Junior displaying 16bits, should be 24bits?


I am playing what is supposed to be a 96/24 WAV file but the Junior displays “16 Bits”.

Can someone try playing this file on their Junior or Senior and let me know what you see in the display? Just click on the link or cut and paste it into your browser, you should get a download window.

Music file: http://www.travelthroughpictures.com/bdd/otherstuff/watersofmarch.wav

Some information:

  • I ran the two PS Audio bit perfect files through and got the bit perfect asterisk on both play paths I used
  • Foobar player denotes 96 / 24 in the file information window
  • I tried running from my Windows 10 PC out USB to both direct to the Junior and via my Mutec 1.2, with same results
    • Used the DSD KS Mutec driver in Foobar using the PC-USB-Mutec-XLR-Junior path
    • Used the DSD KS PS Audio driver in Foobar using the PC-USB-Junior path
  • The Mutec driver has a little window that pops on my PC that denotes bit depth and it says 24bit
  • Foobar settings in the output format denotes “24-bit” (when I use both drivers and path)
  • Again, it passes the PS Audio bit-perfect test on both files

The Junior displays fine with other files… So give the file above a try and see what displays… thanx!

BTW, the file sounds great anyway! Elis & Tom is the Jobim Album… great stuff.

Bruce in Philly

It’s 16 bits just like the Jr says. Never mind the meta data, or the number of bits in the source file the DS and the DS Jr measure the actual sample stream (they don’t see anything else) - if the bottom 8 bits aren’t changing they display 16 bits (or 18 or 20…) You can check this for yourself by moving your (PCs, foobar200’s …) volume control a nit and seeing the result change to 24 bits.

But in case you don’t believe it, here’s the result from Adobe Audition 3.0: “Actual Bit Depth: 16”


Cool Ted, thank you for the prompt reply.

So… some more questions then if I may…

1 - Where is Foobar and Mutec getting information for their displays? I did not know WAV files carry metadata.
2 - So what you are saying is the bits are there but they are all zeros. Because my Mutec driver denotes 24… is it counting the zeros? Is it possible whoever mastered this file kinda cheated/short cutted?

The file sounds wonderful to me anyway… I have the 44.1/16 CD version of this also it is a compressed mess. These files sound great in comparison.

Bruce in Philly

Wave files have all sort of very specific meta data, e.g. is it uLaw encoded… And among that meta data has to be some way of letting the reader know the sample rate, how many bits per sample, how many channels, etc. so it can actually interpret the data.

The Wav format doesn’t have a standard for user added metadata, so even if you add some, various programs will treat it differently (including some that may treat it as music.)

The playing program negotiates a sample rate, number of bits, number of channels with ASIO drivers, or states them to WASAPI drivers, etc. That has nothing, a priori, to do with the content of the file.

I was typing “I wouldn’t attribute to cheating or taking a short cut things that can easily be explained by simple mistakes or even the truth.” but here’s the frequency analysis, it was 16/48 at sometime in it’s past:


This probably isn’t just “me”, but I find myself reading whatever it is that Ted writes about, even if the whatever ordinarily would be of no interest to me. Because I learn something new every time, and that has me reaching for the “like” button time and time again.


Yes - I agree, I’ve learnt quite a lot from Ted’s posts. Very informative, Ted’s always willing to help and share with his knowledge.

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OK, I guess this a bit rhetorical (pun!),

Why would a file be 48K/16bit (was it born that way?) and then end up 96K/24bit?

I guess we would need someone from the music industry to weigh in here.

I guess the moral of the story is you don’t really know what you are getting. I remember reading when SACD and DVDA came out, the music industry in their rush to get out product, took their 44.1/16 CD tapes, converted them and put them out on these “hi rez” formats thus angering the knowledgeable buying public. To be fair, this file sounds way better than the version I have on CD so I am not unhappy in this case… but…

Anybody from the industry reading this? Insights?

Bruce in Philly

We can only speculate. It may be a file which was down converted and unintentionably not relabled, etc.

I always chaff a little when people say, without qualification, that SACDs and DVD-As were produced from 44.1/16 and sold as hi-rez. I know Elk has mentioned some specific examples but out of the (literally) thousands of SACDs that I only have one that is from solely 44.1/16 sources. (I will say that some web sites (to put it charitably) have had a checkered history with quality control of hi-res products.)

The issue of provenance is more complicated than we’d like. Often different elements of a recording are from different sources with differing formats, resolutions, etc. and it’s not always clear which is the original and when the original is lost it’s not clear what the next best is. Most of the recordings out there have incomplete provenance and the studios really have no idea or even any possible way to reconstruct them.

Often it all boils down to trust - trust that the studio, the mastering engineer, the retail outlet/web store, care and are up front about the provenance. That’s one of the reasons I like buying at sites that show provenance on many or most of their recordings and have people I personally trust, etc. I tend to avoid entirely sites that often don’t have a provenance available for many or most of their recordings. I don’t usually blame the sites for not having perfect or complete provenances for every recording, but I don’t like sites that don’t care enough to try.

Here’s a link to a panel talking about this. I don’t know that this is the best recording out there, but I was in the audience for this one:


At times one track out of an album (especially compilations) may come from lower resolution sources that most of the others and may be upsampled, etc. to match the other tracks. This is less necessary with web delivery or streaming, but still happens. As Elk says, without the details (which often just don’t exist) we can only speculate what happened and even less reliably speculate why it happened.

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