High-Resolution Audio

What is High-Resolution Audio?

The difference between
hearing and listening

Discover subtle details and artistic nuances in your favorite
music that you’ve never heard before. Feel the power
and presence of a live performance in your living room.
Or experience what it’s like to sit in on a live studio recording.
It’s all possible with the superior quality of High-Resolution Audio.
With quality greatly surpassing that of MP3 and CD, the difference is clear.

Original Former Audio File
(mp3,AAC etc)
High-Resolution Audio

History Repeats Itself

Just as HDTV revolutionized our television viewing with its huge leap in picture quality, High-Res Audio is doing the same for the music we listen to. If you’re wondering if your ears really need it, just ask your eyes if they’re willing to go back to old, standard definition TV.

Whether you’re talking analog or digital, sound engineers and musicians have always pursued the highest quality recording with the technology that’s available to them. When CDs came out, they offered high quality digital sound and portability, but were limited to how much they could hold by their physical size. In contrast, the MP3s made music transfer and sharing easier than ever, but the files needed to be compressed due to storage and bandwidth limitations—leading to a significant loss in sound quality.

With the growth of High-Res Audio technology, we’ve now come full circle. By enabling digital lossless capture of original analog audio sources, it’s now possible to listen to performances exactly as the artist intended. Add in the decreasing cost of storage media, plus faster internet speeds and our ability to have music in its purest form wherever we go has never been greater.

time time time Original 16bit /44.1kHz 24bit/192kHz

Advanced Specifications

High-Res Audio, which is typically referred to as “96kHz/24bit” or something higher, is made by digitally sampling an original analog audio source. The number of times at which sampling is performed (in one-second increments) is called the sampling frequency, which is expressed in hertz or “Hz”. Digitizing refers to the audio process where the sampled signal is converted (or quantized) into binary digits, consisting of 1’s and 0’s, and expressed as “bits”. The higher the number of bits, the closer the sample is to the original source. CDs are standardized at 44.1kHz/16bit, but there is no single standard for High-Resolution Audio.

An alternative way of digitizing an analog source is a method called DSD (Direct Stream Digital) which captures sound information as a sequence of single bit values with an extremely high sampling rate of either 2.8MHz or 5.6MHz. This is approximately 64 or 128 times the sampling rate of CD audio and is simply known as DSD 2.8MHz or DSD 5.6MHz. For some engineers, this is the closest a digital file sample can get to an original analog source.

File Formats / Lossless Coding

Several companies and working groups have developed different file formats for Hi-Res Audio. The varieties of formats also support different resolutions or levels of quality, so certain files can become very large. Below is a list of the Hi-Res Audio file formats that are currently available.

  • DSD(DFF). Direct Stream Digital-DFF is the professional, uncompressed 1-bit format used in recording and mastering Super Audio CDs.
  • DSD(DSF). Direct Stream Digital-DSF represents a PC-friendly version of 1-bit DSD used to burn files onto DVD.
  • WAV. The Waveform Audio File Format captures music as uncompressed, linear PCM and is a mainstay of computer audio.
  • AIFF. The Audio Interchange File Format also records uncompressed, linear PCM and was developed by Apple.
  • FLAC. The Free Lossless Audio Codec saves space by compressing files while maintaining 100% bit-for-bit accuracy during playback.
  • ALAC. The Apple Lossless Audio Codec also maintains 100% bit-for-bit accuracy while saving storage space.

How to enjoy High-Res Audio

Getting the Goods

Enjoying the amazing quality of Hi-Res Audio has never been easier. From finding Hi-Res music titles, to setting up a Sony Hi-Res Audio system, here are some ways to get started:

Music Services

  • DSD
  • HDtracks.com
  • proStudioMasters
  • Blue Coast Records
  • Trax
  • Trax
  • DSD

    The Super HiRez music store, powered by Acoustic Sounds, offers the finest selection of high-resolution downloads with an emphasis on DSD. Find full album selections from the biggest artists in an assortment of genres as well as answers and clarifications to the many questions about DSD and high-resolution digital audio. We’ve made getting started easy with simple-to-follow tutorials and an assortment of software and hardware options.

    Acoustic Sounds is the world’s leading supplier of audiophile recordings for more than 25 years. The largest catalog of high-quality LPs and SACDs now expands to include the ultimate in digital audio. Find it at Super HiRez.

    available
    file formats

    • DSD
    • FLAC
    • ALAC
  • HDtracks.com

    Welcome to HDtracks – the Ultimate HDMusic Experience

    An HDtracks file is a one to one exact digital copy of the master tape. There is no better way to hear recorded music than hearing an HDtracks hi res file played back via your Sony music server with a good pair of speakers.
    HDtracks music downloads sound better than MP3s or even CDS. With an HDtracks download you are in the recording studio with your favorite artist! HDtracks' vast selection features new as well as iconic releases from every major record label and 100s of your favorite indies, across all genres, rock, classical, blues, jazz, world... Our HDmusic files are available as high quality AIFF, ALAC, WAV , FLAC , and DSD(coming soon).
    Easy to download, playback and enjoy. You will hear the difference. HDtracks.com

    available
    file formats

    • AIFF
    • ALAC
    • WAV
    • FLAC
    • DSD (coming soon)
  • Pro Studio Masters

    ProStudioMasters is a premium online music store specializing in high-resolution audio downloads.

    ProStudioMasters offers high-resolution digital masters received directly from major and independent record labels — never from media transfers. Audio files are available for download in uncompressed AIFF, DSD (DSF) and lossless FLAC formats without Digital Rights Management (DRM).

    For music lovers that demand the best, ProStudioMasters features the finest music, premium performances and the highest-quality sound recordings.

    available
    file formats

    • AIFF
    • ALAC
    • DSD
  • Blue Coast Records

    Blue Coast Records sets a new standard in acoustic recording and now brings master-quality sound into your home using DSD (Direct Stream Digital) audio.
    We specialize in capturing the sounds of superior musicianship using high resolution techniques to deliver all the passion and dynamics of a live performance. Our first allegiance is to the music and DSD lets us bring the listener into the studio in a way never before possible.
    DSD audio is sampled 2.8 million times per second - 64 times that of a CD! The DSD format is used by many audio professionals for its ease of use and sound quality similar to analog tape. DSD files are many times larger than your normal mp3. With internet speeds increasing, a resolution revolution has come - led by Blue Coast Records.
    Our downloads are available anywhere in the world for your listening pleasure. Explore a new world of sonic sensations from Blue Coast Records.

    available
    file formats

    • DSD
    • WAV
  • Trax

    iTrax.com is a digital music retailer specializing in real high-definition music downloads in a variety of formats and mix perspectives...including Headphones[xi], the first "surround music" virtualization processed files available online.

    All tracks on iTrax originate as 96 kHz/24-bit PCM recordings and are never upconverted or transfers of standard definition materials into high-definition delivery formats.

    The site was launched in the fall of 2007 and has a catalog of over 3000 tracks from a variety of award-winning labels including SFS Media, AIX Records, 2L, Harmonia Mundi, ArtsMusic, Naxos and many more.

    available
    file formats

    • FLAC
    • WAV
  • NativeDSD

    Nativedsd.com is a multi label website with each label offering their own native DSD recorded projects in a unified environment from their own managed page. The site contains many cross label features, including search engine spanning all labels, consistent DSF formatting with ID3v2 compliant metadata tagging, hardware and software discussion and review, and the most important feature, a single resource for all things native DSD

    available
    file formats

    • DSD

Products

Learn more about these High-Resolution Audio products

The product with this logo has been designed to maximize the sound performance of High Resolution Audio*. Learn more
*High-resolution audio generally refers to music data with a volume of information exceeding that of CDs.

1. Minimum specifications to be satisfied

Process Minimum requirements
Microphone Microphone response performance of 40 kHz or above during recording
Recording Capability of recording using the 96kHz/24bit format or above
I/O (Interface) Input/output interface with a performance of 96kHz/24bit or above
Decoding File playability of 96kHz/24bit or above (FLAC, WAV required)
※This includes 44.1kHz/24bit、48kHz/24bit、88.2kHz/24bit playability as well.
※Depending on products, some are capable of 192kHz/24bit or DSD format.
Please check the details of each product
Digital Signal Processing DSP processing of 96kHz/24bit or above
D/A conversion Digital to analog conversion processing of 96 kHz/24 bits or above
Amplification Amplification performance of 40 kHz or above
Transducer Transducer (Speakers/headphones) performance of 40 kHz or above

2. Listening evaluation process

Listening evaluation process is added, by Sony acoustic engineers to make a final decision.

Set-up

We offer a variety of audio system solutions for the enjoyment of High-Resolution Audio.
Choose the system and products that best match your preference and lifestyle.

Audio File Format

Format Name Transmission by “HAP Music Transfer” Play by “HDD AUDIO PLAYER/SYSTEM”
DSD DSF 5.6MHz/1bit
DSF 2.8MHz/1bit
DFF 5.6MHz/1bit
DFF 2.8MHz/1bit
PCM WAV 192KHz/24bit
AIFF 192KHz/24bit
FLAC 192KHz/24bit
ALAC 192KHz/24bit
CODECS MP3
AAC
WMA
ATRAC/ATRAC Advance Lossless

non-DRM content only

Maximum sampling rates and bit depths shown.

Format Name USB Streaming by “Hi-Res Audio Player” Play by “USB DAC AMP” Play by “Portable AMP”
DSD DSF 5.6MHz/1bit 1
DSF 2.8MHz/1bit 1
DFF 5.6MHz/1bit 1
DFF 2.8MHz/1bit 1
PCM WAV 192KHz/24bit
AIFF 192KHz/24bit
FLAC 192KHz/24bit
ALAC 192KHz/24bit
CODECS MP3
AAC 2 2
WMA 2 2
ATRAC/ATRAC Advance Lossless 2 2

1 "Hi-Res Audio Player" for Windows is capable. "Hi-Res Audio Player" for Mac is not capable.
2 "Hi-Res Audio Player" is not able to play AAC,WMA and ATRAC. For playback use other application such as Sony's "Media Go".

Maximum sampling rates and bit depths shown.

  • HDD AUDIO PLAYER SYSTEM
    HDD AUDIO PLAYER
  • USB DAC AMPLIFIER
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