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24bit vs 16bit, the myth exploded! - Page 99

post #1471 of 3420
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elladan View Post
 

The PONO appears to be a decent deal at its current kickstarter price of $300, and with just a few days left, I need to decide yea or nay.  

I believe that there could be a hearable -- or "experiencable," perhaps -- difference between 16/44.1 and 24/96(192, whatever). But when people say things like "man, if you can't hear the difference between an SACD and a CD, you're deaf," I get a little frustrated.  An SACD is almost certainly going to be a remaster, right?  And during remastering, an engineer is going to be trying to achieve the best sound, using the best tech available.  I would expect a new remaster to sound better than an unremastered CD.  (Otherwise, why release it at all?)

 

It seems to me that the test would be to take a CD encoded at 24/96 or "better" , downmix (is that the right word?) it to 16/44.1, and do a blind comparison.  That removes the remaster/remix as a factor...has anyone done this in a rigorous way?  


Yes, it has been done.  E. Brad Meyer, and David Moran did this in 2007 and wrote an AES paper about it.  Using SACD, and DVD-A, they inserted a redbook A/D/A step into the middle of it, and it wasn't detected above chance levels. 

 

http://www.drewdaniels.com/audible.pdf

 

60 members of the Boston Audio Society were the testees.  276 correct choices out of 554 choices made.  49.82% or effectively guessing results. 

post #1472 of 3420
Quote:
Originally Posted by esldude View Post
 


Yes, it has been done.  E. Brad Meyer, and David Moran did this in 2007 and wrote an AES paper about it.  Using SACD, and DVD-A, they inserted a redbook A/D/A step into the middle of it, and it wasn't detected above chance levels. 

 

http://www.drewdaniels.com/audible.pdf

 

60 members of the Boston Audio Society were the testees.  276 correct choices out of 554 choices made.  49.82% or effectively guessing results. 

 

thanks for posting that, hadn't seen it yet.

 

554 trials is certainly well beyond many normal ABX tests including in the medical field.  case closed!

post #1473 of 3420
Oh no! The case is never closed. Every few days someone new stumbles into the sound science forum and we start from scratch all over again!
post #1474 of 3420
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

...if you understand how digital audio works, it's obvious that the differences are completely inaudible.

Yeah, I wouldn't claim to, though a higher sampling rate intuitively seems like it would be more accurate.  I have absolutely no doubt that there is enormous confirmation and/or selection bias in listening -- I've fooled myself, before -- so I don't really trust those who say "of course you can hear it, anyone who says you can't is an idiot."

 

That said, it's no better to blindly trust those who flatly reject the notion of audible difference at higher bit and sampling rates when the many audio engineers who insist that they do hear a difference, especially given that those engineers typically do master in 24-bit.  

 

Could you possibly link to any published results?  I'd really like to evaluate methodology and judge for myself, and my google searches have been unenlightening.  Even a few distinctive keywords might help.

EDIT: Sorry, I didn't see the
above post from esldude, which offered just what I wanted!


Edited by Elladan - 4/11/14 at 1:03pm
post #1475 of 3420
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elladan View Post
 

Yeah, I wouldn't claim to, though a higher sampling rate intuitively seems like it would be more accurate.  I have absolutely no doubt that there is enormous confirmation and/or selection bias in listening -- I've fooled myself, before -- so I don't really trust those who say "of course you can hear it, anyone who says you can't is an idiot."

 

That said, it's no better to blindly trust those who flatly reject the notion of audible difference at higher bit and sampling rates when the many audio engineers who insist that they do hear a difference, especially given that those engineers typically do master in 24-bit.  

 

Could you possibly link to any published results?  I'd really like to evaluate methodology and judge for myself, and my google searches have been unenlightening.  Even a few distinctive keywords might help.

EDIT: Sorry, I didn't see the
above post from esldude, which offered just what I wanted!


At least you admit you didn't know how digital audio works.  And yes, higher rates, more bits seems intuitively like if fits more is better.  If you knew a little about how the digital works higher sample rates get you one thing.  Wider bandwidth.  That is all.  The extra bits don't encode more accurately than lower rates at the 20 khz and lower frequencies.  The higher rates encode higher frequencies.  24 bit vs 16 bit gets more signal to noise.  Effectively no electronics are quiet enough to reproduce at better than 20 bit resolution. 

 

http://www.xiph.org/video/vid2.shtml

 

If you haven't seen this video, it is well worth the 24 minutes of time to watch.  If more audiophiles watched this, there would be far less confusion about things digital.  This link has been posted before, even in this thread I believe.  Again I repeat, very much worth watching.  If you have a fuzzy idea how digital works this should be very helpful.  It is simple and easy to understand while having considerable explanatory power. 

 

One of the good things about this video, is Monty uses some quite high quality analog signal generators, analog o-scopes and analog spectrum analyzers to show the resulting digital AD and DA conversions. 


Edited by esldude - 4/11/14 at 1:36pm
post #1476 of 3420
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elladan View Post

Yeah, I wouldn't claim to, though a higher sampling rate intuitively seems like it would be more accurate.  I have absolutely no doubt that there is enormous confirmation and/or selection bias in listening -- I've fooled myself, before -- so I don't really trust those who say "of course you can hear it, anyone who says you can't is an idiot."

When you understand how sound works, you realize how silly it is to claim to hear improvements with 24 bit. What if I told you that I saw protozoa crawling around on your face with my naked eye, or that I could feel the Earth spinning around the Sun? No human can detect stuff on that scale. It's the exact same thing with high bit rate audio. Human's can't hear frequencies beyond the range of human hearing, or noise at levels so low human ears can't hear it.

The resolution of high res audio in the range of human hearing is EXACTLY the same as regular old CD quality. The only advantages of hi res are BEYOND the range of human hearing.

By the way, engineers don't claim they can hear the difference in hi bit rate/sampling rate. They know there is no audible difference and bounce the mix down to redbook when they are done. The people who claim to hear a difference are audiophiles who haven't a clue how digital audio works.
Edited by bigshot - 4/11/14 at 2:22pm
post #1477 of 3420
Quote:

 

http://www.xiph.org/video/vid2.shtml

 

If you haven't seen this video, it is well worth the 24 minutes of time to watch.  

Ha! Esldude, I actually came across that on my own through an article by the same guy, and had come back here to post it.  Fascinating stuff.

 

Long story short, for increased quality, I should be looking for improved amplification and speakers/'phones.  But I don't want to carry an amplifier beyond Fiio E5 size, dammit!  In your opinion, what players have the best amplifier sections?

post #1478 of 3420
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elladan View Post

Long story short, for increased quality, I should be looking for improved amplification and speakers/'phones.  But I don't want to carry an amplifier beyond Fiio E5 size, dammit!  In your opinion, what players have the best amplifier sections?

Why 'improved amplification'? A nice little fiio is cheap and well constructed, and audibly transparent.
post #1479 of 3420
Quote:
Originally Posted by ferday View Post


Why 'improved amplification'? A nice little fiio is cheap and well constructed, and audibly transparent.

I do have a Fiio E5, as well as a cMoy and a Meier Headsix.  The cMoy just doesn't sound good to me; also, leaving one on a plane once got the bomb squad involved.  (True story.)  The Meier sounds great, but its slightly curved case and the same security-scaring concerns prevent me from travelling with it.  I'd like a player with a really good amplifier section (and battery, obviously) so I can simplify my habit.  From this perspective, perhaps a Pono does make sense, though they're not exactly forthcoming with specs on the Kickstarter site.  The Fiio X-es seem awfully primitive, and while the iBasso D90 seems nice, the Pono seems a bit slicker, though the shape is hardly ideal.

post #1480 of 3420

The simplest solution would be just to get headphones that don't require amping. Dragging an amp around for portable is a pain.

post #1481 of 3420
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

Now that you've had the scales pulled off your eyes when it comes to 24 bit, would you like us in Sound Science to turn you on to just as surprising truths about high bit rate lossy files, headphone amps and external DACs?

I'm sorry, was your post in response to my comment?
post #1482 of 3420

Yup!


Edited by bigshot - 4/12/14 at 7:15pm
post #1483 of 3420

Well, it seems like a lot of what you mentioned is outside the scope of this thread, so I'll keep looking around with regards to the topics you mentioned.  One of my big takeaways so far, other than that 16/44.1 is "good enough," has been to look at the SNR of any prospective DAC purchase.  

 

That said, to keep somewhat on the topic of consumer-level bit-depth, what about HDCD?  Having read this thread through from beginning to end, I noticed that someone from Linn Records stopped by and mentioned high res audio vs. HDCD, and since I don't recall a great deal of anti-HDCD sentiment being expressed at the time, does that mean HDCD might have some positive benefits?  Or has that topic already been done to death and nobody around here even bothers to roll their eyes anymore?


Edited by Otodynia - 4/13/14 at 7:51pm
post #1484 of 3420
Quote:
Originally Posted by Otodynia View Post
 

Well, it seems like a lot of what you mentioned is outside the scope of this thread, so I'll keep looking around with regards to the topics you mentioned.  One of my big takeaways so far, other than that 16/44.1 is "good enough," has been to look at the SNR of any prospective DAC purchase. 

SNR if given with no information on how it's done is mostly a commercial trick. from what I've seen about it, you can use several methods that won't give the most flatering results, or you can just filrter out the frequencies of shame to have those incredible results we like so much.

post #1485 of 3420
Quote:
Originally Posted by castleofargh View Post
 

SNR if given with no information on how it's done is mostly a commercial trick. from what I've seen about it, you can use several methods that won't give the most flatering results, or you can just filrter out the frequencies of shame to have those incredible results we like so much.

I recall mention of manufacturer's using A-weighting to get better numbers; is that along the lines of what you're talking about?  Out of curiosity, I looked up the specs of a fair number of DACs last night -- from cheap to expensive -- and have to admit that the results were surprising: the Benchmark (SNR stated as 123 and 126, A-weighted and unweighted, respectively) looked far better than a premium unit that costs $22K (for one channel!).  But even so, does SNR matter?  All the music I have seems to stay far enough away from the noise floor that even SNR specs may be a bit of a red herring in terms of a useful metric.  

 

I've been reading a thread in the hardware forums where user Gary in MD auditioned 14 different DACs and (as of thread page 60/89, which is as far as I've gotten) had a tough time finding any sonic difference between most of the contenders.  People on the sound science side will argue about the validity of his testing methodology, but since it was never intended to be a rigorous scientific evaluation I'm not going to comment.  

 

But...

 

Isn't the fact that he couldn't tell the difference a reasonable result?  The DAC is just supposed to take the 1s and 0s and turn them into an analog waveform, and it's not exactly a digital task that requires bleeding edge technology.  As a mechanical designer, I've had to employ the services of our test and measurement guys every so often, and I've yet to hear one of them say they've taken a new piece of equipment but can't use it until it's "burned in," or that any particular component "colors" the resulting data.  It seems like any reasonable implementation ought to get the job done, and perhaps Gary might have been better served if he's just tried to eliminate the units that sounded "bad."  

 

Which brings me to this question: these days, is there really such as a thing as a "bad" DAC?  I mean, one that absolutely gets things wrong, that doesn't convert the bits to waveforms properly?

 

I won't say my mind's completely made up, but if the amp section reviews well I'm probably just going to get the Oppo HA-1 when it comes out: it's a one-box solution for my music enjoyment needs.  I suppose I'm not a diehard audiophile if I don't want to chase down the last 0.1% of perceived performance from my gear, and I like the fact that the Oppo will play pretty much any format thrown at it (storage is cheap, and I don't want to mess with resampling any high resolution files that might come my way).  Oppo also seems to make good quality components available for a fair price.

 

Doesn't anyone just enjoy listening to their music without being hypercritical about the equipment used?  In the vast majority of cases, the consumer wasn't there when the music was recorded, so who are we to say that our systems are reproducing it accurately?  I'll say it again: I'm glad Gregorio started this thread, because I'll not be buying 24-bit music simply for the sake of a extending a dynamic range that was already adequate at 16/44.1.  

 

Am I missing something?  Is there a flaw in my thinking?  I'm always happy to be educated.

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