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HD Audio, the new standard?


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Hey everyone, I just read an article about HD Audio by Mark Waldrep in the "Fade Out" section for July's Recording Magazine. Just a small background on Mark, he runs a record label called AIX Records that does not use the cd medium, instead they offer music on dvd and HD downloads.

 

What I deduced from the article is that the standard for HD Audio is releasing the final form in 96khz/24bit. I'm not sure if this is the standard like the Redbook for cd's. Any thoughts on this? Is this going to be the new standard? Thanks for your thoughts and opinions.

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This may sound (with hindsight) like Uncle Bill's famous remark

about no-one ever needing more than 640k of RAM, but I don't

see 44100/16bit being displaced as the de facto delivery standard

for full-on audio in the forseeable future.

-

In fact, one can argue in support of file size/stream rate dictating

any new audio formats as compression algorithms become more

sophisticated, as opposed to encoding at higher bit depth and/or

sample rates. When the internet supplants (and it will) the sale of

physical objects and the devices for playing them, the current CD

standard will remain in place as a means to move full-quality files

about, but I don't envisage it as a viable commercial distribution

channel for music for very much longer.

-

C

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This may sound (with hindsight) like Uncle Bill's famous remark

about no-one ever needing more than 640k of RAM, but I don't

see 44100/16bit being displaced as the de facto delivery standard

for full-on audio in the forseeable future.

 

44100/16bit is soooooo 1982 man. The new standard is to wirelessly transmit a pirated captured YouTube video from a hacked iPhone into an iPod player through WiFi. That's how most people listen to music now, right? Once in a while you can even enjoy the sound of the cell phone trying to connect to the towers.... ooooooh..... the soothing sound.

 

 

:twisted:

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The new standard is to wirelessly transmit a pirated captured YouTube video from a hacked iPhone into an iPod player through WiFi. That's how most people listen to music now, right? Once in a while you can even enjoy the sound of the cell phone trying to connect to the towers.... ooooooh..... the soothing sound.

 

 

:twisted:

 

You kind of agree with me, then, David ?

 

:lol:

 

-

C

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the "Standard" for HD-Audio is still DVD-A (24/192 stereo or 24/96 5.1) but no one listens to it

 

the current generation of music fans are being mis-treated to mutilated quality of mp3, and even worse, actually paying for lossily compressed files over itunes and the likes, so they don't really know the meaning of quality.

 

As long as this continues, ther'll be no need to beat the quality of a CD.

 

I do however, predict, (and have been for a while now) that as internet speeds and hard-drive capacities increase, the quality of music sold over the internet will eventually get back to uncompressed 16/44.1, or even higher. May take a few years though

 

now i've completely gone off topic....

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Man, how long have we been putting up with mp3's? What i find with the young people im often recording is that they totally accept that as a final format...and the hideous sounds cell phones call 'true/real tones'.

 

I also doubt the HD Audio format will be something we hear anytime soon, but based on my dealings with young bands, it will be along time before mp3 goes away :(

 

xx

Cx

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44100/16bit is soooooo 1982 man. The new standard is to wirelessly transmit a pirated captured YouTube video from a hacked iPhone into an iPod player through WiFi. That's how most people listen to music now, right? Once in a while you can even enjoy the sound of the cell phone trying to connect to the towers.... ooooooh..... the soothing sound.

 

 

Too funny!

 

 

:lol: :lol:

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..... Man, how long have we been putting up with mp3's?

 

............ it will be along time before mp3 goes away :(

 

 

I quite sympathise with you, craig, in terms of the final quality

which most customers are prepared to accept, but this has become

the de facto standard for internet-delivered product and we just

have to live with that.

-

It sometimes makes me stop and think about the efforts we put into

mastering and polishing in the studio, when (like David says) a lot of

the punters are going to listen on a 5mm diameter peizo-transducer

or a pair of in-ears on a crowded subway train ....... !

-

It's very different when it comes to work for club play or FM radio,

of course, but the vast majority of mainstream pop is now listened to

on mp3 players and/or iPods.

 

-

C

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Content delivery versus price determines the tech specs for the consumer market, VHS, CD, MP3 all confirm that. Fact is, we have been on a downward spiral for a long time in terms of commercial music quality and until it becomes cheaper and faster to downloads *hundreds* of songs an hour in a high quality format, nothing is going to change.

 

HD video is an interesting case, because people are spending real money to consume a better format. It's not impossible that people might spend in the future to consume a better quality of audio.

 

We don't just need a new mindset towards audio quality, we also need a new pricing model and a new retail experience. I'm not going to pay music companies again for the same music on another format (I already did that up to a point with the vinyl to CD transition). I'm also no longer convinced by the idea that all music should be parity priced.

 

But, the shopping model also needs to change. It is still easier, faster and more pleasant for me to go to a local music store than to buy online. I also tend to end up with more new and unexpected purchases, which is a joy of buying music. Maybe that's because I actually like talking to people who sell music (or am lucky enough to have local retailers who employ knowledgeable staff).

 

As long as there is a one price fits all approach and music is sold like frozen chicken don't expect a higher quality format to flourish.

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Earlier this year, there was a quite amusing article written in Sound On Sound magazine, where the topic was how most music is delivered/enjoyed. It's an interesting, perhaps eye-opening read given that us musicians/engineers/producers etc. are very close to the game and are seemingly the only ones concerned with bit depth, sample rate and indeed sound quality.

 

Granted the article is tongue-in-cheek, but it can also serve as a vehicle for perspective as to why we're the only ones that care.

 

I thought it was funny, anyway. Here's the link: http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/mar08/articles/soundingoff_0308.htm

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Well, it doesn't matter what any of us think. It's manufacturing and distribution that will decide on any new format. Much like in the 80's when Sony and Philips decided to ram 44k 16bit cd's down our throats when all the digital audio production standards at the time were 48k.

 

It's the "gatekeeper" syndrome. But as labels and manufacturers play less and less of a role in how we purchase music, they lose their gatekeeper status. This means we could see all kinds of viable choices springing up. Especially if online distribution becomes the absolute norm. I could easily see boutique publishers offering 96k 24 bit stereo music at a premium price. If the market sucks it up, then it becomes a norm.

 

But be careful how you use the term "standard". In the production world we have standards. In the music retail world, there's only accepted practice based on the lowest common denominator of what the market will bear.

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  • 10 months later...
the "Standard" for HD-Audio is still DVD-A (24/192 stereo or 24/96 5.1) but no one listens to it

 

Well at least a few listen. And there has been an explosion of web sites dedicated to HD music in the last couple of years in spite of the current focus on ease of access and convienince over substance. For certain forms of music, HD is all I will buy anymore. It is quite honestly such a big an improvment over 44.1/16 that it has ruined most classical music on CDs for me. It's the same as it ever was: the unwashed masses have their standards and others (thankfully) are allowed theirs.

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Really now... who here is soooooooo dissatisfied with the quality of their 44.1K or 48K mixes that would make it worth the expen$e of re-tooling their studios to achieve a quality difference of just those few "nth's"? Count me out.

 

If you can't make your s#!+ sound good at 44.1K or 48K then you should hire an engineer who does. Throwing "new standards" (read: "money") at the problem won't make you a better engineer. You'll only think you are.

 

We don't need new standards. We need to stick with the ones we have, like 44.1K and 48K. If it ain't broke...

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If you can't make your s#!+ sound good at 44.1K or 48K then you should hire an engineer who does. Throwing "new standards" (read: "money") at the problem won't make you a better engineer. You'll only think you are.

 

Well, I'm more concerned with bit depth (16 vs. 24 than sample frequency). I apologize. I didn't mean to offend. It's also not my s#!+ that I'm worried about. I'm thinking of my collection of old, dead guy's music. I'm not foolish enough to say I'm only going to deliver my mixes in HD. However, as a consumer, I am going to demand it wherever it makes sense for music that I care deeply about.

 

Wayne

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Having re-read my post, let me stress that my comments were not directed at anyone in particular. Mine was just a general comment, written in a bit of a terse fashion, and I think that comes from being tired of updating/upgrading equipment (i.e., increased capital expenditures) for the purpose of chasing "standards" that won't necessarily reflect on an improvement to the music I make.
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the "Standard" for HD-Audio is still DVD-A (24/192 stereo or 24/96 5.1) but no one listens to it

 

One of the problems is devices and discs in DVD-A are few and far between. I have 4 or 5 dvd "audio" discs, but they aren't DVD-A, instead they are DVD-video, with 5.1 recording and just a black video signal.

 

the current generation of music fans are being mis-treated to mutilated quality of mp3, and even worse, actually paying for lossily compressed files over itunes and the likes, so they don't really know the meaning of quality.

 

As long as this continues, ther'll be no need to beat the quality of a CD.

 

This is the key point.

 

Geof

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