Author Topic: High resolution music files - hype or not?  (Read 3663 times)

zzzone.net

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High resolution music files - hype or not?
« on: June 20, 2015, 12:44:00 PM »
Sorry if this has already been discussed, but I'm wondering what the consensus is on high resolution music files?

CDs were designed to match the hearing range of humans (that's my understanding).

Files above that resolution have no additional value because most humans can't hear it.

Although my system was designed to play such files, and I have a few, I really don't think they are worth the expense and storage space.

HDTracks is one purveyor of such http://www.hdtracks.com/

There are more listed at http://www.digitaltrends.com/music/best-sites-downloading-hd-music/ and at http://www.24bit96.com/24bit96khz-download-sites/hd-music-download.html

Here's a nice guide to it: http://www.whathifi.com/news/high-resolution-audio-everything-you-need-to-know

Neil Young is really hyping his Pono player and high resolution music and surely his ears are incapable of hearing almost anything at this point ;)  https://www.ponomusic.com/

To really play this stuff and be able to appreciate it, I would imagine one would have to sink thousands and thousands of dollars into a system which has no weak links from the DAC to the speakers, and the listener would have to have the ears of a teenager.

Tidal is now steaming CD quality as is QOBuz.

Thoughts?









APK

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Re: High resolution music files - hype or not?
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2015, 05:16:59 PM »
Always a fun and controversial topic.

The "everything you need to know" guide you point to is useful for who's making what available, but the technicals are not really there, and that means the factual science. The assumption that greater resolution equates to better music is questionable.

It is very tempting to see this high resolution revolution as a commercial one, as a way to get the public to upgrade all their listening gear and re-purchase all their music collection (yet again). And even if high res audio were better, you'd also need to know what released music would benefit from being reproduced at that level. You'd need to know that the audio path of the recording artists you enjoy is all happening at these higher sampling and bit rates ... which could well not be the case.
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zzzone.net

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Re: High resolution music files - hype or not?
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2015, 01:03:21 PM »
Thanks for your reply.  I would have thought this would have generated more responses from all the musicians and music lovers here.

Here's an interesting bit that supports what you said: http://www.wral.com/audio-overkill-some-question-benefits-of-high-res-music/14739880/

And one of the Squeezebox forum members has his own "audiofool" blog: http://archimago.blogspot.com/2015/01/musings-what-is-value-of-high.html

Just to emphasize, I'm not advocating hi-res.  I just wanted to hear from folks that are involved with the production and consumption of music.




einstein36

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Re: High resolution music files - hype or not?
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2015, 08:46:32 PM »
I think for one, if we got rid of the loudness wars and use high res music files I think we could actually hear the dynamics of a song a musician intended for their listeners....
I personally use 96Khz/24 bit, esp. since I know I am going to have to dither down to CD quality, but I capture the nuisance of the guitar player and capture his expression on the guitar. For that matter, drums, sythtns, etc.
that way, the captured moment, expressions and emotions are not loss when converted down.
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Seren

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Re: High resolution music files - hype or not?
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2015, 01:40:39 AM »
I don't think CD necessarily matches the human ear, it all depends on the ear - when I worked for BT we used to use test tones and I could hear tones higher in pitch than my colleagues.

I'm also a bit dubious as to the ability of people/companies to decide which bits of a sound I don't need to hear.

Whether the time I spent in the motorhead bass bins affected that level of hearing......

There is also the way that notes, tones, sounds interact with each other - we can hear it when 2 instruments are slightly out of tune. I still think that tones and harmonies we can't hear affect the sounds we can in subtle ways - which change the overall texture and dynamics.

saying all that, a good sound system can always dig deep into the information on a CD and produce an amazing sound. I used to travel a little around the UK and would always take some CDs to a hi fi shop, pretend I'd just inherited some money and had 20,000 to spend - the listening was always stunning.

Whether we can hear everything or not - the more 'sound' on the disc, the more chance we have to hear it.

And if the companies can push it to sell it they will.

Final thought - Listening to a full orchestra kicks the hell out of listening to any disc. When the listening experience is as good as the live sound then we will be talking......or even a single charismatic voice....

zzzone.net

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Re: High resolution music files - hype or not?
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2015, 12:49:52 PM »
I have been learning more about the "loudness war" in mastering music.

This seems much more of a degradation to music than MP3 vs CD vs high resolution.

Check this video:



and at least part of this one:



Anyone know why producers are ruining recorded music?


Seren

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Re: High resolution music files - hype or not?
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2015, 01:27:23 AM »
"Anyone know why producers are ruining recorded music?"

Because, unfortunately, it sells.....

perhaps a better question - Anyone know why people want to buy ruined recorded music?


LNerell

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Re: High resolution music files - hype or not?
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2015, 11:04:20 AM »
To me the most important part of high resolution files are the bits, not the sample rate. Here's some science:

A 16 bit file has a possible 65,536 integer values per sample.
A 24 bit file has a possible 16,777,216 integer values per sample.

More integer values equals less quantization error which means a more accurate sample and a possible better sounding recording.

Loudness wars have to do with misguided thinking, that the louder the music is played the better it will sound on the radio. The idea being that anything that sounds louder will get your attention more. But with digital technology you have a brickwall that you can not go over, otherwise you get terrible distortion. So, the obvious answer to this stupid idea is to put everything at the max possible loudness. So now producers are asking mastering engineers to do this, which is quite easy to do with today's software. And of course engineers like to eat and buy new gear, so they do it.   
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