Sony has released a range of its high-end audio products in Australia, from headphones to speakers, all designed for listening to high-res audio files.
There has been a significant push from electronics companies in 2014 to bring high-res audio to our attention. The success of projects such as Neil Young'shave showed that there is definitely a market for products that help users improve their listening experience, whether you are an audio connoisseur or casual listener.
Though there isn't yet an industry standard to define how high resolution audio is measured, the general consensus is that it offers better sound quality than CD (44.1kHz, 16-bit).
Sony has launched a number of products in Australia that are aimed at the high-res audio market, from playback devices such as the Walkman NWZ-ZX1 and high-end headphones. The ZX1 runs Android 4.1 and houses a digital audio amp inside that plays high-res audio files such as FLAC, WAV, AIFF and more. It has 128GB of internal storage and sells for AU$699.
In the headphones range, the MDR-1 range consists of three models: the 1R (AU$299); 1RBT with Bluetooth and NFC (AU$399); and the 1RNC noise-cancelling cans (AU$499). All of the models have a liquid crystal polymer film diaphragm for reproduction of mid-high sounds. There are also enlarged air vents at the back of each driver to give better airflow when listening to low-end and bass-heavy sounds.
The HAPS1 high-res audio player has a built-in 500GB hard drive to store digital audio files and can upscale existing MP3, ACC, ATRAC and WMA files to near-CD quality. There's a front LCD panel to view files and Wi-Fi connectivity that allows you to use a smartphone or tablet as a remote control. It sells for AU$1399.
Sony doesn't have a store through which you can purchase high-res audio files, but existing online vendors such as HD Tracks, Bleep and iTrax all sell files that can be classified as high resolution.