Article ID : 00286617 / Last Modified : 05/10/2023Print

What is High-Resolution audio?

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    High-Resolution Audio (Hi-Res) is an audio format that sounds great and allows you to pick up on the subtle details and nuances you'd hear in the recording studio.

    Unlike CDs and MP3 music formats, Hi-Res audio contains a higher sampling frequency and bitrate. The sampling frequency is the number of audio data points recorded per unit of time, and bitrate refers to the depth of that information. Hi-Res audio collects more data points and preserves greater depth in sound, giving it its edge over other music formats.

    We've optimized many of our products to work in conjunction with High-Res audio sources to emit concert-like sounds at home or on the go.

    • Headphones
    • Headphone Amplifiers
    • Audio Components
    • Home Theatre Systems
    • Speakers
    • Sound Bars
    • Car Audio
    • Wireless Speakers
    • Walkman
    • PCM Recorders

    How does High-Res audio compare to CDs and MP3s?

    It's a lot better! Hi-Res audio shines with its clear tone and deeper sound across all volume ranges, unlike CD or MP3 formats that often distort at higher volumes. Think about those rock songs that begin piercing your ears as you increase the volume.

    CD and MP3 are compressed audio formats with lower sampling frequencies and bitrates. Compressing audio diminishes sound data resulting in softer bass and weak mid and high-pitched sounds. You lose out on a song's subtleties, like the shaker's graze or the vocalist's quiet hum.

    Image showing sound waves within the same time frame. A, B, C is shown from left to right. B (CD) draws a rougher waveform than A (original sound). C (High-Resolution Audio) draws a waveform close to the A (original sound).
    • A: original analog recording
    • B: CD: 16 bit/44.1 kHz
    • C: High-Resolution Audio at 24 bit/96 kHz
    The graphs above illustrate the differences in sound wave frequency within the same time frame. High-Res audio produces many more sound waves when compared to a CD or analogue recording.

    Looking back, compressed audio like MP3 gained popularity due to the smaller file sizes enabling most audio players of the past to store more songs internally. Some may also remember the slow download speeds of the past, sometimes taking days to download music. MP3 audio formats drastically improved download time, given the smaller file sizes. However, this came at the expense of lower sound quality. Streaming apps eliminate all this by allowing you to listen to music over the internet or Wi-Fi, requiring no storage space, and playback is instant. Downloading a song is still possible, and space is less of a concern with smartphones and audio devices containing more storage space than their predecessors.

    Headphone sound technology is also vastly superior to what it was a few years ago, making high-quality audio more accessible to the general population. If that doesn't convince you, High-Res Audio's bitrate (9,216 kbps) is also around seven times higher than that of CDs (1,411 kbps) and almost 29 times higher than that of MP3s (320 kbps).

    As we've learnt, a higher bitrate equals greater depth in audio. Bass sounds pack greater punch, and mid and high-pitched sounds ring out freely. You suddenly feel much closer to the music, embarking on a musical journey the way the artist wants you to experience.

    Where can I download High-Resolution Audio?

    Several companies cater to audiophiles and music lovers by offering the latest high-resolution hits. You can browse the following music services to download high-quality music and hear songs the way the artist truly intended:

    • Tidal HiFi
    • Deezer
    • Spotify
    • Amazon Music HD
    • Apple Music