Hi-Res Audio Is Discernable to Humans

Audio purists, rejoice!
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NEW YORK � High-resolution audio is indeed distinguishable when compared to standard audio, an article in the Journal of the Audio Engineering Society reports.�

The study was conducted by AES member Dr. Joshua Reiss of the Centre for Digital Music at the Queen Mary University of London. Reiss compared data from studies involving participants listening to samples of music in different formats and asked to discriminate between them.

�We gathered 80 publications in the field, and analyzed all available data, even asking authors of earlier studies for their original reports from old filing cabinets,� Reiss explained.

�Hopefully, we can now move forward towards identifying how and why we perceive these differences, and better experimental design,� he added. �

In some of the tests, participants were trained to recognize the difference between standard and better-than-CD-quality audio. Not surprisingly, this increased the ability of participants to distinguish between the formats � in this case, the correct format was identified 60% of the time when trained. However, participants were able to do so overall.�

The research also concludes that �studies that did not show an ability to discriminate were generally more prone to biases or flaws in their design.� Additionally, studies that most showed an effect mainly used jazz and classical music, although this was not exclusionary. But more important than genre seems to be that the length of the samples should be longer than 30 seconds.�

�...People in the audio community endlessly discuss whether the use of high-resolution formats and equipment really makes a difference,� said Reiss. �Conventional wisdom states that CD quality should be sufficient to capture everything we hear, yet anecdotes abound where individuals claim that hi-res content sounds crisper, or more intense.�

Perhaps this study will end the controversy. Read it here.