Audio News for August 26, 2016

by | Aug 26, 2016 | Audio News

Sony Is Advertising a Hi-Res Turntable – There cannot be such a thing as a hi-res turntable. It may be designed to convert vinyl discs to audio files, but it is not therefore hi-res. Vinyl may often sound fantastic, but it is not hi-res and never will be.

Post-iPod Players – Both new and experienced audio fans are flocking to hi-res audio players for music while on the go. Rather than the old-fashioned MP3 players like Apple’s iPod, they have sophisticated electronics such as DACs, making them capable of reproducing hi-res audio that the iPod cannot handle. The hi-res mobile players have also become cheaper and more feature-packed recently. Hi-res correctly refers to anything in digital audio files which is more than the standard 44.1K/16-bit of compact discs. (The current low-end hi-res is considered to be 48K/24-bit.) The bit depth is usually pushed up to 24-bits and the sampling to at least 96K, which results in clearer, richer and more authentic audio. Enthusiasts sometimes compare hi-res audio to so-called 4K video (actually UHD) in terms of better sound quality, clarity, and authentic audio.

Such players now range from $150 to $6000. Tracks can be streamed via services like Tidal and Deezer or downloaded from numerous web sites. Because the audio files are uncompressed, each track can be quite large – about 100MB for a 5-minute track – but storage is now much less expensive, and most models come with microsSD cards so that audiophiles can carry their music library everywhere. Many of the hi-res players run on the Android operating system which can installed with music-streaming apps, and are even replacing CD players in the home system for listening. But don’t forget about backing up – all storage devices eventually fail.

The Neglect of Classical Music in the Schools – The late British composer Sir Peter Maxwell Davies was an advocate for music education. He was alarmed by the state of music education in British (and also American) schools. If music lessons occur at all, they are often focused on rap, electronic music and djembe drumming – overshadowing classical music on the curriculum. There is a reluctance to discussing classical music (let alone hear it) at young ages that generates stigma against the form in later life. In a relentless drive to maintain the interest of young students, teachers seem to increasingly favor what they see as “popular” music, which seems to be anything but classical. Classical music in their eyes (and in those of many today) died in the 1700s, so there is little hope of them paying any attention to contemporary composers. With such contempt for classical music, children must approach the form themselves, instead of being introduced to suitable works by enthusiastic teachers. Davies himself said: ‘One moment of insight, one moment of real experience of that kind of music illuminates a lifetime, and the sheer joy of it justifies music education.’

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