What do you think about the potential for high-rez audio to succeed as a computer-based format?

Apple's OS X and Microsoft's Windows Media 9 Series both support 96/24 PCM audio. What do you think is the potential for high-rez digital to suceed as a computer-based format?

What do you think about the potential for high-rez audio to succeed as a computer-based format?
It will soon dominate high-rez digital audio
13% (20 votes)
It has a lot of potential
34% (50 votes)
Should do okay
10% (15 votes)
I give it even odds of succeeding
13% (20 votes)
Doubt it will go anywhere
20% (30 votes)
Doesn't have a chance
9% (14 votes)
Total votes: 149

Al Earz's picture

I think that high-end audio dealers and customers would not accept it. We would need dedicated components that are exclusive to the format.

Chris P's picture

Hands down, no contest. Even without these players, you have Winamp and others already having the capability, plus all sorts of software DVD players that already do 96/24. They will all converge as all in one multimedia (DVD and music) player. It's inevitable.

Paul J.  Stiles, Mtn.View, CA's picture

It will do okay, but I don't think that it will be one format to rule them all.



Dan's picture

I think that 96/24 audio has a much better chance as a computer-based format. It's usually the hard-core gamers that push their systems, insisting on the best graphics and the best sound. With Media PC gaining more popularity, I feel it is only a matter of time before traditional electronics start seeing steeper declines. I'm not really totally a hard-core gamer, but I had reconsidered getting a second smaller A/V system for the bedroom. My PC now serves as the centre-piece. I've got PVR, DVD, & CD functionality all in one piece, plus a high-end gaming machine. I quite enjoy the audio quality of my Creative Labs Audigy 2ZS soundcard. I find it's a lot better than most of the cheap CD and DVD players out there. And it's got 96/24 support, which is my current setting. The computer method is also more user-friendly as all the processing can be done inside the PC, rather than requiring an outboard decoder.

Bobo Chan's picture

holds more appeal and could be the only way to get consumers to be more conscious of sound quality.

Stephen Curling's picture

For creative professionals, high-rez on the computer is in the bag. As for the consumer side, it's dead as a door nail. When computer users can easily and cheaply transfer audio from their Macs and PCs to their stereos, then it may take off.

AlanL's picture

PCs are too loud, too slow to start, and too cumbersome to compete with dedicated equipment.

Graeme Nattress's picture

DRM means taking away your rights as a consumer. It means monopoly power. It meas mass market "music."

Mr.  Patient's picture

At the rate the industry is going it's going to be some PC digi-head who comes up with the best Hi-Rez recording before they evn get a clue. He/she may even get a patent!

R.  Fauska's picture

Natural evolution. Pretty soon our whole "lives" will be digitized.

Norman L.  Bott's picture

I have no intention of listening to music through a computer system. I do not have one at home and do not want it, but the future cannot be stopped. The new generation apparently loves this stuff. I do not even understand it.

Dahai's picture

Technically, I don't se any reason why not. But copy-protection (medium-neutral) has to be addressed and that's what will slow down its rollout.

Best Wishes's picture

I'd be more skeptical of this if my younger and more technically savvy friends weren't setting up PC servers to distribute audio throughout their homes. The problem is they're distributing audio files they've acquired for nothing from sources like Gnutella and they're playing them back over really cheap, awful sounding hardware. I can imagine them downloading higher-rez audio files if they can hear a difference, as long as they don't have to pay for them. I cannot imagine them acquiring high-end audio gear to play them on.

Louis P.'s picture

Nowadays, most people think that the sound they are getting from their PC is just fine. So why would they need hi-rez audio to play through their PC speakers.?

Ross's picture

You can lead a horse to water, but you can not make it drink—or so the saying goes. This saying is apt because while the capability may be embedded into Mac and WinTel software, consumers need a reason to utilise the capability. Give consumers high-rez downloads and consumers will begin to use the capabilities of the software. Unfortunately, content providers are loath to give anything approaching Red Book quality downloads, let alone high-rez. As we all know, the content owners are worried about piracy, but if you remove the incentive for piracy, then the problem has been dealt with. So, I want to see reasonably-priced high-rez downloads of material that is of interest to me. If the content providers, software companies, and download sources can provide this, then I am certain that consumer interest and dollars will follow.

G.  Smith's picture

The same people who bitch about the tinny sound will bitch about the cost of good speakers. Manufacturers will run scared and not feature the benefits. Audiophiles will buy it, most others will not.

Michael Chernay's picture

Hi Rez audio has a good chance of expanding because of the rapid expansion of computer technology and constant stive in the computer- mod market. The only parts that really fall short are the computer speakers and components

tonyE's picture

The idiots at the MPAA need to understand that charging 99¢ for a 128 MP3 is waaay too much. Charge one buck per song for unrestricted high-rez and then we're talking. Otherwise, it's all trash talk.

Dave's picture

Just look at what these commpanies have done before

Reed O.  Hardy's picture

Most online consumers are happy with the current Apple encoding, or low-rate MP3. I do think though, that as more of us get broadband in our homes, and demand it, that online sites will provide the high-rez format (as long as there is copy protection).

Randolph Schein's picture

When the majority of computers have lousy speakers and the majority of computer users think MP3s sound "as good [sic] as CDs," there really should be no market for it. After all, these users will not want to waste space on their portables' hard drives when squeeze a zillion MP3s onto one!

Bob Matthews, VA's picture

Well, isn't everything tied into computers, these days? I suppose the high-rez audio camp will also make it into this group in the near future.

Dennis's picture

Too much noise in a PC. Even if you outboard everything and just use the PC as a source, it's just too dirty in there.

Bob Hoshall's picture

I believe this is exactly what will happen in the long run. The fact that consumers can't find SACDs in retail stores or the SACD players, is really pathetic. I completely agree with one subscriber's comment that Sony is not fully supporting its own format with easily obtainable hardware or music in retail outlets. I, for one, am real tired of dropping big bucks on formats that don't cut the mustard, and are discontinued within a relatively short period of time. I made the Beta mistake, which cost me approximately $1000 and I am fearful I have made a similar $3200 SACD mistake, as each month goes by! I absolutely love the format, am completely satisfied with this new level of recording technology, but am now beginning to believe this may be a short lived format as well. I certainly want to see SACD succeed, however, as we have seen in the past, the best technology does not necessarily survive in a market willing to settle for mediocrity.

Joe Evans's picture

Are you guys kidding? As a computer professional I know that most computer oriented people (geeks) care as much about quality sound as Helen Keller. They think high bit rate MP3's are the bomb. They listen on speakers and equipment that an audiophile wouldn't bother with and have no idea what a soundstage is. Anything that requires more HDD storage space has no chance at all. Only those few who were/are audiophiles first will bother with a high-rez format. As for the rest, cramming as many "tune'z" as they can on their ipod's is all they care about. How often have you heard " I have eleventy thousand tune'z on my ipod"? Even when they are exposed to quality sound they remain uninterested.

Andy's picture

Perhaps someday, but the supporting technology is not yet ready. A high-rez album takes up far too much storage space. When terabyte storage comes to home computers then you might have something. However, there is still the problem of how to prevent noise from the computer interior from polluting the signal.

Robert Hamel's picture

Isn't that being driven by DVD format compatabillity as well?? I just got a new Dell with a THX approved soundcard. In theory I could use the digital output on the card to an outboard decoder or use the onboard one. All I would need to do is use the 5.1 analog inputs on my reciever and hook this up to my sound cards analog 5.1 outputs. Have not tried a DVD A but the card can record and process 96/24 PCM. Cost of the upgrade was about $80.

Colin Robertson's picture

It depends. If it turns out that all music downloads are high-rez, and the high-end industry embraced the idea of a high-end hard-drive playback system, then it would probably do fine, even good. One of the biggest things audiophiles needs to get over is their whining about digital and computers. It isn't the most ideal thing to me either but it looks as if we have the inevitability of a download future. That said, hopefully hard copy recordings and vinyl still stick around. I like the fancy packaging that I can get with some of the more creative artists out there. Ultimatly, however, it's all about the music, and for us, the quality as well.

Mike Agee's picture

Asking that, for me, is like asking if a great work of visual art can be appreciated as well in a shopping mall as in an art museum; It may be fundamentally the same object, but how I get there and what I pass by and what I am surrounded by (context) makes a big difference. Computers already hide in my audio equipment and the more hidden they are the better. As long as computers require that I march lockstep down their minute menus or tell me that the bold new future comes from intangible downloads, I will resist. I want to browse my collection on my own, not with Microsoft's help.