Neil Young Fights For High Resolution Digital

So, here’s the deal… Young is a bit misinformed. While I agree totally with his point (OCCUPY AUDIO!), his idea of what the digital full-resolution equivalent requires is wrong. 24 bit/88.2kHz audio may as well be 100% with 24/44.1kHz being marginally lower (99% maybe). All anything above 44.1kHz gets you is double the file size for a little low pass filter noise shifting out of the audible range on lower end systems that don’t themselves upsample before filtering. You can have high resolution digital today with a FLAC or ALAC 24bit files. And it will play on EXISTING iPhones/iPods/etc (at least the 44.1kHz ALAC will). What needs to happen is simply that the high res digital formats need to be made available to purchase. No new players are needed (though bigger harddrives would be nice). The file size of ALAC is only about 8 times that of a iTunes download. And, BTW, Bandcamp sites can already offer this.

But that aside… hell yes. And you don’t need to be an audio geek with a expensive system to get a full picture of high res audio. An iPhone with a decent set of open-back headphones and inexpensive outboard amp will do wonders. If you care about music, you should demand it. And while your at it, demand that the 24bit versions retain the full dynamic range — in other words aren’t limited and compressed to death from an audio (not data) standpoint.

This is my favorite audio analogy:
High-res 24bit file/vinyl == Hardcover book.
Heavily limited “Loud” CD/16bit lossless file == Paperback.
MP3/AAC/any other lossy format == Cliffs notes.

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