The quality of music

Having purchased my system I am now just thoroughly enjoying my music and discovering new music I have not heard before. I stream my CD rips and Qobuz via my Roon Rock or the Naim app. My rips are on duplicate drives - one internal to the Rock, the other a USB attachment to my NSS333.

After a recommendation in the ‘what are you listening to…’ thread, I purchased several DXD 24 and 32 bit 352 albums from Sound Liaison in the format they were originally recorded in. I really enjoy the music and think that the quality is great. However, I have also done ‘research’ (Google and YouTube) into the various file formats and am left a wee bit sceptical about Hi res music.

It would appear that a lot of disk space is taken up with information/noise beyond 22k or so. While it should not be audible, it may have an effect on tweeters etc. if played at volume.

16 bit 44.1khz (CD) quality should be perfectly adequate if recorded and mastered well. 96dB of headroom if utilised correctly (as with some great classical recordings) sounds very good. 24 bit will reduce the noise floor more but may also have extra noise at high frequencies.

I am not convinced that I can hear a lot of difference with Hi Res tracks compared to CD quality when the CD quality version is from the same master.

Apart from buying CDs and ripping, (very old fashioned) what might be the best source for purchasing good sound quality music? I liked the explanation on sound liaison but do not have spectrum analysis software to check their files.

1 Like

24 bits provides better low level resolution and can reduce quantisation distortion if used properly. It does not extend the frequency response.

CD quality is just fine assuming the mastering is of a decent level.

Sound Liaison’s DXD material is very good and probably as close as you can get to analogue. :slightly_smiling_face:


I like the quality of Qobuz rips and use my Sublime sub to great effect. Esp their hires albums. I’ve mostly stopped buying CDs outside of albums that are unavailable on Qobuz.

1 Like

This is more likely to be an issue for an amplifier, although most are designed with a low pass filter on the input stage to remove any noise outside of the audible spectrum.

The master is the key. High res benefits have been very variable in my experience. I’m happy that CD quality downloads are consistent and to my ears rarely inferior.



I am convinced I can hear no difference between Hi Res tracks compared to CD quality when the CD quality version is from the same master.

I believe some people can but I’m definitely not one of them - happy days, save on high res by sticking with CD quality.



I suppose that any producers who pride themselves on the quality of their recordings may start to provide spectrum analysis info for their albums - here’s dreaming!

In any comparison, it is critical that the mastering is the same - many hi res recordings are differently mastered, in which event what you are listening difficulty is primarily the mastering differenc (when hi res equally may sound better than or worse than the 16/44 version.

As for actual differences, a few years ago I did some comparisons from definitely the same masterings, released for just this purpose by the Norwegian label 2L (right up to 24/352 IIRC). I did feel I that in several cases I could hear a difference between 16/44 and higher resolutions, but in reality only very slight. Best description I’ve heard is “like more air around the instruments” - somehow slightly greater ambience. But it was subtle, and I can’t be certain that if I compared on a different day I’d necessarily think the same.
(That was through Chord Dave DAC, Bryston amps (active tri-amped), PMC EB1i speakers on bass with ATC’s 3" soft dome SM75-150 mid and Scanspeak tweeter.)


Buying used cds and ripping them can be very cost-effective if you really want to “own” your music.

You already use Qobuz and that’s very cost-effective too. I stream a lot via Qobuz but have not and probably never will purchase files from them.

Maybe it’s because I already have a 2tb drive almost full of cd-and-better rips I’ve acquired over 10+ years, but I’ve not purchased any digital music in a few years now. Just vinyl. And I stream (only) new digital source music.


Very similar to my findings, also with 2L and Native DSD. Perhaps there was a difference between PCM 16/44.1 and 24/352 but if I was subjected to a true ‘blind test’ on my system, I doubt that I would pick out the differences consistently.

However, with each of the tests I did find new music that I enjoyed so there were definite tangible benefits to the tests!

Indeed, the vast majority of my listening is streamed via Qobuz but I do also play some rips. I do sometimes play the Qobuz version even if I have a cd rip of the same album.

It is so nice to have so many decent quality options.

I do wonder how long albums will be available on Qobuz so would like to own some favourite albums.

does anyone have an example of the same master in cd quality and hires on Qobuz that could be compared? I’m not aware of any and in my experience the hires albums are different/better masters.

The key thing is to buy music you actually like, irrespective of whether it’s high res, wonderfully recorded or whatever. For high res downloads, High Res Audio in Germany is hard to beat.

I can’t get on with Qobuz or Tidal. I tried Qobuz for the last month and just find the choice overwhelming. So if I want something I buy it, which will give more to the artists than streaming, especially if bought direct from them or via Bandcamp. I’ve got over 4,000 albums stored on a NAS, which is enough to be going on with. If the internet goes down, it doesn’t stop the music.


I almost exclusively use it where I know what I want to listen to, and hope that the search function finds it. It usually does.

Also, I browse the new releases lists and just pick things randomly.

In these use cases the sheer size of the library doesn’t really get in the way.


Because there can never be certainty about continued availability long term, and short term may have internet outages, and because I want my favourite music to be always available, in perpetuity, I buy all tge musuc I like and store in my own local store. I also have a rooted objection to renting. For me, I use online streaming purely for sampling new music, and currently only use free services (e.g. Spotify), for which sound quality is not critical.


I have all my music sorted by genre, so if I fancy some jazz I can pick jazz and then scroll through the albums. It just works for me. Maybe I’m too old and stupid. Also, having worked with musicians I’m very aware of the pathetically small sums they get from streams. Buying music means the people I like get the cash, which seems only right.


Really? I’ve yet to see one, though funnily enough I have been working on something like this over the past week. It strikes me as a good idea but it’s not actually a straightforward proposition. On the one hand most DACs and CD players don’t have anything like enough filtering in them but, on the other, it’s a pretty sure way to kill the sound of your favourite CD player if you don’t do it properly - or the sound of the amp that has it. Nor is it that closely related to how good things sound. I did experiment once with taking all the filtering out of my CD/DVD player and, if anything, the sound was a bit better. But I couldn’t bear looking at it on the scope. :slight_smile:

Do you have any examples of amps that do this?

Sound reasoning. We’ve already lost the joys of proper sized sleeve artwork and inner sleeve information, plus the physical interaction with the disc and turntable. Now they are taking away the joy of ownership and collecting.

Moreover, the reason they are doing it this way is incredibly tawdry. It is because reliable “income streams” are the foundation of monetization. They can be very quickly turned into bonds or other forms of borrowing. This is exactly what your telecoms or mobile service provider does the second you put your signature on that contract. They want that model in music, in printer supplies and, one day, everything. “You will own nothing and be happy”. Yeah, right!

Interesting challenge. For my part I have no specific awareness of such filtering in amps, nor can I say there isn’t, however in various discussions on this forum about Naim power amps and their use with or without Naim preamps, I gained the impression that Naim preamps do filter ultrasonic frequencies.

Edit: I just did a quick search. Para 5 in this, bandwidth limiting: Is the pre-amp a thing of the past? - #163 by Richard.Dane

They do. At least post the 72. That’s the time aligned filter.

I’d call that signal conditioning and I’m not actually splitting hairs there. There is a LOT of EMI these days and a lot of crud coming from digital elements of sources so it has become a necessity. I would describe it as good practice.

Similarly, someone will raise the RC filter on the input of the power amps. That’s really there to avoid anything being sent to the amp that will make it slew. That’s an especially pernicious type of distortion which kind of kills the signal while the Miller capacitor charges. In essence the amp is powerless to react to the signal. I’ll note here that Naim amps have never been offenders on this front.