Audio News for December 12, 2014

You Can’t Receive UHD Movies from Netflix or Amazon on a Computer – The two services are now delivering UHD Instant Video to Prime subscribers at no additional charge, but only for UHD TV sets; it won’t work on a Mac or PC. The “4K” computer monitor you might have bought or the new 5K iMac with Retina display are limited to 1080p streams. When the next version of HDCP is finalized sometime next year you might be able to stream to a Mac or PC. It’s because the movie industry is concerned about the security of the computer platform.

Mobile Fidelity Wants More Fidelity on Releases – The audiophile music reissue label will have at the International CES next month its first releases of SACD/CD discs made with Ultradisc UHR GAIN HD digital mastering technology with 4X DSD. The mastering process uses a newly-implemented mastering chaing to achieve a higher level of musical accuracy, resolution and fidelity from its reissues. The debut will present three titles. Mo-Fi also plan an all-new analog vinyl LP mastering process. The GAIN mastering chain (which stands for Greater Ambient Information Network) is used for both optical discs and vinyl and starts with a customized one-of-a-kind Studer tape deck design for “pulling off more musical information from the master tapes from the get-go.”

Meridian Audio’s MQA Technology Squeezes Higher Quality Out of Digital Music Files – Master Quality Authenticated-encoded digital music files can be placed inside any lossless audio container such as FLAC, ALAC or WAV. It is smaller than a losslessly-compressed 192/24 FLAC file, outperforms it, and can be streaming over a broadband network to the home. Developer Bob Stuart expects MQA-encoded music files to be avilable to consumers early this coming year, plus CE products with which to enjoy them. Meridian already has a portable USB DAC supporting MQA technology. An MQA-encoded file played back on a device which lacks an MQA decoder will still deliver better-than-CD quality. One of the first music companies to launch MQA music could be Atlantic Records. An MQA decoder can be in the form of an app, a software player, or hardware.

Fiio X1 – an Inexpensive Hi-Res Mobile Player – The simple aluminum-bodied X1 has a straightforward user interface and sounds better than Apple’s iPods.  It lacks internal storage and you must use a microCD card with it. It plays standard CD-quality audio files beautifully, but really shines with hi-res 96/24 or 192/24 files. And it’s only $100 here – quite a contrast to the Pono and Astell-Kern hi-res players.

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