Thread: The Audiophile Thread

  1. #851
    Member BobM's Avatar
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    Hi Rez, when done right, can be pretty awesome. However there are a few companies that are taking stock CD quality recordings, trying to upsample them and call it high rez. Same as the ones taking CD quality masters and putting them on vinyl and calling it analogue.

    Bottom line, you need to know what you are buying, where the original is either pure analogue or recorded at high rez to begin with.
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  2. #852
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerjo View Post
    I asked this in a joke Hi-Res thread but I'll bring it up here. Reading up on high resolution audio and I can't seem to get around a couple things. How can you take an existing recording and make it into a higher resolution? Isn't that like converting an MP3 into a wav file? If it's coming from an analog source, how is it better than vinyl based on the same source?
    Even if you could, it wouldn't matter. Nobody can tell the difference between hi-res and a regular recording under A/B tests. It's pure pseudoscience.

  3. #853
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobM View Post
    Hi Rez, when done right, can be pretty awesome. However there are a few companies that are taking stock CD quality recordings, trying to upsample them and call it high rez. Same as the ones taking CD quality masters and putting them on vinyl and calling it analogue.

    Bottom line, you need to know what you are buying, where the original is either pure analogue or recorded at high rez to begin with.
    This is exactly what frustrates the hell out of me for both HiRez and "Audiophile Vinyl". Bob, does it vary from company to company or is it a matter of album to album? If it's the latter, how does one determine the source before laying out the cash?
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  4. #854
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    Quote Originally Posted by Facelift View Post
    Even if you could, it wouldn't matter. Nobody can tell the difference between hi-res and a regular recording under A/B tests. It's pure pseudoscience.
    Sorry but even with my limited collection of HiRez downloads, some are no better than CDs and some are much better. One bad example would be Yes - Close to the Edge from HDTracks. No difference, IMO.
    Think of a book as a vase, and a movie as the stained-glass window that the filmmaker has made out of the pieces after hes smashed it with a hammer.
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  5. #855
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    I think there are some companies that are known for going out of their way to get original analogue masters as their source material. Those you can trust to do it right because they are selling themselves that way.

    Others, not so much. It likely varies album to album. How can you tell? Well, I would go to the source company and read about the product. If it says "sourced from original analogue master tapes or "sourced from original hi rez digital recordings" then I guess it likely is a hi rez product. Otherwise, maybe not.
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  6. #856
    Quote Originally Posted by rottersclub View Post
    Sorry but even with my limited collection of HiRez downloads, some are no better than CDs and some are much better. One bad example would be Yes - Close to the Edge from HDTracks. No difference, IMO.
    Well, different CD transfers of the same album sound better than others, at the same bit-rate. However, if it's an apples to apples comparison of recordings and the only difference is the aural bandwidth between standard lossloss and hi-res, there is no audible difference that will be detected (by a human). The results of the double-blind A/B tests prove this.

  7. #857
    Member BobM's Avatar
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    Hmmm. I have definitely heard differences between hi rez and CD quality recordings. Not in tonality or dynamics, but in those "space" and "imaging" and "nuance" factors that do not always reproduce adequately on mid-fi systems. On a sufficiently high quality audiophile system I think you will hear the difference.
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  8. #858
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    Can you imagine the ripple effect if companies had to label what the source was? Bean counters would go crazy and maybe a company or two would go out of business. Most people don't research this which is how some of these places stay in business. I mean, no more vinyl people buying albums that's just a cd transfer to vinyl. We all have some of these but with labeling, this practice would stop.
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  9. #859
    What about my member? rottersclub's Avatar
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    Well, to be honest, between the dubious sourcing of HiRez product and the arcane copyright rules that determine what can and can't be sold in Canada, I've pretty well given up for now. Same with shitty quality (both in terms of source and the actual pressings) of audiophile vinyl releases (180gm etc.). I've gone back to buying used vinyl and CDs from my favourite Prog and Jazz vendors.
    Think of a book as a vase, and a movie as the stained-glass window that the filmmaker has made out of the pieces after hes smashed it with a hammer.
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  10. #860
    Quote Originally Posted by Facelift View Post
    Well, different CD transfers of the same album sound better than others, at the same bit-rate. However, if it's an apples to apples comparison of recordings and the only difference is the aural bandwidth between standard lossloss and hi-res, there is no audible difference that will be detected (by a human). The results of the double-blind A/B tests prove this.
    Sorry, but can't agree with you on this one....with the condition that the high res versions are true high res, ie. recorded at higher bit rates and frequencies. As has been already covered below, the problem with the whole high res debate - and the vinyl one too - is that without knowing the source, there's no way to know whether or not you're actually buying something better. So I tend to limit myself to sources I trust to be good, and that narrows the playing field down considerably.

    I don't buy into the whole vinyl thing, for reasons I've outlined elsewhere; but with my new setup (and still without the subs, but I'll be getting those in a week when our reno is complete and we move back to our new/old apartment) and true high res sources, there is a difference. Is it huge? Usually not. But it is absolutely something that I'd say is more felt than heard, and if modern recordings are released with high res versions and are properly mastered (ie. without excess compression and more on the pre- or post-production end), there is something palpable. I'd be happy to prove it to you if you ever come to Ottawa

  11. #861
    Quote Originally Posted by rottersclub View Post
    Sorry but even with my limited collection of HiRez downloads, some are no better than CDs and some are much better. One bad example would be Yes - Close to the Edge from HDTracks. No difference, IMO.
    Is that the Steven Wilson version? I've not heard the high res version yet as it was packed away pre-reno, but plan to check it when we move back home.

    But I wonder if the HDTracks version is, indeed, Wilson's, which were sourced from the original analogue multi-tracks and so, I would expect to be better. Or, at least, hope.

  12. #862
    What about my member? rottersclub's Avatar
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    Don't think so John. I bought it 2 years ago. When did they release the Wilson job?

    Note the only non-FLAC file included in the download was a PDF of the album cover. No credits whatsoever.
    Last edited by rottersclub; 04-24-2015 at 08:06 AM.
    Think of a book as a vase, and a movie as the stained-glass window that the filmmaker has made out of the pieces after hes smashed it with a hammer.
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  13. #863
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobM View Post
    Hmmm. I have definitely heard differences between hi rez and CD quality recordings. Not in tonality or dynamics, but in those "space" and "imaging" and "nuance" factors that do not always reproduce adequately on mid-fi systems. On a sufficiently high quality audiophile system I think you will hear the difference.
    Pretty much my take as well. Or a really revealing set of headphones like the Sennheiser HD800s will usually pretty easily bear the differences out. The thing with these "double blind test" arguments is that they only prove that X listener or listeners weren't able to hear a difference under whatever conditions they were comparing the sources. It doesn't mean that there isn't a difference.

  14. #864
    What about my member? rottersclub's Avatar
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    I just bought a new pair of Beyerdynamic headphones. I will do an A/B/C on CTTE and report back (C being the LP).
    Think of a book as a vase, and a movie as the stained-glass window that the filmmaker has made out of the pieces after hes smashed it with a hammer.
    -- Russell Banks (paraphrased)

  15. #865
    Quote Originally Posted by Rael View Post
    Pretty much my take as well. Or a really revealing set of headphones like the Sennheiser HD800s will usually pretty easily bear the differences out. The thing with these "double blind test" arguments is that they only prove that X listener or listeners weren't able to hear a difference under whatever conditions they were comparing the sources. It doesn't mean that there isn't a difference.
    It pretty much means that there is no difference. So much of the "audiophile" experience is easily de-bunked by double blind tests under the *proper* conditions. It's hard to understand why there can be such resistance to this, since what it means for the consumer is that he/she can get a great sounding system and spend less on it than perhaps previously thought. It's not too hard to find out what makes no difference - just doing some internet searching and see what failed the tests. You'll also be happy to know that the concept such as "break-in" doesn't exist, either. "Break-in" is actually just the process of your brain acclimating itself to how something sounds.

  16. #866
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    Quote Originally Posted by Facelift View Post
    It pretty much means that there is no difference. So much of the "audiophile" experience is easily de-bunked by double blind tests under the *proper* conditions. It's hard to understand why there can be such resistance to this, since what it means for the consumer is that he/she can get a great sounding system and spend less on it than perhaps previously thought. It's not too hard to find out what makes no difference - just doing some internet searching and see what failed the tests. You'll also be happy to know that the concept such as "break-in" doesn't exist, either. "Break-in" is actually just the process of your brain acclimating itself to how something sounds.
    Welcome back to the group, Mr. Carlberg.

    I agree with your point that a great system can be had without spending what you would on a car. But I've taken some of these ABX tests myself and passed most of them. Sometimes, there are differences that are really marginal, other times less so. I can usually tell the difference between a 320 lossy file and a FLAC; not always, but usually.

    There are certainly some silly audiophile myths out there but sometimes skeptics like you almost get angry when people like The Laser's Edge and BobM (sorry to call you guys out) hear enough differences in speaker cables to spend thousands on them instead of a roll of lamp cord from The Home Depot for $20. And even if science proves that there is no objective data showing difference in cable or whether or not a vinyl demagnetizer really works, what do you really care? If it makes someone happy, that's all that matters.
    Last edited by Rael; 04-24-2015 at 10:20 AM.

  17. #867
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    I only wish I didn't hear those differences in my own system. Yes, sometimes they are incredibly subtle. Sometimes the difference isn't for the better. When that is the case there is really no reason to spend money.

    Sometimes it is noticeable when you remove the component under test and replace it with the original. Going back shows you what is missing. Then it's a matter of do I want to spend this now.

    But sometimes it is easily noticeable and not overly expensive and that is when you can say you've got a bargain and an improvement at the same time.

    But, as usual, it is totally up tot he individual whether they hear it, can afford it, and want to make the change.
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  18. #868
    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rael View Post
    Welcome back to the group, Mr. Carlberg.
    T'weren't me!

    I'm still reading and laughing, just not to your faces anymore.

  19. #869
    Member BobM's Avatar
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    Thank you for that
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  20. #870
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    Welcome back to the group, Mr. Carlberg
    OK, that made me spit-take on my Diet Coke.

    It occurs to me that I'm going to turn another number in my late 50s this fall. If and when I upgrade my system, how much of my ears are going to be left? Will I be able to even appreciate an upgrade? When I was a young man, working in audio stores I could pick out little differences with cables, wiring, other teeny changes. But these days I am doubting what my ears can pick up.
    I don't like country music, but I don't mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means 'put down.'- Bob Newhart

  21. #871
    Quote Originally Posted by rottersclub View Post
    Don't think so John. I bought it 2 years ago. When did they release the Wilson job?

    Note the only non-FLAC file included in the download was a PDF of the album cover. No credits whatsoever.
    November, 2013....So if truly two years ago not the Wilson version.

  22. #872
    What about my member? rottersclub's Avatar
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    It was March 2013.
    Think of a book as a vase, and a movie as the stained-glass window that the filmmaker has made out of the pieces after hes smashed it with a hammer.
    -- Russell Banks (paraphrased)

  23. #873
    False Number 9 Pr33t's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Facelift View Post
    So much of the "audiophile" experience is easily de-bunked by double blind tests under the *proper* conditions.
    I'm curious as to what the "*proper* conditions" are - is this some sort of control standard for these tests? I think Bob made a good point above that you will likely only see a difference in many high end components when they are paired with a high-end system. If they're being tested on a system that is not equipped to render what sets them apart from 'standard' components, is that really an objective test?


    Quote Originally Posted by Facelift View Post
    You'll also be happy to know that the concept such as "break-in" doesn't exist, either. "Break-in" is actually just the process of your brain acclimating itself to how something sounds.
    Psychological or not, doesn't this still imply there is some adjustment time to process what you're hearing?

  24. #874
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerjo View Post
    It occurs to me that I'm going to turn another number in my late 50s this fall. If and when I upgrade my system, how much of my ears are going to be left? Will I be able to even appreciate an upgrade? When I was a young man, working in audio stores I could pick out little differences with cables, wiring, other teeny changes. But these days I am doubting what my ears can pick up.
    I'm in my late 50s as well and several ago I thought my hearing was going. Our niece was staying with us and I had to ask her to repeat everything. Then we went to a big celebration and couldn't keep track of all the conversations that were going on around our table. I went to see a hearing doctor and got tested. She told me that I had the hearing of a 13 year old. She concluded that my niece was a mumbler and no one can follow multiple conversations simultaneously in a large, crowded, loud hall. I almost kissed her.
    Think of a book as a vase, and a movie as the stained-glass window that the filmmaker has made out of the pieces after hes smashed it with a hammer.
    -- Russell Banks (paraphrased)

  25. #875
    Quote Originally Posted by Pr33t View Post
    I'm curious as to what the "*proper* conditions" are - is this some sort of control standard for these tests? I think Bob made a good point above that you will likely only see a difference in many high end components when they are paired with a high-end system. If they're being tested on a system that is not equipped to render what sets them apart from 'standard' components, is that really an objective test?




    Psychological or not, doesn't this still imply there is some adjustment time to process what you're hearing?
    That's not the point. "Break-in" was long touted as changes that occur physically to a piece of equipment that made it perform better after it had been used for a period of time. We now know that this does not occur (a caveat - it can occur with speakers, but the changes are slight and they occur after a fairly short amount of use time).

    A particular person imagining that they like something more after a few dozen hours of listening is not this process.

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