To learn how to enjoy Hires music, we must first know what Hires is! To put it simply, Hires music is any music file with higher quality than the standard CD 16 bit / 44.1kHz; it can be 24 bit 96kHz or 192kHz, or even higher 32 bit with a frequency sampling rate as high as 384kHz.
That is a very broad definition, and any device that can decode music higher than a CD can be considered a product that meets the “Hi-res” standard. However, many products with the Hires Audio stamp in black gold also have a wider frequency range than the usual 20Hz – 20kHz, at least 10Hz – 40kHz. Although hard to hear by the human ear, this factor ensures that the frequencies are still present in the music file and are not cut off due to hardware limitations.
When playing Hires music on Bluetooth, we encounter obstacles in transmitting music over Bluetooth waves. Bluetooth cannot have the same bandwidth as transmitting signals over wires, so it has to go through a CODEC compression and decompression step. The ability to reproduce the music of Bluetooth headphones now depends on the CODEC that companies equip their headphones.
Currently, on the market, there are 3 CODECs capable of playing Hires music: Sony LDAC, Qualcomm apt-X HD (HD version only), and a new standard, LHDC. LDAC, as everyone knows, is a proprietary technology of Sony, so we usually only see it on its products like the WF-1000XM4, WH1000XM3. Although the apt-X HD standard is more open, it is also very rare on the market. Recently, more and more pairs of headphones equipped with Hires appeared through CODEC LHDC.
Low Latency High-Definition Audio Codec (LHDC) capable of transmitting 24-bit 96kHz music with a bitrate of 400/560/900 kbit/s was developed by Savitech and is now used by many well-known brands such as Sennheiser, iriver, Huawei, Hifiman, ATH, Fiio, Dunu AKM (a large DAC chip maker) and many others. Edifier also recently launched a pair of True Wireless NeoBuds Pro equipped with a new CODEC LHDC.
Many firms jointly develop a CODEC to ensure that it will appear on more products, not as exclusive as previous CODECs. As more products are released, this CODEC will gradually become a standard, bringing Hires to more people at increasingly cheaper price points.
The question that needs to be asked is: Is Hires really necessary for headphones in general and wireless headphones in particular? When looking at the importance of the factors that make up a good music experience, we will have to put the recording quality, editing (mastering) of the song, and the sound reproduction ability of the earphone diaphragm first and foremost. It’s just a matter of transmission.
There is no shortage of wireless headphones on the market that do not support Hires, with only the usual CODEC apt-X but providing excellent sound quality. Hires standards and high-quality CODECs ensure that you’ll never experience a “bottleneck” in the sound quality before it reaches your ears, but that’s not a quality stamp that the music is good. The pair of headphones that have it will be ordinarily superior.
When choosing a wireless headset, what you need to find out first is the auxiliary features such as water resistance, what generation Bluetooth, how much latency, active noise cancellation, and whether the sound quality is suitable for music I listen to or not. It has more Hires should only be an attached “bonus” should not be a prerequisite.
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