Sansa Fuze and Clip need to support 24-bit FLAC

@databass wrote:

Well, I have to partially agree with you in that I still prefer the sound of the Beatles on the remastered analog vinyl over the 24 bit Flac. And yes, the Beatles source masters were of relatively low quality , compared to a lot of the music the followed in the 70’s, like Led Zeppelin or Yes.

Can I remind you that The Beatles (from November '63 to mid '68) recorded on one inch, four track tape.

Only from 1966 were four track to four track tape reductions made (and not for every song)  and that EMI had state of the art mics, recorders and, of course, manufactured their own magnetic tape.

The Beatles tapes have been stored at Abbey Road in climate control conditions and apart from a few splices that have had to be repaired are in excellent condition.

Most 70s tracks were recorded on 16 track two inch tape - you do the maths!

Message Edited by Nobby on 06-09-2010 02:41 PM

Well, to all the 24-bit and vinyl detractors, I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree. I’m not as technical as a lot of you are, but I know that my ears can appreciate the difference between 16 and 24 bit, and it’s not placebo effect either. There’s just a much warmer and textured sound with 24-bit, for lack of a more technical explanation.

If it were legal, I would post a link to a 24-bit rip of my CSN 2009 vinyl remaster of their first album, so you could perhaps hear the difference, but this argument is not worth getting a knock on the door from the FBI :slight_smile:

What really doesn’t make sense to me though, is that some of you detractors appear to work for or are affiliated with Sandisk, and Sandisk’s core business is selling memory cards. So then why Sandisk wouldn’t even try to make their Fuze compatible with 24-bit. Regardless of whether or not you feel that there’s a difference in sound quality between 16 and 24 bit, there definitely a growing community of people who are archiving and buying their music in high definition, and if Sandisk really wants to increase demand for one their core product, SD and Micro SD card, then I would think they would want to make the Fuze (or perhaps a new model) play 24-bit files.

FYI, There is a new 24-bit player that just hit the market, but unfortunately it’s way out of my price range: http://hifiman.us/sale/

@databass wrote:

Well, to all the 24-bit and vinyl detractors, I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree. I’m not as technical as a lot of you are, but I know that my ears can appreciate the difference between 16 and 24 bit, and it’s not placebo effect either. There’s just a much warmer and textured sound with 24-bit, for lack of a more technical explanation.

 

 

 

 

 If you think 24 bit sounds warmer, then I’m sorry, but something is wrong.  There are real benefits to higher bit depths, but warmth isn’t one of them.  Generally changes in warmth mean the test was not done properly, or the 16 and 24 bit samples were mastered differently. 

databass wrote: 

If it were legal, I would post a link to a 24-bit rip of my CSN 2009 vinyl remaster of their first album, so you could perhaps hear the difference, but this argument is not worth getting a knock on the door from the FBI :slight_smile:

 

 

 

 Its legal to post 30 second clips, so please do.  I bet we can figure this out.

  

databass wrote: 

What really doesn’t make sense to me though, is that some of you detractors appear to work for or are affiliated with Sandisk,

 

 

 

No one from Sandisk has posted in this thread.  I don’t think they have a problem with 24 bit FLAC, they probably just haven’t gotten around to fixing it. 

  

databass wrote: 

FYI, There is a new 24-bit player that just hit the market, but unfortunately it’s way out of my price range: http://hifiman.us/sale/

 

 

 

 Yes but due to analog design its output SNR is less then 16 bits, making 24 bit flac relatively useless on it.  You can find test results here:

http://rmaa.elektrokrishna.com/Comparisons/Hifiman%20vs%20Clip%20vs%20Clip%2B%20vs%20H300.htm

The DAC is firmly sub 16 bit, and generally performs worse then the Fuze and Clip. In general you will find this is true on most mp3 players.  The power and budget constraints will generally mean that >16 bit performance is unlikely on portable devices.    

   

I’ll see if I can get a splice made. The rip was made from a friend’s TT and computer.

And I’m being very fuzzy when I say “warmer”, but somehow the extra bits bring out a quality in the sound that I prefer. It’s very subjective.

Anyway, I do hope that Sandisk is monitoring this thread and gets this working, either in a firmware upgrade, or maybe even a model upgrade (Clip++)?

I’d shell out a $100 or so for a new model that supported this format, especially if it could take their new 64 GB cards.

@saratoga wrote:


@databass wrote:

Well, to all the 24-bit and vinyl detractors, I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree. I’m not as technical as a lot of you are, but I know that my ears can appreciate the difference between 16 and 24 bit, and it’s not placebo effect either. There’s just a much warmer and textured sound with 24-bit, for lack of a more technical explanation.

 

 

 

 


 

 

 If you think 24 bit sounds warmer, then I’m sorry, but something is wrong.  There are real benefits to higher bit depths, but warmth isn’t one of them.  Generally changes in warmth mean the test was not done properly, or the 16 and 24 bit samples were mastered differently. 

 

 


databass wrote: 

If it were legal, I would post a link to a 24-bit rip of my CSN 2009 vinyl remaster of their first album, so you could perhaps hear the difference, but this argument is not worth getting a knock on the door from the FBI :slight_smile:

 

 

 


 

 

 Its legal to post 30 second clips, so please do.  I bet we can figure this out.

 

 

  

 


databass wrote: 

What really doesn’t make sense to me though, is that some of you detractors appear to work for or are affiliated with Sandisk,

 

 

 


 

 

No one from Sandisk has posted in this thread.  I don’t think they have a problem with 24 bit FLAC, they probably just haven’t gotten around to fixing it. 

 

 

 

 

  

 


databass wrote: 

FYI, There is a new 24-bit player that just hit the market, but unfortunately it’s way out of my price range: http://hifiman.us/sale/

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 Yes but due to analog design its output SNR is less then 16 bits, making 24 bit flac relatively useless on it.  You can find test results here:

 

http://rmaa.elektrokrishna.com/Comparisons/Hifiman%20vs%20Clip%20vs%20Clip%2B%20vs%20H300.htm

 

The DAC is firmly sub 16 bit, and generally performs worse then the Fuze and Clip. In general you will find this is true on most mp3 players.  The power and budget constraints will generally mean that >16 bit performance is unlikely on portable devices.    

 

   

@databass wrote:
And I’m being very fuzzy when I say “warmer”, but somehow the extra bits bring out a quality in the sound that I prefer. It’s very subjective.

 

So you’re basically using “warmer” to mean “better”.  If you mean “better” please just say that, don’t use words that have other meanings.   But really if you just think something sounds “better” but can’t remember any specific way it sounds better, that usually means its just placebo. Generally when something is actually “better”, you’ll notice the ways its different too :slight_smile:

Rockbox has no problems whatsoever playing 24 bit files. I get 24 bit FLACs of vinyl rips and they sound better than the original CD because analog masters are usually superior. Back then, analog to digital conversions weren’t very good and companies usually just slapped analog masters on the CD format. Now that we have better technology, Audio Fidelity and MFSL are releasing proper original CDs that sound better than crappy remasters. Even old CDs that weren’t converted properly sound better than new remasters because they don’t suffer from compression and maximization.

That being said, if both the clips and fuze can support 24 bit files, there is absolutely no reason not to make a firmware release that will allow support.

I installed Rockbox on my Sansa Fuze, and I can now play 24 bit/96HKZ Flac on a portable device! Big up to all the folks at Rockbox for the hard work that made this happen.

It does sound good, especially considering the hardware and battery limitations of the Fuze. Though I can notice the downconversion during the playback; the same 24-bit track played on my Squeezebox Touch sounds better. But regardless of the sound quality, I like having just one version of the song. I can pop the micro SD card out of my Touch and put in the Fuze when I go on the road. (All 5 albums that fit on the 8 GB micro sd card :frowning: )

Note to Sandisk folks who might be monitoring this board: you really need to come out with a new version of the Fuze that supports your new 64 GB cards as well has more native playback of 24-bit/96KHZ.  

 

 

 

 

 

@ d_headshot wrote:

Rockbox has no problems whatsoever playing 24 bit files. I get 24 bit FLACs of vinyl rips and they sound better than the original CD because analog masters are usually superior. Back then, analog to digital conversions weren’t very good and companies usually just slapped analog masters on the CD format. Now that we have better technology, Audio Fidelity and MFSL are releasing proper original CDs that sound better than crappy remasters. Even old CDs that weren’t converted properly sound better than new remasters because they don’t suffer from compression and maximization.

 

That being said, if both the clips and fuze can support 24 bit files, there is absolutely no reason not to make a firmware release that will allow support.

Message Edited by databass on 06-13-2010 01:26 PM

i was goign to say ROCKBOX it man because that will play 24bit FLAC and Gapless too.

big fan of the 180gram vinyl 24-96 rips out there. this is the best thing to happen to digital music.

sansa - get crackin and make a 24/96 gapless firmware - you’ll own this market when the audiophiles take note and start spreading the word. repackage/rebrand it as he HD AUDIO FUZE. work with the rockbox folk and use rockbox as the underlying OS and slap a sansa theme on there.

Word.

And there is a mini-boom of audiophile vinyl, a lot of it on 45-RPM. And most of the buyers of this vinyl probably want to be able to listen to their personal 24-bit digital copies on their portable players.

And there’s no way that the Cloud will be able to stream these massive files, at least with 3G, so for now, Sandisk, start cranking out those 64 GB+ SD-cards, along with your new portable player! 

 

 

 

 

 

@emagon4523 wrote:

i was goign to say ROCKBOX it man because that will play 24bit FLAC and Gapless too.

 

 

big fan of the 180gram vinyl 24-96 rips out there. this is the best thing to happen to digital music.

 

 

sansa - get crackin and make a 24/96 gapless firmware - you’ll own this market when the audiophiles take note and start spreading the word. repackage/rebrand it as he HD AUDIO FUZE. work with the rockbox folk and use rockbox as the underlying OS and slap a sansa theme on there.

Message Edited by databass on 06-16-2010 09:34 AM

@emagon4523 wrote:

i was goign to say ROCKBOX it man because that will play 24bit FLAC and Gapless too.

 

 

big fan of the 180gram vinyl 24-96 rips out there. this is the best thing to happen to digital music.

 

 

sansa - get crackin and make a 24/96 gapless firmware - you’ll own this market when the audiophiles take note and start spreading the word. repackage/rebrand it as he HD AUDIO FUZE. work with the rockbox folk and use rockbox as the underlying OS and slap a sansa theme on there.

180 gram vinyl is quality material, but most of the 180 releases are simply the CD or digital masters on a vinyl format. That doesn’t sound good especially for vinyl.

However, analog masters on the 180 gram vinyl is great.

I’m sitty pretty now…I’ve got a brand new 8gb Sansa Fuze, V2–and Rockbox installed without any problems in about 5 minutes.

So with a 16 gb card, I can load about 25-30 albums or so–15 on the card, and the remainder in the internal memory. Not too shabby, considering that the cuts are ripped from fine turntables with high-quality vinyl. The Fuze with Rockbox does downconvert the 24 bit sounds during playback but the music still kicks ass–it rocks a lot harder that if had been taken from a CD.

Still waiting for the “HD” version of the Fuze–let see, 64 GB internal memory, can play the 24-bit 96KHZ Flac in its native format, can handle the new 64 GB micro sd cards, and eventually will be able to play the 1TB cards. Now maybe that could hold my entire vinyl collection in 24-bit/96 KHZ. A touch screen might be nice but I really enjoy the now-retro Fuze controls–I can change selections without looking at the screen, which is some situations, like being on a bike or care, can be useful.

@databass wrote:

Well, to all the 24-bit and vinyl detractors, I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree. I’m not as technical as a lot of you are, but I know that my ears can appreciate the difference between 16 and 24 bit, and it’s not placebo effect either. There’s just a much warmer and textured sound with 24-bit, for lack of a more technical explanation.

 

It sounds like you are listening to 16 and 24 bit tracks from different sources, which would contribute to the differences you are hearing too.  I could make a 16-bit copy of my original 8-track and then compare it to a 24-bit copy of the original analog source and of course they would sound different.

To make a true comparison, I would try this:

  1. Take the 24-bit track that you like so much, and downconvert it to 16-bit

  2. Put both tracks on your newly rockboxed Sansa

  3. Have a friend change the track names to “A” and “B” without telling you which is which

  4. Do a blind comparison (without cheating and looking at the track info if your rockbox theme shows it) and see if you can really tell which one is 24-bit

If you can tell and like the 24-bit version better, more power to you!  Go buy those big cards from Sandisk!  I’ve lost enough of my hearing already that I’m sure I couldn’t tell, and I’d rather carry more music with me than get the best quality.  I’m usually listening to my Fuze on the train with $100 Sony earbuds anyway.  But you do what you want to do with your player, and have fun.

16-bits means that there are ~64,000 steps on the sine wave.  24-bits means that are ~16 million steps on that sine wave. 

You might divide either of those in half if the highest bit is used for another reason.  Either way, the resolution is significantly higher going from 16 bits to 24 bits (actually in the order of 256X).

This has nothing to do with frequency response, it has to do with the resolution, or smoothness, of the sine wave (and to some extent dynamic range).  The dynamic range can be expanded (with the same resolution) if using higher bits.  Hence, I’m not surprised when someone says that a 24-bit file sounds “warmer” than a 16-bit file.

A tube amplifier has a resolution of infinity.  Its “warmth” comes from it being current-driven (a true sinusoidal power source for sound transducers [speakers]) and the characteristic of a “soft-clip.”

A larger dynamic range means more dynamic headroom and less clipping.  Digital clipping can rob CD music of its warmth.  Also, “edginess” of the sine wave can cause that “tinny” sound of CDs. You can use all the filtering you want to clean the edges.  But the more you filter, the duller the music sounds (less presence).  Either case, it is digital processing which causes the artifacts that can make digital music sound unnatural.  

Your eardrums have a resolution of infinity (in its frequency range).  That means any slight change due to digital-processing might be detected (if hearing loss hasn’t set in).

It is an age-old claim of audiophiles – that analog sound can never be reproduced.   That’s why every audiophile equipment is call high-fidelity, not true-fidelity.

ggin1

Message Edited by ggin1 on 07-19-2010 04:15 PM

@ggin1 wrote:

 

This has nothing to do with frequency response, it has to do with the resolution, or smoothness, of the sine wave (and to some extent dynamic range).  The dynamic range can be expanded (with the same resolution) if using higher bits. 

No offense, but you should really look things up, not just guess if you aren’t sure.  It has nothing to do with the “smoothness” of the signal.  An 8, 16 and 24 bit DAC all produce equally smooth outputs since “smoothness” is a property of the frequency range of the signal and nothing else.

More bits increases the maximum possible dynamic range, nothing more, nothing less. 

ggin1 wrote: 

 

Hence, I’m not surprised when someone says that a 24-bit file sounds “warmer” than a 16-bit file.

 

 Warmer == “I listened to two different mastering of the same song and didn’t realize it”  == “I’m a noob, ignore what I think about audio”

ggin1 wrote: 

 

A tube amplifier has a resolution of infinity.  Its “warmth” comes from it being current-driven (a true sinusoidal power source for sound transducers [speakers]) and the characteristic of a “soft-clip.”

 

This isn’t even wrong since it doesn’t say anything, its just gibberish.  

ggin1 wrote: 

 

A larger dynamic range means more dynamic headroom and less clipping.  Digital clipping can rob CD music of its warmth.  Also, “edginess” of the sine wave can cause that “tinny” sound of CDs. You can use all the filtering you want to clean the edges.  But the more you filter, the duller the music sounds (less presence).  Either case, it is digital processing which causes the artifacts that can make digital music sound unnatural.  

 

Your eardrums have a resolution of infinity (in its frequency range).  That means any slight change due to digital-processing might be detected (if hearing loss hasn't set in).

 

It is an age-old claim of audiophiles -- that analog sound can never be reproduced.   That's why every audiophile equipment is call high-fidelity, not true-fidelity.

 

 how are you even less informed then the person you quoted?  

  

I beg to differ.  The number of bits of a DAC has everything to do with the resolution of its output.  Look at the specs of any D/A converter. 

The frequency response has to do with the bit rate, i.e. 96kbps.

Warmth, of course, is ultimately subjective.

I didn’t quote anybody.

ggin1

Message Edited by ggin1 on 07-19-2010 06:48 PM

@ggin1 wrote:

I beg to differ.  The number of bits of a DAC has everything to do with the resolution of its output. 

 

 

Which is why I said this:

" It has nothing to do with the “smoothness” of the signal.  An 8, 16 and 24 bit DAC all produce equally smooth outputs since “smoothness” is a property of the frequency range of the signal and nothing else."

Looking back at your first post I see that you confused smoothness and resolution, so I should also have corrected you on that point.  I’ll do so now.  They are not the same.  DACs of all resolutions have equal smoothness at a given maximum (e.g. cutoff) frequency.

I hope thats more clear to you.

ggin1 wrote: 
The frequency response has to do with the bit rate, i.e. 96kbps.

 

 

 In correct.  Look up bitrate and frequency response.  it’ll help you understand the difference.

ggin1 wrote: 
 Warmth, of course, is ultimately subjective.

 

 

  

Its meaning is also then subjective.  Which means it doesn’t mean anything at all.  For a word to have meaning it must be standardized and agreed to by both parties.  Warmth is usually just something people say when they’re too lazy or uninformed to figure out what they actually mean to say.  Used correctly, warmth is usually understood to mean something like a mild treble roll off and perhaps light harmonic distortion.  But its seldom used correctly, least of all in this thread.   

Message Edited by saratoga on 07-19-2010 09:59 PM

I can see you’re into double-speak.  I thought going back to this forum might be fun.  But, it’s not.

By the way, I’m a EE.  I’ve designed and repaired audio equipment.

ggin1

Message Edited by ggin1 on 07-19-2010 07:09 PM

@ggin1 wrote:

I can see you’re into double-speak.  I thought going back to this forum might be fun.  But, it’s not.

 

 

By the way, I’m a EE. 

 

 

I’m a EE too, but what really helps is a background in computer engineering.  Lots of EEs, especially older ones, didn’t learn this sort of stuff in school.

ggin1 wrote: 

 I’ve designed and repaired audio equipment.

 

 

And I helped write an audio driver the Fuze and Clip, so I know a thing or two about how DACs work :slight_smile:  You on the other hand obviously haven’t done any of the digital side, which is why you’re not familiar with the technical stuff.

  

What really helps is not being smug and condescending.

I’ve designed various projects with DACs.  No need to tell me how it works.  

I’ll just close by saying that good engineers enjoy their work and respect other’s works.

Unfortunately, that can’t be said about all.

ggin1

@ggin1 wrote:

What really helps is not being smug and condescending.

 

I’m not being smug.  Actually since you just lectured me for about 10 paragraphs without having even the slightest clue what you’re talking about, I think I’ve been pretty nice. I did spend quite a few years learning how these things work :slight_smile:  

Honestly though, smug would have been “noob, go read wikipedia”. Condescending would be to point out that if you talk about things you’ve too lazy to understand, you’re either a liar or an fool.  Instead I took the time to try and explain things to you.  Shame you don’t care.  Audio is pretty cool if your’e willing to spend the time to understand it.  

ggin1 wrote: 
I’ve designed various projects with DACs.  No need to tell me how it works. 

 

  

 Designed projects with DACs, but obviously never looked at how they worked.  Which isn’t your fault, they’re complicated, and you don’t have a background in digital or signal processing.  But if you haven’t bothered to learn how stuff works, you shouldn’t be trying to tell people about them.  Its dishonest. 

ggin1 wrote: 

I’ll just close by saying that good engineers enjoy their work and respect other’s works.

   

I guess your work in this case would be all the things you made up in this thread?  Franky, I respect good honest work.  Not empty posturing and dishonesty.