I now am using XLD on OS X to rip 16/44.1 CDs for further upsampling with r8brain PRO (run on a mac via a windows emulator - VMWare Fusion)
Unlike my previous ripping program (EAC), XLD gives me the option of ripping a wav file at "16, 24, or 32 bit floating point".
I have done two comparisons and there are sonic differences but no clear advantage to my ears with either approach
a. 24/96 wav from 16/44.1 rip ("original copy")
b. 24/96 wav from 32fp/44.1 rip
(a) sounds "thicker/more solid" in the midrange but the soundstage is smaller
(b) sounds a little more extended in high frequencies (midrange still OK), but spatial information is much more distinct
I was wondering if anyone has a view as to what should be best practice in particular respect the to way r8brain PRO handles bit expansion from 16 to 24 bits (a) and reducing from 32fp to 24 bits (b)?
I confess I have not been able to determine exactly how XLD produces 32fp from 16 bits so this is the unknown factor.
r8brain PRO handles input formats equally, and if the output is 24-bit fixed point, it applies dithering.
So, you should study the differences XLD introduces. Maybe it has a bug if the sonic difference between 16-bit and 32-bit FP is audible.
Another option is that what you hear is "placebo" effect. This happens very often to my knowledge.
I am veyr puzzled by this - I assume from 16 bit source XLD just adds 16 zeroes to get tit to 32
I assume that r8brain PRO does not need to dither in doing from 16 to 24 bits but as you said earlier, it will apply dither if fed a 32 bit stream and asked to convert to 24
I have taken your point about the placebo effect but conclude that it's not in operation (i jumbled the order in a test playlist) then listen in the next room and use the apple remote to press next and previous tracks with no view of the iTunes window - they do sound different
Could dithering (32 to 24 bit) cause such a phenomenon?
To avoid misunderstanding, I am being intellectually curious only - both alternatives sound musical and of high quality but just sound different!
Thanks and congratulations on making this product - I have used it for many years and have never been tempted to use another for this purpose; it makes musical output and that's what matters most at the end of the day
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