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Hi-Res Audio, The Rise of HD in Audio

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Hi-Res Audio logo is the standardization created to help identify Hi-Res Audio capable devices

There was a time when a having an iPod or an MP3 player was the in-thing. Soon, during the rise of Smart Phone, it was slowly phased out by the market. During these time, a breed of the portable music player remains, the Portable Hi-Fi Player. Design for the music enthusiast, capable of reproducing audio at high fidelity.

Hi-Res Audio Player
Hi-Res Audio Player

Until recently, Hi-fi has always been the symbol of Hi-Resolution Audio. Home audio has to take up the name of Hi-Fi as an indication of the equipment are capable of pumping out sweet hi resolution audio quality.

(This article focuses on Computer platform only, we will write about another platform in future.)

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1. 1.Hi-Res What?

TL;DR: Audio reproduce at better quality compare to Audio CD (ie:higher than 44.1 kHz sample rate and/or higher than 16-bit linear bit depth)

Today, as sound technology continues to advance, there is a universal standardisation was adopted, the “Hi-Res Audio” standard. Enforced by Japan Audio Society, it standardised the equipment are capable of following as Hi-Res Audio capable:

Analogue process

  1. Microphone response performance: 40 kHz or above during recording
  2. Amplification performance: 40 kHz or above
  3. Speaker and headphone performance: 40 kHz or above

Digital process

  1. Recording format: Capability of recording using the 96kHz/24bit format or above
  2. I/O (Interface): Input/output interface with a performance of 96kHz/24bit or above
  3. Decoding: File playability of 96kHz/24bit or above (FLAC and WAV both required)
    (In case of self-recording equipment, FLAC or WAV file is required as minimum condition)
  4. Digital Signal Processing: DSP processing of 96kHz/24bit or above
  5. D/A conversion: Digital to analogue conversion processing of 96 kHz/24 bits or above

But having to carries the spec of above is not enough to be licensed the Hi-Res Audio logo, as we all know, the spec tells half of the story, the materials used in the equipment, can it be making a big difference in the sound quality produced by the equipment. Thus a listening test must be made by the Japanese Audio Society to verdict the equipment.

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