Audio News for May 10, 2016

Adoptions Increase After Shelters Play Classical – The Rescue Animal MP3 Project in North Carolina is one of two shelters, humane societies and rescues across the state which has begun playing classical music in December to help cut the adjustment period for animals. The dogs are much calmer when families come to the shelter. The number of adoptions has nearly quadrupled.

A Negative View of Hi-Res Surround for Music – CNET’s AudiophiliacMan Steve Guttenberg has written negative comments before about hi-res surround for music, and on the latest CNET he goes into quad, SACD and DVD-Audio and says they have all failed. Not true. First he says what he calls virtual-reality surround sound has taken off with most new movies, concerts, games and TV shows. Then in the next paragraph he says four speakers are too many for most folks. Well, those with five or 5.1 speakers are enjoying hi-res surround SACDs and the wonderful quad reissues which PentaTone makes. True, DVD-A has practically disappeared, but not totally. The rest of us with a taste for hi-res surround for music only will continue to enjoy it whether on SACD or Audio-only Blu-ray and never mind Steve Guttenberg. He also goes into object-based surround, the Smyth Research Realiser and binaural. Thank you but we’re happy with good SACD hi-res surround sound for music.

Warner Music Brings Hi-Res Audio to Masses Via MQA – The new format from Meridian packs all the data from 24-bit/192kHz PCM into files the same size as 16-bit/44.1kHz CD-quality tracks. Master Quality Authenticated audio allows for hi-res two-channel audio files to be packaged into much smaller files for streaming on the fly. MQA was announced over a year ago, but has been held up by a lack of hardware, distributors and a lack of music produced using the new standard. This Warner Music deal addresses the latter issue. Music streamer Tidal will have it later this year and High Res Audio, Onkyo Music and 7digital all have it now. If other companies follow Warner’s lead we might see more hi-res music becoming available soon.

New Sony Speakers and Receiver with GoogleCast Compatibility – Getting away from Sony’s former stubborn adherence to its own proprietary format, three new speakers and a receiver for both smartphone and TV units are encouraging. All are compatibile with Chromecast for audio and work with Spotify Connect and SongPal in the same way that Android units do. Pricing ranges from $200 to $800, but Chromecast for Audio is still only $35.

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