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With the increased demand for ultra high definition televisions, consumers now expect HD content to match with it. Whether you are streaming 4K videos from Netflix or searching for Blu-Ray version of old films, visual quality matters a lot and the audio quality shouldn’t be far behind either.
Recent years have seen a lot of development for audiophiles and companies like Sony, Audio Technica and Tidal are leading from the front.
The hi-res audio format not only can reveal some new details in the audio but can also highlight the nuances which can provide you extraordinary listening experience.
But you need to have top-notch gear for it and the files that you are running need to be of high quality too.
Let’s find out what’s all the hype about this hi-res audio and how much of it is actually worth considering!
What is this Hi-Res Audio?
Hi-Res Audio or HRA is a no-loss audio format and it is capable to reproduce full-range sound directly from the recording. This sound is mastered right from the music resources that have quality better than the CD. This means that HRA can almost fully replicate the quality that the musicians were working on in the studio during the recording.
As we have mentioned above, HRA has gained plenty of momentum in recent times because of the demand for high-quality content. But that doesn’t mean it is new in this world. HRA has been around for more than a decade now.
And with the passage of time new consumers are jumping on the bandwagon to fork out some cash in order to enjoy the privilege of listening to top-quality tunes on the go and at home. However, HRA is more easily accessible now than it was in the past.
The growth has been slow primarily because of the two reasons! One, the Hi-Res gear is expensive and two, these Hi-Res files can take up a lot of space on your device.
High Fidelity (Hi-Fi)
According to the enthusiasts of home audio and audiophiles, hi-fi or high fidelity means the recreation of high-quality sound. The sound quality is high in comparison with the cheaper audio equipment. These high fidelity recordings don’t have distortion or audible background noise and have a flat response to frequency within the hearing range of humans.
Does it really make a difference?
To understand the difference that these HRA files make, you need to dig down deep into facts and numbers. The bit rate of the best quality MP3 track is 320 kbps. On the other hand, the CD-quality has 1411 kbps while 192 kHz/24-bit format transfers at 9216 kbps. This is the rate at which the HRA file transfers data.
You will notice that there is a good deal of bit depth in the dynamic range of HRA. For this reason, you are able to enjoy better sound range from the recording. It will allow you to listen to different frequencies and nuances from a recording.
For instance, you are looking outside your window through a smeared glass. The visions won’t be that clear and this can represent your MP3 file version.
Now clean your glass and you will be able to see a lot clearer version of what you were looking through the smeared glass. This is like a CD-quality version. Now open the window and enjoy the scene directly. Your eyes will be able to pick up everything, even the minute details that went unnoticed the first time around. That’s HRA version for you!
Benefits of high-resolution audio
When you compress audio files, they lose their quality. For example, the audio with CD quality has a little depth of encoding with 16-bits with a sample rate of 44.1 kHz.
The digital file formats like AAC and MP3 compress the files down a lot further than that. These formats have pretty good sound output but Hi-Res can encode up to 24-bits and with 96 kHz. This increases the clarity level significantly and you will be able to listen to some details that weren’t there previously.
This Hi-Res audio also offers wider dynamic range and a much better frequency response. This means that the HRA is able to recreate a sound that is close to reality and as it was intended by the sound engineers and musicians.
Get HRA Certified headphones from UiiSii
The C8 from UiiSii features USB Type-C. It will provide you with high-fidelity music for long hours with no discomfort. Its Dual Dynamic driver doubles the power which will awaken new energy in your music.
The lightning connector of these headphones ensures high-resolution transmission and it is designed to work with all Apple devices. Get ready for a tangle-free high-quality sound that you have always craved for.
The outlook of the BA-T9 takes inspiration from an aircraft turbine. The pair can take care of low, mid-range and high frequency effectively and provides you with a sound quality that is second to none.
The sophisticated design of these headphones is very efficient in reducing any passive noise. These headphones can broaden the sound field and enhance your music emotion.
The DT800 headphones have eight speakers that can produce a quadruple sound effect. With these headphones the high frequency is clear and the bass is more powerful. Just the way you like it!
Featuring a 3.5mm jack, these dual-driver headphones can isolate sound for audio that is immersive and has deep bass. The vocal reproduction with these headphones will be life-like.
These are the headphones for your active life. With the tri-band equalization, the sound you will listen will be a lot more natural. Apart from that, the high pitched audio will be more refined with this pair.
Now you can focus on all the tiny details with the help of the metal cavity for sound in these headphones. All nuances will come alive and you will be able to experience your favorite tracks with a new perspective.
Get WH-1000XM3 Hi-Res headphones from Sony
The WH-1000XM3 headphones from Sony are another one of the best options if you are looking for a wireless over-the-ear model and support AptX headphones. These feature HD noise cancellation with NFC and Bluetooth.
What are the common file types of hi-res audio?
There are six different types of hi-res audio file formats. These are listed as follows:
1. DSD (DFF)
The DSD (DFF) hi-res file format is used quite frequently with professional equipment. Most of the professional musicians and sound engineers use this file format to create CDs with super audio.
2. DSD (DSF)
This is a more PC friendly HRA file format. Music creators use this format to work with their music using computers.
The wav file format was developed specifically for the use of audio files in Microsoft Windows operating systems.
Just like the wav file format for Windows, this format was developed to run in Macintosh computers.
FLAC hi-res file format enables lossless compression. This is important to save a lot of hard drive space without compromising on the audio quality. It is a suitable file format for Windows OS.
As FLAC is suitable for Windows, the ALAC is best for Apple. The purpose, however, remains the same and that is to ensure lossless compression without compromising on the audio quality.
How can I download hi-res audio?
With the growing demand of HRA format, downloading or streaming this type of media is easier than ever. However, you do need to pay an additional cost to get access to these files as compared to the standard audio formats. But the extra price is worth it because the quality of an HRA format is astounding.
Now the question is where you can get these files. Well, there are some options that you can explore at present, but the numbers are increasing pretty rapidly.
We would highly recommend Tidal that is a service for music streaming. It is the best option for any audiophile. But if you are an HRA penchant then you will have to subscribe to Hi-Fi tier of Tidal Masters. This service will provide you access to over 30,000 HD videos and Hi-Res tracks.
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This is the place where you can find some of the best collection of DSD audio. Acoustic Sounds have more than 25 years of experience and have one of the largest collections of Hi-Res music.
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HDtracks is also quite popular options for you to consider particularly if you are looking for different file formats. Some of the sample rates available here reach up to 352 kHz/24-bit.
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This is the place where you can only find the Hi-Res file formats and nothing else. ProStudio receives these files directly from the labels, which goes to show the level of quality that we are talking about here.
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This is a service that specializes in Hi-Fi sound and high definition videos that feature surround sound. iTrax only has the files that musicians have created with the help of HD digital production.
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Difference between Hi-Res and Hi-Fi audio
Hi-Res and Hi-Fi might seem synonyms but there is a slight difference between these two audio types. They might represent the same thing but they do have differing definitions.
As per the definition from Consumer Electronics Association, HRA particularly deals with lossless audio capable to recreate the same quality of sound with a full range from the recordings that are better than CD-quality sources of music.
Therefore, the implication is that an HRA file will have a better sound as compared to the same track that has been released on CD.
The reason behind that is HRA files have significantly better sampling frequency as well as the encoding of the bit rate as compared to CD files that the streaming services have.
On the other hand, Hi-Fi has been frequently used to express the music and audio files that are recorded as well as played in stereo.
Hi-Res files can produce a sound quality that is more analog-like. In simple words, this quality is free of any audible limitations that come in CD-quality files.
So in terms of practical implications, there is no difference between the two audios. They both sound the same and exceptional but HRA is slightly better in terms of background noise cancellation.
We would like to mention that hi-res audio is the best option for all the audiophiles. The regular high-quality audio is not good enough for you if you are looking to experience and listen to all the nuances that a track has.
Your music will sound a lot better and you will be able to get rid of all the background noise – the music, just the way it was meant to be.
However, you need to have the right gear at your disposal to enjoy the privilege of listening to HRA format. These files are pretty large and you will need a good chunk of extra space in your devices. Apart from that your regular speakers and equipment cannot provide you with the results that you crave for when it comes to listening.
But once it’s all set up appropriately, you are in for a listening experience larger than life. Every music instruments seem to come alive and all the frequencies become audible.