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Digital Resolution -- An Analysis

192.181.133.141

Posted on September 2, 2020 at 17:21:46
John Elison
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An audio buddy of mine recently sent me an email in which he quoted his friend talking about the introduction of digital into the telephone industry. His friend worked for AT&T and was instrumental in incorporating digital technology to replace the analog system in use at the time. Here's what he wrote:



After reading this, it occurred to me that this might be a good method to use for comparing the various digital formats being used in audio today. The method to evaluate and compare the different digital resolutions would be to multiply the sampling rate by the quantization bit rate for each digital format. That way the various digital formats could be compared on an equal basis. For example, the resolution of 16/44 Redbook would look like this:

Redbook resolution = 44,100-Hz x 16-bits = 705,600-bits/s per channel

DSD64 (SACD) resolution = 2,822,400-Hz x 1-bit = 2,822,400-bits/s per channel

If we allow 16/44 Rebook to be the standard to which the other formats are compared, we can see how much higher resolution the other formats provide. For example, here's how SACD compares to Redbook:

2,822,400 / 705,600 = 4.000-times Higher Resolution than Redbook

Here's a table of how some of the other digital formats compare to 16/44 Redbook:




As can be seen from the table, DXD has a resolution that falls in-between the resolution of DSD128 and DSD256. It also shows that 24/176.4 and 24/192 PCM both have significantly higher resolution than standard SACD. I have a feeling that DSD512 might be overkill when you compare the additional memory required for storage. On the other hand, DXD might be the most efficient digital format from the standpoint of digital resolution relative to the amount of storage memory required.

Anyway, I thought this type of comparison was rather interesting so I wanted to see what some of you other digital enthusiasts think about this concept.

Thanks!
John Elison

 

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RE: Digital Resolution -- An Analysis, posted on September 3, 2020 at 03:03:51
Roseval
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I'm afraid you most of all made a file size calculator.
Not to be mistaken for resolution.
IMHO resolution should be expressed in dynamic range and frequency range.
If you do, you will notice that DSD64 isn't such a big (4000!) improvement at all



The Well Tempered Computer

 

+1, posted on September 3, 2020 at 04:11:36
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The lay listener should also not think of 'resolution' in this context as something qualitative, it is simply a representation of the dynamic range (though, as Roseval points out, you cannot compare PCM & DSD on bit rate because of the DSD noise shaping). And, as redbook PCM already has more dynamic range than anyone can reproduce is 'resolution' even meaningful in the quantitative sense?

Regards,
13DoW

 

DSD goes 0-100,000 hz. PCM? nt, posted on September 3, 2020 at 07:21:41
oldmkvi
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/

 

RE: Digital Resolution -- An Analysis, posted on September 3, 2020 at 07:30:33
John Elison
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The number is four -- not four thousand. However, I think you're right about it representing the difference in file size instead of the difference in resolution.

Thanks!
John Elison

 

RE: Digital Resolution -- An Analysis, posted on September 3, 2020 at 09:25:13
Roseval
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2,822,400 / 705,600 = 4.000-times Higher Resolution than Redbook

For me (Europe) 4000 is written as 4.000
LOL

The Well Tempered Computer

 

RE: Digital Resolution -- An Analysis, posted on September 3, 2020 at 10:10:07
John Elison
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> 2,822,400 / 705,600 = 4.000-times Higher Resolution than Redbook
>
> For me (Europe) 4000 is written as 4.000

There's another valid method for using commas and periods when writing numbers. I use a period as the decimal separator and I use a comma for the thousands separator or digit group separator. This should have been apparent when you saw the number 2,822,400 written with commas to separate each three-digit group.

Best regards,
John Elison

 

The answer is on Roseval's chart [nt], posted on September 3, 2020 at 11:16:19
Chris from Lafayette
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Or this, from HDTT Website:, posted on September 3, 2020 at 13:37:42
oldmkvi
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/

 

RE: Or this, from HDTT Website:, posted on September 3, 2020 at 14:20:26
John Elison
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Yes, I like DSD very much. I own a TASCAM DA-3000 DSD128 recorder and I now copy all my vinyl records in DSD128. I also own at least 40 or more DSD256 albums and they sound absolutely spectacular. I definitely like DSD.

Thanks!
John Elison

 

RE: Or this, from HDTT Website:, posted on September 3, 2020 at 15:34:09
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The DSD sampling rate is 64x that of redbook but the amplitude resolution is actually 1/32768 that of redbook. Multiply those together and DSD 512x worse than redbook - but at least it does so 'with astonishing regularity' :)

13DoW


ps. DSD overcomes that deficiency by using a lot of noise shaping and so it does end up somewhat similar to 24/96 PCM - as shown in the picture posted by Roseval.

 

That's all very well if you ignore the associated noise of DSD, posted on September 3, 2020 at 18:45:14
Chris from Lafayette
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Do you get the implications of Roseval's chart? This fetish for higher and higher sampling rates (to the exclusion of everything else) continues to amaze me.

(And, BTW, DSD128 pushes that noise up an octave, while DSD256 pushes it up another octave.)

 

RE: That's all very well if you ignore the associated noise of DSD, posted on September 3, 2020 at 19:32:09
John Elison
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I'm a firm believer in letting my ears be the judge. With respect to audible sound quality, there's nothing better than DSD128 and DSD256. At least that's what I hear in my system.

With respect to PCM, DXD would be my choice relative to sound quality.

Best regards,
John Elison

 

Hi, John - I've got the ability to play all those formats you mention [nt] ;-), posted on September 3, 2020 at 20:16:33
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RE: That's all very well if you ignore the associated noise of DSD, posted on September 3, 2020 at 20:30:10
zacster
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The few tracks I have in DSD 256 are the best sounding tunes I've ever heard. I prefer it to DXD. The problem is that most of what I find in DSD 128 or 256 is just audiophile stuff that I'm not interested in.

 

Great! Me, too!, posted on September 3, 2020 at 22:52:49
John Elison
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Which format do you like best?

I have more than 40 DSD256 albums and I think DSD256 really sounds awesome. I also own a TASCAM DA-3000 DSD recorder and I've made 65 DSD128 recordings from my vinyl records. Recently, I've heard some DXD recordings and I think they sound very good, too. Actually, I like the sound of most hi-rez digital formats including some of the newer 16/44 CDs. I've been collecting hi-rez digital recordings for several years now.

Best regards,
John Elison

 

RE: That's all very well if you ignore the associated noise of DSD, posted on September 3, 2020 at 23:00:30
John Elison
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Well, if you like vinyl, you can always copy your favorite LPs in DSD128 with a TASCAM DA-3000 DSD recorder. That way you can have DSD128 recordings of music you like. However, I've found a lot of commercial DSD256 recordings from places like Native DSD sound good to me.

Best regards,
John Elison

 

RE: Great! Me, too!, posted on September 4, 2020 at 00:52:42
Chris from Lafayette
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I generally feel the same way you do about the hi-rez formats, although my own general preference is for PCM. I believe I was early on the bandwagon with hi-rez, as I started around 2000 with both DVD-Audio and SACD (two separate players at the time). As time has gone on though, I've come to feel more and more that the MCh experience makes a huge difference in my own enjoyment (in addition to the various hi-rez formats), and I feel that I'll soon make the move to a Dolby Atmos capable system. And, like you, I still enjoy many plain old CD's and CD-resolution files.

EDIT: Actually I thought I'd list a couple of my faves in each of the highest rez formats.

DSD256: Bach Cello Suites (Eijlander)
Rimsky-Korsakov et al Band Music (Netherlands Navy Marine Band)
Mahler Third Symphony (Fischer, BFO)

DXD: Berlioz Symphonie funebre et triomphal, etc. (Staff Band of the Norwegian Armed Forces)
Mahler Seventh Symphony (Jansons, Concertgebouw)
Bruckner Ninth Symphony; Wagner Parsifal Excerpts (Gatti, Concertgebouw)

(I guess this is pretty conventional "sonic blockbuster" repertoire, except for the Bach Cello Suites.)

 

RE: That's all very well if you ignore the associated noise of DSD, posted on September 4, 2020 at 04:36:52
zacster
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I'd rather just play the LP instead of spending $900. That's 5x above what I paid for my entire digital setup.

I've downloaded all of the NativeDSD and SoundLiaison samples, plus I tried the Carmen Gomes in both DXD and DSD256. And that is the problem. I can't stand her voice and much of the other stuff on there is also recorded for audiophile recording's sake. It just isn't music I like and just think of it all as the "Norwegian Sound". And having recently been to Norway on a family vacation, that's what the music there sounded like to me even performed live. Always just a bit too laid back.

 

More resolution= more more information. When is inaudible noise really, posted on September 4, 2020 at 09:13:50
oldmkvi
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Noise?
You can't hear it, I can't hear it.
I've seen hi-res bashing before, some think 24/96 is too much.
You seem to have a Thing about DSD noise.
You don't think the smoother wave form of DSD to be important either.
Hey, it works for me, I never think about this stuff, except here!

I have done Live Recordings in 24/96, 24/192, and DSD 64.
DSD is so much more relaxed and natural.
If I could record in DSD 128 or 256, I would,
but like the Portable recorder format, not so much gear to lug and set-up.

 

Some of those high frequencies themselves are inaudible too!, posted on September 4, 2020 at 10:17:33
Chris from Lafayette
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Furthermore, some folks say that DSD's UHF noise interacts with and interferes with audible frequencies too. I wouldn't know, but other listeners on this board have frequently commented on the unnatural "softness" of DSD and have theorized that that UHF noise may be a factor in this perception. If you like it though, I'm not going to argue with you. As far as the shape of the waves is concerned, do you listen with your eyes much? You wouldn't be the first to be duped by that.

Nevertheless, I'm very happy for you if you prefer DSD - Knock yourself out!

 

RE: Some of those high frequencies themselves are inaudible too!, posted on September 4, 2020 at 12:23:10
John Elison
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Do you like vinyl? If you do, it's because you listened to it and decided it sounded good. You certainly didn't measure it and discover it has so little distortion it had to sound good. Of course not! Vinyl has more distortion and noise than just about any other format I've encountered. Furthermore, the distortion and noise is nearly all in the audible range. Therefore, the only way anyone can like vinyl is if they use there ears to make that decision. If that's the case, you should listen to DSD256 and let your ears be the judge.

Good luck,
John Elison

 

RE: That's all very well if you ignore the associated noise of DSD, posted on September 4, 2020 at 12:45:03
John Elison
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> I'd rather just play the LP instead of spending $900. That's 5x above what I paid for my entire digital setup.

Okay! Different strokes for different folks!

To me, $900 is downright cheap.

My turntable with arm and cartridge cost more than $16,000 and my phono-stage cost $4,200. My speakers combined with Rythmik servo subs cost over $17,000. I just bought a $3,000 Mytek Brooklyn Bridge and a pair of $6,000 PS Audio 1200-watt monoblock amplifiers. Therefore, $900 is downright cheap to me.

To each his own!

Good luck,
John Elison

 

"Do you like vinyl?" - No. Although I tolerate it occasionally., posted on September 4, 2020 at 16:25:26
Chris from Lafayette
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When CD's came out, I couldn't unload my LP's fast enough. Regarding DSD256, I already agreed with you that it sounds great, even though my preference is for PCM. (See further below.)

All I'm objecting to are these DSD-Yahoos who think that, ooh!, 0-to-100kHz frequency response (or whatever) is the ultimate - to the naive exclusion of any other consideration.

 

RE: Digital Resolution -- An Analysis, posted on September 5, 2020 at 09:45:12
AbeCollins
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I think what you have is an analysis of raw file size, but not entirely correct because you can use lossless compression on those PCM files to make them smaller w/o any loss in audio quality. For example you can compress with FLAC or ALAC and upon playback there's zero loss in quality.

But I don't think it's really a comparison of resolution, just file size and maybe bit-rate for streaming. Additionally, you reach a point of diminishing returns rather quickly in terms of actual audible differences.

IMHO the biggest factor is how well the original material was recorded / mastered. I'd take a well recorded and mastered CD 16/44.1 file over a "higher resolution" 24/192 or DSD512 file from a lesser quality recording any day.

And for folks who rip vinyl, I doubt that there's anything to be gained going beyond about 24/96 as there's no more useful information or dynamic range than that coming off the LP.... perhaps a bit more noise to pickup but that's about it.




 

RE: Digital Resolution -- An Analysis, posted on September 5, 2020 at 10:42:08
John Elison
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You're right! It's just a file size calculator. I just didn't think it through completely.

Thanks!
John Elison

 

RE: Digital Resolution -- An Analysis, posted on September 5, 2020 at 11:23:00
AbeCollins
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It's still an interesting analysis.

If you take the bit-rates and calculate them out to Mb/s for 2-channel audio and compare that to the internet service that you have, or cellphone data plan, you'll see what your minimum bandwidth requirement must be for streaming.

In the case of cellphone data, you will also see that "hi-res" will quickly eat into your data plan - unless you have an unlimited plan. But even that gets tricky because some cell services severely cut off your bandwidth if you go beyond a limit - even for certain so-called unlimited plans.



 

RE: Digital Resolution -- An Analysis, posted on September 5, 2020 at 13:39:42
John Elison
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Okay! Here's the bit-speed for the various formats. However, this doesn't include the reduction from FLAC compression.



 

RE: Digital Resolution -- An Analysis, posted on September 5, 2020 at 14:18:39
rivervalley817
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brought this link over from Classical & thought it might be pertinent as the same subject is being chewed on:

best regards,

 

Thanks for the link..., posted on September 5, 2020 at 16:13:39
John Elison
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I'm not sure I understand it completely, but I'll study it some more.

Thanks again!
John Elison

 

Yet why did you purchase a player that's capable of reproducing more noise that our Sony's can? : ) nt, posted on September 5, 2020 at 17:08:11
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Huh? You'll have to explain that one, jdaniel. [nt], posted on September 5, 2020 at 20:12:45
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RE: Great! Me, too!, posted on September 6, 2020 at 02:37:45
flood2
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I'm not questioning your preference for DSD playback vs PCM. Personally I have settled on 24/176 for convenience in editing and format conversion.

However, out of interest, have you converted your DSD files back to PCM using the Tascam software and compared the result? If so, do you still prefer the DSD version? Similarly have you converted a redbook file to DSD and compared back to the original and had the same preference? If so, then what you are hearing has more to do with the decoding phase rather than any inherent advantage of recording in DSD. dCS introduced DSD conversion in the Purcell (IIRC) and reviews were mixed between DSD and PCM upsampling of redbook. This could well have been due to changes in jitter through the additional set of transmission lines. WIth the Tascam software, this issue is eliminated.

The ADC in the DA-3000 samples the signal identically whether you select DSD or PCM - the difference is the whether the bitstream is fed to an additional decimation plus HPF stage or not.

Although PDM/PEM/PWM DACs were introduced in the 90s to overcome the linearity issues with the multi-bit DACs, in theory, 1 bit coding is fundamentally flawed due to the inability to adequately dither the signal without saturating the modulator - a multi-bit modulator is needed to properly dither the signal and avoid saturation. Lipshitz published a paper with the AES (2001) providing the proof to his assertion.
Regards Anthony

"Beauty is Truth, Truth Beauty.." Keats

 

Yours processes quad DSD, right? Our Sony's only 128. Nt, posted on September 6, 2020 at 11:21:05
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Yes - my DAC process DSD256 - so how does that produce more noise? [nt], posted on September 6, 2020 at 11:33:13
Chris from Lafayette
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Well, 2 X's the DSD.... Was just joke. Nt., posted on September 6, 2020 at 15:16:12
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As for me..., posted on September 7, 2020 at 10:09:53
E-Stat
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I find 96/24 to offer the best overall compromise in true musical resolution. If a recording is mastered in 192/24 as are many classical titles, I choose that because downsampling involves compromises. I have no interest in upsampling even when that "softens" the results as you find with DSD content. I'll take the original.

I have many 176/24 recordings that were originally released in SACD. DXD was originally introduced for editing SACD content.

 

Now, if we understood the relationship between bit "density" and perceived sound quality. nt , posted on September 10, 2020 at 11:45:11
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Gsquared

 

That might be different for everybody! /nt\, posted on September 10, 2020 at 15:15:43
John Elison
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RE: Now, if we understood the relationship between bit "density" and perceived sound quality. nt , posted on September 10, 2020 at 17:42:45
flood2
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Without understanding the information value conveyed per bit, "Bit density" is a meaningless metric to use in comparing PCM to PDM ("DSD").
What matters is the level of information that is conveyed per unit time. "Resolution" relates the accuracy of the decoded information per unit to represent the original signal. Since a 1 bit converter only has two states compared to a given N-level multi-bit converter, the DSD format needs far more symbols to be transmitted per unit time to convey the same information as a multi-bit converter. DSD is therefore the least efficient way to convey information and why coding in DSD results in larger file sizes. The problem to solve is to recover the encoded signal with the least error.

Back in the 80s and 90s due to the manufacturing challenges in achieving perfect trimming of the resistors down to the LSB, multi-bit converters suffered from poor linearity which is where the shift to PDM gave a theoretical advantage. However, the code/decode accuracy is highly dependent on the level of jitter on the reference clock signals. Additionally, coding a signal with a 1 bit converter results in residual quantisation noise due to the fundamental inability to adequately dither the signal compared to a multi-bit converter - 3 to 4 bits is required for perfect dither.
Therefore any claim of the superiority of DSD to PCM is pointless - the question should be which method gives the smallest error signal between the recovered signal and the original signal. Unfortunately that comes down to the equipment used.




Regards Anthony

"Beauty is Truth, Truth Beauty.." Keats

 

Anyone with a working knowledge of Information Theory ..., posted on September 10, 2020 at 17:45:21
flood2
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...should be on the same page
Regards Anthony

"Beauty is Truth, Truth Beauty.." Keats

 

No one, especially me, says that is the Only reason., posted on September 13, 2020 at 09:21:31
oldmkvi
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Go back to making Babe Posts, that suits you.

 

RE: Digital Resolution -- An Analysis, posted on September 13, 2020 at 09:37:34
lmaletz@comcast.net
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I find John Ellison's analysis of digital resolution relevant and useful.
The bit length x sampling frequency, which he listed for various formats in comparison to Redbook CD format, expresses the potential resolution of those formats, eg. the obtainable throughput (or bandwidth in its digital sense) of digital information (one can use either bits or bytes).
Insofar as digital audio entails conversion of analog signals to digital signals and then back to analog signals, and neither signal can be more than an approximation of the other, higher potential resolution allows closer approximation of the signals.
Of course what one hears is what matters. The ear has differential perception of frequencies much as the eye has for instance increased perception of tonal difference in shadowy verses brightly illuminated scenes.
To my elderly ears, higher resolution digital music offers audible improvement over lower resolution digital music at least up to, as John Ellison listed, 13.06 times CD resolution, ie that of so-called DXD. For me the audible difference inaudio format, DSD versus PCM, diminishes with increasing resolution such that at DXD or DSD256 the difference is scarcely if at all perceivable.
Let me conclude by citing Rushton Paul's newly released article in 'Positive Feedback' where he notes that several studios now record in DXD or DSD128. Having purchased a few albums in DXD format, and aware that recording technology continues to improve in respects other than digitization, I consider that money well spent.
Seventies

 

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