● Music - Playing High Resolution Files!
After several years of work behind the scenes, we are happy to announce that a new format has been introduced! High Resolution files, which you can obtain either via download or on DVD-R's, are now becoming increasingly available. There are a number of companies who are offering hardware or software—and the number is increasing as we speak.
These High Resolution files are usually available as either WAV files or FLAC files. (FLAC files are lossless compressed and can either be played as is or converted to WAV.) Essentially these files can be (and should be) bit-for-bit copies of the master recording. Although you should know that some high resolution files are down-converted, which while still very good, is not the best approach from a purist point of view. For instance there are some RR files that were recorded at 176.4/24, and then down-converted to 96/24 for quicker downloading which is definitely not the best way to listen to them—especially when you can easily obtain the bit-for-bit copies of the original 176.4/24 recording format!
The best example of these high resolution files are the HRx files from Reference Recordings which are the real deal, as they are in the aforementioned 176.4/24 bit-for-bit copies of Keith Johnson’s master recordings—and in addition are otherwise superb recordings in terms of sound quality. High Resolution files are playable on a properly specified Music Server—and are best heard through a high quality outboard DAC. However while most all Music Servers today can play lossy compressed or uncompressed CD format (44.1/16 WAV) files, as of mid-2009 only a very few can also play high resolution files. And even fewer can play high resolution files with the ultra-low jitter necessary to obtain the best sonic results. But that is in the process of changing as more models of music servers that can do all PCM resolutions—low resolution (lossy compressed), CD quality (44.1kHz, 16 bit), and high resolution (such as 88.2, 96, 176.4 and 192kHz / 24 bit)—will soon be available.
As mentioned, components that can play High Resolution can also play your CD's if you transfer your CD Collection to your Music Server. You can obtain WAV files by simply doing direct transfers from CD’s without doing any compression—which obviously has the benefit of being true CD quality. (Normally when companies make claims about something being of CD quality, it really means that it is not as good sounding as a CD but they are trying to convince you that it is!) Or you could use a lossless compression scheme like FLAC or AIFF— (not to be confused with AIFF-C, also known as AIFC, which is lossy compressed)—as in theory lossless compressed files don't lose any data as compared to any lossy compressed format.
However with hard disk space being so inexpensive these days and the capacities becoming so enormous, there really is little reason today to do any compression. The only exception being if you wish to have 10,000 songs on an iPod where (until portable capacity increases at some point in the future) you’ll have to make the tradeoff between quantity or quality. In the case where you have both a home music server and an iPod or MP-3 player however, what we recommend is that you assemble your library in uncompressed WAV files, and then do whatever compression you wish for your portable. That way for your home music server you won’t be reduced to playing lossy compressed files. If you don’t wish to do your own ripping and metadata culling, we do offer the service of ripping your CD collection in WAV while at the same time making a separate compressed duplicate library of your music for your portable player. One thing is for sure—with any sort of good quality playback system, whether it be heard through speakers or headphones—as compared to lossy compressed files, uncompressed or lossless compressed files definitely sound better. And all things being equal, as compared to (true) CD-quality files, High Resolution offers the best possible sound quality!
Here is a link for info on components that are capable of playing High Resolution files.
Music - Where to obtain High Resolution Files
Here are some links where you can obtain High Resolution files:
Reference Recordings HRx 176.4/24 files can be ordered either from us by phone or online:
HD Tracks 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, & 192 / 24 bit files:
Linn 192/24 files:
Linn 96/24 or 88.2/24 FLAC files:
NOTE: Linn also has high resolution surround files to download.
NOTE: You can download a few files gratis—try out the 192/24 FLAC stereo files and the 96/24 wav stereo files.
NOTE: 2L also has high resolution surround files to download.
Chesky Records has 192/24 files available on DVD-R:
Naim Label has 96/24 and 88.2/24 FLAC files available for download:
For a more complete listing click here
UPDATE: One of our clients told us that he has transferred his DVD-A (DVD-Audio) discs to his music server using some software called DVDAExplorer which is available here. Many DVD-A's are 96/24 and some are even 192/24. So here are some links to lists of DVD-A recordings that have been released, each with over 1500 DVD-A's for your perusal:
http://www.goodwinshighend.com/music/dvd-audio.htm (over 1500 titles)
http://www.goodwinshighend.com/music/dvd-audio_2.htm (over 700 titles)
http://dvd-a.info/ (over 1500 titles)
NOTE: High Resolution files are designed to be loaded onto a high resolution-capable computer or music server first in order to play them. The best way to play them is to have a high quality audio card like the Lynx AES16 installed—and then have that feed an outboard Digital-Analog converter like the Berkeley Audio Design Alpha DAC Series 2.
If you would like to
learn more you're welcome to call us for more information!
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