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16 bit vs 24 bit, any samples that work?
AndyH-ha
post Nov 3 2006, 03:19
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There are real differences between 16 bit and 24 bit files, just as there are real differences between uncompressed and mp3. As with the differences between wav and mp3, 16 bit vs 24 bit is often difficult to identify by listening.

Test signals are one thing, but has anyone found any 24 bit music recording that can be successfully identified via ABX testing against a properly resample to 16 bit version of same?
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AndyH-ha
post Feb 16 2007, 12:22
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Setting aside for the moment whether this donated tone, 24-bit-ABX, might ever be considered music, my first listening based impression was that I can tell no difference between the 24 bit and a dithered 16 bit version. A run of 14 trials with WinABX said otherwise, however. I guessed correctly 12 of those times, for a guessing probability of 0.6%.

Whatever I based my guesses on was below the level of my conscious awareness. I doubt that it would ever occur to me that there might be a difference if I did not know there was supposed to be.

I turn my headphone amplifier up quite far rather often. I need to listen to samples that are down 60 to 70 dB, as part of the restoration process I do (mostly from LPs). I know from painful experience that forgetting to turn the dial back down is very unpleasant when switching to "normal" level music.

In order to even hear this test tone, I need the volume setting to be much higher than I ever use it in my daily noise sample testing. In order to hear it well enough to do the ABX test, I had the volume set on maximum. I don't know what sound pressure level is produced by this. Your equipment might provide significantly greater amplification; your hearing might be significantly more sensitive. However, I am reasonably sure that no human could listen to music at anything approaching that setting on my system unless the entire composition was at a similar input level as this test tone.

That, of course, would be too contrived to accept. To be reasonable, the file would then need to be normalized to "normal" music levels, where the differences between 24 bit and 16 bit would probably be much less. After normalizing it to -16dB (which is loud at a volume control setting below my normal listening level), and resampling a copy to 16 bits, a run of 14 trials produced 13.something% probability of guessing for me. I'm not sure how to interpret that.

Again, laying aside the question "is it music?", is there any disagreement that a piece that contained this tone, along with parts at more normal levels (thus precluding the volume control being set at an extreme level) would need to be listened to under extraordinary conditions for such low level parts to be heard at all? In real music, such low level sounds might occur at a fade out, but probably no one ever hears them.

Also, music is not always at a constant level. For this sample to be useful in the ABX tests, it needs to be part of something, as emphasized by Axon. Adding higher level music might change the ABX test results considerably -- unless one insists that really extended durations of such a low level tone are a worthwhile contribution to some composition. Who knows what musical genius might wrought? Tunes for the Sensory Deprivation Vat

So, let me restate part of the hypothesis that led to this thread. I don't remember just what was written in what other thread, but something was being discussed with one or more proponents of "24 bit is better" and that prompted me to start this thread (I've made similar challenges in other forums. This test tone is the first offering with which anyone has ever responded).

I acknowledge that there are real differences between 16 bit and 24 bit, but is there any actual music where that difference can be distinguished under real world conditions? While most of them might not hang around this neighborhood, there are more than a few people who proclaim that 24 bit recordings (as finished products) are so much better than CDs. I rather doubt it is because said recordings contain parts at -110dB. I want someone to produce even one sample of some 24 bit music that can be successfully ABXed against a properly resampled 16 bit version of same. I'm not saying it doesn't exist but I want to hear it for myself.



An addendum to the comments about higher sample rates by SebastianG, which comments I afraid didn't make much sense to me: I generated two samples of 32 bit silence, one at 48kHz (keeping with the parameters of the tone under consideration here) and one at 96kHz. I resampled both to 16 bit with the dither I normally use.

At maximum headphone volume, the 48kHz sample sounds the same as silence; I hear nothing (from the added noise shaped dither). However, the 96kHz sample is definitely audible. Perhaps this is a defect of the soundcard when running at 96kHz. CoolEdit's Statistics say the 96kHz file has both lower peak and lower RMS levels.

Repeating the 96kHz silence sample with a noise shaping preset labeled for 96kHz, the perceived loudness is decreased (but still audible), but the measured levels are higher than for even the 48kHz dithered sample.



I don't know what a "public listening test" might involve, but I want to be able to resample the 24 bits to 16 bits myself. I suspect it is possible to bias the results towards 24 bits by doing a less than splendid job of resampling.
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Posts in this topic
- AndyH-ha   16 bit vs 24 bit   Nov 3 2006, 03:19
- - Mike Giacomelli   I'd imagine ABX would be possible if you found...   Nov 3 2006, 03:25
- - pdq   I recall a test here some years back to try to see...   Nov 3 2006, 05:33
- - Aetmos   If the clip is properly dithered, this doesn't...   Nov 3 2006, 06:22
- - cabbagerat   QUOTE (Aetmos @ Nov 2 2006, 21:22) If the...   Nov 3 2006, 07:31
|- - Aetmos   QUOTE Welcome to HA. I see this is your first post...   Nov 3 2006, 16:17
- - AndyH-ha   I agree that a good sample, if it exist in music, ...   Nov 3 2006, 09:36
- - cabbagerat   QUOTE (AndyH-ha @ Nov 3 2006, 00:36)...   Nov 3 2006, 16:25
- - Axon   I suppose it's quite easy to construct a track...   Nov 3 2006, 17:48
- - Axon   Also, how contrived can the listening environment ...   Nov 3 2006, 18:03
- - AndyH-ha   The question isn't whether or not it is possib...   Nov 3 2006, 20:18
- - Axon   Well.. how much dynamic range can you coax out of ...   Nov 3 2006, 20:38
- - AndyH-ha   I'm sorry, that went over my head. What is the...   Nov 3 2006, 21:21
- - outscape   haha nothing.. see 24 bits is purist technology. i...   Nov 3 2006, 22:23
- - greynol   I'd wager that in order to distinguish the dif...   Nov 3 2006, 22:41
- - Axon   OSHA's recommendations for 120db is that it sh...   Nov 4 2006, 01:11
- - AndyH-ha   But are you talking about real music or, effective...   Nov 4 2006, 01:56
- - Axon   My point is that you don't need a "test s...   Nov 4 2006, 02:21
- - AndyH-ha   OK, you need more than the dynamic range of 16 bit...   Nov 4 2006, 04:09
- - Iain   I think the best volume for the test would be ...   Nov 12 2006, 17:14
- - AndyH-ha   Without cryogenic cooling the intrinsic noise of e...   Nov 12 2006, 19:23
- - SebastianG   I think it's a good idea to mention the import...   Nov 13 2006, 13:30
- - AndyH-ha   QUOTE I think it's a good idea to mention the ...   Nov 14 2006, 03:43
|- - SebastianG   QUOTE (AndyH-ha @ Nov 14 2006, 03:43...   Nov 15 2006, 14:16
- - SirChristof   If you have decent equipment and a quiet environme...   Feb 15 2007, 09:40
|- - Kees de Visser   QUOTE (SirChristof @ Feb 15 2007, 09:40) ...   Feb 15 2007, 22:15
- - AndyH-ha   Yes, it is easy to create test tones that demonstr...   Feb 15 2007, 11:52
- - SirChristof   The vast majority of all music most of us have acc...   Feb 15 2007, 20:17
|- - krabapple   QUOTE (SirChristof @ Feb 15 2007, 14:17) ...   Feb 16 2007, 06:07
- - SometimesWarrior   These articles on ff123's website may be of in...   Feb 15 2007, 21:41
- - greynol   QUOTE (SirChristof @ Feb 15 2007, 00:40) ...   Feb 15 2007, 21:48
- - SirChristof   Greynol, What I meant to imply by "at low le...   Feb 15 2007, 22:02
- - AndyH-ha   As far as I can see, the ff123 page does not provi...   Feb 16 2007, 08:17
|- - Kees de Visser   At least one of the engineers I've asked seems...   Feb 16 2007, 11:01
- - muaddib   IMO it is better to keep samples much shorter: 10-...   Feb 16 2007, 11:54
- - 2Bdecided   There are a few 24/96 and 24/44.1 files here: http...   Feb 16 2007, 12:07
- - AndyH-ha   Setting aside for the moment whether this donated ...   Feb 16 2007, 12:22
|- - Kees de Visser   QUOTE (AndyH-ha @ Feb 16 2007, 12:22...   Feb 16 2007, 15:10
|- - Kees de Visser   An ABX test to compare 16 and 24 bit dithered audi...   Feb 19 2007, 23:00
- - AndyH-ha   I believe the resampling is more important than th...   Feb 20 2007, 00:30
- - MLXXX   Hi everyone. A year has passed since the previous...   Feb 25 2008, 16:52
- - AndyH-ha   "sounding better" is a subjective evalua...   Feb 26 2008, 00:52
- - MLXXX   I am new to ABXing but I think that for playing 24...   Feb 26 2008, 15:25
- - .halverhahn   Even it is comparing apples with oranges: Do you ...   Feb 26 2008, 17:28
- - digital   Wow: Nov 2nd 2006 to Feb 27th, 2008 and still wai...   Feb 27 2008, 10:37
- - knutinh   Since DVD-A can now be ripped, having 24/96 stereo...   Feb 27 2008, 10:43
|- - Kees de Visser   QUOTE (knutinh @ Feb 27 2008, 10:43) Caut...   Feb 27 2008, 11:51
|- - bubbleguuum   QUOTE (Kees de Visser @ Feb 27 2008, 11:5...   Feb 27 2008, 20:32
|- - MLXXX   QUOTE (volvme+ @ Feb 28 2008, 04:27)...   Feb 28 2008, 10:11
- - GeSomeone   I remember remarks (don't know where) that ind...   Feb 27 2008, 12:10
- - knutinh   I think that the difference between 12 bits and 16...   Feb 27 2008, 15:00
|- - MLXXX   QUOTE (knutinh @ Feb 28 2008, 00:00) I th...   Feb 27 2008, 16:59
- - volvme+   Sorry for interrupting your conversation, but I do...   Feb 27 2008, 19:27
- - MLXXX   AndyH, perhaps you might be kind enough to answer ...   Mar 3 2008, 07:27
- - cabbagerat   QUOTE (MLXXX @ Mar 2 2008, 22:27) Being a...   Mar 3 2008, 10:43
|- - MLXXX   QUOTE (cabbagerat @ Mar 3 2008, 19:43) ~ ...   Mar 3 2008, 13:48
|- - Soap   QUOTE (MLXXX @ Mar 3 2008, 07:48) When I ...   Mar 3 2008, 14:11
|- - MLXXX   Thanks, Soap. I should have been more precise. Wh...   Mar 3 2008, 15:06
- - SebastianG   Hi! I'd like to remind you that there...   Mar 3 2008, 11:02
- - AndyH-ha   I know this isn't the only time I raised the t...   Mar 3 2008, 12:03
- - cabbagerat   QUOTE (SebastianG @ Mar 3 2008, 02:02) I...   Mar 3 2008, 13:25
- - cabbagerat   QUOTE (MLXXX @ Mar 3 2008, 04:48) If I am...   Mar 3 2008, 15:23
|- - MLXXX   QUOTE (cabbagerat @ Mar 4 2008, 00:23) Wi...   Mar 3 2008, 15:35
- - cabbagerat   QUOTE (MLXXX @ Mar 3 2008, 06:35) QUOTE (...   Mar 3 2008, 16:17
|- - MLXXX   QUOTE (cabbagerat @ Mar 4 2008, 01:17) ~ ...   Mar 4 2008, 16:25
- - AndyH-ha   I generally issue this type of challenge when some...   Mar 4 2008, 19:45
- - MLXXX   I've a added a 24-bit 48KHz original, and 16-b...   Mar 10 2008, 16:00
- - Pio2001   Hello, In september, I did an ABX between a 96 kHz...   Nov 26 2008, 22:25
|- - Canar   QUOTE (Pio2001 @ Nov 26 2008, 13:25) Voxe...   Nov 27 2008, 00:27
||- - Dynamic   QUOTE (Canar @ Nov 27 2008, 00:27) QUOTE ...   Nov 27 2008, 05:27
|- - Kees de Visser   QUOTE (Pio2001 @ Nov 26 2008, 22:25) I go...   Nov 27 2008, 10:32
- - Pio2001   Thank you for the precisions about dither. This is...   Nov 27 2008, 19:48
- - Canar   I fully recognize that, and want to thank you agai...   Nov 27 2008, 21:18
- - solive   QUOTE (AndyH-ha @ Nov 2 2006, 18:19)...   Jan 5 2009, 01:28
- - greynol   http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....showt...   Jan 5 2009, 01:38
|- - Martin Kantola   Greetings, found your forum recently, so here...   Jan 21 2009, 22:04
|- - Kees de Visser   QUOTE (Martin Kantola @ Jan 21 2009, 22:0...   Jan 22 2009, 07:37
- - 2Bdecided   I can't ABX it. I agree it's a perfectly g...   Jan 22 2009, 13:45
- - AndyH-ha   I m going to see if I can borrow a fast connectio...   Jan 22 2009, 22:12
|- - Martin Kantola   QUOTE (AndyH-ha @ Jan 22 2009, 16:12...   Jan 23 2009, 05:01
|- - Ron Jones   QUOTE (Martin Kantola @ Jan 22 2009, 20:0...   Jan 23 2009, 05:58
||- - Martin Kantola   QUOTE (Ron Jones @ Jan 22 2009, 23:58) As...   Jan 23 2009, 06:23
|- - 2Bdecided   QUOTE (Martin Kantola @ Jan 23 2009, 04:0...   Jan 23 2009, 11:47
|- - Martin Kantola   QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Jan 23 2009, 05:47) I ...   Jan 23 2009, 16:11
- - Axon   18/32 - there's a harshness in the left channe...   Jan 23 2009, 07:56
- - 2Bdecided   Found it... http://www.gearslutz.com/board/so-muc...   Jan 23 2009, 16:30
|- - Martin Kantola   QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Jan 23 2009, 10:30) My...   Jan 23 2009, 18:41
|- - krabapple   QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Jan 23 2009, 10:30) Fo...   Jan 24 2009, 01:01
|- - Martin Kantola   QUOTE (krabapple @ Jan 23 2009, 19:01) Bu...   Jan 24 2009, 03:11
|- - krabapple   QUOTE (Martin Kantola @ Jan 23 2009, 21:1...   Jan 25 2009, 00:08
||- - Martin Kantola   QUOTE (krabapple @ Jan 24 2009, 18:08) An...   Jan 25 2009, 00:28
|- - MLXXX   QUOTE (Martin Kantola @ Jan 24 2009, 12:1...   Jan 27 2009, 10:16
|- - krabapple   QUOTE (MLXXX @ Jan 27 2009, 04:16) The ef...   Jan 27 2009, 18:57
|- - MLXXX   QUOTE (krabapple @ Jan 28 2009, 03:57) Is...   Jan 28 2009, 14:14
- - 2Bdecided   Here you go... http://rapidshare.de/files/4332135...   Jan 23 2009, 17:25
|- - Martin Kantola   QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Jan 23 2009, 11:25) He...   Jan 24 2009, 07:13
- - 2Bdecided   Thank you Martin. Putting noise in the last 8 bit...   Jan 24 2009, 21:09
- - 2Bdecided   Remember those stats are only true for the situati...   Jan 25 2009, 17:38
|- - Martin Kantola   Thanks for the info David, I'm completely new ...   Jan 25 2009, 17:59
- - AndyH-ha   This was asked more than once but there was no res...   Jan 29 2009, 11:05
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