Los Angeles – The music and consumer electronics industries have agreed on a standardized definition of high-resolution audio.
They defined it 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.”
The industries also created voluntary descriptions for the four types of master source recordings, or Master Quality Recordings, that can be used to produce the high-res files available through digital music retailers. The descriptions would be used to “provide the latest and most accurate information to consumers,” the industries said in a joint statement.
Each description “describes a recording that has been made from the best quality music source currently available,” the industries said. “All of these recordings will sound like the artists, producers and engineers originally intended.”
The four categories and their descriptions are as follows, according to a spokesperson for DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.
MQ-P: From a PCM master source that is 48kHz/20 bit or higher (typically 96/24 or 192/24 content).
MQ-A: From an analog master source.
MQ-C: From a CD master source (44.1 kHz/16 bit content) in which legacy CD masters are employed as source material and upsampled to high resolution.
MQ-D: From a DSD/DSF master source (typically 2.8 or 5.6 MHz content).
The definitions were developed by DEG, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the Recording Academy's Producers & Engineers Wing, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music Group.
No logo has been developed for high-resolution audio.
“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 high-res music titles being distributed today,” said DEG president Amy Jo Smith. DEG “played a key role in coordinating the work behind finalizing this important agreement,” she said.
Darren Stupak, EVP of U.S. sales and distribution for Sony Music Entertainment, said he believes “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.”
Jim Belcher, VP of technology and production at Universal Music Group, said the industries’ effort “brings further clarity for consumers of HRA content, and UMG looks forward to making more high resolution tracks available for music fans to enjoy.”
For his part, Matt Signore, president of WEA artist and label services, said he encourages and expects “all partners in the music value chain” to meet “the definitions of High Resolution Audio.” He said he expects this year and subsequent years to be “years of important developments around High Resolution Audio.”