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Hi-Res Music & Audio : The New Recording Standard

Every 25 years or so, the medium for the mass-production of audio gets upgraded to the next big thing.
From the Phonograph which played tin cylinders (1877), to the Gramophone (1900) , which played glass, zinc, and eventually plastic flat discs/records; From Vinyl, which didn’t hit the scene until 1948, the cassette tape that made it’s debut in 1962, to the first commercial Compact Disc made available in 1982- the search for better audio quality transmission has never ceased.
For decades, the standard audio resolution for releasing commercial music has been CD quality – which has a default sample rate and bit depth of 44.1 kHz / 16-bit. Today, with new recording and playback equipment, as well as the arrival of music subscription streaming companies like Tidal- it has become more viable for artists, producers, aggregators, and record companies to release music at higher resolutions. Now, it is possible for consumers to hear studio quality music – music equal to what the artists, producers, mix and mastering engineers hear on devices they carry with them every day.

    

Hi-Res Audio allows up to 6.5X the data transmission as CD-Quality recordings.

For the Up and Coming and established recording artists alike, it’s essential to know that most record companies require the delivery of hi-res masters because they recognize new opportunities to monetize better sounding music. It is also helpful for musicians/producers/artists to get in the habit starting off recordings at the highest resolution possible, so as to future-proof their work.

In this article, we’re going to provide some tips along with a checklist of must-know information about how to take advantage of the current advances in audio.

These are the two logos that audio professionals need to get familiar with, as they let you know when recording and playback of high resolution audio/music is possible.The Hi-Res Audio logo is exclusive to hardware – such as audio interfaces and Monitors, even smartphones and media players. Seeing this logo assures you have the necessary equipment to capture audio at resolutions higher than CD quality. The Hi-Res Music logo applies to music that is delivered at a resolution higher than CD quality. Any production done at 48 kHz/20-bits, digital conversion of an old analog master, or a CD that gets remastered to 96 kHz/24-bits or higher qualifies for use of the logo.

Hi-Res Audio Device Examples

Now you just can’t go around using any device to capture audio and expect it to meet requirements for Hi Res Audio, you have to make sure your equipment is certified for Hi-Res Audio- and the gap from entry-level to elite is wide so choose wisely.

RecordingMost Audio Interfaces today come equipped to record audio at the highest resolution possible, so even without use of the new Hi-Res Logo you can be assured you can set your interface to record as high as you’d like.

                                                 

Anything from the Behringer U-Phoria UM2 (retail price $29.99) ,the TASCAM UH-7000   (retail price $199),

to Universal Audio’s Apollo 8 ($1,799 retail) will get the job done.

Playback: These devices allow you to enjoy music at the quality that the Artist, musician, and engineer intended for the listener to.

DENON M41DAB ($700 retail) – Regarded as the latest and greatest from one of the most trusted brands in Hi-Fi Systems, you can rest assured that you will get an accurate representation of the music you listen to.

LG V20 ($369-599 retail) One of the first smartphones to come with a dedicated quad-DAC, allowing for truly studio-quality recording and playback. This LG V20 is acclaimed for its pristine audio recording and playback capabilities.
 

Sony NW-WM1Z Signature Series 256GB High-Resolution Digital Music Player is one of the more expensive options for playback- with a retail price slightly north of $3,000- which might go to better use than being spent on a gold-plated Walkman.

Tips to remember :

  • To capture Hi Res Audio, Always start off at the desirable sample rate 48 kHz/196 kHz and at least 20-bit. NEVER let the audio signal go below the chosen resolution (from recordings to exports) to ensure true hi-res music.
  • Make sure all engineers, producers and mastering studios are all on the same page as far as chosen resolution is concerned.
  • If you want your songs in Hi-Res format, NEVER convert your files to lossy compressed formats !

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*Article Originally Published on SoSouth.com

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