Have your say & ask the experts!

Better mastered music could be on the way!

713 replies [Last post]
WinterRacer's picture
Offline
Joined: 14 Jan 2009
Posts: 393
RE: Better mastered music RE: Better mastered music

steve_1979 wrote:

I agree that saying "These files offer true studio quality and are far higher in quality than can be achieved on CD" is very misleading to the layman who doesn't fully understand digital audio technology.

Technically speaking though it's not actually a lie because the 24bit FLAC files do have a higher bit rate than a CD even if it is totally impossible for anyone to be able to hear the difference between the two.

 

Hmm, not so sure Steve, I've just watched Batman and think he might have been able to tell.  The rest of us, no chance.   Smile

__________________

My System

Overdose's picture
Offline
Joined: 8 Feb 2008
Posts: 3137
RE: Better mastered music could be on the way!

shooter wrote:

32 bit is the norm for studio work, it allows head room for editing without adding noise (quantisation) whilst the work is done.

 

Afterwards its mixed down to whatever bit rate file/disc is required, either 24 bit  or 16 bit with 24 bit having less noise or higher S/N.

I thought the recording was done in 24 bit and the mastering (sometimes) done in 32 bit and even 64?

Either way the original recording and final master are 24 bit, no?

__________________

Mac mini > AVI ADM9Ts

relocated's picture
Offline
Joined: 20 Jan 2012
Posts: 965
RE: Better mastered music

WinterRacer wrote:

Mirren Boy wrote:
Maybe I should have explained in more detail. Of course there was no digital recordings back then. What was meant  ? Don’t think there was even a 24channel mixing desk back then which equates to the official recording being mastered today for 24bit. Hope that’s better for you.

I think you're getting the number of channels on the mixing desk confused with number of bits when encoding samples; they have nothing to do with one another.

 

Mirren Boy,

You clearly really don't know what you are talking about.  Please do everyone, ESPECIALLY YOURSELF, a favour and bow out of this.  You are, sadly,  making a fool of yourself.

__________________

Apple Lossless - ATV3 - AVI ADM 40  also ATV3 into AVI ADM 9T [my wife's system]

and Grado SR80i

shooter's picture
Offline
Joined: 4 May 2008
Posts: 2672
RE: Better mastered music could be on the way!

Overdose wrote:

shooter wrote:

32 bit is the norm for studio work, it allows head room for editing without adding noise (quantisation) whilst the work is done.

 

Afterwards its mixed down to whatever bit rate file/disc is required, either 24 bit  or 16 bit with 24 bit having less noise or higher S/N.

I thought the recording was done in 24 bit and the mastering (sometimes) done in 32 bit and even 64?

Either way the original recording and final master are 24 bit, no?

 

According to Linn the "studio master" is the highest quality music file available anywhere...

AL13N's picture
Offline
Joined: 29 Nov 2009
Posts: 580
RE: Better mastered music could be on the way!

Here's an interesting article that explains things in a clear and easy to understand manner:

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

Tweak wrote:
What is 32 bit float point processing? Most major sequencers and many of the better multi track recorders will render audio temporarily in a 32 bit floating point format. This should not be confused with 32 bit recording. Basically, the extra bits are added onto the file after recording to allow generous headroom for audio mathematics in the digital domain. Before the file is output it will go through the 24 bit converters on your interface.

Tweak wrote:
Its not that 24 bits of data makes the sound better. It actually does not. What is does is give your audio more room to breathe in the numeric realm of digital audio. Remember, we are talking about numbers, calculations, not analog waveforms. With 24 bits of data demarcing your recording medium, its is possible to record extremely dynamic music, with very quiet soft passages and extraordinary loud passages. Quiet passages will be less likely struggling to stay above the noise floor on your system. One can record with no compression. You can record at lower levels, with more headroom. This ensures that the occasional peak is not truncated at the top and it will give converters some room the breathe. Because you are not pushing the limits of your bandwidth, your instruments will sound clearer, and the vocals may sound "cleaner", the song will mix better and there will be less noise. So its not that 24 bit recordings sound better. In fact they may sound just as bad or worse than 16 bit. But 24 bits gives the recordist a noise floor and headroom to create an excellent recording. Its a tool, and in the right hand, it can blow you away, audio wise.

CnoEvil's picture
Online
Joined: 21 Aug 2009
Posts: 11423
RE: Better mastered music could be on the way!

AL13N wrote:
Here's an interesting article that explains things in a clear and easy to understand manner: http://tweakheadz.com/16_vs_24_bit_audio.htm

Yup, which is why I linked to it some 40 pages ago Wink .........it seems to have got lost in the feeding frenzy: http://www.whathifi.com/forum/hi-fi/better-mastered-music-could-be-on-th...

__________________

"Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again."  André Gide

AL13N's picture
Offline
Joined: 29 Nov 2009
Posts: 580
RE: Better mastered music could be on the way!

oldric_naubhoff wrote:
Please note the difference in DR between 1985 master (definitely "only" 16bit) and then 2005 re-master.

http://www.dr.loudness-war.info/index.php?search_artist=dire+straits&sea...

Also note how the Dynamic Range of the 1985 "lossy" file is the same as the 1985 "lossless" version, perfectly in keeping with steve_1979's findings.

Dynamic Range differs between different masters, not between different formats (regardless of ones view on whether or not the sound quality of lossy suffers due to compression artifacts).

Overdose's picture
Offline
Joined: 8 Feb 2008
Posts: 3137
RE: Better mastered music could be on the way!

shooter wrote:

Overdose wrote:

shooter wrote:

32 bit is the norm for studio work, it allows head room for editing without adding noise (quantisation) whilst the work is done.

 

Afterwards its mixed down to whatever bit rate file/disc is required, either 24 bit  or 16 bit with 24 bit having less noise or higher S/N.

I thought the recording was done in 24 bit and the mastering (sometimes) done in 32 bit and even 64?

Either way the original recording and final master are 24 bit, no?

 

According to Linn the "studio master" is the highest quality music file available anywhere...

Ahhh, right. Wink excellent!

__________________

Mac mini > AVI ADM9Ts

steve_1979's picture
Offline
Joined: 14 Jul 2010
Posts: 3562
RE: Better mastered music could be on the way!

steve_1979 wrote:

Earlier in this thread I was asked to compare files from other companies that offer hi-rez music in various different formats.

 

Erm ok. I'm not sure where to start though...

 

Can anybody suggest any music sites where I can download the music files in various different formats? Preferably for free or at least very cheaply.

__________________

PC > AVI Neutron Five 2.1

Sony NWZ-A847 64GB Walkman > Westone UM3x

the record spot's picture
Offline
Joined: 13 Oct 2007
Posts: 9017
RE: Better mastered music

relocated wrote:

WinterRacer wrote:

Mirren Boy wrote:
Maybe I should have explained in more detail. Of course there was no digital recordings back then. What was meant  ? Don’t think there was even a 24channel mixing desk back then which equates to the official recording being mastered today for 24bit. Hope that’s better for you.

I think you're getting the number of channels on the mixing desk confused with number of bits when encoding samples; they have nothing to do with one another.

 

Mirren Boy,

You clearly really don't know what you are talking about.  Please do everyone, ESPECIALLY YOURSELF, a favour and bow out of this.  You are, sadly,  making a fool of yourself.

 

I suppose relocation wouldn't be something you'd consider Relocated?  Leave the guy alone.  One thing not to know about the finer points of an obscure topic 99%+ of us have little idea about in detail, another thing to show off our own lack of class.  Live and learn.

__________________

 

Onkyo TX-NR818 / Tannoy DC4 speakers / Marantz UD-7007

AVI Lab Series & Marantz CD63 MkII KI CD players / various cables 

jcbrum's picture
Offline
Joined: 27 Apr 2008
Posts: 595
RE: Better mastered music

I think we must all remember that the important thing (and the underlying message of this thread) is to avoid the awful audio compression which is ruining much of the newer music releases.

 

Audio compression on recordings, is used to reduce their dynamic range and make them sound louder.  It's nothing to do with digital file compression which is used to make digital file sizes smaller.

There is no correlation between the two processes.

 

Perceived audio quality depends on an expert master recording, and has little to do with what bit-rate, or sampling rate, is used for the distribution version.

These facts have been clearly identified during the discussions of this topic, on this forum and others, and seem to be generally agreed by those with a technical understanding of these issues.

 

I do feel that Linn could help the cause by changing their sales techniques and information.  There is no doubt that they provide some excellent quality recordings, but they are not helping by implying that high bit rate alone determines audio quality in the consumers' hands.

I have no doubt that Linn are competent to understand the issues, and they should take a lead in this case, and not allow themseles to be criticised because of poor marketing and sales information.

 

Just because a file is 24/192 format does not follow it must be 'high audio quality', it might be the most horribly compressed, poorly recorded, effort ever made, but sold at a high price as a premium product simply on the claim of '24bit'.

 

JC

the record spot's picture
Offline
Joined: 13 Oct 2007
Posts: 9017
RE: Better mastered music

Indeed JC, and as anyone who lashed out £75 and upwards on the Genesis boxset(Drunk will testify to that readily.  I've said for a long time that something being put out in hi-res alone is not guarantee of audio quality.  

__________________

 

Onkyo TX-NR818 / Tannoy DC4 speakers / Marantz UD-7007

AVI Lab Series & Marantz CD63 MkII KI CD players / various cables 

steve_1979's picture
Offline
Joined: 14 Jul 2010
Posts: 3562
RE: Better mastered music could be on the way!

You have made some very good points there JC and I completely agree with you.

 

We both understand that there are many things needed to make a good quality audio file such as the recording and mastering of the music. We both also understand that even though a 24bit file has a higher resolution than a 16bit file they're both still going to sound exactly the same. So IMO as far as the end user is concerned they're both exactly the same quality dispite having a difference in bit rate.

 

What Linn have said is that the 24bit studio mastered files are of a higher quality than what can be achieved on a 16bit CD. When taken in a very literal sense they are a higher bit rate so technically speaking they better in this one respect. Although IMO this isn't actually the same thing as being better quality. So yes it is misleading to the layman who doesn't understand digital audio technology but when taken in this one very literal sense they haven't actually told a lie.

 

What Linn has failed to do though, is make it clear to their customers that there are in fact two different versions of the music which only sound different to one another because they've been mastered to sound different and that this has nothing to do with the bit rate.

 

Like I said: they haven't actually lied but it is misleading.

__________________

PC > AVI Neutron Five 2.1

Sony NWZ-A847 64GB Walkman > Westone UM3x

Overdose's picture
Offline
Joined: 8 Feb 2008
Posts: 3137
RE: Better mastered music could be on the way!

steve_1979 wrote:

................24bit studio mastered files are of a higher quality than what can be achieved on a 16bit CD.

16 bit CD is more than adequate to fully capture the enitre audible dynamic range of any piece of music, so I'd say that the statement is wrong. You can't get any better because there is no audible benefit. What's the point in trying to replay sub and ultra sonic noises that humans cannot hear? All it does is create an uneccessarily large file.

Remember that we are taliking about music and what we can hear, anything outside of the range of our hearing is irrelevant.

__________________

Mac mini > AVI ADM9Ts

steve_1979's picture
Offline
Joined: 14 Jul 2010
Posts: 3562
RE: Better mastered music could be on the way!

Overdose wrote:

steve_1979 wrote:

................24bit studio mastered files are of a higher quality than what can be achieved on a 16bit CD.

16 bit CD is more than adequate to fully capture the enitre audible dynamic range of any piece of music, so I'd say that the statement is wrong. You can't get any better because there is no audible benefit. What's the point in trying to replay sub and ultra sonic noises that humans cannot hear? All it does is create an uneccessarily large file.

Remember that we are taliking about music and what we can hear, anything outside of the range of our hearing is irrelevant.

I agree.

 

24bit files are used in studios when making the music because (for mathematical reasons) they're more convenient to edit. However as far as the musical playback is concerned 24bit and 16bit audio files will both sound exactly identical and therefore they both have exactly the same level of sound quality.

__________________

PC > AVI Neutron Five 2.1

Sony NWZ-A847 64GB Walkman > Westone UM3x