Hello peeps, today I hope to introduce you guys to hi-resolution anisongs. For those that desire more lifelike vocals of your favorite artiste like Yui Sakakibara, Angela, getting their hi-resolution songs is the way to go. What you would expect would be more lifelike portrayal (sounds clearer! trust me!) and better instrumental separation (overall sometimes better then CD quality) of your favorite artiste.
First of all, you would see that there are Pulse Code Modulation (PCM) music in 24 bit and 16 bit depths. 16 bit/44.khz is what you would typically see in a CD-quality release or when you rip your CDs into Apple Lossless (ALAC) or FLACs.
Most high resolution anime music you would find is typically 24bit/48khz which is what you should be looking for since those are the native source of the music tracks you would find. Below are some examples.
Otherwise there are also fewer but better quality releases in 24bit/96khz. Both are usually better then CD quality. Do listen to the samples though, there may be duds that are 16/44.1khz but are upsampled (read like upscaling 480p on 1080p res) to 24bit /96hhz. Here are some true 24bit 96khz albums from Yui Sakakibara, Seikoku no Dragonar and Aquaplus’ Tears to Tiara II .
Very rare and only Neon Genesis Evangelion does it, 24 bit/192khz content is the maximum quality (I have not bought it though) you would find for PCM content. These are the album covers for Neon Genesis Evangelion 2013 HR Remaster ver.
Then, you have K2HD remastered tracks which use a PCM 16bit/44.1khz CD master source but are tricked out and are processed at 24bit/96khz to sound better then the originals by sound engineers. Personally, I have no experience with such tracks but some do swear by it. Below are some, Ali Project, May’n, Fiction Junction.
Most of these albums are from Flying Dog’s collaboration with Victor Studio to provide such content.
After that, you have Direct Stream Digital which are 1 bit sources but with extremely high frequencies (2.8224 MHz). These are not likely to be compatible to your sound card ordinarily unless you have a high res player like Foobar with the DSD to PCM plugin or Jriver Media Center. Most DACs (or Digital to Analog Converter as the technophiles call it) or sound cards are only PCM compatible.
The results can be worth the extra work if you invest in a DSD sound card/DACs. To my knowledge, Fix Records (Aquaplus music, Uehara Rena, Suara) makes the most use of the format and endorses it with many releases. Sort of an oddball since nobody else does it, they also come in 24 bit/96khz.
So now for some FAQ,
Q: Where can I purchase such songs?
A: There are a few online download stores like http://ototoy.jp/top/ which is the main place to get DSD content and the big home of Fix Records. Regular content is available there as well. http://hd-music.info/ has K2HD content plus a few more stuff.
For Lantis releases like Girls und Panzer, µ’s and more, http://www.e-onkyo.com/music/ is the only place for them. Unfortunately e-onkyo recently barred overseas visitors to their stores, so you will need a friend in Japan, a proxy, or use a third-party forwarding service to get by.
Q: What do I need to enjoy such contents?
A: Like watching a well filmed movie where you get a good tv screen, good audio equipment are needed, namely a good sound card (or DAC) and a pair of good headphones/IEMs/speakers satisfy. With the advent of M50X by Audio Technica which by itself improves on the M50, it is a great entry level headphone to start with. Also the older ATH-M50s are easily bought used or from Amazon would be pretty cheap way to get started. ATH-M50 review here: http://www.ani-culture.net/2011/04/ath-m50/
Also you might want a better sound card, which on the PC front, Asus has great sound cards (eg. Essence series) for music. For a really cheap way to add hi-res capability (without DSD capability) http://stoneracoustics.blogspot.com/ from Malaysia has great little USB sound cards that are pretty cheap and good. If you have a little more to spend, spring for Fiio’s E07K which would net you a good entry level device for enjoying that content.
Well, hopefully my post is comprehensive enough to cover most if not all about music digital content, of course these do not cover just anisongs but you can find a bunch of mainstream Jpop works like instrumentals from AKB48 among others.
Hopefully more will know about them to encourage big players like King Records to release more HD “mainstream” albums (Nana Mizuki please!) and e-onkyo one day to be pressured by Lantis to reopen its doors to us.
Sources for pictures: Fix Records, Ototoy, hd-music.info, Lantis, e-onkyo, Audio Technica and their respective copyright holders.