Download dilemma: dealing with high-res audio when you’re living in Australia

If the idea of high resolution sound at home or on the go makes your eyes light up and your ears sing praises, great news: more devices are coming that support this technology. Bad news, though, because if you live in Australia, the pickings are slim.

I like music, and I like it in a good quality because I like to be immersed. That’s me, and that’s a lot of people who have a love affair with sounds, buying great quality headphones and making sure the things they listen to are rich with information, putting them in the moment.

These days, that sort of moment is available not just in your home with a big stereo system and library of vinyl, but with a mobile phone supporting high-resolution lossless audio and a pair of supportive headphones, able to take that sound and do great things with it, looking at the frequency ranges and letting your ears and head feel like they are both a part of the action.

But there’s a problem.

We have the technology. We have the capability to bring high resolution audio where ever we go. We can build it better, smaller, and make it sound amazing.

But we’re missing the content, we really are.

Content exists for high-resolution audio, but finding it locally can prove problematic.

It seems to always come back to this issue in technology where content is king, but companies are often one step behind.

Take 4K Ultra HD at the moment, where there is pretty much no media available in Australia for people to really enjoy a 4K TV at its actual resolution. You can upscale a Full HD 1080p movie, sure, but that’s not the same, and so we’re waiting on content.

Look at Dolby Atmos audio, which you’ll be able to buy in a matter of weeks, but of which there will only be four titles available for by the end of the year, and only one at launch, despite there being over a hundred movies supporting the high-end home theatre sound format.

Unlike Ultra HD video or Atmos-enabled movies, the high-resolution audio (HRA) can be found, you just have to know where to look.

High resolution audio is in a similar boat, with little to no online presence in Australia, despite a push by companies locally to get people on-board with the audio technology.

Indeed, we first saw LG talk about the idea when it launched its G2 smartphone last year, bringing the technology to the G3 this year, which won rave reviews from us from that feature alone (as well as a bunch of other reasons).

Sony’s Xperia Z3 Compact is one phone that supports high-resolution audio.

Even Samsung is getting in on the action, with the Galaxy Note 4 supporting high-resolution audio, and the support also appears on Sony’s Z3 and Z3 Compact smartphones, stopping us from needing to spend large wads of cash on Sony’s other high-res supporting player, the ZX1 Walkman.

There are other dedicated options, like the Astell & Kern AK240, which is particularly hard to find, but can be bought in a very expensive Blue Note Records package if you have a spare $7600 laying around (we don’t).

And high-res audio is also being mentioned by Bluesound (above), because it wants to bring a Sonos-like multi-room streaming audio experience to people who want only the highest of audio quality, plugging their streamers into speakers from Bowers & Wilkins, for example.

But while these companies talk spruik their wares and the benefits of high-res audio, none of them seem to have a solution for where Aussies can find the stuff.

You know, the actual media, the songs, the tracks, the digital discs.