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September 2013
Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine
High Resolution Music
Never confuse the customer!
Article By Steven R. Rochlin


  When is high resolution music truly high resolution music? The now lowly 16-bit/44.1kHz CD was considered by some to be high resolution digital audio back in the 1970's. According to Wikipedia, "Sony first publicly demonstrated an optical digital audio disc in September 1976. In September 1978, the company demonstrated an optical digital audio disc with a 150 minute playing time, 44,056 Hz sampling rate, 16-bit linear resolution, and cross-interleaved error correction code — specifications similar to those later settled upon for the standard Compact Disc format in 1980". Many decades later we are finally seeing viable, standardized formats that include variants of DSD and 24 bit @ XYZ kHz. Personally, I am seeing this new evolution as Audio 3.0. First we had Audio Version 1.0 with radio, 78rpm, etc. Then we had Audio V2.0 with early digital, and now the latest Audio V3.0 generation hallmarks our longstanding effort to achieve ‘perfect sound forever'.

Those who read my June 2013 Memo to the Industry may recall the asking for labeling standards. This is incredibly important as the last thing the high-end audio industry should do is confuse the music lover. There have already been underground grumblings of when a so-called 'high resolution' music download truly is, or is not, honestly high resolution from the provided master source file to the final commercial release. For if we confuse, or do something worse by outright lying or obfuscate the truth, we may lose said customers forever. We need to have an attractive, clear, and concise labeling standard. In the early days of CD we had such labeling. For instance, an Analog recording with Analog mixing and of course digital mastering on Digital CD was AAD. With the proliferation of professional audio changing to all digital, we eventually had Digital recording and Digital mixing on the Digital CD (DDD). While this new labeling was not overly marketed at the time – back in the early 1980's – music lovers such as myself did pay attention to these labels.

Of course today virtually every studio is digital as are the multitude of mastering facilities worldwide. The final file itself is also digital. The old DDD labeling is obviously now outdated and thus a new type of way to alert music lovers worldwide is necessary. If we as an industry want to be clear and concise to music lovers, we had better find some true standard of what is ‘high-resolution digital'. Furthermore, those selling said music need to reach a standard in labeling so that their customers know what they are buying with confidence. As Wall Streeters know, confidence plays a huge part in the health of a marketplace. We should all be proud to move people from lackluster decades old lossy 320kbs mp3 technology to the new lossless audio file types.

As anyone in sales will tell you, once you confuse the customer and lose them, you may never get them back for a second chance. So what are we, the high-end audio industry, going to do about proper high resolution digital music download labeling?

PS: We here at Enjoy the Music.com could easily design such labeling and gave broad visual ideas within the Memo article, yet fully want to avoid any conflicts of interest, possible political backlash, etc... plus who will license for a fee (or free) use of said graphics? So... which high fidelity audio organization is going to step up to the plate? Just create the graphics and give them away for free to everyone would be great! If you're reading this and want to ‘donate' graphics, please read my Memo for a possible example, or come up with your own and e-mail them to me! We are waiting for you, dear. In the meantime, and as always, in the end what really matters is that you...


Enjoy the Music (and somewhere out there in the Stars a keen-eyed look-out spied a flickering light...),

Steven R. Rochlin































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