Will Hi-Res Audio (HRA) be able to deliver full sonic reality? (exceed the Analog tape?) Is 384kHz/32bit sampling rate enough to deliver sonic reality? or maybe much higher sample rates are required? Maybe (and most likely) the entire recording to playback process must evolve?
In any case, one thing is very clear now: HRA, now officially coined by CES as acronym for Hi-Res Audio, is a significant step forward. Why? because:
- It is higher than CD-quality
- It is more convenient and flexible to use than CDs
- and, incremental improvements in audio recording and playback are now possible in much faster rate than ever before which is great news for everyone
When I visited The High-End Show in Newport Beach I clearly saw the paradigm shift: the change of Source and format in audio playback. Majority of exhibitors don’t use CD anymore!! What?! Don’t Audiophiles run CDs anymore? Well, because they now run Hi-Res Audio files from their MacBooks and change the songs on their audiophile-grade source players via their iPhones and iPads. Thus, a paradigm shift from CD to Hi-Res Audio file.
I think the Post-CD paradigm shift is now officially announced when industry heavy-wights like Sony launch Hi-Rez downloads & playback (see Stereophile). Or, when the Consumer Electronics Association, CES, announces ‘Expanded Support of High-Resolution Audio” (see CES press release). I read today via Audio stream and NPR that Analog tape recording still was superior even to DSD and high-resolution digital (better than CD). So the performance benchmark of Hi-Res Audio (HRA) should be to exceed the Analog tape recording in terms of Hi-Res quality and sonic Realism.
The rise of Hi-Res Audio should be great news for everyone: the goal is, ultimately, to experience full sonic reality whenever we want it. With other words: being totally unable to audibly distinguish between perceived sound in reality and its perceived reproduction (whether it is an e.g. offline playback or a live broadcast).