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  1. #1
    Senior Member ralphpnj's Avatar
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    Is 24bit/44.1kHz high resolution or marketing BS?

    Lately I've been seeing quite a bit of 24bit/44.1kHz recordings (aka files) being promoted as high resolution audio. Since going from 16bit/44.1kHz to 24bit/44.1kHz would only change the AVAILABLE dynamic range of a given recording, as opposed to actually increasing or even changing the dynamic range of the music on the recording, should 24bit/44.1kHz really be considered "high resolution" audio or plain old marketing? And more importantly, would or could a 24bit/44.1kHz file sound any different from a 16bit/44.1kHz file of the same recording? Any thoughts?
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Wombat's Avatar
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    The 24/44.1 recordings i analysed lately with a typical DR8 or lower use maybe 12-14bit for music the rest is noise. The usable resolution above the noisefloor does not change even when they sell you 32bit.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Julf's Avatar
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    It is indeed high resolution - noise. And no, it doesn't matter - you won't hear a difference, at least not blind.

    I keep asking for examples of commercial recordings with a dynamic range exceeding 16 bits, and I still haven't found one.
    "To try to judge the real from the false will always be hard. In this fast-growing art of 'high fidelity' the quackery will bear a solid gilt edge that will fool many people" - Paul W Klipsch, 1953

  4. #4
    Senior Member ralphpnj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wombat View Post
    The 24/44.1 recordings i analysed lately with a typical DR8 or lower use maybe 12-14bit for music the rest is noise. The usable resolution above the noisefloor does not change even when they sell you 32bit.
    Quote Originally Posted by Julf View Post
    It is indeed high resolution - noise. And no, it doesn't matter - you won't hear a difference, at least not blind.

    I keep asking for examples of commercial recordings with a dynamic range exceeding 16 bits, and I still haven't found one.
    I suppose that one could just compare the measured dynamic range (via the foobar plugin or an equivalent) of a 24bit/44.1kHz audio file and the same audio in a 16bit/44.1kHz file. if the dynamic ranges are the same (which they absolutely should be) then a 24bit file is just marketing BS.
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  5. #5
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    This falls in the "heavy sigh" category for me. The vast majority of recordings, even classical, get nowhere near to using the full dynamic range of the 16/44.1 format as it is, which is already a good 30 dB better than what the highly vaunted vinyl LP is capable of.

    Well recorded CDs are pretty wonderful in my book. The music industry needs to work harder on making more of those rather than spending their time promoting another storage format.

    Nothing more than my opinion, though.

  6. #6
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    It seems that the industry still hasn't come with a meaningful standard definition of Hi Res, so we will continue to see marketing hype for so called Hi Res material. Dr Mark Waldrep sums up the industry approach nicely in an excerpt from his post CES blog....

    "There seems to be a collective effort to market hi-res music without any regard to whether it makes any difference. They’re all chasing the wrong end of the music fidelity beast. Instead of putting on slick presentations in expensive booths, or assembling a panel of so-called industry experts, they should start by creating recordings that actually possess better fidelity than we’re currently getting. They’ve defined all music ever created as hi-res if it’s delivered to you in a high-resolution digital container. I was unimpressed."

  7. #7
    Senior Member Archimago's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfo View Post
    It seems that the industry still hasn't come with a meaningful standard definition of Hi Res, so we will continue to see marketing hype for so called Hi Res material. Dr Mark Waldrep sums up the industry approach nicely in an excerpt from his post CES blog....

    "There seems to be a collective effort to market hi-res music without any regard to whether it makes any difference. They’re all chasing the wrong end of the music fidelity beast. Instead of putting on slick presentations in expensive booths, or assembling a panel of so-called industry experts, they should start by creating recordings that actually possess better fidelity than we’re currently getting. They’ve defined all music ever created as hi-res if it’s delivered to you in a high-resolution digital container. I was unimpressed."
    Yup. All of this is pretty well nonsense (as discussed recently in a blog post). The industry needs to be seen as doing something different and new to sell yet another "version" of the same thing.

    Most of these 24/44 releases are totally ridiculous dynamic range compressed <DR10 albums that I have seen recently. Stuff like Carly Rae Jepsen, Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga, etc. Obviously stuff that could have been 12/44 and sounded just fine :-).
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  8. #8
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    The Art of (making a lot of money from) Noise
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Julf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ralphpnj View Post
    I suppose that one could just compare the measured dynamic range (via the foobar plugin or an equivalent) of a 24bit/44.1kHz audio file and the same audio in a 16bit/44.1kHz file. if the dynamic ranges are the same (which they absolutely should be) then a 24bit file is just marketing BS.
    That is pretty much what I have done. Of course the dynamic ranges aren't always the same - I have come across a few examples where the 24-bit version has *less* dynamic range (clearly a newer "master" - or compressed to make the 24-bit version sound louder and thus "better").
    "To try to judge the real from the false will always be hard. In this fast-growing art of 'high fidelity' the quackery will bear a solid gilt edge that will fool many people" - Paul W Klipsch, 1953

  10. #10
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    I have a couple of 24/44k files from warp records. I was disappointed they were only 44k as they were advertised only as "24 bit flac". But for these particular recordings they were essentially free with the CD so I figured why not. I've not numerically analysed them to see if there's anything other than noise or zero-padding in the lower order bits (suspect noise, given the file size), and I'm pretty sure I can't tell the difference between them and CD rips.

    These would all be artificial electronic music sources too, so in principle they could indeed carry real (synthesised) waveforms down into the low order bits.
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