When is Hi-Res not really Hi-Res?

Kippyy

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Feb 20, 2011
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As an avid music fan and fan of this forum, I've read many of the threads and posts regarding the "uncertain purity" if you will, of hi-resolution files. Most of the graphs, DVD, DSD, SACD stuff is really way over my head. What I really want to know is whether 24 bit music that I'm paying a premium for, is really better in quality than the 16 bit files I already have? For example, one of my favorite albums of all time, Goodbye Yellow Brick Rd is now available in Hi-Res...or is it really Hi-Res?
On another forum, I was told, this new version of GYBR is really not hi-res,but compressed instead.
I guess its an issue of "buyer beware",but I'd like to think/hope that in an age of forums like this, I could rely on more than advice such as:
"Buy it, and if it doesnt sound good, get rid of it"
How can one really sort out the good from not-really Hi-Res music without trying in vain to interpret graphs with out proper training? I'd like to leave the graphs to the experts like Bruce, and simply buy and enjoy music in higher-res formats. There, I'm done with my rant. Any counsel is appreciated.
 

Bruce B

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Good point..... for a truly die-hard hi-rez afficionado, if it wasn't recorded at >24/88.2 to begin with, then it's not hi-rez. Anything recorded directly to tape or vinyl is also NOT hi-rez.
Just because its on DVD, DVD-A, SACD or Blu-ray, does not gurantee a hi-rez file either. Being "compressed" has nothing to do with "hi-rez", unless you're talking about actual file compression like DTS, AC-3,mp3 or whatever. Compression used during mastering just makes the average volume louder. Most people don't like any form of compression. If I ever use compression in mastering, its not over a 1.5:1 ratio.
So many people are caught up in formats, hi-rez, compression and what the waveform looks like. I've never listened with my eyes. I don't know what it's like. Listen with your ears. Only YOU know what sounds good to you.
We're slowly weeding out the bad files on HDtracks. I know over at SA-CD.net, they have compiled a database of formats that the discs were recorded in. I know Stereophile occasionally picks albums from the past and describes how they were recorded/mastered. You need to do your homework.
 

microstrip

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(...) We're slowly weeding out the bad files on HDtracks. I know over at SA-CD.net, they have compiled a database of formats that the discs were recorded in. I know Stereophile occasionally picks albums from the past and describes how they were recorded/mastered. You need to do your homework.

Bruce,

Happily sometimes we have the advice of people like you who enlighten us about some of the good and the bad HI-REZ's.

But the situation of users having to do homework is unacceptable and I am sure it is not good to the HI-REZ cause and sales. I do not want to accept the risk of buying "cat for rabbit" as we say in my country, and after I bought a pseudo- HI-REZ recording that has just a re-sampled CD I suspended all my buying from HDtracks unless recommended by you. :)

I hope soon someone assembles a credible list in a site of the proper HI-REZ recordings. Suspicion is always a very bad situation.
 

Kippyy

Well-Known Member
Feb 20, 2011
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San Ramon, CA
Bruce,

Happily sometimes we have the advice of people like you who enlighten us about some of the good and the bad HI-REZ's.

But the situation of users having to do homework is unacceptable and I am sure it is not good to the HI-REZ cause and sales. I do not want to accept the risk of buying "cat for rabbit" as we say in my country, and after I bought a pseudo- HI-REZ recording that has just a re-sampled CD I suspended all my buying from HDtracks unless recommended by you. :)

I hope soon someone assembles a credible list in a site of the proper HI-REZ recordings. Suspicion is always a very bad situation.

I couldn't agree more. I've lost alot of enthusiasm for hi-res material in this process. Does the audio industry not appreciate that costly audio equipment meant to enhance the experience of appreciating hi-res music relies on the authenticity of the hi-res music?
 

mep

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Apr 21, 2010
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I couldn't agree more. I've lost alot of enthusiasm for hi-res material in this process. Does the audio industry not appreciate that costly audio equipment meant to enhance the experience of appreciating hi-res music relies on the authenticity of the hi-res music?

Yeah. Where's all the damn lawyers when you need them? Somebody should be getting their pants sued off of them if they pass off RB digital as Hi-Rez.
 

RBFC

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As part of the extreme minority known as audiophiles, we have an uphill battle against the mp3 market. I don't believe that the major labels currently have us on their radar, but may direct attention to us as physical media die off. If they can charge a premium for the same music, they'll begin to appreciate the value of high-res downloads.

Lee
 

FrantzM

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Bruce

Just curious about one statement you made in your post:
Anything recorded directly to tape or vinyl is also NOT hi-rez.
Is there any advantage then to release a digital version of an anlaog master in .. Hi_rez?
 

FrantzM

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Bruce

Just curious about one statement you made in your post:
Anything recorded directly to tape or vinyl is also NOT hi-rez.
Is there any advantage then to release a digital version of an analog master in .. Hi_rez?
 

Bruce B

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Bruce

Just curious about one statement you made in your post: Is there any advantage then to release a digital version of an anlaog master in .. Hi_rez?

I said this for the "true die-hard afficionado" (Mr. Waldrep et al.). IMO, I'm all for it. There are only a handful of people that will ever get to listen to the original master tape and recording to hi-rez is the next best thing. Whether tape bias has anything to do with the tape sound, you need to capture that as well, which means you need to go up to at least 24/96
 
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c1ferrari

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Thanks, Bruce

for the elucidation and kippyy for the thread.
 

FrantzM

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I said this for the "true die-hard afficionado" (Mr. Waldrep et al.). IMO, I'm all for it. There are only a handful of people that will ever get to listen to the original master tape and recording to hi-rez is the next best thing. Whether tape bias has anything to do with the tape sound, you need to capture that as well, which means you need to go up to at least 24/96

I was under that impression as well

All good
 

mep

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The more I read this thread and others like it, the more confused I become. It makes sense to me that if you are going to convert a master tape to a digital file that you would record at the highest bit rate and sampling rate you could in order to achieve the highest quality. No arguments there for me. Are the diehards/puritans saying that in order for a recording to be considered Hi-Rez, it had to be recorded digitally at the native resolution it is being advertised as? If so, I can buy that argument.

I would just like to see some truth in advertising for digital software. If a digital file was RB CD, all of the upsampling in the world isn’t going to make it a Hi-Rez recording. The Beatles USB apple I have is advertised as 24bit/44.1 digital. Since these files were obviously sourced from the analog master tapes, are they really 24 bit files?
 

Bruce B

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Are the diehards/puritans saying that in order for a recording to be considered Hi-Rez, it had to be recorded digitally at the native resolution it is being advertised as? If so, I can buy that argument.

I would just like to see some truth in advertising for digital software. If a digital file was RB CD, all of the upsampling in the world isn’t going to make it a Hi-Rez recording. The Beatles USB apple I have is advertised as 24bit/44.1 digital. Since these files were obviously sourced from the analog master tapes, are they really 24 bit files?

Yes, the purist are saying that if it wasn't recorded at least 24/88.2, then it's not hi-rez.
I've taken 24/44.1 files, upsampled them, run through an analog mastering chain and captured at 32/352.8 I've tried this experiment numerous times doing both upsampling and not upsampling. The upsampled material sounds much better and the files do not null. There is plenty of hi-rez content (probably from transformer saturation). Sometimes I even run the material through a tape loop to the A80 and back to give it some tape saturation.
Upsampled files "can" sound better than the native material if you do any processing to them. Are they really hi-rez files. Guess you have to decide.

Don't know if the Beatles are 24-bit, but I do know I came across a file, (think it was Coltrane "Love Surpreme") that was actually 16-bit, 96k.... ??? How the hell they did that I'll never know!
 

RBFC

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Bruce,

So, if we take redbook CD files and upsample them with "Wavosaur" or similar, they often sound better?

This is something most anyone with a computer could do to enhance their CD collection when ripping to a server.

Lee
 

Bruce B

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Bruce,

So, if we take redbook CD files and upsample them with "Wavosaur" or similar, they often sound better?

This is something most anyone with a computer could do to enhance their CD collection when ripping to a server.

Lee

Unfortunately Lee it doesn't work like that. If you just upsample a file and do nothing with it, it will still sound the same... UNLESS your DAC is doing something different with the file.

Now if you upsample and do any processing on the file, then you can usually get better results.
 

RBFC

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What type(s) of processing are readily available to the average computer consumer? And which one(s) provides a bump in sound quality that is worthwhile?

Lee
 

Bruce B

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What type(s) of processing are readily available to the average computer consumer? And which one(s) provides a bump in sound quality that is worthwhile?

Lee

there are hundreds of plug-ins available for use in software like Audacity, Reaper, Pro-tools..etc. That's what a good ear is for. What plug-ins to use to make this track sound better. Maybe it needs more top end... Then you would need a parametric EQ plug-in to add a few dB of shelf EQ. If the track seems too dry, then you would need an ambience recovery plug-in.

No "one fits all" here. It just depends on what YOU think the track is lacking.
 

sasully

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Yes, the purist are saying that if it wasn't recorded at least 24/88.2, then it's not hi-rez.
I've taken 24/44.1 files, upsampled them, run through an analog mastering chain and captured at 32/352.8 I've tried this experiment numerous times doing both upsampling and not upsampling. The upsampled material sounds much better and the files do not null. There is plenty of hi-rez content (probably from transformer saturation). Sometimes I even run the material through a tape loop to the A80 and back to give it some tape saturation.
Upsampled files "can" sound better than the native material if you do any processing to them. Are they really hi-rez files. Guess you have to decide.


I would certainly not expect them to null after running the original signal through an analog mastering chain, or through a tape loop. Basically what you are doing here is adding 'euphonic' distortion to the 24/44.1 signal.
 

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