If I thought that was always the case, I would definitely downsample it myself. But it seems to be a somewhat 'open secret' that the reason that many hi-res music files sound different is because they are mixed and mastered to sound... drum roll... different (than their hi-res counterparts). <SNIP>
(I guess you mean lo-res in one of the two above?) I think what would be interesting would be to buy both versions (one time only), create your own downsampled version from the "HD" version and compare it with their equivalent-quality version, both by ear and by measurement (binary comparison & inside audio editor) and see what, if any, difference there might be... I even think one audio site or magazine did that recently, and let's say it didn't turn out so well for the sellers... can't find the link to the article now.
I wouldn't expect the files to measure that differently but it could be interesting. Great idea re downsampling the hi-res version as a more interesting comparison.
I only bought a few "HD" albums for the same reason you mentioned: because I -hope- they are mastered differently (better!) Sometimes they state it obviously, noting the sound engineer et al. Sometimes not so much... I bought one 24/44.1 track from an album I had ripped myself from CD at the usual 16/44.1 for comparison purposes, mostly because I kinda liked the album and it was brick-walled (very audibly) in the current fashion, hoping for a bit more range to alleviate the problem. It sounded exactly the same (to my ears anyway) and measured the same in the DR metering app (not the most complete, but since I was looking specifically for a DR improvement, adequate) In short, pointless purchase.
Interesting, was that Little Broken Hearts? If so and you use iTunes, I noticed that the metadata was wrong, it came out a a "2-bit" file instead of 24. Perhaps the 24-bit headroom is better for DSP though.
I think my total hi-res audio disks and downloads can be counted on one hand, maybe two if I add the Russian FLAC albums I bought before I knew better. I'm very satisfied with lossless rips on my computer, as well as vinyl; I just wish that the mix/mastering quality was more consistent.
We're getting off-track here, so I would just add that since Chesky himself rolled this one out, I would think that more care than usual was taken to optimize the varying versions... Good point.
I myself bought the 24/96 version because I like the binaural thing a lot and want to encourage more of it. I have to concur with others that the track selection as a whole is a bit meh; some tracks are very enjoyable, the binaural experiments work very well, but a lot of it is just not something that will make me listen to the album as whole repeatedly. However, all of them are definitely binaural in the sense that they all have some parts "outside" of the headphones typical of binaural. Now in terms of soundstage etc., yeah, not that impressive.
That's probably what I'll end up doing as well. Maybe I'll pony up the extra $ for both versions, but I kind of doubt it.
Frankly, my favourite "musical" binaural recordings remain:
- Ottmar Liebert & Luna Negra's Up Close album (YouTube Sample) ('cause I like the guitar music anyway)
- And the amazingly freely available Cowboy Junkies Live at the Ark (Hybrid Binaural, FLAC available) (at the Internet Archive) ('cause I'm a big CJ fan) Thanks for the link, me too!
Ultimately I put my money down for Chesky's album because: MOAR BINAURAL PLEASE!
Edited by grokit - 6/29/12 at 3:29am