"science tells us that we all only need 16bit"
Be interested to know what piece of scientific evidence you are citing Relocated?
It's the fact that CD resolution, ie 16/44.1KHz is more than capable of capturing the entire dynamic range of human audible frequencies. A quick bit of Googling should bring up all the facts.
Mac mini > AVI ADM9Ts
Spike, You are on the wrong site for scientific evidence, but just for grins:
44.1 KHz gives an upper frequency limit of 20KHz (which no one on this site will be able to hear, unless they are under 5 or a medical freak)
16 bits has a dynamic range of 96dB (in comparison, vinyl is about 65dB). Human hearing is more sensitive, the range from a barely noticable sound to the threshold of pain for a child is usually taken to be 120dB. But that is in an acoustically treated room - background noise, even in a quiet setting is 30 or 40dB, so the realistic audible range would be 80dB at most. Recorded music has a much lower dynamic range.
Not suprisingly, Sony and Philips didn't hit upon the redbook standard by accident. 16bits and 44.1KHz really is all you need.
I would be quite happy to have my music on a hard drive if a lossless alternative proved as good as CD. I tried downloading an album onto a flash drive into my Onkyo 8050 ("lossless" FLAC) and while it was very good quality, CD still sounded better. I was really disappointed. I would love to do away with the bulk of hundreds of CD's
I've been labelled a lunatic several times on WHF for saying so, but have just tested music via USB on my Cambridge Audio 751 player, which goes through the same DACs as CDs etc, and you know what? WAVs beat FLACs et al everytime on it. Try an uncompressed WAV through your Onkyo and you might just be surprised. Yes the downshot is no album art but what's more important?
As FLAC and WAV yield exactly the same audio data, either:
1. Cambridge have made a rotten job of the FLAC decoder in the 751 player
2. Your player is faulty and it should be returned for a replacement
3. Maybe the 'lunatic' label is correct.
No, no, and no. You can also call Cyrus lunatics as they quote 'get the best results from uncompressed FLACs' - which currently only very few software packages can achieve like dbPoweramp. Your vanilla EAC cannot rip this.
And no need to get insulting - it's one of the WHF house rules if you'd care to read them.
Apologies about the lunatic label. It was however you who brought it up.
I thought that old 'FLAC sounds different to WAV' malarkey had been done to death. Any player which genuinely plays them differently has 'issues', and I'd change it. I really don't know why such nonsense persists in the HiFi community; it can only be because of a misunderstanding of how lossless compression works.
EDIT: And before anyone says otherwise, this is not another case of WHF forum 'mob rule' shouting-down anyone who dares to speak-out against a consensus opinion, it's just a technical fact.
Main system: Mac Mini 2011 • HRT II+ DAC • Marantz CD 63 mkII KI & PM66 KI • MS 10i speakers [borrowed]
In storage: Thorens TD160 (no cart) • Cyrus 2 & PSX • Cyrus tuner • Technics SL-P777 • Nakamichi DR-1
The thousands of tracks played at random idea doesn't appeal to me one bit. I'm very solidly a full album or (in the case of classical music) complete work man, and it is incredibly rare for me to listen to individual tracks or even any sort of compilation.
I have approximately 3,000 CDs and about 600 LPs and I'm always picking up new stuff. I have got about 200 of my CDs ripped in FLAC and accessible through the Squeezebox Touch but I hardly ever listen to them this way and nearly always end up putting the original CD into the Roksan or spinning an LP on the Rega. They both sound significantly better than the Squeezebox (which I admit would probably benefit from an external DAC) and I prefer the experience - browsing my shelves, handling the artwork and sleeve notes and using the CD player or turntable, both of which are a pleasure to use.
I believe CD players will be around for a good while yet, albeit a smaller choice of them, just as turntables have always been available. If it ever looks like either is likely to completely disappear I will be rushing out to buy a couple to have in back stock.
I tend to find myself listening to CDs in my Apollo R - However my main source is my RP3
ALAC from my MacBook Pro into my Rega DAC does not sound quite as good as Red Book CD through the Apollo R/DAC combo.
Streaming is just so handy especially when your entertaining
Icon Audio ST40 III / KT88, Rega Apollo R, DAC, RS3
Rega RP6, Nagaoka MP-200, White Belt, Michell Tecnoweight, Rega Fono MM
Rega Quattro, Couple 1 & 2
My advice - don't believe everything you read in the marketing hype/bull$h!t. It's bad enough with cables, don't let it get you on digital files as well.
By no means are you a lunatic, you are just lacking some basic knowledge - maybe you should read up a bit on computing? It's a bit more factual than hifi tends to be.
As Major Fubar pointed out - there is no difference between a flac file played back and a wav file. It's easily proved and has been by MF himself I think. In case you didn't know, a flac file is compressed in a lossless way - that means no data is discarded and the exact same wav file can be magically recreated from the flac file. It's similar to using Winzip to make a file smaller for e-mailing.
In fact, all else being equal and assuming your speakers are good enough, a flac file played from a computer using something like Foobar, output via USB to a decent quality DAC (not neccessarily an audiophile DAC) should sound better than a CDP because there are no mechanical/transport/damaged disc issues to affect the sound. And that's just engineering/scientific reality - no hype, no snake oil, no $h!t.
Although I would never again buy a stand alone CDP as I think my Denon Blu Ray player is good enough; I will still buy CD's because I want something physical, something that I can touch and keep. Plus of course I can also rip it to as many different formats as I want, as many times as I want, I can store the resulting files on laptops, desktops, phones, walkmans; in a dozen different clouds or external drives and I could even, if I wanted too, give it to a friend or sell it. You can have your cake and eat it too!
Thanks for the replies guys, interesting
Just to add to the 16 bit 44.1 kHz discussion:
I wonder if the Red Book CD (16 bit) standard was influenced heavily by the DAC technology available at the time? The original CD players struggled to get anywhere near 16 bit resolution. Seems incredible today when were now talking about 32 bit!
CD player quality was also degraded with the 44.1 kHz sampling frequency as it was too close to the audible frequency range so oversampling was added in later players to help reduce the audible effect of the analogue filters that remove the sampling frequency. Now we have up-sampling that also interpolates (predicts what) audio data should exist between non-existent 'real' samples! So you have to ask would it not be better in the interests of getting the best quality to just sample the original sound at a far higher frequency (well over 44.1 kHz) so that there are minimal errors in the replay processing?
I guess my thought is that it might be a bit more complex than just looking at the numbers once you take the replay processing into account?
Off for a now!
This is very interesting and shows a divide, perhaps a generational divide, in the way people listen to music. I don't listen to music on the move and indeed don't want to. I can't imagine taking music to a friend's house and neither do I want to listen to it in other parts of my house or at work (I'm retired now but never listened to music at work or wanted to). I can however see that digital music files make these things easy to do and agree that it would be hard to arrange with CDs.
My music listening consists of sitting on my sofa (generally not doing anything else at the time) and CDs are fine for that. Indeed finding one in my collection is part of the fun and there are the sleeve notes to read and various versions to compare (It's mainly classical) and with choral works there are the words to follow. I don't think digital music files would do much for me.
I totally agree with the above. If you are a classical fan I can't really see the point of downloads. Like plastic penguin as well, I only listen to music in isolation from everything else. CD's mostly last forever. I still hav e the first ones that I bought in the 80's. Amazingly, they sound better now, because my HIFI has improved. If they were vinyl, it's doubtful that I would have looked after them well enough to be very lisenable now. For classical there is simply no substitute for browsing Gramophone magazine and making a monthly selection.
I buy more Cd's now than I ever have done and will continue to buy even more until it is no longer possible , I fully expect to be buried with my Cd player if possible because I love it so much Nothing else comes close .
Here is a picture of a few of my Cd's .
Plus 1 Have never bought so many as I have done in the last couple of years!
Electro, if it's not too much trouble, are you able to name some of the CD's pictured as my screen reader won't recognise graphics. I've already become hooked on Kings of Convenience on your recommendation.
One artist I've recently discovered who I think has been around for a few years, is Tina Dico.
Mac , it would be impossible to list all the Cd's in the picture as there are about 1500 , these are the ones I play regularly and I have many more in other cabinets !
What I can do is give you the link to my spotify page on which you will find over 900 tracks of music that I like to which I am constantly adding new music .
I hope you have spotify and can open the link ?
Let me know if you can access it .
I will also listen to Tina Dico
I managed to flick through your play list thank you and found a few things to follow up.
Here's the link to mine
Hope you find something you like.
Accuphase E350 amp, Electrocompaniet EMC1UP CDP, Siltech 25th Classic anniversary 330I XLR Harbeth Super HL5 on Sound Anchor Quod ELS63 stands, Chord Odessey2 speaker cable. Grado SR60 headphones.
In fact, all else being equal and assuming your speakers are good enough, a flac file played from a computer using something like Foobar, output via USB to a decent quality DAC (not neccessarily an audiophile DAC) should sound better than a CDP because there are no mechanical/transport/damaged disc issues to affect the sound. And that's just engineering/scientific reality - no hype, no snake oil, no $h
Not so in my case...i use Foobar 2000 to (ASIO) stream Flac files ripped by EAC. PC is fitted with a Xonar Essence (192khz) Soundcard into my 8xpd via SPDIF.
My CD player still blows it into the middle of next week, as far as im concerned the main benifit of streaming is convineance, yes you got the 24bit stuff but its very limited, personally i dont think hi res will ever become that big in the same way SACD never did,
I can still remember the death vinyl when CD was first introduced
Long live the CD i say-all imo of course
One thing that I don't quite understand, why 44.1KHz and not 48KHz? (I suppose I should just google it and stop being lazy.
When I used to teach physics I used to 'test' the class' hearing by playing a signal generator through a decent hifi system I just 'happened' to have in the classroom (marking was not so much a chore that way!!) and it was always funny that every time I did this lesson there were a few who claimed they could hear the tones well into ultrasound frequencies, every year at least a couple of 14yr olds were insistent they could still here the tone at over 50kHz, they were not impressed when I offered them some fish (always had some in the freezer with the biology rats ready for this lesson!)
Point being some people think they can hear things that are not there, very few people can detect (as opposed to hear) sounds above 20kHz so the sampling frequency does not have to be much more than twice this. Once you have the frequency, you then determiine the step size you think you can split the waveform into, which leads to the bit level. 16 bits gives 65536 different values for the waveform voltage which leads to very small steps and limits quantisation errors, and thats all I can recall at this time of night after 'some' red wine.
However, listening to music by playing a CD in a CD player is getting a bit old hat IMO. There are other more convenient ways of playing digital music files nowadays.
More convenient? That depends on what you consider convenient Steve. My stereo sits about 7 feet away from me. I come home, switch the plugs on, power them up (all less than 15 seconds) and load a disc up in the CD player. Really quite convenient....!
I have over 3000 tracks in my digital music collection and I take them everywhere I go because they fit on a tiny memory card that weighs virtually nothing. If I used CDs this would be impossible to do because they're too big and bulky to carry them all.
When I walk to work I can listen to them on my earphones. When I get in the car I can stream them wirelessly to the car stereo. When I go to a friends house I can stream them wirelessly to his hifi. If I want to play music on another system in another part of the house I can stream them wirelessly via the wifi internet router.
Selecting music is easier too. For example if I want to listen to some 'Daft Punk' all I need to do is press one button and speak the words "Play Daft Punk" and as if by magic Daft Punk starts playing. If I want to listen to just classical music I can select music by genre at the touch of a button and it only plays the classical tracks. If I wanted to listen to Mozart I can select music by the artist and it only plays the Mozart tracks. If I don't know what I want to listen to I can just select all 3000 tracks and play them in a random order.
Oh and of course if I want to select an artist/album/song manually they're all there available on my phone, tablet and computer conveniently arranged into alphabetic order. I don't even need to get up to browse through them because the entire collection is on a screen under my fingertips.
With modern technology all of these thing are so simple and fast to do with digital music files. But with CDs all of these things are impossible to do.
Yes, a different kind of convenient. I use Spotify, so that's thousands of tracks, I have an external hard drive I can control with the Onkyo, so that's convenient, or my iPod Touch I can carry around with me so I use Spotify and iTunes out and about. I don't bother with thousands of tracks but swap in and out over several hundred every so often. I also prefer to listen to albums in the main at work and have a playlist with the odds and sods for walking around in town.
Onkyo TX-NR818 / Tannoy DC4 speakers / Marantz UD-7007
AVI Lab Series CD player / various cables
"Please note that this component is meant for systems where ASIO is the only available output method. It is highly recommended to use the default output modes instead of ASIO. Contrary to popular "audiophile" claims, there are NO benefits from using ASIO as far as music playback quality is concerned, while bugs in ASIO drivers may severely degrade the performance. "
A bit more info here - http://wiki.hydrogenaudio.org/index.php?title=Bypassing_Windows_Mixer
Assuming you're on Win 7 it might be worth trying without ASIO or WASAPI and see how it sounds?
Bizarrely enough, that's a standard which goes back to the days of recording digital audio on adapted video recorders, before hard-drives became sufficiently big and powerful to store and stream the data fast enough.
In 50 Hz video, there are 37 blank lines out of the 625 leaving 588 active lines per frame, or 294 per field (remembering that video is two interlaced fields per frame), and they stuck three samples on each line. So the sampling rate is given by: 50Hz X 294 lines X 3 samples per line = 44.1 KHz. In 60Hz video, there are 35 blank lines, leaving 490 lines per frame or 245 lines per field, so the sampling rate is given by 60Hz X 245 lines X 3 samples per line = 44.1 KHz
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