‘High-Definition’ Music Explained: Can You Really Tell the Difference?

Billboard.com asks: Delusion? Bliss? Waste of money? Sound investment? A look at what exactly high-definition audio is, and whether it matters.

In the past 48 hours, a story has trickled out of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that has many internet pundits asking: “what is Sony thinking?”

Fortunately for the Japanese giant, this has absolutely nothing to do with shadowy cadres of malicious hackers, vainglorious dictators, the Obama administration or embarrassing leaked emails and trade secrets — things the company would love to leave behind (SO 2014!).

No, the news out of CES concerns Sony’s NW-ZX2 Walkman, a high resolution audio player with a sticker price that has people gasping: the new device will retail for nearly $1,200.

High resolution audio has become something of a movement lately. During a panel discussion at the SF MusicTech Summit in November, audio engineer Dennis “Wiz” Leonard summed up the goal of the Musicians for Audio Quality Initiative, a group of which he is a member:”In the time between 1980 and now we have made all these advances in technology but we are in fact listening to lower resolution than the CD standard. And what is at stake here is our sanity, seriously,” Leonard said.

Read more at http://www.billboard.com/articles/business/6429580/what-is-high-definition-music-debate-sony-walkman-pono