Are you ready for High Definition Audio? Here’s what you need to know before making a decision to buy any new audio gear.….what I’m about to say isn’t going to win me any friends among other audio OEMs.  One is not supposed to talk about the elephant in the room, especially to outsiders.  But here’s the fact: your conventional speakers can’t do HD Audio.  Oh, sure, it’ll “play” the music, maybe even resolve some of the improved detail, but will fall short of delivering the huge improvement in Dynamic Range. Let me put this in perspective; I’ve been at this for some thirty years.  As a speaker designer, the last time we faced a challenge to our product’s dynamic capabilities came in the 1980s, when Compact Disc arrived. Dynamic Range, DR, is engineering speak for the ratio between the loudest and softest sounds your stereo should be able to deliver.  Vinyl records were rather limited with a best case DR of 75dB. Transducing that was not difficult. Then, when CD raised the bar to 96dB, or about one hundred times, meeting the new standard was challenge. I was there. We pushed the available technology as far as we could and, pretty much, more or less, our best efforts came thru OK.  But just barely. It was a stretch. A good portion of the industry came up short. Dull, lifeless stuff compared to vibrant and energetic. The most astute customers have since sought out the most successful products. I think that we did better than most, and may thanks to those of you who have owned and enjoyed our product. Since then, this has been the steady state of things. But now, thanks to the higher data density of HD Audio, we have a technically possible DR of 140dB.  Finally, we can match human hearing’s range of about 120dB with headroom to spare.  In practice, 110dB, or so, meets our needs for realistic music reproduction. So, yep, problem solved on the source side. But that does pose a serious problem on the reproduction side: 110dB is more than 20 times CD’s 96dB, which has already tested the mettle of conventional technology. Can we squeeze out that much more?  Nope.  NOPE. Not even close. What’s needed is a technological advance. Happily, the technologies needed to meet these challenges are at hand. At Meadowlark, we’ve been working with them for several years. Multiple, on board Class D amplifier modules, Digital Signal Processing and the latest thinking in transducers. Here’s my point: the industry will respond to HD Audio with next generation products, some sooner than others. So, if you’re even toying with the idea of buying conventional, last century style audio gear, my advice is: don’t. And please don’t let this happen to you: upgrading your otherwise conventional system to an HD source and not getting much more out of it. That’s what’s happening out there. It’s a waste of money. Like watching 4K For the extra techy stuff, read more….video on your old TV. To get the most out of HD Audio, you’ll need next gen speakers.