HD/Hi-Res/24-bit Music entries/Studio Quality Music

I started entering digital music and I’m confused by a recent note left on one of my entries. I’ve started purchasing hi-res music mostly from Qobuz. I thought MB allows a separate listing for hi-res music. Check out my entry:
Edits for OUT OUT - MusicBrainz

Am I doing something wrong with entering a separate release? Please help explain because I just entered a lot of music this way!! :frowning:


We generally do not track technical differences like sampling depth or even file type (lossless vs. lossy). As a rule of thumb, you can think of the case for different recordings like this: For every time the artist sat down with their guitar and played a song, there should be one (and only one - generally) recording.

An additional concern is that it’s really hard to be sure that your high-resolution music is actually high-resolution, i.e. if it wasn’t just upsampled from a CD-quality recording (for the case of lossless music stores, it’s not that rare to get FLAC downloads where it’s immediately obvious from a spectrogram that they are just converted 128kbps MP3s).

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OMG…do you know what stores do this?

Some editors would say you should add the separate release in some cases. For example, if things like barcodes and catalogue numbers change. I’ll call a @tigerman325 in here as they enter a lot of MQA, 96kHz/24bit and other mind boggling combinations.


I only create separate releases for 24-bit if it’s a different barcode than the 16-bit one.

I’d be all for having only 1 release per barcode and wouldn’t mind merging all the separate releases, but there are editors who want hi-res releases separate. I think we should have checkboxes or something for the different formats, similar to Discogs but for each link. Just check the attributes that apply, i.e. 24-bit/96kHz or 24-bit/192kHz, MQA, etc on the links. A release could have a link and we could check a box on that link that shows it’s for what type of releases. This way we could see, the HDTracks link is for a 96 or 192 or whatever. I’m rambling a bit. I admit I mainly add the separate releases so that editors can find them easier, and not add bad data on a new release. I agree (and have argued on here before) they really are all the same release, IMO. If we had attributes on the links we could eliminate the duplicate releases based on quality, file type, etc.


Thank you tigerman325!!

I have personally seen this a bunch on Bandcamp, where artists sometimes simply convert their lossy files before uploading to satisfy the BC requirement to upload lossless files.


I’m only using Qobuz and HD Tracks. I’ve never been to the Bandcamp website :slight_smile:

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It can happen to every platform. Even Qobuz.
I’m checking every file I purchase. I remember buying singles in “hi-res” 24/96 but when I checked the quality it’s was a upscaled mp3.
Qobuz relies on the labels and lables, well they do not always care about stuff like this.


I like highresaudio.com because there is always the information whether a digital booklet is included. That’s the main reason I buy from there. Many releases have no additional information at all, and that’s what bothers me the most about digital media.
If there is a digital booklet that isn’t included on other platforms, it’s also a separate release.


I’ll have to check that one out! I like when a booklet is available too :slight_smile:

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How do you check your songs…now I want to do that!

I believe a spectrogram would make seeing that fairly easy, since by definition an MP3 will be missing some of the highest frequencies (note, the ones it trims are on the very edge of human perception)

an example of what you might be looking for:


Yes, me too, but not all releases have booklets. Actually only a few have. The difference is that you know before you buy if you’re going to get one. :slight_smile:

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I just looked at the website. Looks like it’s Germany only purchasers? Boooo…I like the website though :slight_smile:

In general, I agree with @UltimateRiff as it relates to checking your files for quality. As @slipmaxim mentioned, I have also seen a lot of upsampled files. This is (or was) very common on MP3s that were passed around all over the internet. While that is not a big deal, it is for sure when you are paying for the files. I hope this is not moving away from the thread’s intent, but maybe I can help further answer your question.

Here is an example of a MP3 file with a soft filter applied, the MP3 limiter is sort of a 16kHz preset value, so notice the soft cuttoff at approx 16k, although not a hard cut.


This image shows a file with a hard lowpass filter applied, see that anything over 16k is simply chopped off.


Then this is a file without a lowpass filter applied, keeping the spectrum that is considered full for a standard 16bit file.


In the above, the frequency still dies at 20k, but there are many 16bit audio files that do not exceed 20k. Here is a file that utilized the full range of the 44.1kHz of the file. It is an M4A iTunes file, but I wanted to show that even in compressed audio files, it is still possible to get good results.


Lastly, here is a FLAC file 16 bit at 96kHz, notice a large amount of headroom that really serves no purpose to end listeners.


Looking at the above, you can see how different files differ in what they contain. The MP3 files that are 320kbps quality with a cutoff at 16k is nothing more than an upsampled MP3… there is no need to utilize a full 320kbps MP3 when only say a 192kbps is needed to store the truncated data… I am speaking generally.

I do not have a studio of sorts, I only do things at a DJ level, things like mixes, mashups, etc, things where some headroom is needed to maintain quality. For this, I find that 16 bit at 48kHz is perfect. Anything over 48kHz I find to be just waste as the benefits it offers do not get used by me, so paying to store the larger files provides no payoff.

I prefer, almost require, that any compressed audio files that I actually keep do not have a lowpass filter applied, soft or hard. The human ear is stated to hear 20-20k, although realistically (and as seen with MP3s), anything above 16kHz listened to casually is not likely to be noticed. I find that listening relaxing with headphones or in my stereo room with all else quiet, I can tell a difference easily. Depending on your style of music, there are many things you can tell, like the inherent tonal difference between an MP3 vs a M4A. I am not so sure that I can actually hear the frequencies up to the 22kHz ranges, it is possible I only hear the resulting artifacts.

Sorry for the long post, this is not a mastering or sound engineering thread, but I wanted to address your very valid question with some detail.

EDIT: I wanted to add as I do not want to assume… the values like 44.1, 48, 92 kHz is the sample rate. So when it is said that something is upsampled, that basically means that a file originating from a low sample rate file has been converted to a higher sample rate file, doing nothing but adding wasted space. So if you have a 44.1 file and convert it to a 48 or larger, that is only wasted space with no gains. Also if you have a 192 MP3 and you convert it to a 320 MP3, there is no gain there, it just takes up more space.


Love your explanation @thwaller !!


I had to look for an example, but here is a beautiful hi resolution file, notice the recorded sound exceeds the 22kHz mark. That is also a sign that you have a “real” file.



I don’t think so. According to their terms of service, it’s generally offered worldwide with partial restriction “… due to license agreements and territory restrictions some Digital Content are not available. … The purchasing button in the shop will be disabled and not be displayed.”
TBH I don’t know if only half of the offers are available if you live in the wrong territory … :worried:
I would therefore not recommend streaming outside of the EU.

Thanks for your presentation! :smiley:
Until now I have not analysed my hi-res downloads …and I don’t really hear the difference even with excellent speakers. And mp3 upscaling will probably be more often an issue with “dubious sources”, right?

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