44.1/16 vs 96/24

Basically, I thought that 16 bit limit the dynamic range to 96 dB, and I know that the maximum dynamic range of the ear is greater than that.
On the other hand, I was aware that no proof is given about usefulness of more than 44.1 or 48 kHz.

This article was pointed out to me:

Can you see UV or IR light? no, our photocells cannot detect such light. The same applies to sounds over 20 kHz: we have no cells able to detect them.

Worth reading, the article provides sources and links to further data.


i myself can hear from around 10Hz up to around 25 000 Hz . it depends on the Person also. not everyone is the same!
i even can hear the wireless mode of my router, when wifi is on. my friends cant!
but maybe ist because my ears are trained well. Music Lover for 15 years and kinda audiophile…

The answer is that the human ear can hear things you aren’t aware of and with digital media there is a subliminal distortion irritant factor that creates listening fatigue. Higher resolution music reduces this fatigue so that you can listen longer without tiring. 44.1 khz/16 bit recordings can be excellent but as the mix of instruments and dynamic range between the instruments grows the digital irritants due to the lesser data rate standard grow. In actuality the single biggest improvement one can make is the jump from 16 bit to 24 bit data records in PCM… the sampling rate increase from 44.1 to 96khz is not as audible a difference vs the change from 16 bit to 24 bit depth.

of course you can detect/feel IR light, just stand close to a campfire, or put your hand on a IR cooker … :slight_smile:
(just not with your photocells)

Any scientific source of that?


In any case, all this “distortion” seems always irrelevant to me: the hear doesn’t know what you are playing, it’s not that has an original version inside and compared, detecting distortion (if it were there, that is).

There is enough scientific evidence that it is bullsh*t :slight_smile:
Up until now there is no evidence of a human being able to hear frequencies over 20kHz, and the Nyquist/Shannon theorem still hasn’t been proven wrong. For recording/production environments it makes perfect sense to use higher bitrates and resolutions to have some margin for processing, but after the final mastering there is no need to use anything higher than 16bit/44.1kHz.

Some more reading material (with scientific backup!):
numeralnine.wordpress.com/2013/ … l-consumer

Wonderful page. This is true too and I never thought about it:

Scientifically, the experiments behind 20Hz to 20KHz hearing range are vastly misunderstood by audio enthusiasts. Women in their 40s can hear 5-10dB better than men in high frequency range. Teenagers can hear significantly higher frequencies than adults, because their ears have smaller vibration receptors which fall off as we get older. Most humans who can hear frequencies up to 12Hz in ideal laboratory conditions.

So as you can see, 20Hz to 20KHz is not a scientific law, it is merely an averaged-out range over multiple test subjects. There are many people with demonstrable hearing abilities outside this range.

As a research engineer, I can say with certainty that if you include frequencies that you cannot hear but you can feel in air cavities of your body the 20Hz-20KHz range will need to be extended significantly. For example, I have two industrial-sized subwoofers and playing a 9HZ tone you can feel the vibration in the air cavities of your stomach. It has also been proven by research papers that constantly playing ultrasonic frequencies in the background can induce nervous behavior in people. There is a paper which shows that >22KHz tones can affect brain activity.

So the bottom line is that trust your ears! If you can hear something in a blind A/B test, it is real. As a rule of thumb, to really appreciate 24bit / 96KHz sound recordings you will need a system capable of affecting air-cavities using massive subwoofers and a tweeter capable of up to 50KHz range like the one found in Adam AX / SX series monitors. If you are listening to headphones or small speakers which cannot affect air-cavities, 16bit/44KHz is fine.

This used to be true for acoustic recordings back in the day, but it is no longer true for EDM and Pop music. Heavy digital manipulation after recording (common in EDM and Pop) in DAW and effects processing alter the waveforms generated by instruments and can introduce frequencies well outside the 20Hz - 20KHz range. For example, in the Tom Cruise movie “Edge of Tomorrow” there are frequencies in 10Hz sub-bass range on the blu-ray sound track.

All music and movie soundtracks are digitally altered and digitally distributed via downloads or blu-ray so “hundreds of op-amps and connectors” doesn’t apply to them.

If you can hear something in a A/B test I agree with you.
But unfortunately the suggestions of one amp vs the other, or cables, and so on are often given without A/B.

I have nothing against the theoretical improvement if 24bit and 96khz audio, but I’m also honest enough to admit there’s no change on earth I could ever, under any normal conditions, differentiate between the two by hearing alone. I’ve done my fair share of ABX tests, and I can’t even hear a difference between 192bps and lossless in most conditions. In modern music, the loud mastering is way more of a problem than the noise floor or high frequency reproduction.

If you think you can hear an audible improvement by listening to 24/96 files compared to regular 16/44.1, then by all means. However, I absolutely do not buy that it’s an improvement for most people, as “most people” are usually content with Apple earbuds and streamed 128kbps MP3s… Even most self-described audiophiles cannot reliably tell the two formats apart in a real blind test. Thus, I rarely bother with it. The massive increase in file size is more than enough to make me not bother.

The 16/44.1 “redbook” standard was also chosen for a very good reason, and that is that it encompasses the entire normal hearing spectrum of the vast majority of human beings on earth. I’m fine with being average :slight_smile:

And a blind test is only real if it is not you who does the switching, and you listen to exactly the same spl with Both. 24 bits Recording are almost always louder than their cd quality counterparts. Try listening to a track, and turn up the volume 3 db or so, and listen again. Does it sound better ? H.ll YEAH. Your ears are tricked easy, so be careful with drawing conclusions to fast. Truly blind a/b testing is very hard.
I did a lot of testing myself and think cd quality is great. Mp3 is less good But absolutely not rubbish and 24 bits … is sometimes a little bit better (Or just different)but also not shocking. So hyping anything is basically bs, and most recordings are not even close to good enough to even care. Imho it is much more important To find good music and good recordings and enjoy them as much as possible, and forget about al the discussion and snake oil. For me music is hobby and enjoyment. Good Luck.