Do you hear an improvement with Hi-Res?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Plan9, Mar 5, 2012.

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  1. ricks

    ricks Custom Title Revoked


    Hi Doug, it is so obvious to me I also have a difficult time understanding how others do not hear the effects of an out of phase speaker. FWIW there are those who do not hear their speakers are out of phase, but incongruously claim they detect differences in sound from 100% digitally identical discs. I'm also sure there are those who will will still argue about out of phase even though you can prove in the physical realm that speakers are wired wrong. What qualifies as good sound is just too subjective, I guess ?
  2. wolfram

    wolfram Slave to the rhythm

    Berlin, Germany
    As I said:
    I don't doubt that you hear the differences easily and wasn't referring to your posts. I somehow know what you mean. I work as a video-editor and I simply can't believe how many material is being broadcasted with a wrong aspect ratio (4:3 stretched to 16:9) and that it's not obvious to everyone. But I'm just more sensitive to that kind of error (it's my job after all).

    Maybe I'm lucky the differences between 16/44,1 and hi-res aren't so obvious to me, since most of the music is still on redbook CD. :)
  3. Steve G

    Steve G Senior Member

    los angeles
    I voted for subtle, choosing to interpret "significant" as "large" rather than "important". the improvement makes a big difference for me in terms of the pleasure of listening. but I don't think it's night and day - more like something you lock into from time to time - it's more relaxing and then every now and then you hear something that makes you swoon. Hi-res doesn't really sound like I imagined it sounding when I first heard of it - that sound hasn't been done yet - vinyl still comes the closes to that sound for me, but that's because it's so unique that you key into it as a sound event of its own.
  4. GregM

    GregM The expanding man

    Daddyland, CA
    I hear a significant improvement with high res over CD.
  5. Steve G

    Steve G Senior Member

    los angeles
    heh. I have two speakers that are wired out of phase right now. it's my back channels which I also use to monitor stuff when I am doing musical work. I messed up when I was re-cabling my room two days ago and didn't notice it when they were functioning as the surrounds, but then I turned around last night to do some work and it was like my head was underwater. I was pressed for time so I just chose to treat it as a drug experience (since I'm 16 years sober and I take what I can get). But it needs to be fixed. It was less obvious as the back channels of 5.1
  6. I definitely hear an improvement but it doesn't make me sit and think "WOW!" My impressions vary from disc to disc and I believe my system, set-up and the restrictions placed on me by the listening room play a large part.
  7. TommyTunes

    TommyTunes Senior Member

    I voted "Yes, I hear a significant improvement" but I think it has to be qualified. I'd say that of the high resolution material I own (700+ SACD's, DVD's, DAD's and downloads only about 25% is in agreement with the statement. Additionally on the upper end of redbook players the difference become more slight than significant.
  8. onlyconnect

    onlyconnect The prose and the passion

    Winchester, UK
    True story.

    Exhibited at a hi-fi show yesterday. Played a track from Peter Gabriel's New Blood. Sounded good. Then said to my friend, "This is interesting because I have both 16-bit and 24-bit versions." Played the track again.

    Friend was impressed. "Sounds miles better."

    Then I confessed. I played the 24-bit first, then the 16-bit.

    If we listened with only our ears and not our brains, we would not have this problem!

  9. jl151080

    jl151080 Senior Member

    Bristol, UK
    I usually hear a subtle improvement.
  10. chriss71

    chriss71 Active Member

    @Plan9: Can you help me, please!

    I don't understand your poll. What you mean! A read the poll following: I take a 16,44 CD upsample it to the different formats and then what's the difference. Or I should take one HDTrack and downsample it to 16,44 CD and should make then a comparison?

    Can you help me to understand what you mean.

    Thanks for all.

  11. onlyconnect

    onlyconnect The prose and the passion

    Winchester, UK
    I am not voting. I always hear a difference, provided that I know which one I am hearing ;-)

  12. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    That cracked me up, thanks.
  13. Doug Sclar

    Doug Sclar Forum Legend

    The OC
    Well in the early days of surround, or when using the Hafler method (which I accidently came up with on my own before I knew about Hafler's method), a mono difference signal (L - R) goes to the rear, and it often fed a pair of speakers that are intentionally wired out of phase from each other.

    No doubt it was a gimmick, but on some recordings (particularly simple stereo orchestral recordings) the effect could be pretty amazing and seemingly realistic.
  14. kevintomb

    kevintomb Forum Resident

    I did a huge amount of experimenting with that effect years ago. By using a volume control I was able to adjust the level till it was just noticable.

    Its amazing the effects one can hear on most record albums, even of rock music.
  15. Manelus

    Manelus Forum Resident

    Barcelona, Spain
    I voted "significant".
    To make comparison fair I have used Linn Klimax Didital Streamer.
    16/44.1 CD rip and HiRes downloads from the same master. Everything is the same except for the file played.
    Some “curiosities”: DVD-A rip of the same master sounds worse (say Yes – Fragile)… don’t ask me why.
    One more thing: Same master 16/44.1 played in a Linn Klimax and 24/96 in a Linn Akurate (stuff one step below from the same brand). … Hardware prevails, Klimax wins.
    And oh! I almost forgot, Vinyl beats them all.
  16. Jason Manley

    Jason Manley Forum Resident

    My experience with Hi-Res is very limited. But I can point to a recent experience I had with "Dark Side of the Moon".

    I listened to the 96/24 from the DSOTM Immersion Box set and then listened to the 44/16 from the same box. I honestly cannot tell a difference.

    I played them back on my iMac using Sony MDR-V6 headphones that I have had for a decade or more.
  17. svafo

    svafo Forum Resident

    Gävle, Sweden
    I think hi-res in general sounds bigger, fuller, richer, warmer, more 3-d. More relaxed and more exiting at the same time.

    Those of you who say you don't hear the difference: Here's an interesting thought:
    What if someone would measure the emotional response(using "brain imaging") when you're enjoying your favourite music in 16/44 and 24/192?

    This is a kind of difference that's hard to grasp because it's not like with different speakers or amps where there are obvious things like different tonalities and so on.
    With high res digital you simply get more of everything, or as someone else said - more "there" there. Not the kind of difference ideally suited for the normal kind of blind tests IMO.

    In other words: Can hi-res give you a better listening experience even if you're not "aware" of it? I think so.
    Does anyone understand what I'm trying to say or do you think it's mumbo-jumbo?:D

    To summarise I would say the difference is subtle but important.
    And I think it would be a great shame if hi-res were to remain an audiophile niche product.
    I want all my favourite music in hi-res!
  18. hazard

    hazard Forum Resident

    I consider myself an audiophile and love hi-rez but am not voting at the moment because:
    - there is so little hi rez stuff out there
    - some hi-rez is clearly upsampled so how can you say its better?

    I have 10 DVD-A discs
    - Flaming Lips Yoshima - upsampled
    - Ryan Adams Rock n Roll upsampled
    - Queen A Night at the Opera - not upsampled but has a hard brick wall limiter at -2.5dB and is highly clipped
    - Fleetwood Mac Rumours - no apparent upsampling, but doesn't sound as good as the Steve Hoffman 45 rpm vinyl (but it does have Silver Springs, which you can't get on vinyl or CD)
    - Doors Perceptions box set (6 discs). Sounds good but I don't have a CD to compare them.

    Note - all of these are 24/96k. Putting aside the issue of upsampling, I don't understand why record companies do not utilise the full capability of the technology and release these at 24/192k.

    Also - I have one blu ray - Neil Young Le Noise - released as 24/192k. That's what I'm talking about!! However i have read that this is also upsampled - haven't analysed this myself as yet. Should do so on the weekend.

    Only 1 SACD - DSOTM. Love it, but I also got 4 vinyl copies and usually only play the SACD on the bedroom system which is NOT hi fidelity.

    So - I would love to love hi rez but there are 2 many problems with the format. But the technology is sound. I record and store all my needledrops at 24/192k. I have an EMU soundcard and use the ASIO driver so I know that I am getting full resolution and it clearly sounds better than low rez.
  19. Plan9

    Plan9 Mastering Engineer Thread Starter

    Toulouse, France
    Hi! It's nothing that complicated: no upsampling!

    For example, if you have an SACD-capable player and an hybrid SACD, you can compare the standard CD layer to the stereo SACD layer of this same disc.
    Or you may have for instance the album Band On The Run on CD and Hi-Res files and compare the two.
    I guess you can also downsample a Hi-Res file to a 44/16 file and listen to both.

    After having compared the two, if you think that the Hi-Res sounds a bit better, then the answer would be "Yes, I hear a subtle improvement".
  20. onlyconnect

    onlyconnect The prose and the passion

    Winchester, UK
    Your third example is the only one where you would know if you were comparing the mastering or the effect of high-res.

    Even with the third example, you might be testing your downsampling algorithm.

    This is not trivial unfortunately.

  21. chriss71

    chriss71 Active Member

    So, I have downsampled with Izotope RX2 Advanced my Fleetwood Mac - Fleetwood Mac, Fleetwood Mac - Tusk and Bill Evans - Waltz for Debby (all from HDTracks).

    All is played over the same digital chain (bit perfect).

    I vote for No, I don't hear any improvement over RedBook (CD) standard.

    PS: Interesting, that 48% can hear a difference, my question is now, under the same term I have made my opinion?
  22. Leigh


    Well, one thing you can do to test for yourself is to get your hands on some awesome sounding pure 24/96 hirez goodness and then use a good sample rate conversion algorithm (such as sox in vhq mode) to convert it redbook and compare, playing through the same DAC. It's pretty much the only way to compare apples to apples. As we all know the mastering makes a heck of a lot more difference in the vast majority of cases, and, in fact, I can tell you exactly what the differences will be between the original and downsampled versions (short answer: redbook will have around -65 dB of shaped noise and a sharp rolloff around 21 kHz where very few people can hear anyway).

    I have found well mastered redbook can sound about as good as I need it to and I am satisfied with the reasons why. DACs have gotten so much better in the past decade that I personally find hirez to be unnecessary for the vast majority of us - then again I don't have a so-called Highly Resolving System (TM). I am still not convinced that the increase in SNR/dynamic range that comes with 24 bit vs. 16 bit is really necessary for listening on any system.
  23. Leigh


    True about the nontriviality but this site is awesome for picking your algorithm and pretty much tells you all you need to know:

    It's why I am happy with sox (vhq linear phase) which you can download for free.
  24. kevin5brown

    kevin5brown Analog or bust.

    A good CD redbook mastering beats a poor high res mastering every time IMO.

    Just because it's "high res" doesn't mean it's a good mastering.

    I also voted "no", for when I've compared the same mastering, just different resolutions.
  25. apesfan

    apesfan "Going Ape"

    SACD to me sounds like(and I hate this expression) CDs on steroids. DVD-Audio seems to have many flavors, weather its the format the mastering or its inherent DNA. Ironic since DVD-Audio is closer to CDs-PCM- than SACD.

    I prefer SACD by a small factor regardless 2 channel or multi, but the King Crimson DVD-Audios are great-Mastering I bet-and many others also and some stink no matter what resolution or speaker configuration. One thing I found out with a large outlay of money is that CDs can sound fantastic if the hardware(CD player) is fantastic and ofcourse the mastering. a lot of potential in those 44.1/16 bit discs. The one wonderfull thing about Hi-Res in any format is that even a 100-200 dollar machine can sound glorious. Cds dont have that benefit.

    Anything Hi-Rez with the proper mastering is what the goal should be! Take care, John M.:goodie::goodie:

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