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Can't hear the difference between 32 and 24 bit rate. Thoughts?
That’s normal. Most people also can’t hear the difference between 128kbs and FLAC.
Many high end DACs only get around 20 or 21 bits worth of signal to noise and distortion. This unit probably doesn't get much past 16 but that's still better than cd quality. 32 bit audio doesn't exist... it'd be impossible to hear that detail even if it did.
I have yet to encounter anyone with a listening setup that could even make full use of the 96dB of dynamic range that 16 bit audio gives you. The best I have been able to manage was about 75dB, and that required me using my Etymotic ER-4XR at the highest volume I could comfortably bear (about 85-90dB. I am a bit of a wimp, I know), with my Brainwavz HM-5 worn on top of them to act as ear muffs, at night, with no precipitation and my door and window closed, and no sources of noise in the room besides the fans on my PC, which were turned down. For all that effort, I still had just under 1% of the dynamic range that a CD can handle.
A while back I did a few quick tests messing around with audio files. I struggled to hear differences above 12bits (-72dB detail) myself and I also probably wasn't listening above 80-85dB SPL. So similar results to you. Some people certainly have better hearing though. I've read that people can possibly hear differences theoretically or something around -116dB (about 19-20 bits) as long as only simple pure tones were playing. From there I have to think just because I can't hear differences doesn't mean other people can't. Especially being that some people seem to claim listening to things at 120+ dB SPL causally.
For the most part my answer was geared toward the ridiculousness of 32 bit audio.
From my reading, it seems that the absolute best-case scenario for humans is about 115dB, but then, that would require uncomfortably- or painfully-loud playback levels or ambient noise at the eardrum being at most about -25dB, which is about 0.33% of the intensity of the quietest sound a human can hear and about one-thirty-thousandth of the volume level in a typical quiet room, to prevent the noise floor from limiting the dynamic range when playing at 90dB. Besides, with the exception of Bob Katz' uncompressed recording of a space shuttle launch, no recording of which I am aware comes close to 96dB of dynamic range, let alone exceeding it.
Congratulations, you are not a Terminator.
Regarding the claim that some people listen at 120dB: I call nonsense. For one, that produces hearing damage quite quickly; it is ten times louder, or perceptually twice as loud, as a 30-06 rifle. Second, even if they did listen that loud, it would sound like crap since most speakers are barely able to keep distortion below audible levels at 100dB, much less 120dB, and that is assuming that the driver is even able to reach that volume level at all without running out of excursion or blowing up.
One user comes to mind who was using Audeze LCD 2's and THX 789 (balanced) and compared that amp to Topping A90 (balanced).
The LCD 2's THD% actually goes down going from 90dB to 100dB SPL. I honestly have no idea if that trend would continue to 120dB SPL. I assume it isn't too terrible given the headphones can handle 5Wrms. Still a huge guess though.
This particular user was basically making the claim the 789 just wasn't capable of driving the LCD's sufficiently. Apparently the 3watts the 789 provides into 70'ish ohms wasn't adequate. I calculate 3W translates to about 135 dB SPL for the LCD 2. He made comments about the behavior of the 789 performance (was basically garbage) as you approached maxed volume. So he literally must have been driving his headphones to insane levels.
He wasn't satisfied with the bass response until he used the Topping A90 which provides 5watts or so pushing the SPL to 138...
I'm fairly certain this user was using his headphones as if they were bookshelf speakers or something.
I read a lot of comments claiming amp "xyz" doesn't sufficiently drive their headphones. I'm talking about amps in the ball park of atom and heresy power levels. So I have to assume they must be pushing 120 dB or more SPL because 90dB SPL for most headphones is relatively effortless for any amp. Hence, my claim users must be listening to music at ridiculous volumes.
Ah yes, the classic "can it drive x?" question. The simple answer is the classic "differences are due to placebo effects and/or minute volume differences." While that answer is rather anticlimactic, and there are plenty of people, even some who should know better, that will vehemently dispute that, I have yet to see any of them pass a properly controlled ABX test. They certainly will not if they keep listening at these absurd levels. You should track this guy down so that Audeze can reclaim the headphones from their abuser.
Anyway, the decreasing distortion with volume level is not that uncommon. Equipment tends to measure in a v-shaped pattern, with increasing levels producing increasing performance until a certain point is reached. I am not certain why, perhaps it is a measuring artifact, or perhaps the increase in volume makes the good signal increase by a greater amount than the distortion, thus lower the distortion's relative level to the main signal.
“Ah yes, the classic "can it drive x?" question.”
Yep...always get a good chuckle out of this myself.
Cause you know...now I’ve purchased a 300ohm pair of headphones, I definitely can only use amplifiers putting out 100,000mW @ 500db while playing 52bit.
A couple of things I wanted to mention to all in this thread:
* sound better: larger sound-stage, improved dynamics, smoother mids/treble, tighter and better-extended bass, avoidance of clipping/distortion
- The resolution (bit depth) of a digital file/stream is not only an indicator of potential dynamic range... but potential resolution, perceived as improved clarity to human ears.
- Some headphones - most notably, planar magnetic headphones - are notorious for their power demands (Watts, Volts, amps) and scale* with greater power on tap from the amplifier in use. Note: The maximum potential volume (SPL) attained (with headphone and amplifier) is a separate matter and irrelevant.
I wasn't sure if you were implying people should hear differences at higher bit depth (refuting our statements) or merely just stating the fact higher bit depth has the potential for improved clarity. This post might help understand my thought process.
I got an experiment for you (anyone reading this) to consider. Play some music (high bit rate) using a 24+ bit DAC. Turn the volume all the way down to the point you no longer hears anything. Then turn the volume up to the point you think you start to hear stuff. Can you even make out what is being sung? You probably can't. Consider how much detail/resolution you're hearing. What good is having 24 bits depth at that volume level when you can't even make out anything that's being said? The more bit depth you have, the higher the volume needs to be to make use of it.
To hear insanely precise detail, you have to play things very very loud. Also, the louder sounds will mask the softer tiny details since it is hard for our ears to hear both extremes at the same time. Have you ever heard a mouse fart in the middle of a rock concert? So it's silly to have such a large dynamic range, but I'd rather have too much potential resolution than too little potential resolution. So I will agree with that and leave it there.
Yes, files/streams with higher bit depth have the potential for improved clarity. Also, people potentially could hear an improvement over files/streams of lower bit depths.
Your 'experiment' proves nothing since most listening is not done at extremely quiet or loud volumes.
The more bit depth you have, the better sound equipment (DAC, amp, speakers, headphones) and listening discernment abilities are needed to make use of it.
Having greater detail and dynamic range is always welcome. Just because someone can't hear the benefits (with their own gear & ears) doesn't mean that others can't.
The same percentage of people like to pretend they can hear differences in attempt to justify the money they spent with still no audible improvement...don’t confuse the two.
The "same percentage" of which types of people?
How do you know they only 'pretend they can hear differences' with technically/measurably-superior gear?
Please define "no audible improvement".
Do you think more-expensive gear generally doesn't improve a system's sound, especially when combined?
Is it possible that well-researched, less-expensive gear sound better than some more-expensive/boutique/hyped gear?
Why do you think people are only trying to "justify the money they spent"?
Could these people have 'spent more' to get benefits other than (potentially) better sound? Benefits like superior build quality, extended factory warranty, made in a certain country, looks, size, materials, brand matching/loyalty, discounted price, etc.)
Of what do you think I'm confused?
Wowee, you make a lot of assumptions don’t you?
For starters...I never said anywhere that expensive gear of any kind isn’t beneficial. People can spend money on very inexpensive items too.
You’re adding variations to a discussions to help justify your ignorance...don’t do that.
I merely asked you to clarify your assumptive statement with specific questions. You have more explaining to do. Until then, you have not justified your ignorant-sounding, short-sighted claim.