As someone who loves full-fidelity audio, I long for a day when we return to an obsession with getting the best possible sound into our ears. This is part of the reason I re-embraced vinyl and why I have cautiously high hopes for Hi-Res Audio, which is being touted by a series of manufacturers like Technics and Sony.
But is Hi-Res Audio really all that? Or is it just another scam to get people to repurchase their music in a new format? Sound and Vision takes a look.
Q For the past few years I’ve been following the High-Res Audio “movement.” After reading several articles in Sound & Vision, I finally decided to order an AudioQuest DragonFly Black and rip a few of my favorite 90s rock/alternative CDs to FLAC format. I also downloaded the HDtracks sampler and purchased 96/24 versions of Pearl Jam’s No Code and Muse’s Drones. I couldn’t wait to “hear my music again for the first time.” Know what? It didn’t matter if I listened with my Apple EarPods, Bose SoundTrue headphones, or Logitech desktop speakers, I couldn’t hear any differences! What gives? Do I really have to spend $1000 on headphones to appreciate hi-res audio? Is the problem the distortion and effects in the music I typically listen to, or is High-Res Audio all hype? —Adam Head
A First off, let me say that I sympathize with your struggle to grasp the benefits of High-Res Audio (HRA). It’s not easy to hear differences. In some cases, there aren’t significant differences to be heard. Let me explain.