What is this HD Music?
There is a difference between MP3’s and the regular commercial music we’re able to purchase at the local CD stores compared to High Resolution music.
Digital downloads and streaming services use compressed file formats with relatively low bitrates, such as 256kbps AAC files on iTunes and up to 320kbps MP3 streams. This is done in order for you to download the music a lot faster as well as for you to store more music on your device.
In order for them to make the files smaller, they would need to compress it and in doing so, they would naturally cut out bits of information which a large number of users wouldn’t even miss simply because their systems aren’t good enough to replicate those frequencies to start off with.
Those who do have “better quality” systems tend to not pick up the missing detail as they have simply never heard what was cut out to start with, so how would they know what they are missing out on?
How do these formats differ?
In simple terms, everything has to do with the sampling rate of a digital audio track which is the number of times samples are taken per second when the analogy sound waves are converted to digital data. The more bits available, the more accurate the digital conversion will be.
A CD uses 16-bit/44.1-kHz sampling and has a transfer rate of about 1411 kbps. When it comes to MP3, the best quality you’re going to find is about 320 kbps which is far less than an original CD, hence you have the ability to copy far more full albums of MP3s onto the same size of CD that you would normally use to copy one full CD. While you’re still getting over this shock, let me introduce you to High Resolution Audio. High Resolution audio formats use 24-bit/96 or 192-kHz sampling rates, which is far greater than regular CDs. To help add ease your calculations, 16-bit/44.1kHz would take 10.1MB of storage to house 1 stereo minute of recording while 24-bit/96kHz would require 33MB for 1 stereo minute of recording. If this doesn’t tell you how much more information is available in an High Resolution track compared to a regular CD track, then maybe the following example will help.
Let’s look at television sets over the years. Back in my father’s and grandparents time, all we had was black and white TV sets (prior to these, I was told all they had was the radio). Years on, the colour TV was introduced and this offered an better form of entertainment to the black and white TVs sets.
Fast forward a few more years and once again evolved to the flat screen TVs which later evolved to LED and now Ultra HD/4K and even 3D. Similarly your music files have also evolved with the old black and white TVs been compared to old cassettes, the MP3s are like the old colour TVs with your regular CD’s moving up the ranks to flat screen TVs. High Resolution or HD music is now on the level of your Ultra HD/4k TV sets offering the best possible quality available.