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44,100 vs 192,000 sample rates - correct me if I'm wrong.

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

This thread is about sample rates.

 

My understanding is that most audio is sampled at 44kHz - 48kHz. What would be the benefit of a device (like the Fiio E17) that advertises a sample rate of 192kHz?

 

It seems that the increased sample rate would not positively affect the quality because the source is lower. To me, it seems like it would be like using a 12MP camera to take a picture of an image taken with a 3MP camera and expecting 12MP quality. If anything, it seems that this would at best provide an equal copy. More likely, it would highlight any flaws of the original.

 

Am I correct in this assumption?

post #2 of 11

No it won't highlight flaws and no there is no advantage whatsoever. What sort of matters is if it's a 24 bit DAC but not really.

post #3 of 11

The technical advantage is not having to do sample rate conversion when playing back audio tracks that are stored at those higher sample rates.  Practically, most algorithms do a pretty good job with sample rate conversion (realtime) so that is not really an issue for media consumption purposes.  There are free music players that can do a great job with that.  In a studio, if you've got an analog effects processor or need to go through multiple stages and are working in a high sample rate internally, there could be advantages.

 

Also, for certain recordings at the high sample rates, with the right speakers you might be able to play it back for your dog to hear the extra frequencies contained therein.

 

 

For home playback, it's mostly a marketing bullet point, checkbox on the features list.

post #4 of 11

Just had a pretty long talk about this very subject not too long ago. You are absolutely correct, all cd audio is recorded at 44.1khz sample rate and no matter what you do to it, it will still be 44.1khz audio. The only way to do better is to download an album (or song) where they had access to the original master tape and re-recorded it at a higher sample rate, for example 96khz. Then you will be able, assuming you have a dac that can process it, to hear a much improved audio signal. Actually maybe saying much improved is an overstatement, but they do sound better, no doubt about that, but a well produced cd sounds pretty good too and it's a lot cheaper. The trick is finding well produced cds.

post #5 of 11

There is no doubt that they do not sound any better, sorry but there is no humanly audible difference. 

post #6 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by HPiper View Post

Just had a pretty long talk about this very subject not too long ago. You are absolutely correct, all cd audio is recorded at 44.1khz sample rate and no matter what you do to it, it will still be 44.1khz audio. The only way to do better is to download an album (or song) where they had access to the original master tape and re-recorded it at a higher sample rate, for example 96khz. Then you will be able, assuming you have a dac that can process it, to hear a much improved audio signal. Actually maybe saying much improved is an overstatement, but they do sound better, no doubt about that, but a well produced cd sounds pretty good too and it's a lot cheaper. The trick is finding well produced cds.

You actually can't make the comparison because there's no information as to how the original material was handled and mastered vs how the so-called hi-res files were done.  You might think you're hearing the results of high bit rates, but what you're actually hearing is a totally different audio path.  It's like comparing apples and some other  unknown fruit, then saying the apples are better because the are red.

post #7 of 11

The Fiio is just saying it can handle up to 192KHz sampled source material. Yeah, the way I understand it, hearing any difference really depends on the mastering. If the album was recorded at 24/96 (which most modern albums are) in the studio and mastered to 16/44.1 for CD, that's one method. If you're mastering to 24/96, you're using a different mastering method to use the dynamic range of 24 bits (whether that's even necessary is something else). So if you think the hi-res recording sounds better than it's standard counterpart, it's probably because you enjoy the way the higher resolution recording was mastered. Which leads me to think that HD tracks are enjoyed more because of better mastering, rather than higher bit/sampling rates.

post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by teofilrocks View Post

...Yeah, the way I understand it, hearing any difference really depends on the mastering.

Agreed. But...

Quote:
Originally Posted by teofilrocks View Post
If the album was recorded at 24/96 (which most modern albums are) in the studio and mastered to 16/44.1 for CD, that's one method. If you're mastering to 24/96, you're using a different mastering method to use the dynamic range of 24 bits (whether that's even necessary is something else). So if you think the hi-res recording sounds better than it's standard counterpart, it's probably because you enjoy the way the higher resolution recording was mastered. Which leads me to think that HD tracks are enjoyed more because of better mastering, rather than higher bit/sampling rates.

I have to clear this up right now.  24/96 is just a format of data, admittedly higher resolution, but it has no bearing on whats done in mastering. Mastering is the adjustment of equalization, and levels, often through dynamics processing, to present an end result that matches a marketing goal.  All of that happens regardless of how the material was recorded, or up-sampled.   In fact, most of the 24/96 files you can download didn't originate that way at all, but are up-sampled from 16/44.1, which improves nothing.  Even if "original" 24/96 files made from analog tape masters sound different, it's NOT because they are 24/96, its because the entire mastering chain was different.  The difference has nothing to do with the format specifically, but may be different because the end goals are now different.  It's no longer a "commercial release", it's now intended for a specialized market.  

 

There is no reliable data to show that 24/96 sounds any different from 16/44.1, though you'll find tons of anecdote and opinion.  Tests have been done that prove people can't tell the difference.  Listeners that claim a huge audible improvement mostly fall into the category of response to suggestion.

 

There is an argument that says that high rate audio makes it easier to apply the reconstruction filter.  But that's pointless because all modern D/A converters us over-sampling, so it's already done in hardware.

 

Last point, there are almost no 24 bit A/D converters that actually have 24 bits of dynamic range.  The typical 24 bit sound card has a noise floor around 18 or 20 bits.  True 24 bit capable devices are VERY expensive.  The only advantage of 24/96 occurs during recording and production where capturing highly dynamic sounds can fall in the range of 24 bits with less operator adjustments, and 24 bits gives production processing more room to work in.  There's no point in releasing material with 144dB of dynamic range to the public.  96dB (16 bits) is more than we can handle now.

post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaddie View Post

...it's NOT because they are 24/96, its because the entire mastering chain was different.  The difference has nothing to do with the format specifically, but may be different because the end goals are now different.

 

Isn't that basically what I said? Maybe I didn't express it clearly. Either way, I'm on the same page with you.

 

I read this article recently, and wish I had found it before buying into a 24/192 DAC and some HD Tracks downloads. Oh well, live and learn.

post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by teofilrocks View Post

 

Isn't that basically what I said? Maybe I didn't express it clearly. Either way, I'm on the same page with you.

 

I read this article recently, and wish I had found it before buying into a 24/192 DAC and some HD Tracks downloads. Oh well, live and learn.

I must have misunderstood.  It sounded like you meant that 24/96 files were by their very nature mastered differently, which is not the case.  The difference is not because they are 24/96.  There are many reasons for different mastering, but being specifically 24/96 isn't one of them.  

 

Sorry if I didn't get it, but I do now. Cheers!

post #11 of 11

It is a reason if you want to sell "HD" files that actually  "sound better". tongue.gif

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