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Sinkdrain
2011-07-13, 11:29
I was looking at a website hdtracks and saw all the hi res flac dl for sale...at a premium! Are these tracks significantly better sounding than a cd ripped to flac using eac, etc. I'm new to squeezebox and I already think the normal flacs im ripping sound excellent. Are these 24 bit downloads that much better?

I downloaded a hi res song from jazz at the pawn shop and it sounded great but I have to wonder if a normal 16 bit rip would be the same.

Whats your experience with this...before I start using my card.

Labarum
2011-07-13, 13:31
For playback the quality of the initial recording is much more important than the definition of the media.

I have some very fine downloaded 24/96 recording from Gimmell

http://www.gimell.com/

but my best CDs at 16/44.1 are as good.

A rubbish recording will still sound rubbish if it's sold to you at 24/96 or even higher.

Don't leap to the conclusion that a high definition file must necessarily sound better.

TerryS
2011-07-15, 08:07
Almost a religous debate. Some say yes, some say no. Personally, I tend to buy the Hi-Res downloads if they are available in what I want to listen to. I'd like to know that my source material is the best it can be in case later I upgrade the rest of my audio system to the point that it matters. But I do not buy Hi-Res copies of albums I already have on CD. I find that with my present system, the difference is either non-existent, or subtle enough to not be worth buying a new copy of the album. I think you need a very good audio system before the improvement with Hi-Res can be heard. But I prefer that my music collection doesn't have to be upgraded if I upgrade my audio system, so I go with Hi-Res downloads as much as possible.
It also would depend on the kinds of music that you like to listen to. Hi-Res offers the potential for higher frequency response and more dynamic range. Probably classical, jazz and such would benefit from it more than pop or rock or (shudder) country.

Terry

DennyL
2011-07-16, 17:46
I got irritated with HDTracks because they listed an album I wanted and I spent a bit of time registering on their site only to be told that I can't buy from them because I'm in the UK.

This did set me wondering. The album I was interested in is available as a regular classical CD (Mahler's 3rd symph conducted by Boulez on DG). Would that performance have been recorded in HD as well as in regular CD format, or has there been some 'upsampling' to derive 96/24 data from a CD standard recording?

IF DG recorded it in HD why is it so hard to buy it? If the HD is derived from CD is it worth having?

I would be interested in if anyone could shed any light on this.

aubuti
2011-07-16, 18:03
This did set me wondering. The album I was interested in is available as a regular classical CD (Mahler's 3rd symph conducted by Boulez on DG). Would that performance have been recorded in HD as well as in regular CD format, or has there been some 'upsampling' to derive 96/24 data from a CD standard recording?

IF DG recorded it in HD why is it so hard to buy it? If the HD is derived from CD is it worth having?
I'm not a hi-res expert, but my understanding is that most recordings are mastered at higher resolution than 16/44.1 (CD quality). They are then converted to 16/44.1 because that's what the CD standard is. And that's why it's harder to buy the hi-res stuff, because there's a much smaller market for it (it won't play on a CD player).

It's also possible that some purported hi-res tracks are really low-res material that has been upsampled. By most accounts, this is a complete rip-off, although there are some who contend that taking the same data and upsampling it sounds better.

If you want to experiment a bit you can transcode tracks to different resolutions using SOX, and see if you hear a difference from upsampling CD-quality tracks or downsampling hi-res tracks to CD-quality.

Bytec
2011-07-16, 21:53
I got irritated with HDTracks because they listed an album I wanted and I spent a bit of time registering on their site only to be told that I can't buy from them because I'm in the UK.

This did set me wondering. The album I was interested in is available as a regular classical CD (Mahler's 3rd symph conducted by Boulez on DG). Would that performance have been recorded in HD as well as in regular CD format, or has there been some 'upsampling' to derive 96/24 data from a CD standard recording?

IF DG recorded it in HD why is it so hard to buy it? If the HD is derived from CD is it worth having?

I would be interested in if anyone could shed any light on this.

Use PayPal to bypass HDTracks regional restrictions.
I do that myself because I'm from Latvia.

DennyL
2011-08-10, 11:18
I'm sort of answering my own question here because I just came across an interesting article about high definition material:-

http://itrax.com/Pages/ArticleDetails.php?aID=32

TerryS
2011-08-11, 08:50
Interesting article, but it won't keep me from continuing to purchase Hi-Res downloads. Like anything else, there are cases where you don't get what you pay for. Sometimes that's gonna happen. Way too often now-days it seems. But the article (in my mind) confirms that Hi-Res is superior when you actually get Hi-Res material that is handled properly. The article isn't saying that Hi-Res isn't worth it, just that sometimes, the sellers don't provide what is expected, and that the buyer needs to beware.
For what it's worth, I have had nothing but good experiences with the stuff I have purchased from HD-Tracks. I didn't purchase the Framptom album they mentioned. I already have it on "normal" CD that I have ripped to flac. I don't feel strongly enough about the Hi-Res stuff that I would purchase Hi-Res copies of something I already have in CD. But for new purchases, I prefer to get the music in Hi-Res.
One point in the article I don't agree with however is the assertion that it is pointless to release a Hi-Res version of anything that was mastered in analog. Profesional analog tape equipment is capable of much better bandwidth than the 22 kHz brick wall that CD is limited to. Of course if bandwidth limiting was applied (like is required before placing it on a CD), then I agree with the point. But if it is truly made from the analog masters, and bandwith limiting is not applied, then 96kHz (48kHz bandwidth) still makes good sense to me.

Terry

sebp
2011-08-11, 15:12
Profesional analog tape equipment is capable of much better bandwidth than the 22 kHz brick wall that CD is limited to. Of course if bandwidth limiting was applied (like is required before placing it on a CD), then I agree with the point. But if it is truly made from the analog masters, and bandwith limiting is not applied, then 96kHz (48kHz bandwidth) still makes good sense to me.
But even with *true* hi-res material, there's close to nothing above 22 kHz.
Microphones are bandwith limited, and a lot more than you could think about, mind you, and they're the real limiting factor.

This is what a true 24/96 studio master looks like:
http://squeeze.le-seb.org/Stranded-180-270.png
There are traces of frequencies above 22kHz in this file, but at so low levels you'd need to be a bat to hear them.

This is a really good record, but after downscaling it to 16/44.1, you'll have a hard time comparing the CD version with the HD one.

peber
2011-08-12, 01:01
I have bought some recordings from hdtracks, enjoyed them a lot and will continue to buy there. But what concerns me is where they get their material and how has it been handled? I've also read about upsampled material but even if it is genuine, are the files derived from the two track master or from some other source? Lately there has been some nice recordings from Warner on hdtracks and I've bought a couple of them. But the "funny" thing was that with one of them the cover art included was the cover from the dvd audio version of that record! That got me thinking... There is nothing wrong with dvd-a but did they rip the flac files from the master or from a dvd-a disc? According to a friend of mine who works "in the music business" the latter is a clear possibility...

/Per

Wombat
2011-08-12, 08:04
I doubt you ever get the "Real Studio Master". They sell everything above 16bit 44.1kHz as such. In many cases the studio format is DSD or DXD and high bitrate PCM they donīt sell.
When reading about some studios transfering analog tapes they do it with hardware that is capable of 384kHz or DSD and only sell already downsampled or DSD to PCM converted data as studio master. Creating a 16/44.1 of these highres files directly shouldnīt sound any different as the stuff they sell you.
Also funny how some studio masters are sold as Unlimited and are 3dB more silent as the limited CD version.
Me as CD buyer should feel arsed because these 3dB donīt need 8bit more and for sure already donīt play a role on the 16bit of the CD :)
There are more questionable things to this Hires...
Sadly, to be sure to get the best version around it seems atm. you have to buy these Master downloads and you may use a self dowsampled version for daily use.

Labarum
2011-08-12, 08:33
I doubt you ever get the "Real Studio Master".

If you like their sort of music, try these downloads.

http://www.gimell.com/

Wombat
2011-08-12, 08:48
If you like their sort of music, try these downloads.

http://www.gimell.com/

Whatīs the point? Do they clearly state to record in 24/96 as they sell their "Pro" downloads and not higher? I canīt find a clear statement at their side.

Labarum
2011-08-12, 14:27
The point is you might be surprised, if you weren't so dismissive.

But for my money the musical quality of the performance and the technical skill of the recording engineer are more important than any big numbers quoted for the distribution medium.

Mnyb
2011-08-12, 21:14
The point is you might be surprised, if you weren't so dismissive.

But for my money the musical quality of the performance and the technical skill of the recording engineer are more important than any big numbers quoted for the distribution medium.

you could say that again imho most the CD system have better performance than most recordings ever made, making hirez a rather esoteric need and hobby.
I do have a lot of DVDA and 1500 hirez files so far.

it is also obvius that it's a sales pitch HD tracks are rarely selling any new " real " hirez recordings.

they sell 40 yo old stuff remastered ?

the remastering may be well over due and be a great service to the recording, but there is no need to use 24/192 for it's playback media.

But to sell to audiophiles you have to abandon the " bad " CD and use something else.

i think we had this debate quite often the last years, one finding is that many hirez releases do sound better ( ofcourse ) but thats very likely a better master and not the same as the CD master, and if a CD track is avaible at the same disc it is ofcourse not the same master.. ;)

a classic example of shooting the messenger, bad recordings are delivered on CD CD=bad .
It's like blaming the box when the pizza is no good.

I will continue to sometimes buy hirez if I think it's a recording that demands it, also due to system synergies as my rig " prefers " hirez ( not uppsampled 16 bit, it can do that all by itself ).

Wombat
2011-08-13, 07:38
Do not underestimate the powers of the placebo. If you only know that it has higher resolution or a 24bit light at the gear shines bright it automaticaly sounds better in your brain...

DennyL
2011-08-14, 12:08
Of course the placebo effect is significant, and I'm sure that there are more people who would pay extra for HD than there are who can hear the difference, either because they aren't particularly concentrating on the music at the time or because of limitations in their equipment, ears or listening environment. There are many of us who just like to feel that we are buying the 'best'.

Nevertheless, the CD standard has always been considered by many to be tight, both in bit depth (16 bit) and in sampling frequency (44.1 kHz). Reconstructing a 20kHz sine wave from 44.1kHz samples is quite a task, and it completely keels over as the sine wave approaches 22.05kHz! It has always struck me that most of the important and interesting information in a recording is the low-level information, and it uses only a few of those 16 bits! There are many who believe (me among them) that CD is never as good as the best vinyl listing experience, but it's convenient and serviceable much of the time. I buy SACDs when they are available and I'm interested in a higher technical quality than the old CD Red Book standard, but I'm not interested in buying Red Book recordings that have been upsampled so that the vendor can put 96/24 on the label. I think 96/24 files derived from analogue recordings might be worthwhile if they are done well.

Wombat
2011-08-14, 13:03
It has always struck me that most of the important and interesting information in a recording is the low-level information, and it uses only a few of those 16 bits!

This one i have to copy to my book :)

sebp
2011-08-14, 13:57
Reconstructing a 20kHz sine wave from 44.1kHz samples is quite a task, and it completely keels over as the sine wave approaches 22.05kHz!
That's not what the Nyquist-Shannon theorem says.
Do you hear 22.05 kHz or even 20 kHz sine waves, by the way?
Give the Bink Audio Test CD (http://binkster.net/extras.shtml) a try...


It has always struck me that most of the important and interesting information in a recording is the low-level information, and it uses only a few of those 16 bits!
Huh?