High resolution audio: is it worth it or is it bullshit?

Some companies have encouraged the adoption of high-resolution audio since last year, including Sony and Pioneer. But what does this mean in practice and, more importantly, is it worth investing money in the concept?

If in the video world the terms are well defined (HD: 1366×766 pixels, Full HD: 1920×1080 and 4K: 3840×2160), in the audio world there is no standard measure that is defined as “high resolution”.

The CDs, released in 1982, are 16 bits deep (that is, they measure sound with 65535 levels of precision) and a sampling rate of 44.1 Khz (that is, the analog signal is converted to digital, creating 44, 1000 data points per second turned into analog again when touched).

What Sony and other companies want to do is popularize digital music formats that have more storage capacity, with at least 24 bits of depth and a 96 Khz sample rate. But does it make a difference in practice?

At first glance, no. Although the CD has lost popularity for digital archives, its quality is still close to the human limits of hearing, even though it was created more than 30 years ago.

In addition, the equipment where the sound is played is usually the weakest link in the chain, according to Bernard Grill, one of the creators of the MP3 and AAC formats. The format of the room where you listen to the music, in addition to the quality of the speakers or headphones, influence much more the sound quality than a file of higher quality than a CD.

In short: if you listen to digital music, concentrate on listening to it directly from the CD (or create .FLAC files from it) and invest your money in good accessories: speakers, receiver and headphones. So far, the best files on the CD have slightly improved quality that does not justify them.

Via: Wall Street Journal

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