Originally Posted by manbear
I have some flac files that are 24/96 vinyl rips, but I don't think they sound any better than 16/44 CD rips. 24/96 rips taken from a digital source, like an SACD or DVD Audio, often sound better than their 16/44 counterparts to me, however. I'm guessing that this is because the vinyl equipment and ADC used to make the rip isn't that great? Any opinions?
When I say that they don't sound any better, I mean that dynamic range doesn't seem better, the amount of detail doesn't seem better, and the general sense of clarity is the same or even worse, due to background hiss.
For reference, I'm using foobar -> HRT Music Streamer 2 -> Little Dot Mk3 -> Q701 or HE-400.
EDIT -- This may be obvious, but I didn't make the vinyl rips and I don't know who did. They weren't all made by the same person either. I think the place where I got these vinyl rips isn't supposed to talked about on these forums, if you catch my drift...
Looking at this systematically, 24 bits gives you a rough picture of the dynamic range which give or take is theoretically 144db (you'll never get that due to other noise sources) , that is equivalent to the difference between the collisions of atoms and a Harrier Jump jet taking off in your living room. The actual achievable dynamic range of a pristine half-speed mastered virgin vinyl is no more than 80db but generally speaking about 75db.
What is the actual dynamic range of the music, well that depends but if it is 50db or above that is exceptional for modern music, some classical music has DRs into the 60s possibly 70s. So for most purposes the 75db you get from vinyl is more than enough. What extra do you get from 24 bits - mostly 8 bits of padding and wasted space. To date there really is no reliable evidence that at the point of delivery the extra 8 bits contributes anything while listening to music.
Sampling at 96Khz allows you to capture frequencies up to 48Khz - you cannot hear them or even frequencies well under half that value, if you have exceptional hearing you may just hear a 22Khz tone. How much musical energy is there above this point , normally relatively next to nothing , the highest fundamental on a piano is about 3500hz and harmonics have declining energy. Some instruments such as cymbals, Trumpet and the Balinese Gamelan do have high frequency content above say 30K but it is a long way down on the fundamentals. To date there is no credible evidence that this supersonic information is beneficial in music listening and in fact striving to recreate it can lead to IM distortion.
What can you put on an LP above 20K, well you can put some stuff there but gingerly and not much as you approach the label where tracking becomes notoriously difficult certainly even a 20k tone that can be rendered faultlessly at 0db on CD will be a challenge to reproduce on LP at a much lower level.