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In Reply to: RE: Xiph Foundation Leader Calls High-Res Audio a Waste of Bandwidth posted by tom.dennehy on March 07, 2012 at 12:20:45
I never liked how high resolution digitized audio sounds........ There's a fatiguing character to the playback, and I think excessive RFI is what causes it.
Whether it's a "waste of bandwidth" remains to be seen...... If the problem with fatiguing sound and/or RFI can be mitigated, high-rez digital audio could still become the medium of choice.
I've done a number of 24/96 and 16/44 comparisons using my Wadia 861es as DAC with its internal transport for 16/44 and my Denon 2900 feeding the 24/96 data stream with a few of the Classic Records 24/96 DVD-V releases that I had in both formats. Too many variables to make a definitive statement but to me the sound was very difficult to differentiate.
Difference between 16/44 and 128/192 MP3 is readily apparent to me but 256/320 gets tougher. Quality of recording/mixing/mastering seems to be the most important factor.
The differences narrow when the bitrates get higher - but in order to hear the differences, you have to begin to control jitter to anal levels - and what you will find most astonishing is that percussive effects are very realistic (in some recordings I heard the sonorous resonance of a block of wood being hit on Redbook v s 320kbps MP3 of the same track where it sounded more like a "thwack" similar to a rimshot. For instance.).
You will also find that Redbook CD sounds much better than you ever thought possible - and that there is a gulf of difference between RBCD and 320kbps - but only if you control jitter, and pay attention to small details in the design (feedback, ground planes, noise, etc.). With higher bitrates it seems these details are "on tap" with much less fuss and attention to these sort of details - the upshot being is it is cheaper to have the feeling of a live performance with these higher bitrates.
I do think the "naysayers" are right in that RBCD should be capable of astonishing resolution and "all you need" ... but I think when you enter the world of actual equipment, and engineering - and recording technologies - that the 16bit/44.1kHz PCM isn't really that compatible with inexpensive quality sound reproduction.
"Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad"
"the upshot being is it is cheaper to have the feeling of a live performance with these higher bitrates."
That's a very interesting thought! I'm fact I've found all of your comments in this thread quite enlightening as they help to explain some of my experiences. If you are right then I have to turn my thinking on it's head...
Rather than higher sample rates or bit depths requiring ever better clocks and DAC's to resolve properly maybe for listening it's really is the other way 'round: since each sample has less effect on the overall output energy and improves the temporal resolution then they become individually less critical as they approach continuous analog.
When listening to very good 192/24 recordings I sometimes get an involuntary mental picture of 10.5" reels turning on a tape machine running at 15 IPS. I don't get this mental image from lower sample rate material.
"Diversity is the law of nature; no two entities in this universe are uniform." - P.R. Sarkar
"You will also find that Redbook CD sounds much better than you ever thought possible"
The best Redbook CD playback is indeed satisfying...... The hard part is painstaking diligence is necessary to get there.
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