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

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Higlander, Jan 12, 2018 at 12:19 PM.

  1. Jim Walker

    Jim Walker Well-Known Member

    southeast porttown
    A 24/96 file burned to dvd sounds better through my system than
    the same file played through my computer, simply because of shorter distance/cleaner circuitry for the most part. What I do find on
    a consistent basis for the hi res is that the dynamic range is almost
    always better than a redbook digital format. With that being said,
    and with my particular audio gear, a worthy remaster (and many
    other cds re-done or not) will almost always sound more pleasing
    to my ears overall when it is played straight through my cd player,
    flatter dynamic range or not. I do not have young bunny ears anymore.

    My newer environment will not permit me to crank it like I used to, and
    do I miss that. In the days when I did crank the hi res music up
    (of any format), they sounded awfully good and maybe that is what
    I'm missing. The first time I heard a 24-96 of Dark Side of the Moon
    in my dvd player, it was the best sounding yet (of many DSOTM formats),
    but it was cranked up in volume. The best that is, with the exception of
    virgin vinyl.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018 at 12:12 AM
    Mr. Explorer and angelo73 like this.
  2. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

    Okay, so, I went to Olive Garden tonight. I ordered a bowl of spaghetti with meat sauce...with the sauce on the side. My wife ordered a larger bowl of spaghetti with marinara...with the sauce on the side.

    When both came, we took turns tasting our own, and then, each other's pasta.

    Well, what do you know! BOTH spaghetti's tasted exactly the same! Even though her bowl was larger! Even though hers had been served with marinara on the side, and mine with bolognese on the side; but the pastas, you just couldn't tell the difference between the two! :eek:

    I guess this is tantamount of proving there is absolutely no difference between hi-res or redbook recordings, huh.
  3. If you can't tell the difference between an audiophile SACD/DVD-A/Blu-ray and an average CD, you either need a new sound system or your hearing checked.

    What is true is that some recordings can never sound better than CD quality.
  4. Channel Z

    Channel Z Forum Resident

    Said by a guy that doesn't list his sound system he listens to.
  5. missan

    missan Forum Resident

    Maybe we can agree the differences lie more in the subjective domain than anywhere else.
    angelo73 and Lewisboogie like this.
  6. I hear an improvement with high-res over CD. But it depends on the recording. Some recordings have what it takes to demonstrate that difference, and some just don't. If the recording doesn't have what it takes then the high-res and CD version will have no noticeable difference to me. Many of the recordings that don't demonstrate a difference tend to be rock or pop recordings. Many of the recordings that do demonstrate a difference tend to be classical recordings and similar style recordings. If all you listen to is rock then you may think that high-res and CD don't have any difference.
  7. oxenholme

    oxenholme High Quality Posts™ a speciality

    Very interesting.

    I posted elsewhere asking whether the computer itself actually made a difference. Happen I misinterpreted the replies, but I got the impression that the computer seemingly didn't make a difference. I asked specifically about power supplies.
  8. Bobby Morrow

    Bobby Morrow Forum Resident

    Yes, but only if the mastering is good. I have some CDs that sound better than their SACD equivalents simply because the latter are too loud.
    IanL, Dave and enfield like this.
  9. eric777

    eric777 Forum Resident

    I voted "yes a bit better". I have been getting a lot of 24 bit albums lately and I have noticed differences. The biggest difference I have noticed is that the SQ seems to have more headroom. Even on files that are extremely compressed I have noticed slightly less distortion and a more "open" sound when compared to the 16 bit versions. I have made 16 bit flac files and compared them to the 24 bit version and this is the conclusion I have come to. I will admit that the differences are not overwhelming but they are there nonetheless.

    One of the most interesting things I have noticed is that (at least for me) sample rate makes very little difference at all. When comparing a 48/24 to a 96/24 I don't notice anything. The difference to my ears seems to be between the 24 bit and the 16 bit. Maybe if I had better equipment or better hearing my opinion would change.
    Mr. Explorer likes this.
  10. angelo73

    angelo73 Well-Known Member

    Michigan USA

    In your question, who is "we" ?
    ( rhetorical )

    The assertion is that I only know what I hear, and the clinical test is inapposite.

    In your statement, which people ?
    (again, rhetorical)
    same assertion, same conclusion.

    I'm not challenging, nor am I debating the premise or position of your comment.
  11. captone

    captone Well-Known Member

    BC, Canada
    When done properly, higher sample rates of the same source material sounds better but as many others have stated there are so many variables and unfortunately there are often things that get messed up along the way. Recently I sat in on a session where 1/2" 2 track masters were transferred to digital (this was an artist I recorded who wanted to mix to analog tape). They wanted a separate digital capture at 44.1kHz as well as a high rez at 88.2kHz. This was done at a reputable studio with a great sounding Studer A80, top notch converters, etc...I was surprised that the 88.2 capture didn't sound any better than the 44.1 but it turns out that they had their system clocked to 44.1 even though it was an 88.2kHz recording. In other words every second sample was identical, yielding what was in effect a 44.1 sample rate with twice the data that is technically an 88.2kHz file. I have seen other critical errors like this before which is why I state "when done properly"
    Mr. Explorer and angelo73 like this.
  12. Thievius

    Thievius Forum Resident

    Rarely. Personally I think Hi res audio is largely snake oil.
    basie-fan likes this.
  13. HotelYorba101

    HotelYorba101 Forum Resident

    Personally I do agree that there is a lot of hi-rez snake oil going on when it comes to the perceived difference between CD quality and hi-rez.
    basie-fan likes this.
  14. Chooke

    Chooke Forum Resident

    Perth, Australia
    Wow 40% agree that any difference can only be due to the mastering, I expected more to be taken in by the woo instead.

    Apart from mastering choices and to a smaller extent some DACs performing better at a particular bit rate, placebo and expectation biases is of course all it can and what over 30 years of controlled tests have confirmed.

    Radio likes this.
  15. enfield

    enfield Forum Resident

    We as in 'you' and 'i' and everyone else.Suggestion and ingrained bias can fool all our perceptions..When i suggested on this forum that i could hear a difference between wav and flac.And that somehow the process of compressing and then expanding the file (in a way that has been unproven or that we fail you yet understand) made flac sound slightly less open and airy than wav.I was shot down.Impossible! Its the same data.0 and 1's.They sound identical,end of! Its your bias and perception that is making you believe that! No Blind listening test has ever proved that! etc etc.
    Now some of these same people are saying that Hi-rez sounds far better,even though some of the same arguments above could be leveled at their assumptions.16/44.1 is a high quality format that covers the complete frequency spectrum far advance of what our ears can hear.Its doesn't make sense that a higher rez sounds better or different.Its the same data.That's not to say it doesn't.It just does not make sense scientifically.Just as my preference for wav over flac doesn't.
    Dave and angelo73 like this.
  16. Veovis

    Veovis Active Member

    I voted "not sure". So hard to compare when you don't know for sure that everything else apart from the bit depth/resolution is the same. And even then you have to take into account that a hi-res version of an album recorded and mastered at, for example, 24/96 may sound better than a downsampled version simply because the downsampling (and dithering?) to 16/44.1 may in itself harm SQ. So to really compare maybe we need two identical transfers of an analog source, one in 16/44 and one in hi-res, on which you perform exactly the same mastering moves. And even then the mastering moves may "sound" different because of the difference in especially the bit depth of the transfer.

    Also, most people seem to be sure that a higher sample rate is always better. I'm not so sure. On some equipment at least high frequency "noise" may harm SQ and even the equipment. And larger files mean more work for hard drives, network etc.
  17. angelo73

    angelo73 Well-Known Member

    Michigan USA
    Interesting comment, enfield, you make a number of relevant points, though I'm afraid you may have missed my point;
    I understand the point about confirmation bias, I was simply using the rhetorical point to address practicality, not the validity of the standard.
  18. Tony Plachy

    Tony Plachy Forum Resident

    Pleasantville, NY
    Yes, There is a lot of that going on for both sides, please see below.

    Says the guy who restricts his profile

    Folks, we can all say pretty much anything we want in our posts, but if you expect me and I hope some of the other posters in this thread to take your post seriously when you offer opinions such as "you must be deaf if you cannot hear the difference" or "it is all just snake oil" you have to back them up with something of relevance. I know the OP said just vote and no bickering, but clearly, the thread has moved beyond that.
    IanL, Dave, Sneaky Pete and 2 others like this.
  19. TStewart422

    TStewart422 Well-Known Member

    Nashville, TN
    Nope. It just happens that most of the masterings done by hi-res companies are better than contemporary ones (although lately, I've been using Spotify because of convenience).
  20. Tony Plachy

    Tony Plachy Forum Resident

    Pleasantville, NY
    There have been several mentions that testing has shown no difference between redbook and hi-rez. I want to see links to these test. As a retired Ph.D. physicist ( I was an experimentalist so I built a lot of experiments, collected and analyzed a lot of data) I can tell you that design of experiments (i.e. test) is not easy, you can get misleading results if the experiment is poorly designed and that engineers and scientist make mistakes in analyzing data more often than you would think they do.
  21. sangfreud

    sangfreud Member

    that word "audible" in the question is the sticking point. i'm not sure everyone "hears" a difference (people who are trained can hear it). i think most people, though, "perceive" a difference. in either case, the difference is real.

    16/44.1 requires sharp filters to be built to keep bad stuff out of the audible spectrum. the sharpness of the filters causes ringing, which introduces a slight temporal distortion into the the audible spectrum which the brain does not like. in a very microscopic way, it forces the brain to hear a sound before it actually happens. (think, like, that vocal effect toward the end of 'whole lotta love': "way down inside..." but on a much smaller scale. but occurring persistently.) the brain does not like having to deal with that, which leads ultimately to fatigue and an inability to focus in on the music. so basically, 16/44.1 resists deep listening. that's a showstopper as far as i'm concerned, whether one can "hear" it or not. analog sound reproduction has a lot of problems, but thank goodness it doesn't have *that* one.
  22. Bubba Zanetti

    Bubba Zanetti Well-Known Member

    I didn't vote because there was no option of something like 'It's dependant on gear'.

    My feeling is that you need a very good setup to really appreciate the difference - to my ears, on my (distinctly mid-level) system, the differences are not night and day, at least not enough for me to abandon 16/44.
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  23. Sneaky Pete

    Sneaky Pete Forum Resident

    When it’s done right and you have a high quality source it is a big improvement. CD is a satisfactory source as long as you have a good player or dac, and you aren’t doing direct comparisons. Once you start to do an a vs. b test with CD and analog or Hi Res the weaknesses of CDs are exposed.

    It’s still a good medium though because all sound recording and reproduction is full of compromises.
    angelo73 and Doug Sclar like this.
  24. ShallowMemory

    ShallowMemory Forum Resident

    Sharing similar tastes in recorded music I find that too especially on classical to the point I seek out a comparable recording on sacd over red book issues even though red book can sound pretty decent when well recorded and mastered.:wave:
    angelo73 likes this.
  25. Higlander

    Higlander Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Florida, Central
    In one way I might agree with you. But that is also the part that perplexes me.
    I have read of accounts of very large differences, "easily noticeable" from guys saying they have quite modest equipment.
    As if anyone not hearing it, must have bad hearing or simply hate High Res.

    Then other accounts from guys claiming only the best equipment and best hearing, will the small improvement be appreciated.
    Almost as if only a select few will ever hear the truth.

    In other words, accounts of audibility are all over the place. I think that is one thing we can all agree on.
    Just look at the Poll results so far. No true rhyme or reason.
    Let alone the idea of knowing for sure we are hearing same mastering's.
    Bubba Zanetti and angelo73 like this.

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