high-resolution audio


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high-resolution audio

Digital audio formats with better sound quality than CDs, which is based on the sampling rate used when an analog music file or a live performance is converted to digital data. It also means "lossless" compression, whereby none of the music has been removed such as with MP3 and AAC. In 2014, the record labels formalized the major categories (see high-resolution audio categories).

Early Attempts: SACD and DVD-Audio
In 1999, SACD and DVD-Audio were two high-resolution optical disc formats, but neither took off (see SACD and DVD-Audio). However, the sampling method in SACD did survive (see DSD).

High Resolution Via Download
Today, high-quality music is no longer bound to physical media. HDtracks (www.hdtracks.com) pioneered high-resolution audio via download and offers music titles at CD quality and greater. In addition, music played from the computer's memory (RAM) is not subject to jitter caused by an optical platter that is not rotating 100% evenly.


High-Quality Downloads
High-resolution music titles such as these are available from the HDtracks website. While sample size is 24 bits on these titles, note the different sampling rates in kHz. The files with 88/24 and 176/24 resolution were taken from DSD masters (see 88.2/24 and 176.4/24). (Images courtesy of HDtracks, www.hdtracks.com)


It's All in the Sampling
The above album from HDtracks is available for download in four lossless formats and three sample rates. When analog sound waves are converted to digital for CDs, 16-bit samples are taken 44,056 times per second (44.1 kHz), resulting in stereo data transferring to the digital-to-analog converter (DAC) for playback at a bit rate of 1409 kbps (1,409,792 bits per second). At 192/24, the analog waves are converted into 24-bit digital samples 192,000 times per second (192 kHz), resulting in a bit rate of 9216 kbps. For a sampling comparison, see high-resolution sampling rates and DSD. See lossless compression.

A high-resolution software player, such as media players from Sonic Studio (www.sonicstudio.com) and JRiver (www.jriver.com) are required to play the high-end music, and a good sound card or external digital-to-analog converter (DAC) is required (see D/A converter and USB DAC).

Quality Vs. Convenience
The iPod created a revolution in digital music playback starting in the early 2000s. However, users have sacrificed sound quality for convenience, because the MP3 and AAC formats compress the data. However, to most people, the sound is good enough, especially when listening on tiny earphones. To audiophiles, even CD quality is not sufficient, which is why many aficionados still prefer the pure analog sound of vinyl LP records.

However, there is a choice in audio quality when ripping CDs to MP3 and other formats. The user can choose how much compression is applied to the digital data. The higher the bit rate, the more data are transferred per second. The higher rate means better quality, but the file is larger. See audiophile, sampling, DVD-Audio, SACD, FLAC, MQA, vinyl record and Apple Lossless.


High-Quality Downloads
High-resolution music titles such as these are available from the HDtracks website. While sample size is 24 bits on these titles, note the different sampling rates in kHz. The files with 88/24 and 176/24 resolution were taken from DSD masters (see 88.2/24 and 176.4/24). (Images courtesy of HDtracks, www.hdtracks.com)







CD Quality and More
Resolution Audio's Cantata is a high-quality CD player as well as a USB analog-to-digital converter (USB DAC) that supports 24-bit samples at 192 kHz. (Image courtesy of Resolution Audio, www.resolutionaudio.com)







Smooth Out the Waveforms
Before conversion to analog, this high-end MOON Evolution CD player from Simaudio reconstructs the CD's 16-bit samples into 32-bit samples to smooth out the sound waves. The unit is also a USB DAC that supports 24-bit samples up to 192 kHz. In this example, digital input #2 is selected. (Image courtesy of Simaudio, Ltd., www.simaudio.com)







High-Resolution Players
Music lovers can also enjoy high-quality audio in portable players such as these from Pono (top) and Astell & Kern (bottom). For more information, visit www.ponomusic.com and www.astellnkern.com. (Image courtesy of PonoMusic.) See Pono.
References in periodicals archive ?
SAN DIEGO, CA September 22, 2015 Today, Sony Electronics announced a new in-car High-Resolution Audio (Hi-Res Audio) line-up for the US market which includes the RSX-GS9 digital media player ($1,499), the XM-GS4 4-channel amplifier ($299), and the XS-GS1 Super tweeter ($199).
The boutique has five distinct product zones for gaming, mobility, digital imaging, home entertainment and high-resolution audio.
5 The long awaited ability to ingest XDCAM's proxy video with high-resolution audio is now a reality.
With the growing popularity of high-resolution audio available for Internet download, Pioneer's networked audio players are designed to handle and expertly reproduce high-resolution digital music.
The SU-G30 Network Audio Amplifier supports a diverse variety of input sources, ranging from legacy, right through to the most advanced high-resolution audio formats (384-kHz/32-bit, DSD11.
5mm jack - and there's no adaptor available meaning you'll only ever be able to use these with an iOS device - the all-digital connection coupled with a 24bit/192kHz DAC built into the cans means you can listen to 48kHz high-resolution audio files properly for the first time on an iPhone.
Olive enforces its commitment to HD by partnering with Grammy Award-winning Chesky Records, producer of high-resolution audio recordings.
Combining a SU-C501 CD Stereo Amplifier, powerful OTTAVA speakers and high-resolution audio support, the latest addition to Technics' range of HiFi systems offers a compact design and stunning audio quality that will enhance the style of any home.
The PCM-D100 recorder is part of Sony s High-Resolution Audio initiative, a complete series of products designed to help music lovers conveniently access and enjoy the digital music they love in the best playback quality.
1-channel system integrates 250 watts of power, dual center channel speakers, a wireless subwoofer and dual HDMI inputs for simple connection, high-resolution audio and video output.
TOKYO, July 8, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Sony Corporation and Foo Fighters have agreed to work together to deliver convincing, premium quality High-Resolution Audio experiences to audiophiles worldwide.
In line with its philosophy of "inspiring and fulfilling the curiosity of people around the world and moving them emotionally," Sony's booth will feature new products and prototypes highlighting Sony's 4K Ultra High-Definition technology, High-Resolution Audio ("Hi-Res"), and SmartWear.

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