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post #1 of 50 Old 06-07-2016, 05:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi-Res Audio Symposium at Capitol Studios

On June 1, I attended a hi-res audio symposium at Capitol Studios in Hollywood, CA—you know, the iconic building that looks like a stack of records on a multi-disc turntable. The event was presented by DEG (the Digital Entertainment Group) with support from Universal Music Group (which includes Capitol Records and many other labels), the Producers & Engineers Wing (P&E Wing) of The Recording Academy (the organization that hands out the Grammy Awards), and Sony.


The Capitol Studios building is among the most iconic structures in Los Angeles.

First up was the well-known musician and producer Don Was, who has produced recordings for such luminaries as The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, and Bonnie Raitt and is now the president of Blue Note Records. He told us about remastering Wayne Shorter's album Speak No Evil in hi-res audio (24-bit/192 kHz) in consultation with legendary recording engineer Rudy Van Gelder, who had recorded the original in 1964. Don wanted to reproduce "the truth" of the recording, which Rudy said was in the vinyl pressing. So they listened to the vinyl and tried to match its emotional impact while capturing as much of the frequency spectrum and dynamic range as possible from the original master tape.


Don Was spoke about remastering Wayne Shorter's Speak No Evil in hi-res audio.

Next was a synopsis of a series of research studies conducted by Music Watch and the Consumer Technology Association (CTA, the organization that puts on CES). Among the findings was that nearly 90% of those surveyed in the age range of 18 to 54 want higher sound quality, and over 60% of them are willing to pay more for it. A second study shows that younger—i.e., millennial—music enthusiasts value "sound quality as good as the recording studio" second only to on-demand as motivation to pay for a streaming service.

The presentation moved on to industry support for hi-res audio. All the major record labels are on board, including those within the Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and Sony Music. In addition, there are now about 10,000 titles available for downloading from 12 providers. On the playback side, there are over 100 manufacturers that offer hi-res audio-compatible devices. At the event, Sony demonstrated several such products, including a portable Walkman player, Xperia smartphone, AV receiver, computer speakers, and soundbar.


There were several portable hi-res audio rigs from Sony on hand, including the NW-Z100HN Walkman with MDR-1A headphones, NW-A26HW Walkman with MDR-100A headphones, and an Xperia X smartphone with MDR-1A headphones.


The Sony STR-DN1070 AVR was on static display, while the CAS-1 computer speakers were playing from a Sony laptop.


The Sony HT-NT5 hi-res soundbar was on static display.

Of course, educating audio consumers about hi-res audio is critical, and the best way to do that is via direct experience. Magnolia Design Centers within Best Buy stores have hi-res listening stations at 80 locations, and Sony has partnered with Whitledge Design to build a hi-res audio demo vehicle called the Magic Bus, which roams the country giving consumers the opportunity to hear hi-res audio for themselves.

To avoid consumer confusion about which products actually support hi-res audio, the Japan Audio Society (JAS) created a logo that it licenses to hardware manufacturers—more than 50 so far. The logo indicates that a device must support at least 24-bit/96 kHz resolution as defined by the JAS, CTA, and DEG.

Meanwhile, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), in collaboration with the DEG and P&E Wing, created a separate Hi-Res Music logo that applies to digital content, whether it be downloads or streaming. In this case, the recording must deliver a minimum of 20-bit/48 kHz resolution, which is better than CD—a core requirement of hi-res audio—since the best available master might not have higher resolution.

It also allows the use of approved data-packing technologies, such as MQA and MPEG 4 Audio SLS, which is a big help for streaming. Interestingly, MPEG 4 Audio SLS is an adaptive, scalable codec that can vary from lossless to lossy. According to the latest Hi-Res Music press release, "If the resolution of a recording falls below the required minimum standards of the Hi-Res Music definition at any time, the user will be made aware of this change." How users will be made aware of this change is not specified.


The Hi-Res Audio logo applies to hardware, while the Hi-Res Music logo applies to software.

The last presentation was a panel consisting of Nate Albert, Executive VP for A&R at Capitol Music Group; Jim Belcher, VP of technology and production for Universal Music Group; and Maureen Droney, managing director of The Recording Academy P&E Wing. Among the points they discussed was the importance of provenance—that is, how the music was recorded, mastered, and delivered to consumers. Maureen said that the P&E Wing is working on standardizing a way to include this info with recordings, saying that this context gives the music more value.

After the presentations, it was time to hear some demos. I started in the Studio A control room, where engineer Steve Genewick played several versions of Frank Sinatra singing "What's New?" from 1958, which was recorded in the same studio we were sitting in. First, we heard a 24-bit/192 kHz transfer of the original vinyl, which sounded noisy and honky to my ears. That was followed by the 1990 CD release, which had essentially no noise but also sounded pretty hard and brittle. Next, Steve played the 2000 CD re-release, which had been dynamically compressed as part of the "loudness wars"—yuk! Then we heard the iTunes version (AAC data compression), which sounded very thin and small.


Long-time Capitol recording engineer Steve Genewick at the mixing desk of Studio A, where many famous tracks have been recorded over the last 60 years.

The last clip was a 24/192 transfer from the original 1/4" master mix tape, which had been recorded at 15 ips (inches per second). The sound was greatly expanded from any of the other clips, with greater frequency range—including the low end—and an openness that was unheard in the other clips. I would not have believed it possible, but the hi-res transfer from the analog master tape really did sound substantially better than any of the other formats.

Jim Belcher of Universal Music Group was also in the room, and I asked him how that could be, since analog tape at 15 ips does not have the frequency response or dynamic range to fully exploit hi-res transfers. He said, "I don't know; it's a debate. I think transferring in hi-res captures more of the room and microdetails." Of course, there are many possible reasons why the 1990 CD and the recent 24/192 transfer sounded different—for example, the recent transfer was performed with a much newer and presumably much better analog-to-digital converter than what was available 26 years ago. Also, the CD could have been mastered quite differently than the 24/192 transfer. I've asked Steve Genewick to provide more details about both processes, and I'll share that info when I can. But clearly, this was not a formal, rigorous comparison, which would have to be blind, not sighted; it was just an informal demonstration, so take it for no more than that.

Interestingly, Steve added that Capitol had been recording on 24-track analog tape until about 10 years ago, when 24/96 digital recording became good enough that people couldn't tell the difference. Also, they continued to use analog tape for mastering for another five years or so beyond that.

Before I left Studio A, Steve played Beck's latest single, "Wow," which had been recorded digitally at 24/96 in that room. It sounded mighty clean, but the level meters on the mixer were pegged during most of the song, and the waveform on the Pro Tools display was at maximum amplitude nearly the entire time. Obviously, the track had been designed as a combatant in the loudness wars, and 24-bit resolution was a total waste, since the dynamic range of the track was only a few dB. When I asked about that, Jim said it was up to the artist and producer, not the recording engineer.

Out in the parking lot, Sony had its Magic Bus, which was designed and built by promotional partner Jon Whitledge over seven years. Starting with a Mercedes Sprinter SUV-like vehicle, which was chosen for its acoustic properties, Jon installed six speakers and three 12" subwoofers with a total of 4600 watts of amplification (3300W for the subs alone). Acoustic treatments include 34 Helmholtz resonators and 20 binary-amplitude diffusers. A 200-pound/300 amp-hour battery powers the entire system when the engine is off.


Jon Whitledge and Maureen Droney hold open the back doors of Sony's Magic Bus.


Here you can see some of the acoustic treatments as well as the three subwoofers and some of the electronics in Sony's Magic Bus. Much of the interior is also signed by various musicians, including Jon's favorite—and, as it happens, a personal friend of mine—jazz-guitar legend Mundell Lowe.

The system is time-aligned for the driver's seat, which is where I sat for the demo. A Sony RSX-GS9 head unit played hi-res audio files from a USB memory stick. We heard Lou Reed's "Take a Walk on the Wild Side" (24/44.1), Delta Rae's "Run" (24/96), Aerosmith's "Walk This Way" (24/96), and The Persuasions' "Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" (24/192). They all sounded great, but that was in a stationary vehicle with the engine off. I'm still not convinced that hi-res audio has any value whatsoever in a car driving down the road; even in the quietest vehicle, the noise floor renders the dynamic range of hi-res audio moot, and many frequencies are likely masked by noise.

In the end, I believe that the benefits of hi-res audio recordings compared with CDs—the current benchmark for mainstream digital audio—are real, but they are subtle and depend greatly on several factors. First is the quality and provenance of the original recording and subsequent mastering. Then there are the capabilities of the playback equipment; the player, DAC, amp, and speakers or headphones must be able to reproduce frequencies and dynamic range beyond CD specs. Finally, the environment in which you listen to music plays a crucial role; if it's not well-behaved acoustically and the noise floor is not low enough, you won't hear the benefits of hi-res recordings, even if the other factors are favorable.


The hallway leading to Studio A is filled with photos and memories.

All in all, this was an excellent and enlightening event, and I thank DEG, Capitol Studios, P&E Wing, Universal Music Group, and Sony for inviting me. It was a real treat to walk the same halls as so many immortal artists. Even better, Capitol Studios is celebrating its 60th year in 2016, making the event doubly special. Happy 60th, Capitol; may you enjoy 60 more years of recording the best music in the world!



Note: Please do not quote this entire article when posting a comment. Feel free to quote the relevant portion that pertains to your comment, but wading through the entire thing in the comments is quite annoying. Thanks!
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post #2 of 50 Old 06-07-2016, 07:02 PM
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Sounds like a great experience Scott, almost as good as being on HTG. In all seriousness, I have been into the whole high res thing for several years now and agree with your findings. I have been blessed with a room here with very nice acoustics and a low noise floor. The most important thing is the quality of the original engineering. Hence the importance of provenance. It would be fantastic if all high res transfers were made from the production master. Even if they are, I want as little mastering as possible. None would be even better. I have or have access some flat transfers of some well known 50's Jazz recordings in redbook resolution and find them to be appreciably better than the CDs and the high res versions due to the excessive reverb used. While the compression on the new transfers is light, you can sure hear the difference when it is gone. To those who say that CD is enough, in most cases it probably is especially new recordings that are victims of the loudness wars. I see no reason to buy new pop recordings for example in high res. A total waste of money. Frankly, they are better off streamed. However, I have some 1950's and 60's Jazz where the 24/192 transfers are better sounding than the CDs, which are darn good too. Examples are Ben Webster Meets Oscar Peterson, Kind of Blue and Midnight Blue just to name three. I don't know if they sound better due to the higher resolution, more meticulous transfers or better source materials. In any event, the 24/192 files have more detail, better tone and better low level information that lets you hear more of the recording studio. I have found that in quite a few cases such as these that the 24/192 seems to capture more of what is on the analog tape of that era, even compared to 24/96. That is not always true but true enough for me to choose the 24/192 option. That's all for now. I am sure many will disagree, which is completely fine with me,

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post #3 of 50 Old 06-07-2016, 09:48 PM
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It looks to me like there is a lot of money to be made selling Hi-res.

In A/V reproduction accuracy, there IS no concept of "accounting for personal taste/preference". As art consumers we don't "pick" the level of bass, nor the tint/brightness of a scene's sky, any more than we pick the ending of a novel or Mona Lisa's type of smile. "High fidelity" means "high truthfulness", faithful to the original artist's intent: an unmodified, neutral, accurate copy of the original master, ideally being exact and with no discernable alterations, aka "transparency".
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post #4 of 50 Old 06-07-2016, 11:31 PM
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Jim Belcher of Universal Music Group was also in the room, and I asked him how that could be, since analog tape at 15 ips does not have the frequency response or dynamic range to fully exploit hi-res transfers. He said, "I don't know; it's a debate. I think transferring in hi-res captures more of the room and microdetails."
Ahhh, NO! 16/44.1 can easily capture of whatever is on those tapes period, the fact that it took them decades to do it right is no excuse for inventing new tales about Hi-res.

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First up was the well-known musician and producer Don Was, who has produced recordings for such luminaries as The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, and Bonnie Raitt and is now the president of Blue Note Records. He told us about remastering Wayne Shorter's album Speak No Evil in hi-res audio (24-bit/192 kHz) in consultation with legendary recording engineer Rudy Van Gelder, who had recorded the original in 1964. Don wanted to reproduce "the truth" of the recording, which Rudy said was in the vinyl pressing. So they listened to the vinyl and tried to match its emotional impact while capturing as much of the frequency spectrum and dynamic range as possible from the original master tape.
Hilarious!!:
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post #5 of 50 Old 06-08-2016, 12:29 AM
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"Hi-Res Audio" is just a red herring. First end Audio's Circle of Confusion by implementing meaningful standards. Then end the loudness war for good.
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post #6 of 50 Old 06-08-2016, 08:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Ahhh, NO! 16/44.1 can easily capture of whatever is on those tapes period, the fact that it took them decades to do it right is no excuse for inventing new tales about Hi-res.
Theoretically, I completely agree with you, but I can't deny what I heard with my own ears, which is that the 24/192 transfer of the original analog master tape sounded better than the CD. Could they have done something sneaky and unfair to make it sound better? Sure, but I have no evidence of that, and until I do, I can't in good conscience make that assumption.
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post #7 of 50 Old 06-08-2016, 08:41 AM
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Theoretically, I completely agree with you, but I can't deny what I heard with my own ears, which is that the 24/192 transfer of the original analog master tape sounded better than the CD. Could they have done something sneaky and unfair to make it sound better? Sure, but I have no evidence of that, and until I do, I can't in good conscience make that assumption.
Scott what you have heard based on your own report is 2 different "masters" separated by 26 years of technology and know how. If they downconverted the new 24/192 to 16/44.1 you would have a real hard time to tell them apart. They knew this so they used an old CD transfer to make their case.
Having said that I have nothing against using 24/96/192 for mastering, editing,mixing and archiving purposes, it's clearly where those large data buckets can be useful.

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post #8 of 50 Old 06-08-2016, 08:44 AM
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Theoretically, I completely agree with you, but I can't deny what I heard with my own ears, which is that the 24/192 transfer of the original analog master tape sounded better than the CD.
What was the particular song, out of curiosity?

In A/V reproduction accuracy, there IS no concept of "accounting for personal taste/preference". As art consumers we don't "pick" the level of bass, nor the tint/brightness of a scene's sky, any more than we pick the ending of a novel or Mona Lisa's type of smile. "High fidelity" means "high truthfulness", faithful to the original artist's intent: an unmodified, neutral, accurate copy of the original master, ideally being exact and with no discernable alterations, aka "transparency".

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...but I can't deny what I heard with my own ears, which is that the 24/192 transfer of the original analog master tape sounded better than the CD.

That's interesting Scott, but it's too bad you couldn't have listened to both music sources blindly via an ABX test. I think in the end, your eyes through your ears tricked your brain into thinking it was better.
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What was the particular song, out of curiosity?
"What's New?" sung by Frank Sinatra and recorded in 1958.

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...but I can't deny what I heard with my own ears, which is that the 24/192 transfer of the original analog master tape sounded better than the CD.

That's interesting Scott, but it's too bad you couldn't have listened to both music sources blindly via an ABX test. I think in the end, your eyes through your ears tricked your brain into thinking it was better.
You are correct, it was a sighted comparison, and I could have had expectation bias. However, I was fully prepared—in fact, I expected—that I would hear no difference, and yet I did.
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Originally Posted by thehun View Post
Scott what you have heard based on your own report is 2 different "masters" separated by 26 years of technology and know how. If they downconverted the new 24/192 to 16/44.1 you would have a real hard time to tell them apart. They knew this so they used an old CD transfer to make their case.
Having said that I have nothing against using 24/96/192 for mastering, editing,mixing and archiving purposes, it's clearly where those large data buckets can be useful.
You are exactly right; in fact, this is a point they made more than once—that digital-audio technology has improved dramatically over the years. As for downconverting the 24/192 transfer of the original master tape to 16/44.1, the whole point of the exercise was to demonstrate that the higher resolution sounds better than CD.

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Hi-Res = BS
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You are correct, it was a sighted comparison, and I could have had expectation bias. However, I was fully prepared—in fact, I expected—that I would hear no difference, and yet I did.

Scott, several years ago, I demoed a pair of very expensive name brand audiophile speaker cables. I expected to hear no difference, but instead I heard an improvement, it sounded like I bought new speakers, I couldn't believe it. I then performed the same sighted test three weeks later with the same cables, but now I couldn't hear any difference at all. I became confused, I thought I broke the cables.

I learned that sighted evaluations can work multiple ways. The eyes through the ears can easily trick the brain.

It's been said that 'our eyes can't hear'.
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I really can't see this Hi-Res stuff taking off. I would rather see better masters or two versions of a master to keep both camps happy.
This is coming from a guy that have lots of SACD's, some DVD-Audio, and HD-CD's. On my system a good recording is a good recording no matter the format. SACD's have a great hit ratio but some of my CD's and all my HD-CD's sound just as good.

When I start playing tracks from my computer on my system, I would like a one stop shop to get all my music. I hope this can happen.
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Originally Posted by Scott Wilkinson View Post
"What's New?" sung by Frank Sinatra and recorded in 1958.
Oops, I now see you already wrote that in your first post. My bad.


Of all the many Hi-res songs out there I wonder why they chose a song which, to the best of my Googling, isn't available to consumers in 24/192, nor the album it seems to come from "Frank Sinatra Sings For Only the Lonely"? Maybe they don't want symposium attendees conducting listening tests outside of their direct control?

In A/V reproduction accuracy, there IS no concept of "accounting for personal taste/preference". As art consumers we don't "pick" the level of bass, nor the tint/brightness of a scene's sky, any more than we pick the ending of a novel or Mona Lisa's type of smile. "High fidelity" means "high truthfulness", faithful to the original artist's intent: an unmodified, neutral, accurate copy of the original master, ideally being exact and with no discernable alterations, aka "transparency".

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I am aware that some early CD recordings featured incorrect mixes such as the vinyl master but without the EQ correction which would certainly lend to the observations of releases sounding lean on bass and fatiguing highs.

Some of my 80s-90s CD collection sounds a bit hohum but the majority sound fantastic. Especially in contrast to the "remasters" that are just brickwalled abominations.

YMMV.

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post #18 of 50 Old 06-08-2016, 12:47 PM
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Could they have done something sneaky and unfair to make it sound better? Sure, but I have no evidence of that, and until I do, I can't in good conscience make that assumption.
Having worked in audio for decades I can tell you that the vast majority of people working at the companies marketing dubious products (whom I interacted with regularly) at all levels all the way up to the top, truly believe in what they are peddling and will pass a lie detector test to that effect; they aren't con artists at all. The main problem is not with people being purposefully manipulative and deceitful, or to use your good words "sneaky and unfair", but rather the ones that don't understand the psychoacoustic science fully.

Here's an example that comes into play in what you were exposed to at the symposium. If you take 100 people randomly off the street and ask them, "If in a blind test scientists play a song for listeners at a .5 to 1 dB louder volume level than another version of the same song, but they don't tell the listeners what exact alteration has been performed, are the listeners more likely to report the change is in the quality of the sound or simply the level of the sound?" 99%, I'd say, will errantly claim that humans will detect it as a level change. They are wrong. ONLY if you precondition the listeners and tell them in advance the change they should expect to hear will be a tiny level change might they correctly report that level was indeed all that changed.

If you ask the same question of professional veterans working in audio including world class music mixers, producers, engineers, Don Was, Neil Young, and other musicians, that percentage might just barely change...to perhaps 98% errantly saying the perceived difference humans will report will be "in level, not quality". So what does this all mean? It means around 98% of the people at the symposium have no idea that small level differences are not sometimes, but rather usually are mistaken to be changes in quality. So why would they have bothered to make sure that when they exposed you and the other listeners to the Sinatra song from various formats that the inevitable level differences we would expect to find, from format to format, would need to be carefully level matched beforehand, using external instrumentation? They wouldn't know that so no such precise level matching ever occurred.

Everyone mistakes tiny level changes as quality changes, everyone, me included. The problem is 98-99% of people don't understand we have to use precise, external instrumentation [a $19 Radio Shack voltmeter will suffice] to ensure tiny, accidental level changes don't bias our hearing. There are many people who report they are immune to this, by the way, including "industry insider/experts". They are dead wrong. It's just not how human beings work and no degree of training can erase it.

Speaking of bias trumping expert training, Sean Olive found in his speaker testing that bias is so incredibly strong that it overwhelms and directs our perception of sound even when the actual sonic difference is at a pre-established, audible level in the opposite direction from their bias, and this is even true with his personal, expert, trained listeners:

"The experienced listeners were simply more consistent in their responses. As it turned out, the experienced listeners were no more or no less immune to the effects of visual biases than inexperienced listeners.

In summary, the sighted and blind loudspeaker listening tests in this study produced significantly different sound quality ratings. The psychological biases in the sighted tests were sufficiently strong that listeners were largely unresponsive to real changes in sound quality caused by acoustical interactions between the loudspeaker, its position in the room, and the program material. In other words, if you want to obtain an accurate and reliable measure of how the audio product truly sounds, the listening test must be done blind." [bold text emphasis mine.]

Source: http://seanolive.blogspot.com/2009/0...o-product.html

In A/V reproduction accuracy, there IS no concept of "accounting for personal taste/preference". As art consumers we don't "pick" the level of bass, nor the tint/brightness of a scene's sky, any more than we pick the ending of a novel or Mona Lisa's type of smile. "High fidelity" means "high truthfulness", faithful to the original artist's intent: an unmodified, neutral, accurate copy of the original master, ideally being exact and with no discernable alterations, aka "transparency".

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post #19 of 50 Old 06-08-2016, 01:12 PM
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P. S. And usually when you ask the people administrating these sorts of tests if it was level matched their response is usually "Yes." ... but that is simply an abbreviated version of "Yes, trust me, I never even touched this master volume knob between the various formats I exposed you to.", i.e., they don't get it. They sincerely think the demo was fair, but it most likely wasn't.

In A/V reproduction accuracy, there IS no concept of "accounting for personal taste/preference". As art consumers we don't "pick" the level of bass, nor the tint/brightness of a scene's sky, any more than we pick the ending of a novel or Mona Lisa's type of smile. "High fidelity" means "high truthfulness", faithful to the original artist's intent: an unmodified, neutral, accurate copy of the original master, ideally being exact and with no discernable alterations, aka "transparency".

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Originally Posted by Blacklightning View Post
I really can't see this Hi-Res stuff taking off. I would rather see better masters or two versions of a master to keep both camps happy.
This is coming from a guy that have lots of SACD's, some DVD-Audio, and HD-CD's. On my system a good recording is a good recording no matter the format. SACD's have a great hit ratio but some of my CD's and all my HD-CD's sound just as good.

When I start playing tracks from my computer on my system, I would like a one stop shop to get all my music. I hope this can happen.
I completely agree. If things do not change soon, Hi-Res will end up just like SACD and DVD-Audio. The current barrier to entry is simply too high for the average consumer. I have some great Hi-Res tracks from various sources, but it requires to many steps to hear it on my home setup. The average consumer will not tolerate all of these limited selections and high prices. I hate to be so pessimistic, but the record companies cannot get out of their own way. If they would simply master the records correctly the first time everyone would win.
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post #21 of 50 Old 06-08-2016, 03:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by auronihilist View Post
You are correct, it was a sighted comparison, and I could have had expectation bias. However, I was fully prepared—in fact, I expected—that I would hear no difference, and yet I did.

Scott, several years ago, I demoed a pair of very expensive name brand audiophile speaker cables. I expected to hear no difference, but instead I heard an improvement, it sounded like I bought new speakers, I couldn't believe it. I then performed the same sighted test three weeks later with the same cables, but now I couldn't hear any difference at all. I became confused, I thought I broke the cables.

I learned that sighted evaluations can work multiple ways. The eyes through the ears can easily trick the brain.

It's been said that 'our eyes can't hear'.
It's also been said that "we hear with our eyes." I completely agree that sighted tests are full of problems. All I'm doing here is reporting my admittedly informal experience.

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post #22 of 50 Old 06-08-2016, 03:42 PM
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Bleh, that hi-res nonsense won't save some lousy song that doesn't have enough cowbell.
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post #23 of 50 Old 06-08-2016, 03:56 PM
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As for downconverting the 24/192 transfer of the original master tape to 16/44.1, the whole point of the exercise was to demonstrate that the higher resolution sounds better than CD.
But they didn't do that. In fact, they conceded exactly the opposite by their choice of demo material.

Query: what's conspicuously missing in this list:

-24-bit/192 kHz transfer of the original vinyl,
-1990 CD release,
-2000 CD re-release,
-24/192 transfer from the original 1/4" master mix tape, which had been recorded at 15 ips (inches per second)

That's right, a 16/44 transfer from the original 1/4" master mix tape, which had been recorded at 15 ips (inches per second)
("a 16/44 transfer of the original vinyl" would've been an acceptable answer, too.)

The fact that they clearly afraid to offer the only comparisons that could actually demonstrate the superiority of their new thing tells a thoughtful person everything s/he needs to know about "hi-res audio."

That said, I'll still buy their wares if they're actually better masters than what they offer on other formats. I won't let a crass and duplicitous scheme to take up more space and charge more money get in the way of better-sounding music...

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Originally Posted by DS-21 View Post
But they didn't do that. In fact, they conceded exactly the opposite by their choice of demo material.

Query: what's conspicuously missing in this list:

-24-bit/192 kHz transfer of the original vinyl,
-1990 CD release,
-2000 CD re-release,
-24/192 transfer from the original 1/4" master mix tape, which had been recorded at 15 ips (inches per second)

That's right, a 16/44 transfer from the original 1/4" master mix tape, which had been recorded at 15 ips (inches per second)
("a 16/44 transfer of the original vinyl" would've been an acceptable answer, too.)

The fact that they clearly afraid to offer the only comparisons that could actually demonstrate the superiority of their new thing tells a thoughtful person everything s/he needs to know about "hi-res audio."

That said, I'll still buy their wares if they're actually better masters than what they offer on other formats. I won't let a crass and duplicitous scheme to take up more space and charge more money get in the way of better-sounding music...
Well, I assume the 1990 CD (not the 2000 re-issue with compressed dynamic range) is a 16/44.1 transfer from the original master tape, more or less. I don't know for sure, and I don't know what they might have done to it in the mastering process; I'll see if I can find out.

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Not that I can vouch for any of it, but there's some info/opinions here, if it's of any help: http://www.11fifty.com/Site_108/1958..._Lonely_6.html
"That leaves the 1987 Walsh remixed CD, which was reused in the 1998 UK boxed set. It has some No-Noise in use, and there are a couple of “effects” present in the original mix that are missing here, but on the whole, it’s not bad. Reason for elimination: No-noise; a little too much reverb; missing “effects”."


Dolby A noise reduction, their first product made and meant for studio use, wasn't invented/used in studios until the mid 60's so any tape from 1958 should have discernable tape hiss when listened to on quiet noise floor digital media like CDs, or Hi-res, unless it has been processed with digital NR such as No-Noise.

In A/V reproduction accuracy, there IS no concept of "accounting for personal taste/preference". As art consumers we don't "pick" the level of bass, nor the tint/brightness of a scene's sky, any more than we pick the ending of a novel or Mona Lisa's type of smile. "High fidelity" means "high truthfulness", faithful to the original artist's intent: an unmodified, neutral, accurate copy of the original master, ideally being exact and with no discernable alterations, aka "transparency".

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You are correct, it was a sighted comparison, and I could have had expectation bias. However, I was fully prepared—in fact, I expected—that I would hear no difference, and yet I did.
Yes, one is a conscious decision not to hear. The other is a subconscious one to hear. One you control, the other out of your control.
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post #27 of 50 Old 06-08-2016, 10:28 PM
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Don Was spoke about remastering Wayne Shorter's Speak No Evil in hi-res audio.
Doesn't he know it is impolite to wear a hat and sunglasses inside?
Now I'm definitely not buying Hi-Res.

My personal opinion is that the AVSForum should educate the masses with the truth, and not become a marketing springboard.
As already stated, it's another one of them non-blind visually biased audio tests.
I don't care if it's Capitol or a creaky-old-house-shed-home-studio, a double blind test is a MUST.

A "non-interest" third party supervision is required and should be enforced by a standard or a law.
The statistical results of the ABX and measurement tests, should be mandatory and enforced by law to be delivered with the product.
That is my opinion.

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Doesn't he know it is impolite to wear a hat and sunglasses inside?
I wonder if he misread the invite and thought he was attending a high music symposium.

In A/V reproduction accuracy, there IS no concept of "accounting for personal taste/preference". As art consumers we don't "pick" the level of bass, nor the tint/brightness of a scene's sky, any more than we pick the ending of a novel or Mona Lisa's type of smile. "High fidelity" means "high truthfulness", faithful to the original artist's intent: an unmodified, neutral, accurate copy of the original master, ideally being exact and with no discernable alterations, aka "transparency".
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post #29 of 50 Old 06-09-2016, 04:00 AM
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I too feel that the hype about Hi-Res audio is completely overblown. Late last year, I started listening to 2-channel audio again and decided that I would get on the hi-res bandwagon because it was being touted as the next-best-thing. I have a reasonaby decent audio set up (Marantz 8802A pre-pro, McIntosh amp and B&W 802D3 speakers), so I figured I was good to go. I opened an account at one of the online hi-res audio stores and purchased several albums, some recent ones recorded in hi-res audio to begin with, as well as some old favorites that purported to be in hi-res. I assumed that the old favorites would sound better than the CD's I have, just because they were billed as hi-res. Well, 6 months later, I am wiser and bit poorer in the pocket! I've come to the conclusion that my CD's sound just as good as their hi-res counterparts, and even the new albums that were recorded in hi-res don't sound much better. I've done blinded A/B tests with my family members and none of them can tell the difference. I have therefore decided that there is no value in paying a premium for downloading the hi-res tracks when I can purchase the same CD for considerably less.

On the other hand, a good SACD recording does sound much better than its CD counterpart. I've subjected my family to the same blind A/B tests and everyone agrees that a well recorded SACD sounds better than it's equivalent CD. But that could be because the 5.1 channel recording just envelopes the listener more than the 2-channel CD version.

The bottom line is that I'm no longer willing to pay a premium for a hi-res track. I don't mind paying a slight premium for a hi-res track, but until the price of hi-res tracks comes down to a more reasonable increase over the CD quality version, I'm not buying them anymore.

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post #30 of 50 Old 06-09-2016, 04:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Scott Wilkinson View Post
Well, I assume the 1990 CD (not the 2000 re-issue with compressed dynamic range) is a 16/44.1 transfer from the original master tape, more or less. I don't know for sure, and I don't know what they might have done to it in the mastering process; I'll see if I can find out.
In your first post you mention that the original master mix tape was used. This could be different from the master tape available for the cd.
(Assuming that the master mix tape is the mix down tape that is the source for the final master tape.)
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