The High Resolution Audio Push Becomes Better Defined - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

 
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post #1 of 6 Old 06-13-14, 09:32 AM Thread Starter
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The High Resolution Audio Push Becomes Better Defined

Heading into this Father’s Day weekend, we’re pleased to report that the vast majority of High Fidelity Fathers will now have an even better reason to rest-up and relax: The industry’s big guns have reached a consensus and formally defined categorical classifications for High Resolution Audio (Hi-Res).

Ah, yes...feel the relief?


We jest of course...sort of. If you’ve followed any of our receiver product previews, you’ve undoubtedly come across Hi-Res specification compatibilities that are admittedly a mouthful. And for the average consumer? Well, you can just about forget about it. There isn’t a snow ball’s chance that the typical Joe Public understands (or even cares to understand) endless numbers, designations, and file types. That fact, of course, doesn’t jive with an industry that’s rushing to re-embrace high quality sound after watching consumers spend the better part of a decade dropping millions of dollars on Low Resolution music files to cram into their various devices and computer hard drives. Not to be too cynical about the matter; the industry is simply making moves to open new revenue streams. They know consumers have more coins and are looking for new ways to shake those coins out of their pockets. And for those of us that want good sounding anything, this is certainly good news. We want the tide to shift in favor of high resolution audio and video acceptance by average consumers.

Here’s the skinny: The Digital Entertainment Group (DEG), the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), and The Recording Academy partnered with Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music Group to create definitions and a series of descriptors for the master recordings that are used to produce the Hi-Res files sold by digital music retailers such as our affiliate HDTracks.com. Of course the use of these descriptors will be voluntary, but it's easy to assume that most retailers will jump on board as consumers become exposed to them.

“Thanks to this initiative, the industry can take a unified approach in offering digital music services a variety of information concerning the growing number of hi-res music titles being distributed today,” said Amy Jo Smith, President of DEG.

Gary Shapiro, President and CEO of the CEA adds: “The contributions made by our Audio Division Board will help consumer electronics manufacturers and retailers alike in their efforts to market the latest compatible devices and help provide more clarity about HRA (Hi-Res Audio) for consumers.”

For those of you a little fuzzy on Hi-Res Audio, its new official definition is “lossless audio that is capable of reproducing the full range of sound from recordings that have been mastered from better than CD quality music sources.” In other words, robust source material that will make a high-end rig sing and quality that will be noticeably sharp on systems owned by the rest of us.

Within the official definition, the consortium created four different Master Quality Recording categories. Each category specifically describes a recordings source prowess. They are as follows:

MQ-P
From a PCM master source 48 kHz/20 bit or higher; (typically 96/24 or 192/24 content)

MQ-A
From an analog master source

MQ-C
From a CD master source (44.1 kHz/16 bit content)

MQ-D
From a DSD/DSF master source (typically 2.8 or 5.6 MHz content)

In effort to bring more attention to the Hi-Res Audio, The Recording Academy, the DEG, and the CEA are sponsoring a Listening Experience event at Jungle City Studios, New York, on June 24th from 6PM to 9PM...another crafty industry move, just in case Joe Public has forgotten what good sound can do for the soul.

Image Credit: HDTracks.com
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post #2 of 6 Old 06-13-14, 10:57 PM
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This is very good news. I understand the reluctance on the part of retail content vendors. They want you to be able to download their music quickly, have it play without hiccup on any device, and leave you plenty of drive space so you can purchase more. I, on the other hand, am reluctant to purchase and download anything that isn't CD quality or better. Call me stubborn, but why should I pay for less quality than I was able to purchase twenty years ago? Maybe this will open the door for pull marketing and therefor more offerings and competition in the Hi-Res music niche. That just sounds good, "High-Res Music!"

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post #3 of 6 Old 06-14-14, 11:30 AM Thread Starter
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Re: The High Resolution Audio Push Becomes Better Defined

I think it's fair to say that Hi-Res Music is going to get its fair shake. There's no denying the convenience of downloading Low-Res files on the go...but there's also no denying that it just doesn't sound as good.
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post #4 of 6 Old 06-17-14, 11:12 AM
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Although I applaud the MQ rating idea, it may still be too complex for the avg consumer. For example, will the AC get that MQ-D is better or not better than MQ-P. It seems to me a more intuitive rating scale where A is better than B, which is better than C, would be more effective. Leaving the tech definitions to only those who care (i.e. us)
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post #5 of 6 Old 06-17-14, 12:37 PM
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Quote:
XEagleDriver wrote: View Post
Although I applaud the MQ rating idea, it may still be too complex for the avg consumer. For example, will the AC get that MQ-D is better or not better than MQ-P. It seems to me a more intuitive rating scale where A is better than B, which is better than C, would be more effective. Leaving the tech definitions to only those who care (i.e. us)
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This is a good point. I was thinking the same thing while reading the ratings. If your idea of a more intuitive rating scale were implemented the general public would certainly take a notice to it. For example, most consumers understand star ratings and will assume that a five star rated anything should be better than a two or three star rated item. Audiophiles will be quick to take note of the technical details of a ranking-style rating system.

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post #6 of 6 Old 06-18-14, 09:39 AM
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It's the SPARS code again, but harder to use.
http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=SPARS_code
SPARS eventually faded from use. Their dilemma was that consumers needed a simple code to identify what they were buying, but the code over simplified the production process and didn't necessarily indicate the final quality.

High res audio has the same problem only worse. The proposed code design is badly flawed, it's too confusing for the consumer but doesn't really quantify the audio chain. It too has the problem that the code itself implies a level of sound quality, but the implication has little bearing on the final result. In reality it only defines a style of data, not the quality of production.

The market needs something, but this idea is half-baked at best. Unlikely content creators would get on board.
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