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Better mastered music could be on the way!

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AlmaataKZ's picture
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RE: Better mastered music could be on the way!

steve_1979 wrote:

Here's a reminder of what the loudness war is all about.

 

The Red Hot Chili Peppers album 'Californication' is famous for being one of the worst victims of the loudness war. The retail released CD version of this album is so bad that I actually thought the speakers were broken the first time I heard it on a decent hifi.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Californication_(album)

it is horrible indeed. every time a track from this album comes up in a playlist I have to reach for the remote to turn the vol down.

Saw in the news yesterday about a new American regulation banning TV ads with increased loudness/compressed DR. Anybody else seen that? Good news!

AlmaataKZ's picture
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RE: Better mastered music could be on the way!

Here it is:

http://www.digitaltrends.com/home-theater/calm-act-goes-into-effect-today-silences-loud-tv-commercials/

Worth a proper post in the 'news' section here I would think.

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RE: Better mastered music could be on the way!

steve_1979 wrote:

SteveR750 wrote:

steve_1979 wrote:

 

THERE IS NO NEED FOR THERE TO BE ANY DIFFERENCE AT ALL!

 

But there clearly is, more important then why do you think there is, and (I'm presuming the motivation for all the analaysis) why do you think there actually should not?

When an MP3 is converted from the studio mastered version of the music it sounds identical to the 'no compromise' 24bit FLAC version.

 

When an MP3 is converted from the CD mastered version of the music it sounds slightly worse than the 'no compromise' 24bit FLAC version.

 

puzzled http://turnmeup.org/

 

 

Not sure that answered my real question, but this did:

 

 

AlmaataKZ wrote:

I think it is clear from Linn's posts that the 24 bit files and CD/MP3 files are (in most cases?) different masters. Fair enough for Linn, if this is how the record companies do it, Linn cannot do anything about it.

However, I think it also should be made clear at point of sale that the different files are actually different masters, so people know that any difference in sound quality can come not only from resolution of the file (bit depth + sampling rate) but from the mastering itself. This way people are not confused and may even buy both masters if they want (e.g. the 24 bit and the CD version or whatever choice they make).

I also think if that is not made clear, it is abusing customer trust in quality, as it woudl imply that the 24 bit file is 'definately better' while in fact it means 'definately different and definately at different resolution'.

I seem to have missed in all the posts - does Linn also produce a different master for CD for their own recordings? Or did they say the do not do it?

I think Linn should and can be trusted on their recordings' quality (the ones I have sound excellent) and I hope they can extrapolate this quality approach to selling music from other labels by clearly stating what they are selling. People then make free informed choice and know what they pay for..

Would that be fair?

Say, there was a record made in 1990. It was made in 24 bit. there was no hi-rez downloads at the time, so, naturally, they made a CD master from it, optimising for CD, for the loudness war at the time or whatever they wanted to do to it to release it on the available media and get the best financial return. Come 2000, the MP3 market emerges so they just take the CD version, mp3 it and sell. they either do not even think about the 24 bit or decide just to hold on to it as this is where the intrinsic value is (especially given the spreading piracy). Only natural. Come 2010 there is a new market emerging for hi-res music so some decide to finally sell the original 24-bit master, at a premium. All looks naturla to me. So we end up with different masters ont the market. The only thing missing is clarity on what is what at point of selling. 

Another point - teh one in the OP - is to, in the future, try to avoid or minimise the negative impact of modifying the original masters, standardise some aspects of that step which should make music throughout the market/media better. And that is indeed a good thing - Beter quality music coudl be on the way, as per the OP.  

Thanks to Craig for starting the thread, thanks to Steve for doing his thing diligently and honestly, thanks to Linn for replying and to all who contributed positively. No thanks to those who posted a lot of 'noise' and personal attacks in the thread. WHF could have supported the cause a bit better, I think.

 

Exactly how I see it too, and tbh, the Linn bashing in this thread slightly obscures the real message, which is to pressure the recording industrry to be more clear about what they are selling:

 

steve_1979 wrote:

CnoEvil wrote:
Linn's sound quality should be taken in context ie. compared with the quality that is generally available in the market place. If there is any other label who consistently exceeds Linn's sound quality, I would like to hear about it.

As I have said previously, it would be a great achievement to have everybody else in the industry, match the sound quality set by Linn.

IMO. Going after the record company who shows "best practice for the industry", though interesting, is not the right battle.

You make some good points here Cno.

 

I know that I'm repeating myself again but it is worth remembering that the quality of Linns music is exellent. The sound quality is miles better than almost all of the pop music that you get nowadays and is on a par with some of the high quality classical recordings that I've heard.

 

Whilst I obviously think that they should offer the studio masters in all formats and make it clearer to their customers exactly which mastered version of the music they're buying I also think that they should be commended for the high quality of music that they offer. It's also worth noting that most of the other record companies don't even offer the studio master version to the public at all and we're forced to listen to the crippled CD master with reduced limited range.

 

The real question is what are we going after the industry for exactly?

The Turn Me Up campaign simply asking record companies to use CDA to its full inherent capability and stop hamstringing in a misplaced belief that louder = better, or at least stop spoofing the consumer this is the case, which of course might be deliberate in order to create space for an audiophile / High quality version that can be sold for a premium, which of course can only be inferred.

The debate of whether there really is an audible difference between CD and hi res is a different topic, would be easier to follow this thread by separating that out (though it's clearly going to be the same as a cable debate and all of the subjective caveats that come with it). Since it's apparent that the comparison between CDA and Hi Res isn't quite what it seems, and isn't as straightforward as listening to the same album in both formats it's worthy of a completely separate thread IMO. 

 

 

 

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RE: Better mastered music could be on the way!

Mirren Boy wrote:

Alec wrote:

Mirren Boy wrote:

Sorry (I'm not), you completely miss the point. He isn't distributing to anyone but himself, and where do you get thousands of pounds from? He's certainly hardly one of those people "da feds" are out to get!

What a pathetic judgmental post.

That post was in defence of you, you idiot. Thanks for confirming everyone's suspicions.

I’m genially sorry. I’m posting from offshore in west Africa and I’m into the 8th week doing 14 to 16 hour day’s so I’m probably shattered and jumping to the wrong conclusions. Rather than going back reading the threads I just read the one above. Apologies mate.

That's OK, then Smile

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RE: Better mastered music

jcbrum wrote:

shooter wrote:

 . . .  around 90db's of listenable range, with lesser (normal) speakers around 75 to 80db's, 13bit.

 

Which is probably equivalent to, or a bit better than the best vinyl, most of which is about 10 to 12 bit equivalency, and can sound extremely good.

 

Looking at the DRLoudness site it may be fair to say that the current crop of vinyl releases are mastered sympathetically, just do a quick search on any 2012 release. Muse or Lana Del Ray for instance are worse off dynamically with CD and the HD Tracks release compared to vinyl, on the face of it its the medium to be on at the moment, but it costs.

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RE: Better mastered music could be on the way!

AlmaataKZ wrote:

steve_1979 wrote:

Here's a reminder of what the loudness war is all about.

 

The Red Hot Chili Peppers album 'Californication' is famous for being one of the worst victims of the loudness war. The retail released CD version of this album is so bad that I actually thought the speakers were broken the first time I heard it on a decent hifi.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Californication_(album)

it is horrible indeed. every time a track from this album comes up in a playlist I have to reach for the remote to turn the vol down.

 

Them and Metallica have been through the wringer and if you get a chance to play Guitar Hero check Metallica and then compare it to any release of the same material, quite amasing/amusing. 

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RE: Better mastered music could be on the way!

SteveR750 wrote:
 

Not sure that answered my real question, but this did:

 

Ooops sorry. I misread your question. embarassed

 

The explanation that AlmaataKZ gave is better that any that I could have offered anyway.

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RE: Better mastered music

Hmmmm,  This is the information which Linn provide on their website . . .

 

 

Linn makes download files available in three quality levels: Studio Master (best), CD Quality (better) and MP3 (good).

You should select the level you require based on the sound quality you desire. Do remember though, the better the sound quality the larger the download file size.  

 Studio Master FLAC/ALAC

If absolute sound quality is what you want then this file is best for you.

Studio Master files are lossless at various high sample rates, for example, 44.1KHz, 48KHz, 88.2KHz, 96KHz and 192KHz (check each title for actual details).  The format will be dependent on the actual recording method we used originally. These files offer true studio quality and are far higher in quality than can be achieved on CD.

 . . .

 

This information is misleading, imo.

JC

 

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RE: Better mastered music

jcbrum wrote:

Hmmmm,  This is the information which Linn provide on their website . . .

 

 

Linn makes download files available in three quality levels: Studio Master (best), CD Quality (better) and MP3 (good).

You should select the level you require based on the sound quality you desire. Do remember though, the better the sound quality the larger the download file size.  

 Studio Master FLAC/ALAC

If absolute sound quality is what you want then this file is best for you.

Studio Master files are lossless at various high sample rates, for example, 44.1KHz, 48KHz, 88.2KHz, 96KHz and 192KHz (check each title for actual details).  The format will be dependent on the actual recording method we used originally. These files offer true studio quality and are far higher in quality than can be achieved on CD.

This information is misleading, imo.

JC

Agreed.

If CD is able to adequately capture all the required dynamic range of a recording in stereo, then the statement in bold is wrong, no?

There is quite obviously a difference in some of the recordings across the formats, as Steve has highlighted. The thing is, if a recording is made, it is already 24 bit in the first instance. It is then downmixed to 16/44.`1 for CD, retaining the same quality and then compressed further, to lossless and then lossy, as required. As I mentioned before, no audible differences will exist until compression artifacts start to appear. 24 bit studio masters are not additional recordings made specially in isolation to a CD mix to have higher quality, they are the original file. If an additional 24 bit studio master is created, it is either a completely new 're-master' or a rerecording. In any case, it is not the same master as used to create the CD and compressed formats., so cannot be directly compared in quality with those formats.

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RE: Better mastered music could be on the way!

32 bit is the norm for studio work, it allows head room for editing without adding noise (quantisation) whilst the work is done.

 

Afterwards its mixed down to whatever bit rate file/disc is required, either 24 bit  or 16 bit with 24 bit having less noise or higher S/N.

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RE: Better mastered music

shooter wrote:

jcbrum wrote:

shooter wrote:

 . . .  around 90db's of listenable range, with lesser (normal) speakers around 75 to 80db's, 13bit.

 

Which is probably equivalent to, or a bit better than the best vinyl, most of which is about 10 to 12 bit equivalency, and can sound extremely good.

 

Looking at the DRLoudness site it may be fair to say that the current crop of vinyl releases are mastered sympathetically, just do a quick search on any 2012 release. Muse or Lana Del Ray for instance are worse off dynamically with CD and the HD Tracks release compared to vinyl, on the face of it its the medium to be on at the moment, but it costs.

 

Shooter this confirms what I wrote further back, having two formats on the new Muse album. First bought the vinyl edition then found out the 24bit could be downloaded from Muse’s official web site, downloaded the 24bit version. First impression was a bit of a surprise as it sounded so much brighter not in a good way. The band width was there unfortunately it was a big letdown in comparison  to the vinyl version which sounds superb.

When I first got the DS player everything I could get my hands on that appealed in 24bit was downloaded. The Doors – LA Woman 24bit sounds great, funny enough so does the CD remaster version. The Beatles in 24bit sound better than any format in my collection. Here is a thing was music recorded in 24bit back then as I’m not sure. The bass on these 24bit Beatles version is deeper than the vinyl version while the band width is wider. Now I just wait and read what 24bit versions are recommended on forums otherwise it’s the vinyl version I will get. The Bob Marley album in 24bit from Linn sounds really really good. HDTracks is a bit of a hit and miss In my experience

 

 

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RE: Better mastered music

Mirren Boy wrote:

shooter wrote:

jcbrum wrote:

shooter wrote:

 . . .  around 90db's of listenable range, with lesser (normal) speakers around 75 to 80db's, 13bit.

 

Which is probably equivalent to, or a bit better than the best vinyl, most of which is about 10 to 12 bit equivalency, and can sound extremely good.

 

Looking at the DRLoudness site it may be fair to say that the current crop of vinyl releases are mastered sympathetically, just do a quick search on any 2012 release. Muse or Lana Del Ray for instance are worse off dynamically with CD and the HD Tracks release compared to vinyl, on the face of it its the medium to be on at the moment, but it costs.

 

Shooter this confirms what I wrote further back, having two formats on the new Muse album. First bought the vinyl edition then found out the 24bit could be downloaded from Muse’s official web site, downloaded the 24bit version. First impression was a bit of a surprise as it sounded so much brighter not in a good way. The band width was there unfortunately it was a big letdown in comparison  to the vinyl version which sounds superb.

When I first got the DS player everything I could get my hands on that appealed in 24bit was downloaded. The Doors – LA Woman 24bit sounds great, funny enough so does the CD remaster version. The Beatles in 24bit sound better than any format in my collection. Here is a thing was music recorded in 24bit back then as I’m not sure. The bass on these 24bit Beatles version is deeper than the vinyl version while the band width is wider. Now I just wait and read what 24bit versions are recommended on forums otherwise it’s the vinyl version I will get. The Bob Marley album in 24bit from Linn sounds really really good. HDTracks is a bit of a hit and miss In my experience

 

 

This is priceless, pure comedy gold.  You wonder why people do not take you seriously?  You really don't understand this at all. 

 

 

 

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RE: Better mastered music

relocated wrote:

Mirren Boy wrote:

shooter wrote:

jcbrum wrote:

shooter wrote:

 . . .  around 90db's of listenable range, with lesser (normal) speakers around 75 to 80db's, 13bit.

 

Which is probably equivalent to, or a bit better than the best vinyl, most of which is about 10 to 12 bit equivalency, and can sound extremely good.

 

Looking at the DRLoudness site it may be fair to say that the current crop of vinyl releases are mastered sympathetically, just do a quick search on any 2012 release. Muse or Lana Del Ray for instance are worse off dynamically with CD and the HD Tracks release compared to vinyl, on the face of it its the medium to be on at the moment, but it costs.

 

Shooter this confirms what I wrote further back, having two formats on the new Muse album. First bought the vinyl edition then found out the 24bit could be downloaded from Muse’s official web site, downloaded the 24bit version. First impression was a bit of a surprise as it sounded so much brighter not in a good way. The band width was there unfortunately it was a big letdown in comparison  to the vinyl version which sounds superb.

When I first got the DS player everything I could get my hands on that appealed in 24bit was downloaded. The Doors – LA Woman 24bit sounds great, funny enough so does the CD remaster version. The Beatles in 24bit sound better than any format in my collection. Here is a thing was music recorded in 24bit back then as I’m not sure. The bass on these 24bit Beatles version is deeper than the vinyl version while the band width is wider. Now I just wait and read what 24bit versions are recommended on forums otherwise it’s the vinyl version I will get. The Bob Marley album in 24bit from Linn sounds really really good. HDTracks is a bit of a hit and miss In my experience

 

 

This is priceless, pure comedy gold.  You wonder why people do not take you seriously?  You really don't understand this at all. 

 

 

 

 

Maybe I should have explained in more detail. Of course there was no digital recordings back then. What was meant  ? Don’t think there was even a 24channel mixing desk back then which equates to the official recording being mastered today for 24bit. Hope that’s better for you.

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RE: Better mastered music RE: Better mastered music

jcbrum wrote:

Hmmmm,  This is the information which Linn provide on their website . . .

 

 

Linn makes download files available in three quality levels: Studio Master (best), CD Quality (better) and MP3 (good).

You should select the level you require based on the sound quality you desire. Do remember though, the better the sound quality the larger the download file size.  

 Studio Master FLAC/ALAC

If absolute sound quality is what you want then this file is best for you.

Studio Master files are lossless at various high sample rates, for example, 44.1KHz, 48KHz, 88.2KHz, 96KHz and 192KHz (check each title for actual details).  The format will be dependent on the actual recording method we used originally. These files offer true studio quality and are far higher in quality than can be achieved on CD.

 . . .

This information is misleading, imo.

I agree that saying "These files offer true studio quality and are far higher in quality than can be achieved on CD" is very misleading to the layman who doesn't fully understand digital audio technology.

 

Technically speaking though it's not actually a lie because the 24bit FLAC files do have a higher bit rate than a CD even if it is totally impossible for anyone to be able to hear the difference between the two.

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RE: Better mastered music

Mirren Boy wrote:
Maybe I should have explained in more detail. Of course there was no digital recordings back then. What was meant  ? Don’t think there was even a 24channel mixing desk back then which equates to the official recording being mastered today for 24bit. Hope that’s better for you.

I think you're getting the number of channels on the mixing desk confused with number of bits when encoding samples; they have nothing to do with one another.

 

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