High Rez files, is this a joke?

I just purchased a high rez file of Steely Day's Gaucho. I own the album, that I purchased back in 1980 for about $4, the cd of the album and now the high rez file. When I compare all 3 formats, the vinyl album's sound is superior. What's up with this?
Well, Vinyl will always sound superior to many. However,

...are you sure your DAC is capable of actually processing and not at high rez...and not down converting to 44.1? You may know this...but (for example) just because you are playing a high res file through ITUNES library interface does not mean it's being processes as one.

What DAC are you running?
Sorry...that was awful...what I meant to write:

..are you sure your DAC is capable of actually processing high rez...and not down converting to 44.1? You may know this...but (for example) just because you are playing a high res file through ITUNES library interface does not mean it's being processed as one.
I am using a PS Audio Perfect Wave DAC with their new bridge card.
So what is it about the vinyl that sounds better?

Also what is your system?
The whole recording, better bass, cleaner mids and highs. The record just sounds more real and natural, not over compressed and sound level boosted. The thing that really gets me is the album I have was purchased by me over 30 years ago and it sound far better than the latest and greatest digital format.

As for my system,
Bryston amp and pre amp
VPI turntable
Sutherland PHD phono amp
Shanling SCD t2000 SACD player
B&W 801 speakers
Kimber and MIT cabling
They may have done a poor remastering for the Hi Rez file. Hi Rez won't help with a poor master. Do you know what the source for the master is?
Isn't that the idea of vinyl? Avoid the digital realm and all you have to worry about is TT set up and a clean album. All digital is trying to do is emulate pure analogue, isn't it?
I thought if you upload hi-res to iTunes it can play in high res, but that the iPod cannot.

In any case, y'all are missing the point on high res, putting the emphasis on the "res." As george Carlin said: "It's all BS ....!"

To Neal's comment:

Yes, Itunes can "play" high res...but if connected to a dac (USB) that cannot support the higher rate, it gets down converted.
Benjie, it sounds like you don't know which format you're actually playing back. There are many hi-res formats these days and it gets a bit confusing. As someone suggested your DAC may be downsampling. I just looked at a demonstration of the Perfect Wave DAC's capabilities on YouTube and PS Audio says it's best to set the resolution to "Native" because almost always the recording's native format is going to sound best.

As I said, there are many hi-res formats: SACD, DTS HD Master Audio, Dolby TrueHD, and LPCM in 24/192. I don't think Gaucho was released in any of the above but I did see it on Chesky's HD Tracks as a 24/96 PCM release... Even if you bought that one you would need to confirm that your DAC was actually playing it in its native format and not converting it to some other format... It's silly and premature to damn the whole hi-res nation because you bought one disc that you didn't like and you don't even know what format it was made in or what resolution your DAC is playing it back in.

And I'm not saying that hi-res digital is better than vinyl playback. In my own experience it has been difficult for digital to get the timbre of the instruments exactly right and natural sounding. Nonetheless, some of the true hi-res releases do a lot of things remarkably well.
If the file(s) you have are truly "hi-res" (24 bit and 96KHz or 192KHz) they should sound incredible. And the best thing about digital is that you don't have to fuss with azimuth, tracking errors, etc.

I suspect there is a problem somewhere in your digital chain. Investigate more clsoely and see if you can find where the problem is...

You need to do things a certain way for good results, namely:

1) rip using dbpoweramp and accurate-rip on a PC, preferably to .wav files - use a good C2 correcting ripping drive, such as:


2) Use a Mac with Amarra 1.2 for playback (the old one) - run 64-bit mode

3) Get a better USB DAC that does no internal upsampling and drive your amps directly with a good volume control in the DAC (not digital), this will make all the difference in clarity, dynamics and S/N ratio. Eliminate the preamp.

This is not unlike getting an expensive turntable and then putting the wrong stylus on it or a poor phono preamp. Everything is important here.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
i've gotten the best results using WAV files with my PWD. just downloaded the new stones releases from HD Tracks this morning (176) and they sound incredible when compared to my redbook versions. it's not even close. only have 5 redbook disc's that are also available in hi res format but all 5 sound MUCH better in downloaded 92 and 176. no critical listening required....i can tell the difference in about 5 seconds.

agree with others here. something is not right within your digital chain.
I have the high rez version and several vinyl versions. I do not know what you are doing but hdtrack's hd down load is great! At a minnimum, as good as the best vinyl version. I use both flac and wav and I do not hear a difference between them. Flac is easier to tag and down load album covers. What music player are you using is it set up for bit perfect? I use Jrivers. Obviosly if you do not have a set up capable of down loading and playing you are not going to hear the full capability. On the main page of HdTracks they tell you what is required, do your home work.

Vinyl has long been considered the reference for which digital strives to attain. That said, your Steely Dan download is 24 bit x 96 kHz. I for one, have a hard time distinguishing any substantial differences between 24/96 and 44.1/16 (“substantial” being the key word here). 24x176 and 24x192 on the other hand are substantially better than their Redbook cousins. A well-recorded song properly produced in the 24x192 digital format is a thing of true beauty. I am not however ready to say (or should I state, qualified to say) that this well-recorded/produced 24x192 hires digital song sounds better than its well-recorded/produced vinyl counterpart.

Bottom line: No. Hi-res files are definitely no joke. They’re a blessing to digital and they are in all likelihood the future of digital music (high end anyway).

Hah hah hah 'Perfect sound, forever'.. remember that one, well the NEW one is hi rez. Getting the suckers to buy 'one more copy' of stuff they already have. Works every time with some folks. i did it ONCE. for CDs. i ain't gonna do it again.
Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.
And all you saying OOhhh it's better.. yeah.. so was Cd... sure.
Maybe if it was the same price.. but then that would not make any sense.. Gouge them AND get them to buy the same stuff all over again at TWICE THE PRICE.. ohh make that four times the price, as long as we're at it.
And don't start in on me. i'm just an old bag ranting to the walls... While i listen to my used $2 Cds.. from all you computer folks.. burn and toss, burn and toss.. keep it up PLEASE!! (who am i to complain?)
Hi-rez is definitely better. And given who's selling it, I don't buy the marketing conspiracy Elizabeth posits.

By the way, "burn and toss" violates copyright. Don't do it, folks.
Well thank you for all of your thoughts and opinions. Let me please answer back to some of these posts.

First, I know what file format I am using.

My DAC is capable of playing high res files. wav, flac, aiff and so on.

My DAC does NOT undersample, if it cannot play the file the way it is formated it won't play it.

I am not ripping these files I am streaming them to the DAC

Server software is Twonki, PS Audio Tag n Play as the controller.

Yes I am downloading high res files from HD Tracks.

A poor quality master, give me a break, If the master is so bad then why would they use it to make a high res copy.

Buy a Mac to play the files, yea, that ain't going to happen.

Buy a USB DAC, are you serious? I have almost 4 grand invested in this DAC. It is state of the art.

I am able to play all 3 formats at the same time on my system. I can control the volume independently from each player, turntable, DAC, CD player. I use a decibel meter to set the volume so that all 3 are exactly the same 85db. I am able to compare all by just changing my input from the pre-amp. Vinyl sounds the best!

As for the Rolling Stones high res files that are out now, it took me 2 hours but I did find the vinyl versions of the greatest hits (Vol 1 & Vol 2) that I had stored away, they were released on colored vinyl in a limited edition by Decca. I listen to them and they sound fantastic. I am going to tell you right now there is no way I am going to spend $60 for two computer files for material that I already have, that may, just may sound as good as the vinyl versions I have.

And finally, Elizabeth......YOU GO GIRL....I am with you 100%
call the folks at PS Audio for help. The digital copy should slaughter the vinyl for base... no commercial vinyl album used groove spread to avoid deep base compression like direct to disc did. Agreed that vinyl still gets it more right for air in the high frequencies but the hirez copy should be making it obvious what your cartridge colorations are... if you can't hear that, somethings badly wrong with the PS Audio playback.
There is nothing wrong with my PS Audio equipment. As for bass, I have never heard a digital copy that has natural sounding bass, it is always boosted and over compressed. My cartridge does not color the sound, Benz LPs as natural and as clean as they come. Remember, vinyl is the actual recording of the piece of music, digital is just an interpretation 1010101010101010101010101010
Ben, do you hear a difference between the hi-res and Redbook version streamed through the bridge? If you don't hear the difference, it may indeed be a problem with the bridge - mine had some soldering problems that they we're able to fix right up.

that said, I think my old vinyl version of Gaucho sounds better than either the heavy vinyl re-issue I have or the hi-res - especially as far as natural timbre and flow goes. But all my hi-res stuff trounces their Redbook counterparts.

I think the high res option pays off best for more modern recordings that are recorded natively in 24/192 or 24/176 - which most music is now. I'm really enjoying a lot of the Chesky recordings as well as artists like Jamie Cullum as downloads. But for music recorded using analog media (our favorite classic albums), their vinyl versions just can't be beat in my opinion.
Who cares if you spent $4000 on your dac. Fact is state of the art is usb. As far as fool me once statement, YOUR LOSS! See above link on the music section of audiogon. I am always amazed of those who insist that new is no good. I love vinyl and have ALOT of $$$$ invested in it. I have no intention of abandoning it at any point. I continue to buy vinyl. Having said that, the HiRez 96khz/24bit Rolling Stones down load are the STATE OF THE ART! If you are not hearing it that way, there is something wrong with your set up or your hearing!
Lots of good comments here and I think most of them are compatible.

Benjie's analog rig is top notch. I have a VPI table, Benz Ebony TR and a Linn Linto. The sound is indeed awesome. Benjie's should be a step up from what I have. The LP is an awesome cartridge.

Just like analog rigs sound different, digital systems sound different. It took me a long time to find a player, USB output and DAC that satisfied me. I listened to several new top notch DACs and thought they were too "Digital" sounding. I ended up with an older DAC which is more analog sounding, at least to me. I have not heard the PS Audio, but it may be, in my words, more digital than analog sounding. If that is the case, then it would compare poorly to a top notch analog rig, if that is what the listener is used to. For me, the differences I heard were as much from the playback chain as from the resolution of the file.

Many people are digitizing their old records and many report that they need to go to 24/176 or 24/192 to replicate the sound of vinyl. 24/96 just does not seem to be enough resolution to replicate high quality vinyl systems, especially to those who are used to vinyl.

Interestingly, for me, I found that 24/96 did not live up to vinyl, although once I changed to a tube pre-amp, the difference was less noticable. The additional of the analog pre to the digital PC sound, really helped it. Of course, I am also not a fan of many of the modern highly resolving systems.

PC audio is just so convenient. I use it most of the time, especially when I have 24/94 files. But, when I want the best, I go back to vinyl.

Benjie - if you ripped your 16/44 CD and then played it back the same way you did the 24/96, then I assume the 24/96 sounded better. It should.

Also, do not reject the idea that the creation of the high rez file may be an issue. Many high rez files have been shown to be simply upsampling of Redbook files. That practice is certainly becoming less common, but it still does happen, espcially for old material. It is probably not an issue with Gaucho, but it is something to look out for.

Vinyl seems like an old technology, but I am always amazed at the quality, especially of many of the original, well engineered records. Getting the best out of vinyl or high rez digital is always a quest. There are never easy solutions. And what sounds best is always a personal issue.
Do you all know what your problem is? Most of you have never heard a good quality anolog setup. You don't know how good vinyl sounds. I have a high quality anolog rig and when I listen to vinyl I hear it in all of its glory. Digital will never sound as good.
"I have never heard a digital copy that has natural sounding bass, it is always boosted and over compressed."

That's a strong absolute statement that usually indicates something is amiss in the digital playback system more so than the recordings.

Possible your rig is just better optimized to your tastes for vinyl than with digital. Not too unusual for vinyl to always hold an edge with an all SS rig (no tubes).

It's all in the overall synergy and how things work together to deliver a sound you like or not more so than about how much something costs or what technology is used in specific pieces.

Maybe a good tube DAC or pre-amp would help bring the digital more to a sound that you like with your setup?
"Digital will never sound as good"

A computer audio room at last RMAF got best sound of show. I think it has potential.

If you had the wrong stylus on your turntable, you might thing vinyl is crap....

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
Benjie; I do not wish to brag, but you must be kidding. I will put my anolog and digital against yours any day of the week. I will say just the opposite, your issue is you have never heard a properly set up computer based system!
Koegz, you are absolutely correct, I have never heard a properly set up computer based system. All I have heard is low end stuff that doesn't sound too good. I will tell you what I did hear at one of the highend stores around me was an Accuphase SACD player the was capable of playing all of the High Res formats with a price tag of 20 grand, and the recommended pre-amp for an additional 22 grand for a total of $42000. I am not going to lie, it did sound spectacular! And I said to the salesman, this is what I have to spend to match the sound of vinyl? And he said......Yep
Sounds like you just posted so you could give us your retort...sorry I fell for it.
In fact, your tone makes you come across like a real d-bag. Please tell us more about how great your system is...and how misguided we are to listen to digital sources. Your kind of nonsense including your silly multi-thousand dollar anectdotes are the real joke (and what's wrong with this hobby)...not high-rez files.
I think that I am just going to buy an ipod and some ear buds and become a digital guru like you, listening to my mp3 files in all there glory.
i agree with Koegz and MI....this post turned out to be the joke.

so let me get this straight....
you have a nice analog system. you undoubtedly spent alot of time and effort getting it to where you like. then you grab a piece a digital gear and jam it in there, compare ONE hi res download and proclaim "digital will never sound as good"?. do you have any idea how ridiculous this sounds??

however...you got me. i replied because i genuinely thought you were looking for an answer or solution. had i know this was troll bait.....i never would have replied at all. have never gotten into the "i'm right and you're wrong" thing. couldn't care less if someone doesn't like something i do.

go back to analog and leave digital for those of us who know what we're doing.
I do not listen to mp3's. I still have glory days ahead. I spent no where near your mentioned price. Be like most americans today, close your mind and believe what you will and your own ignorance. But, that does not change the fact that a computer based music server has great potential and it is available NOW! As the man said, "that's the thing about science, it does not care if you believe it or not".
AMEN, thank you for your insight on the subject.
How does your SACD player compare to the Vinyl and PC audio? How does the PS Dac sound when you use the SACD player as transport for regular CDs?
How does it sound when you bypass the Dac and go direct from computer to preamp? Maybe these tests will give some further insight.
The Sacd sound better compared to the redbook cd's. The addition of the PS Audio DAC was very good for the digital end of my system. It gave the digital end more warmth, richness and smoother sound, closer to the anolog sound that I like. I think it is a very good match with my tube sacd player. As for playing high res and computer files without the dac I can"t do that. The dac is my link to the computer with the new PS Audio bridge card. I am streaming the music from my computer that way. I was lead to believe that this is the best uway to do this since my computer is not in the same room as my stereo.
It never fails to amaze me! Someone gets really good sound out of a Turntable-and it is an accident, or your not listening to it right. Someone gets really bad sound out of PC Audio-and it is Operator Error, synergy, or any other excuse other than the Format! Lets gang up on the guy, and with numbers on our side, convince him to disbelieve his lying ears and eyes. There seems to be a real pattern here with the PC Audio Lunatic Fringe that seems Pathological. Borrrriiiinnnggg!!! Excuse me while I try to get the Viruses, Registry Errors, Fragmentation, Hard Drive Errors, Spyware, Malware, out of my Turntable
and CD Player. PC Audio falls flat on its face with reliability problems-more or less Sound Quality issues!
Got a new Toy for "Perfect Sound Forever", it's called PC Audio. Mommie is not going to take this new Toy away!
Well, this one observation only says to me that in this test the PS Bridge Wave Dac combo sounds inferior to an analog setup, it dont say that PC Audio is worthless or that its impossible to make it sound good/ok or whatever you need from it. All those Viruses Reg errors etc. is minor problems, its more work setting up a Great TT setup.
so Petty chimes in with even more silliness. did you even read the thread man?.

the OP with a very nice analog system says "digital will NEVER be as good". this after jamming a digital devise into his analog set-up and comparing one (yes...ONE!) hi-res download. it wasn't even 176 or 192. can one draw such a conclusion from such limited knowledge/information??

so if i were to buy a decent TT and plug it into my digital system, then try ONE album and proclaim digital sounds better and always will, would that make sense or be fair?

come on man....get real.
You confuse me here, I have a stereo system with analog and digital components that I listen to music through. What are you suggesting that I need to buy a completely different setup to listen to digital music? That the components that I have are not capable of playing analog and digital sources together? Nobody in the world is using a Bryston amp and pre-amp to play digital source music?
Benjie - It is not about your Bryston euqipment - it is about the source. Analog rigs vary widely in performance as do digital rigs. Cartridges, tables, and phono stages have a huge effect on sound, as you know. The same is true of PC audio rigs. The DAC matters, jitter matters, PC OSs matter, even wireless connections can matter. Your PS Audio equipment is an excellent system. That does not mean it is the best for you. A PC with a low jitter USB connection to a different DAC may be a better comparison to your excellent analog rig. People spend a lot of time comparing speakers, amps, tubes vs ss, cables,etc. The same applies to PC audio systems. I assume you spent some effort in picking your VPI turntable and your Benz cartridge. I think the suggestion is that maybe you need to do the same with your digital system. Getting maximum performance from a digital system, unfortunately, is not easy. But done right, it can provide excellent performance. If your conclusion is that no digital system can ever match an analog system, that is fine. Just move on. But you may be missing out on some very fine audio, which allows you a lot more flexiblity than records do. I have both and use them as appropriate.
Well my hi-rez files certainly sound as good or better than their vinyl brothers. Not always of course, but often. Playing hi-rez through the PerfectWave DAC/Bridge sounds REALLY good IMO.
Dtc: thank you. and yes, i spent almost a year putting together my digital rig to sound the way i like it. new pre amp, amp, IC's, PC's and countless tweeks. my pwd sounds much better today then it did when i got it. i would have to assume Ben went through the same, putting together his analog system. about the only thing i've learned in hi-fi for sure is some things work well together and others don't. with the near infinite combination's out there, it takes alot of time to sort things out and get where you want to be.

my other missed point regards common decency and respect. starting a thread on a forum dedicated to digital music and its fans with the intention of insulting both really rubs me wrong. even if you believe what you're saying, it's just not cool. we get excited and passionate about out digital music, just like analog fans love their stuff. what kind of enjoyment does one get out of disrespecting others and bring them down? sure it's been done many times here and elsewhere. still doesn't make it right. go ahead and enjoy your lp's.....but do you have to slam digital fans to do so?.

again...to each his own. enjoy what it is you enjoy. just don't piss on my leg then tell me its raining.

cheers....i'm outta this one.
Many newer CD/digital remasters are finally getting older recordings on CD to sound in the same league as older quality vinyl versions. In some ways, due to the remastering putting a different spin on the recording more so than the format itself, they may even sometimes exceed the originals.

Unfortunately there have been a lot of CD recordings done over the years that were not up to snuff.

Steely Dan Gaucho is certainly a good test case for getting a digital copy to match th eoriginal vinyl in that I recall that original vinyl recording to be quite good, along the lines of "Aja" in terms of high quality pop/rock recordings.

I say this in earnest. If you are really serious about your original thread here, do this: Go to HDTracks and download the Jen Chapin album and make sure you select the 24x192 version (there is also a 24x96 version)....get the 192kHz file.

Playing this through your PWD/Bridge - if your setup is working properly - will be an experience that will change your opinion of digital. What I state here is a reality that many people around the world - folks with major high-end analog and digital systems – enthusiastically share. The PS Audio form has members posting from around the world and this topic has been discussed. The 192kHz digital version of Jen Chapin’s album is special (as are other HDTracks releases).

I trust that your thread is genuine and that you are not a troll as suggested above. Let us know what think of this 192 kHz digital file played via your PWD/Bridge.

I look forward to your response.

Again, it is not just about Sound Quality, it is about
CONSISTENT/ RELIABLE Sound Quality. If it breaks, you can't
fix it, it doesn't matter how GOOD it used to Sound. Hard
Drive Crashes, you lose 5,000 Music Files, you can't fix it, it doesn't matter how GOOD it used to Sound. PC Audio
has always been, and always will be Unreliable. PC Audio
Manufacturers Installation Instructions are incomplete and
unreliable. PC Audio Customers providing their own Customer
Support/Troubleshooting in place of the Manufacturer is Unreliable! It will remain Unreliable as long as there are those who relentlessly support the status quo of the
Unreliability of PC Audio. If you can't get it fixed, why buy it in the first place? Are you just Hell bent on proping up the Profits of the Manufacturers, sacrificing us to do so? Stop negotiating for the rest of us, and giving away the whole store-you call yourself an Audiophile? You know just enough to be dangerous!
Um...ever hear of a backup drive?...my God, you sound like you're from the 1980's. And by the way...There's so much nonsense in your post, I don't even know where to begin. You clearly have little idea what you are talking about.

The only thing I have to say...is what makes you think we are not old school two channel aficionados too! I'm an old guy that grudgingly opened my mind to Computer audio (which by the way can be done in a way to totally avoid MP3s) and have put together an incredible system. You act like you have to educate us about the ways of the elders? GMAFB!

The only people bashing solutions here are you and Benji...are you the same person for god's sake?

Like Levy said...did you even read the thread man?
2chnlben: You still think you can reason with these guys?
Petty you sneaky devil.... Folks, here's one of Petty's multi accolades about digital...I Quote:

"What I hear doesn't sound anything like Surround Sound Digital anything. It sounds almost exactly like an Analog Recording. The images are fleshed out in an extreme on an enlarged Soundstage. The ambience and Harmonic content seems to expand and go on forever."

Go search on his id...and see all the digital questions and musings...then read his post (3 up from this)...

Folks we have a troll!