When compact discs came on the music scene, they offered a sound quality and depth which had up until then only been available on vinyl records. When the internet sparked the next phase of sharing and sourcing music – streaming – audio files were drastically compressed. While .wav and .mp3 files are easy to store, carry and play across universal devices, they lose a vast majority of song’s original depth and nuance.
Most digital music files today are only phantoms of what the artist intended to be heard.
MUSIC QUALITY SPECTRUM
High Resolution Audio, known more commonly as hi-res audio, is lossless music that’s nearly identical to the sound artists intended their listeners to hear. This is music that’s been taken from the original recordings and compressed, but not downsampled. Some refer to hi-res audio as CD quality music, but the truth is that hi-res audio quality is actually higher than CDs’ standard 16-bit 44.1 kHz resolution.
The industry’s leading organizations have defined hi-resolution audio as “lossless audio that is capable of reproducing the full range of sound from recordings that have been mastered from better than CD quality music sources.”
For example, CD lossless quality recordings have a 44.1 kHz/16 bit resolution.
Hi-resolution audio begins at 48 kHz/24 bit and are most commonly found at 96 kHz/24 bit resolutions, although it’s common to see hi-res files as high as 192 kHz/24 bit.
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