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Too Much Emphasis on 24-bit/176.4kHz?


audiopundit
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Are we placing too much emphasis on acquiring equipment than will play back 24-bit/176kHz? As best as I can tell, Reference Recordings has released only nine albums at that resolution, at $45 a pop, and nothing else is available. Some, but certainly not most, of the independent labels have issued music at 24-bit/88.2kHz and 24-bit/96kHz through HD Tracks. But admit it, how many of us actually like the music offered there. There isn't one chance in a gazillion that any major label will make available digital audio files at anything beyond 16-bit/44.1Khz in our lifetime, if ever. For goodness sake, they are almost having a stroke about releasing 128kpbs lossy non-DRM files through iTunes. Clearly 24/96 is all the resolution that is required to play back all but a handful of recordings. Let's not turn up our nose at it.

 

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Hi Audiopundit - Welcome to Computer Audiophile. Your question about placing too much emphasis on equipment that can play 24/176.4 is very subjective. On one hand those of use that listen to music over 24/96 think a DAC that can handle 24/176.4 is absolutely critical. On the other hand readers who will spend $2500 to $5000 to $20000 on a new DAC usually want the unit to support the current sample rates they listen to now and in the not to distant future.

 

"There isn't one chance in a gazillion that any major label will make available digital audio files at anything beyond 16-bit/44.1Khz in our lifetime, if ever."

 

I'm happy to report you are 100% incorrect with the above statement :~)

 

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing The Audiophile Style Podcast

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AP,

 

While I trust Chris knows what he's talking about when he says that we will have major labels (re-)publishing material at great than 44.1kHz, I'm with you in believing that most of the music put out at greater than RBCD sample rates at this time is, well, it's been called audiophile pablum.

 

My DAC only supports up to 96 kHz, and I've had NOT even one single thought about needing something higher. Indeed, I don't even own any native hi-res music. I was going to download some of the freebie stuff - but I listened to it first, and changed my mind.

 

I listen to most types of music, with the glaring exception of classical (of which I have three dozen or so disks which I rarely listen to, except Mozart) and opera (of which I have none).

 

I'll admit to having purchased many 'audiophile' recordings in the past, but absolutely NONE of them have been ripped to my computer. Life's too short to listen to music that doesn't move you. There is some crossover music that is very well recorded and quite enjoyable - Patricia Barber, Cowboy Junkies, Valerie Joyce, Rebecca Pidgeon, Kavi Alexander's world music (aka Water Lily), but only the Junkies is in rotation for me.

 

We have people just getting into computer audio who come here wanting a DAC that supports 192 kHz. I keep my mouth shut, but I just don't get it.

 

I can't remember the attribution - so please know that this isn't mine - but I'm reminded of something I read on another forum: Audiophiles are the only hobbyists in the world who purchase gear as if it they have to use it forever when it's usually replaced in a year or two. :)

 

Another thing, even though I'm the musical adventurist in my group of friends, i.e., I'm always on the lookout for new music - MOST of the music I listen to was recorded years ago, and the vast MAJORITY of music that I am likely to listen to in the next 5 years will likely only be recorded at RBCD standard. IOW, I may not even need 96 kHz.

 

The file size increases for hi-res are rather large, as well. Doubling the sampling rate and increasing the bit depth by 50% requires lot of extra bits.

 

The mileage of others will undoubtedly vary, and rightly so. People's choices in music and art are intensely personal, and not to be trifled with.

 

clay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I'm optomistic that what will happen is in short time even 24/192 will be mainstream. However, nothing wrong with sticking with 24/96 or 16/44.1. I like them all for different reasons and yes even the 16/44.1 sounds great when done right.

Im working with an artist whose eyes poped put when I told him I wanted to record him at 24/96 (the limit of his home studio). Could it hurt to send the artists you like e-mails and just ask or look for local artists you like and inform them of the hi-res option?

 

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AP says:

"There isn't one chance in a gazillion that any major label will make available digital audio files at anything beyond 16-bit/44.1Khz in our lifetime, if ever."

 

Chris responds:

"I'm happy to report you are 100% incorrect with the above statement."

 

Clay wonders, will any of the major labels actually be recording/selling natively at beyond 16-bit/44.1kHz or 16-bit/48 kHz? Will it happen in the next 5 years? Will it be classical only?

 

 

 

 

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Hi Clay - Trust me it's not Classical only! The major labels are transferring much of their analog material at high resolution sample rates (above 16 bit and above 48k).

 

The labels actually see another way to sell the same content in the same way they did with Cassette and CD.

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing The Audiophile Style Podcast

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And how will this resampled content be distributed? My guess is that any hi-rez music targeting the mass market will will be distributed on Blu-ray along with a lot of video. And, of course, the consortium will make it as difficult as possible to get that content onto a hard drive.

 

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Hi Everyone - I had an idea something was up with the original post in this thread so I spent about two minutes figuring it out with the tools available to me. The original poster was actually Frank Berryman (who goes by faberryman in his other posts) the admin of the new ultra high end forum website trolling as a different user with the name Audiopundit.

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

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I agree that there's not that much being made available in high res, and that it's clearly viewed by the big labels as an insignificant niche market. BUT, there's lots of great music being put out on audiophile LP's and is that any more of a market than the potential computer audiophile crowd? I'm hopeful that the labels will see the same opportunity to pick up marginal income from their libraries by licensing titles to entrepreneurs like Chesky, etc. for high res download.

 

While waiting, I'm ripping that audiophile vinyl to 24/176 and thoroughly enjoying the results.

 

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is hanging on a thread as he is not finding much rock to support is audio habits. He likes the playback of ripped 16/44.1, but feels left out when we talk about hi-res content. He is insisting on upsampling his collection to 24/88.2 and possibly 24/176.4. I told him to buy "soundforge". I have had good results the few times I have tried it. One case the sound stage opened up and the other the singers voice had less break up.

Team any thoughts on software upsampling?

 

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but I've ripped all my DVD-Audio to HD and the 24/192 stuff is quite good (Jackson Browne, David Crosby, Neil Young, REM, Steely Dan, etc.), and worth the hassle. Now....if EMI would just get past the 9/09/09 release party and then announce that the remastered 24/192 Beatle catalog (all the masters are being done at 24/192 before the redbook downsample) would be available natively...well, then we have a killer app!! :)

 

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That's great news, Chris.

 

Although the recording industry has been known to screw things up - think DRM, even though Apple seemed to have received most of the brunt of that.

 

So, count me as cautiously optimistic.

 

Clay

 

 

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1. I don't get the significance that "Frank" (whom I don't know) is the OP. Is there an implied bias (or worse)?

 

2. I agree that the "too much emphasis" determination requires a value judgment in any answer is truly subjective (i.e., an opinion).

 

3. There are fairly strong tech arguments for going to 24 bits, if only to lessen upstream (i.e., recording session levels, mixing, mastering) challenges. Of course playback becomes 'easier' too (e.g., dithering).

 

4. It's tougher to rationalize higher sampling rates, esp. above 88k/96k. I simply have not encountered any explanation that makes sense technically.

 

5. So why then do we hear a difference above 96k? I honestly don't know. Possibilities include: (1) more care is made with these recordings; (2) since most comparisons are made to 16/44k, we are really just hearing the 24 bits; (3) we are hearing second-order, system-dependent effects and not any intrinsic add'l 'rightness' of the media; and/or (4) to hell with the science, the ultra-hirez stuff IS better.

 

6. Given my comments above, I guess it comes as no shock that I favor 24/88k or 24/96k as the 'best' format for audiophile digital. But I happily play ultra-hirez too!

 

As always, YMMV....

 

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of all the Hi Res 24/44.1, 24/48, 24/88.2 and 24/96 music files THAT I WOULD ACTUALLY ENJOY that are available to download. Not so difficult given the small number of HiRes music stores. I listened to a lot of music samples and music on You Tube compiling my list of future purchases over 3-4 days! Also hi res files available to rip from the limited selection of DVD-A, DVD-V, DAD, BluRay, etc. I like 50% of Classical, 5% of Jazz and almost all the other genres. The list was much bigger than I expected and would keep me more than happy until future Hi Res titles become available. Supplemented by upsampled 16/44 of course.

 

I made the list because I was concerned about investing in expensive gear if there was little music to play on it.

 

I also find that I enjoy the quality of the Hi Res files so much that I go back to individual albums more than with RBCD. Fewer titles go farther. Hi Octane?

 

James[br]

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James,

 

I think the more important 'list' might be the one which captures the music above 96kHz.

 

Gear that supports 96k is common place, and all interfaces support 96k, at least that I'm aware of.

 

It does cost more - in dollars and file sizes - to go beyond 96k, and that is where the decision lies, in my opinion.

 

clay

 

 

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Yes thank you Clay for pointing out that I was off the thread topic of whether to go above 24/96 or not. So let me clarify that I was discussing the decision to invest in Computer Audio equipment to connect my Mac to my 2 channel stereo system. In order to play any hi res downloads from 24/96 and lower instead of only RBCD. Which to buy? Wavelength, Metric Halo or Weiss DAC and associated gear? Based on available music I feel it is a worthwhile investment to go for a great DAC that can play up to 24/96.

 

As for the thread topic I suppose I'm implicitly saying that I am not going to invest in gear that can play above 24/96. Based on present music selection alone and best guesses as to future availablity of files at a higher resolution than 24/96. Especially of artists from the mainstream labels. They might offer files at 24/176 and above in 10 years. Maybe not at all. Whereas 24/96 downloads in the near future are more realistic bet.

 

James[br]

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