Turk 182

16 bit / 44.1 khz - is it all we need ?

Recommended Posts

As an aside.

Personally, when it comes to digital. I still can't help drawing analogies with visual media.

Even the best  & highest res Digital recordings still sound to me a bit like audio CGI  ....a  fantastically sophisticated  cartoon, on a wide screen and very impressive...but somehow still less real than even a 16mm black and white film of live action.

Is it my imagination ? or are there still digital distortions by loss of information that we still haven't recognised or addressed ?

I'm not flying any Luddite flags...I just don't know.:D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
55 minutes ago, Smokestack said:

We just don't know what's good enough really .

I think we still have a lot to learn about what digital artefacts our ears & brains are able to discern, and how they can  affect our listening experience .

The practical problem for domestic music playback today  is that technology doesn't stand still  long enough for any universally accepted quality standards to be established or for anybody to learn how to get the best from it.

And folks who have mentioned the relevance of  genre have a good point.

Those of us listening primarily to "popular music" in its various forms have routine access only to commercial download/ streaming files.... which are compressed  to hell and optimised for playback via low quality and portable playback devices.

If there were routinely higher resolution and/or  less compressed  "Hi Fi " files available for all commercial releases [ mastered and engineered to accepted and consistent standards]....some of us might  be a little happier than we are about digital playback in the home.

Mario from PlayClassics has a thread on Computer Audiophile where he has made a handful of recordings available for download. These are the best real stereo recordings I have listened to and they were made at 24/96.

You are offered the master and different down-rezzed version 24/44.1, 16/96, 16/44.1.

I suggest that you get ver familiar with the 16/44.1 version for a couple of weeks or more and the proceed with the comparisons. If your system is good enough then you may be surprised. My bias was towards not being able to hear any difference by the way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, Smokestack said:

As an aside.

Personally, when it comes to digital. I still can't help drawing analogies with visual media.

Even the best  & highest res Digital recordings still sound to me a bit like audio CGI  ....a  fantastically sophisticated  cartoon, on a wide screen and very impressive...but somehow still less real than even a 16mm black and white film of live action.

Is it my imagination ? or are there still digital distortions by loss of information that we still haven't recognised or addressed ?

I'm not flying any Luddite flags...I just don't know.:D

So you are still watching films in VHS over a CRT TV set.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Moderator

Agree about recorded sound quality but there are superbly recorded modern music albums, where the benefits of high rez are obvious and for me worthwhile. Despite having a bucketload of measurements there is still something not quite right with an awful lot of digital. Whether it is the unreal effects of pre-ringing or something else who knows or really cares as an end user. Yes, vinyl has worse measurements but sometimes we have a habit of measuring what is easy ,  not what is important. But as MiB has said despite all talk of measured dynamic range and frequency response the sound of vinyl sounds realistic and like music played by human beings. If you want to glory in measurements, knock yourself out, but for music.....

Despite having  a dynamic range of 96db or even more with dithering, digital brought us the capability to really, really compress music and play it really, really LOUD. Couldn't do that with vinyl without burning the cutting heads out. And if you want to hear some stunning dynamic range try a direct cut Mike Valentine recording played loud. It will rattle your world in a way the 24/192 does not despite being a great sound.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, meninblack said:

If you buy a vinyl front-end for the same sort of money as your transport/DAC, you will be absolutely stunned. :^

I think you need to spend far more to get decent sound from vinyl but depends how much your CD player costs. I did hear a Rega planar 3  (£600) but was not impressed at all but that could have been the Rega cartridge. The problem with vinyl is all the imperfections, such as surface noise, scrathes, warping, off-centre, high noise floor, distortion towards the centre and the cost. 

Edited by BeeRay

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

In tests very few can hear a difference between cd and hi-res, if it is the same master. The sound recording and mastering/remastering are whats important rather than how many bits, I find well recorded music sounds good even on mp3, but is where compressed music falls down.

You have to be careful when comparing downloads, some are not the same, as was found out with Linn HiRez to cd quality. Someone downscaled the HiRes to 16 bit it was not the same as the Linn 16 bit. 

Edited by BeeRay

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, tuga said:

So you are still watching films in VHS over a CRT TV set.

No I'm not ...but if I were , I suspect  I'd still be able to tell the live action from the  CGI :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with most everything said here, so the simple answer to the Op's question is yes - for 90% of the time.....:D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Smokestack said:

The practical problem for domestic music playback today  is that technology doesn't stand still  long enough for any universally accepted quality standards to be established or for anybody to learn how to get the best from it.

Surely the red book CD standard was dominant for long enough for this to have happened?

For me the vinyl vs CD debate always seems overblown, with the idea of vinyl often being described as more natural having more to do with dogma/expectation than reality. There have been numerous times at shows where in quick succession I've heard both vinyl and CD, and only once recall a big gulf between the two. This was in am Audionote system where I'll admit the digital didn't sound quite right in comparison. I didn't know at the time but in hindsight I suspect this may have been down to artefacts from a NOS DAC being used.

I've never gone down the vinyl route myself though as my priority has always been to maximise the enjoyment of CDs I already have. Increasingly a bias towards optimising digital playback becomes more important with the growth of streaming. 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I ought to explain where I'm coming from with that.

The vinyl/CD debate was a different thing and CD , for better or worse, was a long standing format for the industry to work with .

Playback Systems were designed around it as a true Hi Fi format to replace vinyl LPs as the standard medium for domestic playback and recordings were mastered accordingly. .

Since downloading & streaming have started to replace hard copy media , even in the best quality Hi Fi applications , we haven't really  had an industry standard for the resolution of the files.  

The music industry hasn't yet really got its head around that fact that providing files of a suitable type & quality for your phone or old i-pod just isn't good enough any more...because increasingly we want top play that file on a full range Hi Fi system with a good dynamic range capability .

Edited by Smokestack

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Moderator
1 hour ago, MartinC said:

For me the vinyl vs CD debate always seems overblown, with the idea of vinyl often being described as more natural having more to do with dogma/expectation than reality. There have been numerous times at shows where in quick succession I've heard both vinyl and CD, and only once recall a big gulf between the two. This was in am Audionote system where I'll admit the digital didn't sound quite right in comparison. I didn't know at the time but in hindsight I suspect this may have been down to artefacts from a NOS DAC being used.

Well, I am not sure I have ever heard from anyone saying that digital sounds more natural than vinyl. Quieter, more detailed with tight bass but more musical nah. Heaven forbid that we prefer music that sounds like music when we can talk about bass, treble, detail and clicks and pops.

Shows are not ideal for anything really apart from getting a general idea about SQ and for most (with the exception of the Wam Show) the sound is terrible. I remember having a row discussion with Alan Sircom on our pages and he said he never goes to shows to judge sound quality. And I agree in most cases.

The Audionote DAC is a whole lot more than just the NOS DAC. There are many solid state NOS DACs out there and they do not sound anything like an AN.

There are significant numbers of musicians, recording engineers etc. that prefer hires to CD quality. Of course, if the recording quality is poor then that is what you have. But if it is superb and also available in 24/96 then why not go for the extra?  And be careful with home comparisons of down-sampled digital as some software does it well and others are poor, which is a whole subject in itself.

Maybe I am beyond hope as I also use valves.......:D

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, George 47 said:

Well, I am not sure I have ever heard from anyone saying that digital sounds more natural than vinyl.

My contention would be that the medium is not the determining factor one way or the other. 

1 hour ago, George 47 said:

Shows are not ideal for anything really apart from getting a general idea about SQ

Agreed, but most specifically due to room/speaker issues I feel and so the comparison of two different sources in the same system still has some relevance I feel. I wasn't trying to conclude anything definitive though, rather just giving my experience and perspective.

1 hour ago, George 47 said:

The Audionote DAC is a whole lot more than just the NOS DAC. There are many solid state NOS DACs out there and they do not sound anything like an AN.

I'm taking over 10 years ago here so I really don't know which particular DAC it was. I mentioned it to be honest that I have once heard digital sound distinctly lacking in a direct comparison to vinyl, but I think there is reason to believe it was a poor digital implementation rather than a universal problem. I suppose I can't swear that it wasn't a case of this being the best vinyl setup I've ever heard though :).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, George 47 said:

Well, I am not sure I have ever heard from anyone saying that digital sounds more natural than vinyl. Quieter, more detailed with tight bass but more musical nah. Heaven forbid that we prefer music that sounds like music when we can talk about bass, treble, detail and clicks and pops.

I don't know what musical means to you but digital classical music recordings when reproduced through a decently transparent system sound a lot more realistic or natural to me. By this I mean that instruments and vocals and ambience sound less like reproduced music thus perhaps more musical to me.

Acoustic music is the sound made by unamplified instruments and vocalists in a space with natural reverberation like an concert hall or a church. Digital audio's inherent technical superiority has the potential to introduce less "interference" between the capturing of an original event and it's reproduction in the domestic environment.

.

But I can understand that some studio productions may benefit from the added spice produced by tape and vinyl. This explains why many rock and pop engineers and producers still use vintage equipment and technologies to create sound effects which enhance the recordings. This vintage gear is nonetheless being replaced by digital plug-ins which replicate those effects.

.

I'm not as bothered with clicks and pops and static as I am with speed fluctuations. These completely destroy the illusion for me.

Edited by tuga
rephrased for clarity

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, George 47 said:

The Audionote DAC is a whole lot more than just the NOS DAC. There are many solid state NOS DACs out there and they do not sound anything like an AN.

Audio Note's design goal is not accurate reproduction of the recording but a particular sonic presentation which is achieved by using topologies which produce significant audible distortions (by today's standards).

If it were the Holly Grail then everyone would buy their products. The problem with tailored audio presentation is restricted appeal.

But I'm glad that the audio tailors exist because that allows people like yourself to find the presentation which produces most musical enjoyment.

As for me, no thanks. I find less own-sound more musical/realistic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Moderator

All I can say is that if I use as my reference the live recording that Mike Valentine made in St Martins in the Field of Beethoven then the AN equipment gets very close compared to better measuring equipment of the monitor variety. And I know audio memory is not infallible but I was in the audience at SMIF and the music was very, very dynamic which a lot of the clean monitor speakers are not. Not sure I can pick a better reference although the live feed to the recording equipment was also far better than the AN equipment which is closer than some 'better measuring equipment'.

I am not saying good measuring equipment sounds bad as that is just not true but there is some equipment with brilliant measurements out there that sounds dynamically flat and somewhat sterile.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.