"The Beginner’s Guide to Hi-Res Audio"

  • 7 December 2021
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Audio formats reached that point that a long time ago. It’s kind of crazy that a 40 year old standard like Red Book still represents the pinnacle of audio reproduction but it really does. 

Which is why you see all the frantic marketing of the latest audio kit, year after year, by the odious to the credulous - the HiFi specialist media being just as culpable. And their pandering to the all too common human condition of not being satisfied with what is available and at hand in the home.

I am not saying that current hi-res recodings are better sounding than CD-quality!

I am just saying that current 2D recordings in CD-quality are not adequately capturing/reproducing the binaural experience in a conert hall. You may come to the conclusion that for 2D audio formats, CD quality is as good as it gets and no further improvements are possible from there, fine. But this is also just an opinion based on the negative results of studies perfroming fromal listening tests. As stated above, negative results deliver no proof for the non-existence of some phenomenon. They just prove that in this case CD-quality could adequately capture what’s in the corresonding hi-res recording under test. 

I for one belive that even for 2D audio there are advances to be made which are related to the reproduction of the phase spectrum as “the human hearing system will resolve small time differences which might imply a wider bandwidth in a linear system”.

It’s prefectly fine if you have a different opinion

Please cite an academic reference supporting this thesis, and not one from any individual with a commercial interest.

 

I am just saying that current 2D recordings in CD-quality are not adequately capturing/reproducing the binaural experience in a conert hall.

Those of us that have been to live gigs in even small venues know that home audio today is a very limited version of that experience, and not just for reasons of the sound of the music. But Hi Res 2 channel audio that is presently being marketed as such does not change that situation at all, in coming any closer to the real thing than where CD takes us.

Will that change in the future? I don’t know. What is visible of course are the changes being brought by Atmos/Spatial audio and similar, but that isn’t 2 channel audio as is commonly understood.  

I am not saying that current hi-res recodings are better sounding than CD-quality!

I am just saying that current 2D recordings in CD-quality are not adequately capturing/reproducing the binaural experience in a conert hall. You may come to the conclusion that for 2D audio formats, CD quality is as good as it gets and no further improvements are possible from there, fine. But this is also just an opinion based on the negative results of studies perfroming fromal listening tests. As stated above, negative results deliver no proof for the non-existence of some phenomenon. They just prove that in this case CD-quality could adequately capture what’s in the corresonding hi-res recording under test. 

I for one belive that even for 2D audio there are advances to be made which are related to the reproduction of the phase spectrum as “the human hearing system will resolve small time differences which might imply a wider bandwidth in a linear system”.

It’s prefectly fine if you have a different opinion

 

And until your opinion is backed up with scientific experimental proof, I’ll continue to laugh at it, no matter how much BS cut-and-paste word salad you spew.

https://web.archive.org/web/20100410235208/http://www.cs.ucc.ie/~ianp/CS2511/HAP.html

“...Localization accuracy is 1 degree for sources in front of the listener and 15 degrees for sources to the sides. Humans can discern interaural time differences of 10 microseconds or less.”

https://www.ece.ucdavis.edu/cipic/spatial-sound/tutorial/psychoacoustics-of-spatial-hearing/#azimuth

“...under optimum conditions, much greater accuracy (on the order of 1°) is possible...This is rather remarkable, since it means that a change in arrival time of as little as 10 microseconds is perceptible. (For comparison, the sampling rate for audio CD’s is 44.1 kHz, which corresponds to a sampling interval of 22.7 microseconds. Thus, in some circumstances, less than a one-sample delay is perceptible.)”

https://web.archive.org/web/20100410235208/http://www.cs.ucc.ie/~ianp/CS2511/HAP.html

“...Localization accuracy is 1 degree for sources in front of the listener and 15 degrees for sources to the sides. Humans can discern interaural time differences of 10 microseconds or less.”

https://www.ece.ucdavis.edu/cipic/spatial-sound/tutorial/psychoacoustics-of-spatial-hearing/#azimuth

“...under optimum conditions, much greater accuracy (on the order of 1°) is possible...This is rather remarkable, since it means that a change in arrival time of as little as 10 microseconds is perceptible. (For comparison, the sampling rate for audio CD’s is 44.1 kHz, which corresponds to a sampling interval of 22.7 microseconds. Thus, in some circumstances, less than a one-sample delay is perceptible.)”

 

The accuracy with which this can be done depends on the circumstances. For speech in normally reverberant rooms, typical human accuracies are on the order of 10° to 20°. However, under optimum conditions, much greater accuracy (on the order of 1°) is possible if the problem is to decide merely whether or not a sound source moves. This is rather remarkable, since it means that a change in arrival time of as little as 10 microseconds is perceptible. (For comparison, the sampling rate for audio CD’s is 44.1 kHz, which corresponds to a sampling interval of 22.7 microseconds. Thus, in some circumstances, less than a one-sample delay is perceptible.)

The underlined text is what you removed from your quote. The context matters quite a bit.  Obviously, the vast majority of homes, where Sonos speakers live, are not optical conditions.  As well, the greater accuracy is useful for determining whether the sound source moves, which is very debatable as being useful information when listening to music. And it’s not like that motion can’t be simulated at greater time intervals, as that certainly can occur in with 2 channel audio even in SD.  So this could only be possible when in a highly controlled environment, maybe headphones, and where the audio source is trying to give the impression of movement.

And of course, your quote is from a footnote, and timing is not the only factor  the ears/brain use for determining the location of sound source, as the article states. ILD seems rather important to me.  If you artificially modify timing in order to create a spatial illusion, how do you account from the difference in volume and frequency shift that each ear hears (especially without headphones)?

 

It begs the question, who controls the IKEA speakers? Are they designed and manufactured by Sonos and sold by IKEA, or are they designed and manufactured by IKEA, using parts purchased from Sonos, and just use the Sonos software to operate, with some sort of reduced fee structure due to not using the latest version of the hardware that supports Hi-Res?

It seems we’re now in the realm of Dirac impulses which, to my mind, don’t have much to do with music. :rolling_eyes:

 

Why is it that none of this elaborate theorising is needed to identify/justify HD video streams and to pick them over DVD quality on any HD quality screen played on a HD capable player of any price point, by eyes that are not capable of 20/20 vision? Probably because in the case of audio, there is a frantic effort to justify something that doesn't exist in a practical sense for any domestic use case? 

Does anyone here remember wapping high?:grin:

It seems we’re now in the realm of Dirac impulses which, to my mind, don’t have much to do with music. :rolling_eyes:

 

Why is it that none of this elaborate theorising is needed to identify/justify HD video streams and to pick them over DVD quality on any HD quality screen played on a HD capable player of any price point, by eyes that are not capable of 20/20 vision? Probably because in the case of audio, there is a frantic effort to justify something that doesn't exist in a practical sense for any domestic use case? 

Does anyone here remember wapping high?:grin:

 

It's like night and day!  

You need trained ears and a $50,000 system!

It begs the question, who controls the IKEA speakers? Are they designed and manufactured by Sonos and sold by IKEA, or are they designed and manufactured by IKEA, using parts purchased from Sonos, and just use the Sonos software to operate, with some sort of reduced fee structure due to not using the latest version of the hardware that supports Hi-Res?

 

My guess is that it was decided to use hardware that was as functional as the bookshelf and lamp had.  Costs, availability of parts from supply issues, or a combination of both.  IMO, I don’t think hi res is really worth it on the ikea speakers, but it’s my opinion and I haven’t actually heard the frames yet.

@ Kumar. I think we are just seeking an additional data point to make sure that it is working. Otherwise, your point is sensible.

From what I read about this search it seems to me that a lot of angst is generated when the data point is not available; angst that must be coming in the way of just sitting back, trusting ones ears and enjoying the music. There are enough more real things happening around all of us to save the worry and the energy to deal with those.

Further to the preceding - I believe that this Hi Res thing is being peddled just to sow dissatisfaction among vulnerable users of technology which has peaked in terms of what it can objectively deliver, such that they spend more money to pad the pockets of these peddlers. 

Instead of doing what none of the peddlers of hardware and services are doing to address the big issue which causes much more aggravation - distracting sound level changes from one track to the next when playing playlists while using the random shuffle feature. Having to constantly move the volume control around to deal with this is very aggravating and damages the listening experience.

Atmos is a different case; that does sound very different from HD/SD, but there too personal preference may mean that it isn't an improvement. But it at least does not need labels to announce itself; the sound does that job.

I guess it’s a case that people want to know that they are getting the quality of audio they are paying for. Whether it’s actually needed, or not, becomes a separate question. 

Some say in some circumstances, that they can hear a difference between HD (16-bit) audio and UltraHD (24-bit) audio.. I’m not one of those people. I have been quite happy in the past with the lesser 320 AAC lossy audio, so I’m more than happy with the Amazon HD standard.

It’s not actually costing me any more to have the higher quality Amazon audio anyway on Sonos… (24/48 Atmos/UltraHD audio in some instances) …and as long as it all plays without interruption and sounds good (to me), then I’m okay with that, especially as a Prime Movie/Music Unlimited annual subscriber, this ‘merged’ Amazon music service is actually costing me £50 (per year) less than before.

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As far as I can see the only real result of this change is that your Sonos will have to move more bits to play your music. No big deal for most of us but for folks that are fighting WiFi or SonosNet issues it may push them over their limit and into having dropping issues.

Does the generation 2 of the sub support Amazon Music high res 24 bit audio? I do not see anything about the compatibility of the subs. I did the update on the app and currently I am only seeing HD and no Ultra HD song tags (which I know are UHD). My current set up uses two fives with a gen 2 sub. Thanks. 

Per the Sonos blog on Hi Res, sound from CDs continues to sound “fantastic”. Perhaps they are still searching for an adjective for the outcome of the new science to describe what sound quality that delivers in comparison to fantastic..:joy:

The other place Sonos is being disingenuous is in equating Sonos speakers with quality headphones as being able to be like the recording studio such that this new super fantastic sound quality can be heard. Like ALL other speakers that interact with the room acoustics and have to deal with the ambient sound levels in even a quiet domestic room, Sonos speakers can never do what headphones can - eliminate the room and all that it brings to the listening, from the frame.