same digital to analog converter.
    There are so many variables at play...
    angelo73, lance b, FVDnz and 3 others like this.
  15. Hermetech Mastering

    Hermetech Mastering Well-Known Member

    Paris, France
    There are SOOOOO many variables, I chose "maybe". "It depends" would have been a better answer for me.
    100423, Plan9, scobb and 6 others like this.
  16. Tony Plachy

    Tony Plachy Forum Resident

    Pleasantville, NY
    I do not want to be mean, but boy, do you have a lot to learn about this forum! :rolleyes: (I guess since you have here only a few months that is to be expected). You start a poll that is bound to be controversial and you want "No Bickering"! :biglaugh:

    I answered "Far better". I have posted this many times on this forum, here is an abbreviated version:

    Over a decade ago I used my then brand new play toy, a TASCAM DV-RA1000HD hi-rez digital recorder, to make a series of needle drops. The source was an Eric Clapton record that I was sure was sourced from analog tape. I made a redbook, a 24/96, a 24/192. and a DSD needle drops (ND's) of just one track on the album. All the ND’s were clean with no ticks or pops and I made sure that the recordings started after the actual needle drop. All of the recordings were made on the same system, on the same day and all recordings and playback were at the same volume settings. To my then much younger ears the differences were jaw dropping to me. While I had heard CD’s that sounded nothing like vinyl before what amazed me was how much better sounding and closer to the source the 24/96 was compared to the redbook. Collecting about three times more data makes such a huge difference. As you may have guessed the 24/192 sounded even better and when I got to the DSD ND something wonderful happened. It was really, really hard ( almost impossible) to tell the vinyl from the DSD ND.
    Gardo, LarryP, EdogawaRampo and 15 others like this.
  17. Joe Laviguer

    Joe Laviguer Forum Resident

    Maryland, USA
    I'm going with the cop-out answer of "it depends"

    too many variables
    eric777 and Hermetech Mastering like this.
  18. russk

    russk Forum Resident

    Syracuse NY
    Pretty much agree with this. Got into computer audio for a bit. Found that your DACs implementation of the various inputs mattered the most as long as you have a decent transport and a quiet computer. For instance the digital and coax inputs on my Rega DACr sounded better than it's USB input and my dead quiet Surface Pro 3 gave glitch free performance with no audible fan noise vs an old Leveno Laptop I had.

    So many variables involved. If we are referring to HD Tracks I have the sneaking suspicion that most of there stuff is just upsampled and lots of it is more brickwalled than some of the Redbook CDs that are available. So like everything in this hobby it all depends on the mastering. All things being equal I voted "yes a bit better"
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
  19. ralf11

    ralf11 Active Member

    The Reiss et al. meta-analysis shows that it is better. As to whether it allows more headroom for the rec. eng., needs less fill-in due to bit depth, captures transients better due to higher freq. limit, etc. etc. I dunno.

    The issue of whether other factors can be more important is a different one.
    Mr. Explorer likes this.
  20. Higlander

    Higlander Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Florida, Central
    I wonder why others have had great results using 16/44.1 doing rips of vinyl?
    Chooke and Mr. Explorer like this.
  21. Dave

    Dave Esoteric Audio Research Specialist™

    Greater Vancouver
    ;) You need to come out to the left ghost for a visit.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
  22. BSC

    BSC Forum Resident

    Glasgow, Scotland
    I've been thinking along the same lines over the MQA any format really the definitive solution?

    It's clearly not and I collect SACD to an extent and Blu Ray Audio and will download hi-res.

    I think I have a good system but I do think I could showcase it pretty with plain old CD's.

    The other aspect is as time passes I'm getting bored trying to hear the differences-I think I stated on here I would come back to someone on the differences if any on Amused To Death...SACD vs Blu Ray Audio....I really enjoyed listening to the Blu Ray thought it sounded special put in the SACD and was puzzled/confused/disappointed...found the problem it's mastered a fair bit quieter.....I'll go back and check it out again..some time.

    The other issue is often you are effectively listening to a "new" version however on my set up either via mistakes or planning I can get the sampling rate a lot lower on the same recording-my Sony can and will output a 192 at 44.1 I'm not sure you can hear the difference.

    I think you should enjoy your music however you pursue this hobby and enjoy your system whatever level you are at.
  23. LeeS

    LeeS Roll Tape!

    I do professional classical recordings, mostly string ensembles but some orchestral. If you record strings, hirez is needed to get the sweet tone of a violin. I have never heard that duplicated in 16/44, even using the best converters. I also find the soundstage recreation to be wider/deeper in hirez and instrument separation to be better.

    I voted "far better."
    Gardo, dachada, formu_la and 11 others like this.
  24. enfield

    enfield Forum Resident

    Is this really happening or are we imagining an improvement because we think and presume there should be? Suggestion is a strong force. The fact remains that no A/B blind listening test has ever proved that people can differentiate between a 16/44.1 and hi-rez version of the same mastering.
    Two members who record music themselves (Be it a needle drop or live performance) are certain there is a BIG improvement..Would love someone to record the exact same piece of music in both 16/44.1 and 24/192 bit and then put them on here for a blind listening comparison.
  25. Vinny123

    Vinny123 New Member

    For whatever it’s worth, with whatever variables, I find, in general, my well recorded/mastered/ mixed SACDs, Blu-rays/ DVDAs do sound better to me than the same recording on CD. That’s not to say that I don’t have some (few) great sounding CDs, but they are few and far between, and generally they are not rock or pop.
    Gardo, LeeS, Mr_Vinyl and 4 others like this.

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