Posts Tagged ‘Fidelity’
The announcement is wrapped in an aura of déjà vu: Universal Music Group is marketing an uncompressed, high-end digital audio format for Blu-ray called High Fidelity Pure Audio (HFPA). Where standard CD audio is 44.1KHz at 16 bits, HFPA’s A2D sampling rate clocks in at a sky-high 96KHz at 24 bits.
Analog elitists will maintain that even extremely refined sampling is inherently inferior to capturing unchopped waveforms, and while that argument is fun to test, it is academic in the context of wide consumer adoption. Can a new audiophile format gain traction in a technomusical world governed by convenience and mobility?
Neil Young Begins His Long Mission Towards True Audio Fidelity With Pono, A New Popular music Service And Device
Singer-songwriter-rocker Neil Young has been speaking about complications with modern audio codecs for decades. He was mad at CDs back in the 1990s and most recently he lashed out against MP3s and digital audio compression at a popular tech conference, saying “ My target is to try to rescue the art kind that I’ve been exercising for the past 50 years. We reside in the digital age and, sadly, it’s diminishing our popular music, not improving it … It’s not that digital is bad or inferior, it’s that the way it’s being used isn’t doing justice to the art. The MP3 just has 5 percent of the data present in the original recording. … The benefit of the digital age has required individuals to select between quality and convenience, however they shouldn’t have to make that selection.”
Luckily old Bernard Shakey understands a few people with some tech chops and is launching a service tentatively called Pono that will permit folks to switch, download, and play high quality songs on a user designed specifically for the service. He displayed his little player – a prismatic device that appears like a cross between a Shanzhai PMP and a box of Toberlone – on Letterman last evening and he ’ s aiming to offer 192kHz/24-bit audio files to purists who demand to hear every aural nook and cranny.
Young is working with labels to move the initial master tapes from each artist featuring a number of albums from Bob Dylan and additional greats. Young states the “ audio doesn ’ t get dummied down ” when played on the Pono.
While seemingly Quixotic, I think it ’ s lovely that Young is preserving this effort also in the face of an onset of reasonable bit-rate monstrosities. High quality new music has long been the provenance of the rich and/or aged and, although I suspect this will appeal even more to the older listener, a minimum of Young is dealing with one of the barricades to dulcet, high quality tracks.
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These “Exposed Concrete” speakers are a grad school design project by Israeli designer Shmuel Linski. His rationale for the unusual material choice is that… well, okay, there is no rationale, he just thought it’d be cool.
And certainly more love goes into creating them than your average robot-assembled standing set:
On the project’s page, he notes:
In my work I tried to give, in addition to great aesthetics, practical reasons for using concrete as a main material in a product. When concrete meets sound, it might distort the sound, because the concrete is very stiff (usually speakers are made of wood or MDF). The speakers might therefore sound strange.
He doesn’t seem to resume that thought, probably because there’s nowhere to go but down. Let’s be frank: these speakers probably sound awful. Concrete doesn’t resonate and its total opacity to sound would result in a hollow, echoing effect through the bass tube.
Still, they’re cool-looking things and probably bombproof. Get a couple for your fallout shelter — audiophiles will have bigger things to worry about in nuclear winter.
[via Stereophile and Crave]
Video demonstration comparing BlackBerry PlayBook and iPad tablets in terms of browser speed, Adobe Flash support and HTML5 performance.