Hi-Res Audio

 
 

In the last few years there has been a push to make Hi-Res audio  titles more available to music fans. The Consumer Electronics Association, Digital Entertainment Group and the Recording Academy are all part of this effort.

This is a great development!

Hi-Res can reveal more depth, space and separation of instruments, “drawing you in” to the music more than standard resolution (i.e. CD or even worse, MP3 quality). The Hi-Res projects I’ve produced are more “3D” sounding than standard resolution audio. That has to do with the increased fidelity of Hi-Res and the fact that I don’t master Hi-Res as “loud” as I master CD and standard resolution audio. My Hi-Res has more dynamic range . It’s essentially what we are listening to when we are making the albums. The drums hit harder, the bass is deeper, the quiet bits are quieter, and the loud bits are louder! Hi-Res is capable of faithfully reproducing this increased dynamic range.

This is not to say that standard definition audio with less dynamic range is undesirable. An entire generation has grown up with that “in your face” sound of digital limiting that has been responsible for the “loudness wars”, which started in the ‘90‘s and really got going around the same time that portable digital music players came out. (If you really are interested in this, here’s a great in-depth article from Sound On Sound magazine). 

Artists have always strived to have their records “stand out” more that the competition.  On the radio, in a car, on earbuds, out of your mobile phone speakers or built-in computer speakers, digitally limited music can sound more “present” than music with more dynamic range. And that’s great. We live in a noisy world. If you listen to music in that noisy world, on a low powered system like a computer or phone, then standard definition is the way to go.

If, on the other hand, you have the luxury of sitting down, focusing on an album and listening to it on a powerful system, then (in my very humble opinion) Hi-Res is the way to go. It’s the same resolution and dynamic range we were listening to when we made it and mixed it. For the first time, Hi-Res can let you hear what we were listening to in the control room. So, today you have a choice: “Extra Crispy” for your phone or “Original Recipe” for your home!

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Since I’m so passionate about it, I’ve been lucky enough to be asked to speak on several panels about Hi-Res Audio.

In September 2014 I started out at the New York Audio Show  where I was on a panel titled “High Fidelity, First Class; Why high resolution audio keeps on growing” with HD Tracks founder David Chesky and moderated by Hi Res Audio Central Chief Content Officer Mike Mettler. 

In October I went to the the AES show in Los Angeles. I was on the DEG Hi-Res Audio Production Workshop panel moderated by Leslie Ann Jones with Chuck Ainlay, Bob Clearmountain and John Burk. We all have a passion for Hi-Res. It’s a really exciting time as we realize a long held dream of having everyone experience the music the way we do in the studio.

in November 2014 I was at the  SF Hi Tech Music Summit in San Francisco. I participated in the “Quality Sound Matters” panel with Maureen Droney, Mark Ruxin and Randy Leasure. Piper Payne moderated. A great conference, and so interesting to see how the hi-tech world is changing the music business. (The audio transcript is on SoundCloud. )

I went to the  CES in Las Vegas in January 2015. I was on the Digital Entertainment Group’s “Meet The Hi-Res Music Creators” panel, with Rob Friedrich, Leslie Ann Jones and Mark Waldrep, and moderated by Maureen Droney. Check out the article in Stereophile. We “opened” for Neil Young and his Pono press announcement.

In March 2015 we did another “Meet The Hi-Res Music Creators” panel for a select group of music industry folks at Capitol Studios in Hollywood. Maureen Droney moderated again and I was on the panel with Bruce Botnik (Pono) Eric Boulanger (The Mastering Lab) and John Jackson (Sony). This was a great event (and I even got to meet music business legend Jac Holzman!)

In April 2015 the Tom Petty catalog was released in Hi Res! Check out Tom’s video sharing his thoughts. This format reveals more fidelity than any other –exactly what we’re hearing when we’re producing the music in the studio. If you’re a fan, check out some of the albums. On a good system you’ll hear detail you've never heard before. 

 

Capitol Studios Tape Vault