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Benefits of high resolution audio.


Starre

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Sometimes I have been sceptical of HD music since it not always sounds very good. But after getting a better and better system and comparing a true HD version with the ordinary CD 16bit/44kHz version I am more positive and willing to spend some money to get the HD version. I hear better decay of sounds (it hangs longer in the air so to speak) and also better placement of instruments and more space inbetween them and more "air". Another thing is solo voices/instruments can sound "shouting" on some compact discs, the HD version is more relaxed and natural. The annoying thing is you have to check every time if the wanted HD music is truly HD and not some fake....and not that easy to do. But I am popsitive to the HD music when done right, it really sounds better!

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But are you comparing the CD to a digital download, or the high-res download compared to a down-conversion of that same file?

 

And if it is the latter, what are you using to perform the conversion?

If it is not properly dithered, there can definitely be issues with the decay of sounds when converting to 16-bit. (where the sounds just seem to stop rather than fade into nothing)

 

Anything else could be explained by mastering differences between the CD and the download.

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Sometimes I have been sceptical of HD music since it not always sounds very good. But after getting a better and better system and comparing a true HD version with the ordinary CD 16bit/44kHz version I am more positive and willing to spend some money to get the HD version. I hear better decay of sounds (it hangs longer in the air so to speak) and also better placement of instruments and more space inbetween them and more "air". Another thing is solo voices/instruments can sound "shouting" on some compact discs, the HD version is more relaxed and natural. The annoying thing is you have to check every time if the wanted HD music is truly HD and not some fake....and not that easy to do. But I am popsitive to the HD music when done right, it really sounds better!

Funnily enough, you're describing exactly what I heard in my handful of highrez/redbook comparisons. The difference is certainly not huge, but in the days of streaming, if you actually buy a download, you may as well get the best version that's out there

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I hear better decay of sounds (it hangs longer in the air so to speak) and also better placement of instruments and more space inbetween them and more "air". Another thing is solo voices/instruments can sound "shouting" on some compact discs, the HD version is more relaxed and natural.

 

That is what I hear too.

 

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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Sometimes I have been sceptical of HD music since it not always sounds very good. But after getting a better and better system and comparing a true HD version with the ordinary CD 16bit/44kHz version I am more positive and willing to spend some money to get the HD version. I hear better decay of sounds (it hangs longer in the air so to speak) and also better placement of instruments and more space inbetween them and more "air". Another thing is solo voices/instruments can sound "shouting" on some compact discs, the HD version is more relaxed and natural. The annoying thing is you have to check every time if the wanted HD music is truly HD and not some fake....and not that easy to do. But I am popsitive to the HD music when done right, it really sounds better!

 

+1

 

The hugeness magnitude for each one is very personal. In my case it's very important because I finish, after a long listening session, with much less listening fatigue. Being more natural maybe?

 

The same to me about good DSD. But please don't take this as a matter to start a discussion because is not my goal.

 

Roch

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Sometimes I have been sceptical of HD music since it not always sounds very good. But after getting a better and better system and comparing a true HD version with the ordinary CD 16bit/44kHz version I am more positive and willing to spend some money to get the HD version. I hear better decay of sounds (it hangs longer in the air so to speak) and also better placement of instruments and more space inbetween them and more "air". Another thing is solo voices/instruments can sound "shouting" on some compact discs, the HD version is more relaxed and natural. The annoying thing is you have to check every time if the wanted HD music is truly HD and not some fake....and not that easy to do. But I am popsitive to the HD music when done right, it really sounds better!

 

+1, I also, on some of the good recordings, seem to get a bit better bass. I think Barry D had cited something similar. But like you stated it has to be true Hi-Res..

"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place". George Bernard Shaw.

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My experience is that HD music can be enjoyed at a higher volume with less fatigue.

 

That too.

 

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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Personally, I have not yet been able to convince myself that I hear any really significant difference in the few comparisons I have made, mostly using HD downloads and the red book equivalent from the same (Hyperion) site, though I do seem to hear some of the improvements described in this thread. But I do have many HD albums that sound quite a bit better than even my best CDs, cleaner, more open and spacious. In the end, I am in the same camp as Musicophile, above. When in doubt, choose the highest definition. And I digitize my vinyl at 24/96/ or /192.

For my system details, please see my profile. Thank you.

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I am comparing a CD rip with a HD download of the same music.
Then the comparison is invalid.

 

You are not comparing high-res vs CD quality (i.e. lossless 16/44) you are comparing a CD to a download.

Unless the CD was released at the same time, the download is almost certainly from a different master. Even if it was released at the same time (e.g. an album released in the last 3-4 years) it may still be sourced from a different master, or improperly converted.

 

You need to take the high-res download and carefully down-convert that to 16/44 to properly evaluate this - which is why I would take the high-res file and handle the conversion myself, rather than rely on files provided by the download site.

 

I'm not saying that it can't be better, just that this test does not prove things one way or the other. I have many CDs which sound a lot better than the HD downloads, because they came from a different master.

 

You probably wouldn't conclude that CD-quality sounds better than HD downloads based on that comparison - just that that specific CD sounds better than that specific download.

 

You're comparing releases, not audio formats.

 

When in doubt, choose the highest definition.
If the difference is only a couple of bucks, sure. If the difference is 3x the cost, as is typical when comparing sites like HDtracks/Pono to the CD, I'm not going to blindly purchase the high-res download.

 

For me, purchasing a high-res download is more about getting around the fact that many downconversions to CD-quality are not handled correctly, rather than thinking that the high-res file itself should be inherently better.

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I am comparing a CD rip with a HD download of the same music.

 

Hi Starre,

 

It is possible then (perhaps even likely) that you are comparing two different masterings and not simply comparing the same thing at two different resolutions.

 

Since there are few instances where music and audio enthusiasts can make fair comparisons (knowing positively that both versions are from the same mastering), I created the Format Comparison page on the Soundkeeper website.

 

Using the samples on the site, you can compare different types of music and different instrumental combinations, recorded in different spaces. However, each of the different resolution samples of the same track were created at the same mastering session. All the differs is the delivery resolution.

 

***

 

On a side note, I will never understand why some folks suggest making comparisons of different resolution files by altering the files prior to listening. If I want to compare two different ways of making the same meal, I don't add a lot of salt to one of the dishes before tasting them. That does not represent how I would experience them in the real world. Similarly, if I'm listening to a high res version of a recording, I don't convert the sample rate downward, then upward again, and I don't turn it inside out. I just press the Play button and listen to it.

 

Of course, if you don't have multiple resolution samples of known origin, one way to compare is to down convert the high res file. However, the sample rate conversion algorithm and the dither/noise shaping algorithm can have a profound impact and skew the results to a false positive. Most of the former will, to my ears, tend to brighten and harden the sound. Most of the latter will tend to cloud up the sound and obscure low level details. In my view, a fair down conversion requires the very best algorithms as well as the knowledge and experience to set them properly. That said, I find it interesting that some folks can use quite colored algorithms for downconversion -- essentially creating a mess of the 16/44 version -- and yet report they don't hear a difference between the results and the high res original. (If they don't hear what the algorithms are doing, I don't believe they're going to hear any potential differences between the formats.)

 

***

 

A second note: Experience tells me that like everything else in audio, some folks will hear it and other folks won't hear it. Experience also tells me that some D-A converters -- those that automatically convert the sample rate of the input signal -- will "get in the way" as their sample rate conversion applies a coloration to the results that tends to obscure subtle differences. (This should not be confused with upsampling in the converter's filters.) I believe this is one reason why folks who make comparisons using only this type of DAC tend to report that they don't hear any difference.

 

***

 

So, if you are interested, try some samples from the Format Comparison page and see what you find.

 

Best regards,

Barry

Soundkeeper Recordings

http://www.soundkeeperrecordings.wordpress.com

http://www.barrydiamentaudio.

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Most of the latter [dither/noise shaping] will tend to cloud up the sound and obscure low level details
Something is not right then.

 

Dither, when properly implemented, does the exact opposite of this and prevents low-level details from being lost when performing any processing of the signal.

 

While, yes, it is technically adding noise, any noise that dither adds is far lower in amplitude than the distortions that it eliminates. If you can hear the dither, then you would have been much worse off without it.

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Of course, if you don't have multiple resolution samples of known origin, one way to compare is to down convert the high res file. However, the sample rate conversion algorithm and the dither/noise shaping algorithm can have a profound impact and skew the results to a false positive. Most of the former will, to my ears, tend to brighten and harden the sound. Most of the latter will tend to cloud up the sound and obscure low level details. In my view, a fair down conversion requires the very best algorithms as well as the knowledge and experience to set them properly. That said, I find it interesting that some folks can use quite colored algorithms for downconversion -- essentially creating a mess of the 16/44 version -- and yet report they don't hear a difference between the results and the high res original. (If they don't hear what the algorithms are doing, I don't believe they're going to hear any potential differences between the formats.)

 

Best regards,

Barry

Soundkeeper Recordings

www.soundkeeperrecordings.wordpress.com

www.barrydiamentaudio.

 

Agree, nice explanation.

 


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I am aware that it might not be the perfect comparision since it can be different masterings and so on, but I try to compare recordings that logically seems to be the same mastering, that is, it has the same source material which is converted to ordinary CD quality to manage to release it on CD. I try my best and have the impressions in my first post with a "pinch of salt", but the over all impression is those advantages I posted. Skeptic has the 100% answer (or as close you can get) to do a valid comparision, I agree.

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Something is not right then.

 

Dither, when properly implemented, does the exact opposite of this and prevents low-level details from being lost when performing any processing of the signal.

 

While, yes, it is technically adding noise, any noise that dither adds is far lower in amplitude than the distortions that it eliminates. If you can hear the dither, then you would have been much worse off without it.

 

Hi Skeptic,

 

What is not right appears to be in the misunderstanding of what I said.

When I said most dither/noise shaping algorithms will (to my ears) cloud up the sound and obscure low level details. Note that I made no mention of noise or of hearing the dither itself. I was talking about what happens to the *music* after the algorithm has been applied.

 

Have you listened to many dither/noise shaping algorithms? I've got more than a dozen of them and find they each create results that sound quite different from the results created by the others. I'm not talking about a theory I read somewhere. I'm talking about every day use and direct comparisons. Of course, like everything else in audio, different folks seem to have different sensitivities and I would not expect everyone to hear it. I would suggest trying some out if you're interested, to see if you do.

 

Best regards,

Barry

Soundkeeper Recordings

http://www.soundkeeperrecordings.wordpress.com

Barry Diament Audio

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I am aware that it might not be the perfect comparision since it can be different masterings and so on, but I try to compare recordings that logically seems to be the same mastering, that is, it has the same source material which is converted to ordinary CD quality to manage to release it on CD. I try my best and have the impressions in my first post with a "pinch of salt", but the over all impression is those advantages I posted. Skeptic has the 100% answer (or as close you can get) to do a valid comparision, I agree.

 

Hi Starre,

 

In many, of not most, instances of different formats of the same album, my experience has been that one format was mastered by one engineer and the other format by another engineer (with different sensibilities, a different approach, and usually in a different room with different gear) -- even if both engineers used the same source tape.

 

In such instances, you are comparing the different masterings and not the different formats. The only way to compare the formats is to eliminate the other variables and use two resolutions that were created by the same engineer at the same mastering session. And to *not* subject said files to any additional processing. That's why I created the page I linked to above.

 

Best regards,

Barry

Soundkeeper Recordings

http://www.soundkeeperrecordings.wordpress.com

Barry Diament Audio

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