Our Blog
Read the Latest News, learn tips and tricks or learn what's upcoming.

High Resolution Music: Your Favourite Music… As the Artist Intended

We love music! It motivates us, lifts our spirits, sets the perfect mood, and so much more. 

Music in many ways, an expression and extension of ourselves. When listening to our favourite music, we want to listen to it as the artist intended.  We want to hear every piano key, guitar chord, bass line, and drum beat… we want to hear it all.  In today’s digital age, this is where high-resolution audio comes in.

What is High Resolution Audio?

For those who remember, the CD was introduced in 1982. Since its introduction, the audio CD has set the bar for digital audio quality. “Hi-res audio” is used to describe any digital audio file or format that matches or exceeds the quality of an audio CD. In late 1999, following in the footsteps of the CD, SuperAudio CD and DVD Audio discs were introduced, which promised even higher quality audio tracks, however, they did not last. In 2001, Apple revolutionized the music industry and the world when it released the first iPod. Overnight, any growing momentum toward hi-res music was decimated by Apple’s promise of “a thousand songs in your pocket,” and music fans gobbled up iPods at a dizzying pace.

If you wanted to have thousands upon thousands of songs on your favourite portable music player, there was no way to include hi-res music files due to a lack of space. In order to fit that much music, the iPod and other players at the time relied on the MP3 digital format. A lossy digital audio format that actually deletes much of the information on an audio CD to keep file sizes as small as possible. Hi-res audio couldn’t compete. It would be almost 15 years before portable storage was cheap enough and plentiful enough to house their large file sizes.

How Do I Play High Resolution Music?

You’ll need a player or device that is capable of playing high-resolution tracks. Many devices on the market will be able to play these high-resolution tracks.  Desktop computers, portable music players, smartphones, Google Chromecast, DACs (Digital to Analogue convertors), wireless speakers, and whole-home music systems are all capable of playing these superior audio tracks.  But there is a catch….. While a smartphone is capable of playing these high solution tracks, in most cases, you won’t be able to hear the difference due to the speakers built into these phones. These speakers don’t have the ability to play every note. While a high-resolution player connected to a pair of bookshelf or in-ceiling speakers will do a better job of playing back every note the artist recorded.

How Do I Get High Resolution Audio Tracks?

There are many ways you can obtain high res audio tracks. Here are the top three options.

  1. Download the tracks you want. Here is a list of popular download sites: https://www.digitaltrends.com/music/best-sites-downloading-hd-music/
  2. Subscribe to a music streaming service that offers high-resolution music. Streaming providers such as Tidal, Amazon Music HD, and Qobuz.
  3. Deezer Hifi and Spotify both offer better than MP3 options.

What About My Existing CD Collection?

While not true high resolution, converting your CDs will allow you to playback those audio tracks on your favourite music player.  All while sounding better than MP3 tracks found on most online streaming services.  For help converting your CD collection, please reach out to us for more information.

The Tip of the Iceberg.

High-resolution audio is just starting to gain momentum and is predicted to replace the MP3 in a few years. If looking for more information, please click on the link below for more information.

Link: https://www.whathifi.com/us/advice/high-resolution-audio-everything-you-need-to-know

Pro-Tip: Importance of Structured Wiring. Think Long Term Investment!

As a company, we often find ourselves fielding questions regarding structured wiring and whether it’s important in a renovation or new home build. Absolutely!  It’s one of the most important investments you can make with your home. It’s a digital world with innovation pushing the limits of what’s possible every day. Here are some reasons why you should consider a structured wiring package.

·         Future requirements: What will the future look like 5, 10, 15 years from now?  Whatever the future holds, structured wiring will play a part in delivering data to those devices.

·         Structured wiring and wireless technologies: As more and more wireless devices enter our home, this will put further demand on your wireless network. Having a wireless network with a wiring backbone will ensure wireless devices receive the data they need at the fastest speeds possible. Hardwiring devices will also take the burden off the wireless network.

·         With Structured Wiring, all runs can be terminated at a central location (closet, storage room, mechanical room, etc.) so that all components can be hidden and out of the way. Having a centralized wiring design allows for easier upgrades in the future, it also allows for seamless integration of all subsystems.

·         Structured wiring can have multiple different uses. Examples: Category cable can distribute video, audio, control, and much much more.  Coax can be used for video/audio distribution, data networks and more.

·         Make a plan. Working with a specialist to ensure the structured wiring package will cover your needs today and into the future.

·         Unlike other technologies or devices, structured wiring doesn’t depreciate. That wire will continue to work and do its job long after it’s been installed. It’s an investment in your home for tomorrow’s digital requirements.

Here are only a few points on why you should have a structured wiring plan. Before you build or renovate, ask about Structured Wiring, it will save you lots of money in the end!

#TRENDING: The Working From Home Era, The Battle Over WIFI & the Importance of a Proper Home Network

A year ago, who would have guessed the importance of a strong and dependable home network. Since the world was turned upside down, many of us are now working from home, children are online learning, Sunday family dinners are now hosted on Zoom and everyone is streaming and online gaming more now than ever. Most home networks were never designed for this type of usage and we are now seeing them overwhelmed and congested. 

https://globalnews.ca/news/6753262/internet-work-school-home-coronavirus-covid-19-technology/

If you are experiencing slow internet and network speeds, here are some tips to help you boost speeds and connectivity! 

Hardwired Connection

Wireless connectivity is always nice to have as it is very convenient however, it can come with range and speed issues when your network is overloaded. For the BEST results, hardwire your stationary devices such as desktop computers, printers, gaming systems, and any other device that can accept a hardwired connection. Not only will that device receive the fastest, most reliable connection, but it will also free up more bandwidth and speed for the other mobile devices in your home. 

Location, Location, Location

Be mindful of where you set up your home office or study. If space is too far from your home network Wi-Fi router, you’ll receiver poor speeds and coverage in return, making it difficult for any wireless device to receive data. Having a wireless router placed in the basement mechanical room while your office is on the second story, the router now has to send a signal three floors up through all types of material to reach your device slowing down the signal as it moves. Also, consider what building material the wireless signal has to move through to reach your device. Material such as tile flooring, in-floor heating, concrete, and dense material can seriously slow down your network speeds. All of these factors determine your range and the speed you’ll receive. To improve your range and speeds, try moving the wireless router (if possible) to a more central location in the house, re-locate the home office closer to the router, or try adding additional Wi-Fi access points throughout your home. 

More is Better

Wi-Fi routers and access points can only send and receive a certain amount of data at any given time. If you’re relying on your sole wireless network router to handle 25+ wireless devices, with each one trying to access online services and data at today’s increased rate, you may need additional wireless access points. Additional access points when properly placed throughout the home, increase the range of the wireless signal, improves wireless speeds by eliminating the distance between them and the device, and load balancing with each access point dividing up and sharing wireless devices.

The Weakest Link

Your home network will only be as good as its weakest link. With an increased demand for internet, it may be time to upgrade your internet package from your provider. Determine the internet load you will be putting on your network and call your provider to discuss your options. 

#TRENDING: Home Theatres & Media Rooms

Covid-19 hit the movie industry hard in 2020 and Warner Bros. just announced that all 2021 movie releases will be in digital and on their HBO Max platform only. With theatres closed and new movies available from home, we have seen an increase in home theatre and media room inquiries. This is very exciting and we cannot wait to help you create the room of your dreams. So let’s explore what makes a great home theatre for any budget and why there is no better time to get yours now. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/04/opinion/warner-hbo-movies-theaters.html

Lights, Camera, Action!

Why do we go to the movie theatres in the first place? We love the ambiance, a large screen, electric sound, and the feeling of being right there with your favourite characters while your chair shakes with every explosion. Total Home Technologies can create these same experiences for you in the comfort of your own home! And did you know that real theatre popcorn is available on most food delivery apps as well? Let’s get ready to start the show!

Creating the Ambience

Comfy reclining chairs, bean bag chairs, a snack bar, starlit ceiling, custom cabinetry, and more are all hallmarks of a great entertainment space. As you enter the space, grab your favourite snack from the bar and plop down in your favourite seat.

Take Control

You’re ready to begin the movie but with a basket full of remote controls for your high-performance projector or TV, high-end speakers, receiver, and 4K video source, one has gone missing…. again. Your home theatre is only as good as its control system and investing in a good control system is a must and enables simple one-button operation for all applications. With options from Elan, Savant, Harmony, and others, you can turn on the theatre, dim the lights, select your source, and more all with a single press of a button.

The Sights 

View lifelike videos on a large projection screen paired with a 4K projector. 4K projectors are a hot ticket item and with several options available, you will not be disappointed no matter your budget. When looking for a good projection screen, there are a few factors to consider. There are different screen materials available for different environments. For rooms that have lots of natural light that can’t be controlled via window treatments, selecting a screen material that absorbs that natural light is the best choice. Acoustically transparent screens allow for in-wall speakers to be placed behind the screen and this gives the impression that the sounds and dialogue are coming at you from the image itself. https://www.hometheaterforum.com/jvc-dla-rs1000-4k-uhd-projector-review/

The Sounds

An action movie just isn’t the same without great sound! There are countless options when it comes to speakers. Depending on your wants, options include floor standing, bookshelf, in-ceiling, in-wall and invisible speakers. Custom grills are available including options for pictures to be printed on them as well. The speaker selected needs to fit the room and the desired audio format like Dolby Atmos, DTS X, and Dolby Surround for optimal performance. With the right planning, an audio system will have you directly in the movie… just like at the theatre. https://www.monitoraudio.com/ https://www.focal.com/us/

All the Extras

Starlit ceilings, full lighting control, motorized shades, and drapery tracks create an inviting and interactive space. Draw the shades then gaze up at the twinkling star-lit ceiling while slowly dimming the lights off while the movie starts. Lighting options include (but not limited to) bringing the lights back up to 20% when the movie is paused or turning the lights to full when the system is turned off. With so many extras to customize, your home theatre will be the favourite room in the whole house!

Do You Have a Tip or an Idea for a Story? Tell Us About It.