Hi-Res audio is just a fancy way of saying that the music is at a high resolution to provide the nuances of sound that the artist intended. Enjoying high-quality audio is something that can be done at home and which only requires a minimal adding to of the components already found in your home theater in order to enjoy a superior quality sound that will make new titles, as well as old favorites sound impressive.
So you’re sold on the idea, but what has to be set up to make it happen? Here’s what is needed in order to be able to enjoy Hi-Res audio.
Because Hi-Res audio files are digital, the must be too. So that means the player will have a hard drive to contain the files and store them for play. There will also be ways to “move” the audio from the Internet to get it from a PC and app control over it as well. WiFi will also be present and used. Having an amplifier built-in will be useful also (although those looking for portability via a “mobile” Hi-Res audio player can use it with an existing receiver). Deciding on the model to put in the home theater should be based on the features provided, how comfortable you are with the brand providing the player and whether it has those features that you feel are vital to your personal listening needs.
AMPLIFIER AND SPEAKERS
Hi-Res audio requires a strong sound field — and by that we mean good quality speakers, not portable models that operate on batteries. A pair of speakers — as in stereo — will suffice, although having a surround sound system of multiple speakers can increase the ambiance and “flavor” of what’s being heard. The most important thing about the speakers is that they “match up,” which is to say that the front left and right (used in a standard stereo speaker configuration or as the left and right “main” speakers) should be from the same company as then they will have the same sonic resonance. Should a 5.1 or be present in the home theater, then the center channel speaker should also be from the same company. And if speakers need to be put into ceilings or mounted and so requires help, there are that can be of aid here.
The “power” that drives the speakers comes from the amplifier, or as it is more commonly known today, the A/V receiver. Not that a should be discounted — there are those who swear by the simpler circuitry and less “bells and whistles” found on a stereo receiver, because this can avoid any interference that otherwise could be generated to influence and “color” the sound. A stereo receiver will provide a strong and stable sound-field to the two speakers attached to it and so is not to be disdained, especially among audiophiles who continue to play vinyl.
But for those with a surround sound home theater, the A/V receiver will be found. As noted above. it doesn’t just provide multi-channel audio from a number of speakers (for example, a means a left/right speaker, a center speaker and a pair of left/right surrounds, plus a subwoofer), but also enhanced sound field options to simulate a “studio” environment or a “concert” and others. You’ll also find such enhancements as Bluetooth and other audio streaming technologies, along with setup technologies for automating a well-modulated sound between all the speakers, etc. But at its heart, is to provide the “oomph” to drive the sound to the speakers so that they can perform up to their capacity and with a high standard of the audio being heard.
To use the existing audio receiver means using a portable Hi-Res audio player that can output at the higher levels of frequency response. The advantage of this is that you also now have the means for listening to Hi-Res audio “on the go” and so not restricted to doing this only at home.
THE AUDIO CONTENT
Content, meaning audio files, is of course paramount — if there aren’t Hi-Res audio files to listen to, what’s the purpose of being able to play them? Thanks to the Internet, getting Hi-Res audio isn’t complicated at all: albums and tracks can be had from a number of online vendors who make it feasible to download titles for home consumption. These companies go by the name of Qobuz or HIGHRESAUDIO, HDMusicStore, LINN, 7digital and others. And while the audio formats might vary — being DSD or WAV or AIFF or FLAC or PCM — they all share the value of delivering the best sound possible for the original content they are derived from.