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Music lovers India embracing high-resolution audio (HRA): JBL by Harman

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New Delhi, April 24, 2017: Over the last decade, India has witnessed a revolution in the way music is heard. With a growing tribe of audiophiles who won’t settle for anything less when it comes to experiencing music, high-resolution audio (HRA) is emerging as the first choice for them, a top executive from US-based audio electronics company JBL by Harman has said.

As we shift from records, cassettes, CDs/DVDs and MP3 to live streaming where convenience takes precedence over fidelity, the content as envisaged by the artiste is diluted, nuances are lost and the overall experience is mediocre.

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Here is where HRA comes as a saviour. It is an audio format that has a sampling rate of 96 KHz/24 bit and can reproduce very close to original sound as recorded in a studio or a concert hall.

“Quality and durability drives the Indian audio market. Audiophiles who are passionate about the quality of sound will go an extra mile and spend an extra penny on a good quality audio product. This audience understands the technology behind audio products and equipments,” Prashant Govindan, Senior Director, Harman Professional, India Operations, Engineering/R&D, told IANS in an email interview.

As a key player in Harman’s extensive portfolio of legendary brands, JBL contributed to an overall sales increase of 18 per cent in India for the entire lifestyle audio division in the 2016 fiscal year.

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For Harman’s lifestyle audio division, the fiscal 2016 operating income increased 36 per cent to $267 million from $196 million (On a GAAP basis) in the country as compared to 2015.

According to Govindan, it is essential for consumers to understand how the difference in fidelity and overall quality is immediately discernable when the same content is played back in high-resolution audio equipment.

“The consumers who have been exposed to the difference in quality immediately appreciate the better quality,” Govindan told IANS.

With high-resolution audio, listeners can experience fine details of audio like subtlety and depth.

Better frequency sampling rate and high bit rate makes the playback audio very close to the original audio track — which a CD recording cannot capture. Popular formats for storing high-resolution audio are FLAC, ALAC, WAV, AIFF and DSD.

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Sampling rate means the number of times samples are taken per second during the conversion of analog sound waves to digital. Thus, a precise audio signal can be produced with more bits like 24-bit in high-resolution audio.

“We have observed mass-market heavyweights bring HRA to a larger audience so that people are able to understand what high-resolution audio is and the benefits it can bring to music. The future of HRA certainly looks bright and promising and is fast becoming a hot and trending topic in India as well,” Govindan stressed.

While most streaming providers have a paid premium ‘high-resolution’ option, the content is still lacking in terms of overall fidelity and tonal quality.

For a more accurate and fulfilling experience, music needs to be recorded at the highest sampling rate possible (preferably 96KHz and above) and stored in a lossless format that does not compress and take away the fidelity (WAV, ALAC or FLAC).

High-resolution audio tends to reveal every music nuance with fine integrity — from deep sub-bass lows to crystalline highs — bringing listeners closer to the original performance.

“We will continue to push audio boundaries through innovative, connected and personalised sound technology to the benefit of consumers worldwide,” Govindan added. (IANS)

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Scripts that came to A.R Rahman were secondary

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Scripts that came to A.R Rahman were secondary
Scripts that came to A.R Rahman were secondary. wikimedia commons

Mumbai, Dec 19, 2017: Grammy and Oscar winning composer A.R Rahman says that in the last few years, he had not been offered many musical scripts where he could project his magic. He says his upcoming film “99 Songs” will be the answer to several questions.

Since the 1990s, Rahman has delivered hit songs like “Hamma hamma”, “Rangeela re”, “Chaiyya chaiyya” and “Jai ho”.

But if we look at some of his latest compositions, some believe that he has missed out in keeping the ‘Rahman magic’ alive.

Asked if he could find out the missing link in his latest work, Rahman told IANS here: “It also depends on what the director wants to do, like the problem that I dealt with in the last few years was that. All the films that came to me were different, where music was secondary.”

“The kind of music that you are talking about needs a certain conviction. Are they (filmmakers) coming to me with enough of that, to create good musical stories?”

He said that his upcoming production “99 Songs” would be the answer to the questions being raised. “The questions that you are asking, about me not being able to create such magic, the fact is, those kind of scripts are not coming anymore,” he added.

On producing films, he said: “There is a reason why we put so much effort to set out our production company. From here, I want to make musical stories and celebrate music ideas. So yes, in a way, in the last 25 years, my life has changed — from being a music composer to a visionary, from a writer to producer and film director,” said the artiste, who has earned the title ‘Mozart of Madras’.

The musician is currently performing in different Indian cities for his live gig A.R. Rahman Encore — The Concert in association with MTV, which celebrates 25 years of his journey as a composer.

Asked to choose his favourites, he said: “Choosing five songs is tough. I would say ‘Humma humma’, ‘Tu hi re’, ‘Maa tujhe salaam’, ‘Chaiyya chaiyya’, ‘Khwaja mere Khwaja’, but there are more.”

Which one is the closest reflection of his personality?

“I think all my compositions are the reflection of my personality and I am the combination of everything. I am funny, light-hearted when I spend time with family. And then there are times when I get into the zone of spirituality. I think such emotions and moods are there in all of us. At times, music takes us to different zones too,” he said.

Rahman has created compositions for filmmaker Ashutosh Gowariker’s movies — “Lagaan”, “Swades” and “Jodhaa Akbar”, but failed to impress his fans with his last work in “Mohenjo Daro”.

“That story goes beyond our civilisation, to an era where we do not know that well about how the music was. And if you look at the story, it has got so many things happening in it. It was not a ‘Lagaan’ where the picture was clear. In ‘Mohenjo Daro’, Ashu tried something different. At least, we should appreciate that,” said the music maestro. (IANS)

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