Nomenclature (411) Q&A

What is High Resolution? edit

What do people mean when they talk about a sound or a component having a high resolution?
1 Answer
Michael Davis, I work here
There may be some disagreement about what this means, but I will describe what I think it means and why I think it makes the most sense.

I think high resolution should mean the same thing in both video/photos and in sound. That is: that a higher resolution REVEALS subtleties and details - it does not enhance them. Using this definition, a higher resolution is always a good thing.

A higher resolution sound helps make the music both sound more real and allow us to connect to the emotion in the music better. It allows you to hear the true-to-life subtle details like the sound of soft human fingers scraping across hard metal guitar strings, the shape of a signers mouth and the emotions they are trying to put into their voice, and many other things that are part of the human-to-human communication called music.

Detail can often mean the same thing as high resolution, though you will find that half the time people who talk about something having detail refer to either exaggerated leading edges on the midrange notes or to prominent midrange dynamics.

A high resolution midrange is sometimes referred to as having a lot of 'finesse'

Low resolution sound is often referred to as 'soft', 'muddy' or 'smooth' - though all these also refer to other aspects of the sound in addition to resolution.
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