I thinik you have the wrong midnset/assumptions.
I have similar problem with the need for amplification.
Like for instance Sennheiser HD600 reaches 94db (according to personalaudio.ru) at ~0.25V, so technically most of the smartphones can provide sufficient power
for that headphones (or even K701) so that the user will get that 85db of average volumn for modern music
(I'm totally happy with the volumn which I get with my smartphone on HD600 with music such as pop, alternative rock, trance...);
then you should be even more happy with the 1V standard (cause more can cause hearing damage).
However some users heavilly insist that HD600 needs an amplifiler, and this is completely understandable if you consider than they are listening
for piano/violin duoes, which can be recorded like -20db to -30db from the top; which might put the requirements for the voltage like 10x compared to my (compressed) music;
which translates into need for a more or less standard 6V output amplifier.
Other examples are
- I remeber that one person was bragging that HD800 can reach 120db with low distortion.
- please note that headphones can provide large isolation (-20db in wide frequency range I would guess are the best results, man like with takstars hd6000, it is difficult to hear what is saying a person next to you)
- technically in my room I would guess that I have noise on the level like 30db (I think that this is the noise of my quite computer fan, beeing the most noisy think in the room);
however with my Beats mixr headphones (something like 120db@1V) I can hear (playing 24bit silence @ 1V) the noise on the headphone output STX (I think which is like -100db?), and that something is going on with X-Fi HD (I think the noise is something like 110db); and I had the same feeling about the STX heaphone output with some less efficient headphone; so I would guess that 10db noise is hearable in silent passages [I don't care about it myself, because most of my music if 'full of content'] [and I mean those noise values are very quite, the sound of my breathing seemd quite loud]
- actually one of my friends has a room with that 3d funny isolating material, so I would guess that he goes below 30db of environment noise
Nobody is saying that they will listen continously at 120db, but [I'm guessing here, probably someone more accustomed to orchestral concerts could provide better values]
- 120db is the maximum theoretical output (see note below)
- 100db to 110db is the most likely maxiumum short period value obtainable [but it would be better to have some little space just in case]
- 90db is the normal orchestral level
- 70db is the level of small duoes or string quartets, playing soft songs
- 50db is the level of intro sequences
- 20-30db is the level of hearable echos, reverberation (that person which I mentioned in the story said that it can hear diffrences just with such kind of hidden content, and not with normal level of music]
You can play a little bit with the numbers, but the thing is that the 96db (which is most likely should be restated as 48db, see the previous post) dynamic range might be not enough.
The 16bit is ok for almost all contemporary music, but it might be not sufficient for classical (especially if someone would like to record everything with the same bit to real db mapping)
One another analogy [very exagerated :D] (please note that this sample had to be logarithmitized, but our hearing also does exponantial->linear conversion):
Here we sell a car which can do 0-200km/h,
the only problem is that the speed has discrete values.
That is not a real problem, cause you have 200km, 199.99km, 199.97km/h
Oh, wait, but at the low level the first atainable level is 50km/h, then 70km/h, so that might be a problem.
But, not really, cause we have this super mechanism in which we randomly push brakes at high frequencies,
so in reality you can get 20,30,36,42 km/h.
But you are still will drive 150-200km?, well even if you don't want to do it other people will force you to just 180-200km/h
I'm going to restate that, the question if 16bit is sufficient is the question if we with 96db of dynamic range can cover all the spectrum which for example classical music can provide, starting from full output of the orchestra to little brushes of instruments and echoes (those things don't have to occur simultanously) with sufficient quantization levels (technically you could argue that you can record violin playing at constant level of 80db with only 1bit :( ); or more likely the dynamic range should handle from highest sound to the lowest hearable harmonic of the most quite instruments/echo (which most likely will turn into the 0db in which humans start to percive sound), and from my calculation (based on the work of KrzysiekK) it seems that 16 bit might not be enought. Technically the cost of 24bit is very low, just 1.5x more space is needed, and you have equipment which can reach, even if not 24bit, than 20bit easily.
PS: Personally I'm really happy with the 16bit
Edited by xdog - 7/21/14 at 11:02am