24 bit 96 khz vs 24 bit 192 khz

Whenever I play my uncompressed FLAC I can only see 44.1 khz. So does 192 khz matter?

But apparently it does - considering how equipment manufacturers are offering 192 khz and beyond. And also how reviewers in publications like Whathifi! say 192 khz equipment is a improvement over 96 khz ones - unitiqute, cyrus streamline 2 etc.

Or does it only matter if one has very high quality music files etc?

BTW please note that my question is more about the hardware (DAC/streamer etc) capability and not the audio file.

Also if I had an integrated amp with an inbuilt DAC which offers only 24 bit 96 khz, if I used an external DAC or streamer with 192 khz capability, which DAC/sampling will be used during playback?

Appreciate the insights.

There has been lots posten on the forum over time. One current thread worth reading is this

Can-your-system-accurately-tell-the-difference-between-24-96-and-16-44 (link)

Summing up views I’ve read over time, including my own experiences, if there is a big difference it is very likely to be mastering differences from different releases. Generally any audible difference where the 16/44 is simply downsampled otherwise identical, it tends to be subtle most often, I think, described along the lines of the sound ‘having greater air around the instruments’, and there seems to be a feeling that with good quality recordings the bigger difference is between bit depth (16 vs 24) rather than sample frequency. It is also worth noting that sometimes the 16/44 has been considered to sound better! Where there is a big difference with hi res better it could be an example of an excessively compressed 16/44 release arising through the “loudness wars” vs an unbastardised hi res copy from the master recording.

Thanks for the insight.

But please note that my question is more regarding the capability of the DAC/streaming equipment, than the audio file itself.

Whether hifi equipment with 24bit/192khz capability will sound better than 24bit/96 khz ones.


There is no automatic reason why that should be the case. If something is upgraded to accommodate 192 then other changes may or may not be made. All that’s certain is that 96k limited hardware won’t be able to play 192.

So is the theme of the thread I linked - and the point of the rest of my post is that your question is only valid if the only difference between files is the bit depth and/or sample frequency, which generally cannot be considered to be a given.

The maximum resolution that equipment can play is no indication whatsoever of the quality of the equipment and resultant sound, it is literally only an indication of the highest res it can manage to play. It is even possible that in seeking to hype up marketing by being able to quote a higher rate that corners might be cut elsewhere making sound worse… its a bit like digital camera pixel claims: meaningless if the lens can’t resolve detail that fine in the first place, but always a selling point, especially on poorer cameras!

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Not necessarily. My Meridian 210 only outputs 9624, but it will consume 192/24, which it then downsamples. Sounds excellent.

Where are your FLACs from?

Some of the earliest Naim streamers did have boards that only supported up to 24/96. The later 24/192 capable board did more than just support 24/192 streams, as it is essential if you want to use Spotify, Tidal and a number of other features Naim subsequently introduced, none of which use anything higher than 16/44.1. So I suspect that what has become known as the 24/192 upgrade is recemmended mainly for reasons unrelated to HiRes support.

It would depend on capability and settings of the streamer not your amp, or if using with separate renderer and DAC it would depend on the capability and settings of the renderer, and the capability of the DAC.

My own ripped CD collection.

OK, the 44.1 you’re seeing therefore makes sense - I was wondering if you’d purchased downloads and they were only CD quality when you thought they might have been ‘better’.

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