Everything on Hi-Res audio headphones
How does Hi-Res audio sound?
Before answering the technical workings of Hi-Res audio, I answer the most important question: how does Hi-Res audio sound? Shortly after the turn, Hi-Res audio sounds more detailed, dynamic, spatial and accurate than standard audio, such as MP3s, and even CDs. When compressing an mp3 audio file, you reduce the file, so that details in the music are lost. No loss of quality occurs with Hi-Res audio. All information that has been put into music in the studio is displayed. Hi-Res is often described as "music as the artist intended it".
Is a Hi-Res headset better than a normal headset?
There is a lot of discussion around the world about Hi-Res and research is regularly conducted on observability. The technology of Hi-Res is not something new, but since 2014 there has been a quality mark that guarantees that certain headphones and earphones will display Hi-Res audio. The sound of a Hi-Res headphone or earpiece sounds good, especially with high resolution audio files. However, this does not mean that headphones and earplugs without Hi-Res quality mark sound bad by definition. Hi-Res is only one component, while the quality of the sound depends on multiple aspects such as timing and balance. For example, cheap headphones with Hi-Res can sound worse than expensive headphones without Hi-Res.
What do you need?
To get the most out of Hi-Res audio, you need high resolution audio files. The most well-known formats are FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) and A.L.A.C (Apple Lossless Audio Codec). You also have WAV, AIFF and DSD. More and more music services offer Hi-Res audio files, including Qobuz, Technics Tracks, Naim Label and 7Digital. You also need a smartphone that supports Hi-Res, such as a Samsung Galaxy S7, Sony Xperia Z5 or LG G5. Apple iPhones only support A.L.A.C, but can also play FLAC files with the right software and apps such as iAudioGate. The disadvantage is that high resolution audio files take up more space than regular mp3 files.
What is Hi-Res audio? Part 1: the technical basis
To understand the technical workings of Hi-Res audio, you first need to know how digital sound quality is measured. Sound quality is expressed in sample speed and bit depth. Sample speed is the number of times an audio signal is displayed. The more often an audio signal is reproduced, the wider the frequency is and the more detailed the music sounds. Bit depth has to do with the number of "steps" in the music. The more steps, the more dynamics in music. Differences between hard and soft are better audible.
What is Hi-Res audio? Part 2: the technical floor
Hi-Res audio has a higher sampling speed and more bit depth than a CD. With this, Hi-Res audio offers higher sound quality than CD. A CD has a sampling rate of 44.1 kHz and a bit depth of 16 bits. Hi-Res audio files have no clear standard, but the most commonly used sample rate is 96 or 192 kHz with a bit depth of 24 bits. Hi-Res audio has a frequency range of at least 40 kHz. This makes the music more detailed. With standard audio, this range is around 20 kHz.
Hi-Res audio has a higher sampling speed and more bit depth than standard audio. The sound therefore sounds more detailed, dynamic, spatial and accurate than standard audio, such as MP3s, and even CD. The condition is that you have high resolution audio files. Whether headphones with a Hi-Res quality mark are actually better than headphones that do not have this, can be disputed.