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Is it time for a new (preferably higher) standard? Yes? No?
Old 1 week ago
  #1
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Thread Starter
Is it time for a new (preferably higher) standard? Yes? No?

Sennheiser came out with a new headphone amplifier in May and it only took me 4 months to discover it.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzCUNfE7YcE
(This is the dramatic version): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7AZnSK92UMU
(The first video was a nice way to compare and contrast audio resolution with itself and the resolution of other media. The fact it also explains DSD is not the point. )
If you look at the specs, the HDV 820 is quite capable. This is not the first headphone amp/DAC to have high specs, quite the contrary, there are a number of them on the market now. On the recording side of things, is it safe to assume everyone here is recording well above the CD "Red Book" standard of 16bit/44.1khz? My point is recording equipment is not the issue. I would argue consumer playback equipment is not really an issue either. The 17 different mediums through which people listen to music is a little bit of an issue if a unified standard were to be set.

4K HDR or UHD, seems like it is set to replace standard BluRay. Why? Mostly because the companies that produce the films, TV's, disc players, etc. told us 4K HDR is going to replace BluRay, if not through words, then through actions. Also, people can see that the resolution is better, so it is not really a hard sell.

Audio quality is a hard sell. However, one reason people are listening to music on 17 different mediums is partly due to the fact there has not been any cooperative effort in the music industry to create a new standard. (I may wrong about this, but the sheer number of digital audio file types suggests no one tried very hard.) You could argue the .mp3 became the new standard in which case I would say that is a good illustration of what happens when there is a lack of leadership.

In my eyes, when the industry you are involved with is in shambles and a new standard seems meaningless, that is perhaps the best time to create a new standard. Now, this being the internet, I do not expect us to come to an agreement on a new standard. (Plus, I am not sure what we would do if we did.) However, given the lack of technical barriers that may have once existed, my hope is that the concept of resolution/quality is considered more relevant and worthy of discussion now than it has been in the past.
Old 1 week ago
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Given To Fly View Post
4K HDR or UHD, seems like it is set to replace standard BluRay. Why? Mostly because the companies that produce the films, TV's, disc players, etc. told us 4K HDR is going to replace BluRay, if not through words, then through actions. Also, people can see that the resolution is better, so it is not really a hard sell.
4K is an interim format. 8K will replace it in the very near future as a deliverable for consumption. On the production end, 4K isn’t standard either, with many productions shooting in 6K or 8K and then editing and grading in 4K and producing deliverables. Those with the hardware capability are now editing and grading in 8K.

RED is apparently working on a 10K sensor for those delivering in 8K. This will become the standard workflow, with Sony and Panasonic, ARRI, et cetera following in the near future. Sony already has an 8K camera as announced at IBC 2017, roughly three years behind RED. By 2020, every household in Japan will have access to 8K transmissions with accompanying 22.2 sound streams. The Blu-ray Forum is already working on standardising 8K by 2018.

HDR is also just one step in the development stage to the real breakthrough which is light field cameras and post workflows. With companion metadata, the processing will occur in real time on the consumption device such as the television or streaming device.


Quote:
Audio quality is a hard sell. However, one reason people are listening to music on 17 different mediums is partly due to the fact there has not been any cooperative effort in the music industry to create a new standard.
One major lesson I learned a long time ago is that the music industry is the least innovative industry, and usually a very late follower roughly a decade behind. If you’re seeking innovation and progress, look at the film and broadcast industries, for example, eventually those innovations trickle down to the music industry and become part of the standard workflow.

Majority of those involved in film dubbing with Atmos certified dubbing stages, deliver an Atmos compliant mix, with all subsequent deliverables being derived from that one mix. The Auro-3D, DTS, IMAX, et cetera, are all derived from that one Atmos compliant mix. In many ways Atmos is becoming the standard for audio in film due to this workflow. But Atmos is a 48k system, since that is all the RMU supports.

In the 1970s when Decca was transitioning to digital, engineers claimed that 18bit/48k was adequate to capture what analogue tape achieved. Perhaps they were right after all.

The same applies to working in NHK 22.2 in my workflow (a great source of amusement for certain members on this forum in particular). All deliverables are derived from that one mix. I think of this a bit like the promise of the Java language - code once and deploy everywhere. Always start from the highest possible format, and work your way down from that.

NHK 22.2 is a fantastic system, especially for classical and opera. NHK also have an object-based system where the ADM metadata describes the scene. An incredible system to produce in and equally to consume.

Increasingly, 24bit/48k is the chosen delivery format as it marries with picture. Production may be at a higher format, but delivery is now almost always 24/48k.


Quote:
In my eyes, when the industry you are involved with is in shambles and a new standard seems meaningless, that is perhaps the best time to create a new standard.
The music industry usually comes round to the innovations of other industries.

In 2010, EBU R128 compliant deliverables (mostly to -18LUFS Integrated) were produced as standard and provided to clients for free. Back then, posters on this forum said “oh that’s for broadcast, not for music” and “that will never be required in the music industry”, but mostly posters here had no clue about EBU R128, and many still don’t.

In 2017, the music industry is now rapidly moving to Loudness conformance for streaming services and clients are demanding deliverables that adhere to the standard. The majority of my clients with Projects completed after 2010, simply have to look within their Project backup and locate the EBU R128 folder and a deliverable is ready for use today. No extra charge to them, no effort on their part. They’ve already paid for that work.

The same applies to object-based audio (a subject that seems to also fall on deaf ears here, literally). All Projects delivered after 2014 have an Object Based Audio folder for clients to use when that format is required in future. In 2017, with Pyramix now supporting object-based audio with ADM metadata end-to-end and with Sequoia supporting basic ADM, this format will hopefully see greater adoption. I have spent the last three years learning and implementing an object-based audio workflow and clients benefit directly from that time and experience with a compliant deliverable already in their backup. A small percentage require it today, but every single one of my past clients may deliver today if required. No extra charge to them, no extra effort on their part. They’ve already paid for that work.

Last edited by reynaud; 1 week ago at 08:30 AM..
Old 1 week ago
  #3
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Thread Starter
Thank you! So, I suspect the people driving the film industry forward are the people in the film industry, not the consumers. For example, I have never seen an 8k image/film on an 8k screen and honestly can not imagine what it would look like. I have never heard anyone (consumers) demand 8K video either. The industry has to be the leader in this area because they know what is possible and practical to a certain extent.

Some of the companies you mentioned are equally involved in the music industry so it seems odd they can work together on visual entertainment but not the music aspect. I’m sure money plays a big part but right now high-resolution audio is not very expensive to record. The number of reasons not to try and organize the music industry a little bit seem few and far between. Emulating the film industry is not a bad idea.

You mentioned streaming, which as we know is popular these days. I imagine some people believe everything will be streamed in the near future but I hope this is not the case for one very simple reason: as the user, you have no control over the content being streamed. For example, I can not listen to certain tracks from albums I bought through iTunes unless I subscribe to Apple Music or buy the track again. My iTunes account is not exactly organized, so it is entirely possible Apple is not really holding my music hostage, it just appears that way on the surface. Regardless, this gives me no incentive to join Apple Music, instead, it highlights why a physical medium is not such a bad idea. A record label I really like is 2L ( http://www.2l.no ). They have embraced the Pure Audio BluRay and Hybrid SACD as physical mediums and both discs come in the case. That covers a lot of ground and may be overkill but once you buy it, it is yours. No one can stop the sound from coming out of your speakers/headphones. Just a thought.

Last edited by Given To Fly; 1 week ago at 08:35 PM.. Reason: Added a thought and changed some words.
Old 1 week ago
  #4
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Pure Audio Blu-ray is a wonderful format especially with MShuttle functionality enabled (especially since DSD, ALAC, et cetera may be provided as alternates).

Stefan Bock (the developer of PureAudio Blu-ray) did a great job tailoring the Blu-ray format specifically for music consumption. He doesn’t get enough credit.
Old 1 week ago
  #5
This is good stuff. However, I think the basic question is... when does a new "standard" offer value to the consumer, either directly through increased features or quality that they can perceive, or indirectly through more efficiency in production (which translate to faster/cheaper)?

I don't know though, I'm not sure that the "mainstream" sees the value in things like 22.2, regardless of how good it is. Most homes don't even bother with 5.1, for instance. I believe the majority put the priority on the screen size and resolution in home theatre, and they focus on how LOUD the audio is, not how good it is.

This is nothing new, even in the "old days" of the 80s and 90s, people didn't spend money on sound. What made the CD so popular with the masses wasn't its superior quality, it was the form factor, the ability to randomly access the music (no more FF/REW or finding the right spot on the LP) and the consistency (40th play sounds as good as the first) that made it take off. Moving to file-based and streaming was the next logical step driven by convenience, and that brought with it ease of duplication (both good and bad effects).

I don't think the "mainstream" will find much value in consuming sound at resolutions above 24/48, though they MAY find value in multichannel formats like NHK 22.2.
Old 1 week ago
  #6
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We really don't have enough standards, formats, surround, immersion, obsolescence paths, upgrade paths, electronic scrap heaps, streams, TLA's, gadgets, computers, gear, speakers, amplifiers, cables, channels, hype, marketing, BS, FUD, plastic pollution or megalomaniacal corporates yet. And the ones we do have are so yesterday.
Old 1 week ago
  #7
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zvukofor's Avatar
God bless stereo 44/16!

Really, i've never seen a man who owns a 4k TV (and only a pair of video pros who own both 2k and 4k), but the situation with music is much worse - even most music-loving guys i saw use low-priced Hi-Fi stereos, everyone else - headphones, lo-fi boomboxes, soundbars, etc crap.

So, what about new audio formats?
Old 1 week ago
  #8
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tourtelot's Avatar
Funny, I was just thinking; man, if I didn't have so much technical stuff, it wouldn't be broken all the time and I wouldn't have to fix it all the time. I feel like "The IT Guy" around my house, let alone on the job.

Some days, a nice beach shack on the East Coast of Mexico seems like such a nice idea.

D.
Old 1 week ago
  #9
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMetzinger View Post
This is good stuff. However, I think the basic question is... when does a new "standard" offer value to the consumer, either directly through increased features or quality that they can perceive, or indirectly through more efficiency in production (which translate to faster/cheaper)?...
...I don't think the "mainstream" will find much value in consuming sound at resolutions above 24/48, though they MAY find value in multichannel formats like NHK 22.2.
I did not really mean for a new standard to act as a sales/marketing tool. The idea is to "get everybody on the same page in the same book." If a new standard were created it would have to be an exponential increase in resolution/quality for it to be worth it, similar to how TV's/film formats have been introduced.

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
We really don't have enough standards, formats, surround, immersion, obsolescence paths, upgrade paths, electronic scrap heaps, streams, TLA's, gadgets, computers, gear, speakers, amplifiers, cables, channels, hype, marketing, BS, FUD, plastic pollution or megalomaniacal corporates yet. And the ones we do have are so yesterday.
I get what you are saying, but the CD came out in 1984 (I think?). I do not think it is unreasonable to assess the way things are done once every 33 years.


Quote:
Originally Posted by zvukofor View Post
God bless stereo 44/16!

Really, i've never seen a man who owns a 4k TV (and only a pair of video pros who own both 2k and 4k), but the situation with music is much worse - even most music-loving guys i saw use low-priced Hi-Fi stereos, everyone else - headphones, lo-fi boomboxes, soundbars, etc crap.

So, what about new audio formats?
The topic is a new audio standard, not necessarily a new format.
As of today, a 4K TV will not be very useful because there are only about 5 movies that have been released in that format so far. This time next year, things will be different. 4K HDR is SET to replace BluRay, it has not replaced it yet.
Old 1 week ago
  #10
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I wouldn't call the UK market tech-forward, but I'd say at least 60% of people I know have a 4K screen somewhere in the home.

We have enough standards. 24bit48k would be great for streaming services to adopt.

I like 24/96 but until EVERYTHING is at least 24/48 I'm not holding my breath.
Old 1 week ago
  #11
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..

Last edited by reynaud; 1 week ago at 07:54 AM.. Reason: attitudes here still the same as a decade ago. time to move on
Old 1 week ago
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reynaud View Post
Reason: attitudes here still the same as a decade ago. time to move on
Aw c'mon we are only having a laugh.

Quote:
.. time to move on
Where would you go? I find this forum to have generally the best mix of conversations of any on the net.
Old 1 week ago
  #13
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24/48 has been an audio/visual standard for many years and at this point a resolution increase to 32 has audible benefits: however increased sample rates are far more beneficial to processing than end user listening. (the known difference between measurable VxS perceivable) Given the prolific growth of streaming and its various versions will the size of 24/48 files ever be possible or will they continue to be a problem requiring heavy use of compression.
Hugh
Old 1 week ago
  #14
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Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
I was at Best Buy around the holidays last year. The person in the video sales department was showing me some of the the new 4K TVs. He said people are willing and able to spend a lot of money for video but when it comes to audio they want to do it as cheaply as possible and he said a lot of his clients wanted to get a surround system (5.1) and pay no more than $199.99 for the whole system. The need for a higher quality audio format is somewhat laughable in today's world where a lot of people listen to MP3 128K on $5.00 Earbuds and think it sound GREAT! A few audiophiles may want a better more HD format but it is not, IMHO, a commercially viable option.

FWIW c
Old 1 week ago
  #15
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With storage being so cheap, I'm sure I'm not the only one who records to a high density format, then at the end the final product can be 16/44.1 CD's, and even mp3's as pre-approval media for quick distribution via WeTransfer, Dropbox et al .

No need to be tied to low resolution simply because the lowest common denominator defaults to that....and at least we want to be sure that our interim mixing, editing and mastering processes are non lossy...even if the delivery medium isn't hi-res.
Old 1 week ago
  #16
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fred2bern's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
With storage being so cheap, I'm sure I'm not the only one who records to a high density format, then at the end the final product can be 16/44.1 CD's, and even mp3's as pre-approval media for quick distribution via WeTransfer, Dropbox et al .

No need to be tied to low resolution simply because the lowest common denominator defaults to that....and at least we want to be sure that our interim mixing, editing and mastering processes are non lossy...even if the delivery medium isn't hi-res.
Interesting subject!

By my side I wonder why I would choose to work over 24/44.1 or 48. Finally, if I look around, the CD is the best quality available among all my clients, friends etc.
They listen to the music on CDs first (at home), then with their handy, on Utube etc.
They also download MP3.

I work in the classical world and I know nobody with the opportunity to listen to a stream 24/96 in good acoustic conditions. Same for SACD etc.
I have some productions available in HD on websites but I wonder who is able to listen to this "studio quality"...
How many people have a dedicated treated room with the speakers not close to the walls, a good HIFI system etc?

Here in Switzerland our national radio for classical music (SRF 2 Kultur) ask for 48, even if they know that we can go up tu 192.
Old 1 week ago
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fred2bern View Post
I work in the classical world and I know nobody with the opportunity to listen to a stream 24/96 in good acoustic conditions. Same for SACD etc.
I have some productions available in HD on websites but I wonder who is able to listen to this "studio quality"...
How many people have a dedicated treated room with the speakers not close to the walls, a good HIFI system etc?
There is probably a sizeable number of 'closet audiophiles' who will choose and pay for a HD download of well-recorded material, even if the delivery conduit is via high grade headphones and an expensive DAC.

Simply because people consume 'on the move' via small portable devices and headphones or earbuds....rather than the previous discrete CD transports, amplifiers, large speakers, treated listening rooms etc... the same hunger for high quality sound is now transposed towards hardware of small size but high cost (and perceived quality)

A new generation of the same sort of person who bought Mobile Fidelity LP's from the late 70's onwards still exists, and the HDCD, SACD and 24/192 download market caters to them.
Old 1 week ago
  #18
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Adebar's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by fred2bern View Post
Interesting subject!

By my side I wonder why I would choose to work over 24/44.1 or 48. Finally, if I look around, the CD is the best quality available among all my clients, friends etc.
They listen to the music on CDs first (at home), then with their handy, on Utube etc.
I wonder why so many studios decide to produce in the same limited format like CD.

If you record and mix say at 24/96 you will be safe for distributing your production also in a few years in a adequate format. And for now working at 24/96 (or higher) gives you a better sound in the mix even when you have to go down to CDs 16/44.1

HD space is cheap, processing power of CPUs and PCIx cards like ProTools HDX is high so I don´t see a reason to stay at the limited 44.1k

Right, for TV related audio the format is 24/48 (even better than the limited 16/44.1) and I know some stations doing all classical recordings in 24/96 when cooperating with labels like Sony or other labels for classic and jazz.

The question if we need a new standard for me is answered already.
We can offer 24/96 or even 24/192.
We can offer that with 2 channels for stereo or for surround on different numbers like 5.1, 7.1 or even higher.
All that can be offered as file for download. Even the multichannel formats can be played via software player. No blu ray audio only is needed (the authoring and licencing is way to expensive!).

AIFF can contain stereo or multichannel as interleved file.
Lot of people may prefer FLAC which is just another container for as many channels you can think of.

Downloading audio (or even streaming) is nothing compared to video content in HD or UHD and 4K.

DSD is over for me. 24/192 can easily offer what DSD can even at 128fs and at the production side DSD is a nightmare.
Old 1 week ago
  #19
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tourtelot's Avatar
Sincere question here. What about those much more knowledgeable than me who say, and say loudly, that the problems with a 192K sample rate far outweigh any advantage of 24/96?

My clients and I top out at 96K FWIW.

Well there is this one DSD guy. . . .

D.
Old 1 week ago
  #20
Some post are delving dangerously into the realm of audio myth. Especially concerning bit depth and sample rate. I guess that is normal in discussions about audio quality.

I would like a lossless compression standard that everyone can agree on, though.
Old 1 week ago
  #21
Gear Nut
 

Well, there are markets not addressed by, or even believed existing by many here. One of them is the high resolution download business, with even a DSD specialization. To participate in that, I record exclusively in 5.0 channel DSD256. Not arguing that it's much higher resolution and posses higher sound quality (it is and it does), but it exists, is growing, and is contributing to future audio recording standards.
Old 1 week ago
  #22
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tourtelot's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by tailspn View Post
One of them is the high resolution download business, with even a DSD specialization.
There is a market, you are correct. It just isn't very big and I don't think it will ever be "mass."

There is a market for $5000 interconnects as well.

D.
Old 1 week ago
  #23
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I agree that dsd256 sounds like a dream, but with current pcm converters, 96khz often sounds more natural than 192khz. It very much depends on the ad or da converter IMO...
Old 1 week ago
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
There is a market, you are correct. It just isn't very big and I don't think it will ever be "mass."

D.
Probably not, considering that the remaining overall market is primarily being driven by broadcast interests. But the high resolution recording and digital delivery of acoustic music remains one of the few growing segments of this business, and represents a segment where one can specialize.
Old 1 week ago
  #25
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fred2bern's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adebar View Post
I wonder why so many studios decide to produce in the same limited format like CD.
I think today we all work at least 24b, wich is not the CD format...
Old 1 week ago
  #26
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Kimotei's Avatar
 

Hmm. Heres my "2 cents" of this as of today. I may change my view later.

With 8k video, or even 4k (I just got a 4k tv) video is finally reaching a resolution similar to 16/44.1 audio. With that I mean we can no longer see the pixels, as with 16/44.1 we (ok, 99%) can no longer hear the limitations. I think because we reached this treshold with CDs already in the 80ties, it has stayed there. And I think hoping for 24/196khz to becomming a standard would be like hoping for 196k video. After 8k video you can no longer see the pixels so there is no point going higher. Well ok maybe 16k for VR aka 8k for each eye, but at this point we will not be able to see the pixles anymore.

Mastered/normalized pop/rock/club music is fine at 16bits. However I did once buy a couple of cds with wildlife bird recordings that was very low. When boosting to a wanted level it also brought up the noise floor to much. So here 24bit would be perfect.

24/44.1 for stuf with a higher rms then -18db perhaps could be a think, like extremely dynamic classical or wildlife recordings. For mastered "pop" music, delivery formats of 16/44.1 will probably keep on being a standard for a long long time.

I suspect that people claim to "easily" hear a difference between 44.1khz and 96khz not because an increased resolution is there, but rather because the audio has been passed through plugins that are old, with bad code that handles different sample rates differently. Or through old converters that might handle different samplerates slightly different. This problem though is becoming more and more a thing of the past. For current plugs, processors and converters its not a problem anymore, and the quality/highend converters now play fantasticly detailed at 44.1khz.
Old 1 week ago
  #27
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Adebar's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by fred2bern View Post
I think today we all work at least 24b, wich is not the CD format...
Right. At least here with the bit rate there is a common sense that producing in a higher standard (24 bit) than the delivery format of CD (16 bit) is an advantage.

At sampling rates I also see an advantage to go higher than 44.1k. EQs, compressors and even summing benefits from higher sampling rates.
Old 1 week ago
  #28
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Adebar's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimotei View Post
I suspect that people claim to "easily" hear a difference between 44.1khz and 96khz not because an increased resolution is there, but rather because the audio has been passed through plugins that are old, with bad code that handles different sample rates differently. Or through old converters that might handle different samplerates slightly different. This problem though is becoming more and more a thing of the past. For current plugs, processors and converters its not a problem anymore, and the quality/highend converters now play fantasticly detailed at 44.1khz.
Here I find it very interesting that increasing numbers of the real pro live mixing desks like Midas or Digico work at sample rates of 96k. Lots of the FOH guys prefer that sound and report that mixing at 96k is faster and the sound is better. No surprise for me.
Old 1 week ago
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adebar View Post
Here I find it very interesting that increasing numbers of the real pro live mixing desks like Midas or Digico work at sample rates of 96k. Lots of the FOH guys prefer that sound and report that mixing at 96k is faster and the sound is better. No surprise for me.
I agree that higher sampling rates reduce latency and permit more processing without increasing latency.

The ability to do more advanced processing while remaining within acceptable latency constraints can make for "better" sound overall. That's not the same as saying the fidelity is better.
Old 1 week ago
  #30
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Adebar's Avatar
I agree. The latency thing is a point.

But would you also agree that filter design is easier with higher sampling rates?
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