A blog post

Music: Resolution eats tweaks for breakfast

Posted on the 07 April, 2011 at 7:31 pm Written by in Music

Stereophile had a comment to this effect, some months ago. It means: a step up in resolution will be more important than most tweaks to your sound system. Here is a new experiment, using my Cowon D2 small mobile music player.

1 Listening to Tom Petty: Mojo on LP on my main system, sound is quite good, ensemble playing enjoyable.

2 Downloading the hi-res (Flac) digital version of the same LP – will not play on the Cowon D2.

3 Downloading the mp3 version. Plays OK, but the sound is hard and digital. Turn it off, please.

4 Recording from the LP through the Korg MR1 DSD recorder, then downsampling to the best (standard CD) resolution the Cowon player can handle (using Korg’s Audiogate), and downloading to the Cowon. Result: much better. A much more embodied, relaxed but also lively sound, more like true music. More, thanks.

Conclusion: Considering how much mechanics and potential error that alternative 4 goes through, using a technology from a century ago, the result is in a sense quite amazing. However the resolution of the LP is even higher than that of today’s “hires” digital recordings, so the improvement shines through. Even downsampled down the chain, a higher upchain resolution makes a major difference.