Originally Posted by rcfa
Glad you bring that up....
16-bit vs. 24-bit: 16-bit is perfectly adequate as a delivery system, provided *everything* was done perfectly during production and mastering, AND the source material was higher resolution and word-length reduced and dithered as the absolutely last step.
Unfortunately, that's a lot of iffs which in reality almost never are true, sticking with 24-bit removes a variety of potential error sources in the digital production work flow, so in any material that's not perfectly produced, mixed and mastered, 24-bit will be sounding better in theory.
As for the sampling rate: 44.1 and certainly 48kHz providing 24kHz signal bandwidth is indeed theoretically sufficient to cover human hearing. The reality of the DA conversion however necessitates anti-aliasing filters. The higher the sampling rate, the lower slope antialiasing filter can be used, and the less phase error is propagating back into the audible range. If there were such a thing as a zero phase error brickwall filter with no pre-ringing and post-ringing effects, etc. then indeed, using sampling frequencies above 48kHz would be an utter waste of bandwidth. A well designed 88/96kHz (2x sampling rates) system should be perfectly adequate, but again, not every audio products company has world class engineers, and many products require shortcuts to stay within budget or power consumption constraints, so using 4x sampling rates makes things a lot more dummy proof in some respects.
So yes, there are practical reasons for these HD audio streams and systems, although most of the mumbo jumbo you hear the "audiophiles" ranting about are about as descriptive of what's really going on as "intelligent design" is about the evolution of live on this planet...
...which is why it takes about the same IQ to finance a televangelists Bentley as it takes to buy pure-oxigen free silver power cables, when from the outlet to the power-plant it's all low-grade copper...
Boy, you are talking a bunch of BS. When the power comes into your house, they have things like line filtering, line conditioning, etc. to clean up the mess provided by the power company. Then it goes through cables of various degrees. then it goes through a series of other equipment. EVERY SINGLE PIECE OF EQUIPMENT, including cables has measurable amounts of resistance, inductance, and capacitance, even cables. There are a LOT of things going on to remove distortion whether it's analog distortion or digital distortion (jitter) through out the entire chain. Now, if you listen to music that's highly altered through the use of eq, limiters, compressors, expanders, etc., then you are capturing music somehow and altering it, so you are MESSING up the original content, so you don't really know what the original instrument voice sounds like. That's why MOST pop/commercial music sounds like crap. The audiophile recordings are done typically using two microphones of exceptionally high quality, running through high quality cables, etc. etc. and they DO NOT alter the signal at all throughout the process.
Now, if you want a little education, what do you think one of the most prestigious mastering engineers uses? Bob Ludwig uses a pair of Eggleston speakers that cost around $100K, running from Cello amps that are about another $100K plus, with Transparent speaker and interconnect cables which are another $100K or so and that's what he uses as his high end reference system for classical music and other music that dictates a high quality mastering job. Now, if he gets a call to produce a mastering job that's going to be played on the radio or some cheap speakers, he'll use basically the same level of playback system only he'll change the speaker to NS-10s to give him a reference of a crappy pair of speakers that lack detail, bass, etc. Kind of what most people have.
Now, what do you think Abbey Road Studios use? B&W 800 speakers with Classe Electronics, and their own custom made cables. What do you think Skywalker Sound uses for audio recordings and film soundtracks? B&W 800 series speakers, MIT cables and relatively high end amplifiers. They all have power filtration/conditioning to remove the crap power coming from the power company.
Now, if you want to live in TOTAL ignorance, go right ahead. ANY REALLY GOOD HIGH QUAITY RECORDING STUDIO IS GOING TO USE REALLY EXPENSIVE playback systems as their reference and they have been switching gradually to higher quality, more expensive cables, amplification, and speaker systems. HDTracks are done with Wilson Audio speakers, high end power amps, and cables. These people LIVE AND BREATH audio, they've been doing it for years, have pristine systems and rooms and their reputation depends on their finished product.
The Nyquest theorem does NOT explain everything with digital, it only explains a portion of what's going on. Remember, it's just a theorem.
Do you know what is considered the highest quality AD/DA converters? According to Abbey Road, they prefer DAD, but there are other brands used in high end recording studios and it's not just the DAC chips, but it's the power supplies, input and output stages.
So, again, if you claim there is no difference, what makes you a better expert than the studios and people I've mentioned? What have you done to prove you are correct when there are INDUSTRY experts pumping out recordings that are seen as some of the most influential people will tell you that there is a difference in cables, etc. etc. etc. etc. Please explain YOURSELF and why YOU think you know everything about digital recordings.