By Mark Waldrep
As a musician, audio engineer, producer of high-resolution recordings, audiophile, blogger (www.realHD-Audio.com) and professor of audio recording, my life has been dominated by music and sound for a very long time. I’ve been working in the field for more than 40 years and have experience with a wide variety of formats including analog tape, vinyl LPs, cassettes, CDs, minidisc, DVD-A/V, Blu-ray and soundfiles…as an engineer AND consumer.
Sound recording has been around for more than 100 years. During that period, the fidelity of each succeeding format has improved. From the first Edison cylinders and Emil Berliner’s flat discs to today’s high-resolution formats, music consumers have benefited from the inevitable march of technology. With the possible exception of the MP3 format, listening to recorded music has never been better than it is today…and you don’t have to be a well-heeled audiophile to appreciate it.
Creating and distributing quality recorded sound is a collaborative effort involving a variety of talented individuals and state-of-the-art technologies. The fidelity potential of today’s equipment and processes is far greater than at any time in the past…but only if producers and engineers make conscious choices to deliver recordings full of dynamics, extended frequency response and maybe even surround mixes. Believe me you’ll know quality sound when you hear it (there are free downloadable samples from my own AIX Records catalog at the realHD-Audio.com site).
Consumer demand for high quality sound is only beginning. Younger listeners are transitioning from ear buds and to better quality personal headphone listening. They’re finding that the richness and increased fidelity makes the investment in better gear worthwhile. The personalization of music also means that older listeners can get refreshed versions of their “classic” favorites in high-resolution for delivery through a new generation of better sounding devices…for the home, in their cars and from the pocket.
Quality sound brings you closer to the music regardless of the type of music that you enjoy. If things sound more natural and lifelike, you’ll want to listen more and won’t experience the sonic fatigue that sometimes accompanies over processed, heavily compressed music playback.
Better quality sound is out there. There’s new gear on which to enjoy it and lots of music content…both classic and new…to spin, download or stream. Check it out and pass it on.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a casual listener or a music enthusiast, your listening experience is a pivotal moment where your expectations are preset in that you will experience not only the symbolism of your favorite artist, but more importantly, the sonic nuances in the musical composition as the respective artist had intended.
For most of us, the experience has been less than fulfilling. Depending on your music platform, many of the vivid nuances are omitted due to the variances in digital formats that sacrifice audio spectrum for compression space and portability.
For some, including myself, there are fond memories of vinyl tracks being delivered though their favorite audio hardware. All of that changed as tapes, CDs and eventually digital downloads provided flexibility and access to our favorite music collections coupled with the choice of specific tracks streaming wirelessly across multiple devices and throughout our cars, homes and related platforms.
Welcome to the new world order – Hi-Resolution Audio has the promise to deliver music the way it was intended while leveraging today’s requirement for access, flexibility and portability.
Our favorite tracks (and “albums”) are now being re-mastered to allow the full spectrum of music fidelity to once again be part of the listening experience.
If you’re a Springsteen fan like me, just listen to some of your favorite tracks that have been re-mastered by Jon Landau; obviously in cooperation with the “Boss” himself. You’ll remember the first time you heard “Born to Run” on vinyl and you’ll hear segments of “Wrecking Ball” that you never experienced with any download prior to Hi-Res audio.
You can support your desire for the complete experience by downloading the iAudiogate Hi-Resolution audio player for your iPhone or similar APPs designed for Android phones.
Will there be new hardware? Of course!
There are numerous hardware components now available to support Hi-Res audio playback. It will holiday gift season soon, so add one to your wish list!
Remember, music is a personal experience whereby a connection is made between the artist’s message and the user’s personal life and related experience. Let’s take this opportunity to make music delivery be the highest quality experience we can find; regardless of our environment.
By Frank J. Parrotto, COO, Matrix Advisors, LLC