What’s Hi-Fi Audio?

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By Mitchell Foster

No, Not Wi-Fi, Hi-Fi

Greenwich, CT- What is Hi-Fi? Hi-Fi is High-Fidelity audio that closely resembles the original audio with as little distortion as possible. Using music as the obvious example, when you’re listening to music it sounds like you’re in the studio when the artist recorded the song.

How do you get a Hi-Fi setup? It starts with the equipment. Utilizing high-end speakers, amplifiers, pre-amplifiers, DAC’s (digital to analog converters), and cables to connect everything together will give you the proper setup for a Hi-Fi system. While high-end equipment will give you a good start, it will not guarantee that you’re going to experience High-Fidelity audio. The source is just as important as the equipment, as you’re only as strong as your weakest link. In this situation, often the source (streaming service) is the weakest link. 

Hi-Fi Streaming Services

To help put this concept into perspective, CD’s are the baseline for Hi-Fi audio and they provide a bitrate of 1,411 kbps. Pandora’s Premium version provides a bitrate (speed of audio transmission) of roughly 192 kbps and Spotify Premium is up to 320 kbps. 

Until last month Tidal, Deezer, Qobuz, and Amazon Music were the only Hi-Fi streaming services available. In June, Apple Music enabled its collection of music to be Hi-Fi quality at no added cost to its users. With Apple Music you can choose between three different levels of audio quality; High Quality – 256 kbps, Lossless – 2,306 kbps, or High-Resolution Lossless – 8,616 kbps. High-Resolution Lossless requires a DAC to listen at that quality. Lossless audio is audio that has been compressed using techniques that preserve all the data in the original file.

Spotify has also announced that by the end of 2021 they will introduce Spotify Hi-Fi, a new premium subscription service.

New Hi-Fi Audio Equipment

Crestron has just begun shipping their two new audio solutions, DM NAX and their new Residential Speakers which are designed and manufactured by Origin Acoustics. DM NAX is a first of its kind Audio-over-IP amplifier distribution system that will work seamlessly with their new Residential Speakers. This new solution from Crestron will give its users unprecedented levels of control, scalability, and power.