On September 4th, just in time for my birthday, and in conjunction with a new initiative launched by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), Sony announced their new "high resolution audio" campaign. The gist of the campaign is that there are two kinds of music in the world - low resolution and high-resolution; and high resolution sounds better. Can a message get much simpler?
Here's a pithy quote from Sony's press release, "'It's been more than a decade since the first MP3 digital downloads and music players were introduced to the public,' said Phil Molyneux, president and COO of Sony Electronics. 'Now is the time to offer high-resolution audio products that bring music enthusiasts closer to their favorite recordings, and allow them to experience those recordings the way the artists, producers and engineers always intended.'"
Notice that Sony isn't pushing DSD, DXD, PCM, or any other three or four letter digital acronyms or processes. The emphasis here is on ALL high-resolution formats, be they 96/24, 192/24, DSD 64, DSD 128, or even APL. All high resolution formats are on the same side - part of what any self-respecting cowboy would call a "high-resolution round-up."
Just like pioneering audio manufacturers in the 1980's who took a stand that there was a substantive experiential difference between high-end audio and mid-fi, the new Sony initiative attempts to make the argument that high-definition audio offers a far richer and more involving experience than standard and compressed digital music. And what audiophile, regardless of which high-resolution format they personally champion, could disagree with that?
The important message here is that ALL high-resolution music is good. And if a music device supports all formats, then consumers can experience high-definition without being dragged into format wars. Give the amount of financial collateral damage done to consumers by past format wars (hello SACD and DVD-A) it's about time that inclusion rather than exclusion becomes part of the audio value equation.