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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. Tim Lookingbill

    Tim Lookingbill Alfalfa Male

    Location:
    New Braunfels, TX
    So your answer is no, you have no proof whether that music was recorded and edited in high resolution. I wouldn't think a recording engineer would manipulate the two resolution versions anyway. You can't edit one small audio spectrum like a bass drum and not expect it to alter other sections of the audio spectrum.

    I see you can't find more A/B examples. If it's that significant of an improvement I would think the differences of high rez vs CD standard would be prevalent online. I've been searching for years and can't find anything. You and I can't be the only ones wondering if there is proof. Someone has to have done a very comprehensive demo to prove there is an audible difference.
     
  2. Ham Sandwich

    Ham Sandwich Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sherwood, OR, USA
    I could never give you enough proof to salsify you. So I'm not even going to bother to try. No amount of proof or expert opinion would ever be enough for you. Any proof or opinion I could give would always be countered. You're free to take up the credentials for the recording and the engineering with John Atkinson. I'm not going to argue it for you.
     
  3. Tim Lookingbill

    Tim Lookingbill Alfalfa Male

    Location:
    New Braunfels, TX
    Yes you could. Just provide an easier to access A/B demo. Why is that so hard? Why is it only this recording of a church choir? Why isn't there other recordings of different genre's of music where you can hear a difference?
     
  4. Retro Music Man

    Retro Music Man Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    I can think of plenty of examples. But one thing unites them all. The hi-res versions have substantially better (eg. more dynamic) mastering.

    For instance, the 192kHz/24-bit HDtracks download of Green Day's American Idiot sounds far better than the CD. Is that due to the high sample rate or bit depth? Of course not! It's because the HDtracks download measures DR9 and the CD measures DR5. That's the difference.
     
    bhazen and somnar like this.
  5. Tim Lookingbill

    Tim Lookingbill Alfalfa Male

    Location:
    New Braunfels, TX
    This reminds me of a recent odd discovery between two audio editing apps on my MacMini while editing CD music that lacks clarity and sounds soft. I've been using Audio Unit 32 band GraphicEQ plugin in Audacity. This EQ comes with the install of Garageband as part of Mac OS Core Audio components which dumps a lot of AU plugins. I finally figured out how to call this EQ up in Garageband editing the same song I had been editing in Audacity.

    For some reason the sound in Garageband seemed smoother, cleaner, louder, bigger and silky. I also didn't notice that I was severely clipping this song using the AUeq. I kept asking why doesn't it sound this good in Audacity in 32bit floating point. I don't know what bit depth and sample rate Garageband processes in because it's been years since I dabbled in it. It's too confusing an app for me.

    So when I was finished with the edit I exported it to CD resolution on my hard drive. I played it back and it was quieter and full of scratchy artifacts and distortion. I was so disappointed. I brought the original into Audacity and used the very same AU Graphic EQ. It didn't give me the same silky, big smooth sound. And the EQ sliders acted on different sounding audio spectrums than what I heard in Garageband. So I stayed out of Garageband.

    But in Audacity what I hear is what I get in the file whether I like the sound or not.

    Which app is lying to me?!
     
  6. Ham Sandwich

    Ham Sandwich Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sherwood, OR, USA
    The mastering for the Doors Of Heaven example has the same dynamics for the high-res and CD.

    High-res 24/88.2 version:
    Code:
    foobar2000 1.3.16 / Dynamic Range Meter 1.1.1
    log date: 2017-12-27 01:47:58
    
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Analyzed: Ešenvalds, Ēriks / Ēriks Ešenvalds: The Doors of Heaven [24/88.2]
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
    DR         Peak         RMS     Duration Track
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    DR14      -0.08 dB   -20.72 dB     14:09 01-The First Tears
    DR13      -1.43 dB   -20.97 dB      6:26 02-Rivers of Light (Live):Rivers of Light
    DR15      -0.46 dB   -21.94 dB      7:52 03-A Drop in the Ocean
    DR16      -0.47 dB   -23.26 dB      9:33 04-Passion and Resurrection:Part I
    DR11      -0.15 dB   -17.49 dB      5:13 05-Passion and Resurrection:Part II
    DR14      -0.09 dB   -19.40 dB      7:16 06-Passion and Resurrection:Part III
    DR16      -0.22 dB   -22.88 dB      8:05 07-Passion and Resurrection:Part IV
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
    Number of tracks:  7
    Official DR value: DR14
    
    Samplerate:        88200 Hz
    Channels:          2
    Bits per sample:   24
    Bitrate:           2000 kbps
    Codec:             FLAC
    ================================================================================
    CD version:
    Code:
    foobar2000 1.3.16 / Dynamic Range Meter 1.1.1
    log date: 2017-12-27 01:48:25
    
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Analyzed: Ešenvalds, Ēriks / Ēriks Ešenvalds: The Doors of Heaven
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
    DR         Peak         RMS     Duration Track
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    DR14      -0.08 dB   -20.73 dB     14:09 01-The First Tears
    DR13      -1.43 dB   -20.98 dB      6:26 02-Rivers of Light
    DR15      -0.47 dB   -21.92 dB      7:51 03-A Drop in the Ocean
    DR16      -0.48 dB   -23.26 dB      9:33 04-Passion and Resurrection: Part I
    DR11      -0.15 dB   -17.50 dB      5:13 05-Passion and Resurrection: Part II
    DR13      -0.10 dB   -19.40 dB      7:16 06-Passion and Resurrection: Part III
    DR16      -0.24 dB   -22.91 dB      8:07 07-Passion and Resurrection: Part IV
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
    Number of tracks:  7
    Official DR value: DR14
    
    Samplerate:        44100 Hz
    Channels:          2
    Bits per sample:   16
    Bitrate:           428 kbps
    Codec:             FLAC
    ================================================================================
    
    
     
  7. Ham Sandwich

    Ham Sandwich Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sherwood, OR, USA
    If I provided a ABX test result you'd find it inadequate and find fault with it due to methods or procedure or some other reason. So I'm not going to bother to even try. I'm not your trained monkey. I'm not going to churn that organ grinder for you. If you're really interested in this you'll do your own work to convince yourself.

    I gave an example using a well recorded acoustic recording because recordings like that make the differences more obvious. It is easier to hear the differences in high-res vs CD using well recorded acoustic recordings. It is also easier to hear the differences with absolute polarity using well recorded high-res recordings.

    I've also given Daft Punk's "Random Access Memories" as an example for the high-res version being better than the CD version: CD vs HD download question *
    It's easier to hear in acoustic music. But can be heard in good pop music recordings too.
     
    Tone? likes this.
  8. Tim Lookingbill

    Tim Lookingbill Alfalfa Male

    Location:
    New Braunfels, TX
    I don't hear DR numbers. Conducting RMS loudness wave analysis in Audacity in different sections of Edgar Winter's "Frankenstein" proves to me the numbers don't tell me if the sustained high pitched synth siren interlude close to the end of the song is too loud (which it is) seeing it has the same RMS number as the beginning of the song which doesn't play any high pitched sounds.

    I define good dynamics in a song if I can hear the bell tones of a drum kit's tim-tom that isn't drowned out by an overpowering droning bass both of which are playing at the same time so the RMS numbers aren't going to tell me this.
     
  9. Tim Lookingbill

    Tim Lookingbill Alfalfa Male

    Location:
    New Braunfels, TX
    You just told me everything I need to know about you with that remark. That's coming from someone who spent a lot of time having informative and friendly conversations on a wide range of subjects throughout my 20 years of employment and 13 years talking to random strangers in my local park. And in all these conversations I always discover repeatedly people will tell me who they are with their words to the point I really don't have to explain it to myself.
     
  10. Ham Sandwich

    Ham Sandwich Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sherwood, OR, USA
    I've given info in this thread and others on what to listen for and what sort of gear is necessary to hear that. If you want to convince yourself that high-res is better than CD you'll have to do the listening and find out for yourself. The only way you'll get convinced is to find out for yourself. I didn't believe high-res made a difference until I discovered for myself by listening and hearing. You'll have to take the same path.

    Science is not likely to give a conclusive answer in our lifetime. The audible differences between CD and high-res are too subtle and too on the edge of human perception and physiology. Human cognitive psychology works against humans being able to be reliable measurement instruments for something like this. So this is something audiophiles need to discover for themselves. I'd start with learning how to hear absolute polarity. Then explore absolute polarity with CD-res and high-res. You may find that it is easier to hear absolute polarity with high-res recordings. From there you can chase whether high-res is actually better than CD.
     
  11. Tim Lookingbill

    Tim Lookingbill Alfalfa Male

    Location:
    New Braunfels, TX
    You added another variable that moves it beyond just high resolution audio, the gear.

    And now I do remember on this same topic in another thread at least a year ago or so I compared the high rez version of Black Sabbath's "War Pigs" to the CD resolution both downloaded from Qobuz. I A/B'ed it several times to see if I could hear a difference and I couldn't so I threw the high rez version in the trash and kept the CD version. I even did volume increase test to see if that would bring anything out of the high rez version...bupkis!
     
  12. Ham Sandwich

    Ham Sandwich Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sherwood, OR, USA
    Unfortunately the gear quality and sound style does matter for comparisons like this. The better gear of the right style will make the difference between CD and high-res more audible. And will make the changes with absolute polarity more audible. It's not being elitist to say you need good gear for this sort of listening. It just is. And unfortunately that better gear can be more expensive.

    I have a mix of gear. Some good stuff and some not so good entry level stuff. Some of the entry level stuff I don't hear a difference between CD and high-res or just barely hear a difference. The better gear makes it easier to hear and easier to learn what to listen for.

    Black Sabbath isn't something I'd use to try to hear a difference between CD and high-res versions of the same mastering. Those recordings are not likely to demonstrate a difference between CD and high-res. Just being a high-res recording doesn't guarantee it will sound better than the CD version of that same mastering (same EQ, same mastering engineer, same mastering session, same everything except for the sample rate and bit depth of the final deliverable). I have some high-res versions that sound the same to me as the CD. I have some high-res versions that sound to be better than the CD to me. So it depends. That's why I give some specific examples when saying here's a high-res album that sounds better than the CD.
     
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  13. Brother_Rael

    Brother_Rael Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scottish Borders
    Yes.
     
    bhazen likes this.
  14. DRM

    DRM Forum Resident

    I don’t know about DR numbers but when I hear music that I think sounds very good, glancing at the meter levels usually confirms this. The left and right meters bouncing around, varying, with the meters averaging in the middle, far from the red zone. But active and varying, not static. Dynamic.

    Most of the well recorded Beatles music handled by George Martin inevitably follows this pattern.
     
    bgiliberti likes this.
  15. Bill Bright

    Bill Bright Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Assmannshausen
    Are you sure those weren't deer?
     
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  16. Melvin

    Melvin Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    And this is why I focused my attention on 16/44.1 when auditioning DACs. While I really enjoy some well-done high-res, getting 16/44.1 right is imperative for me.
     
    SteveKr likes this.
  17. bgiliberti

    bgiliberti Will You Be My Neighbor?

    Location:
    USA
    It depends. If they had berets on their antlers, they were probably just French tourists.
     
  18. Gaslight

    Gaslight ⎧⚍⎫⚑

    Location:
    Northeast USA
    I don't know who to root for with that epic SHTV battle above
     
  19. Cherrycherry

    Cherrycherry Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    The deer, of course.
    GO TEAM DEER!
    BEAT THOSE FRENCHIES!
     
  20. bhazen

    bhazen Fab Fourever

    Location:
    Newcastle, WA
    Yes.

    While I'm certainly not against higher rez formats, at this point in time they're a bit like putting fancier hubcaps on a car that already does the job of going from point A to B. (I don't hear any difference between CD and SACD, say, if the mastering is the same.)

    I'm in the "get the mastering right, format doesn't matter" camp. Well, I'm not willing to go back to 8-track tape cartridge for home listening ... :D
     
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  21. Ray Blend

    Ray Blend Bring back reality

    Location:
    The Midwest
    [​IMG]

    Same energy.
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2020
  22. bhazen

    bhazen Fab Fourever

    Location:
    Newcastle, WA
    Googling "can you hear a difference between CD and hi rez formats" or similar, gets you right into a surprisingly nasty sub rosa war I was blissfully unaware of -- one piece calling CD advocates 'Perfect Sound Foreverists' (LOL!), another calling vinyl enthusiasts 'nut jobs'. Yikes. All claiming that only their methodology was scientific, the others biased or flawed. Tough for ADD Joe Publics like me to wade through the graphs, different software types, footnotes etc. ...

    Here's an article from the Guardian that seems to me to be fair and rather commonsense, and not written by a footsoldier of one of the factions (er, as far as I know) --

    How much difference is there between MP3, CD and 24-bit audio? | Digital music and audio | The Guardian
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2020
    Tim Lookingbill and Brother_Rael like this.
  23. Tim Lookingbill

    Tim Lookingbill Alfalfa Male

    Location:
    New Braunfels, TX
    At least this revived thread got me to try something I wasn't sure was going to work but found out it did and so could be done for A/B'ing HiRez vs CD Rez!

    It springs from the idea that if you can hear a difference between two digital wave forms of the same song through a computer DAC, one version recorded at high rez, the other down sampled to CD standard, then you can record the A/B differences through a DAW app like Audacity.

    I did just that today but it took some Sound Pref settings choosing Soundflower to loop back the DAC throughput back into the built in internal playback system on my MacMini recording in Quicktime Player app as well as setting Audacity input/output to Soundflower to perform playback to be recorded by Quicktime Player. I was able to play clicking Solo in Audacity back and forth between the original CD rez of my favorite Christmas song "Christmas Can't Be Far Away" by Burl Ives off the Decca label to a copy I applied edits to open up the stage presence and clarity adding a subtle amount of AUmatrixReverb and EQ focused on directional frequencies.

    Started Quicktime Player and was able to record while I played back the audio clicking Solo back and forth between original and edited version in Audacity to record the sound differences. The saved Quicktime Player file recording played back exactly what I heard.

    So why hasn't anyone done this by now and posted it online to show there's a sound difference between CD rez vs HighRez?
     
  24. Tim Lookingbill

    Tim Lookingbill Alfalfa Male

    Location:
    New Braunfels, TX
    Then if you hear a difference even on high end equipment and well recorded and processed audio, then you should be able to record the differences through an internal DAC loop back I described in my previous post.

    If you can hear it, you can record it in the digital realm. Otherwise this is just a metaphysics discussion.
     
  25. Oelewapper

    Oelewapper Plays vinyl instead of installing it on the floor.

    Yes, 16/44.1 was sufficient and will always be sufficient; our ears haven’t changed.
    Until we find a way to genetically modify our hearing somehow, it’s just the mastering and encoding/reconstruction quality that matters.
    Hi-res is a premium product, so it’s reasonable (but not always the reality) to expect premium quality mastering.
    That’s what makes the biggest difference, not the resolution itself.
     

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