What Is High-Res Audio?

High-res audio can change your listening experience. Instead of background noise, all of a sudden music becomes an event that captivates your attention.

hi-res audio

When music began to transition to digital files, a large percentage of the data was lost in translation. Though you may feel content with the quality of music you listen to, you likely won’t feel the same once you’ve experienced a perfectly engineered high-res audio system.

Digital Music Compression

Decades ago, vinyl records were the primary way to listen to music. Over time, formats shifted, from eight-track tapes to CDs to mp3 files. While the focus was on convenience, most listeners didn’t realize they were paying a price when it came to listening quality.

In order to make a digital music file small enough for playback, it must be compressed. There are two ways this can happen: lossless or lossy compression. Whereas lossless compression enables the compressed portions of the file to be restored later, lossy compression eliminates parts of the file for good. When you play back lossy files, there is a significant drop in quality.

Definition of High-Res Audio

High-res audio is officially defined as sound quality that is equal to or better than the quality of a CD. A CD contains lossless files with a 16-bit rate delivering 1,411 kilobits per second (kbps).

On the other end of the spectrum, an mp3 file that you may download from iTunes typically has a bit rate of 256 kbps. High-res audio will deliver at least CD quality, but likely much better, with a 24-bit rate, delivering 4,608 kbps.

So while the advantage of mp3 downloads is that you can fit over 10,000 albums on a one-terabyte hard drive compared to only 630 albums of 24-bit, high-res audio, higher-quality files deliver a superior listening experience closer to what the musicians, audio engineers and producers intend.

For the Mobile Audiophile

Even if you download high-quality audio tracks, without the right playback system, it won’t enhance your listening experience the way you expect.

Take visual content as an example: If you download 4K video content only to watch it on a 1080p TV, you’re not getting the full effect of the 4K quality. On the other hand, watching 1080p video on a 4K monitor isn’t going to magically transform the 1080p content to 4K quality. You need both high-quality files and high-quality playback equipment.

The same can be said for your audio system. If your car’s head unit and speakers aren’t specifically designed for high-res playback, your audiophile ears won’t be happy.

At Laketown Speed and Sound, you get professional assistance in your quest for a high-res audio sound system for your vehicle. Browse a wide selection of the best speakers, head units and amplifiers, and let the knowledgeable technicians piece together a specialized system for you designed to deliver the ultimate music experience.