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March 2019
Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine
What Is Hi-Res Audio And Hi-Res Music?
If 24-bit/96kHz Is Officially The Minimum For High-Res Audio...
Why are 24-bit/44.1kHz music files labeled  'Hi-Res Audio'?

Editorial By Steven R. Rochlin



  Here's some food for thought: 

If the official definition of Hi-Res Audio by the Japan Audio Society (JAS) is a minimum of 24-bit/96kHz [Decoding: File playability of 96kHz/24bit or above (FLAC and WAV both required source JAS)], then why are 24-bit/44.1kHz digital music files being called Hi-Res Audio? Is the music BUSINESS not adhering to the JAS's minimum Hi-Res Audio standards or are the Recording Industry Association Of America (RIAA) standards not being adhered to? Are lower than 24-bit/96kHz quality files labeled "Hi-Res Audio" possibly misleading? And if so, then why are major record labels and the music BUSINESS labeling digital music Hi-Res Audio and not Hi-Res Music (using the appropriate logo), when in fact 24-bit/44.1kHz digital music files certainly do not meet the bare minimum of what is the official JAS stated Hi-Res Audio standard of 24-bit/96kHz nor the Hi-Res Music standard of 20-bit/48kHz as set by the RIAA?



Below is (basically) a copy/paste from the JAS' own website on February 27, 2019. There are screen captures near the bottom of this article.


Definition of Hi-Res Audio (Announced on June 12th 2014) Updated on Dec. 7, 2018

1. In principle, the definition of "Hi-Res Audio" is based on the announcement of Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association (JEITA) on the March 26, 2014

2. "Hi-Res Audio" logo applicable products JAS defines is to fulfill the following specification on the recording, reproduction and signal transition process


<Analogue process>

(1) Microphone response performance: 40 kHz or above during recording

(2) Amplification performance: 40 kHz or above

(3) Speaker and headphone performance: 40 kHz or above



<Digital process>

(1) Recording format: Capability of recording using the 96kHz/24bit format or above

(2) I/O (Interface): Input/output interface with the performance of 96kHz/24bit or above

(3) Decoding: File playability of 96kHz/24bit or above (FLAC and WAV both required)
(In case of self-recording equipment, FLAC or WAV file is required as minimum condition)

(4) Digital Signal Processing: DSP processing of 96kHz/24bit or above

(5) D/A conversion: Digital to analog conversion processing of 96 kHz/24 bits or above



3.   Listening evaluation process is to be organized

(1) Listening evaluation process is required by each applicant.

(2) Each applicant must assign the audio/sound quality control manager in addition to the product quality control manager.

(3) The audio/sound quality control manager should be responsible for final decision as Hi-Res Audio product to be proved according to each company's sound evaluation standard.



4. Additional Condition for Wireless Digital Audio data transfer
Regarding recent Audio Products with Wireless Audio Data Transfer, Hi-Res Audio Wireless logo has been introduced after Nov. 28, 2018. Above conditions except conditions described in <Wireless Audio Data Transfer> shall be applied to Hi-Res Audio Wireless logo applicable products.



<Wireless Audio Data Transfer>

The Hi-Res Audio Wireless logo can be granted to wireless connection capable products which meet following conditions. Such Wireless connection are not be used inside product or between unit of product, such as Left and right transducer.

Wireless connection capable products which meet conditions for Hi-Res Audio logo described above can be granted to use the Hi-Res Audio logo.

(1) Wireless Audio Data Transfer shall connect Products defined as Hi-Res Audio logo applicable or Hi-Res Audio Wireless logo applicable.

(2) Wireless Audio Data Transfer shall use Audio Codec which defined by JAS for this purpose.

(3) Wireless Audio Data Transfer shall not have enough band width to transfer Digital Audio data defined at Digital process

Wireless Audio Transfer may not work correctly with some environment or incorrect usage. Please refer product manual to have best audio quality to meet "Hi-Res Audio Wireless logo"



Certified Audio Codec name for Hi-Res Audio Wireless logo:

An applicant of Audio Codec shall contact hi-res.audio@jas-audio.or.jp to receive necessary information.


Source: https://www.jas-audio.or.jp/english/hi-res-logo-en



Bottom Line
And so my friends, it's time to start asking some very pointed questions. Don't be fooled by the music BUSINESS side of the industry, you deserve better than 24-bit/44.1kHz being labeled as Hi-Res. One could then possibly 'stipulate' that these digital music files showing the Hi-Res Audio logo are being used incorrectly (at a minimum) and perhaps misleading. Who / what is benefiting from such possible misleading labeling activities. Who / what companies benefit... and who is being mislead?

Why is the lower sound quality digital music file label Hi-Res Music logo not being used, as the Recording Industry Association Of America (RIAA) stated it must be a minimum of 20-bit/48kHz or higher? What 'official logo' meets the specs for a 24-bit/44.1kHz digital audio files? Do you sense some confusion here between the JAS and RIAA with the use of these logos?

The RIAA clearly states that, "High Resolution Music is officially defined as "lossless audio capable of reproducing the full spectrum of sound from recordings which have been mastered from better than CD quality (48kHz/20-bit or higher) music sources which represent what the artists, producers and engineers originally intended." This definition ensures consumers receive music that is delivered in a digital format that retains the highest quality captured during the creative process."

Note: Bolded text 'lossless audio' is mine so ensure you see it must be lossless as that is a requirement.


Are We Purposefully Being Mislead?
JAS clearly states that Hi-Res Audio is 24-bit/96kHz ("Recording format: Capability of recording using the 96kHz/24bit format or above"  -- JAS). So if you see the Hi-Res Audio logo on digital music files or streaming music services that are less than 24-bit/96kHz.... 


You be the judge and jury. Vote accordingly with your Dollars, Yen, Euro, etc.


Please show everyone you know this article.
Share it on social media, in e-mails, etc.
Let your voice be heard!



Click below images to see a larger screen shot from JAS' and RIAA's official website taken on February 27, 2019.






As always, in the end what really matters is that you...


Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin

















































































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