Joined: May 2009
||Posted: Oct. 24 2012, 10:47
One thing that hasn't been pointed out is that this has little to do with the 5.1 mix, which is what my original post was about. You're comparing 16/44.1 CD quality audio to 24/96, what this 5.1 flac download does is allow you to experience the amazing 5.1 2009 surround mix without one of the lowest compression schemes around for surround being used; Dolby Digital 448 Kbps. Dolby matrixes everything about @ 15kHz I think it is and frequencies get sharply rolled off just like they do with 756 Kbps dts.
That's two completely different scenarios.
As for whether 24/96 is better than 16/44.1, the mastering will always be of highest importance. SACD, DVD-A, vinyl, CD, Blu-ray Audio, HDCD, give me whichever one has the best mastering with the least dynamic range compression, I can play them all.
Also I've seen lots of tests that don't specify whether the source was 24/96, did it have information in it that would be removed by converting to 16/44.1 (frequencies that would be cut off for example or not if the original source was 16/44.1 or if it already had filtering), was the 24/96 converted to 16/44.1 and then compared to the same recording recorded at 16/44.1 so you're comparing two 16/44.1 files where one was recorded at 16/44.1 and the other at 24/96, for example. The test cited in the link you've posted doesn't go into detail on exactly which discs were used. There are some SACD's where the DSD stereo track is simply the 16/44.1 source material encoded to SACD, like Norah Jones' "Come Away With Me". The new Analogue Productions SACD release of the same album however was not created from a Redbook CD master but the original analogue tapes. Many SACD in the pop/rock field were PCM sourced, and many DVD-A discs were subject to stupid amounts of drc.
That's not to suggest the results aren't valid, just pointing out one or two of the inconsistencies. In addition if you can't hear below 20Hz then you should not be able to hear the lowest pedal of a pipe organ. However if you have a subwoofer that accurately digs down at less than -3dB to 15Hz (or full range loudspeakers like the Evolution Acoustics MM3), then you can certainly feel it which triggers a physiological effect. Does your brain enjoy music more when you are feeling the additional frequencies and the harmonics even if you can't hear them? Oohashi's studies (the hypersonic effect), which aren't universally agreed upon, demonstrated a similar effect with high frequencies. While subjects couldn't consciously determine between bandwidth limited material (to 20kHz) and material with information up and above 24kHz, they did show different physiological responses within the brain. The responses were not there when ONLY the high frequencies were played, nor via headphones. It's an interesting theory.
I have no problem with CD, I often pick up 24K Gold releases from Analogue Productions not because they're done on gold (because I think material is snake oil, see SHM-CD's, Blu-spec CD's, etc.) but because I know the mastering by Kevin Gray or Steve Hoffman will be terrific. This is noted in the AES study, that when SACD and DVD-Audio sound better it's because they weren't as confined in their jobs by morons at major labels who think loudness is better.
I love multi-channel music, so for me the very obvious reason I prefer SACD and DVD-A and BD-A to CD is because CD cannot do surround sound!
That brings me back to the original topic, I can't play the 5.1 .flac downloads via CD even if they were 16/44.1 because they've got three times as many channels as CD supports.