Question Newbie need hi resolution audio advise


Active Member
After a period of 20 years away from high fidelity I have been reading about the hi res format. Specially a portable audi player and I would appreciate any help with the following.

Mainly for use at home!

For someone who can appreciate a good quality sound is hi res that much better than what you can get from your smartphone?

What's the minimum price for hi res over ear headphones?

Do noise cancelling headphones reduce the audio quality?

Is the hi res the only format fir the highest audio quality?

When you download music can still listen when not connected to WiFi?

Any advice or links to articles appreciated



Senior Moderator

The resolution of the music files and the hardware source are two different questions

Your smartphone DAC will be 'fine' for certain uses, people listen via the headphone smartphone jack (or via a USB c to 3.5mm dongle) for convenience say during the commute or the day - before the lockdown. So it's about convenience rather than ultimate quality due to outdoor environmental noise

Buying a dedicated DAC and headphone amplifier (or all in one combined unit) will in theory be better than the smartphone built in DAC

Your other question about "resolution" is separate. Whether you can hear a difference between higher resolution files compared to 44.1 (Redbook) cd quality audio is another subject matter unto itself. You also need to watch out for online streaming services, whether they are giving you true high resolution files or whether they are upscaling 44.1 files

Some people believe it is about the mastering: well mastered Redbook cd quality music will sound better than poorly mastered music at whatever higher resolution

Wired headphones will sound better than wireless headphones when comparing at the same level playing field. One day Bluetooth or whatever is being used in the future may have caught up with cables, but we are not quite there today. For example many forum members will report using their Bluetooth headphones with the included cable sounds better, but of course you have purchased wireless headphones for the convenience

Wireless Bluetooth headphones rely upon their own built in DAC. If that is the route you want to go down, then your purchasing decision is straightforward. Just focus on the Bluetooth headphone model and connect to your existing smartphone via Bluetooth or whatever other device you own. The external DAC or amplifier does not matter

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