It has actually been around 30 years since the Compact Disc came on the market, we all went out and bought Dire Straits "Brothers in Arms" on CD and were amazed at the crystal clarity of the sound. And with the invention of the CD came the digital audio standard: 16-bit sample depth, and 44100 Hz sample rate. This "standard" has stuck with us for an incredible amount of time.
Since then, the professional audio- and video production community has more or less made the move up to High Definition, High Resolution sound. Studios now generally work in 24-bit and at sample rates of either 44100, 48000 (probably the most common these days), and sometimes even 96000 or, to be extreme, 192000 Hz.
Here at Shockwave-Sound.com this January, you'll more and more often be seeing this symbol:
When you see this symbol attached to a product (be it an individual track or a ready-made collection), it means that this product is available in High Definition, 24-bit audio.
We don't charge more for the High Definition, 24-bit WAV files than we do for the normal, CD-quality, 16-bit WAV files.
Every purchase of a 24-bit WAV file also includes the 16-bit "normal CD-quality" file. We mark these products as (wav24) in our product listings. For example, you may see a track that looks like this:
You'll notice the "HD" logo showing as part of the track description, and you'll notice that some (or all) of the WAV versions are now called (wav24) instead of just (wav). The (wav24) description means that with this purchase you will be able to download a .zip file that contains the chosen music track/version in two files: One high definition 24-bit file, and another file with the same music in "normal" CD-quality, 16-bit sound. Just in case some of our customers are still working with editing equipment or media players that cannot handle 24-bit sound.
We do not upsample 16-bit to 24-bit:
Though some, in their eager to supply customers with fancy 24-bit files, might be tempted to simply convert existing 16-bit files up to 24-bit, we never do this. Converting a file from 16-bit to 24-bit ("upsampling" it) does no good at all. It does not improve the sound quality over the 16-bit version. It merely increases the filesize.
It's important for us to stay honest about this and be transparent about what music was actually produced, recorded, mixed and mastered in 24-bit, and what music was not. Whenever you see the "HD" logo on our site and you see music offered in 24-bit High Definition audio, that music was always created (recorded, mixed, mastered) in 24-bit resolution.
We have asked all our contributors to "get with the times" and to work in 24-bit format as much as possible from now on.