Proof is in the pudding as they say. If anyone can show proof; not just " I think they sound better", concerning 24 bit FLAC files…e.g. actual clinical trials, I’m all ears. Until then, the 24bit vs. 16bit debate is nothing more than talk.
Maybe the proof exists by ABX or similar trials, maybe not. But the lack of someone “showing proof” to a doubter does not mean the difference is not real.
The classical fallacy is along the lines of: “There is no scientific evidence of ____, therefore it does not exist.” Actualy, lack of scientific evidence may simply mean that the scientific evidence has not been produced, irrespective of whether the phenomenon in question is real or not. (Lack of scientific evidence does not DISPROVE the phenomenon.)
With respect to audio, “I won’t provide proof” universally means “I cannot provide proof but do not want to admit it”.
Did someone in this thread say “I won’t provide proof”? If so, I missed that one.
Doing scientifically rigorous experimentation is time-and-resource-intensive. I think it would be interesting to do ABX listening tests with different listeners, various technical measurements with lots of highly-accurate/precise (expensive) lab equipment in a bona fide lab, etc., but personally don’t have the time or money. If someone does, great.
Again: Lack of scientific evidence does NOT prove or disprove anything. All it means is that there is a lack of evidence, which could simply be because no one expended the necessary resources to produce such evidence. The fallacy “there is no evidence, therefore ____ does not exist” is a common deceptive device exploited by many people in promoting falsehoods for ulterior motives - or sometimes, simply out of ignorance.
What if, for example, the various creators of the finest handmade musical instruments way back in history (Stradivarius, Stenway, etc.) had decided to not even try making fine instruments because they could not obtain rigorous ABX and scientific test results proving that instrument A really did sound better than instrument B? Or, similarly, say builders and outfitters of concert halls. That’s the sort of ridiculous outcome that results from completely dismissing the ability of a discerning listener to hear better vs. worse audio quality and to be honest in identifying better vs. worse. Same thing goes for many many people who have built or selected high quality audio equipment - sure, some people are lying for ulterior reasons, but many people in the field simply know better-sounding results and work to produce them, whether ABX is done or not.
I’m not trying to sell $30k speaker cables or any such pixie dust, based on psuedo-science and BS. I’d also like to see whatever solid objective evidence exists for Clip+ audio quality with various firmware, codecs, bitrates, etc. But whether I see any evidence or not, I can usually trust my own ears/perception, for discerning significant audio quality differences - for myself. On the 24/96 stuff - I can’t say for sure the audio quality is significantly better than 16/44.1 stuff. At least, it is not “better” enough for me to seek it out preferentially over 16/44.1.
Back to transducers: I recently had to use headphones that were “good” but nonetheless inferior to my usual gear (ATH-CK7), and once again am reminded that with better headphones, a listener can discern musical detail and quality differences that are not discernable with headphones that are even just “slightly” inferior, aka “good” headphones. I’d wager that many of the users vehemently denying audio quality differences between _____ and ______ are actually simply unable to hear subtle quality differences because they are handicapped with headphones that are merely “good” rather than “excellent”. (The number of people who apparently think Shure, Etymotic, UE etc are great headphones despite roll-off at 15kHz, supports not only the “sub-par headphones mass subversion theory”, but also the “many people have wooden ears theory”.)
There - does that kickstart the thread up again?