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Audio-Grade Bits!

If you store your music digitally — and don’t we all? — you want audio grade bits.

Apparently bits aren’t just bits. An audiophile site in the UK just published an article claiming “significant” and “quite marked” difference in sound quality between MP3 files stored on a Hitachi hard disk, a Seagate hard disk, and a flash SSD. The lengthy article goes on to note such perceived differences as “rhythmic drive,” “image soundstaging,” “edgy grain,” “musical intent,” and other impenetrible audiophile pseudo-babble.

The piece de resistance is when the authors theorize that the differences among storage media may be down to the disk controllers’ processor architectures (one is ARM-based, one x86). Or perhaps one HDD controller chip is “exerting itself more than usual.” They go on to theorize that Ethernet cables might affect “blacker silences” or “a hint of glaze,” too.

Real scientists conducting real studies have shown that anything digitized over 44.1 KHz is inaudible to humans. That’s why it’s the sample rate for CDs. Where and how those bits are stored is… irrelevant.

Thankfully, the authors conclude with an appeal. “Maybe we can solicit logical explanations from engineers who understand the low-level mechanics and operation of computer ?le and storage technologies…” [my emphasis].

I think our readers know what to do.

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