Gaia Sound Blaster

A Case For Hi-Res Audio

I have mp3s, ever since the days of Napster, and when I was learning about computers in high-school (currently am 31 as of this writing). I listen extensively to my songs, and still do when I am auditioning from a countless list of anime, video game, vocaloid, pop, rock, classical, the list goes on and on.

Mp3’s, aac, ogg, and other lossy music are small, quick to download, and easy to transport to iPod and similar mp3 players, data CDs for my car, and for my phone. Lossy formats were made for easy distribution, and were right for the time when dial-up connection was common.

Modern Times Calls For Modern Formats

But this is 2015, when we have better internet connections at faster rates, terabytes of hard drive space is affordable, and your phone is able to do more things than a desktop 10 years ago can do. So to have a lossy format, formats that are in less of quality than Compact Discs, for the listening pleasure of music, and the only thing available to buy is something I just don’t like.

This article is not a going to be about vinyl versus digital, nor a comparison of the high-res formats (maybe in a later article), but for one to upgrade your listening experience from mp3’s and aac in iTunes, to one with at least CD-quality audio and higher.

I used to just listen to mp3s and though it was enough, until I opened my eyes (ears?) to better audio. Pursuing a life in audio engineering, learning more about formats, recording, working at a recording studio that also does digital distribution, has led me more to realizing that there is better audio out there.

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(how it looks like when listening to lossy compared to Hi-Res)

Hi-Res In The News

There has been some news about high-res, from Neil Young’s PONO, to Sony’s investment in high-res audio, and sites like HDTracks offering better quality music, there has been a buzz among tech-circles and music-circles alike. Many against, and many for hi-res audio.

I am one for high-res audio and back to listening audio as the same quality as the audio engineers hear. Lossy formats like mp3s are reduced versions from the studio masters for size and convenience. Frequencies below 20Hz and above 20,000Hz are cut, as that is the dynamic range of most people’s ears. Lossy formats are worse-sounding than CDs, to which in turn many older people would say CDs are worse than vinyl.

The majority of us are used to mp3’s is because of iTunes, downloading mp3s, streaming services like Spotify, and other ways most people listen to music nowadays. But the music and audio presented to us is not the best-sounding, and better versions exist and there is a want for those. Maybe not for everyone, but for us who want their ears to dance and fill with excitement over our music, we want the files!

Other Media are in Better Resolution

Video has gotten better a whole lot better, with 4k TVs and movies available in Blu-Ray. Video games went from obvious pixels to full blown life-like experiences. So why has music stalled in terms of quality? Because mp3s took a long time for acceptance?

Because they are “good enough” and its what everyone listens to anyways? I’m sorry but lossy formats are just not good enough to purchase and listen keenly to. I like mp3 like the radio: to sample how a piece of music is for the first time. To listen if the music is something you like, but just a taste of how the music should be. Audio is art and should be expressed as best as the creators and engineers intended and heard.

(This post was originally posted on March 15, 2015)