The general public maybe not interested they can keep there mp3s and most of the music they listen to. For others who want decent sound then instead of cds I think downloads are the way forward, whether that is is DSD or SACD or something else Im not sure. Some people spend alot of money on hifi but instead of cd quality they may want better quality music which IMHO will sound better than cds on a more expensive system. You only have to look on the internet to find many posts on Mac forums etc.
I agree, it's never going to be a mass market, but there are enough audiophiles who want good quality music downloads of all descriptions and genres. Now that storage space is relatively cheap, the size of these files is not such an issue along with ever faster broadband speeds for quick downloads.
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This is from a music report at end of 2011: " The number of paying subscribers to services such as Spotify and Deezer has leapt in the last twelve months, from an estimated eight to more than 13 million. At the same time, cloudbased services, such as iTunes Match, have become a reality in the marketplace, helping drive the popularity of music downloading."
OK most of that will be mp3 format but I think the quality downloads will grow also. Some music is hard to find even now on cd, I looked for a Linn recording which is fairly recent and could only find it as a download, I think for lesser known artists this could be the way forward, as record companies do not need to spend lots on cds production, artwork, sleeve and marketing, just make it available as a download.
It's had almost 14 years to make an impact, it isn't going to happen, the general public (ie normal people, not us lot) just aren't interested.
Is it ignorance or disinterest?
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I found this sceptical review on high resolution PCM downloads. There's no specific mention of SACD or DSD downloads , but it seems to rubbish the whole idea scientifically of a need for hi-res music.
I personally don't agree, most of the hi-res music I have on my system sounds better than the 16bit 44.1khz equivalent. With regard to SACD specifically when compared to a DVD-Audio disc, I've always preferred SACD. The SACD always seems to have better bass and a less clinical sound, an answer I found on the web from someone replying to the sceptical review sums SACD up for me.
"I'd also note that from what I understand, the dynamic range of SACD is actually lower than 24-bit, being somewhere in the range of 20-bit. And it's also true that part of why SACDs sound better but seem to be at a lower level is because the baseline is 6 db lower than on RBCD - so no clipping occurs.The reason SACD sounds better - and the advantage DSD has over high-res PCM - is impulse/transient response. Effectively, the very high sampling rate grants the same benefits as oversampling, but even more naturally. This is why people say DSD is more analog."
Re. high resolution files DVD-A and SACD included, the only things that are guaranteed with these files are a higher price and larger file size.
They have no benefit over 16/44.1 that you will ever hear and even if you could hear these frequencies, no system will come close to replaying the sound to the full potential of the format. Not to mention that the dynamic range of 16/44.1 is more than enough for anyone to listen to without suffering hearing damage.
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Not so much a sceptical review as scientific fact. Of course, you are entitled to disagree, but what bits do you not agree with? What parts are incorrect?
I disagree with the part that implies I can't hear a difference. I have a few hires files/discs which don't sound as good as the CD and 1 or 2 that sound worse, but the majority sound better to my ears, and in a lot of cases by no small margin.
That's not to say that all CD's at 16bit 44.1khz sound bad, if all CD's were released as JVC's XRCD's the difference between higher resolution files would be minimal. It's a shame XRCD never took off in the way that SHM-CD has.
I think the point I made about SACD and DSD mastering is the character it puts on music, it's far more analogue sounding with great bass but also with superb detail in most cases. PCM h-res sources tend to sound more clinical by comparison to my ears.
If you can't hear a difference, then you're lucky as you can save yourself some money. Unfortunately for me, I can. No, I don't pretend to be able to hear much past 20khz, but hires music, especially when it's DSD mastered has a superior character to CD sound.
There may be DSD downloads available as Andrew pointed out, but
1. If you're playing through one, you need a DSD compatible DAC, of which there are currently few.
2. I still maintain even for SACD disc playback, if you want the best out of the format, most universal Blu-ray players i.e. even your CAs and Oppos won't cut it because their internal DACs convert the DSD to PCM. They output DSD through their HDMI and then you'll need a DSD compatible AV receiver, or otherwise get a dedicated SACD player if you're serious about playing them.
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So what's the problem with that?
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Yes, but as has been mentioned many, MANY times, that's due to better mastering, not any inherent superiority of the format.
Now, you might well argue, well in that case I want the better mastering, in which case that's currently the only reason to need hi-res format support.
Generally speaking it's the cheaper DSD decoders that convert to PCM instead of those that maintain the DSD stream, and apparently the cheaper ones don't sound as good.
Which is why I would generally agree with you that SACD is now just a waste of time, and that genuine high-res audio is better.
Yeah but if they're sending DSD out through the HDMI and you're plugging that into an AV receiver that can decode the DSD what's the problem with that?
I agree, but you won't get better mastering for the mass market, they don't care. We do and therefore a niche audiophile market exists for CD and hi-res formats. But within those formats there are different ideas of what represents good mastering. SHM-CD's for example I think are generally better than the original CD, but can be a bit brash. SHM-SACD's on the other hand, I've found to be generally very good. I have an XRCD release of Private Dancer by Tina Turner, if all CD's sounded like that, then great. With Mobile Fidelity, my taste is the opposite to SHM releases, I usually prefer their CD titles to the SACD releases? However, in general, I maintain for my ears the character that SACD releases put on music with their DSD mastering is superior to any other I've heard.
My old Yamaha Z7 could decode the DSD signal from my player via HDMI and sounded good, however you're limited by the stereo abilities (I don't like surround music) of an AV amp. I recently had a change of direction with movies and music, the Z7 has gone now. SACD's decoded by my modded Marantz and played via my Naim Nait XS sound far better than through the Z7.
Next on my list though is definately the Mytek Stereo 192 DSD-DAC so I can play the DSD files on my PC without any PCM conversion.
That's precisely what I said.
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