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Is 16/44.1 still a decent quality in 2020?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by twelvealo, Mar 5, 2020.

  1. twelvealo

    twelvealo Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    schertz, tx
    With all the hi-res options with streaming and such, I feel like I'm settling for less when I play a standard cd or a 16/44.1 flac file...thoughts and/or opinions welcome
    bhazen likes this.
  2. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host

    Is 16/44.1 still a decent quality in 2020?

    Unless you're a bat, yes.
  3. twelvealo

    twelvealo Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    schertz, tx
    Thank you for the feedback. I feel a little better lol
    ogdens_sliced, Bevok, bhazen and 4 others like this.
  4. Razakoz

    Razakoz Forum Resident

    jusbe, vinnn, scobb and 1 other person like this.
  5. Ham Sandwich

    Ham Sandwich Forum Resident

    Sherwood, OR, USA
    44.1 is of course decent quality. CD quality has always been decent.

    But I'm also an audiophile and therefore a bit batty. So I want more better. The audible improvements with high-res over CD-res are there, but subtle. I'm still happy listening to CD, but will chose high-res if it's a better or same mastering. The benefits of high-res are audible down in the audible range below 20 kHz. And can be present in the sound of bass drum hits.
  6. jenkovix

    jenkovix Forum Resident

    Europe, Hungary
    jeffsab likes this.
  7. Chris Malone

    Chris Malone Forum Resident

    Sure thing! There’s a lot to love about “CD quality” (not to mention the humble CD) and a lot that’s often overlooked in the quest for ‘hires’.

    The crockery that a musical meal is served on (ie the format) has far less impact on the dining experience than the ingredients and work of the chef, kitchen, and waitstaff.
  8. vinylontubes

    vinylontubes Forum Resident

    Katy, TX
    When the current standard for music delivery is lossy digital whether downloaded or streamed, lossless digital isn't inferior.
    nibor likes this.
  9. JackG

    JackG Forum Resident

    Surely, but "16/44.1" itself really indicates nothing about sound quality. Depending on mastering, could sound better than 24/96 or worse than .mp3. Does "CD quality" mean all CDs are quality? Nope.
  10. Billy Infinity

    Billy Infinity Forum Resident

    Nicely put.
  11. winged creature

    winged creature Forum Resident

    16/44.1 can sound amazing and high resolution can sound terrible. Its all in how its recorded and mastered.
    luckybaer, Albireo, mattdm11 and 39 others like this.
  12. enfield

    enfield Forum Resident

    Essex UK
    16/44.1 will never be a factor in terms of sound quality.It officially offers the best possible sound quality.Other formats can match it.Such as 24-bit..No format has been proved to better it.Certainly not under controlled listening conditions.
  13. Encore

    Encore Forum Resident

    Yes, it is. For a while, I thought that hi-res could be the key to getting good digital sound that would bridge the gap to vinyl. However, after finally getting a hi-res capable DAC, a Meitner MA1 which could also do DSD, I came to the conclusion that aside from the fact that the recording/mastering matters much, much more, the way the bits are served to the DAC also plays a much bigger role than whether the recording is hi-res or not. A good transport or an optimized streamer/computer is a must if you want to achieve good digital sound.
  14. Stone Turntable

    Stone Turntable Dedicated Listener

    New Mexico USA
  15. Jimi Floyd

    Jimi Floyd Forum Resident

    Pisa, Italy
    andrewskyDE, scobb and fogalu like this.
  16. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

    Central PA
    First get the fresher deli mean into the sandwich, before you think about changing the bun...
    smokeverbs and Bananas&blow like this.
  17. MGW

    MGW Less travelling, more listening

    Scotland, UK
    Yes it is. It is the same quality as it was in 2019, 2018, 2017, ..., 1882!
    danielbravo likes this.
  18. JayDog

    JayDog Member

    Depends on the mastering. I have CD's that sound lifeless where the Vinyl blows them outta the water. I have CD's that sound good where the Vinyl is lifeless. I rip all my vinyl to 24/192 not because I hear massive improvements from 24/96 etc... but more cause my Korg can do it so I'd rather archive the best possible version I can. A good recording at 16/44.1 is still a good recording. A bad recording at 24/192 is still a bad recording. Source quality is #1 and the reason I have some stuff on Vinyl, CD and Hi-Res download.
  19. Paul_s

    Paul_s Forum Resident

    North England
    Don't forget, most Laserdisc's support digital 44.1K/16-bit, music concerts and films from back in the day can sound excellent ;)
    Rad Dudeski and jusbe like this.
  20. Boltman92124

    Boltman92124 Fish tacos.

    San Diego
    Most "high rez" audio streams are just upsampled 16/44 to be compatible with the format with a few true 24 bit recordings.. I've upsampled 16/44 to 24 bit in JRiver and I can't hear any difference.
    bgiliberti, ls35a and enfield like this.
  21. quicksrt

    quicksrt Senior Member

    City of Angels
    Many high-resolution 24/96kHz files and discs are in fact not just upsamples. I don't think it is most and would characterize your comment as false.
    scobb, Freebird, bgiliberti and 12 others like this.
  22. Boltman92124

    Boltman92124 Fish tacos.

    San Diego
    What percentage of recorded music is available in native 24/96 or 24/192? Not much. Sure there are more available after the intro of HD Tracks and such, but I'm talking about everything going back to the beginning of CD's. Not dissing the HD streaming services here..just my opinion. Any 16/44 can show 24/96 or 24/192 in the streaming players. Funny, I was looking for the new Billie Eilish album as a download and saw it is available as a 24 bit/44.1khz. Thought that was interesting.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2020
  23. quicksrt

    quicksrt Senior Member

    City of Angels
    The question is not how many hi-res albums are available. The question is how many of the hi-res HD albums are simply up-res'd from 16/44.1? You stated that it is most.
  24. Boltman92124

    Boltman92124 Fish tacos.

    San Diego
    Isn't the point of streaming services to play whatever I want to hear though? If I, for instance, want to stream Steely Dan's catalog, there is only 1 title available in 24 bit (Gaucho). I'm sure I will still hear Aja and Pretzel Logic songs with my request..am I wrong here? I'm no expert on this for sure. Just looking at it this way.
  25. Boltman92124

    Boltman92124 Fish tacos.

    San Diego
    After talking about this I've been popping around HD Tracks website and there are a lot of titles remastered in 24 bit. a lot more than I realized from music I listen to. I guess I need to invest in one of these streaming services one day. Have always been skeptical. At any rate, your points are certainly valid.

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