When recording, the ideal is to capture a performance so that the highest possible sound quality can be recovered from the archive. While an archive has no hard limit on the quantity of data assignable to that information, in distribution the data deliverable depends on application-specific factors such as storage, bandwidth or legacy compatibility. Recent interest in high-resolution digital audio has been accompanied by a trend to higher and higher sampling rates and bit depths, yet the sound quality improvements show diminishing returns and so fail to reconcile human auditory capability with the information capacity of the channel. By bringing together advances in sampling theory with recent findings in human auditory science, our approach aims to deliver extremely high sound quality through a hierarchical distribution chain where sample rate and bit depth can vary at each link but where the overall system is managed from end-to-end, including the converters. Our aim is an improved time/frequency balance in a high-performance chain whose errors, from the perspective of the human listener, are equivalent to no more than those introduced by sound traveling a short distance through air.
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