Originally Posted by The Soup Nazi
Well, "HD audio" doesn't mean "loudness war remaster". In fact, it doesn't necessarily mean remaster at all. In Pono's case, it means that they go back to the masters and make a new transfer to digital at the highest possible resolution (because of the way some albums were recorded, they can't be transferred all the way to 24/192; they may have to stop at, say, 24/88.2 or something). A bogus "upscale" from the existing 16/44.1 resolution to 24/[x kHz] without going back to the master recordings is a no-NO.
I bought the 3 albums but not the Washing Machine single. I think they sound really good, but they are not profound improvements over the last batch of CDs. The reason for the sample rate is to reproduce frequencies at up to half that rate- so for the 192 SY titles, they can produce sound at up to 96 khz, which is way way way above what you can actually hear as sound. I personally top out at like 17 khz, which is a combination of age and the good folks at Marshall. Anyway, there's a ton of debate on whether the extended frequencies that you can't directly hear influence what you can. I just want the best possible copy of all my favorite albums and do think there are subtle improvements when you go high rez digital. Particular to the SY titles, a better sense of the space these songs were recorded in, and increased dimension of the textures.
But keep in mind this audiophile stuff can veer on bullshit real quickly. The more amplified and intentionally distorted music is, the less dramatic it is in an audiophile situation (why these dudes usually are into classical and jazz and stuff like Steely Dan). It also should be said that with run of the mill gear, you're probably not going to be able to hear much difference at all.