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What exactly is the point of 24/44 music files?


AudioDoctor
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I just downloaded the latest Melody Gardot album and I could only find it in 24/44. Thanks for enlightening me.

 

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I just downloaded the latest Melody Gardot album and I could only find it in 24/44. Thanks for enlightening me.

 

Tends to sound better than 16 bit. Also playable on iOS devices.

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Mixing, mastering, recording etc. is going to be done in 24 bit. Perhaps rather than go through an additional step of conversion to 16 bit they offered the final master in its native 44/24 format. Many/most studios are recording at either 48/24 or 44/24.

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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I just downloaded the latest Melody Gardot album and I could only find it in 24/44. Thanks for enlightening me.

 

Actually of the two parts of a digital audio quantization process, the bit depth is actually the more readily associated with playback quality than is sampling rate (not that 88.2, 96 or 192 KHz isn't superior to 44.1, it is, but 44.1 takes your audio bandwidth out to 22.05 KHz, and many feel that's certainly adequate for music). But 24-bits as opposed to 16-bits will theoretically give one 144 dB of dynamic range instead of the "mere" 96 dB afforded by 16-bit. Of course, one doesn't really get 144 dB with 24-bit, because none of the associated analog circuitry is anywhere near that quiet, and 24-bit DACs don't really give true 24-bits of resolution. Most 24-bit DACs are capable of no more that 17-21 bits of true resolution (depending upon the converter design) but that's enough to allow enough more low-level resolution that it makes it possible to record music at a lower volume and thus avoid gain-riding, record compression to avoid over modulation (you NEVER want to over modulate digital! going over "0" Vu on the meters even a little bit is a sonic disaster). On the other hand at 16-bit, you don't want to record at too low a volume either lest your recording be down in the mud, where noise and distortion are very high in the digital world*. The extra 8 bits allows the recording engineer to avoid both extremes: over modulation and noisy recordings by using the greater latitude that more bits provides. I think that on playback, one notices the bit depth more than one notices the extra bandwidth beyond the 22.05 KHz of 44.1 KHz sampling. Not so sure that this would be true on a direct comparison between 24/44.1 and 24/88.2, 96, or 192 KHz sampling, but without comparing directly, i suspect that the differences would not be readily apparent most, if not all, listeners because doubling the sample rate only doubles the frequency response of the recording to 44.1 KHz from 22.05 KHz, and that entire extra bandwidth is ultra-sonic! I.E. many experts say that you can't hear it anyway (even though spectrum analysis has proved that there are music overtones that are up that high).

 

* The maximum number of available bits is only used in digital audio when the signal volume is at "0" Vu. IOW, with a 16-bit system, "0" Vu = 16-bits, with a 24-bit system, "0" Vu = 24-bits. To illustrate what happens as the volume level drops, in a 16-bit system, half the volume of "0" Vu = 8-bits being utilized, 8-bits = a signal-to-noise ratio of only 48 dB! 48 dB is noisier and more distorted than an old shellac 78 RPM record from the 1930's! Hardly high-fidelity, now, is it?

But in a 24-bit system, half the volume of "0" Vu = 12-bits being utilized. 12-bits = a signal-to-noise ratio of about 72 dB! 72 dB is roughly equal to the maximum dynamic range of a half-track, 30 inches-per-second, master reel-to-reel analog tape made on a really good professional tape deck.

George

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I decided to start, Melody is only touring in Europe... English was easier than French. Plus, my French sounds like a Monty Python skit...

 

You mean like this:

 

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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You mean like this:

 

 

Thanks Esldude - one of the all time great comedy sketches - haven't seen it for years and it still makes me laugh.

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