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[Discussion] High Resolution Audio : The Future Of Music!

2018-07-14 22:00:40
7759 87

WassUp, Mi Fans!

If you have interest in listening to digital music - whether it's playing CDs or streaming from different music apps on your smartphone - you will probably have heard of the term "high-resolution audio" (or "hi-res audio"). In the last few years, hi-res audio has slowly but surely hit the mainstream, thanks to the release of more products, streaming services, and even smartphones that support the hi-res standards. But why should you care about it? Well, if you want the best music experience possible, or at least better sound quality than you're currently used to, then I think that hi-res audio is worth investigating. So, Let's dive deeper to know this technology better!

What Is Hi-Res  Audio?

Unlike high-definition video, there’s no single universal standard for hi-res audio. The Digital Entertainment Group, Consumer Electronics Association, and The Recording Academy, together with record labels, have formally defined high-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.”

In simple words, hi-res audio tends to refer to music files that have a higher sampling frequency and/or bit depth than CD - which is specified at 16-bit/44.1kHz.

History Of Sound Quality:

  • Think for a moment about the evolution of video quality over the past couple of decades. First, we got the DVD, which was a vast improvement on VHS tapes in terms of picture quality.
  • Then HD came out, and we took another step forward. Then, just when people were starting to get used to Blu-ray discs and 1080p, along came Ultra HD/4K to remind us that we’re always evolving (don’t even get us started on 8K).
  • The sound quality of our music hasn’t followed such a clear-cut path forward. Rather, sound quality has actually trended down, taking a back seat to convenience.
  • in the late 1990s, sound quality took its biggest hit ever as the world fell in love with the convenience of the MP3, a digital music file that took up very little storage space, allowing hundreds – even thousands – of songs to live on a tiny, easy to carry the device.
  • Unfortunately, the way an MP3 works requires the removal of a lot of vital sound information. The result is a loss of bass, raspy treble, and fewer dynamics (swings in volume).

How Do You Measure Music Quality?

Digital music sound quality is commonly expressed by using two values: bit depth and sampling rate.

Sampling Rate: Sampling rate is the number of times a sample (a sonic picture, if you will) is taken of an audio signal per second. The more times you sample an audio signal, the more detail you end up with. Sampling an audio signal is like shooting a video of a fast-moving object. The higher the frame rate (sampling rate) the more depth and detail you can capture and the smoother the end product is going to be.

Bit depth: Bit depth refers to the number of bits of information taken in each sample. The biggest effect it has on sound is on the potential dynamic range – that’s the difference between how soft and how loud music can potentially sound.

Combined, a higher sampling rate with a higher bit-depth should result in more detail, subtlety, and nuance in music and an expanded frequency range (deeper bass, higher treble). In theory, all this translates into music that sounds more realistic, deep, and rich.

Different Kinds Of Music Files:

  • MP3 (not hi-res): Popular, lossy compressed format ensures small file size, but not the best sound quality. Convenient for storing music on smartphones and iPods, but doesn't support hi-res.
  • AAC (not hi-res): An alternative to MP3s, it's lossy and compressed, but sounds better. Used for iTunes downloads and Apple Music streaming (at 256kbps) and YouTube streaming.
  • WAV (hi-res): The standard format all CDs are encoded in. Great sound quality, but it's uncompressed, meaning huge file sizes (especially for hi-res files). It has poor metadata support (that is, album artwork, artist, and song title information).
  • AIFF (hi-res): Apple's alternative to WAV, with better metadata support. It is lossless and uncompressed (so big file sizes), but not massively popular.
  • FLAC (hi-res): This lossless compression format supports hi-res sample rates, takes up about half the space of WAV, and stores metadata. It's royalty-free and widely supported (apart from Apple products) and is considered the preferred format for downloading and storing hi-res albums.
  • ALAC (hi-res): Apple's own lossless compression format also does hi-res, stores metadata and takes up half the space of WAV. An iTunes- and iOS-friendly alternative to FLAC.
  • DSD (hi-res): The single-bit format used for Super Audio CDs. It comes in 2.8mHz, 5.6mHz, and 11.2mHz varieties, but isn't widely supported.
  • MQA (hi-res): A lossless compression format that packages hi-res files with more emphasis on the timing. Used for Tidal Masters hi-res streaming, but has limited support across products.

What Do You Need To Play It?
  • To get in the game, you’ll need two key pieces of hardware: A good pair of speakers or headphones, and a Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC).
  • The DAC (like the aforementioned Explorer²) is arguably the most important component involved in digital audio playback; for hi-res files, it’s essential. The DAC is a chip that reads all the 1s and 0s that comprise your digital audio files, converting them to analog audio signals that can be played back through a speaker.
  • So, Simply plug a decent digital-to-analog converter (DAC) in between your source and headphones for an instant sonic boost.

The Future Of Hi-Res Audio:
  • It can be difficult to imagine the appeal of hi-res audio without experiencing it—and even harder to imagine the places it can go. But, we can imagine a future where VR technology is merged with hi-res binaural recordings to make for immersive, transportive experiences.
  • We wish that the upcoming smartphones will come with internal DAC support as well. Soon, the music streaming apps in India will also provide hi-res audios which we can listen as most of us use the streaming apps only for listening to music.

So, friends, that was it about the Hi-Res Audio. Drop your comments below for the feedback or for any queries you have about the topic and I'll try my best to answer those. Stay tuned with the Tech Section of Mi community for more tech updates. See you soon with one more interesting tech topic. Till then, take care.

Sources: 1, 2, Google Images

Related Topics:
Hi-Res Audio vs. MP3 Audio - Battle of The Sound!!!
10 Common Audio Formats: Which One Should You Use?
Mi A1's High-quality Audio Technology Explained
2018-07-14 22:00:40
Favorites69 RateRate

Master Bunny

Chiru739 | from Redmi Note 3


Good information...
2018-07-14 22:53:37

MIUI Beta Tester

Asha@63. | from MIX


Great Information
2018-07-14 23:05:30

Master Bunny

silluu | from Redmi Note 5 Pro


2018-07-14 23:11:08

Rookie Bunny

ft ugdyhv | from app


it is good high resolution audio
2018-07-14 23:23:08

Master Bunny

Plysri | from Redmi Note 4


amazing  waiting for it
2018-07-14 23:26:19

Pro Bunny

alcamist | from app


nice info :)
2018-07-14 23:33:08
all is 1 and 1 is all

Master Bunny

BASS 1677669903 | from Redmi Note 4


good information
2018-07-14 23:47:24

Grandmaster Bunny

Solver13 | from Redmi Note 4


Awesome Thread!
2018-07-14 23:49:01

Pro Bunny

Manoj@kr | from Redmi 4


thanks again
2018-07-15 00:01:36

Semi Pro Bunny

R SARAVANAN | from Redmi Note 4


in-depth explanation, thanks
2018-07-15 00:09:52
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