Is 24/44.1 really Hi-Res?

For a while I have noted that many new Hi-Res releases are 24/44.1 (or 24/48).
Are these really Hi-Res or is a bit of record company cheating going on?

It’s higher bit depth of 24bit which makes more of difference than the higher sampling rate in my experience. Anything higher than cd is high res.


I thought that but Paul McGowan thinks the reverse and I think has a video about it.
He is usually pretty knowledgeable about these things.
Of course, it depends if there are recorded frequencies above the CD range.

That’s my experience too, the sampling rate is the least important.

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Higher than 22kHz :scream:

@Guinnless @CrystalGipsy
I found an audio version of the Paul McGowan topic.
[Bit Depth Vs Sample Rate](https://www.psaudio dot com/podcast/bit-depth-vs-sample-rate/)

And the video at [Bit depth and sample rate. What are they?](https://www.psaudio dot com/askpaulvideo/bit-depth-and-sample-rate-what-are-they/)

Maybe worth both a listen/watch.

The second part of my question infers why are so many new releases not 48khz, 96khz, 192khz etc. as well or is it just the increased the bit depth being used to get it into the Hi-Res bracket?

I think the question has to be reframed for audiophiles. Can you hear the difference? That is always going to be dependent on hardware employed and personal hearing ability. Playing the ultimate hires recorded, hires transmitted and hires rebuilt file on my mobile phone is never going to display the difference. On the other hand running the same file via a hitech network into a ‘top end’ hifi setup may just show those differences.

“resolution” is the wrong word. More bits are used to cover a larger dynamic range and more samples are used to cover ultrasonic frequencies. The resolution in the audible area stay the same.

When tracking/mixing/mastering 24-bits is useful to give you the headroom needed for complex DSP-algorithms and especially when you start to sum a lot of channels (mixing them together). Which is why 24-bit is used - it is not about audio quality or resolution.

When it comes to sampling rate you need to think about the DSP-algorithms. What happens if you have an infinitely high sampling rate? The difference between each sample becomes zero and writing a good sounding algorithm become a completely different matter from writing for 44kHz. In fact I know several well-known fx-plugins used in recording today that will internally downsample even at 96kHz - do its thing - and then upsample again.

As far as I know the normal tracking/mixing as received for mastering is done at 44/24 or 48/24. Another factor is that many studios use high quality professional DAC:s where the difference between 44/88/172 is inaudible.

Note that what I am writing here is me (and some others) guessing. The only truth here remains Nyquist.


There is volume resolution and there is temporal resolution.
They do different things.

Anything above 16bits or 44.1kHz is High-Res in one sense or another.
If above 16bits or 44.1kHz in both factors or above in one and equal in the other, then yes (provide it isn’t just reprocessed / repackaged from lower resolution data) it is genuine Hi-Res.

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I just about managed to get halfway through before being fully convinced that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

Bit depth allows for the greater dynamic range not the amount of samples

I think the important point about the number of bits is that while 16 bits may well give you 98 dB of dynamic range as that guy claims, if there is any error in the setting of levels anywhere in the process of bringing the music to you, then that dynamic range will be reduced, and there isn’t much to spare.

24 bits gives plenty of headroom and so whatever happens, the music shouldn’t become clipped.


And plenty of ‘footroom’ to minimise quantisation distortion too.

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Are you sure? He is designing his own PS audio dacs. Would be very strange if he doesn’t know what means hires and the technical aspects of it.

Quite sure. He’s not convinced me.

Quantization distortion is dealt with by using dither. Reduce a sine-wave to 8-bits - it sound nothing like a sine. Now reduce with dither - a lot of white noise but it sounds like a sine.

And although I thought quantization distortion should be inaudible with 24-bit it turned out you need dither there also, the were plenty of blind-tests showing this about 15 years ago. This becomes a problem in a digital mixer where 1/3 of the DSP-power must be used to dither everywhere needed - so many products cheat and instead use the power on tech that sells the boxes.

But as long as I can remember there have been people claiming you need 500 or more kHz bandwidth in an amp. I dont know, neither my amps or speakers go above 30kHz. But if it (or 384kHz sampling rate) makes them happy, fine by me.

I still say take a Rega io amp and add a decent CD-transport and a BorderPatrol DAC - you may never want to go back.

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Better call Saul or ask Paul ?

I guess you will not buy his book

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The cynic in me thinks that it’s to allow them to sell you an ‘enhanced’ version with higher sample rate a few years down the line :wink: