Naim Offers High-Resolution Digital Content

Naim Audio's Naim Classics label has begun releasing recordings in Dual Pack format that contains both a Red-Book CD and 24-bit/88.2kHz audio DVD for $24.95. The exclusive US distributor of Naim's high resolution titles will be

Why both a CD and a DVD? Adding the CD allows consumers to take the music with them to play in a car or rip to a personal digital player; obviously the company is expecting owners of Naim's HDX hard disc players, NaimNet Music Servers, or universal disc players to be attracted to the high-rez disc.

The Naim discs were both recorded by esteemed engineer Tony Faulkner. Hands on Heart by cellist Tim Hugh and pianist Olga Sitkovetsky is a mixed program that combines Bartok Rhapsodies, Kodaly's solo cello sonata, and Astor Piazzolla's Grand Tango. The program, recorded at London's Wigmore Hall, honors cellist Hugh's brother, who died of a heart attack in 2005; Naim is donating 20% of the proceeds from the sale of the recording to the British Heart Foundation (

The second high-rez release, recorded in Cadogan Hall, is the Soloists of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra playing Mozart's C major (K388) and B-flat minor (K361) wind serenades. The serenades were essentially recorded live, but Faulkner also recorded an incomplete dress rehearsal "just in case" he needed to remove "the loudest and most extreme audio bandwidth moments in a live classical concert." Faulkner was, of course, referring to the sneezes and coughs of the audience—the sickest members of which invariably sit beneath the microphones.

In down-sampling the CD versions of the Naim recordings, Faulkner eschews brick-wall filtration, instead averaging the archival data, and uses simple flat dither (2-bits peak-to-peak) to reduce the word length to 16-bits. "This system works well for classical music and minimizes the loss of information inherent in making a traditional master for listening on a CD player," Faulkner explained.

Naim has been making high-resolution recordings for many years, which means that, in addition to its new recordings, it has scads of material available for high-resolution releases. The label is also evaluating the possibility of releasing some of its analog recordings as 24-bit/96kHz files. "Expect to see a succession of releases during 2009."