Nothing can lift your mood or boost your spirits like music, especially when you can't go out.
But when digital audio debuted, it sounded harsh and tinny, souring a lot of us on the new format and making us long for our old hi-fi stereos. Fortunately, you now can get that hi-fi sound — and fun — back.
Newer, more advanced digital music formats can capture the dulcet tones of Brian Wilson's voice, the subtle trills of Itzhak Perlman's violin and even the clarion call of Miles Davis’ horn. It means the latest so-called high-resolution audio is not only good enough for rock ‘n’ roll but also great for classical or jazz, and it makes oldies but goodies sound a whole lot better, too.
Better still, you don't need a whole new stereo system to enjoy high-resolution audio, although plenty of expensive components are available to buy if you must. All you need to improve your home entertainment is an inexpensive accessory or two and access to a streaming or download service with hi-res audio.
So what is high-resolution audio?
MP3 music solved a ’90s problem
Originally, the digital MP3 music file format came about in the 1990s because of the paltry computer storage and tardy internet connections available 25 years ago. MP3 files compressed the music to save space but in the process made it sound like it was being blasted out of a tin can.
Now, terabytes of storage are available on drives that can fit in the palm of your hand, and high-speed internet connections are available even on smartphones. So today it's easy to store or stream CD-quality songs (at a 16-bit sample size and a 44.1 kilohertz sample rate for the technically minded).
That's fine, but most of us recall that when CDs were introduced in the 1980s, they also diminished sound quality. Many listeners complained that CDs sounded cold and many discs sounded worse than the vinyl originals.