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Can you hear the difference between 16bit and 24bit audio files?


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Short answer: no, you can't.

 

Archimago, a well respected audiophile blogger, has proved it with e a clever crowd based test.

You can read the very interesting results here:

 

Archimago's Musings: 24-Bit vs. 16-Bit Audio Test - Part II: RESULTS & CONCLUSIONS

 

Please note that this is all just for fun, I am a fan of hi-res downloads myself.

However, these results should make us all wonder and take the audiophile myths a little bit softer :)

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Can you hear the difference between 16bit and 24bit audio files?

 

 

 

Short answer: no, you can't.

 

Archimago, a well respected audiophile blogger, has proved it with e a clever crowd based test.

You can read the very interesting results here:

 

 

That's garbage. The only people that respect Archimago in his never ending quest to prove that 16/44.1 is all that needed .and that every body who reports things that he doesn't believe are possible, must be imagining them, are the hard line objective crowd.

Not so long back, Recording Engineer Jon P started a thread in C.A. where he provided samples at 16/44.1, 24/44.1 and 24/48 . Unfortunately, it appears that the know-it-all brigade didn't even try the samples, and there were only a couple of responses.

I could easily hear the difference between 16/44.1 and 24/44.1, and 24/48 which to my ears, just seemed to come all together, for want of better words. BTW, 24/44. is also what HD Tracks is now supplying for some recent recordings.

Archimago makes too many assumptions based on incomplete data about human hearing.

Recent research shows that the rise time of the waveform does matter, not just whether oldies can hear even a 12KHz sine wave.

 

High Resolution : Capturing The Moment - General HIFI Discussion - HIFICRITIC FORUM - HIFICRITIC FORUM : hi fi audio systems forum

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

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I may be wrong about this but doesn't the number of bits (16 versus 24) only apply to the dynamic range of the music. If so, it would seem that the extra bits would only be needed for highly dynamic music.

Sometimes it's like someone took a knife, baby
Edgy and dull and cut a six inch valley
Through the middle of my skull

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Well, the results speak for themselves - in this test, with 140+ listeners, no one could tell the difference reliably. The stats were almost exactly 50 / 50; i.e., everyone was guessing. In fact, for one of the samples, the ones who were most confident they got it "right" were the ones who by a slim margin picked the 16-bit files as "better".

 

The only group who got even slightly better than "chance" results were self-identified recording engineers, and that variance was only slight - nothing like any degree of confidence.

 

And he didn't even take great pains in downsampling the 24-bit files to 16-bit - just picked a pretty straightforward way to do it - so any perceivable difference should have been magnified, not diminished.

 

Like you, I still like the idea of being able to purchase the highest quality files available, but I'm beginning to think very, very few can actually *reliably and blindly* tell the difference.

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I'm not aware of the details of the test implementation, but I don't think you are supposed to put together statistics by giving everybody one guess. That just means all the wrong guessers average out the one correct person with super-human hearing. I think you are supposed to give everybody the two files, then ask each person individually to do a ROUND of abx test with multiple guesses. To "pass" a round, you'd have to get 9/10 guesses right, or whatever you need to get the confidence interval you want. Then the right survey question to ask is "did anybody here pass the abx test AT ALL?" Even if you do the test to 95% confidence interval, and even if there really was no audible difference in the files, out of 140 people you'd still get a few that "pass" just due to lucky guessing. You invite those golden ears and lucky guessers back for more testing.

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I think selling 24/44.1 files as high resolution is a bit of scam for many kinds of music.

 

I just compared the 16/44.1 version of Lana Del Rey's Born to Die album to the 24/44.1 version sold on HDTracks. They sound identical to my ears and Jriver says the dynamic range of the first six songs is the same (6, 5, 5, 6, 4, 4). This suggests zero benefit from the extra 8 bits of headroom, for this album at least.

 

BTW, I have a vinyl rip of this album (24/96) that kicks both 44.1 versions to the curb.

Sometimes it's like someone took a knife, baby
Edgy and dull and cut a six inch valley
Through the middle of my skull

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That's garbage. The only people that respect Archimago in his never ending quest to prove that 16/44.1 is all that needed .and that every body who reports things that he doesn't believe are possible, must be imagining them, are the hard line objective crowd.

 

Double blind studies are the gold standard for all sorts of psychological and perception testing. There are a number of double blind studies that demonstrate people can't tell the difference between high rez and standard cd resolution. Please provide a citation to a study that shows different results.

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[Double blind studies are the gold standard for all sorts of psychological and perception testing.

You keep ignoring the numerous posts and threads in this forum and elsewhere, that say DBT is fatally flawed for Audio, unlike medicine etc.

Yet more stupid self fulfilling DBTs organised by EEs without involving participation by the subjective side in how they are set up.

Why are you even a member of this forum which even has a special section for high resolution downloads ?

Have you cone here to save us from ourselves too, as well as attempting to destroy a whole industry that is now even moving to extremely high resolution DSD. Do you think that these products are designed by laymen, instead of highly qualified EEs and software designers? It's obvious to blind Freddy, that many highly qualified designers don't agree with Archimago and his fanatical disciples, and especially highly vocal refugees from Hydrogen Audio.

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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All this teaches us is that a bunch of deaf old men and no women hang out at the Hoffman forum.

 

Self-selection bias is definitely a major problem with this study design. That's why all the reader surveys on CNN have the "not a scientific poll" disclaimer. He sort of addresses this in his paragraph on limitations of the study.

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That's garbage. The only people that respect Archimago in his never ending quest to prove that 16/44.1 is all that needed .and that every body who reports things that he doesn't believe are possible, must be imagining them, are the hard line objective crowd.

Not so long back, Recording Engineer Jon P started a thread in C.A. where he provided samples at 16/44.1, 24/44.1 and 24/48 . Unfortunately, it appears that the know-it-all brigade didn't even try the samples, and there were only a couple of responses.

I could easily hear the difference between 16/44.1 and 24/44.1, and 24/48 which to my ears, just seemed to come all together, for want of better words. BTW, 24/44. is also what HD Tracks is now supplying for some recent recordings.

Archimago makes too many assumptions based on incomplete data about human hearing.

Recent research shows that the rise time of the waveform does matter, not just whether oldies can hear even a 12KHz sine wave.

 

High Resolution : Capturing The Moment - General HIFI Discussion - HIFICRITIC FORUM - HIFICRITIC FORUM : hi fi audio systems forum

 

Pure undiluted poppycock and stultiloquent twaddle.

 

Were his results in agreement with your pre-concieved prejudices, you would be praising how thoroughly well-constructed the experiment was.

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Pure undiluted poppycock and stultiloquent twaddle.

 

As you are the master of pure undiluted poppycock and stultiloquent twaddle, A.K.A. as BS, perhaps I should accept that you recognise these things when you read them, except for one small detail, Miska who knows infinitely more about audio, and computer audio in particular than you do , doesn't agree with you and your fellow travellers in this area.

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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This must explain why most of my old Telarc cd files sound better than the DSD I just downloaded.

 

Many of the older Telarc releases are very good indeed. Perhaps wgs played the Telarc 1812 some time back, and has been listening through speakers that have tweeters with o/c voice coils ever since then ?

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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Please hold on while I grab some popcorn and a cold drink................this is going to be a good one!

 

Not from my part it isn't.

Most of the time it's best to ignore the one that Hydrogen Audio rejected. Even they didn't take him seriously.

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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"Not surprisingly, the vast majority (98%) were men which is expected (just have a look around audio clubs, audio shows, etc.) - thanks to the 2 ladies that responded." Testing must have been in the suite next to the Star Trek convention.

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stuff

 

Normally, if you don't like the results, you'd criticize the testing methods used and how they are flawed. Not make ad hominem attacks on the experimenter or the subjects.

 

And rise time has to do with sampling rate, not bit depth.

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Normally, if you don't like the results, you'd criticize the testing methods used and how they are flawed. Not make ad hominem attacks on the experimenter or the subjects.

 

And rise time has to do with sampling rate, not bit depth.

 

I have done the criticizing of the testing methods quite a few times previously, and I am not about to keep repeating them ad- nauseam for every vocal newbie that comes along, especially members of Gasbag Audio..

I suggest that you also read some recent posts by Miska on the other subject.

Primitive human beings relied on things like twigs snapping at night for their safety. This has very fast transients and frequency components extending well past 20kHz. Even a loud sneeze has frequency components well past 20kHz.

16/44.1 is simply not capable of accurately reproducing these things.

Did you use the words ad hominen to make it sound like you actually have electronics training ?

Using such Latin phrases here doesn't impress as many as it might in Hydrogen Audio.

Furthermore, as suggested nicely by several other members, very few members here are likely to take seriously reports about sound quality from somebody who is afraid to state what equipment they use to make these judgement calls.

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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I can honestly say I don't expect my 63 year old ears to be able to hear the difference between a 24/192 file properly down converted to 16/192.

 

However that does not mean the content industry should not be mastering at 24 bits and even better DSD. Any kind of mixing needs more bit depth to minimize the sound degradation. Some of latest algorithms even go as far as 64 bits ! So with data storage and transmission so cheap why throw away bits 17 to 24 ?

 

what is far more important for PCM recording is the sample rate. I am becoming more and more convinced that to do a good job of recording in PCM format the sample rate needs to be 352 / 384. 192 does not get the job done satisfactorily.

 

i think there is a trap that people fall into that because we can not hear sine waves at much more than 12 KHz in my case, that high frequency content, and the recording and transmission of that content is unimportant.

 

A key part of creating the pleasureable listening experience, is recreating the wave form faithfully. There are some instruments such as trumpets and cymbals that have significant energy at frequencies over 50kHz. To capture a trumpet wave form faithfully you then need a sample rate of more than 6 times that ie 300 KHz.

 

You really need 3 samples for the first half of the wave, and 3 samples for the second half of the wave, and then when you curve fit the 6 points, you will have a reasonable recreation of the wave form

 

If you sample at 192 KHz you will be capturing frequency content below 96 KHz, but with extremely poor fidelity if you look at the wave form on a scope. You can see the lack on fidelity on a scope, and well trained ears can hear the difference as well. In the trumpet example there will be about 4 data points from which you need to recreate the full wave form, that's not enough to do a decent job

 

it also explains to me why DSD 64 recordings do such a good job of capturing the waveform, the sampling frequency is above 2 MHz, never mind the coding scheme is stupidly primitive ;-)

 

sorry to be off thread, but being doing a lot of reading recently and getting flamed over at Pink Fish media

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Even after 3 glasses of wine, this still makes no sense.

I see u got the ad hominem part down, though.

 

You don't make much sense to most members, even before 3 glasses of wine !

Some of the EEs here like to bandy those words, and the silly "straw man" arguments around to show they have been to Uni. or have a WAY better education than average.

I do miss Julf's input though, even if he did use such phrases on occasion.

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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