In the 1970s Memorex ran TV adverts that attempted to show how people would not be able to tell the difference between a live recording and one that was recorded to their cassette tape. The tagline was: Is it live or is it Memorex?
Now we are told that 16/44.1 music is not really good enough and that we should be listening to music recorded at higher bit depths and sample rates. The proliferation of free samples from high-resolution music download sites had me interested and I began to sample their wares.
In all honesty I don’t think I can tell the difference between 16/44 and 24/96 versions from the same masters without prolonged, intense listening, and even then I’m pretty sure I couldn’t do this under blind testing conditions. Even so, why not avail yourself of higher resolution files if storage space is of no concern? The problem comes with knowing the provenance, are we really getting high-resolution files, or simply resampled 16/44.1? The images below were captured from the Musicscope software available from Xivero. The files come from the album HDtracks 2017 Hi-Res Sampler on Chesky Records and supplied by HDTracks. They are a mixture of 24/44.1, 24/48 and 24/96, but as you can see below, the frequency spectrum shows no content at all above about 21kHz in some of the tracks.
To paraphrase the Memorex tagline “is it Hi-res or is it………..upsampled?”