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What is the mainstream listener is being told about HD audio?

What is the mainstream listener is being told about HD audio?

Not all of my friends listen to HD audio. It's not a requirement of my friendship. The good news is that many want to know more. So, if you're not familiar with the many forums or publications that focus on HD listening you might not even be knowledgeable to search for the word "audiophile". So today, I decided to put in a few arbitrary words to see what comes up when I went to see what was offered to those new to HD audio.

I ran across this article in the Business Insider published in April 2020. Posted at the top of the article were these four statements in bold. It told me that there is still a lot of confusion about what HD audio is (and don't even try to discuss DSD yet). Here are the statements.

1) HD audio, or high-definition audio, enables streaming music to sound more like an original studio recording.

2) While the specifications for HD audio can vary, the term is generally used to refer to digital music formats that offer at least CD-quality mastering.

3) Amazon Music, Tidal, and Qobuz all offer HD audio options via streaming.

4) To truly take advantage of the added benefits of HD audio, you'll need gear that can support the higher quality sound.

Those of us involved with offering a more quality listening experience have been excited about Amazon's entry into the world of HD audio. What it seems to mean is that in September every year, they make a big announcement of HD audio that is mostly directed to sell more HD gear... not the music.

There is a lot of confusion about what defines HD quality music. The Recording Academy (Grammy organization) made a determination that 48 24 was the bottomline for HD audio entry. At one time, Neil Young has said that anything at CD Quality should be considered HD (44.1 and 16 bit). Some of the streaming services feel that anything that is 24bit is HD.

What I'm finding is that so much modern music is being produced in home studios, with samples of samples (pieces of already recorded music) that much of new music sounds terrible on any system but an old TV. Most of the production techniques being sold to young producers is about plug ins and sound effects that crush the sound for a strange alteration of a sound.

What happened to learning to play an instrument? Or learning how to place a microphone in the right place? Or getting a clean recording chain? If what matters is what the sampling and bit rate is to achieve HD we might lose everything we've achieved in sound over that last 50 years.

What can you do to keep the quality high? Go to your favorite trusted HD music site and purchase a download to help keep those companies alive.