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RE: What would you expect to hear if......

That depends on whether it was a dithered (noise added) conversion or a truncation (simple chopping off) of the 4 LSBs. You may not readily notice any difference should you not be told to listen for one. Dithering to 12-bits will deliver about the same SNR (72dB) as a fairly good vinyl LP. Dithering adds random noise, while truncation increases measured distortion.

That said, have long ago listened to files where what you propose was done, with the various audio tracks made available for download from some website which I no longer recall. The resolution reduction included versions taken all the way down to 4-bits per sample, as I recall. My subjective assessment was not what I had expected. I preferred the sound of the truncated tracks until the resoution was reduced close to minimum. My ears perceived dither noise as a annoying distraction from the intended audio content. The truncated track of the same low resolution had obviouse anomalies (audible distortion), yet I found those anomalies to distract less from the intended audio content. As the bit-resolution was made minimum, dither did improve the intelligibility of the audio, particularly with human speech, over the truncated version.
_
Ken Newton



Edits: 02/25/17 02/25/17

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  • RE: What would you expect to hear if...... - knewton 06:47:21 02/25/17 (2)
    • Hummmm - Frihed89 07:24:50 02/25/17 (1)

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