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Hi-Fi World
December 2013
In This Issue... Headphones And High Rez Music
Editorial By Noel Keywood


In This Issue... Headphones And High Rez Music Editorial By Noel Keywood Hi-Fi World Volume 23 Number 10 December 2013  Ome interesting – or ominous – press releases trickled in this month, amongst a torrent currently dominated by headphones. Sony sent us a modest e-mail about their new interest in pushing high-resolution audio downloads. This will worry all those who want nothing to do with downloads – just read our Letters this month. When the earth’s magnetic field changes all download users will be damned!

Salvation from magnetic wobbliness may lie in another press release, from United Artists about a new range of ultra high-quality audio-only Blu-rays, in stereo and surround-sound. Unfortunately, whilst the sound formats are those common to Blu-ray, the actual resolution of the recordings on offer is not mentioned – curious. You can see for yourself at this link. Launch titles are from Amy Winehouse, The Rolling Stones, Nirvana, Marvin Gaye and many more, we are told. You have to order these discs on-line from United Artists. I have been playing 24/96 music videos on Blu-ray and titles from 2L that are music-only, for many years now and they’re undoubtedly good. All the same, I have reservations about silver discs going round and round – even if they are impervious to magnetic field variations – having become used to 96GB of music in my pocket, stored on SD cards.

I rather liked Sony’s new hi-res effort. Go to this link to see for yourself. In this scenario there’s yet another disc going around, this time in a hard drive. But Sony do at least mention DSD, 24/192 and things like that, which gives me some hope sound quality has been given consideration. I’m glad they’ve finally recognised the existence of hi-res and the value of better audio quality. To be frank though, I suspect it is high-quality headphone sales, tightly linked to portable stereo audio (meaning not AV) and the iTunes generation that is driving this.

Curious that stereo audio has now become the way ahead. That isn’t something I would have dared predict ten years ago.


--- Noel Keywood, editor.


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