It’s Time For High-Res Audio: Like 4k For Your Ears reports that George Lucas once said that sound was 50 per cent of the movie experience. Director Danny Boyle, of Trainspotting and Slumdog Millionaire fame, said he thinks it’s actually closer to 80 percent. So it’s more than a little remarkable that as we’ve moved to better and better video technologies over the years, our sound technologies haven’t kept pace.

That’s not entirely fair; movie sound has improved significantly, thanks to surround technologies like Dolby Digital, THX, DTS, and most recently, 3D systems like Dolby ATMOS. Stand-alone music on the other hand, has actually spent most of the past two decades getting worse, not better.

Yes, you read that right, and it all started with the iPod, that insanely great little white box that could put a thousand songs in your pocket. Ever wondered how a device that only had 5 GB of onboard memory was able to fit so many songs given that CDs (which are roughly 700 MB in size) can only hold an average of 14, five-minute songs? The math doesn’t add up, does it? That first iPod should only have held 98 songs, not 1,000. But if you use digital compression, in the form of an MP3 audio file, a space that could only hold 98 uncompressed CD tracks can now hold ten times that amount.


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