It is like the computer company's. You only need a 166Mkz Standard Pentium to run the new Windows 2000, but they will talk you into upgrading to a new Pentium III 750Mhz. Many of the best sounding new CD Players and DACs made today are still using 18bit and 20bit processors. And some of the cheapest DVD players boast having 24 bit. I find it interesting that the new top of the line Cambridge Audio D500 CD Player is 20bit and the entry level D300 is 24 bit. The only 24 bit products that seems to be a wide spread winner are the MSB Link DAC and some Musical Fidelity Players. (There are a couple super expensive player too.) I guess 24bit is "technically" better, but I choose equipment using my ears, not the math side of my brain. Sorry this is not a technical answer, but I have wondered the same thing you do.
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