A revolution is happening in the world of Hi-Fi, one that combines technological innovation and better sound quality.
In an age when there is a computer in every home, we have grown accustomed to accessing music at the touch of a button. But, what about the quality of that music? Why should the sound suffer because of convenience?
The first true Multi-room Digital Audio product to market was Sonos, (which proudly we have been distributing in New Zealand for 5 years). Over this period we have seen a huge change in the way consumers and HiFi retailers approach their music and interaction with their music collections.
The days of Multi-CD changers are gone (regardless of what people tell you). As consumers we expect now to be able to browse and play our entire music collection from our chair - while having the ability to search and view by track, album, artist, genre etc.
While Sonos has always supported lossless audio (FLAC for example) most early digital audio adopters listened to MP3. It is one of the most popular audio compression and decompression (codec) format today because of its ability to put music into manageable files, thus making downloading over the Internet easy, well as portable music players like Apples iPod supporting it. However, being compressed it lost a huge amount of data leaving the sound rather 'soul-less'.
Any lossy data compression such as MP3, WMA or AAC is a step backwards, though it is possible to reduce the amount of data by about 33% without losing data by using lossless compression, such as FLAC and indeed Apple Lossless.
For a quarter of a century CD has offered uncompressed digital audio in stereo, 16-bit 44.1kHz sampling rate, but now we are moving into a new realm of digital music listening and streaming, known as Hi-Res (short for Hi Resolution).
In order to play & listen to these files you will need a media player/server (software) that is compatible with both the file format used (FLAC or WAV is the most common) and 88/24 or greater resolution files. In addition, you will also need a D/A (digital-to-analog converter) that supports 88/24 or greater audio.
Two examples of our DAC's are the
Next we need the audio files. Hi-Res audio downloads offer listeners the chance to break out from the constraints of the CD format set more than two decades ago, which defined two channel stereo sampled at 44.1kHz 16 bits/channel.
If you google Hi Res Audio download you will be pleasantly surprised with the number of sites that now offer these files. But be warned, because they are Hi-Res files they are large downloads - an example being a Rolling Stones Album I downloaded yesterday was just over 1Gb.
Mostly of course, Hi-Res, Low-Res, CD or Vinyl if you like it make time to sit down and enjoy it!