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Hi-Res Digital for 2014

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It would be nice if a universal standard for HiRes was adopted. Unfortunately, I question the long term commercial viability of selling an upscale product to a public that finds the awful sounds of MP3's to be not only just adequate, but completely acceptable.

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Way out there..., Seems like everything is going to go streaming..., no one will care about the file format..., you'll have to have some "player" that is universal.  Then, there will be the rest of us that still have our vinyl.  But for portability, the bandwidth is so cheap, and getting fatter, that having the file on your 60GB ipod will eventually not matter...
 
...at least that's what the visionaries seems to be saying...
 
...of course, that means that they will want to sell us some kind of license to the encoder/decoder technology...
 
TBD as the future unfolds. 

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Are hi-res audio rips from vinyl indistinguishable from actual vinyl?  Can hi-res truly deliver the same experience without the turntables, cartridges, dust, etc.?  If blind tested wouldn't it be very close or exactly the same?  Further, if the hi-res files are direct copies digital masters, shouldn't they actually sound better than vinyl?

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Are hi-res audio rips from vinyl indistinguishable from actual vinyl?  Can hi-res truly deliver the same experience without the turntables, cartridges, dust, etc.?  If blind tested wouldn't it be very close or exactly the same?  Further, if the hi-res files are direct copies digital masters, shouldn't they actually sound better than vinyl?

More accurate anyway, for what it's worth with the gear, room and ears involved. As usual, your mileage may vary.

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Thanks for the post, I will be looking for a way to incorporate a hard drive with flac files into my iTunes. Any ideas for programs? This is one of those times I wish I had a teenager available for advice.

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I'm kinda old school and don't comprehend well to technological advances without causing smoking in the cranium area.  Can some one explain how one can take digital media lets say recorded from a DAC to a CD and played back through an analog system such as the c-1 and m1.0t? My understanding was that the old carver stuff is analog, and if you feed it a digital signal would it work? and if it had to be converted back to an analog signal would you lose the gain of having the digital format in the first place? Pardon my stupidity here....

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I'm kinda old school and don't comprehend well to technological advances without causing smoking in the cranium area.  Can some one explain how one can take digital media lets say recorded from a DAC to a CD and played back through an analog system such as the c-1 and m1.0t? My understanding was that the old carver stuff is analog, and if you feed it a digital signal would it work? and if it had to be converted back to an analog signal would you lose the gain of having the digital format in the first place? Pardon my stupidity here....
Digital always has to be converted to analog to listen to it. The digital "gain" is more a "lack of loss" when storing real world analog music in the digital world. It goes from analog to digital, back to analog so you can listen to it. 
Here's an analogy- Say you need to move- you rent a truck to carry your stuff, right? The bigger and better the truck, the less likely your stuff will get broken, because you can pack it safely and completely. If the truck is too small,  stuff gets broken and left behind. When you unpack, everything is just the same as it was in your old place from the big truck, but it's just not as perfect from the small truck. The dings and scratches are noticeable, but it's still recognizable as your stuff. If you digitize music and compress it too much, it comes out damaged, recognizable, but not perfect. Hi-res is a big truck with soft suspension, so you get your music back the way you packed it, nice and clean.

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So funny story here folks....
 
I am all digital.  However I find that honestly unless you have really good gear and really good ears the difference in high rez starts to blend together the higher the bitrate.
 
My DacMagic automatically upsamples everything I send it and thats enough for me.
 
I used to try and stay digital till I hit the pre-amp, but its just not easy to do anymore.  So I find that once you have a decent DAC that can play your music right, just stop.  Keep the rest analog and just get decent cables.
 
I dont download high-rez stuff because its more expensive than the physical CD (which is then ripped to FLAC) and is still NOT ALWAYS actually high rez.  
 
Besides lets be honest, most music that is popular today has a MUCH more pressing issue than its bitrate - compression/dynamic rage or lack there of.
 
If I am gonna listen to some Skrillex, Deadmau5, etc, the music is already compressed as a source file.  The bitrate cant really help with that so why spend more for it.
 
Besides buying the Cd is cheaper, you get a physical copy on top of the digital one as well.
 
Plus I see no point in rebuying my existing library in a higher bitrate.... 
 
But thats just me.  
 
I will say though that digital is here to say as its MUCH easier to transport music between devices and I plan to stay digital with no CDP at all, and just my TT for the older stuff I already have.  I dont go out of my way for LP's at all but if I find some I will take em lol.... 

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Are hi-res audio rips from vinyl indistinguishable from actual vinyl?  Can hi-res truly deliver the same experience without the turntables, cartridges, dust, etc.?  If blind tested wouldn't it be very close or exactly the same?  Further, if the hi-res files are direct copies digital masters, shouldn't they actually sound better than vinyl?

 
Are hi-res audio rips from vinyl indistinguishable from actual vinyl? It's unlikely. You are digitizing the analog signal, so there's processing, storage and playback elements which will distinguish the sound from the original analog signal, assuming you're referring to making a digital recording from a turntable.
 
 Further, if the hi-res files are direct copies digital masters, shouldn't they actually sound better than vinyl? This is a good question. Many vinyl aficionados overlook the simple fact that much modern music is recorded digitally and stored digitally on a HD before transferring to vinyl. So if you took that same hi-res file and played it back through good gear, and compared it to the vinyl disc also played back through good gear, then theoretically the digital version ought to sound better, as you've eliminated the mechanical aspect of getting the signal out of the groove and into the rig. It doesn't always pan out the way theory suggests of course.
 
Hi-res is in its infancy in terms of home-audio use. The files are huge and not everyone has the capacity to download these files from music services like HD Tracks (due to limits on Internet bandwidth/usage). Also, the music available as hi-res is still pretty limited. It can be quite expensive too. It can also be confusing to the average Joe - what truly is a hi-res recording/file and what isn't. Even companies like HD Tracks supply files under the pretense of them being hi-res when in fact they're not optimally encoded for the highest quality playback.
 
Then of course there's a lot of confusion when it comes to selecting the right playback software and hardware, with the many available formats etc. 
 
So it's evolving still, and has a long way to go.
 
Just my two penneth.

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By the Numbers

 

192/24 = 9216 kbs

96/24 = 4608 kbs

CD= 1411 kbs

320 mp3 = 320 kbs

 

Dano all the units have Dac that convert 192/24 back to analog so you can use your analog jacks.

 

My HT powers my C1 through the pre outs L-R so the HT denon is my digital control to the C1

 

If the source wasn't recorded at the high bit rate then its a waste!

 

Analog = Digital but at a molecular level , whats the molecular density of vinyl?

 

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This is the way I keep it straight, dano,
A simple digital signal path looks like this.
Source--CD player or Digital storage --are usually a ((digital production circuit, and a digital to analog convertor)) to rca out, or you can bypass the internal dac using the digital/optical out. 
Many cd players are a financial compromise between features and good quality dac components.  The more expensive the player, either it has lots more features, or a good quality dac circuit, or both.
 **Feeds**
Control--a 'pre amp and amplifier' or 'Receiver' -- which steers the analog signal to the amplifier, and amplifies it.
Understand if you have a decent rig, I have found that my weak point was the dac I was using do convert my 'digitally stored media' to analog.  I have a 390t with a good dac to play my cds, but I was using an Apple TV's digital output and a cheap dac to play anything stored on a harddrive.  So, ironically, d-a-c (dazed-and-confused) smacked me up one day and showed me my dac for the hard drive storage was weak.  So I shopped a good external dac for my stored digital media.
 
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And what DAC did you end up with?

This little baby.   A gift from my wife for my birthday.
 d2_top.jpg
With the OPA627 opamp chip upgrade.
Its going to receive my Apple TV, my 300 disc Sony, and maybe my Bluray depending on hook ups.  Also the usb from a laptop thanks to some of you guys.....
I really need to up date my Member's System thread with some new pics...
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I don't see an advantage to the more bits/higher sampling rates. Those things make it easier or simpler to get the necessary analog stuff done, but at the expense of harder working digital stuff. Because of Nyquist, CD rate should be plenty good enough. Dynamic range is plenty with CD, there's more noise in the overall system or on the recording! 
 
Nonetheless, I'd still like to ABX CD vs. High(er) Res. And both vs. vinyl. I would be surprised if I could tell a difference.
 
The format is the least of our problems. 
 
There's an awful lot of hemming and hawing in that article... 
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Actually thats only part of the story, phase information is lost in the quantization of the data. Signal data is "shifted" to coincide with the sample. Nyqvist frequency and rate are Minimum requirements for a limited band with system. This specifically relates to spatial relationships of the instruments. of course this only applies to a live recording but most sound engineers try to emulate the relationships in the mixing. Ie the faster the digitization the more accurate the phase information will be, instead of being a coarse approximation of a slower rate.

 

Think of it this way 1411k

possible start points verses

9216k possible start points in a second both can do a 20 khz signal but with respect to time one will be quantitized closer to the actual start point..

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A neighbor down the road has a analog to digital turntable that has usb out put on it to go to his computer.  He would like to record some of my vinyl to his computer and record them as flac files or wma.  What program would be needed to have the option to select the turntable (or the usb port its pluged into) as the source and record as a flac or wma file? Any suggestions?

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I'm betting Audacity is the favorite of many some nice audio reviews at the end of the article.

 

http://www.tweakhound.com/2013/05/28/converting-vinyl-records-to-digital-music-a-non-audiophiles-guide/

 

I've used EAC, Exact Audio Copy but I belive its limited to 16 bit depth. It also has a nice normalisation feature and pop and crack detector, and the ability to use an external file to fill in lost digital info. But its not a fast solution, and cumbersome!

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Here's a good article explaning why Hi Res is unnecessary or even detrimental: 
 

 
Thanks for posting the article. Honestly, I'm struggling with it and need to go back later and try again.
Where the author correlates hearing beyond a certain frequency range (greater than 20khz) with pain, as if extended frequencies must by definition be played at higher volumes....well that makes no sense to me. There's no relationship between frequency extension and volume, the two are not connected. So maybe I'm misinterpreting what the author is saying, which is why I need to try again later when the caffeine has leached from my system.
 
Without wanting to pre-judge the article, (because I haven't fully read it), there's plenty of data which suggests that human hearing is receptive to frequencies which extend above 20khz. Though the information within those higher frequency ranges might not be audible to us in the normal sense, they do help with things like ambiance, air, image specificity etc. 
At least I think that's the accepted understanding, but the author appears not to acknowledge that. 
 
Then there are other factors too with higher resolution playback which seem not to be acknowledged.
I'm no expert in hi res. I'm put off by the large file sizes and the time it takes to download anything over the web. But the few files I do have sound very good. There's a liquidity to the sound and lack of digital harshness, for want of a better term. The hi res files sound more analog to my ears. 
I've also had excellent results with SACD and DVD-Audio in my system, though I understand that that isn't necessarily comparing apples with apples. 
Anyway, I think the future of high end audio is with hi res playback, be it streaming or via some other method/media. So the author is making claims which seem to fly in the face of the industry trend. Not that that's surprising, given the aborted formats of the past - SACD, DVD-Audio, and now it seems BlueRay is set for an early demise.
 
DAC

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That said, I've been thinking about what Jim wrote:
 
Actually thats only part of the story, phase information is lost in the quantization of the data. Signal data is "shifted" to coincide with the sample. Nyqvist frequency and rate are Minimum requirements for a limited band with system. This specifically relates to spatial relationships of the instruments. of course this only applies to a live recording but most sound engineers try to emulate the relationships in the mixing. Ie the faster the digitization the more accurate the phase information will be, instead of being a coarse approximation of a slower rate.Think of it this way 1411k
possible start pointsverses
9216k possible start points in a second both can do a 20 khz signal but with respect to time one will be quantitized closer to the actual start point..
 
It took me a while to respond, because I did a little research, and I'm not smart enough to decipher most of what I found.
 
In one way, I would think it to be *effectively* a non-issue. Sensitivity to phase distortion drops off dramatically in the top octave. Even then, it's been demonstrated noticeable only on pure tones or similar. I suppose it could be a problem on passages that consist solely of 16kHz sine waves... As you move below 20kHz, jitter errors of course become less atrocious (WRT phasing), and high sampling rates have less and less advantage.  
 
But Jim's theory intrigues me, because I can't figure out if reproducing phase variations at the upper edge of bandwidth requires more information (higher bandwidth). Is Nyquist sufficient, violated, or does not apply? Do all the rounding errors average to the same result, no matter how fast and precise the quantization is, given the theoretical upper limits of our hearing?
 

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Thanks for posting the article. Honestly, I'm struggling with it and need to go back later and try again.
Where the author correlates hearing beyond a certain frequency range (greater than 20khz) with pain, as if extended frequencies must by definition be played at higher volumes....well that makes no sense to me. There's no relationship between frequency extension and volume, the two are not connected. So maybe I'm misinterpreting what the author is saying, which is why I need to try again later when the caffeine has leached from my system.
 
You're welcome! It seemed like a good one. emsmile.gif 
 
Actually, that well-accepted fact is exactly what they are saying:
 
"The upper limit of the human audio range is defined to be where the absolute threshold of hearing curve crosses the threshold of pain. To be even faintly perceive the audio at that point (or beyond), it must simultaneously be unbearably loud."
 
Look at it from the viewpoint of your other senses: you can't see or acknowledge the presence of infrared until it actually hurts. You might not feel a slow change in temperature or pressure until it reaches a magnitude that causes pain. I'm not a neurologist, but I believe pain receptors have a unique and dedicated function. Thus the warning lights come on even if we don't notice the gauge. emteeth.gif Even then, pain is subject to just as many idiosyncrasies as the other senses. "Gating" might be the pain equivalent of audio "masking". It would be fascinating if aural pain was gated as well, but there's understandably probably little research on the subject.  
 
Without wanting to pre-judge the article, (because I haven't fully read it), there's plenty of data which suggests that human hearing is receptive to frequencies which extend above 20khz. Though the information within those higher frequency ranges might not be audible to us in the normal sense, they do help with things like ambiance, air, image specificity etc. At least I think that's the accepted understanding, but the author appears not to acknowledge that. 
 
I agree that we can't discount the ultrasonic. My own ears no longer work well in the top octave, but I can still *sense* tones up there. Subharmonics, beat frequencies? It's almost impossible to reproduce and deliver a perfect sine wave in the real world, given diffraction, reflection, interference, etc. So is it important to try to reproduce ultrasound, or just the audible artifacts? If the latter, then "low-res" should have that covered already.  

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Not to run the subject into the good Earth, but here's another paper in favor of CD quality and against Hi-Res:
 
 
And WRT phasing information: does Carson's Law imply you need an infinite bandwidth to carry infinitely precise phase information? So how much is necessary? Would 192kHz allow us to represent quadrature 20kHz audio signals? Would it be audibly significant? Given the wavelength, I don't think it would practically matter.

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