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Hi-Res Audio, The Rise of HD in Audio


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.)


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.