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24bit vs 16bit, the myth exploded!

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by gregorio, Mar 19, 2009.
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  1. upstateguy
    It's obvious that the arguer has never been the subject of a double blind test.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2019
  2. Pro-Jules
    The subject?

    Do you mean a participant?

    The subject(s) would be the audio files to be evaluated Participants would be the people evaluating.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2019
  3. upstateguy
    What a wonderful phrase.... :L3000:

    Last edited: Nov 28, 2019
    castleofargh likes this.
  4. Pro-Jules
    Some people in this thread are pudding us on I think.
  5. upstateguy
    No I meant subject. It's either or. Link
  6. upstateguy
    And some people are trolling.
  7. bigshot
    I’m not trolling. I’m surprised you’ve never heard this before. The lowered noise floor in higher bit depth formats is beyond anything one might be able to perceive in the home. Normal loud listening volume is around 80-85dB. The threshold of pain and the point where you incur hearing damage is 120dB. The natural noise floor in your home is over 30dB. Add 30 dB to the 96dB range of 16 bit audio and you have a dynamic range that exceeds the threshold of pain. Commercially recorded music is mixed to have a dynamic range of 50-55dB at most. What is the purpose of the 144dB of 24 bit when 16 bit is already overkill?

    Likewise, CD quality sound covers the entire range of frequencies that human ears can hear... 20Hz to 20kHz. Above that only dogs and bats can hear it. What is the point of the one measly octave of extra frequencies provided by 96k sampling when you can’t even hear it? Also, if you run ultrasonic frequencies through consumer amps and transducers not designed to reproduce them, you end up with harmonic distortion down in the audible range. Therefore, ultrasonic frequencies can’t improve perceived sound quality, they can only degrade it.

    It’s good to be able to play formats like SACD or “HD Audio” files for compatibility’s sake, but those formats offer no sonic advantage over CD. The only differences that are audible are differences in mastering or mixing, and that is a crap shoot that is completely unrelated to format.

    If you’d like to read about this in more detail, see the link in my sig called CD Sound Is All You Need. As a sound engineer, you should be aware of this.
  8. bigshot
    I’m assuming you are human. If I’m incorrect, I’d be interested in how you manage to type with paws or floppy bat wings.
  9. upstateguy
    We know you're one of the good guys.:smile_phones:

    Were you not instrumental in the inception of the "Objectivist Forum"?

    You guys remember the beginning of the Objectivist's Forum don't you? When we were trying to bring light into the dark?

    "The Objectivist Audio Forum (opening soon) If you feel the uncontrollable urge to use the word "placebo," in here is where you'll post (and only here). Discuss DBT all you want in here."
    "It gives you a place to complain, so that's a good thing. It also keeps you from complaining everywhere else." <--- this in response to the truth
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2019
  10. Pro-Jules
    So what, in your mind, is good about playing them exactly? (If it's not the superior sound of them!)
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2019
  11. old tech
    I can't speak for Big Shot but it is fairly well known that many (but certainly not all) SACD and hi res releases are mastered for higher fidelity sound because (particularly with SACDs) the label knows the listener would be more of an audiophile, would have invested in a good home stereo and listen to it in a quiet environment. That sort of mastering is less suitable for general listening in cars, ear buds etc. So, SACD and hi res formats in themselves do not offer any sonic advantages within the domain of human hearing (well at least 30 years of controlled testing has not revealed any advantages), any sonic advantages of these formats lies in the mastering to cater for the market of these formats. As a sound engineer I would of thought you'd know this?
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2019
    sonitus mirus likes this.
  12. Pro-Jules
    You say his-res is for higher fidelity sound, then flip to the garbage mantra I read from some here... “but it's not suitable for general listening".

    I put it to you that this community is largely not the general listening population as many own equipment suitable for distinguishing the “higher fidelity” you referred to.

    therefore hi-res isn’t a sonic waste of time or bogus.

    As a sound engineer I know high sample rates are enjoyed for their extended frequency capabilities, (higher highs and lower lows) more 3D depth into the soundstage and and improved ability to hear reverb decay (or reverb 'tails').

    Further, as this is an audio reproduction enthusiast discussion website can we retire the snooty “general listening” arguments please? The visitors to this site are a discerning listening audience and should be credited as such.

    Someone else have a go at answering.

    You haven't.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2019
  13. gregorio
    1. No I'm not, I'm just stating the facts.

    2. Yes, 24bit is the standard sound file recording format but of course, unless you're recording direct to disk, then those recorded tracks have to be mixed!

    3. "A warped smokescreen", what are you talking about? You stated "a final mix @ 24bit", is this final mix you're talking about in fact not mixed? If it is mixed (in the digital domain), then obviously it's mixed within the "mix engine architecture" and the bit depth of that mix is whatever the bit depth of the final summing bus is (IE. 64bit float or in older versions of Pro Tools, 56bit fixed). If you want to record that mix as a 24bit sound file, then obviously you have to reduce the bit depth of the mix from 64bit float (or 56bit fixed) to 24bit. Again, this is digital mixing 101, how is it possible that a 25+ year pro wouldn't know this?

    4. So are you admitting that as a 25+ year pro, you've never done any controlled listening tests? Effectively, you're claiming that you can hear artefacts that are either around -120dBFS (which are not reproducible in the first place) or above 20kHz. So, you're not only contradicting the well established and accepted science of human hearing thresholds but the demonstrated science of actual DBTs (such as the Meyer & Moran study for example) of hi-res vs CD and what evidence do you present to substantiate your extraordinary claim? That you were a sound/music engineer who's apparently never done any controlled listening tests?

    5. You're joking, of course I am. Have you not read the original post of this thread? If you are/were a pro sound engineer then you should know it anyway!

    1. As higher than 16bit is not audible, what is a non-normal playback system? Some magical system capable of more than 120dB dynamic range and changing a listener's physiology so that it's not painful/damaging?

    2. Anyone can have higher bit depth systems if they want, they're just not going to get any audible benefit unless they're using that system as professional mixing engineers do, EG. Generating substantial quantisation error by using numerous digital processors or by significantly deviating from appropriate gain staging, which of course is why professional digital mix environments use a 64bit architecture in the first place!

    3. Normal home playback covers a range of scenarios within "reasonable" playback levels (IE. Not painful/damaging).
    3a. No it doesn't! Sure, your DAC can handle a 24bit file FORMAT but it cannot "handle" 24 bits of audio data, unless you have a magic DAC that breaks the laws of physics?

    4. Again, all the above should be known by a first year recording student, let alone by a 25+ year professional! Plus, just repeating the same assertion that contradicts the science and providing no reliable evidence to support your extraordinary claim/assertion is pretty much the definition of trolling here (or in science in general). So who is "definitely trolling" here? Hypocrisy at it's finest, V. funny though, bravo!

    And again, basic information already covered in this thread and that any first year music/sound engineering student should already know, actually most first semester students should know! But as you apparently don't know:

    1. What "is good about playing them" is potentially a different master. A master designed for at least decent equipment in at least a decent listening environment, rather than a more compressed (for example) master better suited to a wider range of equipment and noisier listening environments. HOWEVER, even masters designed ONLY for high quality playback systems/environments rarely have a dynamic range greater than about 60dB, which is about 1,000 times less than the 16bit format allows! Again, how is it possible, as a 25+ year professional, that you don't already know this? Unfortunately though, certain labels/distributors choose to only distribute these masters in hi-res formats (for marketing/pricing reasons), rather than distribute them in 16bit format.

    2. All the false assertions you make here are refuted by the point above!

    bfreedma and old tech like this.
  14. TheSonicTruth

    In the cases of popular releases(classic rock, hip-hop, country, etc) all that is done with the SACDs is to master them louder, at the expense of some dynamic range.

    Though there are some on here who might either defend this nefarious practice or deny it is being done(even though anyone can see the evidence in the most basic of DAWs) because they work in the recording industry, I'm not going to argue with them because it's a waste of time. That said, it might explain some of the differences you are hearing between CD and SACD, and CD vs 'Hi-Res'.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2019
  15. old tech
    Well I did qualify it by saying "certainly not all". In fact, to my ears, many CDs sound exactly the same if not worse as their SACD counterpart and many early1980s CDs sound much better than their current squashed hi res re-issues.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2019
    Chris Kaoss likes this.
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