is high resolution music truly high resolution music? The now lowly
16-bit/44.1kHz CD was considered by some to be high resolution digital audio
back in the 1970's. According to Wikipedia, "Sony first publicly
demonstrated an optical digital audio disc in September 1976. In September 1978,
the company demonstrated an optical digital audio disc with a 150 minute playing
time, 44,056 Hz sampling rate, 16-bit linear resolution, and cross-interleaved
error correction code — specifications similar to those later settled upon for
the standard Compact Disc format in 1980". Many decades later we are
finally seeing viable, standardized formats that include variants of DSD and
24 bit @ XYZ kHz. Personally, I am seeing this new evolution as Audio 3.0. First we
had Audio Version 1.0 with radio, 78rpm, etc. Then we had Audio V2.0 with early
digital, and now the latest Audio V3.0 generation hallmarks our longstanding
effort to achieve ‘perfect sound forever'.
who read my June 2013 Memo to
the Industry may recall the asking for labeling standards. This is incredibly
important as the last thing the high-end audio industry should do is confuse the music
lover. There have already been underground grumblings of when a so-called 'high
resolution' music download truly is, or is not, honestly high
resolution from the provided master source file to the final commercial
release. For if we confuse, or do something worse by outright lying or obfuscate the
truth, we may lose said customers forever. We need to have an attractive, clear,
and concise labeling standard. In the early days of CD we had such labeling. For
instance, an Analog recording with Analog mixing and of course digital mastering
on Digital CD was AAD. With the proliferation of
professional audio changing to all digital, we eventually had Digital recording and
Digital mixing on the Digital CD (DDD). While this new labeling was not
overly marketed at the time – back in the early 1980's – music lovers such
as myself did pay attention to these labels.
course today virtually every studio is digital as are the multitude of mastering
facilities worldwide. The
final file itself is also digital. The old DDD labeling is obviously now
outdated and thus a new type of way to alert music lovers worldwide is necessary. If we as an industry want to
be clear and concise to music lovers, we had better find some true standard of what is
‘high-resolution digital'. Furthermore, those selling said music need to reach
a standard in labeling so that their customers know what they are buying with
confidence. As Wall Streeters know, confidence plays a huge part in the
health of a marketplace. We should all be proud to move people from lackluster decades old
lossy 320kbs mp3 technology to the new lossless audio file types.
As anyone in sales will tell you, once you confuse the customer and lose them, you may never get them back for a second chance. So what are we, the high-end audio industry, going to do about proper high resolution digital music download labeling?
PS: We here at Enjoy the Music.com could easily design such labeling and gave broad visual ideas within the Memo article, yet fully want to avoid any conflicts of interest, possible political backlash, etc... plus who will license for a fee (or free) use of said graphics? So... which high fidelity audio organization is going to step up to the plate? Just create the graphics and give them away for free to everyone would be great! If you're reading this and want to ‘donate' graphics, please read my Memo for a possible example, or come up with your own and e-mail them to me! We are waiting for you, dear. In the meantime, and as always, in the end what really matters is that you...