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    by Published on 04-02-2014 10:42 AM  Number of Views: 127 
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    2. Editorial
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    I left the studio early yesterday, went home and took a two hour nap to make sure that I was at full power for the solo concert Neil Young put on at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood. He'll finish a 4-day run this evening. I'm a fan and the description that my niece wrote for the Hollywood Reporter made this show a must see. Imagine being able to experience some of Neil's greatest tunes in an intimate setting without the structure imposed by a strict set list and other musicians. This was Neil at his best. I've seen him perform with Crazy Horse in the past and know he can jam and rock with the best of them but last night it was just Neil and his collection of guitars, two pianos and an organ situated on top of a riser in the middle of the arrangement.

    At 8:10 Neil walked out from the darkness on the left side of the stage and sat down in a simple, straight back, black chair surrounded by at least 7 guitars and a "bantar" (a Gibson instrument that has the neck of a guitar and the body of a banjo). He said nothing through the first 4 or 5 tunes...he launched first into "From Hank to Hendrix" and didn't come up until he finished "Only Love Can Break Your Heart".
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    by Published on 03-16-2014 11:47 AM  Number of Views: 110 
    1. Categories:
    2. High-Resolution Audio,
    3. HRA Music
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    Recording production, until the advent of digital recording, ALWAYS required transfers or analog copying. There is only one session master and everything downstream from it suffers from generation loss. When Scot Hull or Part-Time Audiophile says things like "one-off of a one-off" in his recent post after hearing the UHA playback of an International Phonograph "master tape copy", he's putting some polite spin on the concept of generation loss. Nothing delivered to consumers on analog tape back in the heyday of analog tape or with today's revamped recorders and techniques will sound as good as the original session master.

    And you will never get your hands on that original session tape. You might be fortunate enough to get chance to experience playback from the production master but that rarely happens outside of a mastering facility.

    I spent 13 years running my own mastering facility and during those years I worked on both new and archival projects. One of the most memorable was the remastering of the classic Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" album, which was produced by William E. McEuen (the older brother of John McEuen, the banjo player in the band) in 1972. I've known both of these guys for decades and have been fortunate enough to work on a number of projects with them over the years.
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    by Published on 03-16-2014 11:35 AM  Number of Views: 126 
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    2. HRA Music
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    After spending my $12 on the Nine Inch Nails web site to purchase "Hesitation Marks" in a variety of file formats including the hyped "Audiophile Mastered" versions, I've decided that "Audiophile Mastered" is an oxymoron. I wrote excitedly about the prospects of artists actually allowing dynamics back into their releases and was "all in" with Trent Reznor with regards to his choice to offer the regular version of his new album along with an optional version that would appeal to audiophiles like me. I'm not so excited anymore. Here's what I found.

    First, let me state that I like the tunes that he's crafted. The variety of instrumental colors and textures kept me listening through the whole album. The first track, "The Eater of Dreams", is a very noisy (deliberately so) gradual build on some rather archaic sounds that culminate in a blast of energy that launches the second tune, "Copy of A".

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    by Published on 03-15-2014 01:48 PM  Number of Views: 105 
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    2. HRA Music
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    There is a very special venue on the west side of Los Angeles, actually in Santa Monica, that is celebrating its 56th year of presenting intimate folk, singer/songwriter and guitar centric performances. The place is called McCabes. It's become an institution AND regular stop for the likes of Laurence Juber, Dan Navarro, David Lindley, Albert Lee, Jennifer Warnes and my favorite singer/songwriter John Gorka. John played two sold out shows last night.

    McCabes is really a guitar shop. You can by an acoustic guitar, fiddle, mandolin or banjo and then take lessons in one the rooms upstairs. The big room in the back has instruments all over the walls where want to be guitarists check out the Martins or the Gibsons. On Fridays and Saturdays they move chairs into the open space, turn down the lights and have concerts. I don't think the place holds more than a couple of hundred...maybe less. Everyone is close to the stage, which is incredible small but well lit and visible to everyone.

    They have a great sound system and a team of very capable audio engineers that dial in the system to accommodate the musicians playing that evening. The piano is the only thing that is marginal AND maybe two hours on the plastic seats but the place is focused on music not comfort. There's no distractions, no beverages or clinking plates or exterior noise to contend with. McCabes is the real deal. I've been going to shows there since I first arrived in Los Angeles about 40 years ago.
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    by Published on 03-04-2014 02:04 PM  Number of Views: 132 
    1. Categories:
    2. High-Resolution Audio,
    3. Digital to Analog Converter
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    I noticed it in the promotional video on the Linn website and I noticed it again this morning when I watched the first few minutes of Paul McGowan of PS Audio introducing his new DirectStream DAC (a piece that I will be discussing in greater detail very soon!). These companies don't seem to know what is going on in the recording studios of the world because they're developing equipment that is targeting the sound of a production process that has been virtually abandoned by the audio studios. Here's a news flash...new albums are not recorded on analog tape anymore!

    And there are important reasons why artists, producers and engineers aren't recording on analog tape anymore. Producing commercial records is a completely different process than it was 30-50 years ago. Times changes and the tools and techniques associated with making things changes too. Can you imagine trying to design and build the Boeing 787 airliner using just T-squares, a slide rule and basic manufacturing processes operated by skilled machinists? After watching a lot of "How Its Made" shows, one learns that manufacturing and materials have dramatically altered the way things are produced. You simply can't do the things required to work with Carbon Fiber structures with a Skilsaw and ball peen hammer.

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