Important Technical Information/FAQs
1. What is HRx? HRx is our trade name for high resolution audio WAV files on a DVD-R data disc. These files contain exact bit-for-bit copies of Reference Recordings’ master recordings. They are the ultimate in fidelity for two-channel sound!
2. Why did Reference Recordings decide to make HRx? We have a virtually unbroken history of making the finest possible high resolution recordings. We started with analog tape. We weren’t satisfied with early technology, 16 bit digital recordings, but soon began making HDCD (High Definition Compatible Digital) recordings, in which the process was co-designed by our own recording guru Keith O. Johnson. In the opinion of many, these are probably the best digital recordings ever. Currently we record at 176.4 kHz/ 24 bits, with HDCD, and that is what we put on our HRx discs. Like any quality recording company, we have long been frustrated by the limitations of consumer formats: LP, CD, SACD, DVD-A, etc. No one but our recording and mastering team could hear the full beauty of our recordings! ALL of the consumer formats downgraded the true sound of the master tapes, either because of the limitations of the format itself or of the playback equipment. Computer music playback is the new frontier, and we applaud the brave audiophiles who are its pioneers! The WAV files on HRx are exactly the same as our master recordings. As long as the playback system you use does not convert or corrupt the bits, they will sound as wonderful as our original masters. HRx Notes by Keith O. Johnson
2A. What playback system does Reference Recordings use and what are other some other technical set ups.
2B.Will my universal player play HRx Discs?
2C. What are the system requirements to play back HRx? Your computer or music server must be able to read DVD-R discs and must read WAV files. Your media player and sound card must be able to output 176.4 kHz, 24 bit audio files. You must have a large amount of hard drive storage space available. One HRx title can take up to 4.7 GB of space. You must have software to manage the music playback. One example is Media Monkey. To realize the fullest potential of these master recordings, we recommend using very high quality equipment with proper, low jitter re-clocking, feeding the best possible external DAC. We recommend consulting a computer music specialist to set up a system to play back HRx.
NEW! HRx PLAYBACK EQUIPMENT: There has been an explosion of companies making equipment that will play HRx and other high resolution music: stand alone players, soundcards, servers, DACs, etc.! We cannot test all of them or endorse specific brands, but the following companies, among others, have been demonstrating Reference Recordings HRx discs at trade and consumer shows. They have worked with us to test and refine our knowledge of computer music playback.
We are very grateful to them and hope you will check out their products:
EMP-2 player from Electrocompaniet plays HRx discs!
(NOTE: OPPO BDP-93, 95, 103, and 105 players support HRx discs.)
(NOTE: Cambridge BD651 and BD751 players support HRx discs.)
Berkeley Audio Design
Weiss Engineering Ltd
Goodwin's High End
Bladelius Design Group
Boulder Amplifiers, Inc.
Blue Smoke Entertainment Systems
Lynx Studio Technology Inc.
Qsonix - Hrx playback hardware
MSB TECHNOLOGY Data CD IV ---- DAC IV
2C. Does HRx work with Mac? Yes, although Reference Recordings has less experience with Mac systems so far. Please consult a computer music specialist. UPDATE MAY 27, 2008: We have successfully tested this Mac playback system and achieved bit for bit resolution with sound that was equal to our PC systems detailed above: Link to Mac playback system details.
2D. Using HRx with Windows Vista.
3. Will Reference Recordings stop making CDs? We make terrific CDs, and expect to continue to do so for years. They provide a very satisfying musical experience for the vast majority of music lovers and audiophiles.
4. Will Reference Recordings make all its titles on HRx? No, only selected titles will be released on HRx.
5. Why do you use DVD-R instead of offering downloads? The uncompressed WAV files are so large, that we felt most people would prefer a DVD-R. That way, you don’t have hours of download time, plus you have a backup. Reference Recordings DOES offer downloads of our titles in various other resolutions: mp3s from many internet vendors, and CD quality (44.1 kHz) from our partners at HDtracks.com. We expect to have either 88.2/24 or 96/24 files available from Hdtracks.com in the next few months also.
6. What does HRx cost? Reference Recordings is selling HRx titles for $29.98 each (except HR-2011 Sampler which is $19.98). They are individually made, tested and packaged by our staff.
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