What do we mean by high resolution? The recording and replay chain is reviewed from the viewpoints of digital audio engineering and human psychoacoustics. An attempt is made to define high resolution and to identify the characteristics of a transparent digital audio channel. The theory and practice of selecting high sample rates such as 96 kHz and word lengths of up to 24 bit are examined. The relative importance of sampling rate and word size at various points in the recording, mastering, transmission, and replay chain is discussed. Encoding methods that can achieve high resolution are examined and compared, and the advantages of schemes such as lossless coding, noise shaping, oversampling, and matched preemphasis with noise shaping are described.
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