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    by Published on 03-16-2014 11:47 AM  Number of Views: 2154 
    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: 3413 
    1. Categories:
    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 01-02-2014 04:16 PM  Number of Views: 2683 
    1. Categories:
    2. High-Resolution Audio,
    3. Audio Shows,
    4. HRA Music
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    The 2014 International CES was held at the beginning of the new year in Las Vegas and High-Resolution Audio had a large presence at the Venetian Hotel. Over 40 manufacturers have embraced the idea of fidelity better than that of traditional downloads and even compact discs.

    The folks at the Consumer Electronics Association [CEA] organized "the Hi-Res Audio Experience", a new TechZone featured at the 2014 International CES. I can't help but be amused that the name of the new initiative is exactly the same as the sampler that I produced in conjunction with Intel about 10 years ago. We made 35,000 of these samplers and I still take a few to the trade shows that I attend and I still sell them for basically the cost of shipping and handling.

    The CEA issued a press release and had an event in New York weeks ago to promote this High-Resolution Audio campaign. The headline read:

    <strong>
    CEA Brings Hi-Res Audio to the 2014 International CES
    <em>New TechZone and Conference Sessions Highlight
    Next Generation High-Resolution Audio Technology</em></strong>

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    by Published on 03-03-2014 03:14 PM     Number of Views: 2057 
    1. Categories:
    2. Editorial
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    How good is your music listening ability? I read an article early this morning about the temporal vs. frequency non-linearities of music (more information on that to come in a future post) and a group of researchers determined, "that musicians and conductors did much better than average music listeners" in their tests. This got me thinking about whether there are different "listening" abilities that musicians bring to a listening session. Are they somehow better than the rest of humanity at hearing music? If there is a difference, is it learned or something they are born with?

    I'm not talking about the "golden ear" claims that audiophiles like to talk about. I know that the ability to detect specific frequencies and hear musical details can be acquired by practice and testing. In fact, there is a new Phillips online ear-training program that has just been made available that can help inexperienced listeners. I'll write on that as soon as I've gone through it. Musicians have something way beyond "golden ears".

    Perhaps you've known someone that has perfect pitch...the ability to hear practically any sound and identify it's pitch. Or to see a written piece of music notation, open your mouth and sing a melody exactly on key. I'm pretty convinced that this is a special talent that an individual is born with...it's not something that can be learned. I remember sitting in a graduate composition class as UCLA years ago and having Professor Reale play the opening chords of a Wagner opera at the piano (Tannhäuser). He asked those of us sitting in the room to write down a few of the chords. This is called music transcription and I was terrible at it as were most of the others in the class.
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    by Published on 03-07-2014 12:07 PM  Number of Views: 5803 
    1. Categories:
    2. High-Resolution Audio,
    3. Audiophilia
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    Since when did a 50-year-old analog format become the standard bearer for state-of-the-art music recording and reproduction? I'm reading the reel-to-reel groups, attending the DSD presentations at the Newport Show and am well aware of The Tape Project and now The Master Tape Sound Lab. Somehow, there is this notion that a 15 ips 1/4" 2.0 channel stereo analog tape is the "holy grail" of audio reproduction. That level of fidelity (which I appreciate and spent many years doing) is expected to be the goal for all engineers and record producers. It's time to take a closer look and inject some reality back into the merits and limitations of analog tape.

    Yesterday, I mentioned an article at HighFidelity.pl that featured the Polish company, The Master Tape Sound Lab, and its founder Todor Dimitrov. The opening line of his website states, "The revival of reel to reel is, paradoxically, related to the digital revolution that takes place right before our eyes, i.e. the transition from physical media to computer files. But it is not only and merely nostalgia - <strong>analog tape still remains the best known musical medium.</strong> Even vinyl is merely an attempt to approximate what can be found on 1/4 inch analog tape played at 15 ips."

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