Head-Fi.org › Forums › Sponsor Announcements and Deals › One of the Most Iconic Artists of All Time in Pristine High-Resolution!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

One of the Most Iconic Artists of All Time in Pristine High-Resolution! - Page 3

post #31 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by harrinj View Post
 

I'd be weary of these HDTracks. It's a lot of money to spend to have no details. Don't much care for the way they respond to it either. 


Still the fact of the matter is there aren't a whole lot of other options for computer audiophiles out there. And the one's that do offer hi-res music (acoustic sounds for example) basically do the same thing as HDTracks anyway. I think more transparency though would be to everyone's benefit, it would ensure we know what we are paying for and that they don't get all these customer complaints because people feel like they are being lied too. That being said I definately want to see HDTracks succeed because many of their releases are top notch even if a few turn out to be stinkers (like Beck's Morning Phase). Best thing to do I've found is just search online for reviews before making purchases on new releases, checking out DR charts at Computer Audiophile has led me to some great purchases.

post #32 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by goldendarko View Post
 


Still the fact of the matter is there aren't a whole lot of other options for computer audiophiles out there. And the one's that do offer hi-res music (acoustic sounds for example) basically do the same thing as HDTracks anyway. I think more transparency though would be to everyone's benefit, it would ensure we know what we are paying for and that they don't get all these customer complaints because people feel like they are being lied too. That being said I definately want to see HDTracks succeed because many of their releases are top notch even if a few turn out to be stinkers (like Beck's Morning Phase). Best thing to do I've found is just search online for reviews before making purchases on new releases, checking out DR charts at Computer Audiophile has led me to some great purchases.

I'm hoping Neil Young get's Pono out soon. 

post #33 of 64

Note: I'm posting as a member here. As I state in a quote in the Moderation FAQ, anything to do with sponsors does NOT affect me financially.

 

I bought Beck's latest album and was pondering asking for a refund after what I found out about it, but I decided to think about it a bit first after reading this thread. This is what I came up with. It's not an argument against any points that have been made by anyone else, but more so I thought to try and understand why things are how they are at present. 

 

While I've not been involved directly in music production (so some of what I'm going to write will be talking out my rear-end a bit) I do have some idea what goes on and a bit of related experience, mainly in radio.

 

I can't say I know exactly what would have gone on when Beck or other artists made their albums, and HDTracks would be unlikely to know either. Especially given the age of the albums, it wouldn't be a simple task of sending an email asking "So, how were these recorded and mastered?" because at the time, they would likely not have made any detailed record, because it wouldn't have been important. If you listen to a lot of music, you can discern that it is made up of vocals, instruments and samples to greatly varying degrees. Even if it is a recent album, I don't think the studio is going to go and hassle the mastering engineer, artist and others (who are all famous) because someone on a forum or blog ran their songs through an app. I think we all know what they would reply and it would be a long the lines of something about a Firetruck going OFF with a few of the letters removed (and the studio staff would be "What's a forum??!?").

 

An established artist may have all sorts of samples, either of instruments or other sounds they played or made in the past that they decide to use. When they made those samples, or digitized them (if they were made directly onto a tape of some kind) they certainly didn't think beyond recording them to a degree necessarily to mix them in later. They could have been recorded or digitized on any kind of equipment, from poor to excellent, and would have been mixed in to a, say, 24/96 master at whatever resolution they were in at the time. Whether or not they are the same sample rate or not doesn't matter to the artist as the purpose of mastering in 24/96 would have been for headroom, not to output it to audiophiles.

 

If you listen to a track like Alicia Keys' "Fallin'" on good equipment nowadays, you can clearly make out that she was recorded in a studio, probably a sound-damped booth with a mic. However, there is what sounds like a very low-quality sample dubbed over her vocals making up the backing of the track. Since the track was destined to be played on the radio or on an iPod (at a guess) the person mixing and mastering the track wouldn't have cared about the quality of the sample used, and it shows. If Songs in A Minor was to end up on HDTracks in high res, it would be obvious that parts of the music other than her voice may not be high resolution -- they could even be low quality MP3 samples of stuff from the label's library, or simply stuff that was recorded on poor equipment.

 

In a similar parallel, Van Halen is one of my favourite bands. However, being that all their stuff was recorded by them in the 5150 Studios, which is TINY, the dynamics of their music has been seriously compromised to overcome the limitations of that studio (which Eddie discussed in an interview around the time the album was released). The track "As Is" from their latest album has the most awesome drum opening, but because the way the recording was made and mastered, compared to many other recordings I've heard, the dynamics are seriously lacking and the impact of the drums will never be as satisfying as it could be. It always sounds like you're in a large hall listening to them play far from too far back. I really wish they had recorded that album in a regular studio or had David Chesky do a binaural version, which would have been spectacular.

 

So, I'm going to keep the Beck album. In the end, if anything, I might question whether the work of some artists are even suited to high-res downloads at all, or at least some of their albums, but ultimately I hope it becomes possible to hear more famous artists as we got to hear Amber Rubarth, as that would be spectacular, but for now I agree for the most part with what lithium1085 posted.

post #34 of 64
I think the most important thing to ask is whether or not the high res version sounds noticeably better than a standard res download. If it does, I think the premium they charge is justifiable. If it doesn't, then the opposite is true.
post #35 of 64
HD Tracks,
Please add a "Comments" section for each offering on your site. That will allow purchasers to add comments about quality, links to DR charts etc.

If the quality is not good, others could avoid the purchase and you would have great feedback for your label partners. Consumer comments are the backbone of online retailing and expected by consumers. That's why any legitimate online retailer offers comments whether generated from their site or aggregated from other sites.

This would not be an expensive addition to you platform and the fact that you have not included the option seems to indicate that you don't want consumers to see the comments of other purchasers.
Be not afraid!! These comments would benefit you in the long run.

Thanks and I would appreciate a response on your position of this feature.
Thanks
Scott
post #36 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyinMN View Post

HD Tracks,
Please add a "Comments" section for each offering on your site. That will allow purchasers to add comments about quality, links to DR charts etc.

If the quality is not good, others could avoid the purchase and you would have great feedback for your label partners. Consumer comments are the backbone of online retailing and expected by consumers. That's why any legitimate online retailer offers comments whether generated from their site or aggregated from other sites.

This would not be an expensive addition to you platform and the fact that you have not included the option seems to indicate that you don't want consumers to see the comments of other purchasers.
Be not afraid!! These comments would benefit you in the long run.

Thanks and I would appreciate a response on your position of this feature.
Thanks
Scott

 

We don't need HDtracks to do that. Head fi and other forums are great to get feedback from other users about the sound quality. This information about beck's new album was found on forums and they will continue to be the best resource going forward.

post #37 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by lithium1085 View Post
 

 

We don't need HDtracks to do that. Head fi and other forums are great to get feedback from other users about the sound quality. This information about beck's new album was found on forums and they will continue to be the best resource going forward.

 

And that's kind of the problem, having to browse forum to make sure a HQ music website's files are actually HQ.

post #38 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by elmoe View Post
 

 

And that's kind of the problem, having to browse forum to make sure a HQ music website's files are actually HQ.

 

Well I prefer to be safe and know more about what I am buying. I am on this forum anyway...

I hope with the impending arrival of Pono, availability of HD music and their provenance will be more clear. I think until such a time in the future, forums are a very important source. I see no difference between this and buying a headphone without looking at reviews and then complaining about the quality. As a consumer, informed choices always lead to greater satisfaction. A more constructive way would be to inform other buyers about poor quality and help everyone make better choices. It is not easy to read forums about every recording one is interested in, but at the same time as a discerning customers we need to be diligent.

post #39 of 64
I've spent enough time on the forums to learn that we are a fussy group when it comes to music and equipment. I fully understand and (mostly) sympathize with the member concerns that have been expressed. That said, no one has produced any evidence that HD tracks is providing downloads that are anything other than what they claim they are. If someone disputes that, I'm sure they can use the same methods that HD tracks uses to "verify" their downloads as mentioned earlier in this thread.

I purchased Norah Jones "Come Away With Me" as a 24/96 download in AIFF format to sample their service. I own the CD and ripped my own AIFF version from the CD to compare it with the HD tracks download. I could discern a difference between my 16/44 CD rip and the HD tracks download, but there was NO discernible difference when up sampling my CD rip through several different DAC's to 24/96. Your mileage may vary and others here may have a different experience. I am confident HD tracks is providing exactly what they claim but that the actual "improvement" may not be enough to justify the additional cost. Obviously I am basing this on one album download and I plan to do additional sampling in the future. I think it would be more helpful for everyone to report on their actual experience rather than conjecturing about what they may or may not be providing without some concrete evidence.

This is a maturing business. I don't question their honesty; I am sure they will take comments made here and use them to improve their business model. Let's give them a chance to do that.
post #40 of 64

What I don't understand is how every CD you buy, even the ones in the $5 bin at Walmart show the year of the release, as well as who mastered / produced it, etc. Yet we're to believe that it's all but impossible to get that information on these 24/96 versions from HDTracks. That doesn't make any sense.

post #41 of 64

Moving on, one thing that really irks me is that search on the HDTracks website. Seriously, for every artist's name I've put in there, I've had tons of results of just about anything except those artists' works. I'm not sure if this has been pointed out already, but it is kind of frustrating.

post #42 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by lithium1085 View Post
 

 

We don't need HDtracks to do that. Head fi and other forums are great to get feedback from other users about the sound quality. This information about beck's new album was found on forums and they will continue to be the best resource going forward.

Well, most audiophiles are outliers and maybe some of us would go searching various forums for feedback on a single album before purchasing but I don't think most would.  A headphone purchase, absolutely, an album, not much.  Of all the albums on HDTracks, how many have a forum discussions out there?  A comments option on HDTracks would dramatically increase the available user comments in total and likely every offering would have at least one review/comment.  Think Amazon. This is the gold standard for online purchases.

 

Using the Beck example, there are 104 reviews on Amazon with a 4.4 star rating and the #1 rated song in rock.  Now, these reviews most likely don't discuss the types of aspects audiophiles are interested in. But if the same functionality was available on HDTracks, you would likely see multiple reviews with the type of analysis the audiophiles are interest in. These reviews could even include links to more in-depth forum discussions. The best of both worlds.

 

So, I agree with you on the value of forums but the review/comment option at the item level on the HDTracks site would be most beneficial.  I was excited to see that Computer Audio added a review section, but still not a lot of reviews in total yet.  

Scott


Edited by FlyinMN - 3/8/14 at 12:37pm
post #43 of 64

I also agree with the value of forums.  Users can exchange experiences and information nearly in real time - it`s invaluable.  But forums take on an even greater significance when people from the industry get involved and add their voices.  We see it on Headfi all the time : the Schitt guys, the cable makers, etc, etc, this kind of direct access to the people who create and/or sell the things we want and use.  And here in this thread we had the same opportunity with HDTracks, and all they offer is vague observations about their product, observations that any of us could have made.  `It seems like the SACD version`, or, our-suppliers-won`t-tell-us-anything nonsense.  And then they get indignant about their own ignorance . . . 

 

Imagine going to buy a car, and the model you want comes with 2 engine choices: economy and high performance.  You like the floor model, but the dealer says, oh, this one looks fast, it probably has the high performance engine.  Oh, and it costs double, so yeah, it likely has the better engine.  We don`t know, because it`s too hard to get information from the manufacturer. Sorry, we can`t open the hood.  No, you can`t test drive it.  Why are you being so demanding?  I don`t like your questions or your attitude : don`t you realize you wouldn`t even be able to buy a car if I weren`t here????  

 

I`ve made several purchases from HDTracks, and Highresaudio.com, which has better prices, and Linn.  But most of the things I`ve purchased have been specialist recordings from 2L or similar.  I did buy the PearlJam 10 remaster from HDTracks and love it, and a 192aiff of Cassandra Wilson.  But I`ve never compared them with a redbook versions and my current system is completely different from my previous Pearl Jam days` system, so my enthusiasm for them is purely placebo.   I have no interest at all in the debate about the validity of high bit and sample rates, about the weakness of mp3 or the superiority of dsd, etc.  I have an amazing headphones and speakers, fantastic amplifiers and a MAGICAL dsd dac.  I`m sold on it all. 

 

I don`t feel like HDTracks share this enthusiasm.  And that is the reason they have lost this customer.    

post #44 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by whereas View Post
 

What I don't understand is how every CD you buy, even the ones in the $5 bin at Walmart show the year of the release, as well as who mastered / produced it, etc. Yet we're to believe that it's all but impossible to get that information on these 24/96 versions from HDTracks. That doesn't make any sense.

 

It's the details of how it was produced and mastered that are difficult to get hold of, not who did it. :smile: 

 

There's no way to know easily if every single component that made every part of the sound when the music was made and produced -- every device, effect or loop pedal, all the recording components, were running at high resolution (and I'd imagine that a lot of effects equipment would not, though someone who has worked with that kind of gear would have to chime in here). If it's a straight-forward recording of classical music by a recording of an orchestra, that is probably not going to be an issue.

post #45 of 64
Y'know, I have the Beck HDTracks download of Beck, and the one thing I haven't noted on the thread is anyone commenting on actually listening to it and how it sounds. I listen through decent headphone gear (Fiio X3, ALO National, a variety of Head-Fi approved headphones), and I think it is really nice sounding. Now, obviously, I can't offer comparison to the LP version, the MP3 version included with the LP (which is said to be mastered from a different "LP master" and sound better than the CD master...curious procedure, if you ask me. Why not just make 1 "good" master, and take everything from that? Seems like more trouble than it's worth), since I don't own them, and maybe I spent extra for the HDTracks download and could have gotten the CD for less with equal sound. I'm not sure on this end, but, aren't there other factors aside from sample/bit rates involved in the sound? After all, XRCD, MO FI and other "audiophile quality" CD's don't generally come from higher resolution masters, but painstaking attention to detail and care of those Red Book bits, and the sound is noticeably better.Yeah, it would be great if the info on which is the master used, is it the best available source, etc etc were available, but, y'know, if you buy music regularly, most of it is not available in any audiophile version, and the sound is generally pot luck; you spend your money, take your chances. HDTracks downloads do cost more than a cd from Amazon, but not THAT much more, often they offer 10-20% off, making it closer to CD prices, generally much cheaper than the LP.
As I said, listened to the Beck twice (just got it along with lots of other music recently), I think it is really good sounding (maybe my audiophile "golden ears" aren't as finely honed as some, but I've done this kind of listening for quite a while, have an "audiophile approved", if aging, big rig as well), you may be able to do as well with the CD, though I don't think we'll know unless someone actually sits down to do the comparison (listening, not pulling up someones measurements done with I-don't-know-what-epuipment), preferably to all 4 sources. Obviously, this isn't very practical for thousands of releases, so there is still some pot luck involved in most purchases, I do like HDSounds, and, as someone else mentioned, there ain't that many alternatives out there.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Sponsor Announcements and Deals
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Sponsor Announcements and Deals › One of the Most Iconic Artists of All Time in Pristine High-Resolution!