Formal Definition for Hi-Res Audio – The CEA, DEG, Recording Academy and major record labels have reached an agreement on the definition of High Resolution Audio, in partnership with Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group—the remaining three major music labels. This offers a unified approach to offering digital music services a variety of information concerning the growing numbers of hi-res music titles being distributed today. It is intended to provide more clarity about HRA for consumers. They defined hi-res audio as “lossless audio that is capable of reproducing the full range of sound from recordings that have been mastered from better-then-CD quality music sources.” The four categories of Master Quality Recording are now considered to be:MQ-P – From a PCM master source 48K/20-bit or higher (typically 96/24 or 192/24)
MQ-A – From an analog master source (usually analog tape)
MQ-C – From a CD master source (44.1K/16-bit)
MQ-D – From a DSD/DSF master source (typically 2.8 or 5.6 MHz – Double DSD)
So, in other words, anything “better” than 44.1/16 CD-quality is now automatically considered “hi-res.” I don’t think anyone is doing 20-bit anymore; it’s all 24, 32 or 64. 24-bit is the primary enhancement of sonic quality.
Amazon Adds Ad-Free Music Streaming – Free Amazon Prime music-streaming service is both free and ad-free to subscribers to their $99 a year subscription-based Prime shipping service. It’s available as an auto magic over-the-air update and on iOS and Android devices with a download. It is also available via PrimeMusic.com Amazon Prime members already get two-day shipping on more than 20 million items, unlimited steaming over over 40,000 movies and TV shows thru Prime Instant Video, and access to more than 500,000 books to borrow for free with Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. Users choose the songs or albums they want to dream, create their own playlist, or stream one of the hundreds of Prime Playlists programmed by experts. They also download songs from catalog to mobile devices for offline playback. The tens of thousands of albums are from top artists and independents, and users can mix Prime songs with those in their personal musical collection for playback.
Steinway & Sons’ First Orchestral Release – The inaugural orchestral recording has been issued by piano-oriented Steinway & Sons label. They’re not taking any chances, since it is The Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 and the Grieg Piano Concerto in a minor. Canadian pianist Stewart Goodyear is the soloist and the orchestra is the Czech National Symphony. He has been compared to Maurizio Pollini and Claudio Arrau, and he has performed some 11-hour marathons of all the Beethoven piano sonatas.
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