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MP3 vs CD vs 24 bit High Resolution Audio Demo Results

by May 01, 2015
Audio Resolution Test by Bill Dudleston Legacy Audio

Audio Resolution Test by Bill Dudleston Legacy Audio

Is there an audible difference? 

At AXPONA 2015 Legacy Audio provided an excellent opportunity for audiophiles to carefully compare several common playback resolution levels on a high quality system. The session was without agenda and provided a reality check for listeners.

Half-minute edits from three different selections from the Sono Luminus catalog were chosen and played back over the reference grade Legacy V system and Wavelet DAC preamp processor.  The recordings provided were from the master files from the Sono Luminus label.  The files were imported into JRiver and handled in PCM format for continuous playback.

Not intended as a blind test, the presentation offered the files for comparison purposes with an announcement of the resolution level at the start of each segment. Each musical selection began with a 192kHz, 24 bit file, followed by a 44.1kHz, 16 bit file, and finally a MP3 file at 320kbit/s.

Legacy V Speaker System

Legacy Audio V Speaker System at AXPONA 2015

For more information, check out the Legacy V Product Page

More than 200 listeners participated in the 8 sessions over three days.

Comments received at the show:

“The 24 bit seemed to have more life.”

“No real tonal difference, but dynamics are better at the higher resolution.”

“MP3 was grainy on the treble.”

“The air diminished when dropping below the 24bit version.”

“The MP3 sounded smaller in soundstage. It was more difficult to separate the instruments.”

“Not as big a difference as I expected, but definitely audible.”

“The female vocalist in the background became more distant as resolution decreased.”

“I would only pay the 24 bit cost difference on well recorded material and music I care about.”

So there you have it.  We welcome any listeners to post their thoughts relating to audibility of differences on the related discussion thread.  Can you hear a difference between MP3, CD and higher resolution audio source material?

Many thanks to Legacy Audio for hosting this demo and providing their results for us to share with our readers.


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Gene manages this organization, establishes relations with manufacturers and keeps Audioholics a well oiled machine. His goal is to educate about home theater and develop more standards in the industry to eliminate consumer confusion clouded by industry snake oil.

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