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  1. #1
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    London, Ontario

    Hi-rez reevalution

    For sometime I have said that I really couldn't hear a significant difference between hi-rez and CD. That is specifically, bettween the 2-channel SACD layer and CD layer on hybrid SACDs using my own equipment. Having once again a DAC that can handle hi-rez, (up to 24 bit / 96 kHz), I decided to give it another try. I got interesting results.
    Caveats: (1) I'm practically deaf above 10 kHz, and (2) I'm not insisting I could pass a rigorous ABX DBT -- I'm just conveying my impressions, take 'em or leave 'em.
    The basis of my comparison were two SACD that I own:
    1. Carlos Kleiber's Beethoven: 5h Symphony from Deutsche Grammophon, the remaster of the 1976 analog recording
    2. Dennis Russell Davie's Holst: The Planets from Chesky, a DSD recording.

    And downloads of 24 bit/88.2 kHz 2-channel FLAC versions from HDTracks of the same to recordings. Presumably these hi-rez PCM versions are from the same masters as used for the SACDs.

    My actual three-way comparisons were:
    1. SACD 2-ch played on my Sony SCD-775CE player
    2. CD layers from the SACDs, ripped to ALAC files and played via Foobar2000 using DirectSound, to my Wolfson WM8740-based DAC.
    3. 24/88.2 downloads also played via Foobar to the DAC.
    What I heard:
    • Still little to choose between the SACD and the ripped-to-ALAC CD versions, but if anything, the ripped CD versions had slightly more sparkle and transparency
    • The 24/88.2 downloads were rather more diffenent than either of the above, having a bit more transparency and likeness to live sound.
    Tentative conslusions:
    • Hi-rez does indeed improve transparency and life-likeness.
    • My SACD player's DAC, whether in SACD or CD modes, is inferior to my Wolfson DAC.
    As a matter of interest I have four versions of the Kleiber/DGG Beethoven 5th:
    1. Original 1976 LP, bought by me back in the day
    2. Relatively recent, "Original Image Bit Processing" CD remaster
    3. Hybrid SACD version, 2 and multi-channel
    4. 24 bit / 88.2 kHz FLAC 2-ch download.

  2. #2
    Forum Regular anamorphic96's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Northern California
    My listening impressions tend to mirror yours. Especially with classical music and it's huge dynamic range.

    Elton Johns - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road blew me away as well as Ray Charles's Genius Loves Company.

  3. #3
    Oldest join date recoveryone's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Interesting input/finds, What I have found over the years that it all starts with the original engineered recording. When I went to the Grammys this year I heard 2 artist I was not familiar with and brought their CD's along with my Cousins (Elisia Nelson,Classical Violinist). The second was Trombone Shorty's,(Trombone & Trumpet Jazz Funk & Rock) very bold transparent sound that leap out of my speakers. The third was Esperanza ( Stand up Bass Jazz).

    Now I will admit it was a little hard for me to listen to the classical one for it is not a genres I normally listen to, but just on the engineering aspect of each CD I was very impress with the transparency of the sound. The Esperanza CD was very soft and cloudy sounding and I felt I would have enjoyed it more if it was on par with the other two.

    my listening setup was as following:

    All CD's were played on my CD transport at first, then ripped to my music server (MP3 320K), the results were the same on all 3 CDs'. Which bring me back to the way the CD were mastered in the first place, I expect older music to sound soft and hollow, due to the technology that was being used to produce the sound, but to hear such a major difference in a newer release caught me off guard. So back to my conclusion I feel it more on how the recording was engineered that plays more on how it will sound on our own systems, reguardless of what DAC is being used. A bad/soft engineered recording is just what it will always be and in some cases that was the intent of the Artist, Engineer or Producer of the album.
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  4. #4
    Forum Regular harley .guy07's Avatar
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    Aug 2009
    Springfield, Mo
    I use flac on my pc with Fubar 2000 in 24 96 and 16 44 CD qualty and have burned cd copies of this material as well. I will say that CD's to me have i,mproved over resent years and in my listening the higher def formats just go to the next level with transparency and smooth deep imaging and soundstage.

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  5. #5
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Jul 2002
    IMO, the benefits of Hi rez start at 88.2, and just increase all the way up to DXD levels of 24/354.2khz.

    For the last five years I have recorded 100% of my projects in the DXD format. As I down sample them to the rates they will be released on, you can hear the degradation of the signals from the native rate of 24/354.2khz. It starts off very subtlety, but the drop from 88.2 to 44.1 and from 96khz to 48khz reveals the most audible degradation you will hear.
    Sir Terrence

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