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3 thoughts on “HD-Audio Challenge II: Preliminary Results

  • May 1, 2020 at 12:16 pm
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    Hi Mark,
    Whilst this is an early comment following your pre-result blog post, I am dismayed to read that 47% is considered no better than the toss of a coin in terms of a statisical result.

    Far be it from me to debate the comments from the statistician, it seems to be a lot of work to be dismissed as not having any validity because the result is around the 50% mark.

    For those that believe they can tell the difference, but be told their input basically holds no meaning is a bit harsh.

    I decided not to take the test on the grounds that there simply isn’t enough provenance available to tell me whether recordings are made at a high rate in the first place and that the majority of the music I listen to was made long before recording at high levels became a thing.

    I have no doubt in a blind test I would not be able to tell the difference, simply because I have a remastered CD of several albums and a Hi Res version of the same and cannot tell a difference between them.

    Following some of your previous blogs stating that the vast majority of music available never made it through a Hi Res production process, it has become mute as to whether a recording I buy is in a 24 bit container, I only buy them if I know that the remastering process has yielded good results from visiting various forums, or I happen to know that the original sounded good in the first place.

    From my perspective your survey is only going to prove to the recording indusry that the production process is not worth upgrading and that High quality Hi Res recordings will remain the preserve of the likes of 2L.

    I look forward to the detailed analysis of your work and the subsequent dialogue. It is such a shame that Hi Res will only be a benefit if it is used for the recording process and that I know the majority of the music I like will not use that process.

    But when it comes down to it, I will continue to enjoy music and not fret over the smapling rates or word depths.

    And of course I will continue to seek out great recordings likewise undisturbed by their resolution.

    Hope you are keeping well at this time and look foward to your posts on this subject.

  • May 8, 2020 at 9:22 am
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    Mark,

    I just signed up for the survey and received access to the files. I am starting the listening…

    Upon reflecting upon the methodology of the survey, I am questioning (respectfully) its validity?

    What the survey is asking us to do is to compare is a 96/24 master Hi-Res audio file to the same, however downconverted to a 44.1/16 CD Redbook format and then upconverted back to a new 96/24 PCM file (for sake of a better blind test).

    The result is that the downconverted / unconverted file is a copy exact of the master Hi-Res up to 22.050 MHz.
    The portion of te spectrum from 0 to 22.050 MHz is the same in the two files we are asked to compare. Hence why it seems that the participants have a hard time discerning between the two.

    So it seems to me, but I may be wrong, that the survey is more about who can hear sound above 22.050 Mhz (which most of us human past the age of 25 cannot), as opposed to whether a High Res audio recording is of better audio quality than a Redbook CD audio recording.

    I wonder if a better survey would be to compare a true Redbook CD recording to a 96/24 Hi-Res audio recording? I understand that the file size difference may make a true bling comparison difficult, however, I believe this is what the survey is trying to get to.

    What am I missing?

    • May 8, 2020 at 11:26 am
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      Philippe, you forgot that the two primary differences between a high-resolution file and a Red Book track are the sampling rate AND the word length. So a native high-resolution audio recording converted to a CD Red Book standard-resolution file is about the fidelity differences between them…if any. Putting the CD spec fidelity back in a 96 kHz/24-bit PCM bit bucket doesn’t change the fidelity any more than digitizing a vinyl LP at 192 kHz/24-bits helps the fidelity.

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