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HD Audio: Its Time Has Come
HD Audio
March 02, 2007 | by John Caldwell
Columnist John Caldwell says the HiFi benefits of high-definition audio are impossible to ignore.
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Posted by Paul Bigelow  on  03/05  at  12:38 PM

I would seem to me that with XM and Sirius combining services that they could immediately double the bandwidth (bitrate) of each channel if the total number of channels of both services is cut in half and make wise decisions on what programming channels to keep (keeping the number of choices the same).

To me, XM is unlistenable with headphones yet portable devices are marketed.  Sales of these devices might go through the roof if the bandwidth is doubled.  Ogg Vorbis is a very musical sounding compression technique and has reasonable “fidelity” at even the lower bit rates.

I would suggest that XM move away from AAC+ and use Ogg Vorbis.  I would gladly buy a new device using that compression format.

Posted by Dallas  on  03/06  at  07:18 AM

My experience with dozens of upper income cleints indicates that a majority of people listen to music as “background”. In that scenario,especially with when using   “in wall” speakers the quality difference between higher bit rate MP3 or the like and “Red Book” CDs is hard to notice. I will say that both Sirius and XM at their very low quality is easier to compare,but even then not one of my client’s have ever complained about sound quality.
It would seem that higher def music is destined for a “niche” of music lovers. I am in that category. I just loaded an Ipod with 300 of my cds using “lossless” compression . The majority however are getting great results with compressed Cds. Lots of the emotion still intact.

Posted by Steven  on  03/06  at  11:28 AM

I am a HUGE proponent of DVD Audio.  I am a 30 year disc jockey veteran in the Kansas City market.  The record labels have done a terrible job of promoting SACD and DVD Audio.  It’s terrific to see articles like this surface.  With DVD Audio and SACD nearly dead, Monster Cable is the only company trying to keep HD Audio alive.  Obviously, being a purist on-air disc jockey, I don’t have XM Satellite or Sirius radio.  Our industry (terrestrial radio) is waaaaay behind the curve in regards to HD Radio too.  In just the last 6 months, a promotional push has launched trying to educate the public about HD Radio.  But I don’t think the “cutesy” commercials for HD Radio actually let people know how what’s available.  I sincerely hope HD Audio’s pulse still beats and it doesn’t die.

Posted by DC  on  03/06  at  04:50 PM

My name is Carlton Plummer of TBI Audio Systems. I recently came across your ad regarding high definition audio. The reason for checking the Electronic House website in the first place was to look for a review we were expecting to read regarding our speakers and technology. I agree with you on quality of the content versus quality but actually I believe that the speaker is what ultimately provides the high definition.
We have a patented technology which is present our branded speakers and soon to be used (licensed) by many other companies which provided audio equipment. Even with current signals (radio, downloads, satellite, tv etc) this technology offers true high definition sound. Look for “HDSS”

Posted by John S  on  03/11  at  02:10 PM

MusicGiants is a great new service that was referenced by Mr. Caldwell is the above article.  I truely believe in MusicGiants, and HD Audio downloads.  So much so that I am an affiliate of the MusicGiants network.  I pay “x” amount or money each year to have MusicGiants host a website for me http://www.thmedia.musicgiants.com

In return, I receive a small portion of the profit from each song that is downloaded from the website.  The problem that I am having is finding the right people to push to the website.  Most consumers are still satisfied with sound quality of mp3 files.  HD Audio is definetly a niche market at this point and I predict that it won’t really hit the mainstream market for two more years.  Media Servers like the XBOX360 (yes it is a great media server) and Niveus’ new Summit line of Media Servers operate with Windows Media Center.  MusicGiants content is fully compatible with WMC and is really a great way to manage your HD Audio downloads.

As a custom installer, I try to sell a media server to all of my clients and then sign them up with a MusicGiants account.  Easier said than done at this point.  The majority of clients that have the money to afford a $3000 media server do not have the confidence to operate one.  Until the technology becomes more user friendly, and consumers are made aware of the advantages of losses music files, I think that HD Audio will only be enjoyed by a small number of fortunate consumers.

Posted by Anonymous  on  03/19  at  05:25 PM

You’re kidding, right?  The current generation doesn’t care about HD audio, and the upcoming generation thinks their PHONES are a logical place to store their music.  So, the population that can afford it generally doesn’t care and the next generation has already made it crystal clear that sound quality anywhere above iTunes’ default bit rate for AAC is irrelevant.

I and a few friends spent thousands to get DVD-A and SACD to sound great.  I even know a few others that have invested thusly.  Of my friends, I am one of two that listens to music, actually listens.  EVERYONE else considers music for background use only. Hell, my kids think music from their iPod that has been transcoded from 192kbps WMA to 168kbps AAC sounds totally fine.

I love DVD-A and SACD and will spend hundreds of dollars so I can listen to DolbyHD soundtracks.  But I’m “cracked” and “wasting money” as far as most everyone I know is concerned.

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