What is Resolution?

 

The thread starts: I found this interesting, from a "6Moons" review... credit given to one "KG". It opens up a lot of discussion points. What does "resolution" mean to you?

"Resolution. What do you mean by it? That depends. The dictionary goes from "motion, proposal" to "intent, resolve, determination" to "solution, working-out". The audiophile obsession is of course with higher magnifying power. To resolve is not a problem though perhaps there is a problem in this approach somewhere. To instead penetrate finer and finer layers of micro-information buried in the noisefloor. Interesting how that particular meaning is quite divorced from the more common usage of the word.

But even as an audiophile term, there are multiple ways of aiming it. Resolution to obtain more data? Resolution to get closer to the live experience? Those are not automatically synonymous. In fact, they can be mutually exclusive. But neither do they have to be, as though cursed into eternally locked confrontation via some stupid definition.

The three-dimensional holography and razor-edged images from maximized data density through digital interpolation are, I hate to remind you, an artifact peculiar to so-called "highly resolved" playback. They're not part of any live event. However. If you're predominantly a visual participant, you may well benefit from such hyper-realistic add-ons. Such data may indeed assist you. In regenerating certain portions of the original's visual dimension that are plainly missing on the audio-only disc. Note how "pinpoint imaging", "soundstage accuracy" and "placement specificity" are visual descriptors. They fill in the sensory blanks created by the microphones. Mics, after all, are blind as bats. The only sensory stimulae they capture are of the forth --the aural -- kind. Imagine attending a concert without your eyes, nose, skin and tongue! An experience so much the poorer for being restricted to only one of our six-or-more senses...

Now what if you're a different type of listener? One who habitually closes his eyes during live music anyway? One who listens with his ears and heart to automatically abandon the eyes in trade? What type of playback resolution do you require, to help recreate the feeling dimension of the concert?

Dynamic resolution? Rhythmic resolution? Emotional resolution?

What if the visual listener felt as though his hyper-realistic rendition brought him closer to the live event? Even if it didn't matter that it didn't sound like it? What if the better-than-real elements created his bridge to suspend disbelief? Spanned the chasm between this-is-fake to this-seems-real? Does it really matter then if measurable (objective) reality and feeling (subjective) conviction didn't coincide?

Let me ask this differently. What's more important - a virtual clone that sounds like the real thing? Or a less precise rendition that feels more like it? And does that make it less or more precise then?

Stop in your eager tracks for a sec. Admit that resolution exists in many different forms. Contemplate what high-resolution means to you. There are no 'rights' or 'wrongs'. You can't fail with the wrong answer. This ain't an exam. There are, however, 'rights' and 'lefts'. Different ways to get to the same -- or different -- destinations. Their validity and appeal are inextricably tied to individuality. To nervous systems and synaptic patterns. To different trigger points. To different expectations about what should be triggered in the first place.

Relaxation? Transport? Intense stimulation? Mental appreciation? Emotional self-forgetfulness? A state of charged excitement, a release of aural n-dolphins? Sonic bubbly that leaves you warm, fuzzy, mellow and happy?"

I would argue, all of the above!!!

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