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Eric The Fruit Bat  Feb 21, 2016 • 11:09:57am

Since storage has gotten so cheap there is really no reason to not use FLAC/Apple lossless/Windows Media lossless/WAV 44.1-16 bits.

Now if you want to start the battle about 96/24 vs 44/16, then that’s where things get interesting. At the same time I’d like to see the musicians who are backers of the extended formats publish the audiograms and see how much high-frequency and low-frequency hearing they’ve lost.

jsrtheta  Feb 21, 2016 • 3:34:42pm

This is a bit more in my wheelhouse.

As for the 16 bit/44.1 kHz format (e.g., the Red Book standard of CD), the odds of anyone being able to distinguish between that and 24 bit/96 kHz, or 24 bit/192 kHz decoding are pretty damned long. I am not aware of any controlled studies indicating that people can choose between formats reliably. Or, put another way, such test results do not exceed results one would get from random chance.

MP3s, if I recall correctly, are 14 bit, not 16 bit. And I will flatter myself by saying a difference can be discerned, though I have never verified this through double-blind comparison. And, as I am flattering myself, I am probably wrong. (Or not - 14 bit is a very low decoding.)

One must keep in mind that adding additional bits achieves little more than lowering the noise floor. There is no increase in information recorded.

Still, I still prefer CDs (yeah, okay, no one buys them anymore, so what?), and I still use a dedicated CD transport and an outboard digital-to-analogue converter (which will sample up to 24/192). The DAC does not upsample, so I am still listening to 16/44.1 but with, I believe, a more favorable algorithm. Am I kidding myself? Probably. I actually get increased fidelity by using fully balanced gear, not from my choice of DACs. But I’ve spent a lot of money, so I will irrationally defend my equipment to the death. And the use of balanced amplification does make a difference.

And speakers. After room configuration, speakers are the most important component there is.

Thanos  Feb 22, 2016 • 5:19:13pm

re: #2 jsrtheta

I have to agree with you there, quality speakers make the most notable difference for quality music playback.

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