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ARSCLIST  March 2014

ARSCLIST March 2014

Subject:

Re: Neil Young wants to take h high-resolution on FLAC audio recordings mainstream m with Pono - Tech New s and Analysis

From:

Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 11 Mar 2014 08:17:18 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (152 lines)

Compression of dynamic range, especially for rock and pop music, is not necessarily bad. In the case 
of "Graceland," the new reissue DOES sound better than the thin and tinny original CD, to my ears. I 
could hear it was more compressed, but I like the nice low end and the more natural-sounding voices. 
Another example where the latest reissue is probably a bit more compressed than the original LP and 
CD, but sounds better, is Fleetwood Mac "Rumours." Much more solid bass and the EQ decisions of the 
latest remastering engineer especially brought out the details of the guitar and smaller percussion 
instruments, without at all damaging the good-sounding voices.

The problem with toothpasting is that it causes clipping distortion from the digital realm into the 
analog realm.

I was just talking to one of the best mastering guys yesterday, and we did some careful listening in 
his excellent-sounding room (you gotta love a setup where you can do careful listening for half a 
day and not leave with your ears ringing). The problem with many CDs, up into the 90s, is that A-D 
converters had problems with phase and high treble. You get something akin to digi-swishies with 
high-treble information. You notice it in the worse cases with things like ride cymbols, triangles 
and sleigh bells, but it's always there on the "air and space," which gives that "metallic sheen" 
that people don't like about CDs. I think the problem was made worse by aggressive and ill-used 
"hiss reduction" DSP on analog tapes. Tape hiss is much more easily ignored than the strange 
high-frequency stuff that happens when you try too hard to remove it. The other thing  we noticed 
about many early CDs is lack of bass. We couldn't figure that out, it shouldn't be a problem, but it 
is. We decided that there might have been under-spec'd power supplies in many early A-D converters, 
so the analog stage going into the converter couldn't handle a lot of bass energy.  The best 
examples of LP cutting still stand up very favorably to CD, and some of the modern LP cutting bests 
earlier CD reissues of the same material. When you get into higher-resolution digital, you can (if 
it's done right) get beyond the high-frequency problems of CDs and most converters of any type today 
seem to handle bass better, my theory being that people convert and record at lower average levels 
at 24-bit, so the analog input is not strained with loud bass energy. Back when they were cutting 
CDs directly from tapes, you had to go full-final levels into the converter, which meant the analog 
input stage needed to be capable of +24dBm dynamics. Tape machine and console designers had spent 
the 70s and 80s figuring out how to get clean, loud bass energy and I think it took many digital 
interface designers some time to catch up, with the end compromise being essentially padding down 
the input and working in 24 bits (which is desireable anyway in the DAW world because you need 
headroom for digital EQ, dynamics and other signal processing).

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Carl Pultz" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, March 11, 2014 7:52 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Neil Young wants to take h high-resolution on FLAC audio recordings 
mainstream m with Pono - Tech New s and Analysis


> There have been a few cases of knowledgeable consumers catching producers/labels in the act. Forum 
> members at Computer Audiophile are a tough crowd. Recently they caught out an Absolute Sound 
> writer who declared a reissue of Graceland to be a big improvement. Upon examination, the HDtracks 
> download was more compressed than the original CD. That doesn't necessarily mean it didn't sound 
> as good, but the guys declared that, too. On other occasions, they've found highrez downloads to 
> contain no more information than the Redbook versions. While it may not be fair to blame the 
> sellers for this ("we can only distribute what they supply to us"), there is an obligation to know 
> what you are selling, particularly since you are attaching a (an excessive) premium to those 
> "hi-rez" files. Since a feedback loop is obviously necessary to encourage honesty in this field, 
> it's good to see this level of awareness. It's bad enough that the industry expects us to pay more 
> for what they should have delivered all along - their best.
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf 
> Of Shai Drori
> Sent: Tuesday, March 11, 2014 6:35 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Neil Young wants to take h igh-resoluti on FLAC audio recordings mainstrea 
> m with Pono - Tech New s and Analysis
>
> I actually had a client not pay me about a year ago for a mastering job because it wasn't 
> touthpasted. They went and redid it with another engineer who did. And they had the audacity 
> (Spelling?) to use my mixes without paying for them.
> Shai
> בתאריך 11/03/14 12:18 PM, ציטוט Tom Fine:
>> Yes. I lump them with record company hacks.
>>
>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Robert Cham" <[log in to unmask]>
>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Monday, March 10, 2014 10:19 PM
>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Neil Young wants to take h igh-resoluti on
>> FLAC audio recordings mainstrea m with Pono - Tech New s and Analysis
>>
>>
>>> Let's not forget the producers in this. Back when I was very active
>>> in recording, they were the main proponents of louder is better.
>>>
>>> Bob Cham
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>> Apple, because it's Apple, hates FLAC and refuses to allow it in
>>>> iTunes. Meanwhile, Sony is belatedly putting on a big push for
>>>> native DSD, including a hardware/marketing push. So it's likely to
>>>> be muddled, SACD vs DVD-A all over again. That said, anything to
>>>> promote higher-quality downloads is a Good Thing in my book. I
>>>> include in that Mastered for iTunes, but note that the vast majority
>>>> of material sold on iTunes was not well mastered or well converted
>>>> to the lossy format. Newer stuff, if it carries the Mastered for
>>>> iTunes certification is better.
>>>>
>>>> On another front, I'm seeing slight signs of progress against
>>>> terrible-sounding toothpaste MAKE IT LOUDER mastering. Just the fact
>>>> that the high-rez downloads places are demanding reasonable dynamics
>>>> is trickling down to the CD mastering. I've now heard enough tales
>>>> of woe from mastering engineers -- "The Artist Made Me Do It" or
>>>> "The Record Company Suit Made Me Do It" -- that I tend to believe
>>>> them, that Make It Louder is completely the fault of tin-eared
>>>> artists and record company hacks. But that doesn't make the results
>>>> sound any better!
>>>>
>>>> --Tom Fine
>>>>
>>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Tim Stamps"
>>>> <[log in to unmask]>
>>>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>>>> Sent: Monday, March 10, 2014 6:20 PM
>>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Neil Young wants to take h igh-resolution
>>>> FLAC audio recordings mainstrea m with Pono - Tech News and Analysis
>>>>
>>>>> I hope all the players update their software so FLAC will play on
>>>>> everything, but unfortunately it's not possible since many players
>>>>> (both software and hardware) sold and/or distributed in the past
>>>>> cannot be updated.
>>>>> Tim
>>>>>
>>>>> On Mar 10, 2014, at 4:42 PM, Steve Greene wrote:
>>>>>
>>>>>> http://gigaom.com/2014/03/10/neil-young-wants-to-take-high-resolut
>>>>>> ion-flac-audio-recordings-mainstream-with-pono/
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Stay tuned...
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Curious as to what kind of mass-market penetration you can make at
>>>>>> that price-point. Is the audiophile market alone enough?
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Steve
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>
>>>> !DSPAM:639,531e5abb44331637612606!
>>>
>>>
>>
>
> --
> Cheers
> Shai Drori
> Timeless Recordings
> [log in to unmask]
> בברכה,
> שי דרורי
> מומחה לשימור והמרה של אודיו וידאו וסרטים 8-35 ממ.
>
> 

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