Forget 24-bit; can you even tell the difference between 16- and 8-bit?
I’ve recently been upgrading my audio equipment, mainly by buying some stand-alone DACs and better headphones/IEMs. Some folks I know say that now I’ll really be able to enjoy the benefits of HD audio.
Unfortunately, all of the actual research I’ve read —more and more as I try and get up to speed on current audiophile equipment — proves definitively that human beings simply can’t tell the difference, and so HD audio is a sham.
A great article on Tom’s Hardware (http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/high-end-pc-audio,3733.html) pointed me to this site, which features various blind tests to assess your hearing. This one tests whether you can tell the difference between 16- and 8-bit versions of the same audio.
Using my new 1MORE Triple Driver IEMs and a Fiio Olympus 2 DAC/amp — low-end audiophile, but still a huge step up from what most people use — hooked up to my MacBook, I can’t reliably pass this test.
I’m a great believer in getting the best audio equipment you can comfortably afford if you care about music. But the more I delve into audiophile sites, the more I feel like they feature a staggering amount of subjectivity and pseudo- to non-scientific reasoning. Ergo, I think it’s important to subject myself to tests like these and to rely on verifiable research.