“Hi-Res” Lunacy

The hype surrounding hi-res music downloads in certain circles amounts to nothing but yet another scam designed to milk collectors for money they have already spent three times over … at least. Surprisingly enough, not only the “golden ears” are falling for this new money-making machine, many average consumers are as well, probably because they are hoping for better releases that they have not been and are not getting.

Mind you, I have – very, very selectively – gotten with the program already, and I have had one or two enlightening experiences. Still, just because, for example, the Van Halen high resolution files at 24/192 (finally) sound better than any of their material available digitally, does not mean that buying into other (actually rather damn expensive) downloads indiscriminately is the way to go.

Some thoughts:

  • Read this (https://xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html). It’s long but, from mostly a technical point of view, it sums up what the consensus in the circles I frequent seems to be.
  • It’s the mastering that makes the sound quality, not the resolution. Just because some downloads sound better, it more often than not isn’t attributable to the resolution used.
  • If you don’t have the equipment, you won’t hear a difference anyway. In fact, most people I know who rant about the superior quality of hi-res downloads aren’t even close to owning systems that could, perhaps, reveal the difference in any meaningful way.
  • Psychoacoustics are a bitch.
  • Read. Read. Read. Check reviews before you buy … anything.
  • Do not (never, ever) trust any download to be what you think it is/might be. Many download portals are taking advantage of unsuspecting customers by simply not revealing the source their downloads originate(d) from … and affixing a premium price tag to them

So, Just don’t.
Without …
Well, mostly … don’t.

Posted by Volkher Hofmann

Volkher Hofmann (deus62) has been blogging on and off since the 1990s and deus62.com is all that is left. He loves music, literature, drumming and, most of all, real life. He thinks the open web is much more important than social networks, closed-in ecosystems and other severely commercialized online endeavors.

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