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2L hi rez downloads

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Hello there again,

Since I´m still sitting on the fence or rather waiting for a DAC that will do the job well enough and still be portable,I´d like to ask again if anyone here has actually made any comparisons between the different file sizes and formats on the test site at 2L ?


I have only downloaded the 24/96 Flac files and converted them in Max and listened to them via my two headphone amps and Sennheiser 650s straight from my Macbook Pro.

I can hear that they are clearly superior to anything I´ve heard before from i-Tunes, but not as good as at SACD at its best .

Since I can´t set more than 24/96 in Audio Midi settings on my mac and I´m sure the onboard soundcard leaves more than a bit to be desired, I´m not surprised that SACD still clearly rules.


But what if I could play the 24/192 files?


Has anybody here with a good Dac compared the two?


And if so what are the differences between them?


I´m asking because I´d rather spend my money on the right format as soon as possible, than downloading the ok files and missing out on the really good ones.

And what about Flac versus Wav?

Can you play wav on a mac at all?

If my memory doesn´t fail me there was a paper by DCS saying something about 24/96 basically being the usable limit in PCM so far ,anything above that in consumer world wouldn´t really make things better maybe rather worse?

But then again if that is so, why would someone like Lindberg at 2 L offer both ?


On the other hand why is Reference Recordings using 24/176,4 instead of 24 /192?


I also asked quite a while ago if anyone here has any experience with the Korg MR1000, which I know is a recorder that records anything from DSD as in SACD DSD 128 and any PCM format up to 24/192.

If I could use it also as a DAC that would solve my problems and also give me in pro quality recording capability for around 1000 Dollars.

I´d have to get some better mikes than i have now but I´m tempted if it can do basically all I need in one box.

The question is can it?








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Hi Chrille - I can help with some of the questions and hopefully someone else will jump in with the rest.


I am waiting for my Berkeley Audio Design Alpha DAC to come in so I can listen to 24/1xx. So, I can tell you how the 2L different resolutions compare.


I do disagree with your statement "...I´m not surprised that SACD still clearly rules." There are so many variables involved in the process before the listener hears the first note that a comparison of formats is almost impossible in my opinion. I can certainly find Redbook CDs that sound better than SACDs in my collection. That being said, I am still a huge fan of SACD because the vast majority of them sound spectacular.


The HRx albums at 24/176.4 are absolutely the best sounding albums I have ever heard, including SACD and DVD-A.


You can certainly play WAV files on a Mac natively without any messing around. iTunes will play them back bit perfect right out of the box. In fact the Reference recordings HRx format comes in WAV and I have played them on my system a well as the converted tracks in AIFF format.


I believe Reference Recordings is releasing HRx on 24/176.4 because this is the resolution the recordings were made at. Plus, 24/176.4 is a multiple of 44.1, 88.2 ... Audio recordings scale much better in these multiples most of the time. I am certainly no expert in this area so please don't quote me on the previous statements :-) I believe the movie industry uses more variables of 48 so 96k and 192k make more sense there. I'm not sure why the 96k and 192k numbers are so popular, but I suspect it may have something to do with the consumer attitude that a higher number is better. Again, just speculation.


If you are looking for a DAC to pair up with you MacBook Pro I strongly recommend considering DACs that support up to 24/1xx sample rates. There is a bunch more 24/1xx music from some great artists in the works and I would hate to see you spend a bunch of money on a DAC that doesn't let you play the files back in their native resolution.


Founder of Audiophile Style | My Audio Systems

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Thanks for your usual quick response Chris.

I have one more question that I forgot to ask in my first posting .

Why are there so many USB DACs made and so few with Firewire?

In normal computer work , mostly photoshop in my case,I have found Firewire to be both faster and more reliable than USB.

My latest external harddrive a La Cie Firewire 800 is lightning fast shuffling data compared to a USB drive.

And if I got the facts right ,there is a new Firewire standard just around the corner with even faster speeds.

I´m surprised that so many companies offer what seems like yesterday´s connectivitiy instead of the best available.

Or are Macs the only computers with Firewire 800 ports?

Maybe there are other issues at work here ?


Regarding format comparisons I stand by my statement that RBCD is at best Mid Fi, and repeat.


You can´t get more than a pint out of a pint bottle no matter what tricks you try .


It can sound ok yes ,but never truly hi rez, simply because it isn´t.


And the fact that I can hear the difference between 24 and 16 bits even via the onboard soundcard of my Macbook Pro ,not to mention on a good SACD player playing the RBCD or SACD layer of hybrid discs, makes it very obvious to me, that 16 bits are simply not enough to accurately reproduce what a symphony orchestra can deliver.


Yes there are some crappy SACDs, even I have some of them.

In most cases mine are recycled low rez PCM recordings repacked as SACDs.

I have a couple of bad Cappricios.

But SACD as a format is inherently of higher resolution than RBCD, period!

And if an SACD is reasonably well recorded and mastered I can clearly hear the difference beween the two.


But if it is better than 24/96 or 24/192, that is of course a completely different question to which I haven´t got an answer.

All I said is that from what I´ can hear right now with my present setup SACD still rules for me.

But sometimes there is the dilemma of sound quality for its own sake or the best performance?

It just so happens that in i-Tunes I can listen to the ripped RBCD of Mutter playing Mozart´s 4th violin concerto and Thoresen on 2L.

Soundwise there is no question,

the 2L files sound clearly better .

But who is the better violinist ?

Now that, is another matter .

I think that there isn´t really anything seriously wrong with PCM as such, provided you use enough bits and sample them fast enough.

And finally after all these years of crappy CD sound it seems we´re about to get quailty sound delivered as downloads from several sources.

I for one, just hope that when BIS, Pentatone and Reference Recordings come onboard at HD Tracks they will do so with true hi rez files otherwise I´ll just keep buying their SACDs.

All the best












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Hi Chrille - You make some very valid points and I do agree with you on 99.99% of them.


I believe USB is more popular right now for a few reasons. First, there isn't a computer made today without USB ports. The same cannot be said for FireWire. Second, I believe FW is vastly more expensive to imlement in a DAC. Don't quote me on the second one, but I think I've heard this from a few manufacturers. Third, there can be much more jitter from a FW interface if not done right and this may be a reason for the higher cost.


I also use a FW 800 drive and it really is nice. Unfortunately these ports are so few and far between a manufacturer could never sell enough to justify the cost. I also think there is enough bandwidth in FW 400 to handle at least 24/192.


Founder of Audiophile Style | My Audio Systems

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