Dispelling 4 Myths About High-Performance Audio
Stepping up to Hi-Fi Sound Quality Need Not Be Complicated
Mention the term high-performance audio to different people, and it might mean several different things. Audio is a topic that tends to be full of commonly accepted myths as well. Let's dispel one of them right away - you don't necessarily have to spend heaps of money to get high-quality sound. However, should you want the best of the best, the opportunity is there to spend significant sums – but the decision is yours based on your goals.
If you´re looking to elevate your sound quality in Amherst, NY, read the Q & A below to get better educated about your high-performance audio options.
Do I need big speakers for high-performance audio?
The simple answer is no. But people’s ideas about what constitutes a large speaker are going to be different. High-performance audio does not depend on large speakers. Smaller bookshelf speakers from hi-fi manufacturers offer excellent performance. If you want more bass, you can still have smaller speakers and add a subwoofer. If you don't want to have speakers showing in your room, you can opt for built-in models in walls and ceilings – and subwoofers too. There are going to be some tradeoffs based on your priorities, but it is entirely possible to build a high-performance audio system with varying types of speakers to suit your needs.
Do I need a turntable and vinyl records for the best audio quality?
Absolutely not. Some love the “warmth” of vinyl, which is a purely analog format. If you have a record collection, we highly recommend getting a high-quality turntable to complement your system. With the right setup, your records can sound better than ever. Ultimately what sounds best to you is the right choice, but vinyl has no technical superiority over digital audio formats. The first popular digital format, the CD, was invented to supersede vinyl in every way; in dynamic range, consistency of playback, and other reasons. Today’s digital streaming is far more convenient than both CDs and vinyl records, and with lossless and high-resolution options, sound quality is better than ever on the right equipment.
Is lossless audio better than lossy audio? What am I losing in “lossy” anyway?
This one is important. CDs are lossless, which means that the digital audio file is not compressed. With popular compressed formats like MP3 and AAC (used by Apple and others), some dynamic range is lost with the compression. It means that some bass will not sound as tight or deep; some high notes can be fatiguing on some tracks. Can you hear the difference? On the right level of equipment, with some music you know well, and careful listening, yes. In many other cases, no. That said, if you can listen in lossless, it will sound better across just about any equipment, except perhaps the free headphones that come with your smartphone.
IS HIGH-PERFORMANCE AUDIO THE SAME AS HIGH-RESOLUTION AUDIO?
If you have delved into learning about high-end audio equiment, you are highly likely to run into the term high-resolution audio. The two are not the same. High-resolution audio refers to a digital audio format that captures larger samples of sound. For example, standard CD-quality audio is 16-bit/44Khz, which means the analog audio wave is sampled at 44,000 times per second, and each sample is encoded in 16 bits. In high-resolution audio, like 24-bit/96Lhz, the audio is sampled at 96,000 times per second, and each sample is 24-bits. The bigger sample and a higher amount of data ostensibly make for better sound quality. Can you hear it? It depends on your audio system. Do you need it for high-performance audio? Not necessarily, but it´s the wave of the future.
We could go on with more myths to discuss, but hopefully, we've provided you some useful information on your journey to better sound. If you’re ready to step into the world of high-performance audio, Sound and Theater can help. We can recommend the right setup for your space and your preferences. Reach out to us here, or click the chat button at the bottom of your screen to get started. We look forward to serving you.