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The differences of Audio formats?


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I have been wondering this for a while now and since I am only a fledgeling audiophile I would like to ask everybody what are the main perks and flaws of different audio formats.

DVD-A does not seem very popular amoung some of you. Why? What's wrong with it? How is it different from normal DVD?

Some think SACD is great but why? Is the soundquality audibly better than on average CDs (I imagine the Super Audio in the name should give me a hint but I would like to hear your thoughts)?

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The sampling rate of a digital audio recording is the same for both channels of a stereo track. It’s not split in two for each track. For example, the left and right channels of a CD are each sampled

48kHz sample can only reproduce 24kHz frequencies, but I suppose that is what you meant.  

Listen to the RCA Living Stereo albums and then get back to me. Neil

Both DVD-A and SACD are high resolution audio formats that offer significantly higher soundquality then CD (which has a much lower bitrate) and DVD (which really isn't an audio format and has it's audio files compressed, not unlike MP3's)

I own an SACD player and several soundtracks on SACD and it's a great format, doing justice to music in a way the CD is technically unable too.

I own the A.I.: Artificial Intelligence DVD-A, but since I do not have a player I can only listen to the Dolby Digital layer, NOT the High Resolution layer, so I am unable to comment on it.

SACD seems to be the preffered format for audiophiles though.

More more technical information, turn to Neil or Alexcremers.

But DVD-A is NOT the same as a DVD that has music on it.

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Thanks for the info Steef! That made it little clearer.

But I have read on some discs themeselves that the SACDs play also in normal CD players. Is there any differnce in the sound of is it as high quality as in SACD players?

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Nope no logo nowhere :cry: It seems I have two options: to update a new DVD player or buy a SACD player. Tough. Perhaps I can some way get the money for one of them.

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I own the A.I.: Artificial Intelligence DVD-A, but since I do not have a player I can only listen to the Dolby Digital layer, NOT the High Resolution layer, so I am unable to comment on it.

It still sounds muddy much like the CD version.

SACD hasn't really impressed me yet. There are some slight improvements but not what I expected.

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  • 14 years later...
1 hour ago, BryonDavis said:

High res audio is akin to 4k over standard HD....more detail can be heard especially from orchestras.

How can you hear stuff above 22kHz?

 

Oh I don't believe in "there is data above 22kHz that you can't hear but that somehow still affects the sound of the audio we can hear (20Hz-20kHz)"

 

And by the way, for listening purposes, 24 bit is useless compared to 16 bit.

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On 10/11/2005 at 10:21 AM, Incanus said:

I have been wondering this for a while now and since I am only a fledgeling audiophile I would like to ask everybody what are the main perks and flaws of different audio formats.

DVD-A does not seem very popular amoung some of you. Why? What's wrong with it? How is it different from normal DVD?

Some think SACD is great but why? Is the soundquality audibly better than on average CDs (I imagine the Super Audio in the name should give me a hint but I would like to hear your thoughts)?

 

So, Mr. Fledgeling Audiophile, have you come to a conclusion yet? :)

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7 hours ago, Chewy said:

He realised he couldn't hear the difference between 24/192 HD audio and 16/44.1 CD tracks.

 

No. I realized you were taking everything I said out of context. I never said you could hear it. I said its a matter of clarity and depth. But go ahead i ceded the conversation to you seeing you think your take is the only legit one.

 

Maybe we should all listen to mp3s because hey, you can't truly hear the difference right?  When I post a point there is always the person who inserts a point i was not making. I love people who think only their point is right. But hey...MP3 for all seeing nobody can hear anything. I'll officially leave this topic now. Thanks.

 

I get some people need to be right. Sad part here is those who need to be right sure love attributing things because of this need to own another's take. MP3s hehe.

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12 minutes ago, BryonDavis said:

 

No. I realized you were taking everything I said out of context. I never said you could hear it but go ahead i ceded the conversation to you seeing you think your take is the only legit one.

 

Maybe we should all listen to mp3s because hey, you can't truly hear the difference right?  When I post a point there is always the person who inserts a point i was not making. I love people who think only their point is right. But hey...MP3 for all seeing nobody can hear anything. I'll officially leave this topic now. Thanks.

You said HD audio compared to CD was like 4K compared to 1080p, that is just not true at all, and you can't deny that.

 

Still, that's very strange of you to remove your messages. I guess you got agressed for no reason by my answer, wasn't my objective.

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7 minutes ago, Chewy said:

You said HD audio compared to CD was like 4K compared to 1080p, that is just not true at all, and you can't deny that.

 

Still, that's very strange of you to remove your messages. I guess you got agressed for no reason by my answer, wasn't my objective.

You said HD audio compared to CD was like 4K compared to 1080p, that is just not true at all, and you can't deny that.

 

Still, that's very strange of you to remove your messages. I guess you got agressed for no reason by my answer, wasn't my objective.

 

My point is based on clarity and depth. Your point was to baselessly attribute something to me i never said. I was describing depth and range. Our ears can pick up those differences. Why do sound engineers make movies in 24/48 and not 16/44?  But hey why not MP3? I mean they sound fine too using your argument.

 

Not here to argue. I just want to talk about stuff i love. I deleted those comments because I just realized I gotta stop wearing my heart on my sleeve and just stick to answering questions. I have no problem debating but you took it past a debate point then doubled down with that snarky comment. Its cool. Moving on.

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9 minutes ago, Jurassic Shark said:

I've never been very interested in high-res formats since CDs usually sound good to me, but now that I have the capability with my new hi-fi equipment, I want to explore higher-res recordings and do my own comparisons.

Please do. Again, with Cd mastering you do get some compression of instruments. A true studio quality 24 48 recording is uncompressed. The music breathes. I disagree with anybody trying to push the cynical you can't hear it. True, we can't hear but we still can pick up depth, warmth and range improvements. But I suggest you go play MP3s. I mean hey...Spotify sounds great on my phone (sarcasm).

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5 hours ago, BryonDavis said:

Why do sound engineers make movies in 24/48 and not 16/44?  But hey why not MP3? I mean they sound fine too using your argument.

Again, comparing HD audio to CD isn't the same as comparing lossless audio to MP3s.

 

Engineers like Mike Matessino doing an analog transfer use 192kHz/24bit data to preserve all the analog information. HD audio is also very useful for editing/mixing purposes as you can manipulate everything without any limit (amplifying an audio file, changing the speed/pitch). But then, once all these processing operations are done, downsampling the high res files to CD quality will not sound any different.

 

For listening purposes: 24 bit audio just adds useless dynamics, 16 bit audio has 96dB dynamics, more than enough. 

Talking about frequencies, no one is able to hear stuff above 22.05Khz. Of course, back in the early days of CD, engineers had to use a low pass filter that could filter audible frequencies to prevent artifacts when playing. Things have improved since 1985 and a correctly mastered CD will now sound as good as a HD audio file.

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3 minutes ago, Chewy said:

Again, comparing HD audio to CD isn't the same as comparing lossless audio to MP3s.

 

Engineers like Mike Matessino doing an analog transfer use 192kHz/24bit data to preserve all the analog information. HD audio is also very useful for editing/mixing purposes as you can manipulate everything without any limit (amplifying an audio file, changing the speed/pitch). But then, once all these processing operations are done, downsampling the high res files to CD quality will not sound any different.

 

For listening purposes: 24 bit audio just adds useless dynamics, 16 bit audio has 96dB dynamics, more than enough. 

Talking about frequencies, no one is able to hear stuff about 22.05Khz. Of course, back in the early days of the CD, engineers had to use a low pass filter that could filter audible frequencies to prevent artifacts when playing. Things have improved since 1985 and a correctly mastered CD will sound as good as a HD audio file.

That was sarcasm on mp3.  Good post. I stand by my layman's take on depth and range but I respect what you are saying here. You are correct on many points but keep in mind its also a preference. I listen to the 24 bit premaster on many albums I produce to look for issues. Sometimes all I have is the 16 bit to listen to. In the end I prefer the natural depth of an uncompressed 24 bit file.

 

 

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51 minutes ago, BryonDavis said:

Please do. Again, with Cd mastering you do get some compression of instruments. A true studio quality 24 48 recording is uncompressed. The music breathes. I disagree with anybody trying to push the cynical you can't hear it. True, we can't hear but we still can pick up depth, warmth and range improvements. But I suggest you go play MP3s. I mean hey...Spotify sounds great on my phone (sarcasm).

 

When you write "compression", are you referring to dynamic compression? My impression is that as good as all CD releases, regardless of genre, refrain from using the whole dynamic range available (96dB), because that would not be good for home listening (you don't want to have to adjust the volume all the time).

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3 hours ago, BryonDavis said:

True, we can't hear but we still can pick up depth, warmth and range improvements.

 

You can either hear it, or you can't. You can't both hear it and not hear it at the same time. And aside from hearing, the only other way to "pick something up" from a sound wave is feeling the vibrations with other parts of your body, which only happens for strong amplitudes (which means you can also hear it, unless it's outside the audible spectrum. And I don't think you'd get extremely strong amplitudes outside that spectrum in (rounding down) 99.9% of all music.

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You technically can hear some degree above 44.1khz, just not very far. I'd say 48khz is likely the actual cutoff for the average human ear. If amplified, you can hear that data a bit better, but if you cut out the frequency below 44.1khz it's almost unhearable in a standard music audio file. Although personally I am a supporter of high-res digital downloads, I will admit anything above 48khz is basically useless unless you have supersonic hearing.

 

(EDIT: I meant 24khz per channel, with a stereo audio track.)

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44 minutes ago, Manakin Skywalker said:

You technically can hear some degree above 44.1khz, just not very far. I'd say 48khz is likely the actual cutoff for the average human ear. [...] I will admit anything above 48khz is basically useless unless you have supersonic hearing.

 

48kHz sample can only reproduce 24kHz frequencies, but I suppose that is what you meant.

 

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8 hours ago, thx99 said:

The sampling rate of a digital audio recording is the same for both channels of a stereo track. It’s not split in two for each track. For example, the left and right channels of a CD are each sampled at 44.1 kHz, providing each channel with a frequency range of 22.05 kHz (half the stapling rate per the Nyquist-Shannon theorem).

 

Precisely what I meant. I'm by no means an expert when it comes to audio, so I didn't have to vocabulary to describe exactly what I meant to say in detail.

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