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temerini
2010-01-30, 16:26
Why the Touch is not 24/192 capable?

Stratmangler
2010-01-30, 16:50
Why the Touch is not 24/192 capable?

Cost ?

toby10
2010-01-31, 06:04
They still have Transporters in stock? ;)

Phil Leigh
2010-01-31, 06:11
Why the Touch is not 24/192 capable?

because there is no point...

Mnyb
2010-01-31, 06:18
Why ? the server can transcode to 24/96 with SOX there is so little source material in that format, so it's a very marginal customer base, sure it can be developed who will pay whats the cost ?
If the hardware was developed for this, the cost will be shared by all buyers and 99.999873% off them wont need that feature.

For listening purposes 24/96 is as good as it needs to be, imho.
I also like hirez files and DVD-A but i think I only managed to accumulate 1 or 2 Albums in 24/192 to go with my other 1780 Albums, but I want hirez and tries to get them where i can, how likely is such a file to turn up if you choose your albums and tracks solely according to what music you wanted ? (like normal people do ) ;)

For the SPDIF output I have no idea if it's limited by hardware or software ?

I don't now if the nic and cpu are speedy enough to cope with the bitrate ?
Or the flac decoder will the cpu whimper and die ?

Edit: try to distinguish between recording and playback, it's not the same I'm all for recording the original multitrack with 24/192 to avoid brickwall filters and AD anomalies.
And mix the thing in as hi rez as possible 64bit floating point I assume modern software use .But for playback purposes 24/96 seems optimal.

Aurumer
2010-01-31, 06:22
Bandwidth, Cost, Sense?

temerini
2010-01-31, 13:09
[QUOTE=Mnyb;512161]Why ? the server can transcode to 24/96 with SOX there is so little source material in that format, so it's a very marginal customer base, sure it can be developed who will pay whats the cost ?
If the hardware was developed for this, the cost will be shared by all buyers and 99.999873% off them wont need that feature.

For the SPDIF output I have no idea if it's limited by hardware or software ?

I don't now if the nic and cpu are speedy enough to cope with the bitrate ?
Or the flac decoder will the cpu whimper and die ?

John Swenson wrote that the hardware is capable of 24/192.

Mnyb
2010-01-31, 13:21
[QUOTE=Mnyb;512161]Why ? the server can transcode to 24/96 with SOX there is so little source material in that format, so it's a very marginal customer base, sure it can be developed who will pay whats the cost ?
If the hardware was developed for this, the cost will be shared by all buyers and 99.999873% off them wont need that feature.

For the SPDIF output I have no idea if it's limited by hardware or software ?

I don't now if the nic and cpu are speedy enough to cope with the bitrate ?
Or the flac decoder will the cpu whimper and die ?

John Swenson wrote that the hardware is capable of 24/192.

Ok he should know he has bisected it thoroughly , the whole machine or only some parts ?

from Ethernet port to output ? I think wifi is out in this case.

If so then raise an enhancement request for it, if it is "only" a software limit

JohnSwenson
2010-01-31, 16:51
Yes, the hardware can support 24/192. The DAC can do it and the oscillators are of sufficient frequency to support it from the processor. The one issue is optical out. The TOSLINK modules being sold today do not have a high enough bandwidth to reliably handle 192. (Toshiba used to make a high speed one, but they don't make it any more). The Coax S/PDIF out should have no problem with 192.

There are several "levels" of software support that have to exist in order to do it.

First is the ALSA driver. I don't know if that supports 192. I've used it at 96 but I haven't tried it at 192. It should be easy to try. Just try and play a 24/192 wave file using aplay and the HW interface. If the driver supports 192 it will play, otherwise it won't.

If it does not support 192 then the driver will have to be modified. Given they have a working driver for 96 adding 176 and 192 should not be too difficult.

Then there is the audio code inside squeezeplay. It has to know that 192 exists and can be sent to the ALSA driver. I haven't checked the code for that.

Then there is slimproto or whatever they are calling it now. The actual streaming protocol has to know about 192, and sqeezeplay has to recognize that and do the right thing with it.

Last is SBS. It has to know about 192 and know that something is 192 and what to do with it. Since it is currently being downsampled it seems like SBS knows about it. So it most likely needs to be updated so it knows the Touch could play 192 so it won't resample.

So the two biggies seem to be: does slimproto handle 192, and does the Touch ALSA driver support 192.

So yes it IS just software, but there might be several pieces of software that need to be updated to make it work.

John S.

MadMan
2010-01-31, 20:14
24/192 is all 'more is better' marketing hype especially when it comes to stereo playback so no one should be bothered that a device like a Squeezebox doesn't support it.

temerini
2010-02-01, 10:21
Thank you John for the very informative post!!

temerini
2010-02-01, 10:23
MadMan!
Why not, if it is possible?

Phil Leigh
2010-02-01, 10:36
MadMan!
Why not, if it is possible?

1) there is almost no commercial material in this format
2) no living person can tell the difference between 24/96 and 24/192 under dbt conditions

However, if it is a simple software upgrade then by all means let us have it.
I was under the impression that it wasn't quite that simple in terms of Touch CPU power, but happy to be corrected on this...

iPhone
2010-02-01, 11:50
Why the Touch is not 24/192 capable?

Several reasons: File size of 24/192 FLAC files, most humans can't hear the difference between 24/96 and 24/192, costs to much for a mass produced consumer product, not needed in a device designed to do what a Touch was designed for, availability of 24/192 files, and on and on.

DaveWr
2010-02-01, 12:58
I think there might be an issue with decoding algorithm for FLAC, let alone others. The CPU isn't up to transcoders, so it may be marginal on 24/192.

We know the Transporter is marginal on max compression 24/96 FLACs in certain cases.

Dave

Mnyb
2010-02-01, 12:58
If it's simple do it.
Othervise not, it concerns so very few.

I'll be happy to avoid server-side transcoding on these files.
My server is on the slow side, It can do it but running 70% cpu load.
My Plan is to run cat5 wire to it anyway for the 24/96 files.

Aha !
Now i've found a good reason to do it ? The Touch's own TinySBS can not transcode, and Touch will not have the juice to run SOX anyway .
So 192k will not work with TinySBS .
But if the DAC and Alsa drivers and coax out is up for it...

Hmm, this must actually be optional via a setting as some DAC's do not accept 192kHz input "only" 96kHz (which everything but the most ancient stuff accept )

JohnSwenson
2010-02-01, 14:20
The processor in the Touch is WAY more powerful than the one in the transporter so there should not be a problem playing 192 files, even decoding flac. There might be a problem when the server is on the Touch. There might not be enough horsepower to run TinySBS and the player both at 192. . So even if software does get changed to play 192 files its probably a good idea to assume its only going to be available with an external server.

John S.

agillis
2010-02-01, 14:57
Yes, the hardware can support 24/192. The DAC can do it and the oscillators are of sufficient frequency to support it from the processor. The one issue is optical out. The TOSLINK modules being sold today do not have a high enough bandwidth to reliably handle 192. (Toshiba used to make a high speed one, but they don't make it any more). The Coax S/PDIF out should have no problem with 192.

There are several "levels" of software support that have to exist in order to do it.

First is the ALSA driver. I don't know if that supports 192. I've used it at 96 but I haven't tried it at 192. It should be easy to try. Just try and play a 24/192 wave file using aplay and the HW interface. If the driver supports 192 it will play, otherwise it won't.

If it does not support 192 then the driver will have to be modified. Given they have a working driver for 96 adding 176 and 192 should not be too difficult.

Then there is the audio code inside squeezeplay. It has to know that 192 exists and can be sent to the ALSA driver. I haven't checked the code for that.

Then there is slimproto or whatever they are calling it now. The actual streaming protocol has to know about 192, and sqeezeplay has to recognize that and do the right thing with it.

Last is SBS. It has to know about 192 and know that something is 192 and what to do with it. Since it is currently being downsampled it seems like SBS knows about it. So it most likely needs to be updated so it knows the Touch could play 192 so it won't resample.

So the two biggies seem to be: does slimproto handle 192, and does the Touch ALSA driver support 192.

So yes it IS just software, but there might be several pieces of software that need to be updated to make it work.

John S.

SBS, slimproto, and ALSA all support 192/24. The new VortexBox player supports 192/24 and it has been working very well with SBS.

Mnyb
2010-02-01, 15:21
The processor in the Touch is WAY more powerful than the one in the transporter so there should not be a problem playing 192 files, even decoding flac. There might be a problem when the server is on the Touch. There might not be enough horsepower to run TinySBS and the player both at 192. . So even if software does get changed to play 192 files its probably a good idea to assume its only going to be available with an external server.

John S.

Ok, and the optical wont do it, I'll see logitechs pow here, they can not build unconditional support for 192kHz, it will only work under some circumstances this will not look so good in the product spec and confuse customers. So better leave it at 24/96 which works for everyone all the time.

But with agillis comment in mind this leaves squeezeplay can it handle 192k ? But it is an opening for someone to modify things even if logitech wont do it themselves.

JohnSwenson
2010-02-01, 17:41
SBS, slimproto, and ALSA all support 192/24. The new VortexBox player supports 192/24 and it has been working very well with SBS.

Yes ALSA can handle 192, the question is can the driver in the Touch handle it. In the Touch the S/PDIF and I2S come directly from the processor so my guess is there is a generic driver available from the manufacturer which Logitech has customized to some extent. IF that generic driver supports 192, then there might be a good possibility that the driver in the Touch still supports it.

agillis, did you have to add a new player type to SBS to support that new player? My understanding is that SBS has a list player types each of which has a set of capabilities for the player including the sample rates it supports. I'm pretty sure the one for the Touch would have to be modified to say it supports 192. If thats all it takes for SBS that should be trivial to modify.

In the next day or so I'll see if I can run a test on the Touch and see whether the ALSA driver supports 192 or not.

If it does that just leaves squeezeplay. If the driver does not support 192 then that is something that Logitech would have to change. I don't think they have released the source code for the ALSA driver.

John S.

agillis
2010-02-01, 18:12
Yes ALSA can handle 192, the question is can the driver in the Touch handle it. In the Touch the S/PDIF and I2S come directly from the processor so my guess is there is a generic driver available from the manufacturer which Logitech has customized to some extent. IF that generic driver supports 192, then there might be a good possibility that the driver in the Touch still supports it.

agillis, did you have to add a new player type to SBS to support that new player? My understanding is that SBS has a list player types each of which has a set of capabilities for the player including the sample rates it supports. I'm pretty sure the one for the Touch would have to be modified to say it supports 192. If thats all it takes for SBS that should be trivial to modify.

In the next day or so I'll see if I can run a test on the Touch and see whether the ALSA driver supports 192 or not.

If it does that just leaves squeezeplay. If the driver does not support 192 then that is something that Logitech would have to change. I don't think they have released the source code for the ALSA driver.

John S.

I just used the squeezeslave player type. That seemed to be the closest to what VortexBox Player is. I did have to change SBS because squeezeslave only supports 44.1K. It was only a one line change to the player file.

MrRalph
2010-02-02, 03:38
Nice nice nice! Looks like we almost got ourselves a 24/192 Touch when the back order arrives :-)

JohnSwenson
2010-02-02, 11:09
Nice nice nice! Looks like we almost got ourselves a 24/192 Touch when the back order arrives :-)

The big if is does the ALSA driver support 192, I don't know yet. It will probably be this weekend before I can test it.

John S.

temerini
2010-02-03, 01:18
I am looking for your test!

(I'm a newbie. It's not clear to me what is tiny server? It is optional to install tiny server? Do I need it if I don't have other squuezbox device? Could I use sdcard or pendrive on the touch without the tiny server? Sorry for my silly questions!)

Themis
2010-02-03, 04:43
If there's just a line to change, why not : commercially it can be a plus.
Otherwise, as there's no playback material... it doesn't really matter. I struggle to find 24/96 (outside some classic/jazz) anyway, so I don't even think of 24/192 yet !

aubuti
2010-02-03, 07:39
I am looking for your test!

(I'm a newbie. It's not clear to me what is tiny server? It is optional to install tiny server? Do I need it if I don't have other squuezbox device? Could I use sdcard or pendrive on the touch without the tiny server? Sorry for my silly questions!)
Tiny server (also known as TinySC or TinySBS) is the Squeezebox Server that can run on the SB Touch. If you want to play audio from a pen drive or SD card on the Touch then you need to use TinySBS. TinySBS + USB drive or SD card can also act as a server to other SBs in addition to the Touch.

It is not required to use TinySBS -- if you want continue using the usual pc-based SBS you can do that. Even though TinySBS is essentially the same software as regular SBS, it has some limitations that are required to make it run reliably on the SB Touch. In particular, TinySBS has no web interface, does not support 3rd party plugins, and cannot do transcoding.

Hope this helps.

agillis
2010-02-03, 09:34
If there's just a line to change, why not : commercially it can be a plus.
Otherwise, as there's no playback material... it doesn't really matter. I struggle to find 24/96 (outside some classic/jazz) anyway, so I don't even think of 24/192 yet !

Ken Poon
http://www.referencerecordings.com/
Linn Records

All sell music in 24/192. It sounds fantastic on the right system.

temerini
2010-02-03, 11:41
Tiny server (also known as TinySC or TinySBS) is the Squeezebox Server that can run on the SB Touch. If you want to play audio from a pen drive or SD card on the Touch then you need to use TinySBS. TinySBS + USB drive or SD card can also act as a server to other SBs in addition to the Touch.

It is not required to use TinySBS -- if you want continue using the usual pc-based SBS you can do that. Even though TinySBS is essentially the same software as regular SBS, it has some limitations that are required to make it run reliably on the SB Touch. In particular, TinySBS has no web interface, does not support 3rd party plugins, and cannot do transcoding.

Hope this helps.

Thank you very much!

aubuti
2010-02-03, 14:00
Even though TinySBS is essentially the same software as regular SBS, it has some limitations that are required to make it run reliably on the SB Touch. In particular, TinySBS has no web interface, does not support 3rd party plugins, and cannot do transcoding.
Sorry, but I forgot one more limitation: TinySBS does not support the granddaddy and great-granddaddy Sqeezeboxes, namely the SliMP3 and SB1.

Robfitzp
2010-02-03, 15:47
Hi

Obviously still waiting for my Touch to arrive...

Will the USB output 24/192 or is this limited to 24/96?

I will be using the Touch with a Chord QBD76 dac which requires dual wire sp/dif connection for 192khz input.

Cheers
Rob

JohnSwenson
2010-02-03, 18:40
Will the USB output 24/192 or is this limited to 24/96?

Cheers
Rob

Interesting question. I presume you've read my other posts on the USB output, so I won't go into all that now.

The USB driver is the standard ALSA USB driver, which does support 192 IF the DAC supports 192 with a generic driver. Unfortunately this is not something that is officially supported by the USB standard which is supported by the ALSA USB driver. So if you can find something that works at 192 its more of an accident than anything else.

All of the USB DACs that officially run at 192 do so with their own proprietary drivers which of course are not included in the Touch.

So don't count on it.

John S.

Robfitzp
2010-02-05, 14:47
Thanks John

I read them upto mid Dec, i am probably a bit behind.

I'll email your response to chord and see what they say.

If not I guess i'll stick to 96khz - not really an issue as 99.9% of my stuff is 16/44.1 anyway!!

cheers
Rob

DaveWr
2010-02-06, 16:23
I hope you realise that Logitech are not supporting USB DAC outputs, only storage devices - discs and USB sticks. You will need John Swenson's Applet to achieve your goals, or you are back to SPDIF.

Dave

JohnSwenson
2010-02-07, 00:03
Well I checked out the ALSA driver on the Touch today and it does NOT support 192.

So it looks like it will need to be modified to handle 192.

John S.

temerini
2010-02-07, 03:35
Well I checked out the ALSA driver on the Touch today and it does NOT support 192.

So it looks like it will need to be modified to handle 192.

John S.

Thanks John!

Robfitzp
2010-02-07, 03:53
I hope you realise that Logitech are not supporting USB DAC outputs, only storage devices - discs and USB sticks. You will need John Swenson's Applet to achieve your goals, or you are back to SPDIF.

Dave

Yup, I have read his thread. I am intending to use spdif anyway in the near future as I will have a USB hdd attached. The Chord Dac has a memory buffer and is meant to minimise jitter problems. It was more a 'can it do it' query for future reference.

Cheers
Rob

MrRalph
2010-02-09, 00:48
Well I checked out the ALSA driver on the Touch today and it does NOT support 192.

So it looks like it will need to be modified to handle 192.

John S.

Thank you for checking. Having little knowledge on the subject, what does it take to 'modify'? Isn't it just a software driver that can be replaced?

JohnSwenson
2010-02-09, 00:55
Yes its a linux driver that gets compiled into the linux kernel used in the Touch. I would be glad to do the modifications, but to my knowledge Logitech has not made the source for the linux drivers available.

So either someone at logitech does it, (not likely any time soon) or they make the source available for someone outside Logitech to modify.

John S.

temerini
2010-02-16, 08:09
I would be glad too!

mortslim
2010-02-16, 17:08
Ken Poon
http://www.referencerecordings.com/
Linn Records

All sell music in 24/192. It sounds fantastic on the right system.

I read the website for referencerecordings. From what I see, this company sells mostly HDCD's.

HDCD encodes the equivalent of 20 bits worth of data in a 16-bit digital audio signal by using custom dithering, audio filters, and some reversible amplitude and gain encoding;…HDCD encoding places a control signal in the least significant bit of a small subset of the 16-bit Red Book audio samples (a technique known as in-band signaling). The HDCD decoder in the consumer's CD or DVD player, if present, responds to the signal. If no decoder is present, the disc will be played as a regular CD.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Definition_Compatible_Digital

If your CD player is not HDCD compatible, it will play at 16/44.1. No matter how much hocus pocus fancy terminology is used to describe the audio characteristics of the recordings, it will be 16/44.1.

As far as the recording process is concerned, yes, the recordings can start out at a higher bit and sample rate but then they need to be dithered and downsampled to comply with the physical HDCD disc requirements.

Windows Media Player performs HDCD decoding when playing directly from a CD, but will not perform HDCD decoding when playing from a rip.
http://www.stereophile.com/digitalprocessors/108bench/index5.html

Thus don't expect to rip an HDCD, then play the computer file on your squeezebox and expect better fidelity than a regular CD.

In my own studio, I use a MOTU 828mk3 and SONAR 8.5 Producer, both of which are capable of 24/192. But again, that is only during the recording process for my own productions, in order to use software plugins that benefit from the higher sample rate. The final mix needs to be 16/44.1 on a CD.

Bottom line, 24/192 is an academic issue with no practical consequence in the context of listening to music on a squeezebox.

R Johnson
2010-02-16, 18:00
I'm not really interested in 24/192, but I am interested in 24/88.2 - where 88.2 is twice the 44.1 CD standard. Quite a few classical downloads are available in 24/88.2 format.

The Touch specs say "Supports sampling rates up to 24 bit / 96 kHz". I have seen specs for some devices which will do 96KHz, but NOT 88.2KHz....

Does the Touch support 24/88.2?

mortslim
2010-02-16, 19:01
Quite a few classical downloads are available in 24/88.2 format.

You have to ask what equipment was used to RECORD this music. If the recordings are more than about 20 years old, a higher bit rate and sample rate won't help because the original recording equipment did not have the required fidelity.

For example, I found a company on the internet that claims to sell high definition recordings of Rachmaninoff (who died in 1943). The claims are nonsensical. The explanation on the website mixes up issues of midi and audio to the point of being preposterous. Yes, Rachmaninoff recorded piano rolls. But piano rolls had no velocity information thus you are not getting Rachmaninoff if piano rolls are what that company is using.

And I wouldn't assume that music recorded within the last 20 years was recorded at a higher fidelity just because the download is available in a higher fidelity format (there could have been upsampling which does NOT increase the fidelity, it just copies the original material). The purchaser has to inquire as to the recording process (analog vs digital; what digital, what microphones, what studio, if the producer made the master available to the distributor, etc.).

And don't assume that just because the music was recorded on analog tape that this will yield higher fidelity digital quality. You have to understand the evolution of the technology of analog tape recorders and know that even today they are constantly evolving in their quality (by the very few companies left in the field).

My general impression is that searching for music in a higer fidelity format for the sake of higher fidelity is compromising the listener's choice of music.

Kevin Haskins
2010-02-16, 19:58
I read the website for referencerecordings. From what I see, this company sells CD's. By definition, CD's are 16bit/44.1kHz. No matter how much hocus pocus fancy terminology is used to describe the audio characteristics of the recordings, it is still 16/44.1. It can't be anything else or it wouldn't play in a CD player.

As far as the recording process is concerned, yes, the recordings can start out at a higher bit and sample rate but then they need to be dithered and downsampled to comply with CD requirements. When a 24-bit signal ends up on a 16-bit CD, eight bits are truncated and never heard from again. There is also a loss of audio quality when doing a sample rate conversion (downsampling).

In my own studio, I use a MOTU 828mk3 and SONAR 8.5 Producer, both of which are capable of 24/192. But again, that is only during the recording process for my own productions, in order to use software plugins that benefit from the higher sample rate. The final mix needs to be 16/44.1 on a CD.

Yes, you can go all the way to 24/192 on a DVD, but there are not too many record companies that produce music on DVD. Even at 24/96 you are usually limited to music videos and concert movies. The vast majority of music is manufactured to the CD standard.

Bottom line, 24/192 is an academic issue with no practical consequence in the context of listening to music on a squeezebox.

Amen...

Phil Leigh
2010-02-16, 23:38
Does the Touch support 24/88.2?

Yes it does

Themis
2010-02-17, 01:20
You have to ask what equipment was used to RECORD this music. If the recordings are more than about 20 years old, a higher bit rate and sample rate won't help because the original recording equipment did not have the required fidelity.
Can you please elaborate ? What was "worse" in the recording equipment 30 years ago ?

R Johnson
2010-02-17, 08:49
You have to ask what equipment was used to RECORD this music. If the recordings are more than about 20 years old, a higher bit rate and sample rate won't help because the original recording equipment did not have the required fidelity.
As a Chicago Symphony subscriber, I'm particularly interested in their new recordings from concert performances as issued on the "CSO Resound" label. These are available on SACD, CD and downloads. I've downloaded one disc in 24/88.2 but haven't yet had the playback equipment to compare it to the CD. This is one of the reasons I'm interested in the Touch.

Phil, thanks for confirmation that the Touch does 24/88.2.

temerini
2010-02-17, 10:38
I read the website for referencerecordings. From what I see, this company sells CD's. By definition, CD's are 16bit/44.1kHz. No matter how much hocus pocus fancy terminology is used to describe the audio characteristics of the recordings, it is still 16/44.1. It can't be anything else or it wouldn't play in a CD player.

As far as the recording process is concerned, yes, the recordings can start out at a higher bit and sample rate but then they need to be dithered and downsampled to comply with CD requirements. When a 24-bit signal ends up on a 16-bit CD, eight bits are truncated and never heard from again. There is also a loss of audio quality when doing a sample rate conversion (downsampling).

In my own studio, I use a MOTU 828mk3 and SONAR 8.5 Producer, both of which are capable of 24/192. But again, that is only during the recording process for my own productions, in order to use software plugins that benefit from the higher sample rate. The final mix needs to be 16/44.1 on a CD.

Yes, you can go all the way to 24/192 on a DVD, but there are not too many record companies that produce music on DVD. Even at 24/96 you are usually limited to music videos and concert movies. The vast majority of music is manufactured to the CD standard.

Bottom line, 24/192 is an academic issue with no practical consequence in the context of listening to music on a squeezebox.

But who cares CD or DVD-A??? These are dead formats. If everybody download music, record companies could sell music without truncation an downsampling, as Linn, Chesky and some others do.

Phil Leigh
2010-02-17, 11:02
But who cares CD or DVD-A??? These are dead formats. If everybody download music, record companies could sell music without truncation an downsampling, as Linn, Chesky and some others do.

I think you are missing the point. There's no point in downloading a 24/192 version of something that was recorded in 1978 on 14-bit digital Sony video tape!

Or even of stuff from earlier that was recorded on analogue tape with a frequency response that maxed out at 22Khz (when new from the factory) and with an SNR of 70dB at absolute best...

Actually there's no point to 24/192 at all, but that is for another thread.

Now, recent Linn, Naim etc recordings that were actually recorded @ 24/96 in the first place - they are different.

mortslim
2010-02-17, 11:50
What was "worse" in the recording equipment 30 years ago ?

Basic history of audio recording quality:

(this post doesn’t even touch on studies showing that the vast majority of listeners over age 30 can’t even hear better quality above 24 bit/48 kHz)

Storage medium:

On March 2, 1983 CD players and discs (16 titles from CBS Records) were released in the United States and other markets. This event is often seen as the beginning of the digital audio revolution. It wasn’t till the end of that decade that CD’s became ubiquitous. And that is 16 bit/ 44.1 kHz.

Recording process:

You have to take into consideration every component of every machine in the chain of analog recording (today’s hard disk recording simplifies the process): "Mics", "Recording console", "Multi-track", "Mixing console", "Mix machine", "Mastering console". These components steadily evolved in quality every year. (We’re not talking about recording electric instruments (guitar, synth) which won’t benefit from very high bit or sample rates. The only type of music where higher quality might matter is of acoustic instruments and voice.)

What the little "DDD" label on the CD booklet is supposed to mean: originally the first "D" was to designate whether the original multi-track machine was digital "D" or analog "A". The middle "D" was for mix-down to a digital machine, while an "A" in the middle was for mix-down to an analog machine. The final letter was for the process used to master the CD itself. If you play back your digital tape through an analog mastering console on its way to the Sony 1630 CD mastering machine then the last letter should be "A". If you play back your digital tape in the digital domain through a digital console and then to the 1630, having never gone through an analog conversion, then the last letter should be "D". Also, if you mixed to analog tape but mastered through a digital console, (converting to digital before the console instead of after) the last letter should be "D".

The transition from analog tape to digital tape to hard disk recording occurred during the early 90’s. The first version of Pro Tools was launched in 1991, offering 4 tracks with the recording at 16bit 44.1 kHz. In 1997 Pro Tools reached 24bit, 48 track versions. It was at this point that the migration from more conventional studio technology to the Pro Tools platform took place within the industry.

Analog tape:

Even though a recording on tape may have been made with studio quality, tape speed was the limiting factor, much like sample rate is today. Decreasing the speed of analog audio tape causes a uniform decrease in high-frequency presence, increased background noise (hiss), more noticeable dropouts where there are flaws in the magnetic tape, and shifting of the (Gaussian) background noise spectrum toward lower frequencies (where it sounds more "granular",) regardless of the audio content.

In general, the faster the speed the better the sound quality. In addition to faithfully recording higher frequencies and increasing the magnetic signal strength and therefore the signal-to-noise ratio (S/N), higher tape speeds spread the signal longitudinally over more tape area. 7½ in/s— highest domestic speed, also slowest professional. 30 in/ — used where the best possible treble response is demanded, e.g., many classical music recordings. 3¾ in/s and 7½ in/s are the speeds that were used for (the vast majority of) consumer market releases of commercial recordings on reel-to-reel tape.

Tape speed is not the only factor affecting the quality of the recording. Other factors affecting quality include track width, tape formulation, and backing material and thickness. The design and quality of the recorder are also important factors, in many ways that are not applicable to digital recording systems (of any kind.) The machine's speed stability (wow-and-flutter), head gap size, head quality, and general head design and technology, and the machine's alignment (mostly a maintenance issue, but also a matter of design--how well and precisely it can be aligned) electro-mechanically affect the quality of the recording. The regulation of tape tension affects contact between the tape and the heads and has a very significant impact on the recording and reproduction of high frequencies. The track width of the machine, which is a question of format rather than individual machine design, is one of two major machine factors controlling signal-to-noise ratio (assuming the electronics have high enough S/N not to be a factor), the other being tape speed. S/N ratio varies directly with track width, due to the Gaussian nature of tape noise; doubling the track width doubles the S/N ratio (hence, with good electronics and comparable heads, 8-track cartridges should have half the signal-to-noise of quarter-track 1/4" tape at the same speed, 3-3/4 IPS.) Tape formulation affects the retention of the magnetic signal, especially high frequencies, the frequency linearity of the tape, the S/N ratio, print-through, optimum AC bias level (which must be set by a technician aligning the machine to match the tape type used, or more crudely set with a switch to approximate the optimum setting.) Tape formulation varies between different tape types (ferric oxide [FeO], chromium dioxide [CrO2], etc.) and also in the precise composition of a specific brand and batch of tape. Backing material type and thickness affect the tensile strength and elasticity of the tape, which affect wow-and-flutter and tape stretch; stretched tape will have a pitch error, possibly fluctuating. Backing thickness also effects print-through, the phenomenon of adjacent layers of tape wound on a reel picking up weak copies of the magnetic signal from each other. Print-through causes unintended pre- and post-echoes on playback, and is generally not fully reversible once it has occurred. The print through effect is another, not well-known limitation of analog tape recording, whether in open-reel or cassette/cartridge formats.

Before large hard disks became economical enough to make hard disk recorders viable, and before recordable CD technology was introduced, studio digital recording meant recording on digital tape. While the quality of digital tape did not progressively degrade with use of the tape, the physical sliding of the tape over the heads and guides meant that the tape still did wear, and eventually that wear would lead to digital errors and permanent loss of quality if the tape was not copied before reaching that point.

The Digital Audio Stationary Head or DASH standard is a reel-to-reel, digital audio tape format introduced by Sony in early 1982. With the exception of the Sony PCM-3348HR and Studer D827, all of the DASH recorders have 16-bit resolution with a 44.1 kHz or 48 kHz sampling rate. The PCM-3348HR and D827 are capable of 20-bit (not 24-bit) 96 kHz operation, and are the only machines that still find significant use today, often in only the highest-end studios for music and film production.

I haven't even touched on the quality of the components in the boards, desks, consoles, mixers. These also have evolved every year.

tcutting
2010-02-17, 11:57
Nice history lesson on recording technology... thanks for the time to post!

temerini
2010-02-17, 12:53
I think you are missing the point. There's no point in downloading a 24/192 version of something that was recorded in 1978 on 14-bit digital Sony video tape!

Or even of stuff from earlier that was recorded on analogue tape with a frequency response that maxed out at 22Khz (when new from the factory) and with an SNR of 70dB at absolute best...

Actually there's no point to 24/192 at all, but that is for another thread.

Now, recent Linn, Naim etc recordings that were actually recorded @ 24/96 in the first place - they are different.

I really don't understand it!! Why are you argue the benefit of higher resolution? I just want wider compatibility. I don't want to download something that was recorded in 1978 on 14-bit digital Sony video tape, but if I have some really high quality recording in 24/192 format I want to play them through a high quality DAC. Everybody want to convince me of the unneccecity of the highest resolution. On this basis we should listen Compact Cassettes. Why not, if it is possible??? (Just a remark: Linn abandons CD players, they produce network music servers instead.)

mortslim
2010-02-17, 13:13
As a Chicago Symphony subscriber, I'm particularly interested in their new recordings from concert performances as issued on the "CSO Resound" label. These are available on SACD, CD and downloads. I've downloaded one disc in 24/88.2 but haven't yet had the playback equipment to compare it to the CD.

The orchestra’s own website states: “High Definition downloads available at hdtracks.com “

At the HDtracks website, it says:

“When you purchase an HDtracks file, it is the same quality as a store-purchased CD.”

And

“To really get the most benefit of an HDtracks music file you could burn a CD-R and play it on your home Hi-Fi system.”

And

“HD files are the same thing as purchasing a CD but without the disc.”

https://www.hdtracks.com/index.php?file=staticpage&pagename=faq#1

There is ambiguity on that website as to the source material for the downloads. I have revised my post accordingly.

DaveWr
2010-02-17, 13:24
The orchestra’s own website states: “High Definition downloads available at hdtracks.com “

At the HDtracks website, it says:

“When you purchase an HDtracks file, it is the same quality as a store-purchased CD.”

And

“To really get the most benefit of an HDtracks music file you could burn a CD-R and play it on your home Hi-Fi system.”

And

“HD files are the same thing as purchasing a CD but without the disc.”

https://www.hdtracks.com/index.php?file=staticpage&pagename=faq#1

So even though the downloads at that website are encoded at 24/88.2 or 96, apparently that company is starting with the orchestra label’s CD’s, then just copying them to a computer and then upsampling from 44.1 to either 88.2 or 96 and converting the bit depth from 16 to 24. But, the quality can’t be improved by this method. The quality will be the same as the source material.

I say “apparently” because there is no explanation as to the source of the downloadable files on the website.

What this company is doing may be misleading. If all you are going to end up with is “the same quality as a store-purchased CD”, it seems the upsampling is for marketing purposes only to laypeople without the requisite knowledge to understand what is really being sold.

When the website advises burning a CD from the download, you are again at 16/44.1.



Please don't mislead people. The HDTracks general FAQ comment - it is the same as CD is a comment to differentiate from MP3 or AAC files downloaded from Amazon or Apple etc.

In that way all their downloads are high resolution (at least 44.1 16bit lossless). They also have higher resolution masters. I accept their FAQ is inadequate, but I hope you are not suggesting that they are just upsampling.

Dave

mortslim
2010-02-17, 13:27
if I have some really high quality recording in 24/192 format

Even if it was available,

Most people over the age of 30 couldn't hear anything beyond 24/48 anyway.

'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

I am revising this post to acknowledge that it has been pointed out to me in subsequent posts by others that there are a few companies that offer a selection of higher fidelity downloadable music. They have found a niche in the market and I think that is great.

DaveWr
2010-02-17, 13:34
1. I am not aware of any content that was ORIGINALLY recorded and made commercially available at that resolution.



http://www.linnrecords.com/recording-fernando-sor-early-works.aspx

And many many more from Linn.

Dave

temerini
2010-02-17, 13:38
1. I am not aware of any content that was ORIGINALLY recorded and made commercially available at that resolution.

Even if it was available,

2. Most people over the age of 30 couldn't hear anything beyond 24/48 anyway.

1. Visit Chesky Records', Linn's and HDtracs' website!

2. I don't know if I hear difference or not, but I want to check it by my ears! So, I need a 24/192 capable SB device! If you don't need it, you won't use it, but don't say that I don't need it!!!

Themis
2010-02-17, 13:42
...
(Some long explanations, I wonder about what)
...
This doesn't tell me in which aspect recording equipment was "worse" 30 years ago.
In you long "explanation" I see nothing about sound quality differences that could make it through the editing process end to the consumer. I can only see that suddenly you left your "inaudible" differences (of the 24/96, earlier) to get into some other (now miraculously audible) theoretical differences.

You are talking about DDD disks, but you nicely elude that most of them were mixed through an analog SSL up to recently ? Perhaps you don't know about it ? :D

I would even say that the whole recording process is *much* worse for most of the recorded/sold popular music : to the point that most albums today are not even worth listening to. This is *fact* and no some kind of theoretical analysis.

I think you should revise you religion. Because al you "explanations" are good only for believers.
And tell me which today's album of pop/rock is better recorded (according to you) than -say- 73's Wyatt's Rock Bottom, for instance ? And why. ;)

mortslim
2010-02-17, 13:53
I accept their FAQ is inadequate, but I hope you are not suggesting that they are just upsampling.

I am speculating based upon my interpretation of their own explanaton on their own website, and I am using terms such as "may" "apparently" and "if". All I know is what I read on their website. If their source material is indeed the original recordings that were recorded at the higher fidelity, it needs to state that on their website to clear up the confusion the website itself has created.

I contrast that website with the much clearer explanation at Linn:

From the Linn website:

Studio Master FLAC

If absolute sound quality is what you want then this file is best for you.
FLAC files are lossless at various high bit rates, for example, 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz and 192kHz (check each title for actual details). The quality is identical to that of an SACD (Stereo only). The format will be dependent on the actual recording method we used originally.

These files offer true "studio quality" and are what was used by Linn to produce the production version of our CD releases.

Please note:
We recommend you burn a DVD-audio to create a back-up of your download purchase. These files are too large to burn on to a CD and you will not be able to play these files in your CD player.

http://www.linnrecords.com/linn-formats.aspx

Phil Leigh
2010-02-17, 15:09
I really don't understand it!! Why are you argue the benefit of higher resolution? I just want wider compatibility. I don't want to download something that was recorded in 1978 on 14-bit digital Sony video tape, but if I have some really high quality recording in 24/192 format I want to play them through a high quality DAC. Everybody want to convince me of the unneccecity of the highest resolution. On this basis we should listen Compact Cassettes. Why not, if it is possible??? (Just a remark: Linn abandons CD players, they produce network music servers instead.)

Because there is no one on the planet who can actually hear the difference between 24/96 and 24/192. By all means try it and see for yourself...

Please do not fall into the common trap of believing that higher numbers = better sound. Life just isn't that straightforward.

mortslim
2010-02-17, 16:16
They also have higher resolution masters.

Well, well, well !!!! The plot thickens !!!

I just got off the phone with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Resound Coordinator. He said that HDtracks does NOT have access to the higher resolution masters from his organization. HDtracks only gets CD's and SACD's !!! He is not sure how HDtracks makes their 24/88.2 and 96 downloads but thinks they use the SACD's as their source material for the encoding but he doesn't know the actual workflow after that.

I pointed out that as far as I am aware, a computer does not have the technical ability to "rip" an SACD and that a digital out of an SACD player has built-in copy protection and therefore the only possible way to create a computer file from an SACD would be through an SACD player's analog out's into the analog in's of a computer digital interface, thereby defeating the ability of a pristine digital copy.

He said he will follow-up with HDtracks to get more information as to how their downloadable files are created.

In addition:

"in controlled blind, level-matched listening tests over stereo reproduction subjects were not able to differentiate SACD recordings from their CD-quality converted version"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Audio_CD#Audible_differences_compared_to_PCM .2FCD

mortslim
2010-02-17, 20:20
I have confirmed from another phone call that indeed HDtracks does NOT get the higher resolution masters from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

I spoke to the owner of the recording studio that does work for HDtracks. This studio claims to have the professional equipment that converts the SACD’s that HDtracks send to it. The studio converts the SACD’s 1 bit, 2822.4 kHz to 24 bit/88.2 sample rate doing a digital to digital conversion.

The studio owner in his conversation used the word “interpolation”. Although he claims that the resulting file is of the same quality as the original SACD, this is subject to debate.

“conversion of DSD to PCM does degrade sound quality.”
Robert Harley
http://www.avguide.com/forums/oppo-bdp-83-bluray-disc-player-plays-sacd-dsd-rather-pcm-dsd-vs-pcm-question

Robert Harley bio:
Technical Editor of Stereophile from 1989 to 1997. Technical Editor of Fi: The Magazine of Music and Sound from 1997-1999. Audio Technical Editor of The Perfect Vision 1999-2000. Editor-in-Chief of The Perfect Vision 2000-2006. Editor-in-Chief of The Absolute Sound September, 2001 to present. Author of The Complete Guide to High-End Audio, Home Theater for Everyone, and Introductory Guide to High-Performance Audio Systems.
http://www.avguide.com/forums/robert-harleys-reviewer-background

Bit Depth refers to the number of bits you have to capture audio. The easiest way to envision this is as a series of levels, that audio energy can be sliced at any given moment in time. With 16 bit audio, there are 65,536 possible levels. With every bit of greater resolution, the number of levels double. By the time we get to 24 bit, we actually have 16,777,216 levels. Remember we are talking about a slice of audio frozen in a single moment of time.

Now lets add our friend Time into the picture. That's where we get into the Sample Rate.

The sample rate is the number of times your audio is measured (sampled) per second. So at the red book standard for CDs, the sample rate is 44.1 kHz or 44,100 slices every second. So what is the 96khz sample rate? You guessed it. It's 96,000 slices of audio sampled each second.
http://www.tweakheadz.com/16_vs_24_bit_audio.htm

What is ironic is that although the studio owner working with HDtracks claims that the digital to digital conversion of SACD to PCM by “interpolation” results in a perfect copy, he renders the copy at 88.2 kHz, not at 96, because “that is exactly twice the sample rate of 44.1”.

Why is he worried about a perfect doubling of a CD’s sample rate compared to the immensely complex mathematics in converting 1 bit, 2822.4 kHz to 24 bit, 88.2 kHz? And since the "HD layer” of an SACD is at 2822.4 kHz, not 44.1 kHz, isn’t this comparing apples to oranges?

And the concept of recording at 88.2 rather than 96 kHz when the intended mixdown is 44.1 was something I heard about at the dawn of the digital era; however since then most people who have researched the subject have found that the “perfect half” is nonsensical.

The mathematics behind sample rate conversion is well defined (if not understood by everybody) and produces results as close to perfect as rounding errors will allow, for absolutely ANY combination of sample rates. The process amounts to digital low pass filtering with a sharp cutoff at half the lower of the two sampling rates.

Even if the conversion is to exactly half the original rate, a simple
linear averaging of adjacent samples (maybe what you were thinking
"intuitively") does NOT produce a correct result.

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/48523-6-sampling-rate

And regarding interpolation, this provides a means of estimating the function at intermediate points.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interpolation

So if one is “estimating”, how can that render a “perfect” copy?

And as previously mentioned in a prior post, can most listeners even discern a quality difference between a regular CD and an SACD?

It is my opinion that HDtracks needs to amend their website in the interests of full disclosure to clearly state what it is doing, that it does not have the masters, but is instead doing a digital conversion from the SACD.

mortslim
2010-02-17, 21:11
P.S. The studio owner is a mastering engineer, not an electrical engineer. The difference? An electrical engineer has a mastery of the math.

Larry Gopnik: So, uh, what can I do for you?
Clive Park: Uh, Dr. Gopnik, I believe the results of physics mid-term were unjust.
Larry Gopnik: Uh-huh, how so?
Clive Park: I received an unsatisfactory grade. In fact: F, the failing grade.
Larry Gopnik: Uh, yes. You failed the mid-term. That's accurate.
Clive Park: Yes, but this is not just. I was unaware to be examined on the mathematics.
Larry Gopnik: Well, you can't do physics without mathematics, really, can you?
Clive Park: If I receive failing grade I lose my scholarship, and feel shame. I understand the physics. I understand the dead cat.
Larry Gopnik: You understand the dead cat? But... you... you can't really understand the physics without understanding the math. The math tells how it really works. That's the real thing; the stories I give you in class are just illustrative; they're like, fables, say, to help give you a picture. An imperfect model. I mean - even I don't understand the dead cat. The math is how it really works.
Clive Park: Very difficult... very difficult...

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1019452/quotes

Themis
2010-02-17, 22:26
Nice history lesson on recording technology... thanks for the time to post!
Yes, nice copy-paste from Wikipedia... :D

Themis
2010-02-17, 22:30
I pointed out that as far as I am aware, a computer does not have the technical ability to "rip" an SACD and that a digital out of an SACD player has built-in copy protection and therefore the only possible way to create a computer file from an SACD would be through an SACD player's analog out's into the analog in's of a computer digital interface, thereby defeating the ability of a pristine digital copy.
No, you can convert to PCM. Even a PS3 does that.

In fact, you don't know much about all that, do you ? :)

Mnyb
2010-02-17, 23:44
SACD is not that a bad example of so called hirez 24/96 is PCM is much better ? (this is a very dead topic sorry )

SACD is equivalent of 20 bit in the bass and midrange and then the noise starts to rise and it is sligthly worse than CD at 20kHZ (not much) after that we have a lot of ultrasonic noise ?

It's mostly SONY hype, and designed really really obscure to prevent copying in large scale.

Many SACD players converts to 24/88.2 something internally before dacs, you can get machines with modded digital outputs even 6ch spdif.

I dont have the numbers in my head right now but is not so that the very high sample frequency of DSD a large multiple of 88.2 or 96kHz ? so this 1 bit high frequence signal can get mathematically convertet to a suitable PCM format and back without any loss of information/fidelity.
It's often done due to lack of DSD software for mixing and then made DSD again before mastering.

But you can get good 24/96 material from itrax for example, this is real 24 bit recordings.
The big deal with DVD-A and SACD was multichannel, rigthly done this makes more for the music than any sample rate imho.

But to repeat myself recording with 24/192 to avoid filters and have a hirez signal for further processing makes sense.
But 24/96 is a perfect delivery format for consumers it never needs to be better! I read somewhere that around 20bit 55kHz would be sufficient for human hearing in the best case scenario. But then there is no slush margin for human errors somewhere else in the process, like some really old CD's where the producer had so much headroom so you never saw 16bit anywhere.

mortslim
2010-02-17, 23:44
Here’s what one squeezebox owner had to say about the PS3:

“The PS3 doesn't do DSD via HDMI, so it converts to PCM, which kinda defeats the point of SACD, but its not a bad player with the BitMapping option set to 3. You should also force the output to 44.1 kHz rather than let it go through a frankenstien of upsampling etc.”

http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f7/how-good-ps3s-dac-sacd-215438/

This quote just confirms that converting SACD via digital is not going to yield much better than CD audio.

Themis
2010-02-18, 00:25
Here’s what one squeezebox owner had to say about the PS3:

“The PS3 doesn't do DSD via HDMI, so it converts to PCM, which kinda defeats the point of SACD, but its not a bad player with the BitMapping option set to 3. You should also force the output to 44.1 kHz rather than let it go through a frankenstien of upsampling etc.”

http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f7/how-good-ps3s-dac-sacd-215438/

This quote just confirms that converting SACD via digital is not going to yield much better than CD audio.
You're wasting my time. You can only quote and have no experience. Have a nice day.

DaveWr
2010-02-18, 00:48
This quote just confirms that converting SACD via digital is not going to yield much better than CD audio.

Absolute drivel. Like your previous post about digital sampling. You obviously have no clue about digital sampling theory and processing. Interpolation is used by virtually all 24 bit DACs. By the way the Transporter DAC also supports DSD by down sampling algorithms. SACD maybe effectively 1 bit, Transporter has 4 bit DAC.

Just get some real facts.

Dave

R Johnson
2010-02-18, 09:34
I have confirmed from another phone call that indeed HDtracks does NOT get the higher resolution masters from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

I spoke to the owner of the recording studio that does work for HDtracks. This studio claims to have the professional equipment that converts the SACD’s that HDtracks send to it. The studio converts the SACD’s 1 bit, 2822.4 kHz to 24 bit/88.2 sample rate doing a digital to digital conversion.

Thanks very much for looking into this! Very curious indeed. I suspect there's more to this story.

firedog
2010-02-18, 10:38
I wrote HD Tracks asking whether their "hi-res" 24/88 and 24/96 files are true hi-res or not.

Here is the answer:

"Thank you for your email. Regarding our high resolution 96/24 and 88.2/24 files (these are indicated with red text either below or above the album cover art that reads "Audiophile 88khz/24bit" or "Audiophile
96khz/24bit"), they are taken directly from the studio masters (either
digital or analogue tape) or direct from the DSD stream of the SACD.
They are all native high resolution recordings and are not up sampled.
If we find out that any of these albums are not native high resolution,
they are immediately taken off our site."

This obviously doesn't apply to the tracks that aren't labelled "high resolution". I think this is a pretty good answer. The main point is that they aren't upsampling low resolution digital sources.

mortslim
2010-02-18, 11:00
Two posts on computeraudiophile.com:

“Linn is transparent about the origin of their files. 2L also. But HDTracks seems to sell resampled RR material at 24/96 and is not transparent about the source.”

Then next post:

“…DSD has a base freq of 44.1 and is clocked at 44.1 We do all the SACD/DSD/DVD-A transfers for HDtracks and other sites…
Regards,
__________________
Bruce A. Brown
Puget Sound Studios
Seattle, Washington”
http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/Which-site-offers-truly-high-resolution-downloads

and then another post:

“A few questions for Puget Sound Studios
Bruce, … since you are the sole provider of SACD->PCM 88.2 material for HDtracks can you recommend several albums that you are most proud of and demonstrate your work?”
http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/SACD-sound-quality-vs-computer-audio-sound-quality

mortslim
2010-02-18, 11:05
direct from the DSD stream of the SACD.
They are all native high resolution recordings and are not up sampled.


The statement from HDtracks is internally inconsistent. Since it is a digital to digital conversion, which it admits by saying "from the DSD stream of the SACD", then, by definition, it is NOT a "native high resolution recording". It is not native, it is converted.

And its claim that it is "not up sampled" is contradicted by the studio owner that actually does the conversions. He told me on the phone that it is "up sampled".

And I previously posted that the Coordinator for Resound, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s record label, stated that his organization does NOT give access to their masters to Hdtracks, only CD’s and SACD’s.

matka
2010-02-18, 12:22
The statement from HDtracks is internally inconsistent. Since it is a digital to digital conversion, which it admits by saying "from the DSD stream of the SACD", then, by definition, it is NOT a "native high resolution recording". It is not native, it is converted.

And its claim that it is "not up sampled" is contradicted by the studio owner that actually does the conversions. He told me on the phone that it is "up sampled".

And I previously posted that the Coordinator for Resound, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s record label, stated that his organization does NOT give access to their masters to Hdtracks, only CD’s and SACD’s.
I also got an email from HDTracks (I bought couple of recordings) that sheds some more light on the process. Here is the quote:


In regards to the high resolution
albums that we offer, all of our 96/24 albums are from the original
studio masters. For some of the 88.2/24 albums, they are also from the
original analogue tape masters (the Water Lily titles for example).

The MDG album that you mentioned, and the other 88.2/24 albums that are
not from analogue tape masters are taken from the SACD DSD stream
through the following process:

EMM Labs CDSD-SE Transport => via DSD ST-optical => EMM Labs ADC8 MkIV
=> via PCM 24/96 AES/EBU => Pyramix DSD/DXD Workstation => Digital Audio
Denmark AX24 for playback monitoring via MADI.

I have seen the combination of EMM and Pyramix mentioned before. Any comments on this setup ?

mortslim
2010-02-18, 20:04
So HDtracks claims: “In regards to the high resolution
albums that we offer, all of our 96/24 albums are from the original
studio masters. For some of the 88.2/24 albums, they are also from the
original analogue tape masters.”

What’s glaring by its omission is that Puget Sound says it is doing DVD-A transfers for HDtracks (in addition to SACD). Query: why does HDtracks omit mentioniong DVD-A?

“Many DVD-Audio releases are older, standard definition audio recordings that have been remixed in 5.1 and upsampled to DVD-Audio's higher resolution. However, the fidelity of the upsampled audio will be limited by the source material quality and may not exceed the quality of existing CD releases of the same albums.”

“In a peer-reviewed blind listening test published in the Journal of the Audio Engineering Society, the authors were unable to find any proof that stereo DVD-Audio as a format sounds different from CD. The author suggests that differences in the mastering for particular DVD-Audio and CD may explain perceived differences.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DVD-Audio

The representative from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra characterizes Hdtracks as a retailer, not a record label. As such, that is why the Orchestra does not make available its masters to Hdtracks. Considering the discovery of this information as to the Orchestra, it is probably prudent to inquire directly to every record label that is in the Hdtracks inventory and ask them how Hdtracks prepares its downloads for their recordings too. Do these other labels make their masters available or only the DVD-A’s and SACD’s?

And then a further inquiry is needed. If a DVD-A was supplied instead of the master, what is the bit depth and sample rate of those discs?

DVD-A’s can be made at:
16-, 20- or 24-bit depth and sample rates of:
44.1 kHz 48 kHz 88.2 kHz 96 kHz 176.4 kHz 192 kHz
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DVD-Audio

Thus don’t assume that just because it is a DVD-A that it was manufactured at any particular resolution.

And this is the most important point: the fidelity of the upsampled audio will be limited by the source material quality. In other words, if the source material is, for example, 24/44.1 and is upsampled to 24/88.2, it still has the fidelity of 24/44.1. It is a fancy copy, but that is all it is, a copy of the original.

And as to the claim that master tapes were used as the source of some downloads, again one must check with the respective record label to verify this, and even if it was supplied, please re-read earlier posts in this thread regarding the fidelity of tapes.

Kevin Haskins
2010-02-18, 22:23
Whether you can hear it or not is not the point. The fact that many people believe THEY can hear it and are willing to pay for it is why it has value. If you can advertise 24/192 and use that in the marketing materials it has financial value and it is another item on the bullet list of features.

DaveWr
2010-02-19, 00:19
So HDtracks claims: “In regards to the high resolution
albums that we offer, all of our 96/24 albums are from the original
studio masters. For some of the 88.2/24 albums, they are also from the
original analogue tape masters.”

What’s glaring by its omission is that Puget Sound says it is doing DVD-A transfers for HDtracks (in addition to SACD). Query: why does HDtracks omit mentioniong DVD-A?

“Many DVD-Audio releases are older, standard definition audio recordings that have been remixed in 5.1 and upsampled to DVD-Audio's higher resolution. However, the fidelity of the upsampled audio will be limited by the source material quality and may not exceed the quality of existing CD releases of the same albums.”

“In a peer-reviewed blind listening test published in the Journal of the Audio Engineering Society, the authors were unable to find any proof that stereo DVD-Audio as a format sounds different from CD. The author suggests that differences in the mastering for particular DVD-Audio and CD may explain perceived differences.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DVD-Audio

The representative from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra characterizes Hdtracks as a retailer, not a record label. As such, that is why the Orchestra does not make available its masters to Hdtracks. Considering the discovery of this information as to the Orchestra, it is probably prudent to inquire directly to every record label that is in the Hdtracks inventory and ask them how Hdtracks prepares its downloads for their recordings too. Do these other labels make their masters available or only the DVD-A’s and SACD’s?

And then a further inquiry is needed. If a DVD-A was supplied instead of the master, what is the bit depth and sample rate of those discs?

DVD-A’s can be made at:
16-, 20- or 24-bit depth and sample rates of:
44.1 kHz 48 kHz 88.2 kHz 96 kHz 176.4 kHz 192 kHz
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DVD-Audio

Thus don’t assume that just because it is a DVD-A that it was manufactured at any particular resolution.

And this is the most important point: the fidelity of the upsampled audio will be limited by the source material quality. In other words, if the source material is, for example, 16/44.1 and is upsampled to 24/96, it still has the fidelity of 16/44.1. It is a fancy copy, but that is all it is, a copy of the original.

And as to the claim that master tapes were used as the source of some downloads, again one must check with the respective record label to verify this, and even if it was supplied, please re-read earlier posts in this thread regarding the fidelity of tapes.

As far as the “setup” for the SACD conversions, the equipment mentioned is at Puget Sound studios and the studio owner has stated he does upsampling during the conversions.

Have you yet finished your attacks and innuendo yet.

First you are again suggesting upsampling of 16 bit 44.1 again. Second you and your Puget sound comment - DSD is a 1 bit difference encoded signal, you can't upsample it any further, it is only 1 bit. You have to downsample to get PCM like encoding. Also note there is no obvious translation between a 1 bit DSD signal and that of PCM.

Dave

Phil Leigh
2010-02-19, 00:55
This paper explains a lot, including why "SACD" material usually appears as 24/88.2 PCM outside of an SACD player.

It also explains why Sony pushed DSD so hard.

Clearly HDTracks could save a bunch of money by using a modded Oppo SACD player to extractthe 24/88.2, but the implication of this paper is that they may be doing some post-mastering (EQ etc) that would require the Pyramix workstation as you can't edit DSD natively.

http://www.merging.com/uploads/assets/Merging_pdfs/dxd_Resolution_v3.5.pdf

matka
2010-02-19, 08:00
Clearly HDTracks could save a bunch of money by using a modded Oppo SACD player to extractthe 24/88.2, but the implication of this paper is that they may be doing some post-mastering (EQ etc) that would require the Pyramix workstation as you can't edit DSD natively.
Thanks for the article. I believe modded Oppo SACD outputs PCM from its SPDIF.

Oppo BDP-83 "Stock Oppo with Meridian 8 Ch. PCM"
-Modified for pure direct PCM 4xS/PDIF digital output (full 8 channels) for Lexicon/Meridian etc.

R Johnson
2010-02-19, 13:20
A bit of searching the web found this article about the CSO's in-house gear:

Chicago Symphony Orchestra Acquires Merging Pyramix DAW - Dec 10, 2007 1:28 PM
http://mixonline.com/news/headline/merging-pyramix-cso-121007/

Eric Seaberg
2010-02-19, 14:11
Most of the DVD-A discs I have are remixes from the original 24-track masters which, IMHO, have a frequency top end of close to 24kHz. Most of the DVD-A are 96k/24bit, but 48k/24bit would sound just as good, IMHO.

The Studer 2" 24-track machine I used to use in the 80's was tweaked to be down 2dB @ 20kHz with a pretty quick roll-off above that. The resolution, however, is WAY beyond the current 24bit standard as it was analog, i.e. no sampling. 88.2k or 96k has potential but isn't worth the extra drive space or data bandwidth. 192k, however, starts sounding MUCH more like my old Studer 24-track did.

I also have a standalone HD recorder that records DSD and it's sampling rate is 2.8224MHz, not 44.1Khz as previously mentioned.

mortslim
2010-02-19, 15:53
The studio that does the SACD conversions for HDtracks told me that it uses the EMM Labs ADC8 MKIV converter for these conversions. And HDtracks confirmed in an email to another poster in post #73 that this is indeed the machine that is used for the conversions.

Well, to understand this process better, I read the manual for this machine. And lo and behold, there it is:

“from DSD to PCM (44.1kHz - 16/24 bits selectable)” on page 1.

And

“only 44.1kHz is allowed for DSD outputs and inputs” on page 2 and page 8.

http://www.emmlabs.com/pdf/manuals/ADA_MkIV_Manual1v3.pdf

Here is the product page for the machine:
http://www.emmlabs.com/html/products/adc8/adc8.html#

The studio owner and engineer for HDtracks stated:
“…DSD has a base freq of 44.1 and is clocked at 44.1 We do all the SACD/DSD/DVD-A transfers for HDtracks and other sites…
Regards,
__________________
Bruce A. Brown
Puget Sound Studios
Seattle, Washington”
http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/Which-site-offers-truly-high-resolution-downloads

The Dude: Walter, ya know, it's Smokey, so his toe slipped over the line a little, big deal. It's just a game, man.
Walter Sobchak: Dude, this is a league game, this determines who enters the next round robin. Am I wrong? Am I wrong?
Smokey: Yeah, but I wasn't over. Gimme the marker Dude, I'm marking it 8.
Walter Sobchak: [pulls out a gun] Smokey, my friend, you are entering a world of pain.
The Dude: Walter...
Walter Sobchak: You mark that frame an 8, and you're entering a world of pain.
Smokey: I'm not...
Walter Sobchak: A world of pain.
Smokey: Dude, he's your partner...
Walter Sobchak: [shouting] Has the whole world gone crazy? Am I the only one around here who gives a shit about the rules? Mark it zero!
The Dude: They're calling the cops, put the piece away.
Walter Sobchak: Mark it zero!
[points gun in Smokey's face]
The Dude: Walter...
Walter Sobchak: [shouting] You think I'm f***ing around here? Mark it zero!
Smokey: All right, it's f***ing zero. Are you happy, you crazy f***?
Walter Sobchak: ...It's a league game, Smokey.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0118715/quotes?qt0464765

Eric Seaberg
2010-02-19, 18:01
Of course to CONVERT from DSD to PCM it's going to end up 44.1/16, but it doesn't start that way.

Keep looking at the specs. Once you've actually used a DSD converter, you'll understand how it works.


Thanks for the specs on the EMM Labs stuff.

R Johnson
2010-02-19, 19:05
Of course to CONVERT from DSD to PCM it's going to end up 44.1/16, but it doesn't start that way.
Here's my understanding (which may or may not be correct):
HDtracks is selling 24/88.2 downloads and is licensed to do so by the CSO.
It seems HDtracks hires Puget Sound Studios (PSS) to convert from SACD to PCM.
PSS takes a CSO Resound SACD and runs its DSD output through the EMM gear to produce PCM.
If mortslim is correct, the EMM output is limited to 44.1 KHz (though perhaps it is at 24 bits).
Then the PCM is upsampled to 88.2 KHz.

Phil Leigh
2010-02-20, 01:12
It is my understanding that the DSD licensing agreement prevents any manufacturer from shipping a device that (out of the box, without illicit hardware modification) can convert DSD to UNENCRYPTED PCM greater than 44.1/24.

HDMI, Denonlink etc are encrypted.

This was one of the means by which Sony hoped to reduce piracy of SACD.

Mnyb
2010-02-20, 01:45
It is my understanding that the DSD licensing agreement prevents any manufacturer from shipping a device that (out of the box, without illicit hardware modification) can convert DSD to UNENCRYPTED PCM greater than 44.1/24.

HDMI, Denonlink etc are encrypted.

This was one of the means by which Sony hoped to reduce piracy of SACD.

Like this:

https://www.dvdupgrades.ch/digital_audio.html

specs:

Features:

o 6-channel electrical S/P-DIF output PCM 16-24 Bits 44.1/48/88.2/96/176.4/192 kHz
o Can also be used in stereo mode only
o Standard output is S/P-DIF coaxial three times stereo
o Toslink (optical) outputs available
o AES/EBU available with three cables with XLR male connectors
o SACD: DSD 1 Bit 2.8224 MHz switchable conversion to PCM 24 Bits 88.2 kHz or 176.4 kHz
o output format switchable professional or consumer
o decoded DTS and AC3 signal from your DVD-Video -> no more surround decoder necessary

Phil Leigh
2010-02-20, 02:17
Like this:

https://www.dvdupgrades.ch/digital_audio.html

specs:

Features:

o 6-channel electrical S/P-DIF output PCM 16-24 Bits 44.1/48/88.2/96/176.4/192 kHz
o Can also be used in stereo mode only
o Standard output is S/P-DIF coaxial three times stereo
o Toslink (optical) outputs available
o AES/EBU available with three cables with XLR male connectors
o SACD: DSD 1 Bit 2.8224 MHz switchable conversion to PCM 24 Bits 88.2 kHz or 176.4 kHz
o output format switchable professional or consumer
o decoded DTS and AC3 signal from your DVD-Video -> no more surround decoder necessary

Precisely! No idea what the legaility of such mods are... certainly can't imagine Sony would be happy about them - except that SACD never really took off as a mass market product, so maybe they don't care?

MrRalph
2010-02-23, 12:27
All nice and well. I'd like to hear my native 24/172 Reference Recordings (HDX DVD carier) and native 24/192 Linn recordings (downloads) through my beloved Squeezeboxserver network at home. So please give me a 24/172/192 compatible Touch. Please.

Phil Leigh
2010-02-23, 13:33
All nice and well. I'd like to hear my native 24/172 Reference Recordings (HDX DVD carier) and native 24/192 Linn recordings (downloads) through my beloved Squeezeboxserver network at home. So please give me a 24/172/192 compatible Touch. Please.

You are chasing rainbows. There is no evidence that anyone can actually hear (in a controlled test) any difference at all between 24/96 and 24/192. If you find any evidence, please point me at it.

iPhone
2010-02-23, 16:21
All nice and well. I'd like to hear my native 24/172 Reference Recordings (HDX DVD carier) and native 24/192 Linn recordings (downloads) through my beloved Squeezeboxserver network at home. So please give me a 24/172/192 compatible Touch. Please.

Again why? Anything above 24/96 for playback is a waste of hard drive space, time and money. There is nobody that can hear the slightest difference/improvement between 24/96 and 24/192. Sure it is fine to produce 24/96 from master 24/192 recordings but nobody needs to pay for or store for playback 24/192.

This isn't my opinion its just the reality of human hearing.

mortslim
2010-02-23, 20:44
There is a natural tendency for some to believe that the higher the number, the better the quality of the audio. But the reality is that there are diminishing returns as you increase your sample rate. The human ear has limits in its ability to even hear any differences at all after a certain fidelity is reached.

Further you can misunderstand what you are buying in so-called “high resolution” downloads if you are unfortunate enough to buy a download that has been upsampled because although the specs of the download may show a high sample rate, the reality may be that it is just a copy of equal fidelity to a lower sample rate.

Other factors affecting quality include the microphones used to make the recordings, the chops of the musicians, the expertise of the recording engineer and mastering engineer and a hundred other factors in the production process. Resolution alone doesn’t tell you everything you need to know about the fidelity.

Finally, your choice of music is limited compared to what is available to the mass market. I wonder whether buyers of “high resolution” music are buying the music because of the specs of the claimed fidelity or because they truly enjoy the particular artist, song, album and genre.

If you have the budget and time and inclination, set up your own project studio and learn hands-on to get a better understanding of these concepts. In addition, if you play a musical instrument or like to sing or have family or friends that do, use your studio to do your own recordings to play on your squeezebox. The advance of technology for recording has put into the hands of the individual better quality equipment at a fraction of the price compared to just a short time ago what you would find in a professional recording studio.

I have in my studio a MOTU 828mk3 and Sonar 8.5 Producer. However you can get the same professional “audiophile” 24-bit/192 kHz capable quality (with less bells and whistles) by purchasing a Cakewalk UA-101, which includes both the hardware and software.
http://pro-audio.musiciansfriend.com/product/Cakewalk-UA101-USB-2.0-Audio-Interface?sku=243032

Just add some good mics and mic cables and a relatively modern computer and you’re all set to make your own music to play on your squeezebox.

michael123
2010-02-23, 20:54
Again why? Anything above 24/96 for playback is a waste of hard drive space, time and money. There is nobody that can hear the slightest difference/improvement between 24/96 and 24/192. Sure it is fine to produce 24/96 from master 24/192 recordings but nobody needs to pay for or store for playback 24/192.

This isn't my opinion its just the reality of human hearing.

What is your opinion then?
176.4/24 and 192/24 sound better than 96/24 even on Transporter downsampled via Sox to 96/24
And for sure, they sound much better on Weiss Minerva at their native rate

"sound better" == in my system. High-resolution drivers and full-range speaker system with good dynamic range does not come cheap.

mortslim
2010-02-23, 23:30
Weiss Minerva...does not come cheap.

Weiss Minerva = $5,000. It plays audio.

MOTU 896mk3 = $1,000. It plays audio and records audio.

Both are firewire audio interfaces.
Both have same published specs of 24/192.
Both have AES (if you need it)

Phil Leigh
2010-02-23, 23:48
What is your opinion then?
176.4/24 and 192/24 sound better than 96/24 even on Transporter downsampled via Sox to 96/24
And for sure, they sound much better on Weiss Minerva at their native rate

"sound better" == in my system. High-resolution drivers and full-range speaker system with good dynamic range does not come cheap.

But the TP only does 24/96, so it is not possible to do a straight comparison.

Unless you are using material you recorded yourself, there is no way of knowing the real difference between 24/96 and 24/192 versions of the same piece of audio. The 24/96 version could be downsampled from the 24/192... the 24/192 could be upsampled... they could be different masters...

AFAIK there is no published material to demonstrate that humans can reliably hear any difference between 24/192 downsampled correctly to 24/96 vs straight 24/192 in controlled testing.

slackhead
2010-02-24, 01:17
AFAIK there is no published material to demonstrate that humans can reliably hear any difference between 24/192 downsampled correctly to 24/96 vs straight 24/192 in controlled testing.

Likewise, there is no material that demonstrates they can't.

MrRalph
2010-02-24, 02:00
Why bring up the argument over and over that we don't need a 24/192 device just because 'we can't hear any difference'? May I please trust my own ears and be the judge of that. This has nothing to do with the so called 'tendency' for greater numbers = better quality. We all know that. I just don't like others to disqualify my genuine interest for a 24/192 device from Logitech. A valid comment could be: "look elsewhere, it's not coming". Perfectly fine with me. But don't tell me I wouldn't need to anyway.

DaveWr
2010-02-24, 04:11
I doubt the Touch will be made capable of 24/192 but that is not the issue.

Recordings are being release in 24/192 master format. Any resampling will have a deleterious effect on them. New additive errors, new applied filters. Audibility of same is personal.

I think the fundamental truth is if you want to play 24/192 files as is, look elsewhere.

Dave

Phil Leigh
2010-02-24, 11:07
Likewise, there is no material that demonstrates they can't.
That's a non-argument. You can't prove a negative assertion.

Phil Leigh
2010-02-24, 11:10
Why bring up the argument over and over that we don't need a 24/192 device just because 'we can't hear any difference'? May I please trust my own ears and be the judge of that. This has nothing to do with the so called 'tendency' for greater numbers = better quality. We all know that. I just don't like others to disqualify my genuine interest for a 24/192 device from Logitech. A valid comment could be: "look elsewhere, it's not coming". Perfectly fine with me. But don't tell me I wouldn't need to anyway.

As I implied, by all means test it for yourself and if you can score a significant result under controlled conditions. come back and tell us all about it.

Phil Leigh
2010-02-24, 11:56
I've done this. Using commercially released material is pointless as you will see - its lineage is unknown...

Record an acoustic Guitar and vocal performance using a Neumann U87 and Focusrite ISA430 Mic Pre-Amp onto a properly aligned an maintained Studer A80 1/2 inch 2-track.
Play the tape back simultaneously through two Apogee converters (AD16 I think), one running at 24/96 and the other at 24/192 and capture to disk using Sonar.

You now have the perfect test material to prove if 24/96 is audibly different to 24/192.
Playback the files via a 24/192 DAC. Can you hear ANY difference? Can you pass a DBT?
I can't and when I did this test a while ago no-one else we tried with could either.
Unfortunately I don't have the files or equipment to repeat this experiment anymore. Other people on the Audiophile forum do. Maybe they could oblige?

Mnyb
2010-02-24, 13:36
I've done this. Using commercially released material is pointless as you will see - its lineage is unknown...

Record an acoustic Guitar and vocal performance using a Neumann U87 and Focusrite ISA430 Mic Pre-Amp onto a properly aligned an maintained Studer A80 1/2 inch 2-track.
Play the tape back simultaneously through two Apogee converters (AD16 I think), one running at 24/96 and the other at 24/192 and capture to disk using Sonar.

You now have the perfect test material to prove if 24/96 is audibly different to 24/192.
Playback the files via a 24/192 DAC. Can you hear ANY difference? Can you pass a DBT?
I can't and when I did this test a while ago no-one else we tried with could either.
Unfortunately I don't have the files or equipment to repeat this experiment anymore. Other people on the Audiophile forum do. Maybe they could oblige?

Is the studer an analog tape machine (back in the days studer/revox made those) ? could one not record directly to a harddrive from the mick -AD converter and skip the analog tape intermediary ?
I fear that if any difference exist an analog tape machine regardless how good it is would level out the difference .

You have however proved the futility of remaster analog stuff above 24/96 .
How good can a reel to reel analog tape be ? sure noise is never going to be -144dB but with high tape speed frequency response can be awesome ?
I don't want to be flamed but is not good old 16/44.1 good enough for most old analog masters ? maybe 24/48 is needed for the best of them ?
sure 24/96 will better any analog tape machine ? But as used in studios some actually likes the sound i reckon, and use them as a mastering tool to get that "analog" sound, hence the popularity of vintage stuff to get a certain sound on your recordings.

mlsstl
2010-02-24, 13:45
I just can't imagine Logitech expending the effort to come out with a 24/192 playback device. They are a consumer products company and seem to have little interest in chasing the super-audiophile end of the market.

While the Transporter is still available, it seems to be in a wind-down phase of "OK, you can stick around as long as you don't cause any trouble." I just can't see them upgrading its capability from the current 24/96.

The one credible argument that I've seen for 24/192 is on the recording and mixing side. When multi-track levels are adjusted dramatically during the mixing phase, you can get an unwanted increase in background noise at the lower resolutions.

However, once the mix is set, any advantage between 24/96 and 24/192 for playback of the final release probably exists more in the minds of consumers and record company marketing types.

However, no one who buys a product ever needs to justify their preference to a third party. We are perfectly entitled to want what we want without having to "prove it" to anyone else. Every hobby has products that are marketed to those at that end of the spectrum; it's not just an audio thing.

Now if one is doing research into human hearing or fundamental product development, testing and proof become important issues that help guide design priorities and advance understanding. That's a whole different world than audiophiles debating what they can and cannot hear in their own systems.

mortslim
2010-02-24, 13:54
The one credible argument that I've seen for 24/192 is on the recording and mixing side. When multi-track levels are adjusted dramatically during the mixing phase, you can get an unwanted increase in background noise at the lower resolutions.

However, once the mix is set, any advantage between 24/96 and 24/192 for playback of the final release probably exists more in the minds of consumers and record company marketing types.

Exactly

temerini
2010-02-27, 06:11
I just can't imagine Logitech expending the effort to come out with a 24/192 playback device. They are a consumer products company and seem to have little interest in chasing the super-audiophile end of the market.

While the Transporter is still available, it seems to be in a wind-down phase of "OK, you can stick around as long as you don't cause any trouble." I just can't see them upgrading its capability from the current 24/96.

The one credible argument that I've seen for 24/192 is on the recording and mixing side. When multi-track levels are adjusted dramatically during the mixing phase, you can get an unwanted increase in background noise at the lower resolutions.

However, once the mix is set, any advantage between 24/96 and 24/192 for playback of the final release probably exists more in the minds of consumers and record company marketing types.

However, no one who buys a product ever needs to justify their preference to a third party. We are perfectly entitled to want what we want without having to "prove it" to anyone else. Every hobby has products that are marketed to those at that end of the spectrum; it's not just an audio thing.

Now if one is doing research into human hearing or fundamental product development, testing and proof become important issues that help guide design priorities and advance understanding. That's a whole different world than audiophiles debating what they can and cannot hear in their own systems.

I have been a longtime fan of the Squeezebox but now I think I should look at other options.

Phil Leigh
2010-02-27, 06:45
I have been a longtime fan of the Squeezebox but now I think I should look at other options.

Really? - just because they don't support 24/192? - bizarre.

Given the (almost) complete lack of 24/192 commercial material available - and continuing lack of industry-wide support - and the fact that most 24/192 product that is available (e.g. a handful of Dvd-A's from 2005/6) are not from hirez digital masters anyway, I find your comment amazing.

I'm not even going to mention the fact that there is no evidence that anyone can actually hear the difference between 24/96 and 24/192.. (oh, drat, did it anyway)

temerini
2010-02-28, 02:28
Really? - just because they don't support 24/192? - bizarre.

Given the (almost) complete lack of 24/192 commercial material available - and continuing lack of industry-wide support - and the fact that most 24/192 product that is available (e.g. a handful of Dvd-A's from 2005/6) are not from hirez digital masters anyway, I find your comment amazing.

I'm not even going to mention the fact that there is no evidence that anyone can actually hear the difference between 24/96 and 24/192.. (oh, drat, did it anyway)

Some reviews on RR HRx releases:

Absolute Sound Review: "Reference Recordings, a company at the forefront of technical advancements for the past 30 years, has broken through the technical barriers to deliver to listeners the exact high-resolution digital bitstreams created during the recording sessions... Hearing these familiar pieces for the first time in high resolution was an absolutely mind-blowing experience... If you want the undisputed state-of-the-art in music reproduction right now, HRx is one thrilling ride. But consider yourself warned: Once you hear high-resolution digital done right, there's no going back." - Robert Harley, The Absolute Sound, January 2009

Best of Show award for “Greatest Technological Breakthrough: Reference Recordings’ HRx ultra-high resolution (176.4/24) digital music format.” (Alan Taffel: The Absolute Sound April/May 2008)

temerini
2010-02-28, 02:37
Some reviews on RR HRx releases:


....and I just want to check this by my ears....

Phil Leigh
2010-02-28, 03:37
....and I just want to check this by my ears....

Of course - quite right.

But you've rather anticipated the outcome?

"I have been a longtime fan of the Squeezebox but now I think I should look at other options."

Phil Leigh
2010-02-28, 03:47
Some reviews on RR HRx releases:

Absolute Sound Review: "Reference Recordings, a company at the forefront of technical advancements for the past 30 years, has broken through the technical barriers to deliver to listeners the exact high-resolution digital bitstreams created during the recording sessions... Hearing these familiar pieces for the first time in high resolution was an absolutely mind-blowing experience... If you want the undisputed state-of-the-art in music reproduction right now, HRx is one thrilling ride. But consider yourself warned: Once you hear high-resolution digital done right, there's no going back." - Robert Harley, The Absolute Sound, January 2009

Best of Show award for “Greatest Technological Breakthrough: Reference Recordings’ HRx ultra-high resolution (176.4/24) digital music format.” (Alan Taffel: The Absolute Sound April/May 2008)

This comment by RR on their own web site is extremely worrying:

"As long as the playback system you use does not convert or corrupt the bits, they will sound as wonderful as our original masters"

Hogwash. "bits" don't have a sound, they have information...
Preserving the correct bits is 5% of the problem - the rest is the DAC (wherever that occurs) and the rest of the replay chain. Not sure how RR feel they can assert you will get the same experience as they get in their mastering suite...

However, I do applaud any music company bothering to release hirez audio these days, in the wake of the DVD-A / SACD fiasco.

DVD-A should have been great (SACD was always flawed as a retail format IMO). What RR (and Linn, Naim and others) are doing is great. Not sure about $45 per recording...

temerini
2010-02-28, 04:31
Of course - quite right.

But you've rather anticipated the outcome?

"I have been a longtime fan of the Squeezebox but now I think I should look at other options."

I don't anticipate anything, but I can't check it by the SB Touch.

Mnyb
2010-02-28, 04:44
Some reviews on RR HRx releases:

Absolute Sound Review: "Reference Recordings, a company at the forefront of technical advancements for the past 30 years, has broken through the technical barriers to deliver to listeners the exact high-resolution digital bitstreams created during the recording sessions... Hearing these familiar pieces for the first time in high resolution was an absolutely mind-blowing experience... If you want the undisputed state-of-the-art in music reproduction right now, HRx is one thrilling ride. But consider yourself warned: Once you hear high-resolution digital done right, there's no going back." - Robert Harley, The Absolute Sound, January 2009

Best of Show award for “Greatest Technological Breakthrough: Reference Recordings’ HRx ultra-high resolution (176.4/24) digital music format.” (Alan Taffel: The Absolute Sound April/May 2008)

But they will sound just fine down-sampled to 88.2 or 96 ?
And TAS come on ;)

And btw RR has 11 of these recordings ? this is the same as 0 if you considering the rest of the market .

Seriously sound cards have 192/176.4 faculties due to their use as recording equipment.

But Why build playback equipment for 20 recordings ? how to make money from that = the audiophile market wants it bigger number=better, how many have actually used this capacity ? but it is a very very tiny market.

And speaking of music ? my 23 years as an audiophile have somewhat inoculated me against audiophile recordings yuck !
Show me one of these recordings that actually at the same time is the best musical interpretation of the music . I'm no expert on Mozart or Beethoven,
but some of the jazz and folk on these labels ?
Have you heard some of the "music" Linn is selling no way some of these people would got studio time unless they bend over for an audiphile label ?
Imho there is something profoundly wrong with musicians only good enough to appear on audiophile labels.

Don't get me wrong there are some labels that have become audiophile labels,but that also have good music, but they also have a wider goal than making audiphile records. Example Opus 3 some of their music don't suck.

Maybe I get a RR recording anyway, I'm actually curious maybe I get one of those, thanks for the tip, sometimes I can not help myself :)

Some audio hardware companies are more practical or have higher standards ?

For example Meridian does downsample 192/176.4 in their players and runs 24/96 in their processors and speakers for the simple reason that
1. it halves the processor power needed to run all dsp x-overs and whatnots
2. makes the product cheaper (relatively speaking of m gear)
3. They conduct controlled listening test and have found that it does not makes any audible difference at all, so why bother.
4. Their c.e.o and founder is a real engineer and publish papers in AES and does (real )research in psychoacoustics. So I think he rather die than propel hype and audio myths to sell more products .

Other respected companies like Weis and dCs does pro gear too, so their products will have 192/176.4 by default just because it's the same technology they use anyway.

Many standalone DAC's have 192/176.4 for compatibility reasons, customers must be able to hear all their disc's files and such. And the output from certian gear is 192/176.4 .
Or even simpler the DAC chips used have this already so why not.
Standalone DAC's is very niche anyway only used in pro/ hobby recording settings or by some audiophiles.

It becomes an altogether different problem when your products contains processors and network functions. Then down-sampling the content somewhere becomes a good solutions as it actually accomplish the compatibility goal
and does not impare the SQ in any way.

In a standalone DAC's it probably cheaper and easier to just use 192/176.4 capable chips than build a downsampling engine and processor in it.

I want 192/176.4 in the Touch because I want to offload my server from the transcoding duties, Here is my "problem" If I want to sync my very few 192 album with a Touch and one SB3 my server have to run 2 different sox processes one for 48k and one for 96k, It have the cpu power to manage one of these processes.
But realizing that this will only happens if there is an very easy fix for the drivers in the touch, I mean very easy as there is no real reason to do this for SQ or sales *.
I can probably fix my own problem by simply downsample this album before loading it in my library.

Don't discount Logitech's offer Touch or Transporter for a digital transport just because it lacks 192/176.4 . In real life how often are you going listen to this music and when you do transcoding will be good enough .
The Squeezebox system is so practical to use, I'm prepared to live with that "compromise" of "only" supporting 96k native and transcode the rest for this reason .

/Mikael

*(unless you want to sell on hype and audiophile myths, but then we want toobs and aluminum billet chassis and rack handles too ;) )

Phil Leigh
2010-02-28, 04:54
Have you heard some of the "music" Linn is selling no way some of these people would got studio time unless they bend over for an audiphile label ?
Imho there is something profoundly wrong with musicians only good enough to appear on audiophile labels.


Well, Linn do have Claire Martin, Carol Kidd and Barb Jungr and The Blue Nile - all award winning musicians/performers - but I agree with your general point

Mnyb
2010-02-28, 05:12
Well, Linn do have Claire Martin, Carol Kidd and Barb Jungr and The Blue Nile - all award winning musicians/performers - but I agree with your general point

Have you heard a stockfish recording, they seems doctored to sound more "audiophile" big sound with lots of air and details, slam in the bass , but you soon realize they all sound the same .

I'm not particularly fond of the Barb Jungr recording I have, the arrangements seems "simplified" to the level of elevator music to not be to complex, but flaunt those audiophile aspects ? It's a showpiece to me ? feel free to disagree completely, I'm not myself a musician so who knows what bodily orifice I'm talking from ?
I could not play an instrument if my life depended on it.

mortslim
2010-02-28, 12:32
Here is a criticism of RR HRx releases by the owner of a competing record label:

“There are several companies that are distributing their tracks on DVD-R discs because the files are so large that making downloads out of them is impractical. I have analyzed a number of these files as well and am sorry to say that there is nothing above 35 kHz in any of them. Why bother with 176.4 samples per second when the resultant audio doesn't take advantage of the higher sample rate? It's true that higher sample rates also contribute to easier filtering in the D to A process. But why wouldn't the HF material that is produced by the instruments show up in these tracks? You'll have to decide for yourself the motivations of these other labels.”

http://www.itrax.com/Pages/ArticleDetails.php?aID=21&x=7&y=4

DaveWr
2010-02-28, 13:04
Here is a criticism of RR HRx releases by the owner of a competing record label:

“There are several companies that are distributing their tracks on DVD-R discs because the files are so large that making downloads out of them is impractical. I have analyzed a number of these files as well and am sorry to say that there is nothing above 35 kHz in any of them. Why bother with 176.4 samples per second when the resultant audio doesn't take advantage of the higher sample rate? It's true that higher sample rates also contribute to easier filtering in the D to A process. But why wouldn't the HF material that is produced by the instruments show up in these tracks? You'll have to decide for yourself the motivations of these other labels.”

http://www.itrax.com/Pages/ArticleDetails.php?aID=21&x=7&y=4

Well I am really glad for your religion. Personally if files are > 24/96 I am happy the DAC system processes what is / is not available rather than implementing SOX filters or other conversions that will add nothing and may detract from the signal by further filtering activities.


Dave

awy
2010-03-01, 02:37
Returning to the original topic, the problem supporting 24/192k is likely to be CPU capacity. NIC, CODECs and ALSA would probably all need some optimization work. My guess is that it would be possible but there is probably insufficient commercial incentive to do it.

Valentino
2010-03-01, 05:53
Well, Linn do have Claire Martin, Carol Kidd and Barb Jungr and The Blue Nile - all award winning musicians/performers - but I agree with your general point

I also agree with the general point being made by Mnyb, but then Linn also has Sir Charles Mackerras; they're just not the average "audiophile label".

temerini
2010-03-01, 11:44
Here is a criticism of RR HRx releases by the owner of a competing record label:

“There are several companies that are distributing their tracks on DVD-R discs because the files are so large that making downloads out of them is impractical. I have analyzed a number of these files as well and am sorry to say that there is nothing above 35 kHz in any of them. Why bother with 176.4 samples per second when the resultant audio doesn't take advantage of the higher sample rate? It's true that higher sample rates also contribute to easier filtering in the D to A process. But why wouldn't the HF material that is produced by the instruments show up in these tracks? You'll have to decide for yourself the motivations of these other labels.”

http://www.itrax.com/Pages/ArticleDetails.php?aID=21&x=7&y=4

I'm a bit tired of these "you don't need it 'couse you don't hear any difference, otherwise there are no HR-records" type posts. Please don't want to persuade me that I don't need it!! Please!!!!

mlsstl
2010-03-01, 13:59
I'm a bit tired of these "you don't need it 'couse you don't hear any difference, otherwise there are no HR-records" type posts. Please don't want to persuade me that I don't need it!! Please!!!!

I'd consider that a very fair request as long as you don't feel similarly inclined to insist Logitech include the format on Touch. 24/19K would likely add expense, complications and delay to the device, all for a format that stands a better-than-fair chance of having no commercial viability at the consumer level.

There are products that will support 24/192, albeit at higher cost or without other features people may like. As is typical, it is likely just going to be a question of choosing the set of compromises with which you would like to live.

Mnyb
2010-03-01, 15:12
Why the Touch is not 24/192 capable?

This was the initial question: various people have actually tried to provide an answer, except logitech ?

This is a reasonable priced device, to cater to such a fringe request would make it more expensive to 99.9999% of it's intended customers without them getting anything back for it. Cost benefit is very low .
We have no real clue if the hardware would be good enough for 192k.
So we might as well look at a more expensive device if it was designed for it.

We could turn the question the other way ? We should be very lucky that logitech *have* included 24/96 24/88.2 cabability at all in the Touch, and to such a low price. And be happy with what we got here :)
And other reports here suggest that the designers actually have put some effort in to the sound-quality ?
The majority would use it as an web-radio SQ is in most cases of no consequence.
Logitech must believe that web radio and downloads is going to sound better in the future, this is very optimistic pow, I'm happy they think this way and makes sound-quality an design parameter at all.

They have made a device that would cater for most peoples need of playing their mp3 files and streaming services at the same time as we audiophiles can stream 24/96 to our DAC's and processors, or maybe enjoy the Touch's own DAC.
This is an amazing wide scope to cram into the same device.

Maybe we should not rock the boat ? an executive would probably not blink to make the decision to reduce it to 24/48 to make room for twitter or something equally daft ;) ssh .

aubuti
2010-03-01, 15:19
This was the initial question: various people have actually tried to provide an answer, except logitech ?
Look just a few posts above to post #115 by awy. I doubt his post is official Logitech policy, but he's on the dev team and knows the product extremely well. It certainly looks to me like "an answer from Logitech", especially for a question like this.

Mnyb
2010-03-01, 22:35
Look just a few posts above to post #115 by awy. I doubt his post is official Logitech policy, but he's on the dev team and knows the product extremely well. It certainly looks to me like "an answer from Logitech", especially for a question like this.

Is awy still on the dev team ? I know he was at some piont, hes signature does not tell.

JohnSwenson
2010-03-02, 00:50
Look just a few posts above to post #115 by awy. I doubt his post is official Logitech policy, but he's on the dev team and knows the product extremely well. It certainly looks to me like "an answer from Logitech", especially for a question like this.

Which is why I'm going to attempt it. I finally found out how to get the source code for the driver and have done a quick perusal and it does not look too difficult to add 176 and 192.

I don't think there will be any problem handling the increased data rate as long as its not doing complicated processing on it. But we shall have to see.

Unfortunately I'm really snowed under by a lot of other projects right now, so it could be a month or two before I can really work on it. So if I can make it work it probably will not be in the first release.

Otherwise known as don't hold your breath, but I will try and work on it.

John S. (NOT Logitech employee)

aubuti
2010-03-02, 07:55
Is awy still on the dev team ? I know he was at some piont, hes signature does not tell.
At least as of ~2 weeks ago someone else on the team said something about doing some work on his code while he was away on vacation. From the online discussion it appeared to me that they were expecting him to come back.... Maybe he already has.

awy
2010-03-02, 09:37
Given my post (#115 above) you could reasonably infer that I am back from holiday.

aubuti
2010-03-02, 09:44
Given my post (#115 above) you could reasonably infer that I am back from holiday.
Oh, right, that was only yesterday, wasn't it? Hope it was good, and welcome back.

Mnyb
2010-03-02, 11:51
Which is why I'm going to attempt it. I finally found out how to get the source code for the driver and have done a quick perusal and it does not look too difficult to add 176 and 192.

I don't think there will be any problem handling the increased data rate as long as its not doing complicated processing on it. But we shall have to see.

Unfortunately I'm really snowed under by a lot of other projects right now, so it could be a month or two before I can really work on it. So if I can make it work it probably will not be in the first release.

Otherwise known as don't hold your breath, but I will try and work on it.

John S. (NOT Logitech employee)

Cool , if's ever going to be done it's by 3rd party involvement.
Hopefully Squeezeplay can handle flac in this data rate.
This will be ethernet only rigth ? or local file on drive directly attached.

JohnSwenson
2010-03-02, 17:36
I'm going to tackle the Touch driver first then look into the squeezeplay part. I haven't looked enough at the Sp code to know whether it needs any changes or not. With the desktop SP it uses portaudio to talk to the underlying driver for the OS and portaudio can handle 192 as is, so I don't think there will have to be any low level tweaks for desktop SP.

Given that slimproto itself seems to be able to handle 192 wothout any changes, there is some hope that SP will also do it as well, but I haven't looked hard enough at that to know for sure.

There is no code reason why 192 should not work from TinySBS. Its purely a "does the processor have enough horsepower" to do it. Until someone tries it we won't know for sure. I'm quite confidant that it will work fine with external server, builtin server is quite a bit iffier.

John S.

Mnyb
2010-03-02, 22:10
I'm going to tackle the Touch driver first then look into the squeezeplay part. I haven't looked enough at the Sp code to know whether it needs any changes or not. With the desktop SP it uses portaudio to talk to the underlying driver for the OS and portaudio can handle 192 as is, so I don't think there will have to be any low level tweaks for desktop SP.

Given that slimproto itself seems to be able to handle 192 wothout any changes, there is some hope that SP will also do it as well, but I haven't looked hard enough at that to know for sure.

There is no code reason why 192 should not work from TinySBS. Its purely a "does the processor have enough horsepower" to do it. Until someone tries it we won't know for sure. I'm quite confidant that it will work fine with external server, builtin server is quite a bit iffier.

John S.

Sounds like a plan, however I've noticed that Radio barely does 1000-2000k in the network test controller does 500 ? and an SB3 or reciever chokes around 3000k via wifi, my Boom clocks 5000k all day via ethernet. So it seems to be a limit to how fast the players can handle wifi ? driver may use a lot of CPU . However I have some cat5e lying around I reckon even 24/96 could be marginal over wifi some days.

JohnSwenson
2010-03-03, 01:10
Yes wifi is a different story, that may be an issue. Its already an issue at 96 in some casses. So 192 will probably be best with a wired connection.

John S.

awy
2010-03-03, 01:26
For SbS this will be fine.

For PCM (WAV/AIFF) the SlimProto strm-s command does not have values defined for sample rates > 96000 so that higher values would require changes for the protocol on both the SbS and SP ends.

JohnSwenson
2010-03-04, 14:46
Ahah, that gets interesting. It looks like out of the box streaming flac would work at 192 but pcm will not. On the SP side its in a .c file so it has to get compiled into the firmware, but on the SBS side it can easily be modified.

It looks like the modification is just to add 176 and 192 to the sample rate table, I didn't see anything that would preclude that from happening.

So when agillis was running 192, he either modified the table or used a flac stream.

For those interested in this its not the file itself but the stream type. As long as the file was transcoded into flac in the server it would run at 192.

BTW what a weird ordering in the table!

John S.

agillis
2010-03-05, 12:00
Ahah, that gets interesting. It looks like out of the box streaming flac would work at 192 but pcm will not. On the SP side its in a .c file so it has to get compiled into the firmware, but on the SBS side it can easily be modified.

It looks like the modification is just to add 176 and 192 to the sample rate table, I didn't see anything that would preclude that from happening.

So when agillis was running 192, he either modified the table or used a flac stream.

For those interested in this its not the file itself but the stream type. As long as the file was transcoded into flac in the server it would run at 192.

BTW what a weird ordering in the table!

John S.

I had to modify the table and use FLAC to get 192/24 to work with VortexBox Player.

JohnSwenson
2010-03-05, 17:05
I had to modify the table and use FLAC to get 192/24 to work with VortexBox Player.

Thanks,
that makes sense.

John S.

Robfitzp
2010-03-06, 05:42
It surprises me a bit that if it is (relatively) straightforward to make this work that Logitech don't just enable it out of the box? Irrespective of whether it is worthwhile or not, from a marketing point of view it would be better to be able to say 24/192.

Bit of a bummer that my dac needs dual wire sp/dif for 192 anyway - I assume it is not an easy task to convert a touch to dual wire output?

Cheers
Rob

Mnyb
2010-03-06, 06:40
It surprises me a bit that if it is (relatively) straightforward to make this work that Logitech don't just enable it out of the box? Irrespective of whether it is worthwhile or not, from a marketing point of view it would be better to be able to say 24/192.

Bit of a bummer that my dac needs dual wire sp/dif for 192 anyway - I assume it is not an easy task to convert a touch to dual wire output?

Cheers
Rob

Well there is the rest of the infrastructure sbs and tiny sbs the streaming capabilities etc.

If by a fluke logitech does this, I bet there will be a post a week later by someone who cant stream his apple lossless 24/192 files with wifi in his mansion ;)

Their can be a considerable amount of work, it probably is at least relative to the benefits otherwise we would have it already (remember there IS almost no benefits ).

It must work for everybody if it's ever going to be made by logitech. I don't think they like some partially supported solution that only works under some precise preconditions, like only wav from an usb drive or something like that if I dare to speculate ?

This is a project that's clearly better done by third party enthusiast like mr Svensson and like minded that take it as hobby/educational project.

DotSystem
2010-03-06, 06:47
It surprises me a bit that if it is (relatively) straightforward to make this work that Logitech don't just enable it out of the box? Irrespective of whether it is worthwhile or not, from a marketing point of view it would be better to be able to say 24/192.

Bit of a bummer that my dac needs dual wire sp/dif for 192 anyway - I assume it is not an easy task to convert a touch to dual wire output?

Cheers
Rob

I seem to remember posts where it was claimed that the Transporter can't process files above 96/24 either through its DAC or digital outputs. Fixing the server software should at least allow for users to play these files at 96/24 and later hear them at full resoution through a 176/24 or 196/24 compatible streamer.

Phil Leigh
2010-03-06, 06:51
I seem to remember posts where it was claimed that the Transporter can't process files above 96/24 either through its DAC or digital outputs. Fixing the server software should at least allow for users to play these files at 96/24 and later hear them at full resoution through a 176/24 or 196/24 compatible streamer.

But you already can do that.

DotSystem
2010-03-06, 07:06
But you already can do that.

If memory serves, I was able to play 192/24 dumbed down to 96/24 using a 7.4 nightly but cannot presently under 7.3.3 release (unless I have misconfigured it).

Mnyb
2010-03-06, 07:38
7.4.0 and 7.4.1 and 7.4.2 and 7.5 does down-sampling via sox and flac.
Works really well does load the server a bit though.

Some 7.3.x version does this too but I think one 7.3.x version used mp3 urgh :-/ can not remember wich one 7.3.2 ?

Miss-configured ? one should generally not touch the config file nowadays it works best right off the bat, unless you got special needs as a NAS or something.

DotSystem
2010-03-06, 08:22
7.4.0 and 7.4.1 and 7.4.2 and 7.5 does down-sampling via sox and flac.
Works really well does load the server a bit though.

Some 7.3.x version does this too but I think one 7.3.x version used mp3 urgh :-/ can not remember wich one 7.3.2 ?

Miss-configured ? one should generally not touch the config file nowadays it works best right off the bat, unless you got special needs as a NAS or something.

Thanks for the clarification. I had the file format settings in mind but it be the version issue. I am staying away from higher versions for the time being.

Phil Leigh
2010-03-06, 09:37
Thanks for the clarification. I had the file format settings in mind but it be the version issue. I am staying away from higher versions for the time being.

Why?

DotSystem
2010-03-06, 11:12
Why?

Well Phil, since you ask, actually 192/24 support may be the least important issue at Logitech these days given the state of their software development practices (IMO of course). I am unwilling to accept changes to all my Booms and Duet and possibly resurrected bugs just so that one product might work differently. I think products that imitate radios and clocks should have have good stable core functionality. But thats just me. So I may stay at 7.3.3 until higher releases are stable, don't enclude regressed bugs and are praised ubiquitously.

Did I mention how they changed the Harmony remote configuration software so it disabled features on the most expensive legacy Harmony remote? It is one thing to not have it support new features and but quite another to disable the features it had. Makes me wonder about the corporate philosphy...

Phil Leigh
2010-03-06, 11:18
So I may stay at 7.3.3 until higher releases are stable, don't enclude regressed bugs and are praised ubiquitously.
...

OK - IME 7.4.2 is highly stable and has less bugs than 7.3.x - ymmv of course

mortslim
2010-03-15, 13:30
Has anyone who thinks he needs a higher sample rate for supposedly better quality sound ever stopped to think that even if your sample rate wasn’t 192 kHz but instead as high as 24 bit/10,000 kHz, your home hifi system is still never going to get anywhere near the same quality sound as sitting in the audience at a classical concert?

“new orchestra hall is a $100 million proposition”

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Concert Hall Acoustics
http://www.angelfire.com/music2/davidbundler/acoustics.html

And do the “audiophiles” also realize that no instrument that requires electricity (e.g. guitar, electronic keyboard, electronic drum kit, electric organ like the B-3, in other words all the instruments used to produce 95% of all music available today) don’t have any better specs than 24 bit/48 kHz? (the only exception is software synths that sometimes go higher)

temerini
2010-03-15, 14:55
Has anyone who thinks he needs a higher sample rate for supposedly better quality sound ever stopped to think that even if your sample rate wasn’t 192 kHz but instead as high as 24 bit/10,000 kHz, your home hifi system is still never going to get anywhere near the same quality sound as sitting in the audience at a classical concert?

“new orchestra hall is a $100 million proposition”

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Concert Hall Acoustics
http://www.angelfire.com/music2/davidbundler/acoustics.html

And do the “audiophiles” also realize that no instrument that requires electricity (e.g. guitar, electronic keyboard, electronic drum kit, electric organ like the B-3, in other words all the instruments used to produce 95% of all music available today) don’t have any better specs than 24 bit/48 kHz? (the only exception is software synths that sometimes go higher)

Yeah, you are right. I don't understand why don't we still listen to Compact Cassette....

firedog
2010-03-16, 04:54
Has anyone who thinks he needs a higher sample rate for supposedly better quality sound ever stopped to think that even if your sample rate wasn’t 192 kHz but instead as high as 24 bit/10,000 kHz, your home hifi system is still never going to get anywhere near the same quality sound as sitting in the audience at a classical concert?

“new orchestra hall is a $100 million proposition”

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Concert Hall Acoustics
http://www.angelfire.com/music2/davidbundler/acoustics.html

And do the “audiophiles” also realize that no instrument that requires electricity (e.g. guitar, electronic keyboard, electronic drum kit, electric organ like the B-3, in other words all the instruments used to produce 95% of all music available today) don’t have any better specs than 24 bit/48 kHz? (the only exception is software synths that sometimes go higher)

Mortslim-

We get it - you think hi-res files are a waste of time. Fine. Stop beating us over the head with it.

BTW, your two citations are irrelevant. I don't listen to a full scale live symphony orchestra at home, and if I could fit them into my 175sq ft listening area it wouldn't sound good - especially live.

At home I listen to recorded music being reproduced for me, in my particlular home environment. I don't care what the original quality of the sound is or where it was recorded. Whatever the original is, I want the best reproduction of it I can get and afford.

Have you ever wondered why studios may spend multiple thousands of dollars transferring analogue tapes to 192/24? Acc'd to your reasoning, they should never work at anything above 24/48; funny how they waste their time and money using 24/192. Funny how lots of professional musicians and recording people I've talked to enjoy hi-res production and say it sounds more like the "real thing".

And so what if I listen to a recording that's 95% produced at a level of 24/48? I want superior reproduction of the other 5% also.

I admit, I haven't heard a lot of recorded music with res above 24/96; so maybe super his-res is a waste of time. But I know professionals in the field who love their 176k playback - and maybe they do hear something worth listening to. Cite all the articles you want, it doesn't matter - the "ear test" is what matters.

If you had been on this forum in the early 1980's, you would have been the person telling us about all the "science" behind CDs and how their reproduction is "perfect" - and you would have had articles to back you up. Of course those that claimed that back then were wrong, they just didn't know enough about either digital recording, reproduction, and psycho-acoustics.

DotSystem
2010-03-16, 05:33
Yeah, you are right. I don't understand why don't we still listen to Compact Cassette....

In the day I often prefered the sound of a cassette recording made from a CD than the sound of the CD itself...

temerini
2010-03-16, 12:04
In the day I often prefered the sound of a cassette recording made from a CD than the sound of the CD itself...

Poor early digital sound plus compressed dynamics and tape hiss...it sounds great

R Johnson
2010-04-08, 15:46
The latest newsletter from HD Tracks promotes some new 96/24 material from the New York Philharmonic. Perhaps these recordings follow a simpler path than the SACD conversion for the Chicago Symphony...

Quad
2010-04-09, 05:28
The latest newsletter from HD Tracks promotes some new 96/24 material from the New York Philharmonic. Perhaps these recordings follow a simpler path than the SACD conversion for the Chicago Symphony...

I recently bought "Tenor Madness" and "Bags meets Wes!", two recordings out of the Concord Music Group catalogue which is now available in 24/96 at HDtracks.

Until now I thought that HDtracks has access to the studio masters offered by the labels they are working with. But after reading this thread I got a bit confused.

Both titles have been previously released as SACDs and the booklet included with the download shows SACD logos on it. I really hope that the music I'm listening to right now is not limited to 44.1kHz by EMM Labs' DSD to PCM conversion.

BTW. It sounds great! ;-)

mortslim
2010-04-09, 08:53
I have been informed by the Electronc Media Coordinator for the San Francisco Symphony that the San Francisco Symphony also sends their SACDs to HD Tracks.

And this employee of the Symphony admits that HD Tracks rips their SACDs to create the digital downloads.

HDtracks subcontracts with a studio to do the rip of the SACD’s using a machine called the EMM Labs ADC8 MKIV converter. This machine converts the SACD’s DSD format to a PCM format. The machine's specifications are limited by the intellectual property rights of Sony, which invented the SACD technology.

The problem with conversion is that the fidelity will not be as good as material originally recorded at 24/88.2. Thus in my opinion, HDtracks is giving the public the impression that the fidelity is better than it actually is.

Hdtracks can sell music in whatever resolution it wants. The issue is whether Hdtracks has made a full disclosure of the source of the master and the conversion process for the downloadable file that it does sell.

I don’t believe there has been full disclosure.

In addition, when I pointed this out to the San Francisco Symphony, the Electronc Media Coordinator at the Symphony stated: “This is an issue for HD Tracks customer service”.

Apparently the San Francisco Symphony (or at least its Electronc Media Coordinator) doesn’t care about the issue.

johnas
2010-04-09, 09:03
Have you contacted HD Tracks to confirm that they upsample in the examples you have given?

cwp97
2010-04-09, 09:35
ummm...the EMM Labs ADC8 MKIV converter doesn't appear to be limited to 44.1/24 (http://www.emmlabs.com/full/adc8/flow.html) and the sampling rate for an SACD is 2.8MHz?

Quad
2010-04-09, 09:41
HDtracks subcontracts with a studio to do the rip of the SACD’s using a machine called the EMM Labs ADC8 MKIV converter. This machine converts the SACD’s DSD format to a PCM format of 24/44.1. That is a technical restriction of the machine whose specifications are limited by the intellectual property rights of Sony, which invented the SACD technology. This resulting file is then upsampled from 44.1 to 88.2 by HDtracks’ studio before being sold to the public at 24/88.2.

Thanks for bringing this up and for investigating!


Have you contacted HD Tracks to confirm that they upsample in the examples you have given?

I'm not in the US and officially I'm not allowed to buy from HDtracks. (It is possible though with a PayPal workaround explained in this forum.) Maybe someone else could place an inquery?

Honestly, I'm still positive that this is a misunderstanding. Maybe the subcontracting studio knows a way to preserve 24/96 while converting DSD to PCM. I mean hey, it's David Chesky from Chesky Records who owns and runs HDtracks! He sure knows how to deal with sampling rates. (That's what one hopes.)

mortslim
2010-04-09, 09:46
The studio that does the SACD conversions for HDtracks told me that it uses the EMM Labs ADC8 MKIV converter for these conversions. And HDtracks confirmed in an email to another poster in post #73 that this is indeed the machine that is used for the conversions.

Well, to understand this process better, I read the manual for this machine. And lo and behold, there it is:

“from DSD to PCM (44.1kHz - 16/24 bits selectable)” on page 1.

And

“only 44.1kHz is allowed for DSD outputs and inputs” on page 2 and page 8.

http://www.emmlabs.com/pdf/manuals/ADA_MkIV_Manual1v3.pdf

Here is the product page for the machine:
http://www.emmlabs.com/html/products/adc8/adc8.html#

Thus the 24/88.2 downloads available on HDtracks came from these SACD conversions.

This explains why the studio owner and engineer for HDtracks stated:
“…DSD has a base freq of 44.1 and is clocked at 44.1 We do all the SACD/DSD/DVD-A transfers for HDtracks and other sites…
Regards,
__________________
Bruce A. Brown
Puget Sound Studios
Seattle, Washington”
http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/Which-site-offers-truly-high-resolution-downloads





You need to read earlier posts that covers the issue.

mortslim
2010-04-09, 09:54
this is a misunderstanding. Maybe the subcontracting studio knows a way to preserve 24/96 while converting DSD to PCM. I mean hey, it's David Chesky from Chesky Records who owns and runs HDtracks! He sure knows how to deal with sampling rates. (That's what one hopes.)

There is no misunderstanding.

The audio starts in a totally different digital format, it is apples to oranges. It is a format called DSD. It ends up as PCM. The machine that does the conversions can't do it better than as described because of legal restrictions imposed by Sony.

Read this entire thread for all the gory details.

HDTracks doesn’t admit this. However if you read the prior posts in this thread on the subject, it has been making several inconsistent statements and statements that are contradicted by other sources, including their own subcontracted studio owner.



“Of course you don't tell your wife the truth... (hypothetical)...nobody does, do they? I've known men like this...their gentlemen's agreement. It's cool to lie to their wives or girlfriends, but you can share those lies with other guys...and, it's an unwritten rule - you never tell the truth to the ladies. And, if one of the guys slips up and his wife finds out the truth... he's supposed to deny, deny, deny.” Donald J. Trump
http://www.trumpuniversity.com/blog/post/2008/02/honestly-all-of-us-are-liars.cfm

johnas
2010-04-09, 12:08
I contacted HD Tracks, here's what they said:


Thank you for your interest in HDtracks. All of our high resolution
files are provided to us from the label and are not upsampled. We do
not convert them to 44.1 and then back up to 88.2. We read the post
that you provided a link for as well. We take the integrity of our
store and the quality of our products very seriously. We are currently
in the process of contacting Bruce, who "admitted" that he upsamples for
us, to clarify what exactly he did or did not do. In the meantime, we
have taken the San Francisco Symphony albums off of our site while we
investigate.

As soon as we have clarification on the matter, we will let you know.

We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused. Please let us know
if we can be of any further assistance.

Sincerely,
The HDtracks Team

Kevin Haskins
2010-04-09, 12:28
I contacted HD Tracks, here's what they said:

Wow.... I bet he is going to learn to keep his mouth shut.

mortslim
2010-04-09, 12:32
I have also spoken to Mark Waldrep, owner of a competing company, Itrax.com.
Mark says he has spoken to David Chesky, owner of HDTracks, several times about the issues and he says that David is simply unresponsive.

I see the bigger issue as why prestigious orchestras around the world allow their works to be marketed this way.

cwp97
2010-04-09, 13:14
Thanks for reposting that info.

So I read the instruction manual and yes, the base frequency can only be set to 44.1 for DSD, but, there is another switch listed above that in the manual that sets the sample rate. Wouldn't setting that switch to 2fs give you 88.2 (2 x the base frequency)?

mortslim
2010-04-09, 13:37
The EMM Labs machine is a swiss army knife. It can do many different types of projects and its capabilities vary depending on the project. The issue for this discussion is DSD to PCM conversion of a ripped SACD. So the specs on other types of conversions by the same machine are not relevant. The machine has built-in limitations for the DSD to PCM conversion of ripped SACDs to be in compliance with Sony intellectual property rights.

Sony marketed SACD to record companies as a way to offer higher fidelity (debatable) than regular “red book” CDs and at the same time offered a copy protection scheme which was lacking in regular CDs. It is this copy protection scheme which is implemented in the machine used by HDTracks’ studio for the conversions. In essence, the machine is merely ripping the red book layer of the CD rather than the SACD layer.

If the source material was the original DSD file, then a higher fidelity conversion could have been done. But since the source material used by HDTracks, at least in these cited examples, was an SACD, the conversion is limited by legal constraints.

mortslim
2010-04-09, 13:40
As cited above, the EMM manual is quite clear:

“only 44.1kHz is allowed for DSD outputs and inputs” on page 2 and page 8.

johnas
2010-04-09, 13:55
HDTracks now says: "we have taken the San Francisco Symphony albums off of our site while we investigate."

I have also spoken to Mark Waldrep, owner of a competing company, Itrax.com.
Mark says he has spoken to David Chesky, owner of HDTracks, several times about the issues and he says that David is simply unresponsive.



It is unfortunate you didn't contact HD Tracks to verify what Itrax.com said, they are a competitor with HD Tracks are they not? Making allegations on hearsay isn't cool. I think taking the tracks offline shows they are willing to do the right thing, good on them.

cwp97
2010-04-09, 13:56
But that “only 44.1kHz is allowed for DSD outputs and inputs” applies to the base frequency. As far as I can tell, isn't that different from the actual sampling rate? Looking at the manual:

1FS / 2FS: Selects the sample rate for PCM data. FS is the base frequency (see 44.1 / 48 switch). 2FS position will mute outputs when the oversampling ratio is set to 128.

44.1 / 48: Selects the base frequency (only 44.1kHz is allowed for DSD outputs and inputs).

Now, I don't own this thing nor have I ever used it but it seems like the 1FS/2FS switch is the actual thing that sets the sample rate. So if you select 44.1 as the base frequency and then set it to 2FS for the sample rate, that would give you 88.2 as the sampling rate, wouldn't it? Am I understanding this wrong?

johnas
2010-04-09, 14:07
Here is an email i received from HD Tracks:



Thank you for waiting. We have gotten in touch with Bruce and we have
clarified what is going on with these conversions.

Firstly, the EMM Labs converter can convert DSD to PCM at either 44.1 or
88.2. There is a switch on the front for 1fs or 2fs for this. However
this is irrelevant since he directly captures the DSD data stream via
the SPIDF-3 output. The EMM Labs converter does not do the digital
conversion, all it does is convert ST-optical data to SPIDF-3 data.

Also note that Bruce does not know or has spoken to the this Mortslim on
the forum who is making these claims.

In fact, anyone can check for themselves by downloading the files and
then looking at the waveforms on your computer. You will see that there
is audio content above 22kHz.

We hope this answers your question. Please let us know if we can be of
any further assistance.

Sincerely,
The HDtracks Team

cwp97
2010-04-09, 14:24
Thanks for contacting them and posting their reply johnas. So I guess all this talk about switches and things was irrelevant?

johnas
2010-04-09, 15:06
I am not sure, I don't know anything about the technology. Maybe Mortslim can comment on the information HD Tracks sent me - they seem to refute what he is saying but I will leave him to comment.

Bruce B
2010-04-09, 15:40
I am not sure, I don't know anything about the technology. Maybe Mortslim can comment on the information HD Tracks sent me - they seem to refute what he is saying but I will leave him to comment.

I'd like to hear his comment as well!


Regards,
Bruce
_________________________________
Puget Sound Studios
Seattle, WA

mortslim
2010-04-09, 15:55
Since Bruce has now decided to participate, why doesn't he explain the conversion process himself, since he is the one who does it.

As HDTracks has represented in post #73:
"EMM Labs CDSD-SE Transport => via DSD ST-optical => EMM Labs ADC8 MkIV
=> via PCM 24/96 AES/EBU => Pyramix DSD/DXD Workstation => Digital Audio
Denmark AX24 for playback monitoring via MADI."

And as HDTracks has represented today in post #165: "The EMM Labs converter does not do the digital conversion, all it does is convert ST-optical data to SPIDF-3 data."

Seems like HDTracks has contradicted itself: previously it said that the EMM machine converted to PCM 24/96 but then told us today that the EMM machine doesn't do the conversion at all.

So which machine does the conversion?
How is the conversion done?
What is the workflow?
Is there upsampling or not?

The issue is whether HDTracks has made a full disclosure of the source material fidelity (bit and sample rate) and the conversion process.

Remember, we're starting with an SACD. We know that from representatives of both the Chicago and San Francisco orchestras.

So tell us Bruce, exactly what do you do with that SACD to get it into the PCM format that is sold by HDTracks.

Bruce B
2010-04-09, 16:23
So which machine does the conversion?
How is the conversion done?
What is the workflow?
Is there upsampling or not?

Bruce has acknowledged on other forums that he does upsampling.


No machine does the conversion... Weiss SARACON does the DSD conversion to 88.2

The first few months we were doing the transfers, we were using a modified (by Andreas Koch) EMM Labs ADC8 IV to do the digital conversion to 88.2
Yes it does 88.2 using the 2fs switch.
We have never upsampled any transfers, period.
Now we take a direct DSD data stream from a Playback Designs MPS-5 into either a Sonoma workstation or a Pyramix workstation. Then we SRC using SARACON. End of story.

I don't know why we have to defend ourselves from these idiots! We probably spend 4-8hr. a week answering emails and responding to people on forums trying to challenge us. Just enjoy the music and listen with your ears, not your eyes!


Regards,
_________________________________
Puget Sound Studios
Seattle, WA

mortslim
2010-04-09, 17:48
The issue is not what Bruce does, the issue is how Bruce's product is marketed by HDTracks.

Here are the specs for the Playback Designs MPS-5 (which is the transport for the SACD):

Digital outputs:
XLR: AES/EBU formatted for stereo linear PCM data.
If playing from disc the data on this output will be 16bits / 44.1kHz.
http://www.playbackdesigns.com/mps5.html

If you use the digital outputs of the transport, you start with 44.1 and end up with 88.2, that’s upsampling.

Now this transport also has analog outputs too. Is Bruce using the analog output of the transport for the SACD?

The original master was converted to SACD, then converted again to DAC (digital to analog converter), then you have analog, then converted again to the ADC (analog to digital converter) of the computer audio workstation to get digital again. Then the SRC (sample rate conversion) is done in SARACON (software) (to convert again). I count four conversions of the original master.

The HDTracks website states generally that

*Native Formats PCM conversion chart

192/24=96/24
176/24= 88/24
SACD=88/24
Analog masters=88/24

https://www.hdtracks.com/index.php?file=staticpage&pagename=audiophile_96khz

But for example, the San Francisco symphony albums just say 88/24. There are three possible sources per HDTracks. You are left to guess as to the source material.

Since we now independently know that the San Francisco albums were previously SACD, the conversion chart implies a direct digital to digital conversion to 88/24. But now we know that is not what happened. It was digital to analog to digital. (Assuming the transport’s analog outputs were used).

We can debate all day as to the resulting quality. Is the quality as good as material originally recorded at 88/24?

Again, my point is the same: Consumers have a right to know exactly what they are buying so that they can make an informed buying decision.

By the way, resorting to ad hominems (“idiots”) is a defense mechanism.

mortslim
2010-04-09, 17:53
we take a direct DSD data stream from a Playback Designs MPS-5 into either a Sonoma workstation or a Pyramix workstation.

Actually, this seems to suggest that rather than the analog output of the transport, the digital output is being used (which per the specs of the transport is 16bits / 44.1kHz)


Am I missing something here?

Bruce B
2010-04-09, 18:20
Am I missing something here?

Yes... you're missing something... and I'm trying to defend myself again and wasting time...
The digital output for both the Playback Designs MPS-5 and the EMM Labs CDSD-SE... of which we both use, is a direct DSD data stream from the ST-optical output. Unfortunately the reference you linked to doesn't mention it.

http://stereophile.com/hirezplayers/playback_designs_mps-5_sacdcd_player/index4.html

Regards,
_________________________________
Puget Sound Studios
Seattle, WA

JeffG
2010-04-09, 19:13
Hey Bruce: If you are wasting your time with "idiots", why are you posting? By the way, I find it hard to believe you spend 4-8 hours every week defending yourself -- actually, maybe it's not so hard to believe.

DaveWr
2010-04-10, 01:05
Yes... you're missing something... and I'm trying to defend myself again and wasting time...
The digital output for both the Playback Designs MPS-5 and the EMM Labs CDSD-SE... of which we both use, is a direct DSD data stream from the ST-optical output. Unfortunately the reference you linked to doesn't mention it.

http://stereophile.com/hirezplayers/playback_designs_mps-5_sacdcd_player/index4.html

Regards,
_________________________________
Puget Sound Studios
Seattle, WA

Hi Bruce,

Thanks for your attempt at clarity, Mortslim just has a religious thing, I wish he would kill off his continuous inuendos.

Dave

firedog
2010-04-10, 03:50
Actually, this seems to suggest that rather than the analog output of the transport, the digital output is being used (which per the specs of the transport is 16bits / 44.1kHz)


Am I missing something here?

Apparently yes. Both Bruce and HDTracks have categorically denied your claims/interpretation. And said there is material in the tracks, above 22k (i.e., proof of source).

In an earlier response to me, HDTracks said they do not upsample, and claimed they will remove from their site hi-res tracks they find to be upsampled.

We now have an example where this seems to be true - they deleted suspicious files from their catalogue, pending review.

To my way of thinking, any more back and forth about HDTracks is rather pointless, unless someone comes up with proof (not interpretation) that they are selling tracks as 24/88 or 24/96 that are upsampled. And if you do, you should alert them, as they've shown they are willing to do the right thing.

firedog
2010-04-10, 03:52
Thanks

MrRalph
2010-04-10, 07:46
Let get it back on the original topic: making the Touch 24/192 compatible. Nothing to do with Hdtracks etc.

R Johnson
2010-04-10, 15:55
.... Now we take a direct DSD data stream from a Playback Designs MPS-5 into either a Sonoma workstation or a Pyramix workstation. Then we SRC using SARACON. End of story.
Bruce,

Thanks for joining this forum and explaining the process that you use.

As mentioned several pages back, I subscribe to the Chicago Symphony and am interested in the CSO Resound recordings available from HD Tracks. I bought a few tracks for testing / comparison to CD. I've not yet done the comparison due to lack of suitable hardware. I expect to do the comparison with the new Squeezebox Touch in the near future.

Quad
2010-04-11, 04:37
Now we take a direct DSD data stream from a Playback Designs MPS-5 into either a Sonoma workstation or a Pyramix workstation. Then we SRC using SARACON. End of story

I second that. Thanks for clarifying and sorry if I have contributed to the confusion.

Me too, I'm looking forward to listening to hi-res files through the Touch. I'd like to have them at my fingertips. Now I have to play them through a M-Audio Audiophile 192 not connected to my main setup anymore.

mortslim
2010-04-11, 10:20
The digital output for both the Playback Designs MPS-5 and the EMM Labs CDSD-SE... of which we both use, is a direct DSD data stream from the ST-optical output. Unfortunately the reference you linked to doesn't mention it.


"the reference you linked to doesn't mention it."

“end of story”?

mortslim
2010-04-11, 10:21
we were using a modified (by Andreas Koch) EMM Labs ADC8 IV to do the digital conversion to 88.2

"modified"

“end of story”?

mortslim
2010-04-11, 10:36
Homework assignment: research DMCA 1201

cwp97
2010-04-12, 05:08
Homework assignment: research DMCA

Coming back to the thread after the weekend, I see we're still at it. I think Bruce made things pretty clear (thanks Bruce!). mortslim, DMCA? really? How is HDtracks breaking the DMCA if they have agreements with the labels and rightsholders to convert and sell the music?

Oh, and about Andreas Koch:
"For the next four years he designed all of the digital componentry, algorithms and architecture for EMM Labs digital audio products; professional and audiophile. "
(from http://www.playbackdesigns.com/aboutus.html)

Please tell me mortslim, do you have more information than the guy who actually designed the EMM??

mortslim
2010-04-12, 17:54
Content encryption. DSD data is encyrpted with an 80-bit key on the disc.
The key is never transmitted on any bus, or anywhere outside the proprietary SACD chipset.
SACD’s encryption and decryption are available only in carefully licensed and controlled hardware.
http://web.archive.org/web/20071011020215/www.smr-home-theatre.org/surround2002/technology/page_09.shtml

Sony's "proprietary SACD chipset"

"carefully licensed and controlled hardware" by Sony

mortslim
2010-04-12, 18:10
Practical DSD converter implementations were pioneered by Ed Meitner, an Austrian sound engineer and owner of EMM Labs.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct_Stream_Digital

Meitner: I think every time there is a conversion, nobody could be as arrogant as to assume that there isn’t going to be some loss.
http://www.positive-feedback.com/pfbackissues/0802/pappas.Meitner.rev.8n2.html

cwp97
2010-04-12, 18:50
Wait, I thought we were talking about how HDtracks is supposed to be upsampling their music, not about SACD encryption. How is this supposed to prove/disprove that?

Also, wouldn't the "proprietary SACD chipset" and "carefully licensed and controlled hardware" required to play the SACD found in a...... SACD player? The article from Positive Feedback was certainly interesting. From reading the article, Ed Meitner designs and sells SACD players so obviously he's going to be pushing the format, plus it was written in 2002. Technology must have surely advanced in the 8 years since then. You know that nothing is ever "crack-proof."

Look, I'm new at the whole audiophile thing and HDtracks looks like a good source of high resolution recordings. Wouldn't this whole issue be solved in about 5 minutes by you actually downloading a file from them and then analyzing it? Why haven't you done that instead of constantly attacking them?

mortslim
2010-04-12, 18:58
"I ran spectragraphic analyses on about a dozen tracks from most of the major online "HD" distribution sites as well as "HD" files distributed on DVD-Rs. The results were not really surprising…many of the tracks that are so highly regarded simply do not contain the requisite frequency response or dynamic range that their specifications make available."
http://www.itrax.com/Pages/ArticleDetails.php?aID=21

mortslim
2010-04-12, 19:37
There is no point in higher fidelity specs of the Touch if you don’t have confidence in the audio specs of the music you want it to play. Consumers are entitled to full disclosure as to exactly what any retailer is selling.

The implication from the HDTracks store, when it offers for sale a given album at 24/88.2, is that it is originally recorded natively at PCM 24/88.2. There is no asterisk, no footnote, no explanation, on the album page itself to explain any differently how the album was recorded.

Any material that has originally been recorded at any other spec or any other format requires by definition some type of conversion to get to PCM 24/88.2. Then it becomes a matter of debate for the “audiophiles” as to whether the converted material is as good as natively recorded material. But the debate can’t even start until it is known what the specs of the material are in its original form and how it was converted. That is called full disclosure.

A general note at the beginning page of the HDTracks high resolution store which apparently applies to all the albums sold at 24/88.2, states that that is not necessarily the case that there was a native PCM recording of equal or higher quality. Three different scenarios are specified as to how any given album may be offered at 24/88.2. The consumer is then, if he noticed this spec, which is on a different page than the actual album he is considering purchasing, left to guess as to which process was used to obtain the 24/88.2.

We know from independent sources, namely the record labels of the San Francisco and Chicago orchestras, that only an SACD is supplied to HDTracks from at least these two orchestras.

And because the intermediate source is an SACD, this is not like ripping a CD. When a CD is ripped, you get a perfect copy. That is not the case with an SACD because it was recorded in the DSD format and then converted to the PCM format, a totally different digital format. A perfect bit for bit copy is not possible. DSD is 1 bit. The PCM downloadable file is 24 bits. So the conversion process to get from DSD to PCM ups the bit depth from 1 to 24.

This process is not copying, but instead a conversion, which, according to Meitner, the owner of the company that manufactures the machine that may have been used in the conversion, results in some loss of fidelity.

Shouldn’t the explanation be:
“Originally recorded in DSD format, converted to SACD disk, then converted to PCM format. The downloadable file is not a perfect copy of the original recording. There has been some loss in fidelity. The machines used in the conversion process have been modified and this may be a possible violation of Sony’s intellectual property rights and may be a possible violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Section 1201.”

Now that would be full disclosure.

mortslim
2010-04-13, 07:59
Sony owns and licenses the SACD chipset in the SACD player that is used to decrypt the SACD. It is a carefully controlled and licensed hardware technology. Sony makes money from royalties from manufacturers of SACD players because these manufacturers have to purchase and license the SACD chipset from Sony.

The damage to Sony if that hardware technology is not needed to listen to music from an SACD (e.g. by a consumer purchasing a downloaded file that was derived from the SACD that can be played on a computer):

If the material on an SACD can be accessed by a consumer without the need for the SACD chipset and thus without the need for an SACD player this costs Sony royalty payments from purchasers of the music who would otherwise have to buy an SACD player to listen to the music. If less SACD players are sold, Sony loses money.

Here is an analogous situation:

“each time a consumer opts to use the Streambox search engine that is present on a modified RealPlayer rather than the Snap search engine that is present on an unmodified RealPlayer costs RealNetworks royalty payments from Snap”
http://www.law.uh.edu/faculty/cjoyce/copyright/release10/Real.html

mortslim
2010-04-13, 08:17
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) “criminalizes production and dissemination of technology, devices, or services intended to circumvent measures (commonly known as digital rights management or DRM) that control access to copyrighted works. It also criminalizes the act of circumventing an access control, whether or not there is actual infringement of copyright itself.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Millennium_Copyright_Act

Phil Leigh
2010-04-13, 10:23
Sony owns and licenses the SACD chipset in the SACD player that is used to decrypt the SACD. It is a carefully controlled and licensed hardware technology. Sony makes money from royalties from manufacturers of SACD players because these manufacturers have to purchase and license the SACD chipset from Sony.

The damage to Sony if that hardware technology is not needed to listen to music from an SACD (e.g. by a consumer purchasing a downloaded file that was derived from the SACD that can be played on a computer):

If the material on an SACD can be accessed by a consumer without the need for the SACD chipset and thus without the need for an SACD player this costs Sony royalty payments from purchasers of the music who would otherwise have to buy an SACD player to listen to the music. If less SACD players are sold, Sony loses money.


That horse bolted long ago. Modded SACD players that output 24/88.2 are freely available worldwide and Sony have almost given up on SACD for various reasons. DSD may survive (ironically) as an archive format, which is ONE of the reasons why Sony invented it. Sony's cunning plan to make every studio do a root & branch refit with DSD compatible gear also failed.

The EMM device is an ADC/D-D (NOT AN SACD PLAYER!) If you think that modifying it to output a higher-rate PCM stream is a violation of DMCA you need to do more research. It has no "access controls". It has no encryption. It does not host copyrighted works.

Maybe you are thinking that the very existence of the EMM CDSD player violates DMCA?

mortslim
2010-04-13, 14:05
Sony have almost given up on SACD for various reasons.

Sony SCD-XA5400ES SACD player
http://www.sonystyle.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10551&storeId=10151&langId=-1&productId=8198552921665537319


The EMM device is an ADC/D-D (NOT AN SACD PLAYER!)

The MPS-5 - Playback Designs Music Playback System 5 with the "not mentioned" in the spec optical digital out provides the pure unencrypted digital stream from the SACD disk.
http://www.playbackdesigns.com/mps5.html

and previously HDTracks indicated a EMM Labs CDSD-SE Transport was used for the same purpose.

Converting audio from DSD to PCM is not the DMCA 1201 issue.

The DMCA 1201 issue relates to the pure unencrypted digital DSD stream from a digital out of the player. Sony does not allow that.


Q: Why is there no audio output from the coaxial or optical digital audio port when I play DVD-Audio or SACD discs?
A: The copyright protection feature of the DVD-Audio and Super Audio CD (SACD) disc format prohibits unprotected digital audio output. Since the coaxial or optical digital audio output has no copy-protection ability (i.e. pure audio stream without encryption and authentication), audio from DVD-Audio or SACD cannot be output via these interfaces. To enjoy high resolution digital audio from DVD-Audio or SACD discs, please use the 5.1-channel analogue audio output. If your A/V receiver supports HDMI 1.1 (or above) digital audio, you may also use the HDMI port, which has the required copyright protection mechanism (HDCP).
http://www.oppodigital.com/dv970hd/dv970hd_support.asp#B12

If you're getting audio from a SACD via a digital output, it's supposed to be only the normal CD layer on a hybrid disk from a stock player, or if its from the HDMI audio of the SACD layer, its encrypted, which means it can only go to a receiver that is not allowed to pass on the signal through the receiver's digital outs.

cwp97
2010-04-13, 14:36
Sony SCD-XA5400ES SACD player
http://www.sonystyle.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10551&storeId=10151&langId=-1&productId=8198552921665537319

Sony Cassette Player
http://www.sonystyle.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10551&storeId=10151&langId=-1&productId=11039145

My point being that just because they continue to sell players doesn't mean they haven't almost given up. Sony created SACDs, of course they're going to milk it for every penny that they can. Just like with Betamax or the MiniDisc.

Regarding the quote from iTrax, again, of course he's going to say that. iTrax is a direct competitor to HDtracks. Any business that says, oh, you can get the same or even better quality stuff at a different store has something wrong with them and will go out of business pretty fast.

Like I mentioned a couple of posts ago, why not just download the tracks yourself and just look at the files to check for audio content above 22K. If it's being ripped from the CD layer and upsampled, there should be nothing there right?

R Johnson
2010-04-13, 14:52
...Like I mentioned a couple of posts ago, why not just download the tracks yourself and just look at the files to check for audio content above 22K. If it's being ripped from the CD layer and upsampled, there should be nothing there right?
I have a few 24/88.2 tracks from the Chicago Symphony from HD Tracks.
While I'm waiting for a Touch in order to listen to then, I'd love to "look at" the files.
But I don't have any software to do so.
Any suggestions for suitable software?
(Preferably free or free trial version.)

mortslim
2010-04-13, 15:29
I'd love to "look at" the files.

As previously mentioned, the owner of itrax.com did do a spectragraphic analyses to "look". That is an analysis of what your ears hear in terms of the frequencies. And what he found was not what HD audio is expected to sound like.

From a bit depth and sample rate perspective, the downloadable file will be exactly what it claims: 24/88.2. But the question raised by the previous poster illustrates precisely why there is a need (which is currently lacking) for full disclosure. Most people who are not in the recording field aren't familiar with bit depth dithering and sample rate conversion. The bottom line is that once the bit depth and sample rate are changed, it is impossible to determine the previous bit depth and sample rate before the change (other than by the spectragraphic analyses mentioned above).

For example, I use Cakewalk Sonar Producer Edition 8.5, one of the leading software programs for audio recording. I can rip a CD, whose source is of course 16 bit/44.1 kHz. And then click a few times with my mouse in this program, and voila, the resulting file can be changed to 24 bit/192 kHz. That is what it's properties will be seen as in the program. But as previously mentioned in this thread, even at 24/192, the quality of the fidelity will be no different than 16/44.1 because it's just a copy of the original. My program can't examine this new file to determine its prior bit depth and sample rate. That is not possible with any audio recording software.

So the point is that when you buy a download, you are basically working on faith and trust that the vendor is selling you what you think you are buying. The more disclosure you get before the purchase, the more likely you will be getting what you think you are getting.

P.S. Cakewalk Sonar does include a spectrum analyzer plug-in called Analyst to illustrate which frequencies and their amplitudes are present within a sound. This is helpful for determining what frequencies to boost or cut when doing equalization. But I don't think it is helpful to determine the actual specs of a music file.

mortslim
2010-04-13, 16:42
Here’s something ironic:

The San Francisco Symphony sells hybrid SACDs.

“The titles have all been released on Super Audio CD (SACD) through a contribution from Sony Music Corp.”
http://www.sfsymphony.org/projects/sfsmedia.aspx?id=294

So Sony is helping the San Francisco Symphony sell music on SACDs (to interest consumers in buying SACD players that will give revenue to Sony) and in turn the San Francisco Symphony is selling its music online through HDTracks from files derived from these SACDs, with the result that consumers can bypass having to purchase an SACD player.

Phil Leigh
2010-04-13, 22:43
The MPS-5 - Playback Designs Music Playback System 5 with the "not mentioned" in the spec optical digital out provides the pure unencrypted digital stream from the SACD disk.
http://www.playbackdesigns.com/mps5.html

and previously HDTracks indicated a EMM Labs CDSD-SE Transport was used for the same purpose.

Converting audio from DSD to PCM is not the DMCA 1201 issue.

The DMCA 1201 issue relates to the pure unencrypted digital DSD stream from a digital out of the player. Sony does not allow that.



So why isn't Sony or the "DMCA enforcers" taking action against these player manufacturers?

cwp97
2010-04-14, 07:41
So where is iTrax getting their SFS content? If HDtracks is getting their material straight from the labels, isn't iTrax getting the exact same thing? iTrax emphasizes "REAL HD" but I don't see anything on their site about how/where they get their files either... how are you supposed to claim that, "You can get the same thing on site B, but it doesn't sound good. Buy it from us because it sounds better," without something to back the claim up, which I don't see. Just sounds like marketing talk to me.

Phil makes a good point, if it is illegal, why isn't Sony, the feds and everybody else coming down on the manufacturers of these "illegal" devices?

Mnyb
2010-04-14, 08:13
So where is iTrax getting their SFS content? If HDtracks is getting their material straight from the labels, isn't iTrax getting the exact same thing? iTrax emphasizes "REAL HD" but I don't see anything on their site about how/where they get their files either... how are you supposed to claim that, "You can get the same thing on site B, but it doesn't sound good. Buy it from us because it sounds better," without something to back the claim up, which I don't see. Just sounds like marketing talk to me.

Phil makes a good point, if it is illegal, why isn't Sony, the feds and everybody else coming down on the manufacturers of these "illegal" devices?

iTrax is also a recording company http://www.aixrecords.com/
So they do their own records, most of iTrax releases are AIX records.
And their mo IS recording new original material in 24/96 or 24/192 .

They embraced DVD-A when that's was the latest thing and have afaik probably done most "real" HD Records of any label. They have excellent 5.1 24/96 DVD-A discs.
Note that you can actually get 5.1 24/96 files from iTrax , but the total lack of such network players makes a very small market.

Most of the big labels have mostly re released some old stuff of undetermined pedigree.
But you can sell that to, there is also an audiophile myth that there is something to get from any old analog tape that's been "destroyed by CD".
Most recordings ever made have such SQ that 16/44.1 is sufficient.
You don't need a 5 gallon barrel to hold 1 gallon of content so use 24/192 for such things is a waste.

However there are some nicely done remixes/remasters that takes the old 24 track and does a new final mix and master and also a 5.1 version.
Talking Heads Brick Box is a good example, this is some kind of renovation of the music if carefully done this can be great.
If done by morons the result is the usual over-compressed aggressive sound that is the latest trend.

Edit: there is a small but positive trend of recording and selling new stuff in 24bit so all is not lost ! have to say that to.

Phil Leigh
2010-04-14, 10:30
Phil makes a good point, if it is illegal, why isn't Sony, the feds and everybody else coming down on the manufacturers of these "illegal" devices?

I know the answer, but I'm waiting to see if MortSlim does... :-)

mortslim
2010-04-14, 11:17
This issue wasn’t even known until a few days ago when it was revealed that “modified” machines and “not published” specs machines were being used to extract DSD data from an SACD.

Apparently there are one or two boutique companies who are making these machines (with some employee links between the companies) and one studio doing the work. It’s low profile.

And the previous various contradictory and inconsistent explanations as to the method and workflow involved in extracting the data can be interpreted as:

1. A deliberate attempt at obfuscation because of a conscious knowledge of these issues.
2. Unawareness or misunderstanding by those involved as to these issues.
3. A desire to protect a “trade secret” as to the method of extraction.

Of course whatever the reason, all these possibilities just further reinforce the need for full disclosure to the consumer as to the source of a music download and the method for its preparation.

All we can do is ask questions.

Bruce B
2010-04-16, 22:34
This issue wasn’t even known until a few days ago when it was revealed that “modified” machines and “not published” specs machines were being used to extract DSD data from an SACD.

1. A deliberate attempt at obfuscation because of a conscious knowledge of these issues.
2. Unawareness or misunderstanding by those involved as to these issues.
3. A desire to protect a “trade secret” as to the method of extraction.


Studios have been taking the DSD data stream from SACD's for years. The EMM Labs and Playback Designs machines pass a pure DSD stream in stock form. We had to "modify" the EMM Labs ADC because the SACD Scarlet book spec allows for a +3db signal and when directly converted to PCM, there is clipping. With so many "hot" SACD's, we were getting too much clipping when the EMM Labs coverter did the PCM conversion. Thus, we had to get a custom algorithm to attenuate the digital signal 3dB to keep the signal from clipping.
This is a moot point now that we just capture the DSD data stream and do SRC using SARACON.


"I ran spectragraphic analyses on about a dozen tracks from most of the major online "HD" distribution sites as well as "HD" files distributed on DVD-Rs.

Hey... I've got an idea. Listen with your ears and not your eyes. It works... I've tried it!



Regards,
_________________________________
Puget Sound Studios
Seattle, WA

mortslim
2010-04-19, 19:29
Studios have been taking the DSD data stream from SACD's for years.

The issue of what is allowable cannot be determined by reference to the number of studios which may or may not be engaged in similar behavior. Just because many cars in the city are going 80 mph and not getting a speeding ticket doesn't mean these cars are not violating the vehicle code.

Further, apparently Puget Sound Studios IS the ONLY studio in the civilized world that engages in the conduct at issue here. If anyone knows of another studio that is engaged in the same activity, please let us know.

Definitions:
"Studio" - a for profit commercial enterprise that openly acknowledges this type of work.
"Civilized world" - Any country with a democratic government and an independent judiciary that is a signatory to a treaty with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and where Sony is doing business. (That leaves out countries like China and Russia, who may give lip service to intellectual property rights but don't consistently enforce them.)


we just capture the DSD data stream and do SRC using SARACON.

In other words the DSD data stream is passed into a computer where the sample rate conversion (SRC) is done inside a computer program (SARACON). This is exactly what is not allowed by Sony's license if the digital data stream derived from an SACD is unencrypted DSD or PCM of better fidelity than 24 bit/44.1 kHz.

Here is the FAQ from Oppo, a leading "audiophile" component manufacturer:

Q: Why is there no audio output from the coaxial or optical digital audio port when I play DVD-Audio or SACD discs?

A: The copyright protection feature of the DVD-Audio and Super Audio CD (SACD) disc format prohibits unprotected digital audio output. Since the coaxial or optical digital audio output has no copy-protection ability (i.e. pure audio stream without encryption and authentication), audio from DVD-Audio or SACD cannot be output via these interfaces. To enjoy high resolution digital audio from DVD-Audio or SACD discs, please use the 5.1-channel analogue audio output. If your A/V receiver supports HDMI 1.1 (or above) digital audio, you may also use the HDMI port, which has the required copyright protection mechanism (HDCP).
http://www.oppodigital.com/dv970hd/dv970hd_support.asp#B12

In addition to losing money from lost sales of SACD players, Sony also loses money if fewer SACDs are manufactured at its facilities (the only place where SACDs can be pressed).
http://www.sa-cd.net/shownews.php?news=6

Themis
2010-04-20, 08:00
I know the answer, but I'm waiting to see if MortSlim does... :-)
As I know you're not naive, I suppose you have lots of time. ;)

Phil Leigh
2010-04-20, 08:02
As I know you're not naive, I suppose you have lots of time. ;)

Yep :-)

Mnyb
2010-04-20, 09:10
As we are of topic for a while again.

Another interesting consumer Q here.

Why are HD tracks or anyone else ripping discs legal or not ?

Those In the online music retail biz should have access to some "master files" from the label, or are the the labels not that serious either ?

On topic, follow the discussions on the forumsre 24/96 performance issues, how this resolves would surely set the bar for how and if it's possible to hack Touch to yield 24/192.

I suppose wired connection would be required.
Unsure if it has cpu for anything but pcm at this rate.
Would it be required to run your own server ?

firedog
2010-04-20, 09:26
On topic, follow the discussions on the forumsre 24/96 performance issues, how this resolves would surely set the bar for how and if it's possible to hack Touch to yield 24/192.

I suppose wired connection would be required.
Unsure if it has cpu for anything but pcm at this rate.
Would it be required to run your own server ?

Topic of Touch 192 has been discussed elsewhere. Do a search.

Phil Leigh
2010-04-20, 09:41
As we are of topic for a while again.

Another interesting consumer Q here.

Why are HD tracks or anyone else ripping discs legal or not ?

Those In the online music retail biz should have access to some "master files" from the label, or are the the labels not that serious either ?


Hmmm...
Well Sony will happily tell you that DSD is "the ultimate archival format" and is thus the perfect source for this endeavour. The fact that the data is being taken from a physical SACD rather than a file server doesn't change that...

pfarrell
2010-04-20, 09:50
Phil Leigh wrote:
>> As we are of topic for a while again.
> Hmmm...
> Well Sony will happily tell you that DSD is "the ultimate archival
> format" and is thus the perfect source for this endeavour. The fact
> that the data is being taken from a physical SACD rather than a file
> server doesn't change that...

And the reality is that DSD is a pretty good archival format. "Ultimate"
is arguable. What Sony doesn't talk about is that DSD has very little
bandwidth in the ultra high frequency range. Or more precisely, while
there can be signal up there, there is a lot of noise that has to be
processed to control it, and the noise gets shifted into the 35kHz on up
range.

While very few professional microphones record up there, and there is
not a lot of musical information up there, what there is gets mangled by
the noise shaping.

Completely agree that whether the data comes from pits on a piece of
plastic or from a hard disk, thumb drive, etc. makes zero difference in
theory and in practice.

--
Pat Farrell
http://www.pfarrell.com/

mortslim
2010-04-20, 14:36
Sony will happily tell you that DSD is "the ultimate archival format" and is thus the perfect source for this endeavour. The fact that the data is being taken from a physical SACD rather than a file server doesn't change that...

Recording to the DSD format is touted by Sony as a good archiving method. However Sony has never marketed SACD as an archiving method.

The process of archiving in the DSD format of material originally recorded to DSD digital audio is by using a computer or a standalone DSD recorder to record the audio and then this material is archived either on a computer hard drive or on a digital tape. It is never “archived” on an SACD.

The workflow of creating an SACD from DSD is as follows:

“The following specifications describe the input media formats Sony DADC currently accepts for high density Super Audio CD Mastering. Sony DADC accepts AIT 1 tapes with image content formatted in Sony Format 1.0. Super Audio CD orders require a DSD Cutting Master generated from a Sony Sonoma system.”
http://www.sonydadc.com/opencms/opencms/sites/am/Products/Super_Audio_CD/Replication.html

“Cutting Master: These steps combine all input data into a single disc image, an SACD Cutting Master, fully in compliance with the Scarlet Book specifications. The disc image is archived onto an AIT-1 tape. The resulting tape can then be transferred to a SA-CD disc production plant for replication.”
http://superaudioproduction.com/guide.html

Sony has ONLY marketed SACD as a one way ticket, meaning the DSD data on the SACD cannot be extracted for ANY purpose.

Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back
To the place I was before
'Relax,' said the night man,
'We are programmed to receive.
You can check-out any time you like,
But you can never leave!'
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-vwPuiILBc

Phil Leigh
2010-04-20, 15:33
Once again you are missing the point by a country mile. DSD is DSD is DSD regardless of the physical storage medium.
I never said that Sony marketed SACD as an archive format - they wisely didn't, since physical media has a nasty habit of failing (brown/bronzed CD's anyone?).

"Sony has ONLY marketed SACD as a one way ticket, meaning the DSD data on the SACD cannot be extracted for ANY purpose."

Nonsense. The DSD data can be legitimately extracted from an SACD BY THE COPYRIGHT HOLDER(or authorised agent thereof) OF THE DATA FOR ANY PURPOSE.

C'mon. This is basic stuff. The rights of the intellectual and/or mechanical copyright holder ALWAYS take precedence over anything else.

mortslim
2010-04-20, 16:31
The DSD data can be legitimately extracted from an SACD BY THE COPYRIGHT HOLDER(or authorised agent thereof) OF THE DATA FOR ANY PURPOSE.

Sony has rights in the game too. And those rights are separate and independent of those of the holder of the copyright of the material on the SACD. Once an SACD is pressed, its content can ONLY be accessed in an SACD player with a Sony licensed SACD chipset. This chipset acts as an “access control” contemplated by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

The copyright holder of the material on the SACD continues to have access to its master recordings. So it is not that Sony is preventing the copyright holder from retaining access to and use of these masters for any other purpose. If the copyright holder of the material wants to send its masters to a retailer such as HDTracks, it is free to do so. But most labels aren’t going to do that because they probably don’t feel comfortable risking a loss of control of their masters.

Once the pressing is done to the physical medium of an SACD, that physical medium, the SACD itself, has limitations on use dictated by Sony. One of the main marketing points made by Sony to the labels for pressing to SACD is to give the labels digital rights management which they don’t have with a red book CD. If labels knew it was easy to “rip” an SACD, that copyright protection marketing “feature” of an SACD would fly out the window. And Sony would be damaged if that occurs. Sony would lose credibility, it would lose sales of SACD players and it would lose revenue from pressing SACDs.

So even though the copyright holder may in a particular case give permission to rip from an SACD, Sony has not given permission.

Sony has no way to know in advance if SACD players are being modified or out of spec to be used to copy material with or without permission of the copyright owner. Rather than have to worry whether any particular SACD player is being used for such purposes on a case by case basis, the DMCA, Section 1201, makes a simple, easily understood rule: no circumvention, period. It’s a clear bright red line that is much easier to enforce.

And the same is true for Playback Designs, the manufacturer of the SACD transport used by Puget Sound Studios. Playback Designs doesn’t know at the time of manufacture of their SACD transport who is going to purchase its transport, who is going to use its transport and what is it going to be used for, whether to rip copyrighted material with or without permission of the copyright holder. And because Playback Designs has no way to know this with absolute certainty in advance and has no control over this once its SACD transports leave its factory, Playback Designs is not supposed to make an SACD transport that can circumvent the access controls dictated by Sony’s license of the SACD chipset in the SACD transport.

mortslim
2010-04-21, 08:45
The point of the prior post can be illustrated by analogy to the reason O.J. Simpson is currently incarcerated. He claimed at his trial that he was attempting to retrieve his own property when he invaded a hotel room in Las Vegas and grabbed property by force and threat. However the court made clear that that was no defense to the crime of robbery. You can still be guilty of robbery even when you are taking your own property when it is in someone else’s possession and you break and enter their room and breach the peace.

Phil Leigh
2010-04-21, 11:22
The point of the prior post can be illustrated by analogy to the reason O.J. Simpson is currently incarcerated. He claimed at his trial that he was attempting to retrieve his own property when he invaded a hotel room in Las Vegas and grabbed property by force and threat. However the court made clear that that was no defense to the crime of robbery. You can still be guilty of robbery even when you are taking your own property when it is in someone else’s possession and you break and enter their room and breach the peace.

So, by the same token in the matter of the recordings on the SACD, no one, not the orchestras, nor HDTracks, nor its studio, nor Playback Designs has a right to bypass the Sony encryption controls on the SACD chipset in order to retrieve these recordings.

That analogy is just soooooo wrong.

The intellectual copyright holder has a priori rights and cannot be denied complete freedom of access to their own copyright material, regardless of the mechanical storage medium it may happen to reside on at a point in time... unless they have EXPLICITLY waived their inalienable legal right to do so via a legally-binding contract.

The medium can never enforce supremacy over the message.
Anyway, this is way off-topic.

R Johnson
2010-04-21, 11:39
I have now have a Touch,
the CSO Resound recording of the Bruckner 7th Symphony (conducted by Haitink)
as a 16/44.1 CD and
as a 24/88.2 download from HDtracks.

I guess it's time to learn what difference(s) I can discern.

firedog
2010-04-22, 01:04
I have now have a Touch,
the CSO Resound recording of the Bruckner 7th Symphony (conducted by Haitink)
as a 16/44.1 CD and
as a 24/88.2 download from HDtracks.

I guess it's time to learn what difference(s) I can discern.

My understanding is that the Touch doesn't have a native setup for 24/88 files, so it will have to resample the file in SBS/sox (or have it done by SBS/sox on an external server) in order to play it.

If I'm wrong about this, Phil or someone else chime in. If I'm right, to make a true comparison, you'd have to stick to 16/44.1 or 24/96 files.

MrRalph
2010-04-22, 01:13
My understanding is that the Touch doesn't have a native setup for 24/88 files, so it will have to resample the file in SBS/sox (or have it done by SBS/sox on an external server) in order to play it.

If I'm wrong about this, Phil or someone else chime in. If I'm right, to make a true comparison, you'd have to stick to 16/44.1 or 24/96 files.

Not true. 24/88 is native.

Quad
2010-04-22, 01:14
My understanding is that the Touch doesn't have a native setup for 24/88 files, so it will have to resample the file in SBS/sox (or have it done by SBS/sox on an external server) in order to play it.

If I'm wrong about this, Phil or someone else chime in. If I'm right, to make a true comparison, you'd have to stick to 16/44.1 or 24/96 files.

http://forums.slimdevices.com/showpost.php?p=456838&postcount=3

Phil Leigh
2010-04-22, 10:07
My understanding is that the Touch doesn't have a native setup for 24/88 files, so it will have to resample the file in SBS/sox (or have it done by SBS/sox on an external server) in order to play it.

If I'm wrong about this, Phil or someone else chime in. If I'm right, to make a true comparison, you'd have to stick to 16/44.1 or 24/96 files.

Firedog, Touch plays 24/88.2 native. The only formats it needs to have downsampled via sox are 24/192 and 24/176.
Cheers
Phil

Phil Leigh
2010-04-22, 10:25
This will be my final post in this thread (global sighs of relief)...

1) The EULA agreement for an SACD dramatically restricts the rights of the "end-user" - which is specifcally the purchaser/"owner" - or more accurarately the licensee - of the disc.

2) the EULA has no relevance to the copyright HOLDER of the content of the SACD, they are by definition not an "end-user" or licensee. Their rights supersede the EULA.

3) Making a DSD stream available outside of the box of an SACD player in the manner discussed earlier in this thread does not violate DMCA. NO encryption or copy protection is being circumvented. The encrypted data sits on the disc itself. The Sony-licensed chipset is always being used to decrypt it.

Once decrypted by legitimate means, the DSD stream is freely available whether Sony like it or not. Simply attaching a couple of wires to a chip can give you access to the legally DECRYPTED DSD stream. DMCA cannot prevent this (and doesn't seek to). Nor can Sony (although they don't like it, they can't actually prevent it). I've studied the documentation for my (Sony!!) SACD player (which I don't use by the way) very carefully and can find no mention of any legal restriction that prevents me from taking the legally decrypted DSD stream and doing anything with it that I want to (except of course I am completely constrained by the EULA that applies to the discs and their content...). However, the copyright holder of the content is not bound by the EULA.


All of which goes to explain why there have been no legal actions surrounding this particular issue(AFAIK) and why there won't be in the future.

If there were, the copyright holder would win.

The supreme irony here of course is that in some cases Sony itself is the copyright holder... :-)

Ciao!

sckramer
2010-04-22, 10:42
I heard you can attach a capacitor (low pass filter) to the actual DSD stream & send it to your preamp -- & you get the music, no conversion, no nothing, it's that close to analog

(or something like that)

mortslim
2010-04-22, 19:59
I heard you can attach a capacitor (low pass filter) to the actual DSD stream & send it to your preamp -- & you get the music, no conversion, no nothing, it's that close to analog

(or something like that)


"A violation of the DMCA’s anti-trafficking provision may extend to publication or dissemination of information about how to circumvent an access control measure." See footnote 4 on the following webpage:
http://itlaw.wikia.com/wiki/DMCA_Exemptions_to_the_Prohibition_on_Circumventio n

sckramer
2010-04-23, 00:23
I meant really dsd seems like an interesting format, how simple it is, and avoids all the problems of PCM etc.

mortslim
2010-04-23, 10:57
I don't care about all that onerous bs copy protection

“Just when you thought it was safe to get out your soldering irons, Immigration and Customs Enforcement wants you to know that its agents are still out there, on the lookout for even more mod chip-wielding nogoodniks and their non-DMCA compliant consoles. According to the AP, a 27-year-old CSU student named Matthew Crippen was recently arrested for "modifying Xbox, PlayStation and Wii consoles in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act" and released Monday on $5,000 bond. The dime was dropped on this perp by the Entertainment Software Association, and the raid conducted by Customs agents sometime in May. He will be arraigned on August 10th, and if convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison.”
http://www.engadget.com/2009/08/04/console-hacker-arrested-faces-up-to-ten-years-in-jail/

sckramer
2010-04-23, 12:21
DSD seems like an interesting format, so close to analog--

if i did copy it the way i said, why not use the analog outs of the device ?!?

again, it's interesting that you can hook a capacitor to the *digital* DSD stream and hear the music (and not garbage if you tried that on a PCM stream)

maybe we need a new topic re: dsd

pfarrell
2010-04-23, 12:32
sckramer wrote:
> im not interested in pirating anything... whay are you telling me
> this?

Because of the DMCA, you can not even discuss ways to get around the
CopyProtection that Sony designed into SACD. If we discuss it, we go to
jail.

Its a dumb law, but its been the law of the US for a decade.


--
Pat Farrell
http://www.pfarrell.com/

sckramer
2010-04-23, 12:52
ok, edited out my sacd comments

it's safe to talk about DSD though! it's it's own thing!

mortslim
2010-04-26, 11:20
I have now have a Touch,
the CSO Resound recording of the Bruckner 7th Symphony (conducted by Haitink)
as a 16/44.1 CD and
as a 24/88.2 download from HDtracks.

I guess it's time to learn what difference(s) I can discern.

Still waiting for an update on this post. The issue presented in this quoted post really gets to the crux and heart of one of the sub-issues of this entire thread: can a real world person in a real world environment with a squeezebox easily discern the difference in quality of audio that is alleged to be encoded at better than CD quality of 16/44.1?

R Johnson
2010-04-26, 12:39
Still waiting for an update on this post. The issue presented in this quoted post really gets to the crux and heart of one of the sub-issues of this entire thread: can a real world person in a real world environment with a squeezebox easily discern the difference in quality of audio that is alleged to be encoded at better than CD quality of 15/44.1?
This is indeed the heart of the matter. But it's not easy to conduct a reliable test, especially single-handedly.

In addition to the CD and the 24/88.2 download, I've also made three sets of digital files from the CD: WAV w/o compression, 320Kbps MP3 and 160Kbps MP3.

My system is "real world", NOT audiophile: a Sony AVR and PSB Image 2B loudspeakers. (In my audiophile days I owned Quad ESL-57s.)

I've only done a limited amount of comparisons, but I think I can reliably say that I CANNOT "easily discern the difference in quality of audio" between the 24/88.2 download and the CD quality WAV file.

More later, especially after I've brought the Touch out to a friend's house for listening with a high-end system.

R Johnson
2010-04-30, 08:22
Haven't done more listening yet, but...

I noticed that the liner notes provided with the 24/88.2 HDtracks download of the CSO/Haitink Bruckner #7 showed two catalog numbers. CSOR 901 704 and CSOR 901 706. Its scan of the jewel case insert shows CSOR 901 704. I stopped by the CSO's (reduced size) Store last night to see if this was the CD or the SACD. It was the CD.

As HDtracks also offers the 16/44.1 standard CD download, I suppose they simply used one scan for both versions. Since the liner notes PDF file name ends in "9017046" this seems likely. Still it would have been nice to see the SACD's catalog number on the scan of the insert.

mortslim
2010-04-30, 12:40
This is just another example of the lack of accurate information from HDTracks.
They ask for more money for their so called high resolution downloads compared to just getting a CD. And yet they don’t have accurate information.

HDTracks has mislabeled the download here.

Or maybe they do have accurate labels in that maybe what was downloaded was only a copy of a CD, not a higher quality SACD ?

Previously it was pointed out that HDTracks has represented to this thread inconsistent information about exactly how it creates its digital downloads.

And HDTracks’ website also is vague as to what is the facts about creating the download of its “24/88.2” files because investigation has shown that at least in some cases these downloads are not recorded at that spec, but instead they are converted to that spec later, resulting in a possible misunderstanding of what is being purchased and also resulting in lesser fidelity.

Why doesn’t HDTracks seem to have any interest in presenting accurate information about what it is selling?

These issues are important to this thread because what is the point of a desire for a higher spec Squeezebox if the consumer has no confidence in what he is buying to play on his Squeezebox?

mortslim
2010-04-30, 12:43
I can reliably say that I CANNOT "easily discern the difference in quality of audio" between the 24/88.2 download and the CD quality WAV file.

If HDTracks is asking more money for its 24/88.2 downloads compared to just buying a CD of the same music, and yet they don't have obviously better quality, then what is the point in purchasing these downloads from them?

R Johnson
2010-04-30, 13:32
Please note: I did not expect to hear radical differences, especially on my modest system. And I didn't. Further listening is needed. I also plan to listen on a friend's high-end system. That will be an even more interesting comparison.

I'm trying to maintain an open mind. While some skepticism is warranted, I think the 24/88.2 download is truly higher resolution than the CD at 16/44.1.

I wish HDtracks provided clear and accurate technical information about the process for the 24/88.2 versions. I wish the CSO Resound production team directly produced the tracks and artwork / liner notes. The idea of scanning & ripping the physical CD and SACD products seems rather tacky.

HDtracks download prices: 16/44.1: $11.98, 24/88.2: $17.98
CSO Store prices: CD: $19.99, SACD $23.99 (if in stock)

firedog
2010-05-01, 01:22
Just as SACD's don't always sound better than CD's, you never can be sure that a hi-res file will sound better than a CD - even if it is true hi-res. It depends on lots of factors.

I haven't listened to a lot of hi-res files, but I have heard noticeable (not spectacular) improvements from 16/44 versions of same music with the ones I have. I'd say it's worth it if you have a very good setup; probably not if you don't.

mortslim
2010-05-11, 12:28
The New York Times just published an article on many of the issues mentioned in this thread:

"In Mobile Age, Sound Quality Steps Back"
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/10/business/media/10audio.html

An interesting point made in the article is that audio engineers are now not even creating good quality recordings anymore:

"So audio engineers, acting as foot soldiers in a so-called volume war, are often enlisted to increase the overall volume of a recording.

Randy Merrill, an engineer at Masterdisk, a New York City company that creates master recordings, said that to achieve an overall louder sound, engineers raise the softer volumes toward peak levels. On a quality stereo system, Mr. Merrill said, the reduced volume range can leave a track sounding distorted. “Modern recording has gone overboard on the volume,” he said."

So even if you buy a socalled hi def recording, the engineering process many times has messed up the mastering to such an extent that it is not even worth listening to on a high quality playback system.

See also the reader's comments to the article that sheds more light on the subject.
http://community.nytimes.com/comments/www.nytimes.com/2010/05/10/business/media/10audio.html?sort=oldest

mortslim
2010-05-11, 12:28
--===============0257773319515352747==


The New York Times just published an article on many of the issues
mentioned in this thread:

"In Mobile Age, Sound Quality Steps Back"
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/10/business/media/10audio.html

An interesting point made in the article is that audio engineers are
now not even creating good quality recordings anymore:

"So audio engineers, acting as foot soldiers in a so-called volume war,
are often enlisted to increase the overall volume of a recording.

Randy Merrill, an engineer at Masterdisk, a New York City company that
creates master recordings, said that to achieve an overall louder
sound, engineers raise the softer volumes toward peak levels. On a
quality stereo system, Mr. Merrill said, the reduced volume range can
leave a track sounding distorted. “Modern recording has gone overboard
on the volume,” he said."

So even if you buy a socalled hi def recording, the engineering process
many times has messed up the mastering to such an extent that it is not
even worth listening to on a high quality playback system.

See also the reader's comments to the article that sheds more light on
the subject.
http://community.nytimes.com/comments/www.nytimes.com/2010/05/10/business/media/10audio.html?sort=oldest


--
mortslim
------------------------------------------------------------------------
mortslim's Profile: http://forums.slimdevices.com/member.php?userid=11039
View this thread: http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=74688


--===============0257773319515352747==
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
Content-Disposition: inline

Phil Leigh
2010-05-11, 14:05
The New York Times just published an article on many of the issues mentioned in this thread:

"In Mobile Age, Sound Quality Steps Back"
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/10/business/media/10audio.html

An interesting point made in the article is that audio engineers are now not even creating good quality recordings anymore:

"So audio engineers, acting as foot soldiers in a so-called volume war, are often enlisted to increase the overall volume of a recording.

Randy Merrill, an engineer at Masterdisk, a New York City company that creates master recordings, said that to achieve an overall louder sound, engineers raise the softer volumes toward peak levels. On a quality stereo system, Mr. Merrill said, the reduced volume range can leave a track sounding distorted. “Modern recording has gone overboard on the volume,” he said."

So even if you buy a socalled hi def recording, the engineering process many times has messed up the mastering to such an extent that it is not even worth listening to on a high quality playback system.

See also the reader's comments to the article that sheds more light on the subject.
http://community.nytimes.com/comments/www.nytimes.com/2010/05/10/business/media/10audio.html?sort=oldest

As usual, over-generalised nonsense.
I have many, many DVD-A recordings, of which only 1 (Fragile by Yes, annoyingly) suffers from the over-compressed dynamic range of "loudness wars".

Phil Leigh
2010-05-11, 14:05
--===============3821117067330459469==


mortslim;545523 Wrote:
> The New York Times just published an article on many of the issues
> mentioned in this thread:
>
> "In Mobile Age, Sound Quality Steps Back"
> http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/10/business/media/10audio.html
>
> An interesting point made in the article is that audio engineers are
> now not even creating good quality recordings anymore:
>
> "So audio engineers, acting as foot soldiers in a so-called volume war,
> are often enlisted to increase the overall volume of a recording.
>
> Randy Merrill, an engineer at Masterdisk, a New York City company that
> creates master recordings, said that to achieve an overall louder
> sound, engineers raise the softer volumes toward peak levels. On a
> quality stereo system, Mr. Merrill said, the reduced volume range can
> leave a track sounding distorted. “Modern recording has gone overboard
> on the volume,” he said."
>
> So even if you buy a socalled hi def recording, the engineering process
> many times has messed up the mastering to such an extent that it is not
> even worth listening to on a high quality playback system.
>
> See also the reader's comments to the article that sheds more light on
> the subject.
> http://community.nytimes.com/comments/www.nytimes.com/2010/05/10/business/media/10audio.html?sort=oldest

As usual, over-generalised nonsense.
I have many, many DVD-A recordings, of which only 1 (Fragile by Yes,
annoyingly) suffers from the over-compressed dynamic range of "loudness
wars".


--
Phil Leigh

You want to see the signal path BEFORE it gets onto a CD/vinyl...it
ain't what you'd call minimal...
Touch(wired/XP) - TACT 2.2X (Linear PSU) + Good Vibrations S/W - MF
Triplethreat(Audiocom full mods) - Linn 5103 - Aktiv 5.1 system (6x
LK140's, ESPEK/TRIKAN/KATAN/SEIZMIK 10.5), Townsend Supertweeters, Blue
Jeans Digital,Kimber Speaker & Chord Interconnect cables
Kitchen Boom, Outdoors: SB Radio
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Phil Leigh's Profile: http://forums.slimdevices.com/member.php?userid=85
View this thread: http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=74688


--===============3821117067330459469==
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MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
Content-Disposition: inline

firedog
2010-05-12, 03:38
The New York Times just published an article on many of the issues mentioned in this thread:

"In Mobile Age, Sound Quality Steps Back"
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/10/business/media/10audio.html

An interesting point made in the article is that audio engineers are now not even creating good quality recordings anymore:

"So audio engineers, acting as foot soldiers in a so-called volume war, are often enlisted to increase the overall volume of a recording. '


So even if you buy a socalled hi def recording, the engineering process many times has messed up the mastering to such an extent that it is not even worth listening to on a high quality playback system.

See also the reader's comments to the article that sheds more light on the subject.
http://community.nytimes.com/comments/www.nytimes.com/2010/05/10/business/media/10audio.html?sort=oldest

Mortslim, taking quotes out of context changes their meaning. What was actually written was:" Pop artists and their labels, meanwhile, shudder at the prospect of having their song seem quieter than the previous song on a fan’s playlist.

So audio engineers, acting as foot soldiers in a so-called volume war, are often enlisted to increase the overall volume of a recording."

If you read the article carefully and in context, it is clear that the article is referring to and generalizing about popular music, and not jazz and classical.

So the conclusion:

"So even if you buy a socalled hi def recording, the engineering process many times has messed up the mastering to such an extent that it is not even worth listening to on a high quality playback system."

Isn't backed up by the article. I think that conclusion is more of a product of your mission to try and convince us all that hi-res files are pointless, in spite of many examples we can hear that prove otherwise.

In addition, much of the article deals with lossy compression (and I'm not sure the author clearly understood the difference between "volume compression" and "lossy compression" in files). Interesting article as far as it goes, but it certainly doesn't shed any new light on the topic of hi-res files.

DotSystem
2010-05-12, 10:45
If memory serves, Santana's Supernatural DVD-A is very compressed.

Phil Leigh
2010-05-12, 11:01
If memory serves, Santana's Supernatural DVD-A is very compressed.

Is it? - I have it, but I'm not sure I've listened to it...

Phil Leigh
2010-05-12, 11:04
Yes you're right - it is (mind you the CD is too!)

RGibran
2010-05-12, 17:17
Just as SACD and DVD-A have all but been abandoned, so too will Hi-Res in whatever formats if the peddlers of such don’t step up and do the right thing and fully disclose the pertinent details of their products offerings.

This trust your ears thing will backfire on them if they keep up their current marketing model. Even audiophools will eventually stop putting their hands in the fire if they keep getting burned.

The new 24/96 Diana Krall “Quiet Nights” offering from HD Tracks is a night and day difference from the CD but NOT in a good way, IMHO!

firedog
2010-05-13, 01:00
Just as SACD and DVD-A have all but been abandoned, so too will Hi-Res in whatever formats if the peddlers of such don’t step up and do the right thing and fully disclose the pertinent details of their products offerings.

This trust your ears thing will backfire on them if they keep up their current marketing model. Even audiophools will eventually stop putting their hands in the fire if they keep getting burned.

The new 24/96 Diana Krall “Quiet Nights” offering from HD Tracks is a night and day difference from the CD but NOT in a good way, IMHO!

Hi-res is no different than any other format. It can be well done and sound good, giving value over 16/44; or it can be badly executed and be a rip off.

However, I do agree that if the "rip-off" tracks are too prevalent, the format will die.

mortslim
2010-05-16, 16:51
Hi-res is no different than any other format...if the "rip-off" tracks are too prevalent, the format will die.

One way to prevent rip-offs is to question any retailer who is not transparent about the nature of the download - the specs of the source material and the conversion process. Unless that is known and understood by the buyer, then the buyer may be purchasing something different from what is expected.

mortslim
2010-05-21, 13:13
This thread is about the desire of the original poster to have the Touch play back 24 bit / 192 sample rate music.

The comments that have followed have discussed the issues implicit in the original post:

1. Is the Touch capable of playing 24/192 or any other “high resolution” audio?

2. If the Touch is capable of “high resolution” audio, can the human ear even discern it?

3. Even if the Touch is capable of playing “high resolution” audio, and further, even if the human ear can discern this level of “fidelity”, is there music available at this spec?

4. If music is available at this spec, and indeed at any spec higher than that of a traditional red book CD (16 bit / 44.1 kHz), is the consumer and squeezebox owner who purchases music at any purportedly higher spec receiving what he thinks he is paying for?

It is this last issue which has most fascinated me. The reason it has is because of my background in recording music and my impression that a lot of other consumers and squeezebox owners without this background may have a misunderstanding about this issue #4. My purely altruistic motive is to help others understand issue # 4 so that they hopefully spend their hard earned money wisely.

And parallel with this motive is my desire to see online retailers who claim to sell this type of music make a full disclosure of exactly what they are selling to prevent misunderstandings.

The real world illustration of issue #4 has focused on certain offerings of online retailer HDTracks which are represented to be “24 bit / 88.2 kHz”. The uninitiated most likely will assume that this music has been originally recorded at 24/88.2 (which is a “PCM” digital format).

However through investigation it turns out that indeed at least in the case of the San Francisco and Chicago orchestras, the music was not originally recorded at 24/88.2. I state “at least” because those are the only two record labels that I have investigated so far and indeed may be only the tip of the iceberg.

Puget Sound Studios has represented that “we do all the SACD/DSD/DVD-A transfers for HDtracks and other sites.” This implies to me that there are many other labels that also are offering downloads that originated at some different spec and some different format than 24/88.2.

What is the significance of the original recording being at a different spec and different format than 24/88.2? There would then have to be some conversion to 24/88.2 and that conversion process might result in “loss”, thus there is the risk that the fidelity is not as good as music that was originally recorded at 24/88.2. Just because the spec of the downloaded music may say “24/88.2” and indeed even if it’s inspected file properties confirm this spec, that doesn’t mean the music actually has the fidelity of music originally recorded at 24/88.2 (this is an important point that those without a background in recording may not understand). No one is saying that the resulting download is “bad”, just that it may not have the full fidelity of originally recorded 24/88.2. This goes to the issue of full disclosure so that each consumer can understand what they are buying.


We now know that at least with the San Francisco and Chicago orchestras, the music was recorded not to the PCM format, but to a different format known as DSD. Then this DSD digital file was pressed onto an SACD. And then Puget Sound Studios on behalf of HDTracks converted the music on the SACD to the downloadable files at issue in this illustration. So not only has there not been in this instance an original recording at 24/88.2, but the second misunderstanding of the consumer might be to assume that there has been a perfect bit for bit “rip” of the SACD to derive the downloadable file offered by HDTracks. But that is not the case either. Since an SACD is a medium for content recorded in the DSD format, not the downloadable PCM format, a perfect “rip” is not possible. The bits are different on the SACD when compared to the bits in the downloadable file. There has been a conversion, not a copy. And this conversion may result in some loss of fidelity. Again, we come back to the bottom line issue of full disclosure. None of this information is mentioned by HDTracks.


And this information has raised a new issue. HOW does Puget Sound Studios do the conversion? SACD is supposed to be in an encrypted format that can only be unencrypted by an SACD player or transport that has an SACD chipset that decodes the encryption. Per the Sony license (who owns the intellectual property rights in SACD), the DSD digital data on the SACD is not supposed to be available from a digital out of the player or transport in an unencrypted form. The only digital audio that can be output is from the red book CD layer of a hybrid disk that outputs at no better than PCM 24/44.1. Why? Generally to protect copyright holders of the music on the SACD from illegal copies being made, but also to protect Sony’s rights in the SACD technology. If copies of the DSD data could be obtained from an SACD and then playable on a computer or server, less SACD players and transports would be sold and less pressings of SACDs would occur at Sony’s SACD pressing plant, resulting in a loss of revenue to Sony.


In spite of the restrictive SACD license, Puget Sound Studios is now representing that it indeed is obtaining unencrypted DSD data from the SACD through the digital outs of a Playback Designs SACD transport. A review of the published specs of this machine does not indicate this can be done. However the owner of Puget Sound Studios has represented that this is a feature that is not published but does exist on the machine.


If that is the case, the following issues arise:
Does Playback Designs have permission from Sony to build a feature into its machine for an unencrypted DSD audio stream to be outputted from its SACD transport? This “feature” is not published (to presumably keep it low profile) and no other company currently manufactures an SACD player or transport with this same “feature” (except for maybe EMM Labs, a company that previously employed an employee who now is a co-owner of Playback Designs). On the other hand, Oppo, a boutique “audiophile” manufacturer, explicitly makes clear that this is not allowed by the Sony license of the SACD technology.


If Playback Designs is manufacturing an SACD player or transport not in compliance with Sony’s SACD license, has Playback Designs breached its license agreement with Sony? Has Playback Designs violated any of Sony’s patent rights or other intellectual property rights of Sony if it has made a player or transport that may circumvent a restriction of the Sony SACD license? Has Playback Designs run afoul of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Section 1201, if it has built a circumvention of an access control into its machine? All we can do is ask the questions. It is up to Playback Designs and Sony to give us definitive answers.


From the point of view of the consumer and squeezebox owner, all of these issues are a concern because they go to the issue of what is being purchased when the intent is to purchase “high definition” audio for playback on a squeezebox. Are these consumers getting what they think they are getting?

When a squeezebox owner purchases downloadable music from HDTracks that is represented to be “24/88.2”, does this consumer know and understand what he is purchasing?

Do you think HDTracks has made a full disclosure of what it is selling?

If Playback Designs is violating its license with Sony, or if it is violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Section 1201, is it OK for Puget Sound Studios to use a Playback Designs machine to prepare downloads for sale by HDTracks?

If Playback Designs is violating its license with Sony, or if it is violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Section 1201, is it OK for HDTracks to sell music derived from a Playback Designs machine?

If Playback Designs is violating its license with Sony, or if it is violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Section 1201, is it OK for a consumer to purchase music derived from a Playback Designs machine?

Phil Leigh
2010-05-21, 15:08
This thread is about the desire of the original poster to have the Touch play back 24 bit / 192 sample rate music.

The comments that have followed have discussed the issues implicit in the original post:

1. Is the Touch capable of playing 24/192 or any other “high resolution” audio?

2. If the Touch is capable of “high resolution” audio, can the human ear even discern it?

3. Even if the Touch is capable of playing “high resolution” audio, and further, even if the human ear can discern this level of “fidelity”, is there music available at this spec?

4. If music is available at this spec, and indeed at any spec higher than that of a traditional red book CD (16 bit / 44.1 kHz), is the consumer and squeezebox owner who purchases music at any purportedly higher spec receiving what he thinks he is paying for?

It is this last issue which has most fascinated me. The reason it has is because of my background in recording music and my impression that a lot of other consumers and squeezebox owners without this background may have a misunderstanding about this issue #4. My purely altruistic motive is to help others understand issue # 4 so that they hopefully spend their hard earned money wisely.

And parallel with this motive is my desire to see online retailers who claim to sell this type of music make a full disclosure of exactly what they are selling to prevent misunderstandings.

The real world illustration of issue #4 has focused on certain offerings of online retailer HDTracks which are represented to be “24 bit / 88.2 kHz”. The uninitiated most likely will assume that this music has been originally recorded at 24/88.2 (which is a “PCM” digital format).

However through investigation it turns out that indeed at least in the case of the San Francisco and Chicago orchestras, the music was not originally recorded at 24/88.2. I state “at least” because those are the only two record labels that I have investigated so far and indeed may be only the tip of the iceberg.

Puget Sound Studios has represented that “we do all the SACD/DSD/DVD-A transfers for HDtracks and other sites.” This implies to me that there are many other labels that also are offering downloads that originated at some different spec and some different format than 24/88.2.

What is the significance of the original recording being at a different spec and different format than 24/88.2? There would then have to be some conversion to 24/88.2 and that conversion process might result in “loss”, thus there is the risk that the fidelity is not as good as music that was originally recorded at 24/88.2. Just because the spec of the downloaded music may say “24/88.2” and indeed even if it’s inspected file properties confirm this spec, that doesn’t mean the music actually has the fidelity of music originally recorded at 24/88.2 (this is an important point that those without a background in recording may not understand). No one is saying that the resulting download is “bad”, just that it may not have the full fidelity of originally recorded 24/88.2. This goes to the issue of full disclosure so that each consumer can understand what they are buying.


We now know that at least with the San Francisco and Chicago orchestras, the music was recorded not to the PCM format, but to a different format known as DSD. Then this DSD digital file was pressed onto an SACD. And then Puget Sound Studios on behalf of HDTracks converted the music on the SACD to the downloadable files at issue in this illustration. So not only has there not been in this instance an original recording at 24/88.2, but the second misunderstanding of the consumer might be to assume that there has been a perfect bit for bit “rip” of the SACD to derive the downloadable file offered by HDTracks. But that is not the case either. Since an SACD is a medium for content recorded in the DSD format, not the downloadable PCM format, a perfect “rip” is not possible. The bits are different on the SACD when compared to the bits in the downloadable file. There has been a conversion, not a copy. And this conversion may result in some loss of fidelity. Again, we come back to the bottom line issue of full disclosure. None of this information is mentioned by HDTracks.


And this information has raised a new issue. HOW does Puget Sound Studios do the conversion? SACD is supposed to be in an encrypted format that can only be unencrypted by an SACD player or transport that has an SACD chipset that decodes the encryption. Per the Sony license (who owns the intellectual property rights in SACD), the DSD digital data on the SACD is not supposed to be available from a digital out of the player or transport in an unencrypted form. The only digital audio that can be output is from the red book CD layer of a hybrid disk that outputs at no better than PCM 24/44.1. Why? Generally to protect copyright holders of the music on the SACD from illegal copies being made, but also to protect Sony’s rights in the SACD technology. If copies of the DSD data could be obtained from an SACD and then playable on a computer or server, less SACD players and transports would be sold and less pressings of SACDs would occur at Sony’s SACD pressing plant, resulting in a loss of revenue to Sony.


In spite of the restrictive SACD license, Puget Sound Studios is now representing that it indeed is obtaining unencrypted DSD data from the SACD through the digital outs of a Playback Designs SACD transport. A review of the published specs of this machine does not indicate this can be done. However the owner of Puget Sound Studios has represented that this is a feature that is not published but does exist on the machine.


If that is the case, the following issues arise:
Does Playback Designs have permission from Sony to build a feature into its machine for an unencrypted DSD audio stream to be outputted from its SACD transport? This “feature” is not published (to presumably keep it low profile) and no other company currently manufactures an SACD player or transport with this same “feature” (except for maybe EMM Labs, a company that previously employed an employee who now is a co-owner of Playback Designs). On the other hand, Oppo, a boutique “audiophile” manufacturer, explicitly makes clear that this is not allowed by the Sony license of the SACD technology.


If Playback Designs is manufacturing an SACD player or transport not in compliance with Sony’s SACD license, has Playback Designs breached its license agreement with Sony? Has Playback Designs violated any of Sony’s patent rights or other intellectual property rights of Sony if it has made a player or transport that may circumvent a restriction of the Sony SACD license? Has Playback Designs run afoul of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Section 1201, if it has built a circumvention of an access control into its machine? All we can do is ask the questions. It is up to Playback Designs and Sony to give us definitive answers.


From the point of view of the consumer and squeezebox owner, all of these issues are a concern because they go to the issue of what is being purchased when the intent is to purchase “high definition” audio for playback on a squeezebox. Are these consumers getting what they think they are getting?

When a squeezebox owner purchases downloadable music from HDTracks that is represented to be “24/88.2”, does this consumer know and understand what he is purchasing?

Do you think HDTracks has made a full disclosure of what it is selling?

If Playback Designs is violating its license with Sony, or if it is violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Section 1201, is it OK for Puget Sound Studios to use a Playback Designs machine to prepare downloads for sale by HDTracks?

If Playback Designs is violating its license with Sony, or if it is violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Section 1201, is it OK for HDTracks to sell music derived from a Playback Designs machine?

If Playback Designs is violating its license with Sony, or if it is violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Section 1201, is it OK for a consumer to purchase music derived from a Playback Designs machine?

Who gives a damn?
The ONLY issue should be what does the music sound like. If it sounds great, none of your points have any validity. If it sounds like crap - that's different.
This crusade of yours is frankly embarassing. You still fail to grasp that the Sony chipset is STILL being used and so no licence agreement is violated and no encryption is being circumvented.

mortslim
2010-05-21, 15:41
If it sounds great

That question does not define the issue. The issue is whether the purchased music has significantly greater fidelity than the same music on a regular CD?

The anecdotal feedback to date is that it is questionable as to whether the music of the download is of significantlyi greater fidelity. That being the case, why should a squeezebox owner pay out his hard earned cash at a very significantly higher price if he is not getting something significantly better?

And call me old fashioned, but I believe that a buyer should have a right to know exactly what he is buying before he buys it. And a retailer should be clear as to what exaactly it is selling to avoid potential confusion.

And finally, I respect intellectual property rights. I take the macro view on this. If consumers of music don't respect the intellectual property rights of the producers of the music, then this will discourage if not outright terminate the incentive for producers of music to produce any more music. And then you have killed the goose that lays the eggs.


no encryption is being circumvented

Puget Sound Studios is now representing that it indeed is obtaining unencrypted DSD data from the SACD through the digital outs of a Playback Designs SACD transport.


the Sony chipset is STILL being used and so no licence agreement is violated

That is a non sequitur. The conclusion does not follow from the premise. It's like saying that it is OK to speed on the highway just because a lot of other people are doing it.

The dime has already been dropped.
http://www.dropadime.net/

firedog
2010-05-22, 07:26
If that is the case, the following issues arise:
1. Does Playback Designs have permission from Sony to build a feature into its machine for an unencrypted DSD audio stream to be outputted from its SACD transport? This “feature” is not published (to presumably keep it low profile) and no other company currently manufactures an SACD player or transport with this same “feature” (except for maybe EMM Labs, a company that previously employed an employee who now is a co-owner of Playback Designs). On the other hand, Oppo, a boutique “audiophile” manufacturer, explicitly makes clear that this is not allowed by the Sony license of the SACD technology.


2. If Playback Designs is manufacturing an SACD player or transport not in compliance with Sony’s SACD license, has Playback Designs breached its license agreement with Sony? Has Playback Designs violated any of Sony’s patent rights or other intellectual property rights of Sony if it has made a player or transport that may circumvent a restriction of the Sony SACD license? Has Playback Designs run afoul of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Section 1201, if it has built a circumvention of an access control into its machine? All we can do is ask the questions. It is up to Playback Designs and Sony to give us definitive answers.


3.From the point of view of the consumer and squeezebox owner, all of these issues are a concern because they go to the issue of what is being purchased when the intent is to purchase “high definition” audio for playback on a squeezebox. Are these consumers getting what they think they are getting?

4. When a squeezebox owner purchases downloadable music from HDTracks that is represented to be “24/88.2”, does this consumer know and understand what he is purchasing?

5. Do you think HDTracks has made a full disclosure of what it is selling?

6. If Playback Designs is violating its license with Sony, or if it is violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Section 1201, is it OK for Puget Sound Studios to use a Playback Designs machine to prepare downloads for sale by HDTracks?

7. If Playback Designs is violating its license with Sony, or if it is violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Section 1201, is it OK for HDTracks to sell music derived from a Playback Designs machine?

8.If Playback Designs is violating its license with Sony, or if it is violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Section 1201, is it OK for a consumer to purchase music derived from a Playback Designs machine?

1. and 2.) Don't know if what you claim is true, and don't care. If you are correct (a big if), then I'm sure Sony would sue. Since they aren't, I conclude that either you don't know what you are talking about, or Sony doesn't care. Certainly if Sony doesn't care, neither do I.

You certainly haven't been convincing that what you say the DMCA means is correct and applies here. Furthermore, just last week you selectively quoted a newspaper article to make it seem it was backing up your position, when it wasn't.
Conclusion: a)either you don't know how to read and interpret written material, in which case many of your claims have no credibility; or,(b)you intentionally distorted the article as a result of your obsession with this topic. If b is true, that also puts your credibility in doubt.

3)No, not at all. I don't care what the process is as long as it results in a hi-res file, and that the result isn't purely the result of upsampling. Puget Sound studio and HDTracks have both categorically denied your claims, and in writing. That's good enough for me, until I get PROOF they are lying. So far you have presented only your opinions and interpretations. Not good enough for me, because I don't see you as a credible source on either the legal or technical aspects of the so-called "issues".

4 and 5) They could give a more explicit explanation of what they do, it would be nice. But they gave me a satisfactory answer when I contacted them, one I have no reason to doubt at this point. Does the "consumer truly understand" - probably not, just like with most of what he/she buys. I don't think most consumers are even interested in the technical details - they just want it to sound good. Again, as long as HDTracks is providing material from sources as they claim, it's fine.

6, 7, and 8) Don't care. It's not my problem. The DMCA is basically a crap law put into effect to protect certain corporations, and take away rights from other corporations and consumers. A classic example of lobbyists getting lawmakers to write unbalanced laws that favor their specific industry over other industries and consumers. It has little to do with protecting the producers of music, and a lot to do with protecting specific media companies against other media companies who are better at using and marketing 21st century technology.

In this specific case, I don't know if anything illegal is going on. But I'm certainly not buying the tracks illegally, I'm buying them from a well known online merchant (it isn't a fake "free" p2p download with no royalties being paid). On the chance that it's illegal for the tracks to be PRODUCED (not bought by a consumer), I'll look at buying the tracks as a form of non-violent civil disobedience. If the companies involved want to press charges against me, then I'll have to pay the consequences. They are welcome to do so. Guess what? They'll never act in a situation like this against an end of the chain consumer - because they would have no case. Again, what you don't seem to understand: just because it is illegal to produce something, that doesn't make it illegal to buy it.

I'm very happy to let a gigantic international conglomerate like Sony fight its own battles. They have hundreds of lawyers. Don't feel like I have to help them.

If the DMCA is being violated here (and I don't know that it is), I'm very happy to buy the result. I can enjoy the tracks while the companies involved can deal with the issues/sue each other as they please. If the tracks are illegal, they'll get taken off the market and then I won't have further access.

End of story.