High-resolution audio, whose practitioners include HDTracks.com, Sony Electronics and Neil Young’s Pono, has been the subject of much debate of late, the main issue being whether listeners can tell the difference between this higher-priced configuration and CD sound.

Sony Music, UMG, WMG and the Digital Entertainment Group set out to make a case for the viability of the format, co-hosting a Hi-Res Music Symposium Thursday (3/5) at that temple of high fidelity, Capitol Studios. Nearly 100 execs participated in the event, which included hi-res demos in the Studio A control room.

In the first keynote speech, Don Was stated, "We have a wonderful opportunity with hi-res to really serve the music and to convey the artists' original intentions to future audiences."

"We are excited," proclaimed UMG Global Head of Strategic Operations Barak Moffitt, who also oversees Capitol Studios, “that hi-res audio offers us the opportunity not only to give the fan a chance to hear the same music we work with in the studios every day, but also to help preserve our rich recording history in a format that can retain previously unparalleled richness from the original sources."

Maureen Droney, the longtime MD of the Recording Academy's Producers & Engineers Wing, moderated the panel "Meet the Hi-Def music creators.” “Producers and engineers have always strived to create great-sounding recordings that convey the artist's vision and intention,” she noted. “But until recently, technical limitations have often kept consumers from being able to hear the full fidelity of the original masters. Now, thanks to the hi-res audio initiative, it’s truly possible for listeners to actually hear music exactly as the artists, producers and engineers intended. It's a very exciting time.”

A second panel focusing on "Hi-Res Devices for Every Lifestyle" featured Jeff Hiatt, the Director of Home Audio at Sony Electronics among its experts. "Ultimately, our goal is to combine hi-res content and products in order to let consumers hear music as the artist intended,” he explained. “Getting more people to experience the emotional connection to the music is what is driving everyone in this room.”