Conveying a Clear Message About High-Resolution Audio and Master Quality

June 24 2014, 10:55
The Digital Entertainment Group (DEG), in cooperation with the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and The Recording Academy, in partnership with Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group, announced the results of their efforts to create a formal definition for High-Resolution Audio,.
The definition is accompanied by a series of descriptors for the Master Quality Recordings that are used to produce the hi-res files available to digital music retailers. These can be used on a voluntary basis to provide the latest and most accurate information to consumers.
High-Resolution Audio is defined as “lossless audio that is capable of reproducing the full range of sound from recordings that have been mastered from better than CD quality music sources.” In addition to this definition, four different Master Quality Recording categories have been designated, each of which describes a recording that has been made from the best quality music source currently available, not necessarily in High Resolution Audio. According to the announcement, “all of these recordings will sound like the artists, producers and engineers originally intended.”

Master Quality Recording sources
The descriptors for the Master Quality Recording categories are as follows:
MQ-P – From a PCM master source 48 kHz/20 bit or higher; (typically 96 kHz/24 bit or
192 kHz/24 bit content)
MQ-A – From an analog master source
MQ-C – From a CD master source (44.1-kHz/16-bit content)
MQ-D – From a DSD/DSF master source (typically 2.8 or 5.6 MHz content)

“The DEG is proud to have played a key role in coordinating the work behind finalizing this important agreement” said DEG President Amy Jo Smith. “Thanks to this initiative, the industry can take a unified approach in offering digital music services a variety of information concerning the growing number of hi-res music titles being distributed today”.
Gary Shapiro, CEA President and CEO, stated, “The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is pleased to have partnered with the DEG, The Recording Academy, and major music labels in creating this new High-Resolution Audio definition. The contributions made by our Audio Division Board will help consumer electronics manufacturers and retailers alike in their efforts to market the latest compatible devices and help provide more clarity about HRA for consumers.”
“Leading members of The Recording Academy's Producers & Engineers Wing provided valuable feedback on this new High-Resolution Audio definition and descriptors for Master Quality Recordings, and we’re grateful for their input and expertise,” said Neil Portnow, The Academy President/CEO. “When properly implemented, we believe this agreement will be welcomed by our members and the music community, enhancing their ability to improve the music creative process.”
Said Darren Stupak, Executive Vice President, US Sales and Distribution, Sony Music Entertainment, “We are pleased to be supporting this definition for High-Resolution Audio. We believe that a fundamental way to enable increased development of high def content and hardware, and more awareness and adoption of high-quality listening solutions, is to provide common language and technical descriptors for the music marketplace to use. We think that product offerings that reproduce the full range of sound from recordings, exactly as the artist intended, are a new and compelling option for increasing numbers of music and electronics consumers.”
“Universal Music Group is pleased to work alongside the DEG, the CEA, and The Recording Academy to reach agreement on a High-Resolution Audio definition and Master Quality Recording descriptors,” said Jim Belcher, VP of Technology & Production. “This initiative brings further clarity for consumers of HRA content, and UMG looks forward to making more high resolution tracks available for music fans to enjoy.”
Matt Signore, president, Artist & Label Services, WEA, added, “We support the creation of clear and formal definitions for master quality sources. As high-resolution music services continue to grow, we encourage and look forward to all partners in the music value chain meeting the definitions of High-Resolution Audio, and providing easy-to-use and exciting experiences. We expect 2014 and 2015 to be years of important developments around High-Resolution Audio.”
High-Resolution Audio Listening Experience
To further expand the High-Resolution Audio initiative, The Recording Academy, the DEG, and the CEA are sponsoring a special High-Resolution Audio Listening Experience event, which will be held at Jungle City Studios in New York on Tuesday, June 24 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. during Consumer Electronics (CE) Week.
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