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  • HRA Music

    by Published on 05-10-2014 01:13 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. HRA Music,
    3. Editorial
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    Generally speaking, a music server is an electronic device that plays digital music files. They may or may not have local internal storage for those files but a peripheral hard drive, USB stick or networked audio storage device is required. However, they usually don't have optical disc drives or amplifiers and speakers. Of course, there are going to be exceptions to this definition but I think it covers the concept of music servers pretty well.

    Music servers are basically central storage for your music collection, which can be easily accessed by pressing buttons on turning dials on the server or by remote control. The current trend is to use a tablet or smart phone app as the user interface. There are a lot of options when it comes to music servers...and the technology goes back further than you might think.
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    by Published on 04-01-2014 12:03 PM  Number of Views: 144 
    1. Categories:
    2. HRA Music,
    3. Audiophilia
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    I downloaded a few files from Pentatone Records a couple of weeks ago. The label, based in the Netherlands, has a great reputation for capturing and releasing classical music using DSD. Their titles are also available as downloads from their site. I'll put up some spectrograms in a future post but I thought I would share some thoughts about audio levels and how relative and absolute amplitudes are handled.

    The subject came up because the 96 kHz/24-bit and 44.1 kHz/24-bit downloads of a Mozart album were very different with regards to levels. standard resolution file (the 44.1 kHz one) was 6 dB hotter than the high-resolution file at 96 kHz. Additionally, neither one came close to using the entire bit depth available or dynamic range of the 24-bit PCM format. The original was captured using DSD 64 and then converted to PCM.

    When questioned about the level difference and the process of production from DSD to PCM, the representative from Pentatone responded:

    "We always take the original masters used to produce the SA-CD [NOTE: the DSD 64 files] versions and the CD layer. NOTHING is changed to retain the best possible quality. For the FLAC version we use the Weiss Saracon as sample rate converter, known to be the best around, to convert from DSD to 96kHz 24bit stereo and surround.
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    by Published on 03-21-2014 01:21 PM  Number of Views: 81 
    1. Categories:
    2. High-Resolution Audio,
    3. HRA Music,
    4. Editorial
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    Is the emerging world of better quality audio going to have a name that everyone will recognize or not? A while back I got a phone call alerting me to a major marketing effort for "better fidelity" music that will be taking place over the next year. It's true that there's been a ground swell of support around the concept and reality by small audiophile labels, by organizations like NARAS (National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences) and the CES (Consumer Electronics Association), by electronics companies of all sizes, artists and even the major record labels. I was interested and encouraged by the information I received but needed to ask one question. What will the initiative be called? I didn't get an answer.

    I've spent a fair amount of time talking about many of the aspects of this new movement but have been using my own designation...HD-Audio or High Definition Audio. Many of the people and organizations involved in "better fidelity" audio refer to it as high-resolution audio or hi-rez audio. In fact, when I first started investigating using higher sampling rates and longer word lengths, I referred to it as high-resolution audio as well.
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    by Published on 03-20-2014 04:09 PM  Number of Views: 123 
    1. Categories:
    2. HRA Music,
    3. Editorial
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    I'm a member of the Consumer Electronics Association Audio Board thanks to my friendship with Ray Kimber of Kimber cables. Over the years I've found the regular conference calls and occasional meetings very interesting and informative. During the meeting that we had in New York back in June, the group heard the presentation "Lost In Translation" by Andrew Scheps. I wrote a post about that session but lamented the fact that it didn't go far enough. So I pitched idea of a CEA backed investigation into the realities behind High-Resolution/High-Definition audio. The CEA head suggested that I write up a proposal and bring it to the board. Every year the CEA does some sort of market survey on behalf of the group and she thought my idea might have some interest. The reaction was very positive.

    A few days ago, I pulled out an academic paper that I wrote and presented at the 31st London AES meeting back in 2007. I used the format for the new proposal entitled, "A PROPOSAL TO INVESTIGATE HIGH-DEFINITION AND SURROUND AUDIO WITH REGARDS TO PERCEPTABILITY, PREFERENCE AND MARKETABILITY". There was an abstract, illustrations and sections on the methodologies to be used.
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    by Published on 03-18-2014 12:08 PM  Number of Views: 89 
    1. Categories:
    2. HRA Music,
    3. Editorial
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    The final decision has been made and the louder master won...it usually does. An up and coming band, signed to an imprint label under Capitol Records has a new album that was produced in a studio across the hall. For the last several months, the members of the band have worked with their producer and engineers crafting 12 new tunes. The tracks sound great because they used lots of real drums, vintage guitars and collectible amplifiers, classic microphones and lots of analog equipment in the signal path before heading to Pro Tools.

    The console in the studio is by Tree Audio and looks like a throw back to the early days in Abbey Road. It's full of tube electronics and doesn't even have linear faders! The guys in the band should be thrilled that they have a team and studio that is capable of delivering very high fidelity.
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    by Published on 03-17-2014 02:23 PM  Number of Views: 183 
    1. Categories:
    2. High-Resolution Audio,
    3. Announcements,
    4. HRA Music
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    Once an individual or organization launches a Kickstarter campaign, they're allowed to update it with additional rewards and answer questions. You can only ask a question if you have supported the effort. I looked at the Pono KS page this morning and noticed that they've provided and update with answers to some of the open issues with regards to DRM, file formats and alternate platforms.

    Number 7 on the list asks <strong>Will Pono support DSD playback?</strong> No plans on this first release. We are focused specifically on PCM at this time because it has broad acceptance, and when done properly, still offers the best sonic solution. While DSD is also a great format, it simply doesn’t have broad enough acceptance by consumers, studios, or labels.
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