Yeah...a LOT more fun.
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Tonyangel...your system IS high end, I bet it sounds great, and you clearly dig it...I have the same sort of stuff and have had a similar reaction to HDTracks...hit or miss just like everything else in art and music.
I checked out some Magico Q7s (!) today and clearly they're meant for people with crazy disposable income who live in acoustically treated airplane hangers and leave copies of Cigar Aficionado out for the maid to dust. Assembling a system from well designed less expensive often "pre-owned" gear is a lot more interesting than an overfunded "high end" tail chase, although I respect Magico's amazing stuff (somebody tell 'em I approve...they must have a design/build OCD inferiority complex going on there and need a hug or two).
I have a VERY modest system. My sources consist of a Sonos and a Squeezebox Touch, both of which pull files off of an NAS. My Preamp is a NAD C162, Dac is an XDA-1, Amp is an Aragon 2004, Speakers are System Audio SA505 bookshelves and my sub is a REL T3. Interconnects and digital cables are from Blue Jeans Cables and speaker cables are Canare 4S11. Not department store, but definitely not high end.
I can definitely tell the difference between hi rez and none hi rez files without much difficulty, most of the time. As mentioned, it depends on the quality of the recording.
I've downloaded some files from HDTracks that left me feeling like I wasted my money and I've downloaded others that made my system sound better than it should.
Yet another bit-head attempting to explain why audiophiles are nuts. While the author of the piece is undoubtedly intelligent and appears to know what he's talking about, his numbers-game discourse means nothing to me. Sure, 24/192 files are probably a waste of time when one experiences them on consumer hi-fi (that is why SACD never took off) but in the context of a properly set up and fine tuned high end system, most high resolution files are clearly superior. It is all relative to what system these files are played.
Keep in mind that not all hi res files are created equal - many of them sound inferior when compared to their CD counterpart. Could it be that the listening panel was comparing two files of dubious quality?
I do give the author credit for suggesting that his consumer hifi audience buy better headphones than their $20 buds. Good to know.
"I like the point about SACD or more carefully recorded things sounding better because they were more carefully recorded...hmmm"
They could easily find CD and SACD processed from the same 24/192 master tape and play both layers on the same SACD player.
Statement that 192kHz recording is harmful because it contain high frequency is BS. It is much easier to filter out 192kHz than 44kHz. It is even easier to filter out 2.8MHz carrier in SACD. Not only that author claims that 192kHz is harmful because it is higher than 44kHz but moment later talks about benefits of oversampling - increasing sample rate to ... yes harmful 192kHz.
I was referred to this article by a successful tube amp designer...I have no opinions...except maybe these: A basic reality of audio is that better built gear sounds better, and better recordings sound better on that gear. Astonishing. I like the point about SACD or more carefully recorded things sounding better because they were more carefully recorded...hmmm...also I think a lot of newer DACs have more carefully designed and built analog stages, power supplies, and other stuff that comes from people who listen to the things along the way and build to a standard. No surprise there. And a note on transient response...I have never detected a lack of transient response (except when trying to get a "transient" to respond to permanence...but that's just a pun...I can't help it...) in digital audio, but then I'm a mere mortal. Double blind tests always reveal data somebody not involved thinks is flawed...always...but in any case, yeah, interesting reading!
I'm pretty sure you can find other double blind studies that prove otherwise. Stereophile reviewers found huge difference between SACD and CD playback. Notion that double blind study is flawless since it does not contain placebo effect is false IMHO. Just tell people participating in the test that they should not hear any difference and they won't - negative placebo effect.
It is hard to believe that the same engineers who created original CD decided to created another system that sounds the same. Main problem with 44kHz sampling rate is the fact that antialias filters used in A/D processing screw up transient response. Also Nyquist theorem applies to continuous waves only. Because of that short samples of high frequency, like cymbals, get really screwed up and that is exactly what people who decided to go with Vinyl complained about in digital playback.
SACD is completely different from traditional converters and in reality is unfiltered byproduct of delta-sigma modulation (or class D amps). While many people can tell difference in sound between traditional ladder type 16 bit D/A converters and delta-sigma variety it is hard to imagine that they would not hear the same difference between CD and SACD.