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  • krabapple
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16 bit vs 24 bit
Reply #200
I've been thinking of a similar framework about audio to what krab has been saying for a while, but I'd take what he's saying a step further. (Me being more militant than krab? Yikes, what is this world coming to?)

I would go so far as to say that we've been a little too accepting and tolerant about this 16/44 issue for too long. A lot of people now - not even audiophiles - regularly denigrate Red Book as being a fundamentally inferior to vinyl/high res. That it is a less emotional experience, that a generation has been cheated out of good music, that (insert fallacious technical argument here), etc. Steven Van Zandt just claimed on an interview that CDs are "the biggest scam perpetrated on the public". Such people make Bob Dylan look like a beacon of reason.


I just love it (which is to say hate) when the Little Stevens and the Tom Scholzs  and the Neil Youngs of rock, who between them probably no longer hear much past 12 kHz,  expect anyone to take them seriously as 'golden ears'.

(Dylan seems to have been talking about dynamic range overcompression, not something evil about digital per se, so he gets a pass.)
  • Last Edit: 20 February, 2009, 03:38:14 AM by krabapple

  • Axon
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16 bit vs 24 bit
Reply #201
Was it ever really about hearing? Their words are taken at face value because listeners generally respect the emotional honesty of musicians. People have favorite guitars or pianos or mics, sometimes beyond all rational explanation, and most people have absolutely no problem with that kind of subjectivism. I mean, they're freaking artists, they're expected to be weird.

I guess this is one manifestation of a larger issue of artists (especially actors) being unusually authoritative in their wacked-out philosophies. People who speak to us through mass media are very persuasive. If you want to take that sort of thing on, dealing with the actual technical truth of it all is a tar pit, because that's usually not what resonates with people, and even when it is, there will always be some other reason to justify the belief. The reality is that the importance of their emotional experiences are suspect to begin with. Few sane people should take Van Zandt any more seriously - on any topic - than those of any other random joe. This format arguments are about emotions - not psychoacoustics - but the facts are still on our side in both cases.

Mods: this is probably worth a thread split.

16 bit vs 24 bit
Reply #202
Is part of listening to music which is both familiar to us and moves us not based to some extent on expectation - a bit like re-reading a book?


Good point.

When we are listning to music we can make two different kinds of comparisons.

(1) Our brains maintain a short (ca. 2 second) memory of the actual sound as we heard it. Within a few seconds of hearing another sound, we have some abiltiy to compare the immediate sound to the sound we remember from the very recent (few seconds ago) past.

(2) Over any longer periods of time, our memory is not of the sound. Instead we remember our perceptions of the sound. This is highly distilled information that generally does not include small changes to things like frequency response, noise, or nonlinear distortion. It is things like chords, shapes of tunes, key, instruments used,  associations with otther muisic like tit, etc.

When we casually hear music, we are probably primarily conscious of our perceptions of the music, and not any subtle details. The more familiar we are with the music, the less likely we are to pay much attention to the sibtle details.

This business of our perceptions being of only the highlights or a summary of the experience is probably more clear to us when we think about acts we repeat frequently, like driving home from work.

  • MichaelW
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16 bit vs 24 bit
Reply #203
Is part of listening to music which is both familiar to us and moves us not based to some extent on expectation - a bit like re-reading a book?


Good point.
<SNIP>
(2) Over any longer periods of time, our memory is not of the sound. Instead we remember <SNIP>  things like chords, shapes of tunes, key, instruments used,  associations with otther muisic like tit, etc.


It is childish to delight in typos, but I'm in my second childhood, and anyway it points to a very important point about response to music, which is that it is linked to lots of non-musical things. Which is why, I think, the desire to make reproduced audio "sound like a live performance" is not the best target, since it's not really attainable, since the live performance experience is a melange of a lot of things, many not audible.

It also explains why the popular music of my youth means more to me than the popular music of today; not because I think the Rolling Stones, say, were better than many good bands today, but because of associations with things "like tit, etc."

  • KikeG
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16 bit vs 24 bit
Reply #204
Martin, could you try to abx the original 24.wav file vs this one?

http://www.kikeg.arrakis.es/dither16bit/24_nf_dither.flac

I have employed a custom noise shaping dither that tries to have same spectral contour as the noise floor of the original 24-bit file.

Also, just in case, make sure that in foobar2000  Playback/Output format is set to 24 bit and that in ABX component DSP and replaygain are disabled.

Thanks.

  • Ron Jones
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16 bit vs 24 bit
Reply #205
Steven Van Zandt just claimed on an interview that CDs are "the biggest scam perpetrated on the public".

Thanks for the link. I especially liked the part where he says that "they" aren't making analog tape "very much anymore". Because, you know, I can't walk down the street (here in L.A., anyway) and buy as much 2" tape as I could ever need. Quantegy may be out of the game for now, but RMGI and ATR are still pumping out more reels on a daily basis than anyone knows what the hell to do with.

Amazing that this guy's radio show has some two million listeners

16 bit vs 24 bit
Reply #206
Martin, could you try to abx the original 24.wav file vs this one?


Just saw your post and downloaded the file, will check it out as soon as I can, thanks.

Martin

  • Case
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16 bit vs 24 bit
Reply #207
I just tested KikeG's dithered file against the original. There's a slight volume difference in some sound at the background (I don't know what makes the sound) in range 0:03.8 - 0:05.1. I used X-Fi in audio creation mode using bit-perfect output settings with WASAPI output and Sennheiser HD 650 headphones. Not completely clean results but enough to convince me that I hear a difference.

foo_abx 1.3.3 report
foobar2000 v0.9.6.5 alpha 2009-04-02
2009/04/04 15:53:48

File A: G:\Download\24_nf_dither.flac
File B: G:\Download\24.wav

15:53:48 : Test started.
15:58:41 : 01/01  50.0%
15:58:49 : 01/02  75.0%
15:59:37 : 02/03  50.0%
16:01:53 : 03/04  31.3%
16:03:10 : 04/05  18.8%
16:03:37 : 05/06  10.9%
16:06:14 : 05/07  22.7%
16:07:10 : 06/08  14.5%
16:07:50 : 06/09  25.4%
16:08:45 : 07/10  17.2%
16:09:11 : 08/11  11.3%
16:10:03 : 08/12  19.4%
16:11:05 : 09/13  13.3%
16:12:55 : 10/14  9.0%
16:14:14 : 11/15  5.9%
16:14:22 : Test finished.

----------
Total: 11/15 (5.9%)

  • rpp3po
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16 bit vs 24 bit
Reply #208
Not completely clean results but enough to convince me that I hear a difference.


Well, those results are still completely within the domain of self-deception. If you could hear a difference, you would be able to nail it down and steadily lock in at <1% levels. I have carried out very many ABX tests. Sometimes everything seems to be quite obvious and you head straightly into <5% territory without trouble. But when I have learned one thing about ABX testing: Go the extra mile.

Try to nail it down below 1%. If you can't keep your results steadily below that, the probability is very high (much higher than the displayed percentage), that you are just fooling yourself.

  • MLXXX
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16 bit vs 24 bit
Reply #209
For people only now joining this thread, we are still awaiting ABX reports of comparing 24.wav with a dithered version of 24.wav :-

1.  24.wav
This is the first file, labelled "24-bit 48KHz source", in Martin's link in his post #76, and it has the filename 24.wav :-
Greetings, found your forum recently, so here's my first post! Wanted to share another set of files that might be useful for listening tests. The source material is a 'raw' unprocessed master recording downsampled from 96kHz. Uploaded the files here:

Digital audio resolution test files


2a.  Dithered version 24_16_fb2k_dither.wav
This foobar dithered version can be downloaded using David's link in his post #145:
...
Here's the direct download link:
http://www.mediafire.com/file/zaiiuyx4izd/...fb2k_dither.wav

That's the one to try to ABX against 24.wav from Martin.
...


2b.  Alternative (custom noise shaped) dithered version  24_nf_dither.flac
Or, if preferred, use the custom dithered file supplied by KikeG at his post #205 just above.


Try to compare 1 with 2a; or 1 with 2b.  Any difference should be extremely difficult to hear, if audible at all.  Please explain in what way the dithered file sounds different.  Nil reports are also welcome, i.e. not able to ABX because the files sound too much alike.
  • Last Edit: 09 April, 2009, 11:25:35 AM by MLXXX

  • HTS
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16 bit vs 24 bit
Reply #210
so 16/44.1 libraries can safely be used with 24/192 libraries along with a lot of processing (reverb etc...)?

  • AndyH-ha
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16 bit vs 24 bit
Reply #211
No earthquakes, fires, or floods reported so far, nor anyone able to tell any difference in the music.

16 bit vs 24 bit
Reply #212
No earthquakes, fires, or floods reported so far, nor anyone able to tell any difference in the music.


The 96k24b music file's spectrum shows minimal content > 24 KHz.  That raises serious quesitons about whether or not it has been previously been low pass filtered by 48 KHz digital recording or legacy analog tape. In iether case it might have also been recorded with 16 bits or less, and/or had its dynamic range degraded by the analog recording technology that was possibly used.

In short, I am very uncertain as to whether there is any signfiicant difference to hear when downsampled to 16/44.

  • HTS
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16 bit vs 24 bit
Reply #213
No earthquakes, fires, or floods reported so far, nor anyone able to tell any difference in the music.


The 96k24b music file's spectrum shows minimal content > 24 KHz.  That raises serious quesitons about whether or not it has been previously been low pass filtered by 48 KHz digital recording or legacy analog tape. In iether case it might have also been recorded with 16 bits or less, and/or had its dynamic range degraded by the analog recording technology that was possibly used.

In short, I am very uncertain as to whether there is any signfiicant difference to hear when downsampled to 16/44.

Can you explain this in simpler ways? Are you saying that that 92/24 recording is a bad sample and does not represent what the standard could otherwise achieve?

  • AndyH-ha
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16 bit vs 24 bit
Reply #214
While that is what I get as his point, the real question is whether it could possibly make any difference anyway. There is the issue of dishonesty and misrepresentation, of course, but the main concern for this thread is: can one make a "higher resolution" recording that loses something audible if it is (properly) down sampled to 16/44.1? All the multitude of recordings that are audibly indistinguishable are irrelevant, regardless of why they are indistinguishable.

  • HTS
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16 bit vs 24 bit
Reply #215
While that is what I get as his point, the real question is whether it could possibly make any difference anyway. There is the issue of dishonesty and misrepresentation, of course, but the main concern for this thread is: can one make a "higher resolution" recording that loses something audible if it is (properly) down sampled to 16/44.1? All the multitude of recordings that are audibly indistinguishable are irrelevant, regardless of why they are indistinguishable.

What about samples recorded at 44.1/16? A lot of the older libraries (sampletekk) were recorded at that resolution.

  • AndyH-ha
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16 bit vs 24 bit
Reply #216
Since the question seems to be directed at my last post, I will say that I don't understand it. This thread is a request for any 24 bit music that can be distinguished (ABX test) from a 16 bit version of same, which is to say, by reducing the 24 bit resolution to 16 bits, something audible is lost. Anything recorded at 16 bit is a non-starter to begin with.

  • bandpass
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16 bit vs 24 bit
Reply #217
the main concern for this thread is: can one make a "higher resolution" recording that loses something audible if it is (properly) down sampled to 16/44.1? All the multitude of recordings that are audibly indistinguishable are irrelevant, regardless of why they are indistinguishable.

If the the theory (that one can make a "higher resolution" recording...) is to be proven correct, it's easy: we just need one distinguishable case.  If it is to be proven incorrect, then (given that a logical proof seems out of the question) we need to evaluate recordings having characteristics that render them (based on things that we do know) possibly distinguishable, and if enough of them prove indistinguishable then we can deem, with a reasonable degree of certainty, the theory to be incorrect.

So negative results are relevant, if made on suitable test samples—Arnie's point is that this is not a suitable test sample.

16 bit vs 24 bit
Reply #218
If you have decent equipment and a quiet environment, it should be easy for you to distinguish this test file I created (source 48khz, 24-bit) to a 16-bit conversion.

It's 5 seconds long, and under 100KB.  Very low-level pure tone(sine wave) @ 3.5khz (since this is where our hearing is most sensitive).

Test Tone File(48/24)

Convert it to 16-bit using any method you choose, any dither type of any level, I could abx it easily.  I have already tried using at least a few dozen combinations of noise shaping and dither levels, along with no dithering (which obviously sounds worse).  Always ABX'able.  When properly dithered, the tone is still audible at 16-bit, but the noise floor is much worse and the tone becomes more difficult to distinguish from the noise (where it sounds fine at 24-bit).

You need fairly high output levels to do this, but since the file contains no peaks or anything that would resemble "loud", you wont risk damaging your hearing or equipment so long as no other "computer sounds" play during testing.

[Edit: If anyone prefers, here is a 44.1khz version of the same file, created fresh, not via SRC]
Test Tone File(44.1/24)



Both links seem to be broken for me.

  • xnor
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16 bit vs 24 bit
Reply #219
Guys, I took the 24.wav file from above and compared it to the 16-bit file with fb2k dither (with noise shaping it seems):



Red is the spectrum of the track, green the difference between both files.

Also see my post in the Ripping Vinyl thread.
(I used simple rectangular dithering without noise shaping there..)
  • Last Edit: 29 May, 2011, 07:35:56 AM by xnor
"I hear it when I see it."

  • AndyH-ha
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16 bit vs 24 bit
Reply #220
Quote
If the the theory (that one can make a "higher resolution" recording...) is to be proven correct, it's easy:


I still don't understand your  point. It is easy to make higher resolution recordings. Their data can be "distinguished" in a number of ways. But, is it possible to hear something in real music, recorded at 24 bits, when listened to at a useable volume level, that sounds different after conversion to 16 bits (doing a quality conversion)? Some part that is too low level to be heard without extreme amplification is irrelevant via a vis the 16/24 bit controversy. We are not here listening for evidence of technology emissions around other stars.

Perhaps this thread has been used for various purposes other that my question. As far as the bit Arnold just quoted goes:  I can generate low level sine waves in floating point, then convert to 16 bit in various ways with different listening results, but so what?

For instance, a 3.5kHz tone that measures
Min Sample Value:   -.06
Max Sample Value:   .06
Peak Amplitude:   -115 dB
Possibly Clipped:   0
DC Offset:   0
Minimum RMS Power:   -118.02 dB
Maximum RMS Power:   -118.02 dB
Average RMS Power:   -118.02 dB
Total RMS Power:   -118.02 dB
I can't tell any (audible) difference when converted to 16 bit in the way I normally do it (with good noise shaped dither) If, however, I convert with rectangular dither, no noise shaping, identification is easy. For any version, the amplifier must be turned  up to what would be ear damaging levels on any real music, so this kind of signal is not relevant when talking about music.

The same listening test results are true with the same tone just below the 16 bit resolution
Min Sample Value:   -.33
Max Sample Value:   .33
Peak Amplitude:   -100 dB
Possibly Clipped:   0
DC Offset:   0
Minimum RMS Power:   -103.02 dB
Maximum RMS Power:   -103.02 dB
Average RMS Power:   -103.02 dB
Total RMS Power:   -103.02 dB
except that I can hear it at a volume setting that just might be useable for some, if very little, music. But even if it can be heard, the different sound of a poorly done conversion isn't evidence of anything useful. Of course I cannot say what other people experience, but it seems unlikely to me that the properly converted versions could not be readily identified by how they sound, even if something like such a tone occurred in some music.

  • bandpass
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16 bit vs 24 bit
Reply #221
×wires I think: I wasn't trying to redefine the theory, only to avoid quoting it in full (hence the ellipsis!). Given that we're almost 3 years down the line, it seems that music that benefits from >16-bit is either non-existent or so rare and difficult-to-discern as to be inconsequential.

  • knutinh
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16 bit vs 24 bit
Reply #222
×wires I think: I wasn't trying to redefine the theory, only to avoid quoting it in full (hence the ellipsis!). Given that we're almost 3 years down the line, it seems that music that benefits from >16-bit is either non-existent or so rare and difficult-to-discern as to be inconsequential.

In practical, pragmatic terms, yes.

If you want to apply scientific rigour, I dont think that conclusion is supported. We know little (?) about the selection of listeners, playback systems etc in this test. Listening tests allows us to "prove" (within some level of significance) that something is audible, but not prove that it is inaudible. Further, listening tests can be used for proving conscious differences, I dont think that typical listening tests are good at proving potential subconscious long-term effects (commonly used argument for those clutching at straws in various fields).

-k

  • AndyH-ha
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16 bit vs 24 bit
Reply #223
I think there is much more variability in the listener than in the object. When I am in the proper mood, music can be extremely pleasant. When I am not in said mood, the same music can be tedious, or even an irritation of considerable magnitude. I like different types of music at different times, and of those types, some fairly often, some rather infrequently.

Often, poor equipment (many automobile sound systems, boom boxes, and cheap department store sets) make me just want to get away from them as quickly as possible, but if the stars are just right, aligning my life force towards the proper constellation, perhaps, I don't care much about the quality of reproduction.

I've  worked intensely on quite a few albums ("restoring" LPs) many hours, listening for the smallest defects, without having any idea what the album is about. It isn't  until I just listen to the final product that I have can tell if I like the music, or, if it has vocals, what the lyrics may be about. On the other hand, when I listen for enjoyment, I may occasionally become involved in a halfway poor condition LP without noticing much about its deterioration.

When I opened this thread I was interested to find something that was somehow better for being in 24 bit, there being many people, if one reads in the right places, who seemed convinced of it. Now I am convinced that it probably doesn't exist, but if it does, it is irrelevant. Straining to pickup up such find details as might be audible only in 24 bit isn't listening to music, it is just a hearing test. For me, music is about the complete experience. This is no doubt made up of the details, but it isn't about the details, and many of those details don't reside in the recording anyway.

  • Midiman
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16 bit vs 24 bit
Reply #224
foo_abx 1.3.4 report
foobar2000 v1.1.11
2012/04/07 12:52:17

File A: C:\Work\Render\ABX-16 bit.wav
File B: C:\Work\Render\ABX-24 bit.wav

12:52:17 : Test started.
12:54:54 : 00/01  100.0%
12:56:38 : 00/02  100.0%
12:58:46 : 01/03  87.5%
12:59:25 : 01/04  93.8%
13:01:28 : 02/05  81.3%
13:01:58 : 02/06  89.1%
13:02:52 : 03/07  77.3%
13:04:28 : 04/08  63.7%
13:06:48 : 05/09  50.0%
13:07:35 : 06/10  37.7%
13:08:05 : 06/11  50.0%
13:09:34 : 07/12  38.7%
13:10:30 : 08/13  29.1%
13:12:23 : 09/14  21.2%
13:13:54 : 10/15  15.1%
13:15:40 : 11/16  10.5%
13:18:36 : 11/17  16.6%
13:19:21 : 12/18  11.9%
13:20:31 : 12/19  18.0%
13:21:54 : 13/20  13.2%
13:21:58 : Test finished.

----------
Total: 13/20 (13.2%)

Very hard to distinguish - but probably just possible - as long as ear fatigue does not set in. Test music was 2 minutes from 24 bit live recording of 1st movement of Havergal Brian Gothic Symphony. Recording went to -3 dB - this section never went above -35 dB. ATH-M50 headphones - listening level boosted slightly. ASIO driver for EDIROL UA-101.

Comments:

1 Pure guesswork at beginning of test - I thought this was going to be easy ...
2 When I started concentrating - things got better - in this test run
3 Level to hear differences was way above normal conditions. The end of this movement would be simply unbearable at this volume.
4 After test 16, I removed the headphones for 20 seconds - this broke the concentration on the differences.
5 I got bored listening to the same bit of music over and over again ...

Conclusion:

May be possible - effect probably enhanced at ridiculous listenings levels. At normal levels, does it matter?