Video and Audio Center Blog

Wednesday, March 04, 2015


David Chesky is a composer and musician and co-founder of HDtracks. Downloaded audio from the site has the panache of being high resolution none of that MP3 lowrez nonsense here. As the premiere online music store for audiophiles, it would seem obvious that the company sees the adoption of high resolution audio as vital to recordings in order to provide a high level of musical enjoyment. But not everyone understands just why high resolution audio should be supported. We asked Chesky to explain.

 Why did you start HDtracks?

David Chesky: We started HDtracks because we saw a need for high resolution audio even if others did not. At the time there was nothing there I mean everybody is using MP3 and becoming used to it but that kind of acceptance doesnt mean anything from an audiophile point of view. The problem was that people were just not used to high resolution as a concept of how sound could be. It wasnt something that you could convince people about just by talking you had to show them and with no HD audio devices present at the time, to do this was extremely difficult.

But high resolution players are available now, right?

David Chesky: The market today is very different from what we had when we first started [as in none] there are portable devices (and by that I mean those you can carry on you) that will play high resolution audio. Take for example, the Sony HiRes Walkman -- its got 100GB of storage and that means 100 hires albums that can be taken with you. A person traveling can kick back in his/her hotel room, a dorm or friends house, pull out a player and listen to albums with amazing sound (a good pair of headphones too, of course). Or sit on a beach in Tahiti with the sun at your back and the ocean ahead and have great audio playing in your head. Or play a high resolution album from a player brought in as a component for ones home theater, like Sharps Wireless High Resolution Audio Player.

Think of it like me selling gasoline it doesnt do any good unless theres a car to put the gas into. In this case, thats companies like Sony and Samsung and Sharp among others who are putting out players and smartphones that can handle high resolution files, and so provide a higher quality of audio.

Isnt it expensive to get into high resolution audio?

David Chesky: Prices arent outrageous but theyre not cheap. Still, for $500 you can have a portable player system that will deliver great sound from hires files. For a high resolution home theater component, youll be paying more.

Do you see high resolution audio, and digital in general, replacing CDs and other physical media?

David Chesky: I see CDs being phased out over time as theyre not as interesting physically as vinyl is, or necessary in todays digital storage market. Nor do I see Cloud storage taking over as a delivery/distribution method for high resolution files it is too involved and it would cost a fortune to pull it out. And when you consider how cheap a 4TB drive is these days, theres really no reason not to have the audio being stored locally.

What reason is there to choose a portable high resolution player over that found in a home theater?

David Chesky: The same person who has a good system at home will want to have a good system when traveling or out of the house, so that they are listening to music at the same level of quality that they are used to. Me, I have a portable system for playing high resolution and use it a lot when traveling I can use it when in a hotel room in Poland or wherever. Of course Id be listening to my speakers if I was at home, but the important thing is that the level of quality isnt different when Im not at home.  The high resolution provides me with the sound quality Im expecting and I get it.

Do you see any way of speeding up the process of bringing high resolution to the forefront?

David Chesky: It takes a collective mentality a group effort by the major companies as well as others to get the word out about high resolution audio. Sony is certainly doing it, others too, but to be realistic there is a higher end cost to bear with, unlike the mass availability of players handling low-resolution audio files like MP3.
Were looking to align ourselves with as many hardware companies as we can to get the word out that were there to provide HDtracks for any hires device that is available. Like anything else, getting the word out and getting acceptance of and for high resolution audio is going to take time. Right now its definitely a luxury market think of it as a Ferrari and for a higher adoption it needs to become BMWs or Mercedes that more can afford, but not all. And to make another analogy, over time more will become enamored of high resolution audio and the end result will be more people grooving on a lush and full bodied sound.


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