Should Sound Quality of Computer Audio be improved

Unable to respond to, "Mach2Music and Amarra: Huge Disappointment"- Thread. Other Members take free pop-shots!
Apparently some have more Freedom Of Speech than others! I
don't know how many times I have said it, I want Computer
Audio to succeed! It will only succeed if Computers are designed from the ground up to reproduce Music (Same minimum standard applied for Equipment of ALL Audio Formats)! This is common sense Audio Engineering Design. Bandaid Modifications cannot be substituted for absence in design to produce Music! Design it right to EARN the right to become a New Audio Format- same as all other Audio Formats! No Freebee's, No Cutting Corners! Lack of design is what's causing such varied results in S.Q. between
listeners of Computer Audio. I see about 50% negative
responses here on these Threads. It will continue to happen unless you fix it! Blaming me won't help! I am an
Engineer, and I can read results! 50/50 success/ failure
rate- you have an inherit Engineering Design Flaw for the
reproduction of Music via Computers! Shock! Suprise- since
they were never designed for Music! So when is someone finally going to properly design the Equipment/Computer
(From the ground up) for Computer Audio? Do we continue
to treat any real criticism as "HERESY" in the lack of
design in Computer Audio for Music? You tell me what I am
allowed to talk about, and we will both know!
What you don't seem to be understanding is these high Rez formats you keep mentioning are all made from a file (I.e WAV or AIFF). That file IS the file you are downloading. It IS the master from the recording studio.

So get it into your head that there is no format issue anymore. Nearly everything will read a WAV or AIFF these days.

No need for your long descriptions of a world gone mad. Now read the above one more time and please take it in.

Now you hopefully have understood the above. So we can carry on to a slightly more complex aspect... Some sites will data compress these files losslessly using FLAC or something similar for quicker/easier downloads. These FLACs etc are not to be mistaken for MP3 data compression which is lossy and for our purposes the work of the devil. So the quality is not effected as they are lossless. Operative word being "lossless"

Are we good now? All clear. No need to pull out your 8track or cassette or tell anymore conspiracy stories.
There are no suckers here, nor anyone nieve. If you can't
learn from the past market history of High Res. SACD/
DVD-Audio (And how it applies to marketing of High Res.
Downloads), I can't help you! The history of High Res.
(Disk or Download) has been to continuously rob us blind
with false promises of larger selection. It is a shell
game marketing ploy! I have earned the right to be cynical
about being burned a T-H-I-R-D time (Sheeesh!) with High
Resolution. That doesn't mean that I hope it will fail a
third time (I still use Computer Audio). It means that
I need verification that there is indeed much larger
selection available via High Res. Downloads B-E-F-O-R-E
any concideration of elimination in other Audio Formats.
The old SACD/DVD-Audio arguement that increased selection
is entirely dependent on the elimination of other Audio
Formats- THIS IS CRAP! Applying this same marketing idea
to High Res. Downloads, this is a shell game for someone
else's profitability- NOT YOURS (THE CONSUMER)!!! If you
(The Consumer) will not look after your own interest in
Sound Quality someone will steal it. With an invitation
like that, how can they not? Not against anyone making a
profit, just put on the table (Selection) what it is that
you intend to make a profit off of from me. Let me see it,
let me kick the tires, let me protect myself as a consumer. In what Universe does this make no sense? I am
in the business of purchasing High Res./ High Quality Audio, and I know what I want! A whole lot of "Hot Air",
or "Soon To Be", is NOT Music to my ears. Certainly nothing that I can take to the Bank, certainly nothing that I can use to replace my existing Music Audio Formats!
Atleast something that I can use as a Higher Resolution
Source. In this regard, you have nothing to sell me in
substantial selection of High Resolution. This can change,
B-U-T not by holding my other Audio Formats as hostage.
Holding hostages is prelude to causing Wars, still it makes no sense to you why some of us are so angered by it-
REALLY? Chadeffect- not one word in your response about
Music sampling rate of these Files. Studios are now using
a Format of even higher sampling rate than SACD/DSD for
recording. You can keep on believing that you are getting
the full resolution that was recorded in the Studio, and
paying top dollar for it. By your standard why pay a whole
lot more to download anything of "high Res", if you are
already getting everything recorded in the Studio? What
do I know, I make "NO SENSE"! Can we end this Thread now?
It no longer serves any purpose. It just rubs everyones
emotions raw. Why continue to go there?
Petty Officer "threatening" to back out of the dialogue! LOL! What ever are we going to do!?!?
"Can we end this Thread now? It no longer serves any purpose". Another threat? Impending doom? LOL!!!
I don't know- Hfisher. Being burned a T-H-I-R-D time
investing heavily in High Resolution (SACD,DVD-Audio,
Downloads), or being burned by you? Somehow I think the
latter is a whole hell of alot cheaper. Maybe cutting my
$$$ LOSES $$$ by limiting them to SACD/DVD-Audio selection
rip-off, perhaps that might be better. You have money to
burn risking on High Resolution Downloads not becoming the
third High Resolution casualty- knock yourself out! Some
of us are just tapped out from this economy, and tapped out
from false promises of SACD/DVD-Audio Selection. Really,
Hfisher, have you learned nothing from this High Resolution
history debacle? The market doesn't really care if it is a
High Resolution Disk, or Download- they are both just as
expensive. The Audio Market has convinced everyone that
"The majority of the American Public are not interested in
higher Audio Sound Quality"- I am! That is the reason why
I try not to allow the market to create a third High
Resolution casuality out of Downloads. The Market wants
cheap, therefore low sound quality. The Manufacturers want
to produce cheap as being way more profitable. SACD, DVD-Audio, and High Resolution Downloads (Expensive) just don't fit that mold! Single Format Market solution will
only end up being the "Final Solution" to High Resolution
Downloads (It will only be SACD/DVD-Audio 2.0). Sad, but
true because you refuse to acknowledge the risk of this
happening despite history of anything High Resolution. Your denial is fuel for this self fulfilling Prophecy. Do as you wish, do your worse! I personally would have liked to have atleast just ONE High Resolution Format that didn't implode- many regrets!!! They pretty much implode
do to apathy, and the lack of any attempt to prevent them
from imploding. You want High Resolution Downloads to
succeed, you have to fight for it. That means taking on the
manufacturers desire to produce Audio cheap, and more profitable. No-one here is willing to do that! R-I-P is
inevitable now with High Resolution, it is already way too
late! Not that this would change anyone's mind here. So
yeah, Another threat, Impending Doom. The only difference
is that it is NOT what I desire, but what you are fulfilling- despite any of my attempts otherwise. So be it-
can we end this Thread now? I will volunteer to be a pole
bearer at the Funeral, if that will make anyone happy.
I kind of liked High Resolution, I am going to miss it-
Thank-you kindly for helping to preserve it. Wish that I
could LOL, really sad day for Audio. What else needs to be said??? How about "Have we learned anything yet?", the
third time around? Guess not!

In answer to "not a word in your response to music sampling rate of these files".

There seems to be little point in going into detail with you as you never seem to grasp the basics. In good faith I shall try again...

Most studio hardware is capable of 24 bit 192k. Some can go higher but not many. At some point in the production process this sample rate gets dithered down usually for your lovely "old" formats you seem so fond of. I.e stereo 44.1k 16 bit for redbook CD.

It would make little difference to the mastering guys or the artist to just upload the file at the native sample rate (the rate it was recorded at).

As I have mentioned about 100 times to you, now that you are downloading the files and playing from HD, as opposed to buying CDs or SACDs etc, the limit is down to the files original native sample rate.

There is little or no reason for high resolution files to cost much more, other than the time taken to store and download the master. Its only an export spec option out of the recording software. This is where you can choose the final outputted sample rate for the making of CDs etc. So the mastering engineer or whomever could leave it native if anyone wanted. It would take no extra process or extra time.

Please remember well recorded crap or high rez crap is still crap. It's the music that matters! Don't get too concerned about the resolution. Think of it as a bonus.

I think we should continue this thread until you grasp the original point of it.

In case you have forgotten "should sound quality of computer audio be improved?" My answer is it is improved already and will continue to improve. Now we are not slaves to robbers who want $20k for a disk reader which can only read 44.1k/16 or if we are lucky DSD. A computer treated correctly can do all that and more as long as you have a decent DAC. Fine tune software for peanuts and spend the money saved on music. Not on a guy who clads an old Philips transport in a billet of aluminium.

I could continue this thread for years. How about you PO? I hope I am being clear enough to not have to explain for years. Anymore questions?
Good points yet again Chadeffect - which will come to no avail. When in doubt, refer to the original question in the thread - "should sound quality of computer audio be improved"? The answer is actually quite simple - YES!! Sound quality of every format should be improved. All the other crap Petty has carried on in this thread is merely smoke and mirrors distracting from this focus.

But once again he has let me down! He PROMISED - oops, I mean THREATENED - to end this thread - yet there he is posting the same old thing.

Please, Petty...I implore you...PLEASE finally follow through with your threat. You made your point 2 pages ago, are not listening to a word we say, and are completely obfuscating your own tired arguments. Please give it a rest - please follow through on your own THREAT once and for all!

I expect that we have heard the last of you. Thanks for dropping by - it was fun while it lasted!
This thread is like my wife's people magazine. You know it is plain stupid, but when it is right in front of you, you sometimes can't help opening up a copy to check on the status of Tom Cruise's divorce.
They still sell cheapo record players at Target for about $100.

Should those be improved? Or should those who can afford better just look elsewhere?

Do you tend to think red or blue on such things?

Same with computer audio. There is some really bad lots of mediocre and some very good! Something for everyone!
So many distortions, so little time. I will save the response to personnal attacks, Chadeffect, and go to the
heart of the matter. Recording Studios ARE using a higher
Sampling Rate TO RECORD. A higher sampling rate than even
DSD. The cost of this (Software, with mixing capability
for many multi-channels) is NOT something that you can just
whip up on a small laptop. It is not inexpensive- must you
always think small (Oooops! my bust). Some of the "Lovely
Old Formats" that I am fond of happen to be Meridian Lossless Packing Multi-Channel 24/96, 24/192 Disks. Also
SACD Disks, and I hear that Blue-Ray Audio Disks don't
sound too shabby either. High Resolution Files DO cost alot
more to MIX and MASTER using higher than DSD Multi-Channel
Format. Remastering isn't cheap either! Convenient for you
to be selective in only refering to just storing, and
Downloading the Final Master. Not one word about the
Mastering process itself- the biggest cost! Every word in
your response is a complete distortion- I call that a little more than a grasp!
Hfisher- more distortions! Your own response on 06-19-12
"Wow, Thread Resurrected.....! Are you rewriting history?
I was DONE with this Thread until one of you clowns dug it
back up. I have been trying to bury it again, except you clowns keep on coming up with a new whole set of distortions!
Mapman- you are harping about Record Players, and I don't
even own one! I would be happy with SACD, MLP, XRCD, and
even High Res. Downloads.
You guys can't even shoot straight, no wonder High Res.
keeps failing over, and over again. Like I have said many
times before, if High Res. Downloads/Computer Audio falls flat on its face it will be because of you clowns!
"Please remember that well recorded crap, or High Res. crap
is still crap. It is the Music that matters". Wasn't I the one who claimed access to many Formats desirable so that
one can cherry pick the high quality sounding ones from the rest in each Format? I have been preaching "It is
the Music that Matters" more over limiting everyone to "Soon all New Music will ONLY be available as Downloads"! Obviously, you have finally got it!!! Please
don't be stupid in not realizing it. If everyone is finally through tripping over their own feet, I will make this my last response. Dog pile with a whole new set of
distorted responses- all bets are off! Ball is in your
corner if you never want to see me on this Thread again.
Do you guys just like digging up corpses so you can torture them? GROW UP!!!

I must protest! Distortions indeed.

Just so you know I spend most of my time in various recording studios. Some high and mighty and some not so high and mighty. I think you may underestimate some of the members here and what they do for a living.

The number of studios using higher than 192k is very very small. For a start most studios use protools for tracking. Look at their hardware specs.(192k)

So it costs lots more to record hi Rez does it? Have you seen the price of HDs recently?

Don't you understand that whatever SACD or whichever format you like, the music for it, if recent, was probably recorded in protools. If not then the other usual suspects like Steinberg Nuendo/cubase or Digital preformer or Logic etc.

Take a look at their specs too. They will only handle 192k. So where are all those recordings done at much higher rates? Trust me they are far and few between.

You may find some DSD recorders, but show me a normal piece of music recorded that way as a multitrack, not just as a transfer to stereo for mastering.

You are very mistaken. Please see the logic. The file you download is closer to the original studio master than ever before.

Come on PO, come back with something better.
But I must apologise for my rudeness in the earlier post. There was no need for it.
Yep, Chad is right on... I don't have a ton of time in a real studio, but I have been running 48 channel boards in churches & such for several years... Lately we drop everything right to a file in 24/96, keep the file in high res, but down convert nearly all to cd quality at 16/44.1. I've dropped a few things right to a thumb drive and brought them home to evaluate the mix, shows right up at 24/96....
I realize the petty is talking about studios, but I just can't imagine pro's using anything less.... Unless they are still stocking reel to reel as masters..... I doubt it.
So what Petty - what of all the studios that record in 24/192 and downsample to the 16/44 on your CDs? Somewhere in your latest wandering diatribe there must be a point.
The point was that Chadeffect said a mouthful, when he
said "It is the Music that matters". I believe the
Studios refer to DXD as the Format that is higher sampling
Rate than DSD. Most Music is still stored on Master Analog
tape, which are deteriorating. DXD is a process of transfering these to multi-track mixing console in DXD
higher sampling format. They can then be Remastered using
the DXD process. That doesn't mean upsampling, or downsampling. That means Remastering in the digital domain
in each track of DXD. "I can't imagine Pro's using anything
less...."? ??? DXD is higher sampling rate than 24/192, it is even higher than DSD. They would have to downsample it
to 24/192, or DSD. Not only is DXD a higher sampling rate,
it is used as higher sampling rate for multi-tracks.
As far as wandering diatribe, "It is the Music that matters" counts far more than "Soon all new Music will only be available as Music Downloads". High Quality sounding Music "Matters" more with multi-Formats as opposed to just one. All Formats suffer from badly recorded Music, and many benefit from well recorded Music. Remastering can help, but no guarantee it will sound better, if not worse. In this regard some might prefer the untainted version in its original Format. You lose this access converting to strictly Downloading Format only. Take the best of CD, SACD, MLP, DVD-Audio, Vinyl, and yes Computer Audio Downloads, as well as High Res. Downloads. Every Format is going to have more than its share of screw-ups. Take the cream of the crop from each Format, instead of just exclusively one. You will have a hell of allot more cream that way. That is how you make "Music that Matters". You are throwing out the baby with the bathwater in severely limiting yourself to only one possible source (Format) of well recorded Music. It will be a whole lot less cream with a severely limited crop of only one Format. As far as large Music selection of well recorded Music, one man (Format) traveling band just wouldn't provide it. Only when you prove it otherwise (Way Larger
Selection) are you ready then to concider a single Format option. I sense a rush to panic in this rapid acceleration to a single Format option, without making sure that L-A-R-G-E Selection is available for everyone. Forcing many to lose their favorite Music does not serve "It is the Music that Matters". Couldn't be anymore clearer than that! There
seems to be alot of fear that as Computer Audio takes off,
it needs to be written in stone via the market eliminating
all other Audio Formats. What I don't get is this level of
insecurity. It makes me feel like I should be nervous about
Computer Audio- should I be? If you are really secure about this Format, other Formats being around shouldn't even be a concern. Why the huge concern? Do you understand the huge concern at the possible premature elimination of all other Audio Formats, and statements to the same? I prefer to keep my options open, and I stand up to those who
wish to eliminate my options. If this makes no sense
what-so-ever, so be it. Let it be!
Pettyofficer, I have to say, last post was pretty well written. I'm not sure how accurate all the studio info was, but point taken. The point that I cannot take is all the hype about the insecurity of all the other formats and writing it as though all of us want those formats to go away... any format that has merit, will stay. I really feel (no offense intended) that all EVERYONE is asking you is "why all the paranoia of formats failing"? We are all open minded toward other formats and as I had written previously, I believe anyone on this thread would try another if it had merit.
Hi PO,
for the first time so far I think I understand you.

Archiving historic tapes is one thing with DSD or even DXD. But no one is using it today to record with. I Know of pyramix as one of the only DXD workstations. Try finding a studio that uses it. Nearly all tracking these days is done via a DAW such as protools etc.

But why dont you understand that what ever recording process you use, it has to be stored, so it can be uploaded/downloaded? It's only a way to access the information. All you will need is the software to read it regardless of the size of the file and a vendor to get it from.
"Pettyofficer, I have to say, last post was pretty well written."

Well, maybe but formatting and 1 big run on paragraph is still an issue.

PO, if you can get the format for your digital posts down better that might help you in the credibility department when demonstrating your expertise in all things computer.

o -
Timlub- point well taken. It is not what you say, but how
you say it. "Soon all New Music will only be available as
Music Downloads" sounds like a dire warning. It screams
"Get rid of your SACD, MLP, DVD-Audio, Blue-Ray Audio, and
Vinyl. They will be gone. Your only access to New Music will be exclusively Music Downloads". "..Any Format that
has merit will stay"- doesn't quite jive with this. Selection in CD Resolution Music Downloads is certainly there. Selection in High Res. Music Downloads, is it there
to replace High Res. SACD/ MLP/ DVD-Audio/ and Blue-Ray
Audio? Is it there to replace Vinyl Selection? Do we lose
any Music Selection in switching over to "Soon all New Music will only be available as Music Downloads". To me
that is the most important part of "It is the Music that
Not entirely sure that I got it right with DXD. I do
know that Sony Music has copied many of their Analog Master
Tapes to DSD. I do know that they are Remastering many of
these aging Music Releases in the digital domain. I am sure
that there will be mixed results. Not sure what the
Professional Studios are using these days for Recording.
I guess that the important thing is headroom. Having the
final Master of higher Resolution than the final copy,
Disk or Downloaded File. DXD will provide this since it is
stored as a File with many times more resolution at much
higher Sampling Rate. Live Recordings were made to Master
Analog Tape, I am certain the same will be done with New
Music in DXD- if it is not already being done. How will
limiting us to 24/192 Downloads eventually be affected by
DXD- I have no idea! I am pretty damn certain that the
Software for DXD will be really protected. How long that will last- I don't know! I did find a Studio here in
Seattle real close that uses DXD. I don't believe that it is the only one in the Country that uses it. I think that
the Motion Picture Industry is using DXD in Mastering their
Soundtracks- don't quote me on that. DXD could really take off in New Music Rcordings. New Music could certainly
benefit. Old Master Analog Recordings Remastered in DXD
might benefit based on how well it is Remastered. I
wouldn't necessarily chuck the Vinyl yet. I still think that high Sound Quality would thrive better if more variety in Formats is used- within reason. Reasonable
people can disagree.
Wow Petty - looks like the light bulb finally came on. No reasonable person is trying to wipe out any format. Whether or not I listen to SACD I derive absolutely no benefit from it being wiped off the face of the earth. I do believe that eventually optical discs may be a thing of the past but this doesn't mean I wish it to be so. I still buy the odd CD from time to time - and tons of vinyl.

Anyways, looks like cooler heads have prevailed. Surely the love-fest can't be far behind!

Enjoy the music - on whatever format you choose!
My point, Hfisher, is if someone were to come out with an
High Resolution Optical Disc Format (With Properly Remastered Release) that turned out to sound better than
High Res. Downloads- I would still want both options. I
keep on seeing 32 Bit Mastered Optical Disks being sold on
"Elusive Disks". They claim that these Disks can still be played on a regular CD Player. New Releases of Vinyl on
much harder material in "180 Gram" might be promising- same
source. What I want is the freedom to try these things,
and determine for myself weither the Sound Quality is worth it or not. Of course quality of original Recording
will determine Sound Quality, unless Remastering really helps. Experimenting still going on, and I want to have the
options of trying these things. Still think Meridian Lossless Packing was the best sounding Optical Disk Format that I ever heard. I am still smarting from THAT option being yanked from the Music Selection Department. This is
what I see with my light bulb on, a whole lotta damn good
sounding Music going to waste. It isn't pretty. Single
Format market of Downloading, no matter how inevitable it
might be or if anyone desires it, could cost us alot in
selection of High Sound Quality Audio Formats. No Audio Market likes uncertainty, I don't like it either. This is
the reason that I need something really substantial in
Music Selection for whatever High Resolution Audio Format
the Audio Market accepts. Careful with those light bulbs,
you might not like what you see. You will see the "The Good-The Bad- and the Ugly" in sharp relief of any Format.
One question: Can't find "Ladies' Jazz Vol.5" on optical
Disk. I have been streaming it, and it sounds really good-
especially Julie London with tons of depth soundstage. I am getting the feeling that it only exists as MP3 or as a
Download. Can't tie down the source other than Warner Music Poland. Don't want to use i-Tunes, don't like mixing
MAC Software with Windows 7 PC. I had a hell of a time getting rid of it- not again! This isn't the first time that I have come across Music only available as a
Download. It won't be the last (Yeah, Yeah...I know. Just
Download it, and Burn it!). Would like to know of the original source. Can't seem to find it with many Downloadable releases- Uncertainty??? It isn't available in HD Tracks. Other than i-Tunes, where is it at?

Regarding DSD and DXD in recording studios as a format the jury is still out. I think the ability to manipulate that amount of data has many technical problems today. Many manufactures do not support it (hense my above post) and have no immediate intention to support it. So to use DXD is difficult impractical and expensive for most studios. Obviously that will change if it becomes more widely used.

The guys that are using it, as I mentioned, are remastering/mastering guys. So the multitrack and stereo master are recorded using the usual suspects. Its only the end stages of the production process where DXD or DSD may be used. Live recordings could be different be even these are recorded via multitrack mainly so unlikely to be what I would call "real" DXD. I.e used through out the whole process rather than just at the end.

There are those who say 192k is fine and those who say DXD is the first recording format to COMPLETELY DISAPPEAR sonically.

But as no one can really deal with it, what seems to be happening is engineers are bouncing between analogue and digital to make it work. I.e playing the output of the DXD capable DAC up the mixing desk manipulating in analogue then rerecording those manipulations back to digital!

It's a bit of a mess and while there are some amazing sounding pro AD-DA DSD DXD capable processors, how they integrate with standard studio equipment is a hassle for now.

I hear Linx are about to release a pro soundcard which is compatible and "cheap". But I have not seen it.

One day if it can be used all the way through the process we will have the finest recordings in history. But in a climate where there is no money to be made from music, it is unlikely many will retool at vast expense on the pro side to adopt it fully. (mastering aside)
I was on the Supratek website the other night.Mick has a blog that has some interesting info on his work with computer audio.Good reading.
And yet, Chadeffect, I am looking at High Res. Optical
Disks on "Elusive Disks". They are claimed to have been
Remastered at 32 Bits, and are claimed to be playable in
all CD Players. New Releases in Vinyl on harder material
180 Gram Records are springing up all over. Now if the
Sound Quality of these is even better than 24/192 High
Res. Downloads (Big if-plus there is possibility of DXD),
someone is going to want to know how they can get
32 Bit/ DXD Downloads. The heat is on High Res. Computer
Audio Downloads to compete in sound quality. THIS is
EXACTLY what I am talking about! The exact opposite would
be true in a single Audio Format of exclusive Music Audio
Downloads. A tide raises all boats. With competition we
stand to get more "Bang for the Buck" in Sound Quality.
Without it Sound Quality gets stuck in the mud. This would really be a bad business decision for the Consumer to
eliminate all of his options (Formats) in this Market. Bad Call- Bad Timing!!! Of course embraising this competition
puts more heat on Computer Manufacturers to cut into their
Profits to boost sound quality. They will be forced to come
up with a way to Download 32 Bit Releases, if not DXD. That
is going to cost them a pretty penny. They are not blind to this, a single Format (Downloading) being way more
Profitable for them without any other competing Format. Is
it out of profitable convenience for them to convince as
much of the American Public as possible that "No one is really interested in Higher Sound Quality". Is it really true, or just a "Profitable" Myth being perpetuated? I still hear rumors of the Major Picture Industry concidering
using DXD in their Soundtracks for their Movies. Finally,
there might be some real competition to get the ball rolling on sound quality!
Even if a recording is mastered in 32 bit, once you hear it on a redbook CD player you are hearing it in 16/44. That's just the way it is, Petty - that's the technology.

On the other hand, it is possible to hear such a recording in its native resolution on a computer, of course, since the original file is on a computer.

I agree with you that competition is a good thing - but the market and consumers will ultimately decide which formats succeed and which fail.
I agree with you Petty. Some folks out there already know the very limitations you point out with computer audio and they are beginning to take matters into their own hands and move the ball forward, not waiting around for the industry to catch up. This is how I suspect the revolution will get started (whether it will be televised or not is another matter). For one example, you could go to the facebook site of Alan Maher Designs and take some time to sift through his ongoing posts (some recent, others past) about computer audio, exactly what kind of computer Alan envisions is required for music, his own attainable gains in sound quality that can be had with his method of ripping CD's compared to CD's by themselves, water cooling, superority of FLAC vs WAV, etc, etc - all rather advanced, I admit, but to me this sort of thing is what's needed - there needs ot be a full-blown example in the marketplace that people can point to and recognize that it works. Expensive?? Initial iterations usually are, but you can always streamline from there. First you just gotta show people that the concept works (and how Well that it works). I believe that day is coming, but I imagine that we can only depended on computer companies to wait around until someone else begins eating their lunch before they will begin to decide exactly what they want to do about it.
Ivan, "audio-only" computers already exist. See Linn Akurate and Bryston BDP-1, amongst others. However, it is not that difficult to gather info on the net about optimizing your own off-the-shelf computer system for server use. Most of us who frequent forums like this have done it. It's actually kind of hands-on and fun! The beauty of it is that for less than $1K you can get an optimized Mac Mini, for example. Then add a suitable DAC and you can have a state of the art digital front end for way less than a top-flight optical player.

Rare to be able to do something like that in the crazy world of high fidelity audio!
Hfisher3380, you act like you have never heard of
"Headroom". I have tried many XRCD, XRCD 24, K2 HD CD.
All of them playable on standard CD Players. Obviously,
on 16 Bit/44.1 CD. The higher Sampling Rate of the Master
(Or Remaster) does make an audible difference! There was
a time when everyone believed that the Entropy of the
Universe could be reversed, and multiple generations of
CD Copies would sound exactly the same as the original.
Cooler heads prevailed, but now Entropy reversal myth is
back once again with Computer Files. Must we change all of
the Laws of the Universe with Flat Earth logic again? Been
there, done that! Can we learn from our mistakes, and
finally move on? You make a Copy you are going to lose
a little (Maybe insignificant to some, maybe significant
to others). If the original Copy is of a Higher Resolution
(If it is done correctly), maybe you will lose a little less with "MORE" Resolution Headroom in the Master. You can
argue the merits of this. I just know that I can hear a difference as opposed to original 16 Bit/ 44.1 Digital Masters used for CD. Concidering we ended up with 12 to 14 Bit Copies of these in CD, just about ANY improvement would be welcome. I certainly can hear it. Not to say that it is always perfect, nothing is in the Digital World. That
includes Computer Audio. That is the reason to take the
best from many Digital Formats including Computer Audio.
If "It is The Music that Matters", it is the only logical
thing to do. Single Format logic would be the anti-thesis
of this, even if this "Makes No Sense".

I think what you need to understand is we are on the sharp edge of this technology. 32bit 64 bit whatever.

How do you expect to get true DXD when no one is fully recording with it?

As you have seen many of these DSD and DXD recordings are only mastered or remastered using this sample rate. Which is great. One less bunch of crap in the signal path.

This is not about computer manufactures. This is not about download. This is not even about a spinning disks of any variety. This is about the pro community adopting fully this technology. This can only happen gradually.

The pro community are very interested in making high quality products but unfortunately music has become cheap. So the music producers are already struggling with lack of investment. Just like many other industries in these times. They have great equipment already, and yes there is the possibly of the last word in quality, but it means starting all over again for studios to fully adopt it.

So how do you expect to continue? One way would be to buy a DAC which can up sample to frequencies that make brick wall filters unnessassary.

This is not about you and your computer. As mentioned begore you are fine. You just need the correct software to decode whatever comes along.

In the meantime pretty much everything is recorded at much higher than CD quality. Most of it making a nonsense of the anologue vs digital debate.

Film is pushing the boundaries with real 3D and very high sampling rates for music and effects. But I fear the film industry could go the same way as the music industry as the expense is so high and profit low for the majority.

But none of this is going to change your attitude. You have some kind of bee in your bonnet. You have available some remarkable music and you are able to control it in ways you could only dream about 10 years ago.

Sound quality has got better every year and you are still complaining...The ball is rolling.

I do understand your point (finally) but you will never really know what you are listening to. So trust your ears. Music first. Recording process & "format" second.

Find music you love or moves you and stop trying to be clever. It would be like me saying I only listen to music which has been soley recorded using Neve mixing desks, lexicon reverbs and Fairchild compressors. It's a bit daft.
Thanks for the pointer Hfisher3380 - I think I'm beginning to see the light...this definitely looks like something I want to keep my eye on.
Chadeffect, I do trust my ears; however, don't I need the
ability to listen to it first? Will I ever be able to
truly listen for myself to a 24/196 Download compared to
a Remaster utilizing DXD (Disk, Downsampled, or not)? This will not happen in a Universe of "Soon all New Music will only be available as Downloads". I lose the ability to listen, compare, and judge the sound quality myself in a
proposed single Format Download Universe. I lose the ability to listen, or sample with my own ears. With the
lack of my ability to listen and judge for myself (In this
proposed Universe), who determines for me what level of
sound quality I am allowed to listen to. High Res.
Computer Audio Downloads become the new glass ceiling in
Sound Quality. In a Single Format Download World, how
would you even be allowed to discover anything else that
might possibly sound better? I want to be able to listen
for myself, not have my sound quality dictated to me
through limited 24/192 Downloading ceiling. Even the Music
Selection in 24/192 Downloading is another glass ceiling.
You limit your options for better sounding Formats in
limiting (or eliminating) other Formats. Only way to break
this glass ceiling is to concider that there might be
something out there that might still sound better than even
High Res. Downloads. Listen, and judge for yourself. Don't
allow someone else to dictate to you that "24/192 High Res.
Downloads is as good as it gets" through "Soon all New Music will only be available as Downloads". You certainly
wouldn't limit yourself to only one Format in "Soon all
New Music will only be available on Cassette". Would you
exclude yourself from all other Formats that came after the Cassette? Would you sandbag their possible development? If this had been done, even for the sake of
Manufacturers Profit (No competing Formats), the Manufacturers would certainly be shooting themselves in
their profitable foot! That is why I say Single Format is
horrible for Consumer, Manufacturer, and the Audio Market.
It becomes an irreversable LOSE, LOSE, LOSE situation.
There won't be any second chances! The Consumer loses his
authority, and his ability to compare quality in a single
Format Monopoly. You don't get it back afterwards, therefore don't paint yourself into that corner to begin with. You need the ability to listen first to be able to
judge "Music First" in comparing Formats. Only then can you determine if Recording Process/ Format was helpful, or
a hinderance. "Listen First" before "Music First" if you
want to do a fair comparison based on Sound Quality.
Otherwise, what exactly ARE you doing besides burning
money? Having a deaf man judge sound quality for you?
Oh give me a break Petty - just when I think you're verging on a breakthrough and making a bit of sense you start talking in circles again. Obviously a better master will lead to better sound quality - no matter what the format. You have to look no further than the latest Rush album - which I downloaded in 24/96 but is well nigh unlistenable on my system due to ridiculous compression. Output resolution does not always correlate with ultimate sound quality.

But you are being ignorant and hypocritical if you have the nerve to criticize - well I'm not sure who you're criticizing, sometimes it appears to be us - for downsampling the original recording to lower resolution downloadable files. At least with computer audio there is always a possibility that they'll make available a higher resolution master - and they are starting to with increasing frequency. With CD you'll always be limited to a 16/44 downsample - HDCD, XRCD, XRCD2...whatever, there is no way of getting better than 16/44. You're criticism here is nothing more than ignorant hypocrisy - and I would hope that deep down you know it.

In the end, I frankly don't really care what you think, as I've said before. Sometimes I just wish you would actually pay attention and stop double-talking out of your you-know-what.
Ivan - computer audio ain't for everyone - it most definitely is not plug and play if you want to do it right - at least in my opinion. In this area I would admit that Pettyofficer does have a point - there is some effort required to reap the benefits and there can be some frustration along the way. However, don't let his disorganized and paranoid meanderings make you think that any of this is insurmountable, futile or bound to go the way of SACD/DVDa.

In life, sometimes the best things require effort. This would include my two current favourite music formats - vinyl and computer audio. The effort just makes it all that much sweeter when you're sitting in your listening chair reaping the benefits of your work.

There are download sites that allow you to hear before you buy, including iTunes itself. (not sure about the res though).

Can you watch a film and decide if you would rather buy the blue ray or DVD version first? No.

These points are mute. Again I find myself repeating what I said before regarding formats and competition. The file is the format.

So it will be down to the recording studio/record company/producers/artists to decide on the level of quality of the file.

It is they who will find the funds to use facilities that can record fully in a new "format" like DXD or whether they prefer to stay working with 24/192 etc.

It is not down to you! Can I decide if I'd like the latest porn film to be in real 3d? No I cannot. Can I decide if the next Star Wars movie is released in Omnimax or Imax? No I cannot. Does it matter? Probably not.

Do you see my point? The only competition is in the pro market now. As consumers you can play any format you wish. Your computer can, with the correct software, decode any of them.

I wouldn't be so concerned. Nothing stands still. The studio guys are dying to play with the next toy especially if it's better. It would seem DXD is the finest recording medium yet. But PCM at high samples rates isn't to be sniffed at either! What is best is as consumers we are not stuck with cassette, minidisk, vinyl, CDs etc. Those half way formats are now defunct and unnessassary should you choose. I'll just have the master thanks and play it any where.
In my opinion - a little bit of know-how and setup is involved but this is as good as digital audio gets:

take any recent, decently-powered desktop PC with quiet, cool-running chassis fans.

Install Windows 7. Install EAC Exact Audio Copy, use that to rip CDs to FLAC files with a log proving 100% bit-match to the digital on the CD. Install Foobar2000 or any other audio-player front end which supports WASAPI for bit-perfect audio playback. Ensure all sound effects, EQ, replaygain, etc is disabled. Set volume in player to 0dB.

If you are feeling especially careful, set the Foobar2000 -> preferences -> advanced -> playback -> full file buffering up to (Kb) value to a number greater than the size of any of your audio files. This will ensure that playback is entirely from RAM and if something happens during playback that makes excessive use of your HDD, it will have no impact audible or measurable, on the playback of your music.

Play these 100% bit-perfect FLAC tracks via WASAPI (rather than directsound).

Use USB or toslink or spdif digital to get the signal from your PC to the DAC of your choice, and it's good old analog from there.

This is absolute perfect source, true *exactly* to whatever arrangement of 1s and 0s were on the CD you ripped from. and I don't believe you can improve from this until the day comes that recording/mastering studios start putting out higher than 192KHz, 24-bit audio and we need better computer hardware to process it and output it unmolested to a DAC.
Chadeffect- "It is not down to you! Can I decide if I'd
like the latest Porn Film to be in real 3D? No, I cannot.
Can I decide if the latest Star Wars movie is released in
Omnimax, or Imax? No, I cannot. Does it matter? probably
Alright, lets go with that. Based on this- who decides
"It is the Music that matters"? You would leave it to
Recording Studio/ Record Company/ Producers/ and Artists, to the exclusion of the Consumer himself. One little
problem: as a Consumer you are in competition with atleast
the Record Company/ Producers over Sound Quality. It is the
nature of any Market (Especially the Audio Market) that
the Consumer must struggle, and fight with the Manufacturer
over Quality. I.E.- "Let the buyer beware"! Are you in
business (As a Consumer) for yourself to get as much Sound
Quality Bang-for-the-Buck? I am! Are you instead in
business (As a Consumer) for the Manufacturer to benefit
from you getting less Bang-for-the Buck? Multiple Formats-
mutiple sources of High Sound Quality. Single Format- single source of High Sound Quality. Who benefits, who
loses, and who benefits at someone elses expense? I don't
know about you, but I am coming up short on multiple sources of High Sound Quality with a single Format solution. Does it matter? I am in business for myself as a
Consumer. My business is higher selection of higher Audio
Sound Quality. The more sources of this (Formats), the
more my business profits. Fewer sources, and someone else
profits off of my business. You fill in the blank of who
you believe that might be. We still have options unless you
decide to give those options up! When you give those options up, you don't get them back if you discover that
"Things don't work out as you planned". You giving up
options (Multiple Formats) also means that I have to give up these same options. There is no vacuum here in the Audio
Market. Everything we do directly affects someone else in
the Market. Does it matter? PROBABLY SO!!! Tell me how many
times you have already heard me say this? You offer nothing
to contradict this. Your arguement is simply one of
convenience for yourself. My arguement is one to benefit the Consumer in the Audio Market- of which I happen to be one of them. You can't say "It is the Music that matters",
and "Does it matter? Probably not" in the same breath. THAT
is HYPOCRACY 101! What Barometer do you use to measure Sound Quality with, the increased Profit Margin of the stock for your favorite Computer Audio Manufacturer? I guess those ears no longer serve any purpose, just donate
them to science. Just don't try to put that on the rest of
us. Your single Format solution, as a benefit to the
Consumer, just "DOES NOT COMPUTE"! Recheck your Math, or
do it through personal attacks on me. We need no stinking
Math, right?
If PO's argument is based on the general dummying down of America's mass market consumers, then I think he has a valid argument.

Luckily, that has been going on forever, and where there is enough market and interest (like hopefully in good sound) there is still quality to be found.

I neither expect that market to keep pace with the mass market nor for it to decrease in size itself moving forward. It will likely continue to grow in terms of revenue but become an increasingly small niche market.

It will be what it will be. Neither corporate conspiracy theories nor faith in open markets will change anything.

I don't see your logic. Are you assuming that the artist wants their music to sound bad? They want you to hear them sound mediocre? They want to go out of business?

The point is recording quality is higher than ever. There is a possibility of it going to the final frontier with the latest non PCM digital systems. Sure.

So how do you not get better SQ? (engineering/mastering choices aside)

How are you not getting value? You don't even have to drive to the shop.

Hypocracy? I didn't say sound quality doesn't matter. I am trying to let you see that the quality is already better than ever, and what we are talking about are subtle differences. Differences in sample rates you will hardly ever know, as the recording is the recording. Those choices were made by the record producer. It's all about the recording. Not just the sample rate.

You will never know what the same guys would have sounded like recorded via a different system. You just have what they recorded. And now without extra processes.

I dont really understand your profit argument? I haven't noticed records getting more expensive. I see a new way that records are sold. More direct than ever.

I don't understand your quip at computer manufacturing profit? Seems you were happy giving cash to a guy selling a CD player.
"I don't see your logic. Are you assuming that the
Artist wants their Music to sound bad? They want you to
hear them sound mediocre? They want to go out of business?
"I am trying to let you see that quality is already
better than ever, and what we are talking about are subtle
differences. Differences in Sampling Rates that you will
hardly ever know, as the recording is the recording. Those
choices were made by the record producer. It is all about
the recording. Not just about the Sampling Rate".
I try to add these two statements together, and they
appear to null each other out. Can I hear subtle differences that would be an indication that the Artist wants their Music to sound bad? Can I not hear these subtle
differences, therefore the Artist doesn't care what the
Music Sounds like. You are arguing out of both sides of
your mouth. You can't have it both ways.
Keep it simple. Would the Artist prefer listening to
DXD or a 24/192 Download of his own Music? I guess he
wouldn't have much choice if "Soon all New Music will only
be available as Music Downloads". Do we have one Format for
the Artist, and one Format for the Consumer? If this is the
case WE get the short end of the stick with 24/192 Computer
Downloads of the Artists Music. What if the Artist prefers
Analog, Vinyl, MLP, SACD, DVD-Audio (24/96, 24/192), Blue-
Ray Audio. What if the Artist judges these as better
sounding on Disk via DXD, than on a 24/192 Download. What
are you going to do, shoot the Artist to keep it quiet?
Tell the Artist that he can only listen to a 24/192
Computer File of his own Music when DXD offers 3-4 times
more resolution? MLP even offers 24/192 in four to six
channels. I don't see alot of four to six channels of 24/192 Releases available on HD-Tracks! Two Channel 24/192
High Rez. Downloading is a step down- Recording Quality
higher than ever? Do you even know what it is that you are trying to sell us? If you don't even know, feel free to fume all you want to because some of us won't buy it!
There is the Profit! Paying the same for an MLP Multi-
Channel 24/96, 24/192 Disk than a 2-Channel 24/192 Download. I guess if we were dummed down we would buy that for a dollar. Some of us can actually add. Here is a
News Flash, you can also RECORD at a higher sampling rate.
Based on your opinion this makes no difference in the
Recording? No difference in New Music, nor New Recordings?
It is all about the Recording. Not just about the sampling rate? -REALLY??? How you record directly affects the
recording- you think? I thought that I was a Fossil!
Thanks again Hfisher3380, not too many worries about the initial pitfalls for me though - I'm currently far too broke to make all my mistakes first with cash anyway (my situation normal). And I firmly believe that time is on my side and there's no real rush to come to an effective understanding of it all right away, I can bide my time and learn - which for me is really nothing new when it comes to audio anyway. And as for the work, well, I'm a longtime, diehard tweaker already. But, I do appreciate your response all the same. I've always had the awareness that this would be the next thing...yeah, I'm sure discs will go away eventually, but I'm not panicking in the meantime and I want to thank all of you for giving me a lot to look at as I go along.
Can we all just agree that Petty needs to develop his own stinkin format... he's the engineer... (drives trains)
I just don't understand why he continually beats down us dummy's that aren't smart enough to do this computer stuff properly.... Petty, Please, Please, Please fix it and save us all.
Petty, Petty, Petty...your latest diatribe is just more twisted logic. We are no more be blamed for the failures of SACD/DVDa than we are for the failure of 8-track or Beta. If enough people don't buy into a format, the format fails, pure and simple. That, my friend, is how a "Market" works.

Just like you, we are free to choose whatever format we want - and many of us are choosing computer audio. Why you have chosen to make this personal I haven't the faintest clue.

Why did vinyl outlive cassette - and why might it eventually outlive redbook CD? Why did laser disc never really make it? Why is there no reel-to-reel at HMV? How come I can never find any digital audio cassettes? What about 3D Blu-Ray - who's to blame for that slow market introduction?

There is no conspiracy here - the market decides these things. This is how the world works. You're wasting an awful lot of energy on this. No need to work yourself up into a tizzy!

Come to a recording studio and let me give you a lesson in sample rates. It's clear you have no experience.

Once you start getting into 24/192 the rest in SQ is a bonus. It's not just about the sample rate once you get this high. Your understanding or possibly experience seems to be the fossil here.

What about questions like which mic & preamp? Which mixing desk? Which take? This all adds up to a decent recording. Don't you understand? You are worrying about such fine detail at this point. I won't watch star wars because he didn't use that other lense on that camera!

We get into a whole load of technical issues which is beyond you and I once we ask the question of even higher sample rates on top of these. Brick wall filters or not. Phase, ringing and implementation etc.

I can say this because the most experienced in the business cannot agree on which is best. But I can promise you what we have is better than what went before. The question is how much better?

May I send my Jack Russell Terrier for some lessons?

You will probably have more success educating him. He is very smart AND a good listener. :-)