If High Resolution Audio ads were honest
May 24, 2020
This is a parody (and actually a criticism) of High Resolution Audio. The article and the title are inspired by the 'honest ads' series by "Cracked" YouTube channel. Here is a video about cell phone ads:
After watching this video I wondered what 'Mr. Roger' would say about High-Resolution Audio. Here comes a testimony of a fictional "insider" - what the promotions and the press don't tell you.
“ Let me ask you something. How important is it for you to hear the nuances of the original performance when you listen to music? If the answer is very, then let me introduce our new Ultra High-Resolution Audio Pocket Box. Listening to music on this Pocket Box allows you to hear the subtle details that you would hear in a recording studio.
So let's discover some details about High-Resolution Audio. Don't be afraid it won't hurt as you don't have to read 500 pages with technical stuff and we can skip the math as well. I have generated nice charts and bar diagrams for you. You can see the difference between MP3, CD and High-Res Audio, don't you? What a difference! Oh, engineers tell me that my representation about digital audio is false... Never mind! Here is my answer for them: they are not audiophiles! And if you still don't understand from my bar charts, then this analogy will get you to the point:
Well, High-Resolution Audio is not a new technology, but we advertise as a revolutionary breakthrough. We just increased two technical parameters of the CD, the sampling rate and the bit-depth, because we think that the more is better. These formats have been used in studios and mastering for many years and now they are available for everyone.
CD is oldschool, High-Resolution Audio is fresh. Do you want to listen to Morse code or Mozart? Because it makes a difference! Are you a fan of The Beatles, Led Zeppelin or Dave Brubeck? We distribute them in 24 bits and 96 kHz. Let's stop for a moment. We don't tell you that analog recording technology is limited to 14 bits, because 14 bits is the maximum that you can capture with analog tape machines. For example, Take Five! has a real resolution of 10 bits, Stairway To Heaven has 13 bits. The rest of the bits only code noise and raising the number of bits to 24 doesn't add anything to the original. Yes, we sell a large amount of recording noise with music (so we could call ourselves noise and music industry), but you can't hear the noise in the songs due to your auditory system. The music simply hides the noise from your ears - this is what we call masking. And we add 'fade ins' and 'fade outs' so that you don't hear the tape hiss at the beginning and at the end of the songs and we put a nice label on it. Modern digital recording technology is way better, but it still doesn't use the theoretical maximum dynamic range of 16 bits, which is 120 decibels. Well, sometimes we slightly change the recording masters so you can hear the difference between different formats. We like this trick, we like confusion, because confusion is a big part of our business.
And we offer music and players with insane sample rates: 96 kHz, 192 kHz or even 384 kHz. Don't care about that the top of the human hearing range is 20 kHz and when people reach the age of 40 they can't hear tones above 16 kHz. If you are older than 40 then 32 kHz sampling rate is just as good as the 44.1 kHz. There is another shocking truth: there is NO signal above 16 kHz in many music, such as in piano music or chamber music and many classical tunes could be released at 32 kHz without loss in quality. We don't want to inform you about these facts, because we can sell all music in 96k and later re-sell in 192k.
And don't forget to buy the DSD version of your favourite albums. They are mastered differently, so you can hear some difference. Again, this trick with the masters keep the magic alive as long as we want.
We have added lossless 24/96k streaming services to our Ultra High-Resolution Audio Pocket Box. Don't worry about that streaming in 24bit/96kHz is not environment friendly as it consumes much more energy than streaming with a lossy codec. MP3, AAC and Opus are the green technologies for streaming music. High resolution audio downloads are pointless, but high resolution audio streaming is silly: waste of bandwidth, memory and energy.
And I have still something important to say. If CD quality is enough for you, then probably you are not true audiophile. In fact we never say that but we've built the entire High End Audio on this logic.”
Written by: Csaba Horvath