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24-bit audio proposed for iTunes, Apple is proposing selling 24-bit audio in iTunes. What compares?
andy o
post Feb 23 2011, 12:02
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QUOTE (Kohlrabi @ Feb 23 2011, 02:29) *
QUOTE (kornchild2002 @ Feb 23 2011, 11:23) *
How do you know if 16 bits is enough for most tracks offered by Apple? Have you listened to all of the music that Apple offers through the iTunes Store? Have you tested their 24-bit solution to determine that the benefit is only realized in an extremely quiet listening environment? Have you done that with the majority of the tracks they are offering at the new resolution?


I think there is still no one on HA who has shown through ABX testing that 24bit bitdepth is distinguishable from 16bit when converted properly. The main use case for 24bit data is processing, not end user consumption.

There have been a few studies, no? One I think in 2007 extensively discussed here, that found while higher sample rate than 44.1 didn't matter, people could distinguish 24-bit audio in near silent passages at very high levels. But this requires a very quiet (and likely unrealistic for most people) listening environment, that's probably what greynol was referring to. One of the authors was even posting here IIRC.
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dhromed
post Feb 23 2011, 12:05
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QUOTE (IgorC @ Feb 23 2011, 11:41) *
QUOTE (Kohlrabi @ Feb 23 2011, 07:29) *
The main use case for 24bit data is processing, not end user consumption.

And DVD-A is for .... ?


Money.
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No Angel
post Feb 23 2011, 12:14
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QUOTE (kornchild2002 @ Feb 22 2011, 23:05) *
My only real problem, aside from 99.999999999999% of the comments on CNN's website about this article, is that we don't know if these will be 24-bit lossy or lossless files. I would greatly welcome the addition of 24-bit lossless files for the sake of having a lossless archive of music instead of relying solely on lossy audio. I could really care less about 24-bit lossy audio as my own listening tests and experiences show that I am perfectly happy with the 16-bit lossy audio that I have now.


I think that this title from Music Week implies lossless downloads - Apple and others plan 'studio quality' downloads
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andy o
post Feb 23 2011, 12:41
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QUOTE (dhromed @ Feb 23 2011, 03:05) *
QUOTE (IgorC @ Feb 23 2011, 11:41) *
QUOTE (Kohlrabi @ Feb 23 2011, 07:29) *
The main use case for 24bit data is processing, not end user consumption.

And DVD-A is for .... ?


Money.

Yeah, and luckily the DVD-A and SACD experiment didn't turn out to well for the money grubbers, so here's hoping that they see it this time.
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DonP
post Feb 23 2011, 13:09
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QUOTE (IgorC @ Feb 23 2011, 05:41) *
And DVD-A is for .... ?


more channels, more room (multiple albums on one disk?), copy protection (maybe breakable, but it's not allowed on CD)
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mixminus1
post Feb 23 2011, 15:37
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QUOTE (bandpass @ Feb 23 2011, 00:06) *
QUOTE (mixminus1 @ Feb 22 2011, 22:41) *
I do love that irony, though - 24-bit audio files to distribute music with literally a few dB of dynamic range

How many bits are needed for music with only a few dB of dynamic range--one?

I believe it's Izotope who makes a plugin that can analyze an audio file and show exactly how many bits of dynamic range it actually has/uses.

Someone (I don't believe it was on HA) ran several top 40 songs through it, and some had a 4-bit dynamic range overall - I don't think any were greater than 8-bit.


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pdq
post Feb 23 2011, 16:49
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QUOTE (mixminus1 @ Feb 23 2011, 10:37) *
QUOTE (bandpass @ Feb 23 2011, 00:06) *
QUOTE (mixminus1 @ Feb 22 2011, 22:41) *
I do love that irony, though - 24-bit audio files to distribute music with literally a few dB of dynamic range

How many bits are needed for music with only a few dB of dynamic range--one?

I believe it's Izotope who makes a plugin that can analyze an audio file and show exactly how many bits of dynamic range it actually has/uses.

Someone (I don't believe it was on HA) ran several top 40 songs through it, and some had a 4-bit dynamic range overall - I don't think any were greater than 8-bit.

"Bits needed" should trtack dynamic range pretty well, but they are not the same.
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greynol
post Feb 23 2011, 19:15
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QUOTE (kornchild2002 @ Feb 23 2011, 02:23) *
Why do you care?

I care that you're misleading people into thinking such things that lossy audio has an inherent bit-depth (it doesn't!) and that there is something inherently different between a lossy file created from a high-resolution master and one created from CDDA and that there is something wrong with the former. So what do you think is wrong, do you think the file will be bigger or that if forced to be the same size the quality will be less, or what? It sounds like nonsense to me.


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shakey_snake
post Feb 23 2011, 21:30
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http://ca.gizmodo.com/5768446/why-24+bit-a...e-bad-for-users

This response is pretty rational, but the comments section is just ridiculous.


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Wombat
post Feb 23 2011, 21:54
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It will be interesting to see if they really bring out 24bit files that suddenly sound better as the old 16bit download.
If that happens i hope on every corner of the internet we will see some examples, showing that the same magic was possible with 16bit already and that this 24bit offer is just a way to fool us dump customers once more.
When they start to release 24bit from now on only on new releases there isnīt much to complain if the quality of the 16bit version wasnīt mangled in a way.
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SCOTU
post Feb 23 2011, 21:56
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QUOTE (IgorC @ Feb 23 2011, 05:41) *
And DVD-A is for .... ?


For being awesome. I wish that format hadn't died like it did. So many people listen to music at their computers these days that can benefit from 5.1

And then it comes with a nice packaging setup: you get the DVD-A and all the music videos on one disk.
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kornchild2002
post Feb 23 2011, 22:26
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QUOTE (greynol @ Feb 23 2011, 11:15) *
I care that you're misleading people into thinking such things that lossy audio has an inherent bit-depth (it doesn't!) and that there is something inherently different between a lossy file created from a high-resolution master and one created from CDDA and that there is something wrong with the former. So what do you think is wrong, do you think the file will be bigger or that if forced to be the same size the quality will be less, or what? It sounds like nonsense to me.


I am not implying or misleading anyone, I am simply saying that, right now, this does not interest me unless they are actually offering lossless downloads (again, for archive purposes). That is all. I don't see a point in upgrading resolution unless they are going to offer lossless files. I am not saying that all lossy encoders are stuck at 16-bit, I am saying that I am currently fine with my lossy files sourced from 16-bit lossless sources and I don't think there is a point in offering higher resolution lossy files. I see nothing wrong with saying that especially if someone else is going to pre-judge the entire library offered by the iTunes Store and suggest that most of it would be fine being encoded at 16-bit.
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greynol
post Feb 23 2011, 22:32
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If it wasn't intentional, then whether you mislead someone or not isn't your call. You made a statement that gave me the impression you thought lossy encoders had an inherent bit-depth. You have since made your correction and I appreciate that.

Show me some compelling evidence that iTunes currently offers tracks that are either mastered so low or have sufficient dynamic range to warrant high-resolution audio and I will amend my comment. Otherwise, I believe others have sufficiently defended my point.

Regarding the other point, I can understand that you don't see the need in having lossy files sourced from 24-bit material. I simply question why you specifically said you didn't want lossy files sourced from 24-bit material. How would you know and why would you care?

This post has been edited by greynol: Feb 23 2011, 22:45


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mixminus1
post Feb 23 2011, 22:38
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QUOTE (SCOTU @ Feb 23 2011, 12:56) *
And then it comes with a nice packaging setup: you get the DVD-A and all the music videos on one disk.

...and how, pray tell, do you get them off that disc, and onto your hard drive, into your music library, and onto your portable media player? wink.gif

Oh, I know it "can" be done, but it ain't exactly a one-click operation in iTunes...


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saratoga
post Feb 23 2011, 22:52
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QUOTE (greynol @ Feb 23 2011, 16:32) *
I simply question why you specifically said you didn't want lossy files sourced from 24-bit material. How would you know and why would you care?


Well I don't want them if I'll be forced to hear people bragging about how amazing their recently repurchased 24 bit music collection sounds smile.gif
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greynol
post Feb 23 2011, 22:58
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Would it be immoral to be amused with such stupidity?


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saratoga
post Feb 23 2011, 23:03
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QUOTE (greynol @ Feb 23 2011, 16:58) *
Would it be immoral to be amused with such stupidity?


I'm not sure, but thanks to Apple we're going to find out biggrin.gif
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cpchan
post Feb 23 2011, 23:13
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QUOTE (saratoga @ Feb 23 2011, 18:03) *
QUOTE (greynol @ Feb 23 2011, 16:58) *
Would it be immoral to be amused with such stupidity?


I'm not sure, but thanks to Apple we're going to find out biggrin.gif


Ha ha. tongue.gif
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andy o
post Feb 24 2011, 02:36
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Blu-ray is taking it from where DVD-A and SACD left off, in a way. There is some classical performances on lossless high-res audio, and rock/pop concerts. But I don't think there are albums being put out, or that there will be. Blu-ray is harder to rip than DVD-A though, and its DRM more of a pain in the ass even if you don't rip.

Personally, I as long as there are CDs, I'll be fine. But I don't listen to newer music/artists whose CDs are expensive. Last time I bought a bunch of CDs I bought some for around $4, and the imported ones were like $13.

Regarding multichannel on portables, I'd be very interested to see something like a Dolby Headphone app for the iPod Touch/iPhone. It could work like the VLC app works, loading its own content into the app.
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Billytheonion
post Feb 24 2011, 03:41
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Why is everyone just picking on Apple ? It's not just Apple other companies are following in the same foot steps.
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2Bdecided
post Feb 24 2011, 12:18
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QUOTE (IgorC @ Feb 23 2011, 10:41) *
And DVD-A is for .... ?
...demonstrating that there will be no successor to CD as the defacto physical distribution format for music? wink.gif


This "story" has made the mainstream press in the UK now...
http://www.metro.co.uk/tech/856425-apple-s...-hd-music-files
...and still no details of what it actually means.


QUOTE
Professional music producers generally capture studio recordings in a 24-bit, high-fidelity audio format. Before the originals, or "masters" in industry parlance, are pressed onto CDs or distributed to digital sellers like Apple's iTunes, they're downgraded to 16-bit files.
From there, the audio can be compressed further in order to minimize the time the music will take to download or to allow it to be streamed on-the-fly over the internet.
Why don't record labels at least give retailers the option of working from higher-grade recordings?
"Why?" Jimmy Iovine, a longtime music executive, asked rhetorically. "I don't know. It's not because they're geniuses."
You know what else they have in the recording studio? Multitracks. Now, if they were going to start selling those at a premium price for people to play with, then I think we could get interested. wink.gif


Some reports do state it's lossless...
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/art...o=feeds-newsxml
...but this is the UK media we're talking about here, so don't believe anything you read wink.gif


If they are going to offer lossless, it would be a stroke of genius to do so only at 24-bits. Their customers will have to buy far larger iPods/Pads/Phones as a result.

(Assuming that iTunes customers who choose to buy lossless aren't going to bother to convert it to 16-bit lossless because most of those Apple customers see it as a "it just works out of the box" solution and don't mess around with alternatives).

Cheers,
David.

This post has been edited by 2Bdecided: Feb 24 2011, 12:19
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2Bdecided
post Feb 24 2011, 12:24
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QUOTE (mixminus1 @ Feb 23 2011, 14:37) *
QUOTE (bandpass @ Feb 23 2011, 00:06) *
QUOTE (mixminus1 @ Feb 22 2011, 22:41) *
I do love that irony, though - 24-bit audio files to distribute music with literally a few dB of dynamic range

How many bits are needed for music with only a few dB of dynamic range--one?

I believe it's Izotope who makes a plugin that can analyze an audio file and show exactly how many bits of dynamic range it actually has/uses.
This is the essence of lossyWAV. The command line encoder reports the average number of bits removed, but internally it know this value for each block. You can "see" the noise floor (=bits removed) per block by generating a "correction" file and loading it into any audio editor.

You can find audio signals where lossyWAV wants to keep 17 or 18 bits - but not in the top 40 wink.gif. Just because lossyWAV wants to keep more bits doesn't necessarily mean they're audible. But IME where it choose to remove them it means they're inaudible (unless you're using one of the intentionally not-quite-transparent low quality presets).

Cheers,
David.
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2Bdecided
post Feb 24 2011, 12:28
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QUOTE (andy o @ Feb 24 2011, 01:36) *
Regarding multichannel on portables, I'd be very interested to see something like a Dolby Headphone app for the iPod Touch/iPhone. It could work like the VLC app works, loading its own content into the app.
Unless you have some fancy dynamic headtracked binaural simulation (highly recommended by the way - it's the only way that binaural works properly IMO), then the 5.1>2 conversion is static and can be done at any time. So there's no need for the iPod to do anything other than play stereo files. Just put the headphone mix into those stereo files.

Cheers,
David.
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andy o
post Feb 24 2011, 14:42
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I was thinking it would be good to preserve the 5.1 content in case you're not listening through headphones, but it would probably be hard to get bit-perfect output to a Dolby enabled receiver to decode. Airplay is supposed to do it, and I have had DTS wav being decoded by my receiver through it, but it also had errors.

I also prefer to listen to stereo content through Dolby Headphone though. What I like is that it doesn't try to make it fake surround, it only simulates two speakers in front of you. But to modify the audio on the iPod Apple would have to allow apps to access the music. Not sure if that's allowed (looking it up right now).

This post has been edited by andy o: Feb 24 2011, 14:46
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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Feb 24 2011, 15:07
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QUOTE (dhromed @ Feb 23 2011, 06:05) *
QUOTE (IgorC @ Feb 23 2011, 11:41) *
QUOTE (Kohlrabi @ Feb 23 2011, 07:29) *
The main use case for 24bit data is processing, not end user consumption.

And DVD-A is for .... ?


Money.


And that my friend is what 24 bit iTunes is for. The good news is that their costs for implmenting it will far less than it was to implement SACD and DVD-A. People lost their careers over SACD and DVD-A.
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