I got an ad on Facebook today from Qobuz, the beleaguered French music service that offers both streaming and downloads.
You may have seen similar graphics before about high-res music; I think Sony was using this in the past. But it’s simply a lie. Digital music files do not create stairstep waveforms, no matter what the resolution. Encoders extrapolate the data in the files to create fully fluid waveforms. Using this sort of illustration is just another way of trying to get gullible people to pay more for music.
And even if it weren’t true, it wouldn’t be a correct visual interpretation of the differences between music files. If a high-resolution file is 24 bits – as Qobuz claims its music is – then where does that show up in the graphic? This stairstep graphic has been used to illustrate differences in sample rate, not bit depth. (And it’s still a lie.)