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February 9th, 2006 · No Comments

Ever ones to spot a trend, the British Federation of Audio (BFA) – the UK ’s specialist audio-visual consumer electronics trade body – says it’s becoming increasingly apparent that consumers are not getting the enjoyment they could from their portable music devices or Hi-Fis.
‘There is considerable consumer apathy to high quality sound reproduction from popular contemporary portable media gadgets and today’s music fans are happy to download and listen to low bit-rate music files – which, despite some absurd claims – often don’t come even close to CD quality. The excellent alternative, the CD portable, is quickly losing ground to the fashionable but potentially poorer quality solid state or hard disk portable.’

The BFA’s boffins have concluded that downloads at inadequate bit-rates are to blame. Listening tests carried out by various members of the Federation, using assorted portable audio units, indicate that the standard recording rate of around 128kbits per second results in reproduction that is audibly inferior to CD.
“ It is known that higher bit-rates of 256k and above deliver a far better performance bur still not as good as that from CD. Non lossy compression systems, for example Apple’s Lossless compression, still allow for plenty of music on an iPod and the sound quality is far better – more akin to a budget specialist CD player.”
The BFA is keen to encourage users, using higher bit-rates, to connect their portable music devices to their Hi-Fis as the performance can be very good indeed.

The BFA has pledged to instruct its members to ‘educate its customers into taking the time to set their portable music gadgets to the highest possible bit-rate and to make sound quality as high a priority as convenience. The difference in the overall sound experience is quite striking – and very rewarding.’

For more, contact Stephen N Harris, Chairman, BFA, on steveh@british-audio.org.uk , or visit www.bfa.org.uk

Tags: Hi-fi

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