Home | Audio Reviews | Audio Shows | Partner Mags | News     


Enjoy the Music.com
Australian Hi-Fi Magazine
November / December 2016
In This Issue...
Why Hi-Res Is Not 'Hi-Res'
Editorial By Greg Borrowman


Australian Hi-Fi Magazine November / December 2016


  I have never been quite sure about what goes on in a recording studio, and that's despite the fact that I've been in quite a few, on both sides of the desk. My first experience in a studio was as a musician and, quite frankly, I didn't really care what the recording engineer or the producer did with our band's sound, we'd finally made it into a studio and were making an album. When I finally heard the result, I was surprised only because I'd never heard what we sounded like other than at live gigs, where I often couldn't hear very much at all except what I was being fed through the foldback monitors. I recall I was perfectly happy with the resulting sound, but really had no idea whether it accurately reflected what we sounded like to someone in the audience at one of our gigs. I was really only interested in the 'musicianship' of the performance itself, not the 'sound' of that performance.

My next studio experience was on the other side of the desk and this time I did have an idea of the type of sound I wanted and selected and placed the microphones, instrument pick-ups and so on with the same care I applied to all the other components in the recording chain. Alas, these were the days before the arrival of the compact disc, and when it came time to cut the LP, I was told by the cutting engineer that my two-channel master was 'unusable' because there was too much non-correlated material in the left and right channels — apparently an impossible task for any cutter-head, with the result that my multi-track tape was spirited away to a 'real' engineer for re-mixing to stereo. (His two-channel remix didn't sound anywhere near as good as mine, but at least it could be cut!)



I was reminded of the mystery of studio sound after receiving a press release from a company that makes equipment for use in recording studios. Their equipment apparently 'allows effortless shaping and improvement of your audio signals, giving high-end detail and polish, and low-end punch and depth,' and will reportedly allow you to 'compress', 'de-ess', 'gate', 'level' and 'peak-limit' the audio signal, as well as 'add subtle analogue colour.'  Music producer Nick Sansono (Sonic Youth, Public Enemy) told The New Yorker that he mixes to: 'provide music that will translate well within the limitations of earbuds and small Bluetooth speakers' and that as a result he deliberately limits dynamic range and frequency bandwidth. 'Less dynamics essentially makes listeners perceive the song's sound as loud and present,' he is reported as saying.

All of which means that there's a lot of jiggery-pokery going on with the audio signal before it reaches your loudspeakers, even if you're paying a premium for so-called 'high-res' files. And in a sombre note for fans of DSD, all this jiggery-pokery is taking place in the PCM domain, because it's not possible to do this with DSD. So the huge majority of so-called 'pure DSD' recordings currently available have been, at some time in their life, PCM. I am told that a handful — literally! — of DSD recordings have been made that were recorded in DSD and kept in this format (so no editing, no volume adjustments, no splicing, nada...) but it's literally a handful. So basically, our so-called 'hi-res' music has been 'compressed', 'de-essed', 'gated', 'peak limited', and had its dynamics reduced before we even get it.

So maybe it's not hi-fi equipment itself that needs to be improved, but the recording process itself.


--- Greg Borrowman



Subscribe To Australian Hi-Fi Magazine
Get this issue of Australian Hi-Fi Magazine by clicking here.














































Quick Links

Audiophile Review Magazine
High-End Audio Equipment Reviews


Equipment Review Archives
Turntables, Cartridges, Etc
Digital Source
Do It Yourself (DIY)
Cables, Wires, Etc
Loudspeakers/ Monitors
Headphones, IEMs, Tweaks, Etc
Ultra High-End Audio Reviews


Enjoy the Music.TV


Editorials By Tom Lyle
Viewpoint By Roger Skoff
Viewpoint By Steven R. Rochlin
Various Think Pieces
Manufacturer Articles

Show Reports
Salon Audio Montréal Audiofest 2023
Florida Intl. Audio Expo 2023
Capital Audiofest Show 2022
KL International AV Show 2022
Toronto Audiofest Show 2022
CanJam SoCal 2022 Show Report
Pacific Audio Fest 2022 Report
T.H.E. Show 2022 Report
HIGH END Munich 2022
AXPONA 2022 Show Report
CanJam Singapore 2022 Report
Click here for previous shows.


Audiophile Contests
Cool Free Stuff For You
Tweaks For Your System
Vinyl Logos For LP Lovers
Lust Pages Visual Beauty


Resources & Information
Music Definitions
Hi-Fi Definitions


Daily Industry News

High-End Audio News & Information


Partner Print Magazines
Australian Hi-Fi Magazine
hi-fi+ Magazine
HiFi Media
Sound Practices
The Absolute Sound
VALVE Magazine


For The Press & Industry
About Us
Press Releases
Official Site Graphics


Contests & Our Mailing List

Our free newsletter for monthly updates & enter our contests!




Home   |   Industry News   |   Equipment Reviews   |   Press Releases   |   About Us   |   Contact Us


All contents copyright©  1995 - 2023  HighEndAudio.com and Enjoy the Music.com®
May not be copied or reproduced without permission.  All rights reserved.