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Is Hi Rez audio dead? (2 Viewers)

Pupp

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A rather subjective thread. Tidel is now streaming 5.1 audio, but I'd be surprised if it was true dvd/blu-ray quality.

I suppose the question for me, is: did high rez audio every really take off?

To me, it'd a resounding "no". I haven't kept up with HD streaming audio, but last I checked, most streaming HD audio was CD quality.

I don't think true high fidelity audio will ever completly die, but it's always been a niche market.

Probably over 99% of people are passive listeners... often just streaming through their mobile device to headphones or car radio.

High fidelity audio, blu-ray audio (24bit, 192 khz,) really needs very good speakers or headphones for a person to really get something out of that.

I listened to a regular mp3 file of a song from an 80's rock group, and a Tidal HD version of the song, and a CD version, on my low end 2.1 speaker set up from Logitech. I think I paid about $250 or so for the speakers about 15 years ago.

The Tidal was noticably better, with more depth than the MP3. The CD was slightly better than Tidal, but pretty close.

But the difference between the MP3 and Tidal/CD was not enough for the average passive listener to probably care about, assuming most of the public is listening on fairly inexpensive speakers.

Audiophiles are just that: people who want to actively listen to music on speakers that can replicate sitting next to a band, singer, or some other concert. They want classical music to bring tears to their eyes, if that's what they want.

I'd find it hard to get the vast majority of consumers to want that experience.

24 bit, 192khz lossless music will never die, but I think it will limp along as it always has been doing.

The few record labels doing blu-ray pure audio/dvd audio will always have a market, but don't expect blu-ray pure audio to be a regular item stocked in Best Buy, Target, Walmart, and other box retailors.

Another problem is that just when high fidelity audio really came about, smart phones were taking off. So suddenly, most of the public was more concerned with how portable thier music was, rather than how great it sounded.
 
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JohnRice

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Is High Res audio dead?

No.

In fact, it's probably getting more popular by the day. It will always be a niche thing, but the niche has actually gotten bigger in the last few years as streaming/download options expand, and there's no need to manufacture physical media to deliver it.

True high resolution audio, which I qualify to be (generally) anything above the 44.1/16 resolution of CD and no lossy compression, has always been a high-end market. It doesn't appeal to the ordinary person, never has and never will. That in no way means its popularity is less than it ever has been. Something esoteric isn't dying simply because it's esoteric.

And yeah, it takes a good system to really take advantage of it, but there are plenty of people who have that to make it viable for a long time.
 

jcroy

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192kHz/24bit is completely useless if the original source was "brickwalled" to death.

One special edition album I really wanted a decade ago, had a lossless 192/24 pcm version of the album. Unfortunately it was complete garbage when I realized it was totally brickwalled.
 

DavidJ

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John Darko recently posted a video relevant to this discussion. I do think there will continue to be a market for audiophiles interested in high res audio but I expect it to remain a small market.

 

Pupp

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If I start collecting High Fidelity Pure Audio (or similar), I'd mostly get classical and jazz.
 

Pupp

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John Darko recently posted a video relevant to this discussion. I do think there will continue to be a market for audiophiles interested in high res audio but I expect it to remain a small market.

I watched that video before I posted my thread.
I didn't agree with him, although he did make some good points, I disagreed that audiophile quality digital audio is dead.
 
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JohnRice

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John Darko recently posted a video relevant to this discussion. I do think there will continue to be a market for audiophiles interested in high res audio but I expect it to remain a small market.

Breaking News - Water is wet.

HD audio has never been a mainstream product. So, it's genuinely idiotic to even go to the trouble of creating a video claiming it's dead for the mainstream. It is and has always been dead for the mainstream.

I actually own quite a bit of HD music, and I have several enthusiast friends who do as well. I have a decent collection of SACDs and many downloads purchased from HDTracks. I am a member of the market for HD music, and we definitely exist. Some SACDs I have are a little more spotty regarding catalog titles, but the recordings that were originally done well and recorded in actual high res digital, like the DSD stuff from Telarc, are stellar.

There is a lot more good catalog stuff on HDTracks, because producers seem to have gotten a lot better at converting older analog stuff to HD. I can say that I'm floored by several catalog titles from the 70s I've gotten. Some in particular that are stellar are Supertramp's Crime of the Century, Jethro Tull's Aqualung, and Chicago Transit Authority.

Where it really shines is in 21st Century recordings that bring all the elements together. Everything has to be done exceptionally well. In particular, several classical recordings by Chandos I have gotten are almost transcendent. Simply put, they are just amazing.
 

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The key to having something sound brilliant in higher resolutions, is the original 24-track recording has to have been done well from the start. If the original 24-track multitrack was was not done well, high resolutions will not help at all in the final sound reproduction.

The type of music I listen to, a lot of the original studio 24-track recordings sounded like complete garbage from the start. In many cases, the producers/engineers didn't know what they were doing, were always stoned/drunk, and/or deliberate sabotaged everything to sound like shit deliberately.

Even on a nice decent stereo, the cds, dvd-audio, vinyl, etc ... all sounded like shit.

For a few cases, the band even went back to the studio to clean up and remix their original albums which sounded like garbage back in the day. In spite of their herculean efforts in the studio, the "cleaned up" mixes still sounded like garbage.
 

jcroy

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Around 15+ years ago or so, I use to do my own multitracking recordings at 96/20 and later 192/24. Though only with 8 to 16 highly fragmented tracks, due to smaller sized hard drives at the time. It was mixed down to a 2-track stereo master, which I kept also at 96/20 or 192/24. (I rarely used any additional digital processing. Not even reverb or eq ).

I was not a professional studio engineer by any means. Nevertheless when I downsampled the 192/24 master to 44.1/16, it didn't sound much different from one another. It goes to show that crappy original multitrack recordings still sounded bad, no matter what the resolution was.
 
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jcroy

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Another problem is that just when high fidelity audio really came about, smart phones were taking off. So suddenly, most of the public was more concerned with how portable thier music was, rather than how great it sounded.

Slightly before that time period, an even bigger cultprit were the p2p file trading platforms like kazaa, morpheus, limewire, etc ... which started off with napster.

Downloading thousands of mp3 files for free in the late 1990s and well into the 2000s decade, pretty much changed an entire generation's attitude to "music". Fast forward to the present, the music industry is a shadow of its former self.
 

Phil A

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I still download hi-rez audio files (I'm 100% file playback but have disc players for video and if someone comes over and wants to hear a disc) on a regular basis. If an album I like is not available on download, I do buy the disc but I don't have tons of storage space left so it is not my preference (I just bought a bunch of downloads including a CD quality sampler). I have a closet where I keep my discs (about 600 DVDs, probably substantially the same number of hi-rez discs and my CDs). In fact, I've probably got tons of files I've either never listened to or barely listened too (or most of the rest I haven't listened to since upgrading the system) as every time there is a sale I'm all over it. Something always comes up and I never seem to catch up. I do keep my Blu-Rays out (and have a few music and concerts) but I don't buy tons of them as the space is also limited (at the rate I buy them it should be good for several years).

Between movie streaming services, regular TV, music files, etc, I can't keep up. I agree that for the average person it is not much interest. That's why SACD and DVD-A didn't take off. They invented those hi-rez disc formats due to CD patents expiring and trying to generate an income stream. What they did was create a need for specialty players that the average person just didn't want or need. They could have used standard DVDs and put a 5.1 Dolby Digital mix and put a high resolutoion (e.g. 24/48, 24/88.2, or 24/96) mix for audiophiles and perhaps had a chance to have a viable product to satisfy both and have some manufacturers come out with higher end DVD players for those who care.
 

jcroy

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Back in 1999, I was hoping something like dvd-audio would have taken off and replaced the redbook audio cd.

Unfortunately due to the dvd css encryption system being entirely cracked in October1999, dvd-audio was delayed for over another year where they had to scramble and come up with a better encryption system which was harder to crack.

In hindsight, dvd-audio discs should have been released back in 1997 when dvd-video was first on the market. Though the music business had no way of knowing at the time that illegal p2p file sharing would completely destroy and forever change their industry.
 

jcroy

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They could have used standard DVDs and put a 5.1 Dolby Digital mix and put a high resolutoion (e.g. 24/48, 24/88.2, or 24/96) mix for audiophiles and perhaps had a chance to have a viable product to satisfy both and have some manufacturers come out with higher end DVD players for those who care.

The ill-fated "dualdisc" format tried to do something like this, in a haphazard manner.




Unfortunately it was too little too late, and largely DOA.
 

DavidJ

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Breaking News - Water is wet.

HD audio has never been a mainstream product. So, it's genuinely idiotic to even go to the trouble of creating a video claiming it's dead for the mainstream. It is and has always been dead for the mainstream.

I actually own quite a bit of HD music, and I have several enthusiast friends who do as well. I have a decent collection of SACDs and many downloads purchased from HDTracks. I am a member of the market for HD music, and we definitely exist. Some SACDs I have are a little more spotty regarding catalog titles, but the recordings that were originally done well and recorded in actual high res digital, like the DSD stuff from Telarc, are stellar.

There is a lot more good catalog stuff on HDTracks, because producers seem to have gotten a lot better at converting older analog stuff to HD. I can say that I'm floored by several catalog titles from the 70s I've gotten. Some in particular that are stellar are Supertramp's Crime of the Century, Jethro Tull's Aqualung, and Chicago Transit Authority.

Where it really shines is in 21st Century recordings that bring all the elements together. Everything has to be done exceptionally well. In particular, several classical recordings by Chandos I have gotten are almost transcendent. Simply put, they are just amazing.

I find your first paragraph to be quite harsh. Companies like Apple and Amazon are moving to high res trying to grow market share and are marketing it to the mainstream (Amazon markets their higher resolution tracks as HD and Ultra HD). A video pointing out why this may be futile seems like a legitimate topic for someone in the space to cover.

And to be clear, I have a decent collection of both DVD-Audio and SACD discs. I am also streaming higher res audio. So I’m not against the idea of it.
 

Phil A

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DualDisc was a totally different beast - if was too thick for a decent amount of players - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DualDisc. It also tended to be more expensive. The DVD Video format was mainstream (at that time) and over the years the number of high end companies making stand alone CD players have declined as well as CD sales.

Blockbuster (remember their chain of stores) wayback then had a plan to allow customers to download custom music CDs (along with artwork) to their stores. They figured many people were buying standard CD albums where only a couple of the tracks were good. The record industry squashed that as it threatened their traditional distribution chain and if one looks at the chart of CD sales from about 20 years back to the present there is a clear pattern.

I too have a big selection of SACD discs and probably about 65 DVD-A discs as well as some DADs. Sometimes, before I make a purchase, I'll look here - https://dr.loudness-war.info/ as it does give some insight as to the nature of the recording quality.

Stand along music stores have for the most part gone away. I used to watch when Tower (or even Borders) would have a sale and go for a vist and leave with a bunch of discs. It was hard to shop there at their regular prices. Tower used to carry Mobile Fidelity gold discs and charge $31.99 (regular price) for a disc that was $25 list price.

Audiophiles have always been a small minority of the music buying public. I'd imagine it will continue into the future. On some sites the price of out-of-print stuff has gone through the roof (and I own many of the discs). If there is something I want on disc, I'll often go to discogs.com. There are also instances where downloads are only available in certain countries (don't ask me why). If it continues down that path, I'm sure more and more people who care will just get a VPN and change their country.
 

jcroy

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DualDisc was a totally different beast - if was too thick for a decent amount of players - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DualDisc. It also tended to be more expensive. The DVD Video format was mainstream (at that time) and over the years the number of high end companies making stand alone CD players have declined as well as CD sales.

Back in the day, I had no idea dualdisc even existed. Its timeline looks almost like a last ditch effort scramble.

I only ever encountered it, when I saw a batch in a local dump bin for $2 a pop. (Mostly stuff released by the notoriously crappy record label Silverline).

The only other dualdisc I had, I had no idea it was even a dualdisc. It was a Sony released title which had a 48kHz / 16 bit pcm version of the album on the "dvd side" of the dualdisc. No hi-res content.
 

Phil A

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Yes – streaming is expected to grow - https://www.alliedmarketresearch.com/online-music-streaming-market-A11156



The verdict is still out as to how much of a market share will go to lossless streaming - https://www.insightzclub.com/2021/0...ing-findings-on-streaming-and-lossless-audio/ “Although previous data suggests improved audio quality may be the primary motivator to switch services, it is not supported by the data. “



One would think with the cost of storage capacity going down over a period of time that these services will continue to offer lossless quality. I think it is a really great alternative especially for customers who either don’t want extensive physical media or maintaining their own storage. It also can offer the ability to discover artists.



One would also think that the pandemic changed habits not only in the short term but perhaps also for some the long term.
I never bought a DualDisc. Basically every one of the transports I owned had a disclaimer in the manual similar to this "Some DualDiscs: A DualDisc is a two sided disc with DVD on one side and digital audio on the other side. The digital audio side does not meet the technical specifications of the Compact Disc Digital Audio (CD-DA) format so playback is not guaranteed." While I never either personally witnessed it or knew someone with a problem, some reported hardware issues while attempting to play a DualDisc.
 

TJPC

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At least one of each of Barbra Streisand and Bette Midler's CDs were 2 sided discs with a DVD side and a cd side. In those days I played a lot of CDs in the car. The Streisand disc, went in, would not play, and would not come out! Several Qtips and a pair of tweasers later I got it out. I had to burn copies of the CD side to play them in the car.
 

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