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CD Players, Digital Music & Servers Sooloos, Olive, Wadia, Sonos, to name a few

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Old 04-25-2012, 08:25 AM
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Lightbulb 96kHz vs. 192kHz at 24 bit

Pretty controversial, it seems there is no clear winner. Which do you prefer & why?

All of Benchmark’s A/D converters and D/A converters support sample rates up to 192kHz. However, we strongly recommend 96kHz for optimum performance. There is a performance penalty for operating at 192kHz. The problem is that all A/D and D/A converter chips operate at reduced oversampling ratios when converting at 192kHz. At the current time, the negative consequences of the reduced oversampling ratio far outweigh any benefits derived from the higher sample rates.

At 192kHz the stopband attenuation of the digital filters is usually much poorer than at 96kHz. Many converter ICs have 120dB of stopband attenuation at 96kHz, but only 80dB at 192kHz. This makes 192kHz converters very susceptible to aliasing and poor image rejection. These artifacts clutter the audible spectrum with low-level non-musical distortion.

It can be shown and demonstrated that there is no loss of time-domain accuracy when operating at 96kHz versus 192kHz. It is a myth that 192kHz gives better time-domain accuracy.

To date, Benchmark has no evidence that 192kHz performs better than 96kHz, but we have a substantial body of evidence that shows that 192kHz has defects that are not present at 96kHz. These issues are also shared openly by one of our competitors: Lavry Engineering. We suspect many other manufacturers are aware of these issues, but choose not to talk about them.

Bottom line: Be very careful about any claims that 192kHz sounds better than 96kHz. Our experience points in the opposite direction.

John Siau
V.P., Benchmark Media Systems, Inc.
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Last edited by Masterlu; 04-25-2012 at 08:28 AM.
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Old 04-25-2012, 08:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Masterlu View Post
Bottom line: Be very careful about any claims that 192kHz sounds better than 96kHz. Our experience points in the opposite direction.

John Siau
V.P., Benchmark Media Systems, Inc.[/I]
My experience is that there are better DAC's than Benchmark.

Jim
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Old 04-25-2012, 09:02 AM
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Interesting read. This type of information would add value to AA.
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Old 04-25-2012, 09:20 AM
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The Benchmark DAC1 was my first outboard DAC. It was ok.
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Old 04-25-2012, 09:45 AM
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If your DAC is capable of 192, but your music is 96, does it matter? Or is there processing going on even with the 96 music that could be a problem? Obviously I don't understand this topic, so please forgive the naive question.

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Old 04-25-2012, 10:43 AM
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Some DAC's will play the native resolution of the file (44-88-96-176-192), while others will up-sample all files to 96-192-384 etc.
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Old 04-25-2012, 10:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Still-One
Some DAC's will play the native resolution of the file (44-88-96-176-192), while others will up-sample all files to 96-192-384 etc.
Wonder what the Wadia does. I'll go look it up.
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Old 04-25-2012, 10:48 AM
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Quote:
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Wonder what the Wadia does. I'll go look it up.
I thought they used a DAC that upsampled to about 1.4
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Old 04-25-2012, 11:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pider View Post
Wonder what the Wadia does. I'll go look it up.
The Wadia upsamples everything to 192 for output, I believe. I have some 192 Khz files and they sound better than 96KHz, at least on the 121.
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Old 04-25-2012, 11:50 AM
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TAS reviews music downloads, and has compared the 96/24 to the 192/24 a couple of times when both are available. As I recall, they preferred the 192/24 both times. One was on Cat Steven's Tea for the Tillerman - I don't remember the other offhand. They didn't mention which system or DAC they used while reviewing the downloaded files.

Ivan - why not download both and compare them on one or more of your systems and let us know what you think. That's one of the benefits of having a reference system. Others can do this as well - it's certainly important information.

FWIW, Benchmark has made dogmatic statements like this before - for example, they emphatically state that inserting a shorting plug into the unused jacks on their DAC is useless. Perhaps they're right, but it bothers me a little that they seem to base this statement on theory rather than on listening tests. It wouldn't surprise me if the statement that 96/24 sounds better than 192/24 is not based on listening tests either.

BTW, is there an area on AA for for reviewing downloaded files (i.e. comparing them to other versions such as CD, XRCD, SACD, DVD-A, remasters vs original versions, etc.?
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