I’ve known that I was getting close to 1000 articles for a while now, which is admittedly a completely artificial milestone but seems worth noting regardless. I’m very pleased that this site seems to have established itself as a resource for those seeking honest information about the world of high-resolution audio and music. As I look back over the nearly three years of posts, there are some topics that have remained relatively constant and others that have evolved.
Unfortunately, we are no closer to having a definition of high-resolution audio or high-resolution music than we were three years ago. The familiar organizations, their leaders, and the minions that accept or encourage their spin machines are very active these days. I continuously run into comments by individuals from organizations making statement such as “HRA files are all BETTER than CD and most are 24 bit depth…” Cheer leading for HRA based on ridiculous statements like that drive me crazy and I’m sure that my insistence on facts rather than what’s best for “commerce” was the reason that they “uninvited” me from their organization. They didn’t want the truth three years ago and they still don’t.
Three years ago, I was more excited about high-resolution (although I called it high-definition audio, which still makes more sense since resolution really shouldn’t be applied to audio…especially digital audio) music than I am today. My former optimism has been tempered by the counter productive actions of PonoMusic and others that want to claim the high ground and then shovel 2 million ripped CDs off as part of the “world’s largest catalog of high-resolution music”. And the press, organizations, equipment makers, and most consumers are complacent bystanders.
Recently, I had the chance to chat very briefly with Bruce Botnick, the former Pono Music VP, Content Acquisition. He was in Los Angeles meeting with some engineers at one of the studios in my complex. And note that I learned that he’s the “former” VP of Content Acquisition because he’s no longer working at Neil’s start up. I searched the web and was unable to confirm his departure. He’s isn’t listed on the Pono website anymore. I don’t know whether he left of his own accord or was laid off but I discovered that virtually all of the artists that Pono approached…10 out of 10…weren’t interested in revisiting their former masters in the quest for higher fidelity. And this just to transfer and remaster those “classic” recordings in so-called “hi-res” to rediscover the “soul of the music”.
If artists, engineers, producers, music fans, and distribution channels aren’t interested in higher fidelity audio, then why should the mass market care? The hardware people want “new and improved” to sell more equipment…and they seem to be succeeding. Just look at all of the high-resolution products that were on display at the CES show. I spoke to a number of vendors about their products. Many didn’t have a clue about what high-resolution audio meant. All they knew what that it was important for them to get on board.
Bigger numbers are fueling the paper chase to “better sound”. There are a whole bunch of new products coming out that have embraced 384 kHz/32-bits. Never mind that there are no files available at these ridiculous rates or that it won’t mean anything in terms of fidelity.
Happy 1000 posts!