CES 2015: Interview with David Chesky, CEO of HDTracks

If you've been following the development of high-resolution audio in recent years, chances are you'll have heard of HDTracks, the high-res music download store. It was launched in the US by musician, producer and founder of Chesky Records, David Chesky, and came to the UK last year.

He's a big advocate of the benefits of high-res music, so we caught up with him on our news stage at CES in Las Vegas.

MORE: HDTracks high-res downloads store launches in the UK

You can see the full interview in the video above, but here are some of the key points we discussed:

Are you looking at developing a high-res streaming service to complement your download store?

"We are looking at this very seriously, if we do streaming in high-res we will do it better than anyone else. We are fanatical about this - we need to deliver a product that is phenomenal. There are still some barriers we have to overcome."

Would you think about using Meridian's MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) technology which paves the way for high-res music streaming?

"We know Bob Stuart [Meridian's founder] and we are meeting with the Meridian guys at the show."

Do you think the cost of high-res music is a barrier for many people?

"It is a luxury product, and just as some people will pay more for a luxury car or a good restaurant, so some will pay for better quality music.

But it's not necessarily an expensive game to get into. A new DAC (digital-to-analogue converter) only costs a few hundred dollars, and when you download a high-res track, your stereo will sound 70 per cent better. Most people are not getting the best from their hi-fi system. If the recording is no good, then you are doomed from the start, even if you have a pair of $1m speakers."

How can customers who buy high-res music from you be sure they are getting the full resolution, not just a CD track that's been upsampled?

"Every file we sell is tested by our engineers using brick wall filters and we assign the label on our website based on what our testers find."

Do you think that disc-based formats such as CD, DVD and Blu-ray will survive?

"The river is going to go away from disc-based formats, society is moving away from that... but we are still selling Blu-rays and vinyl."

In your view, what is the next big development in music reproduction?

"We are developing 3D audio, recording with a binaural head. We can take two speakers and put you in a 360-degree hologram of sound."

MORE: Everything you need to know about high-res audio

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Andy Clough

Andy is Global Brand Director of What Hi-Fi? and has been a technology journalist for 30 years. During that time he has covered everything from VHS and Betamax, MiniDisc and DCC to CDi, Laserdisc and 3D TV, and any number of other formats that have come and gone. He loves nothing better than a good old format war. Andy edited several hi-fi and home cinema magazines before relaunching whathifi.com in 2008 and helping turn it into the global success it is today. When not listening to music or watching TV, he spends far too much of his time reading about cars he can't afford to buy.