About 4 years ago, Sony’s legal team sought protection from the U.S. Patent and Trademark office for their “HiRes Audio” logo. They couldn’t claim ownership of the terms but they did seek protection for the layout of the logo that they’re using on their new hardware, on their website and throughout their marketing materials. They were granted registration of the trademark AND have recently made their intellectual property available to the rest of the high-resolution community. I learned about this new development during the CEA Audio board meeting last week in New York City. So is this a good thing or not? Will other manufacturers adopt and incorporate the new logo into their own campaigns? I don’t think so. Here’s why…
Take a look at the logo displayed below. What do you think? While the design reflects professional design standards, it doesn’t do anything to convey anything about the subject area that it purports to cover. We need more information not just a fancy logo…especially if the “Master Quality” source descriptors contained in the HRA definition document are to be considered. I brought this up at the board meeting. Is there going to be some sort of additional graphic information associated with the new definition?
Figure 1 – The “Hi-Res Audio” logo as trademarked by Sony in 2013. This logo is being used on their hardware and website.
I wrote many months ago about the issue of naming this new initiative and I believed (and still believe that HD-Audio) would be a much better choice for the new standard of music listening. It’s been adopted by HDtracks, it was used as the label on the HD-Audio files on the Sprint HTC phone that I evaluated and it’s the name of this site! Maybe I should push ahead with my own naming preference. The high-resolution audio definition and logo aren’t going to make any impact on the future of this marketplace.
I’ve also considered another tack altogether. If the DEG, CEA, NARAS and the major labels are all happy with the definition that HRA is “lossless audio at better than CD quality” and then insist that every imaginable source when transferred to high-resolution PCM at 48 kHz/24-bits or better is suddenly “hi-res audio” then perhaps it’s time to strike out on my own. They’ve decided that everything that had previously been standard-resolution should now be called high-resolution so I guess I (and others making new real high-resolution audio productions) might have to grab Ultra High-Resolution Audio as the next step up.
The present Sony design is way too generic. What we need is a logo that includes the “descriptors”…the MQ-A or MQ-P combinations. Here’s an adjustment to the existing logo that I would suggest does a better job.
Figure 2 – The Sony Hi-Res Logo with the descriptor for “Master Quality – Analog Source” added.
I believe the logo has to impart some additional information besides just the vanilla statement that “we are high-resolution audio”. I was in favor of the descriptors as an indicator of what the “provenance” of a file could be…but have a problem with then calling every source high-resolution if it’s delivered in a high-res bucket.
I’d love to know what you think.