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12 thoughts on “The HD-Audio Challenge Results

  • August 15, 2018 at 8:49 pm

    You gain some (additional) respect from me. Someone wiling to change their mind or viewpoint based upon a test like this. To admit you couldn’t tell them apart when you are known far and wide as an advocate for genuine hi-rez recordings. Someone who isn’t hard headed about their position especially one so closely associated with your work.

    A man of depth, and good character. Bravo!

  • August 16, 2018 at 1:29 am

    Hi Mark,

    Sad that only 100 out of 400 responded – I hope more do so, I wonder if people were surprised by their findings and a little reluctant to post their results?

  • August 16, 2018 at 7:45 am

    Mark, if you couldn’t hear a difference, maybe you just need better, more “revealing” wires, like the really nice ones use at audio demos….

    • August 16, 2018 at 12:00 pm

      LOL Yep, I’ve been told that I’m too old, my system isn’t up to the task, or that I have a bias.

  • August 16, 2018 at 9:29 am

    I am not going to support or question the hypothesis in any way. People can decide for themselves. I will say that it would be important to know whether or not a person has an ability to hear a difference if it is indeed present. A hearing test, prior to the challenge, would be appropriate and would better support the results on either side.

    Also, due to the way the brain processes information, someone may not notice a difference right off (or may only notice when it is pointed out to them). This applies to both visual and auditory information.

    In my experience, it often takes me time to notice subtle differences. To wit, when the Pono Player was released I took the HiRes (Pono) challenge. My excitement turned to disappointment because I was not hearing a whole lot of difference. But I forced myself to listen to the same snippet of a track over and over and that is when I started noticing some differences. That said, I do not know if that would be in the spirit of the challenge.

  • August 16, 2018 at 2:05 pm

    Blogs like this one do much to restore my confidence in the world of audio, it demonstrates real integrity to publicly accept that the results of a test like that, including admitting you yourself failed to identify the high res tracks, which run counter to your pre-existing belief and position. In a perfect world this would be the norm, unfortunately it seldom seems to be so.

    My own view (and this is not limited to audio equipment) is that whether or not measurement demonstrates an improvement is less important than whether or not you can discern an improvement in performance and whether it meets your expectations for performance. That is not to dispute the value of measurement and I’m very much a supporter of the objectivist approach to audio equipment but in my own field I sometimes see people becoming fixated on measured differences that are irrelevant for end users.

    I must admit I’ve always thought that the value of real high res recordings lay more in the attention and efforts to get it right by the recording and mastering engineers rather than sample rate etc but that is just my personal opinion.

    • August 16, 2018 at 2:55 pm

      Thanks John. I think you’re right about the care used in the making of high-resolution or audiophile recordings.

  • August 19, 2018 at 8:43 am

    I’ll do the ABX tests that I promised soon – I’ve simply had (and still have) too many things on my to-do list.

  • September 15, 2018 at 10:31 pm

    A bit late to the party but I got 2 correct (1&3) and could not tell any difference with 6. I have to say, though, that the quality of the recordings was very high indeed.

    • September 18, 2018 at 10:05 am

      Thanks Steven.

  • October 13, 2018 at 1:46 pm

    I haven’t tried these recordings yet, but I can seldom hear a difference on studio recordings. But, I usually can on recordings that capture a lot of reflections from the room…recordings that capture a strong sense of the space in which they were recorded. In my opinion, this also holds true in a some 1950’s recordings. So, as long as the discussion continues on just that extra octave of spectrum alone, I fear we never will consistently hear it – and lose hi-rez forever to the trolls who, for motives unclear, consistently and with vitriol bash our hobby on the web. I hypothesize that the FIR filters required to use low sampling rates (those at or near Nyquist) wreck the arrival time off all those reflections and the waveshape of the non-sinusoidal artifacts. I think we need to focus on BOTH time domain and frequency domain. Not even Fourier himself could prove that sinusoids make up “ALL” sounds. Nonetheless, thanks for the work – and keep up the good fight… both against fraudulent claims of hi-rez and against the staunchly anti-hi-rez!

  • October 30, 2018 at 3:55 am

    The Main reason for the small benefits off HD audio can be explained by an analogy to video.
    When you are talking video resolution and compare to audio many people make the mistake of assuming DVD is a proper analogy for CD just because they are reasonable contemporary. In reality CD is more of 1080p and HD audio should be compared to 4K ultra. There is a small benefit of going up to 4K from 1080p sometimes but in the most viewing cases not. DVD is more of LP

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