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

While the answer is yes, it still exists on legit services, both on older music as well as new. There is a large number of reasons why this exists, and not all of it involves an intent to deceive. I am happy to share what I know, but that is almost a different topic. I will say here that I do not see this as often as it once was, but it still exists without question. One huge factor is the original recording. It can never by improved in that sense. Assuming digital if I record and save something at a 44.1 sample rate, that means I have have a maximum frequency of 22.05kHz, or just simply 22kHz. The math is simply sample rate divided by 2.

With hi res audio files, it can be hard and often impossible to hear a difference. One thing to always remember is the source of the audio is what matters. If a 16 bit file comes from a different source than a 24 bit file, there could well be a difference. Example, I can make a 16 but FLAC from a CD, but I cannot do the same for a 24 but FLAC. The 24 bit FLAC should require me to go further into the original recordings. This can cause audible differences due to mastering. Same as with the sample rate, a CD is 44.1, so a digital file of 48 or above (48, 88, 92, etc) will require a different source further into the original recordings.


This was and still is a difficult fact to grasp. While it does make sense, there is so much that gets lost in this. I do not believe that a separate recording needs creating here, but there should be an additional level. A level between the recording and the release that allows for the specification of mastering and such.

In digital is is easy to see the reasons… we have the difference between a 128 MP3 and a CD, or FLAC file derived from a CD. However, even in the past, we had differences between cassette types. The lower quality cassette tapes had a lesser range than a higher quality tape. Today, we can listen to a vinyl and compare it to a 24 bit FLAC and hear a difference there. The tonal aspects are often very different, where the vinyl provides a smoother and realistic sound than a digital file can. While the medium plays a large part in this, so does the mastering. I cannot master a recording for a CD the same as for a vinyl. The same is true for modern iTunes vs CD, the mastering is different, thus “Mastered for iTunes”. It is an aspect that is often misunderstood… Mastered for iTunes often gets a separate release when it is nothing but a different mastering accounting for the additional capabilities of the digital file vs the CD, which does not actually get a separate release.

We got rid of the mastered for iTunes being separate release a few years ago actually. I don’t think anyone is keeping those separate that I’ve seen. So, if you still run across them, merge them. I do. And haven’t been voted down on one in years. I still keep the hi-res separate, but I’d like to see attributes on links so we can stop keeping them separate, as stated before. Thanks for the comparison on the sample rates. I never knew that some “hi-res” releases are actually blown up from lower rates sometimes.


Wow, I did not know this changed. While I agree there is a notable difference, in the current MB schema, there is not really a place for it.

I agree on the references, even as far as defining a reference as a 16-44 FLAC vs a 24-44 FLAC and so on… keeping it all on the same release.

Only if the catalog number, barcode, and mastering engineer are the same, I hope.

Because here’s an example where the release identifiers separate them:

I like the sound of that… however, how do you identify the mastering engineer on an iTunes release? I find it difficult to identify a lot of the behind the scenes artists on digital releases.

Yeah, of course. Only if it is identical to Spotify/Deezer or other digital releases in all respects except for being Mastered for iTunes. The reason is it’s the same mastering actually sent to the different services. It’s just that it was specifically mastered to meet the Mastered for iTunes (now Apple Digital Masters) criteria they want to have.

GitHub - ToadKing/apple-music-barcode-isrc for barcode & audio quality

www.jaxsta.com has info on mastering engineers, etc on many releases. It’s basically the same data you also find on Tidal.


Research, which may not yield anything.

For example, https://twitter.com/UVERworld_dR2/status/603561369846157312 discusses the different mastering engineers used between the normal resolution and high-resolution versions of a release. You wouldn’t find this on any storefront.

However, sometimes better sources just work. https://mora.jp/package/43000152/LZC-1058_F/ talks about the mastering right on the page, making it clearly different from the credits found in the CD/normal resolution version.

It seems that modern practice is to use the same master for both 24bit and 16bit releases, because modern recording and mixing is apparently done at 24bit/96kHz or above. (That’s different from the past, where many 48kHz sources were upscaled to 96kHz to be re-sold to us.)


@tigerman325 and @yindesu - Understood.

Looing at this comment, there’s no definite agreement on the matter yet, so for now, already created hi-res releases should stay separate, and it’s ok to create new ones as well (I think).

Here are some more merge edits that I encountered with further discussion on the matter:


I just got around to looking at these examples. While this was not my question, seeing the thoughts and history on this is interesting.

Given what I know of how MB does things, it would seem that a solid answer would be hard to provide here. I would believe that the recordings would be the same, since mastering is not considered. On new releases, I would highly doubt anything is done that would justify it as a new recording. I would assume that the different variations of “hi res” are simply taking the work before editing, downsampling, dithering, decimation, compression, etc. This would imply that the only real differences are the mastering, making the recording the same.

On the release side, I would believe that the releases are in fact different. Just as a CD with a different color case means a different release, a higher resolution is a difference that can be seen without additional tools, such as looking at the file sizes. I do not think MB is really set up for this though, at this time. In order to do it, a lot needs to be added as notes, disambiguation, annotation, etc. While that works, it does create problems when your “definition” is notes vs attribute fields. You lose filtering, searchability, etc over time as things grow. I like the idea of of leaving what is as it is for now. Especially as it relates to destructive edits.

I did notice on your examples that the discussion referred to barcodes and catalog numbers for these releases. While this topic has been discussed many times, my statement here is different. I do not think that should be a deciding factor on if the release is or is not different. On physical releases, different releases can have the same barcode and catalog number, so I believe that logic should carry over to digital… where it remains an attribute only.

I am interested to see how this comes to fruition.


When these are different, they are not all that’s different. They indicate that other relationships differ as well - label, publisher, copyright holder.

When we start compressing all of that into a single MB release we can have a can of worms beyond a quite simple sounding ‘just have multiple barcodes on one release’ starting point.


Agreed. What I am saying is I do not think it should be an only factor.

This is not a part of what I intended at all. A different barcode is a different release, I do not even think MB allows more than one barcode on a release. I was referring to statements that it not having a different barcode shows it not to be a different release. I was meaning that just because a barcode is not different, does not mean it is not a different release on its own.

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Ohhhh gotcha! My bad :grin:

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All good. I also understand that my comment there is quite different than normal, where I somewhat disregard barcodes on digital releases. Know that, I should have been more clear.

If a barcode is different, for many reasons (some you have mentioned), something is different. I have listened to all of the comments regarding the issue. I cannot disagree that a barcode difference is a factor, but my point remains that the bacode is often times not visible on the release. I can safely say that 90% (more I am sure) of my digital releases have no barcode reference in the metadata, not do they have a direct URL reference to a page or site where the barcode is readily available. To me, this makes it “secondary data”, but still data. What I mean by this… if I look at the release “in hand”, the information I can see is “primary”, the information I need to research to get is “secondary”. I am using general words, so please see my intent, not word use.

I’ve purchased items in the past from Qobuz where it’s obviously an upsampled CD master. Support are great and will always offer an exchange.


So, are you saying you do not want the “digital media” format anymore?

No. Where did you get that from? Just that the links to the store on digital media links could say “96 kHz”, “192 kHz”, “MQA”, “MP3”, etc. Currently we have to create duplicate releases for differences in audio quality. This is just follow-up on my suggestion from above.