Here we go again

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I finished reading yet another article by a self proclaimed expert about why 192kHz 24 bit doesn’t make any difference over standard CD’s and the folks who are promoting these standards are simply “hoodwinking” you into believing they do.

What’s instructive about this article is the author, Monty, is extremely knowledgeable about a lot of things – as are most self proclaimed experts. He knows a lot about a little (or a little about a lot depending on the subject) and no doubt knows a lot more facts and figures than any of us – therefore he’s an expert and we are encouraged to doubt what we know to be true. Experts have a way of doing this to us.

Problem is, the expert is trying hard to make his argument and he does this by selectively presenting factual evidence that is irrefutable and leaving out the part that doesn’t support his argument. This is a classic technique used by politicians, pundits and people “in the know” the world over.

This method works really well because when reading the article there’s little if anything one could argue with Monty about – except he misses the point. Take, for example, Reference Recording’s Symphonic Dances and grab a copy of both the HRx 176kHz 24 bit version and another copy of the redbook version that was originally released.

If you have the ability, play them both on your DAC and tell me if you can hear the difference – have a friend or spouse choose for you so you don’t know which is what.

The HRx disc itself needs either one of our PerfectWave transports to play directly or if your DAC has a 192kHz 24 bit asynchronous input or network player attached you can rip and listen.

I have performed this particular experiment dozens of times with 100% results. Does that prove that Monty is incorrect? No. Monty is correct he just leaves out a lot of valuable information. For example, he leaves out the fact that nearly every recording mastered at a modern recording studio starts out at a higher sample and bit rate then redbook and to distribute a redbook or vinyl version of the track the mastering engineer must downsample the media – and the downsampled version clearly sounds worse than the master.

Monty also left out the fact that many times mastering engineers, like Keith Johnson, go back and “let ‘er loose” when they can distribute their work in a master media format – where originally they had to throttle back the redbook version.

It’s clear that if you take a redbook CD and upsample it to 192kHz 24 bit you’ve wasted your time and your bandwidth and memory. It’s equally clear that an original master recording first captured at a high sample rate and bit depth and then downsampled to meet the lower redbook standards will sound remarkably different than the original.

But Monty didn’t bother telling you that part of the story.

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