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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Can Hi-Res Music Be In Our Future?

The reason why we must now endure the dynamically and sonically challenged MP3 is that it and competing formats were created during the days of limited storage and bandwidth. It was literally impossible to stream the 1.411kbs bandwidth of a CD quality song in 1999, and storage space was a major concern everywhere.

We live in a different world today with 10 to 20mbs bandwidth widespread in the US (and we lag behind many parts of the world at that), and you can buy a 2 terabyte drive for about 60 bucks, so we're now getting to the point where maybe we can lift those nasty sonic restrictions that come with compressed formats like MP3 and AAC. Maybe it's time to consider high-res downloads of at least 44.1kHz/16 bits as a real business.

In fact, this is almost happening today. Numerous services like HDTracks, iTrax, Linn Records and more offer full resolution 96kHz/24 bit records for download, and bands like Metallica have been offering their concerts in the lossless FLAC format for a few years now.

Now comes word that Atlantic Records CEO and Chairman Craig Kallman hosted an informal summit last week regarding the labels intentions of offering hi-res releases next year. Apparantly there's a lot of details still to be worked out so there was no details or official announcement, but Kallman did say that they would make an formal announcement at the 2012 CES show in Las Vegas in January.

Seems like good news, right? Now all we need is more good music.

You can read more about the "summit" in an article that Steve Guttenberg wrote for CNET.
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