Late last year in a gloom-and-doom article bemoaning the state of music recording and playback, Rolling Stone Magazine declared the death of hi-fidelity. Now, a more recent article from the same publication suggests that reports of hi-fi's demise may have been somewhat exaggerated.
The current article - Artists Fight for New Hi-Fi Formats - notes that a growing number of artists are beginning to support high-resolution audio formats - beyond even that of CDs. For example, artists like Neil Young and Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails), are releasing material in better-than-CD formats - Young on Blu-ray discs and Reznor in high-res audio downloads.
One artist - T-Bone Burnett - has even gone so far as to develop a new high-definition format/technology, called CODE (or XOΔE), designed to offer reproduction that's indistinguishable from the original master tapes. The first CODE album - John Mellencamp's Life, Death, Love and Freedom - will be released on July 15 on an audio-only DVD.
Despite some skepticism on my part as to whether hi-res formats really offer sound playback quality that's audibly superior to well-produced CD-quality content, I'm happy to see such material being made available. And as I've noted before (see MP3: Audio boon or bane? and The death of high fidelity?), with technology increasingly making it easier to create, store and distribute it, there's every reason to expect that high-fidelity audio (i.e., CD quality or better) will be appreciated by more listeners than ever.
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