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High Rez digital recordings-Do you hear a difference?


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After reading a post from @Boom Boom,

I thought it would be interesting to see if other members who stream can detect a difference in sound quality between Redbook and higher resolution recordings.

I wish there was a way to add a tabulation of the responses, but, since there is no way to add a poll, I will try to make a tally when enough members state their opinions.

 

 

So, for me, Yes, I do hear a difference between Redbook and 'High Rez'.

Bob

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Hi, I don't stream my 1s & 0s via Ethernet or WiFi. I use a Transparent Premium USB cable.

I haven't A-B'd AIF Redbook CD rips with my new DAC so I did a quickie. I compared redbook to 24 96 on a couple of tracks. They were Al Green's Tired of Being Alone and Bette Midler's Superstar. Honestly not much difference. Then I compared Redbook to 4xDSD using Oscar's Motet Choir from the Cantate Domino recording track 4 Dotter Sion, and yes big difference.  Same song and track but different name on the 4xDSD version.

My digital setup is decent but modest compared to other Vandersteen owners here. They would likely be able to flesh out more audible differences.

These days I'm rarely replacing CDs with higher rez versions. I pretty much have most of what I would want. Many of the recordings I enjoy will likely not be released in higher resolution. (Some never made it to CD so I have to listen to the vinyl version, Lol!) I've been focusing on acquiring 4xDSD (DSD256) recordings that are pure DSD originally recorded in DSD256. The selection is sparse, but with the current Native DSD jazz sale, I've found some real gems. The sound reproduction at home is spectacular.  👍

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I have to be digital and I do know he difference between vinyl and digital. That said , great digital can sound awesome on Vandersteen speakers.  It’s easy to hear the difference between good and very good digital.  There is a place at the table for both. DSD deals better with the ringing that ruins great digital. 

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Personal view - DSD sucks.  But, it does mask some other problems in many models of source gear.  Problems that are never tested for in reviews.  (I often wonder if they are even considered in designs...)  Plus, there's a decent chance that the files haven't been edited as much and otherwise hacked, because it's hard to do that with DSD.

But, to each his or her own.  I'm 100% good with listeners using 8-tracks if that's what they enjoy listening to.

Boom Boom - one of the things I've found with digital gear is that you can't judge the equipment sound based on price.  That's true with other parts of a system, but especially so with digital.  So, don't feel like you're in the bleacher seats.

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On 4/7/2022 at 4:34 PM, BKDad said:

Boom Boom - one of the things I've found with digital gear is that you can't judge the equipment sound based on price.  That's true with other parts of a system, but especially so with digital.  So, don't feel like you're in the bleacher seats.

Hey BKDad, I'm in the bleachers but not because of that, others here have fancier speakers than me. Hehe!

Regarding price, there's the law of diminishing returns. I really like things that are state of the art, but could never afford them, because I choose to buy other things in life. Everyone achieves their own balance. In audio, we trust our ears. If we think the improvement in sound is worth splurging, then why not?

My impressions of Redbook vs. higher resolutions were different with my previous DAC. My current DAC does PCM much better. I think that is why I hear less difference with the new DAC. I've had a different experience than you in listening to DSD. I've compared to PCM and DSD just sounds better on my system. There are many great DACs that don't play DSD files. They're still highly rated and sound great. DSD has the other problem of material available in the format. There is much more variety in PCM. I still listen to and enjoy PCM files. I doubt I'll get rid of my turntables and records anytime soon. I've just been investing in and enjoying digital files. One of the things I liked about this hobby was discovering that even with standard vinyl pressings, my SOTA rig could extract musical information to make listening special. It was amazing when I decided to resurrect it later and discover 200 gram vinyl. The background silence was astonishing. I still enjoy this hobby very much. The forum exposes me to other enthusiasts' experiences. Sometimes I come across something I would like to try. Helps keep the hobby fun.

Cheers!

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1 hour ago, Boom Boom said:

, my SOTA rig could extract musical information to make listening special. It was amazing when I decided to resurrect it later and discover 200 gram vinyl. The background silence was astonishing.

One of my bugagoo's with vinyl was poor pressings. Off center, warped records (remember Dynagroove?) made playing records a bear to endure.

Bob

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4 hours ago, GdnrBob said:

Why do you feel that way about DSD?

Bob

That's a fair question.

I'm not a reviewer, so it's hard for me to explain.  Therefore, please be gentle...

Generally, almost all DSD recordings I've played have seemed more real than real, for lack of a better term.   There seems to my ears to be a kind of airy ghostliness (ghostly airiness?) around the performers that you don't find in nature.  At least, I don't.  It's kinda like what some people find that they like with some (not all!) tube based equipment.   Or the folks who turn the color and contrast controls on their TVs up way too high.  Holography way overdone.

I can understand the appeal of all that, but not for me.  My wife doesn't like it really, either.  We could both be full of it, but that is what it is.

I hope that explains it.

Somewhat OT: My wife tells me that her music school chums had a remedy for how they felt after a bad class or rehearsal, which usually was followed by soothing (!) criticism from the professors.  They'd go into the mens or ladies rooms that had ceramic floors and largely ceramic covered walls and sing there.  The reverberation and rich overtones made them sound so much better and lifted their confidence and spirits.  Kinda like Shaq in the current TV commercial.  

BTW, since a lot of Vandersteen enthusiasts are also fans of zero (loop) feedback amplification, I'd just remind you that DSD is feedback galore.  That's how the filters work, at least as I understand it.

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As with most things, I also think the DAC matters even more with DSD.  Many offer it, but don't put a lot into it as there are not as many options as with PCM.  My DAC was designed to optimize DSD also.  I've heard some DSD on high end portable gear and hated it.  I'm now going to listen to some new stuff that my friend is bringing over this week to try and hear what you are sharing with us.  It will be interesting to hear. thanks for sharing.  

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