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Beginner's Guide to High-Res Audio

Must-have gadgets for new audiophiles

High-Res Audio first made its big splash back in 2013. Since then, it’s fully hit the mainstream, and more devices and services that support the audio format are cropping up. But the question that remains on everyone’s lips is: Can you really hear the difference between High-Res Audio and compressed audio files like CDs and MP3s? Most audiophiles have expertly trained ears that can truly appreciate the full range of sound that High-Res Audio offers, but can everyday music lovers pick up on the difference as well? 

To test things out, we asked a group of music lovers to listen to Norah Jones’ famous track “Come Away With Me” in High-Resolution Audio quality (bitrate of 9216 kbps) and then listen to the same song on Spotify (bitrate of 320 kbps).

The group was pleasantly surprised to find that while there wasn’t a huge difference overall, they were able to pick up on certain subtleties in the high-res version that they had missed when listening on Spotify. For example, one listener noted that she was able to hear Jones’ natural, relaxed phrasing better in the high-res version. The first few strings of piano notes were also much more vibrant and bright, and she could feel the gentle vibrato of Jones’ voice in the opening lines “Come away with me in the night.” 

So, is High-Res Audio really worth the investment? It all depends on what you’re looking for. If you take music seriously and want to get the most out of your listening experience, then High-Resolution Audio offers the best sound quality out there. 

For those who are new to the world of High-Res Audio, we know how intimidating it can be to first get started. There are so many audio gadgets on the market today that vary dramatically in price and quality, and it can be tough to navigate the audio scene if you aren’t armed with the right knowledge. This guide is here to help those who are seeking to upgrade their music listening experience figure out what to look for when buying new equipment. 

Here are four recommended High-Resolution Audio gadgets to help you get started on your audiophile journey.

h.ear go Speaker

The h.ear go Speaker is the world’s smallest portable and wireless speaker, and it’s a great option for someone who isn’t ready for a full home audio system just yet. Hear every note, breath and drumbeat, thanks to the h.ear go Speaker’s premium material and components that ensure precise, dynamic sound and a smooth introduction to the world of High-Res Audio. 

Not only will you get the best out of every track, but you can also feel the power of EXTRA BASS™. This technology is tailor-made for dance music, so you can enjoy the deep, punchy bass sound in a song like Tiesto’s “Wasted” without compromising your speaker system. 

h.ear on Wireless NC Headphones

Get ready to immerse yourself in High-Res Music with the newly available h.ear on Wireless NC Headphones. 

Not only are you guaranteed superior sound quality like you’ve never known before, but you also won’t have to sacrifice your style. Designed to fit seamlessly into your life as both a stylish accessory and your favorite music listening device, h.ear on headphones have a tactile, single-color finish over a single-shape design. And the titanium-coated diaphragm domes add a clean look and help minimize distortion. These headphones will leave you wondering how you ever listened to music in any format other than High-Resolution Audio. 

NWZ-A Series High-Resolution Walkman®

If you’re looking for a music device that will fit seamlessly into your life (and pocket), allow us to introduce the smallest and lightest High-Resolution Audio player — the NWZ-A Series High-Resolution Walkman®. This Walkman® comes with 64 GB of internal memory as well as a built-in memory slot for up to 128 GB of additional storage, so you can store hundreds of High-Resolution Audio songs. And not only is the sound quality exceptional, but so is the battery life — with up to 30 hours of High-Res Audio playback available. 

The NWZ-A Series Walkman® is perfect for the High-Res Audio novice because it automatically makes noticeable improvements to your music for you. Equipped with a dynamic normalizer, this Walkman® not only balances the volume levels between songs and multiple music formats, but it also has a clear bass feature that eliminates distortion and regulates songs rich in bass like Muse’s “Hysteria.” This Walkman® is fully capable of capturing the unrelenting fortitude of the bass guitar and crashing percussion of this heavy electronic track. 

PHA-1A USB DAC Headphone Amplifier

Think of the PHA-1A USB DAC Headphone Amplifier as a portable amp that not only improves sound from almost any digital source, but also has the ability to breathe new life into your existing music library. Simply connect the amp to your PC, smartphone or music device, sit back, and allow the PHA-1A to work its magic and experience your music like never before. You can even feel sound beyond your natural hearing range with high frequencies up to 100 kHz. 

The PHA-1A’s aluminum casing helps shut out distracting noise and interference that can adversely affect sound quality. With just one listen, you’ll be able to hear the difference the PHA-1A makes on songs like “Band on the Run” by Paul McCartney. That sweet opening guitar riff will sound even sweeter when you’re listening to it in high-res quality. 

Believe us, after you’ve tried out any of these High-Resolution Audio gadgets, your ears will be thanking you. Feel the difference for yourself, and experience your favorite songs for what will feel like the first time. 

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