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High fidelity²or hi-fi²reproduction is a term used by home stereo listeners and home audio enthusiasts (audiophiles) to refer to high

-quality reproduction of sound[1] to distinguish it from the poorer quality sound produced by inexpensive audio equipment. Ideally, high-fidelity equipment has minimal amounts of noise and distortion and an accurate frequency response. One effort to standardize the term was the 1966 German Deutsches Institut für Normung (DIN) standard DIN 45500. DIN 45500 approval was intended to provide audio equipment buyers with reassurance that their equipment was capable of good quality reproduction. In theory, only stereo equipment that met the standard could bear the words 'hi-fi'. This standard was well intentioned but only mildly successful; in practice, the term was widely misapplied to audio products that did not remotely approach the DIN basis specifications. History Bell Laboratories began experimenting with wider range recording techniques in the early 1930s. Performances by Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra were recorded in 1931 and 1932 using telephone lines between the Academy of Music in Philadelphia and the labs in New Jersey. Some multi-track recordings were made on optical sound film, which led to new advances used primarily by MGM (as early as 1937) and Twentieth Century Fox (as early as 1941). RCA Victor began recording performances by several orchestras on optical sound around 1941, resulting in higher fidelity masters for 78-rpm discs. After World War II,[citation needed] several innovations created the conditions for a major improvement of home-audio quality: Reel-to-reel audio tape recording, based on technology found in Germany after the war, helped musical artists such as Bing Crosby make and distribute recordings with better fidelity. The advent of the 33 rpm Long Play (LP) microgroove vinyl record, with low surface noise and quantitatively-specified equalization curves. Classical music fans, who were opinion leaders in the audio market, quickly adopted LPs because, unlike with older records, most classical works would fit on a single LP. FM radio, with wider audio bandwidth and less susceptibility to signal interference and fading than AM radio, though AM could be heard at longer distances at night. Better amplifier designs, with more attention to frequency response and much higher power output capability, allowing audio peaks to be reproduced without distortion.[2] In the 1950s, the term high fidelity began to be used by audio manufacturers as a marketing term to describe records and equipment which were intended to provide faithful sound reproduction. While some consumers simply interpreted high fidelity as fancy and expensive equipment, many found the difference in quality between "hi-fi" and the then standard AM radios and 78 rpm records readily apparent and bought 33 LPs, such as RCA's New Orthophonics and London's ffrrs, and high-fidelity phonographs. Audiophiles paid attention to technical characteristics and bought individual components, such as separate turntables, radio tuners, preamplifiers, power amplifiers and loudspeakers. Some enthusiasts assembled their own loudspeaker systems. In the 1950s, hi-fi became a generic term, to some extent displacing phonograph and record player. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the development of the Westrex single-groove stereophonic record cutterhead led to the next wave of home-audio improvement, and in common parlance,

[5][6] He stated: "Blind tests are at the core of the decades¶ worth of research into loudspeaker design done at Canada¶s National Research Council (NRC). but not individuals undergoing the experiments. Mirage. A very popular type of system for reproducing music from the 1970s onwards was the integrated music centre which combined phonograph. John Atkinson (editor). and the subject identifies X as being either A or B. tape player. but came to realize months later that "the magic was gone" until he replaced it with a tube amp. when tube equipment manufacturers of the time produced many models considered endearing by modern audiophiles. In a double-blind experiment.[citation needed] Robert Harley of The Absolute Sound wrote.stereodisplaced hi-fi. Purists generally avoid referring to these systems as high fidelity. they had to eliminate bias. analyzed) do the researchers learn which individuals are which. neither the individuals nor the researchers know who belongs to the control group and the experimental group. These tests are not accepted by some "audiophile" magazines in their evaluation of audio equipment. exotic cables) have any perceivable effect on sound quality. In the world of the audiophile. refuted this position with two editorials in 2009. A subject is presented with two known samples (sample A.[7] Semblance of realism . stated (in a 2005 July editorial namedBlind Tests & Bus Stops) that he once purchased a solid-state amplifier. Listening tests Blind tests refer to experiments where researchers have sighted knowledge on the tested (audio) components. and sample B. high fidelity continued and continues to refer to the goal of highly-accurate sound reproduction and to the technological resources available for approaching that goal. such as Stereophile and The Absolute Sound. This period is most widely regarded as "The Golden Age of Hi-Fi". for three samples total. an alternative). that "blind listening tests fundamentally distort the listening process and are worthless in determining the audibility of a certain phenomenon. preamp and power amplifier in one package. editor of the online Soundstage network. PSB and Revel use blind testing extensively in designing their loudspeakers. detachable or integrated speakers. and one unknown sample X. subsequently replacing tube equipment as mainstream. the consumer did not have to select and assemble the individual components. radio tuner. Only after all the data has been recorded (and in some cases." Many Canadian companies such as Axiom. Paradigm. A commonly-used variant of this test is the ABX test."[4] Doug Schneider. however. Many audio insiders like Sean Olive of Harman International share this view. often sold with its own separate. current editor of Stereophile. Scientific double-blind tests are often used to disprove certain audio components (such as expensive. Although there is no way to prove that a certain lossy methodology is transparent. in a 2008 editorial (on Issue 183). These systems advertised their simplicity. though some are capable of very good quality sound reproduction. and just before solid state equipment was introduced to the market. the Quad 405. in 1978 after blind tests. Records were now played on a stereo.[3] a properly conducted double-blind test can prove that a lossy method is not transparent. Energy. and blind testing was the only way to do so. The NRC researchers knew that for their results to be credible within the scientific community and to have the most meaningful results. X is randomly selected from A and B. the reference.

the playback of music must be subjectively free from noise to achieve realism.[8] CDs are capable of reproducing frequencies as low as 10 Hz and as high as 22. however. is 20 Hz to 20. Consumers did not want to pay the additional costs and space required for the marginal improvements in realism.Stereophonic sound provided a partial solution to the problem of creating some semblance of the illusion of live orchestral performers by creating a phantom middle channel when the listener sits exactly in the middle of the two front loudspeakers. In addition to spatial realism. mini. The advances made in signal processors to synthesize an approximation of a good concert hall can now provide a somewhat more realistic illusion of listening in a concert hall. The traditional hi-fi enthusiast. again. will build a system from separates (or components). An attempt to provide for the reproduction of the reverberation was tried in the 1970s through quadraphonic sound but. also known as music centres or minisystems.[8] which exceeds the 80 dB dynamic range of music as normally perceived in a concert hall. however. . Modularity Modularity Modular components made by Samsungand Harman Kardon Integrated. the technology at that time was insufficient for the task. although some high-endmanufacturers do produce integrated systems. in range. for healthy young persons. making them adequate.05 kHz. With the rise in popularity of home theater. When the listener moves slightly to the side.000 Hz. and many consumers were willing to tolerate the six to eight channels required in a home theater. this phantom channel disappears or is greatly reduced. often with each item from a different manufacturer specialising in a particular component.[8] The equipment must also provide no noticeable distortion of the signal or emphasis or deemphasis of any frequency in this frequency range. The human hearing range. This provides the most flexibility for piece-by-piece upgrades. multi-channel playback systems became affordable. a tuner. or a cassettedeck together with a preamplifier and a power amplifier in one box. Such products are generally disparaged by audiophiles. or lifestyle systems. contain one or more sources such as a CD player.[9] Audio equipment must be able to reproduce frequencies high enough and low enough to be realistic. however. [10] Most adults can't hear higher than 15 kHz. The compact disc (CD) provides about 90 decibels of dynamic range. to reproduce all the frequencies that people can hear.

Another advantage of modularity is the ability to spend one's money on only a few core components at first and then later add additional components to one's system. In a system built from separates. . means complete lack of use of the system. Some modern hi-fi equipment can be digitally connected usingfibre optic TOSLINK cables. digital audio players. This modularity allows the enthusiast to spend as little or as much as he wants on a component that suits his specific needs. Monkey's Audio or WMA Lossless. Digital Media Players. or Wi-Fi support. Some of the disadvantages of this approach are increased cost. universal serial bus (USB) ports (including one to play digital audio files). Modern equipment Modern hi-fi equipment can include signal sources such as digital audio tape (DAT). A repair of an integrated system. hi-fi videocassette recorders (VCRs) and reel-to-reel tape recorders. Other modules in the system may include components likecartridges. DVD players that play a wide variety of discs including CDs. it is a receiver.For slightly less flexibility in upgrades.MiniDisc recorders. Signal modification equipment can include equalizers and signal processors. A monophonic power amplifier. though. a preamplifier and a power amplifier in one box is called an integrated amplifier. digital audio broadcasting (DAB) or HD Radio tuners. complexity. and space required for the components. When the music is stored in an audio file format that islossless such as FLAC. which is called a monoblock. sometimes a failure on one component still allows partial use of the rest of the system. Another modern component is the music server consisting of one or more computer hard drives that hold music in the form of computer files. tonearms. turntables. the computer playback of recorded audio can serve as an audiophile-quality source for a hi-fi system. is often used for powering a subwoofer. CD recorders. with a tuner.