Originally Posted by Duncan
If we spin this around, and say that the ONLY reason that 24/xxx could be better than 16/xxx is because it offered more headroom / dynamic range, would that then make things easier for both sides of this to see where the other is coming from?
Personally, I'm happy to listen to 256kbps mp3, as much as I am a DSD file, can I genuinely tell the difference? in mastering, yes, quite possibly, but to these ears, only by virtue of better headroom on the higher res file...
Then again, for those producers that don't push everything deep into the red, redbook can still sound extraordinary.
I think that you are misunderstanding the whole headroom/dynamic range thing. Think of the available headroom/dynamic range provided by 16 bit digital audio has a normal letter sized envelop (4" X 9-1/2") and think of the available headroom/dynamic range provided by 24 bit digital audio has a legal sized envelop (9" x 12"). Now think of the audio contained in these envelops as a normal sized business card. Someone mails you a normal sized business card in a letter sized envelop and you open the letter and pull out a normal sized business card. Now that same person mails you a normal sized business card in a legel sized envelop and you open the letter and pull out a normal sized business card. In either case the size of the business card is exactly the same, changing the size of the envelop does not change the size of the business card.
Changing the size of the audio container, i.e. increasing the bit depth, does NOT increase the dynamic range of the recording, it just increases the amount the dynamic range of that the container can hold. So a recording with 60db of dynamic range will have EXACTLY the same dynamic range, i.e. 60db, in any and all audio containers with enough bit depth to hold 60db of dynamic range - increasing the bit depth of the container will NEVER change this fact. But then again, FACTS are the bane of high end audio.