Monday, March 30, 2015

High-Definition Audio: What do you think?

Image courtesy of Gizmodo.
In this article, Mario Aguilar of the tech blog Gizmodo lays out some interesting reasons why he thinks master-rocker Neil Young's high-definition Pono player isn't worth the time and money. As an audio engineer, I can verify that most of the science he points to is accurate.

That said, I also know that--especially in a controlled studio environment--you CAN tell the difference between something recorded at, say, 24-bit, 44.1kHz and 24-bit, 192kHz. Is that enough to warrant spending hundreds of dollars on a portable music player? Not for me, personally. In fact, my ears tend to prefer sample rates closer to 48kHz for listening. For some reason, I feel like 192 fatigues me quicker over long hours of tracking and especially mixing. (And I won't even get into the richness of analog tape vs. digital here! :-) )

What do you think? 
Is there a place for high-def audio in the age of the MP3? 
Can you even hear a difference? 
Is it worth paying for? 

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