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  1. Member
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    Is there really any noticeable difference when listening to audio higher than 44.1KHz?

    Audiophiles insist on SACD with 96 or 192KHz. Any idea what the fuss is all about?
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  2. Great, another one of these threads!
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  3. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Quick answer is 44.1KHz was a bit of a compromise to squeeze an hour of audio to a CD. That was corrected to 48KHz for broadcast and DVD. To notice the benefits of 96KHz you need both good speakers and good ears. 192k is for animals.
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  4. Member MOVIEGEEK's Avatar
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    Since the average human can't hear above 20KHz a samplerate over 44.1KHz is useless, now bit depth is another subject.
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  5. Member edDV's Avatar
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    The main argument for 96KHz and I suppose 192KHz is to fend off digital rounding errors that build up when original recordings are processed through a long digital filter chain.

    I agree 20 (or 24) bits is more important than 96KHz at the end listener level.
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  6. It also depends on how old you are, how badly you've damaged your hearing, what equipment you use, etc.
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  7. Member luigi2000's Avatar
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    The audio CD era began in 1982. As determined by Harry Nyquist, the sample rate has to be at least twice the frequency of the highest frequency to be reproduced in the digital to analogue process. John Watkinson in "The Art of Digital Audio, 2nd edition", page 104, claims the choice of frequency is an artifact of the equipment used during early digital audio research. However the choice of 44.1 KHz for consumers and 48 KHz for professionals lowers the bandwidth (and the cost) for acceptable consumer reproduction. There is no noticeable difference when using modern state of the art equipment assuming average ears and average equipment.
    Last edited by luigi2000; 29th Aug 2010 at 01:00. Reason: To extend an opinion.
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  8. Member netmask56's Avatar
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    If you have a really good amplifier and studio class loudspeakers then yes you can hear the difference with higher bit and sample rates but it's not frequency response but rather transients that are clearer and the sound has a more open feel. Harmonics of maracas and cymbals etc can extend well into above the normal hearing range and like all reproduction sum and difference effects take place. For the average home owner with passing traffic, screaming kids and planes flying over it's pretty academic. None of this applies to pop culture music as it is so processed from "instrument" to final mix and then what the broadcasters do, you may as well drop the standard even further as the hearing loss of under 40's of this generation approaches the hearing of 70 year olds of previous generation - oops sorry my jaundice is showing!!! The AES library has some good articles on bandpassing effects of the CD "standard"
    Last edited by netmask56; 28th Aug 2010 at 23:17.
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  9. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    As a now nearing 50-year-old, I'm gonna refute this "you can't hear above 20Hz or maybe even 15kHz" BS.

    The rule about human's upper limit is that FOR MOST humans up though to ~25-30, you can't percieve DISCREET TONES above ~20kHz at ~-60dBfs. This doesn't mean you can't percieve ANYTHING! On the contrary, most people still can perciece transients and beat frequencies (like netmask56 mentioned) AND IMO more importantly, the crucial time/phase delays that are ultrasonic that occur with Binaural or 3D or Surround sound!
    If you are an audiophile, you'll want you sound to be as realistic (or maybe surrealistic) and as visceral as possible and that includes directionality. The openness and clarity of higher sample rates does extend that.
    This is often hard to be taken seriously until you get a chance to do a true high quality A/B/X comparison with capable equipment in a low-noise environment. I've done this and I can tell you the difference is a no-brainer. I think it boils down to "how much do you value your sound"?

    I've been lucky in that, at my age, I still can hear up to ~17kHz. But I know it'll start dropping more quickly soon if statistics hold true. So, HEAR WHAT GOOD THINGS YOU CAN, WHILE YOU CAN.

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  10. Member netmask56's Avatar
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    I don't know what went wrong but this 72 year old retired sound recording engineer can still hear 12Khz (just!), no glasses either except for 6pt fonts. Focusing on a soft conversation in a crowded restaurant is starting to be a problem. However 95% of my recording work has been in the classical and acoustic jazz genre - avoiding the SHOUT crowd may have helped
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  11. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    The only time I can really hear difference in musical quality is when it's live -- a nice acoustic string or brass, instead of a recording. Woodwinds can be recorded and hold much of the same tonal caliber, however. I don't like percussion live or recorded, unless it's a DCI-quality drumline from a good distance. Nothing amplified, thanks, I value my hearing.

    This also assumes the recording was quality, and not some over-compressed garbage using low-end hardware and free/cheap junk software. Most CDs are cooked, so it's hard to use a CD as the true representation of 44.1kHz. The reason 48kHz sounds better is more because TV shows and DVDs don't ramp up the levels to idiotic values, thereby retaining some semblance of dynamic range. It's not really because of that 3.9kHz difference.

    I've seen a lot of so-called "96kHz" audio that was just upconverted from something poorer. Reminds me of DVDs sourced from VHS masters, and the company has the balls to call it "digitally remastered" -- yet it has all the chroma noise, grain and softness from the tape.

    A lot of people who insist they can "hear" a difference between certain # values are just suffering from psychological perception. The number is bigger, so it must be better, and they can hear it because they want to. Placebo effect. Reminds me of megapixels for cameras.

    I can have a 3MP Nikon D1 with a $2,000 lens attached to it, and some dipstick thinks his $99 10MP camera is better because he's been led to believe that the sole number -- a megapixel -- is what determines quality. Nevermind that it has a crap sensor, shutter lag, and plastic for a lens. You've not going to get good bokeh, high depth, etc, from a P&S camera. Yeah, they've crammed more data into the available area, but it's not really helping. Audio #'s are not much different.
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  12. hmmm?
    Last edited by RabidDog; 29th Aug 2010 at 08:12.
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  13. Member
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    I agree with what is said. Quality of the source is crazy important. If i digitize a tape and upconvert it to 192/24 of course it is going to sound worse, than 44.1/48 studio recorded formats.

    But the question is how do i make out, where the source comes from?

    And also there's a lot of hype on audiphile crowds. Heck, these guys spend thousand of dollars to cable equipment. I even heard of someone spending 2k for a gold plated hi-fidelity usb cable to eliminate jitter, while others say that digital cables dont matter.

    Anyway personally i was told that the higher the audio properties of the file, the better it will sound. Maybe not that better, but i dont suppose that playing mp3 from an ipod dock is almost the same as spending 20k for dac/amp and 250k for loudspeakers, and play FLAC 192/24 audio through them, right?

    I was advised that even turning my mp3 collection into flac it would make that much difference. I tried 2-3 FLAC tracks on my ipod, with my 500USD shure earphones, but i honestly dont recall hearing much if any difference when turned to the lossless format.
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  14. Originally Posted by edDV View Post
    The main argument for 96KHz and I suppose 192KHz is to fend off digital rounding errors that build up when original recordings are processed through a long digital filter chain.

    I agree 20 (or 24) bits is more important than 96KHz at the end listener level.
    This is the answer, nothing else. No need 192kHz for simple playback... but if you need to apply filters, or you record, or if you use a sequencer, high sample freq should be the way...

    An other tip: if your output is Audio-CD, try consider 88.2kHz/176.4kHz values... ^^
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  15. Member
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    Originally Posted by elmuz View Post
    An other tip: if your output is Audio-CD, try consider 88.2kHz/176.4kHz values... ^^
    You mean if i want to rip an audio-CD into the hard drive, or if i output a CD directly to to hi-fi equipment?

    Why these values specifically? They seem like multiples of 44.1k
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  16. Originally Posted by therock003 View Post
    You mean if i want to rip an audio-CD into the hard drive, or if i output a CD directly to to hi-fi equipment?
    Why these values specifically? They seem like multiples of 44.1k
    I mean, use those values if you plan to produce your own music... Let's say you record your own guitar solo, it's better (imho) you sample it with 88.2 instead of 96, because when you down sample it to 44.1 you will have less roundness errors... cause they are exact multiples...

    I am not expert in ripping CDs but I think in that case you just do a bit-by-bit ripping... so no need to upsample it...
    Same story if you send you digital output from your CD player to your amplifier.

    Someone else's opinion?
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  17. Member ranosb's Avatar
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    Aren't almost all speakers in the range of 20-20khz/32khz? So how would the speakers produce a 96khz sound???
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  18. vanished El Heggunte's Avatar
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    EDIT:

    The answer given by netmask56 is much better than mine.
    Last edited by El Heggunte; 11th Sep 2010 at 05:31.
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  19. Member netmask56's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ranosb View Post
    Aren't almost all speakers in the range of 20-20khz/32khz? So how would the speakers produce a 96khz sound???
    With music if there is a harmonic frequency at 18Khz and another at 20Khz sum and difference effects take place so you also get 2Khz and 38Khz tones the higher one won't be heard by human hearing but the 2Khz will add to the overall quality and perception of the sound. Put a brick wall filter at 16Khz and these will be lost. These extra products mainly improve the transient response of percussion instruments. So it is important to have the whole chain from input to output as wide a bandwidth as possible for truly accurate reproduction.

    Very few speaker systems have any effective response above 18Khz except for gems like the Tannoy Super tweeters and other professional set ups. BTW it's not 96Khz sound that refers to the sample rate.

    http://www.digitalprosound.com/Htm/SoapBox/soap2_Apogee.htm


    Also see
    "Breaking the Sound Barrier: Mastering at 96kHz and Beyond," preprint 4357. AES paper preprints are available from the Audio Engineering Society, 60 E. 42nd St., New York, NY 10165-2520. Web: www.aes.org.—Robert Harley
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  20. it is that I am 2 years late, but if I may say
    how can you confuse sampling rate with hearing frequency.
    44.1kHz AND 96kHz means how much signals does speakers plays in a second
    a 20kHz is a maximum human hearing, and that means a high pitched tones that has nothing to do with sampling rate.
    Common people. At least one could know that.
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    Here is the answer
    44.1kHz is enough for 1.00 speed playback, more than enough, but higher 96kHz+ are used for editing, slowmotion playback, so on and so on
    Last edited by krtislav; 19th Nov 2012 at 08:57.
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  21. Member
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    Originally Posted by krtislav View Post
    it is that I am 2 years late
    This is a perfect example of why we don't like it when people dig up old threads to add to them.

    The only person who seems to think that someone in the thread confused sampling rate and hearing frequency is YOU. moviegeek's post is unclear, but it's still possible that he does understand the difference, he just said what he said in an unclear way. And netmask56 clearly understands the difference.

    Nothing you said added to any understanding in this thread. Others already made your points.
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  22. yeah, sorry for that.
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  23. Member MOVIEGEEK's Avatar
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    Here's another good read that explains my statement from two years ago:

    http://tweakheadz.com/16_vs_24_bit_audio.htm
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