Audio News for December 3, 2013
Published on December 3, 2013
UHD Standard – Not Until at Least 2016 – Don’t rush out this holiday season to get a UHD (NOT 4K) TV set, because at the recent CES Conference in New York it was revealed that although several industry bodies are working on ways to deliver the UHD content, the TV industry claims it will be at least 2016 before the industry has an acceptable UHD standard. (One way they could help standardize it is to agree on what to call it!) Everyone is struggling because movies and content must be delivered to a TV at four times the present data rate. Today’s HDTV has an image around two megapixels, and Ultra High Definition delivers an eight megapixel image. (And you really can’t appreciate the enhancement unless you have a huge screen and sit close to it.) We’ll need a completely new optical disc standard, because Blu-ray’s (only launched in 2006) 50GB is not nearly enough storage for a UHD movie. Experts in Australia say it will be even longer before UHD is openly available there.
HDtracks.com Refreshes Website – The top hi-res download site has launched a refreshed interface with expanded download options, a streamlined check-out process and greater customer engagement thru online reviews. Two of the most iconic albums in history are now offered in both 24/96 and 24/192 sampling rates: Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue and Muddy Waters Folk Singer. HDtracks was founded in 2008 by David and Norman Chesky of Chesky Records, and is the only hi-res site where consumers can find many of the albums in Rolling Stone’s list of “500 Greatest Albums of All-Time.” More than 10,000 hi-res albums are available on the site.
USB DAC Converter for Hi-Res Downloads – Bryston of Ontario has produced a DAC that connects a computer’s asynchronous USB output to high-end DACs lacking a USB input. This will enable those who download 24/192 and 24/96 music files to play thru thru their high-end legacy DAC. The BUC-1 ($799) will deliver either an AES/EBU or S/PDIF output to any DAC.
How to Hear Hi-Res Audio on iOS devices – While others seem happy with the convenience that has taken over the audio world with MP3s, iPods, etc., we audiophiles won’t listen to the low quality that is part and parcel of the whole thing. Until recently, I thought hi-res files were useless in the noisy environments of mobile devices, such as on the street or in the car. My experience with the Astell-Kern hi-res iPod has taught me differently. You’ll find an article on the MacWorld site on how to get hi-res audio on your iOS devices. But be sure you get some decent over-the-ear or in-the-ear-canal headphones – ear buds are terrible, especially the worthless white ones Apple devices come with.