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24/96 vinyl rips don't sound any better

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by manbear, Sep 9, 2013.
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  1. 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...
  2. bigshot
    The main advantage of 24/96 is dynamic range and extension into frequencies above the range of human hearing. A vinyl record has a noise floor roughly half the dynamic range of 16/44.1 and the upper frequencies are usually rolled off to prevent distortion due to premature wear. The only frequencies above 18kHz or so are in the surface noise. So by using 24/96, all you are improving the sound quality of is noise. A total waste of time.
    nothingnew likes this.
  3. nick_charles Contributor
    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.
  4. manbear
    Thanks everybody, this confirms what I was hearing. I will just be sticking to 16/44 for now; it saves space on my hard drive and I like the blacker background. 
  5. wtaylorbasil
    If a DBX encoded vinyl which has a Dynamic Range of 120dB (very few LPs now around), was ripped to 24/96, would this sound better than 16/44 CD rip?
  6. bigshot
    If you set your peak level very carefully, redbook could just about contain that. But most music doesn't have anywhere near that kind of dynamic range.
  7. UltMusicSnob
    The Bold-Underlined portion of the OP pretty much tells you everything you need, looks like.
    Personally, I don't have the tolerance to make use of much more than about 80db of range at the uttermost. On its best day my rooms for listening will not come in at less than 20db, and my pain threshold kicks in at a measured 95db or thereabouts.
    If you continue to work on close listening; if you improve your room acoustics, if you get different playback equipment, you might change your mind. Until then, no point in going past Redbook.
  8. manbear
    Would a vinyl rip from an extremely transparent vinyl source and ADC sound any better than a rip made from an entry level turntable and ADC (say, $200-300 total)? 
  9. bigshot
    Anything that involves analogue matters... turntable, cartridge, capture board.
  10. stv014
    The turntable is much more important than the ADC. The ADC, once it is decent enough (which does not need to be very expensive), is normally only a limiting factor if it is used in a suboptimal way, like feeding a very low level signal to it without a preamplifier.
  11. bigshot
    And the cartridge is probably even more important than the turntable.
  12. jaddie
    Actually, the roughest spot here is the cartridge and preamp together as a system, tracking the RIAA curve dead on.  Hard to do, usually doesn't. Very hard to measure to confirm and correct.  Once you get out of the preamp into the ADC, you're golden.  
    DBX vinyl was mentioned, not not much around now, but there never was.  If you do run into it, keep in mind that there are flavors of DBX, and what they used on vinyl was modified to work around the high levels of rumble in the system.  You can't really just use a generic DBX processor to recover this.  DBX makes everything more critical when it comes to nailing the RIAA curve too.  Level-set wasn't too critical, it's a fairly wide range logarithmic system, unlike Dolby which wasn't a linear compressor/expander. But you still never got the 120dB they said you would, just not possible, only theoretical. 
  13. Steve Eddy

    Some are going straight to digital and doing the RIAA there.

  14. jcx
    then you do want 24 bit ADC - since RIAA correction takes ~40 dB - hitting the right gain for cart and record may require several tries
    I would want at least the 50 Hz pole in a phono pre amp - even if the rest (~12 dB) is done in digital
    preamp, ADC much less likely to overload, preamp should have much better distortion performance with 50 Hz low pass implemented in feedback
  15. jaddie
    The problem with going straight to digital and doing RIAA there is the device that the cartridge connects to.  Unless its one designed for the purpose, and I know of at least one, the cartridge load won't be right, so the cartridge response won't be right, so the digital RIAA won't either.  I keep hearing of people feeding the cartridge into a line input or mic input, adjusting the gain and applying RIAA...yikes.  That gets you close...like "close" as applied to atomic weapons.   24 bits isn't required to the RIAA right because of the spectral distribution of music.  
    My personal preference is a good phono pre with RIAA in it, done right, the your ADC with bit-rate flavor of the week. 
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