Why 24 bit audio and anything over 48k is not only worthless, but bad for music.

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by keanex, Apr 30, 2014.
  1. castleofargh Contributor
    when your cat goes from fur ball to Freddy Krueger for no apparent reason, now you know that it's because your music was low passed too soon.
  2. bigshot
    My dog hates the movie Das Boot. The low frequency submarine rumbles and depth charges make her hide under the couch.
  3. bigshot
    There's no advantage to having superaudible frequencies in your music. There are only disadvantages. See the link CD AUDIO IS ALL YOU NEED in my sig file.
  4. Whazzzup
    I like das boot even u12. my cat hides when there is thunder, growls when the door bell rings, and chirp purrs when i pick her up.
  5. RRod
    Bandlimited signals cannot be time-limited, and we don't capture any infinitely-long signals, so we're never truly bandlimited. "Correctly" thus means "with aliasing that is inaudible", which I think arguably we can attain.

    If the nominal end-product of mastering is a 24/96k file, then it should cost precisely $0 extra for said file, and said file shouldn't cost more than the CD mastering of said file because why should less work cost more money?
    castleofargh likes this.
  6. 71 dB
    Just buy 24/96 downloads then if CD feels grandfather audio to you. Why 192 kHz? That's comical overkill just to distribute 20 kHz audio band when 60 kHz sampling rate would already allow relaxed reconstruction filters. 16/44.1 reached a level of transparency beyond which there's hardly anything to gain so why bother?
  7. 71 dB
    None of my bandlimited CDs play more than about 80 minutes making them time-limited. How is this possible? It's possible because we live in a "noisy" reality where some aspects of mathematical theories become irrelevant. Maybe the CD I played 10 years ago is still ringing in the universe at level -70000073284780000282370000230 dB, but that's irrelevant even at atomic level and the damn CD stopped playing in my ears 10 years ago.
  8. 71 dB
    You charge as much as you can to maximaze your profit. People are willing to pay more for bigger numbers because they are ignorant about the non-existing benefits of high-res audio and that's why they are charged more.
  9. OddE
    -You are preaching to the choir. (See the 2nd paragraph of my post, quoted below.)

    My (poor, as it were) attempt at snark was simply to suggest that there were other possible side effects to hi-res than the discomfort of pets - like increased download and storage costs...

  10. KeithEmo
    I was thinking the same thing.

    I've owned quite a few different DACs - both now and in the past - and many of them sound distinctly different from each other.
    Ignoring the question of which is better, or why, there are all sorts of audible differences between DACs (even between those that measure so well that their flaws per-se should not be audible).

    I would agree that the THD, noise, and frequency responses of most modern DACs are so close to perfect that there shouldn't be any audible difference....
    Yet there are in fact consistent differences.
    Obviously this suggests that, perhaps, we aren't measuring everything that matters.
    (I've even owned DACs where different filter choices sounded audibly different - even though all of them were arbitrarily close to perfect according to the measurements.)

    At a recent company event we had a station set up where listeners could compare Emotiva's current DC-1 DAC to a prototype of next year's model.
    Excluding a few new features, the basic performance of both is "beyond reproach", and very similar - very flat frequency response, very low noise, very low THD.
    Yet, even when perfectly level matched, and playing ordinary 16/44k audio selections, the vast majority of listeners noticed a difference between them most of the time.
    (And, while most listeners preferred the new model, a few actually preferred the other one, yet ALL of them described the difference consistently in similar terms.
    In other words, pretty much everyone, including a few who liked the older model better, heard and described hearing the same difference between them.)

    I can only see two possible conclusions here:
    1) there is something audible that we're failing to measure
    2) we're operating under some false assumptions about the audibility of small differences in the stuff we ARE measuring

    Of course, our individual hearing varies significantly, as do our audio systems, and the content we listen to.
    And, yes, in the above-mentioned demonstration, we did cherry pick specific music selections that served to emphasize the differences.
    However, they were played from the same files, using the same computer and USB card, the same player program, the same powered speakers, and a switching device that uses mechanical relays - with the only difference being the DAC.
    (Yes, we even used the same USB cables.)

  11. KeithEmo
    Of course people who sell things are going to charge as much as they can.
    And, yes, it should actually be cheaper to sell a copy of the 24/96k master than to go to the trouble to re-sample it to 16/44k.
    (Although, arguably, the marginal cost of allowing the user to decide which one he or she wants to download is quite trivial.)

    Note that the cost of distributing an album as a file download is also far cheaper than the cost of pressing, shipping, shelving, and picking a physical disc.
    Incidentally, the cost to produce physical CDs, with jewel cases, and pretty colored label inserts, is about $2 per disc in 500 quantities.
    (In fact, I think an excellent case could be made that, all else being equal, it's a LOT cheaper to distribute a 24/192k download to end users than a 16/44k physical CD disc.)
    It's pretty obvious that current pricing is based mostly on "what the market will bear".... and "what the sellers are convinced the music license is worth".

    You do, however, always have to keep the business model in perspective.
    For example, the two current largest music streaming services LOST money last year (apparently because their license costs are more than their profit margin).
    This means that either their prices will have to go up, or they'll have to figure out how to improve efficiency, of the licensing costs they pay will have to go down - or they will go out of business.
    At the moment "high-res downloads" are what we call "a market differentiator".... which means that either they're going to charge more for them, or hope to win customers from their competitors by offering them (if their competitors don't), or both.

    Ignorance is ignorance...... and, after all, most of the differences they tout on TV commercials for various products are made up..... so why should we hope for better from the music industry?
    High-res audio files are simply "this year's model".
    Of course the buyer should think for themself.

  12. KeithEmo
    And, by the way, what if your pet LIKES the more accurate rendition of those animal recordings?

  13. KeithEmo
    Actually your comment about the reconstruction filter is only partly correct.
    From an engineering perspective, it would be easier to design a filter that was much shallower, and use a much higher sample rate to go with it.
    (Most DACs internally oversample 44k input signals by as much as 8x.... which works out to a 384k "internal" sample rate.)

    I would also like to point out that many of the concerns I see described here are both perfectly valid and also specious.... depending on the specific circumstances involved.
    For example, my Internet download account is unlimited, and the movie I downloaded to watch last night took up more space than my entire music collection would - even at 192k (a typical Blu-Ray quality movie averages about 40 GB).
    However, if I had a portable player with limited capacity, or was streaming audio to a phone with a data limit, I might well consider using high quality lossy compression.
    My only concern there is that I be offered the option - rather than having someone else decide that they know with 100% certainty what I do and don't need.
    I have no desire whatsoever to convince everyone to buy high-res downloads.
    However, I am concerned that someone will convince someone else that 'there's no reason to sell them" because "they know better".
    (Specifically because I'm not convinced that they really do know better.)

    My Nissan Versa does a perfectly adequate job of getting me to work on time.
    So why would anyone bother to buy a Lexus?
    Personally, I would agree, which is why I drive a Nissan......
    But I'm not trying to make a case for why Lexus should shut down their factory ("because nobody really needs one").

  14. Whitigir
    Simply put, real life sound waves have infinite bits :D. True sin waves
  15. RRod
    Well yes, exactly.

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