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post #46 of 64
The problem is not that the Beck album doesn't sound good, or that it's not a good album, but simply that HDTracks is selling a version that is literally no different than the CD.

Quite simply, if you are asking your customers to pay more for something because it is supposed to be better, than it should be better. It would be like buying a Blu-Ray movie for the better picture & sound quality only to find out that the seller put a DVD in the case. And then when asked why they did it, they just say, well it's what the manufacturer gave us. HDTracks needs to realize that since they are the one's taking our money, they have a responsibility to see that we are getting what we pay for. Quite frankly, I'm suprised they haven't been approached with a lawsuit yet for some of their shady business practices.

Again, like I said earlier, your best defense if doing the research before purchasing an album from them and deciding if it's worth it.
post #47 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by goldendarko View Post

The problem is not that the Beck album doesn't sound good, or that it's not a good album, but simply that HDTracks is selling a version that is literally no different than the CD.

Quite simply, if you are asking your customers to pay more for something because it is supposed to be better, than it should be better. It would be like buying a Blu-Ray movie for the better picture & sound quality only to find out that the seller put a DVD in the case. And then when asked why they did it, they just say, well it's what the manufacturer gave us. HDTracks needs to realize that since they are the one's taking our money, they have a responsibility to see that we are getting what we pay for. Quite frankly, I'm suprised they haven't been approached with a lawsuit yet for some of their shady business practices.

Again, like I said earlier, your best defense if doing the research before purchasing an album from them and deciding if it's worth it.


Exactly. I A/B'd the high-res vs. regular flac and there is no difference. I used the Fiio X5 and UM Miracles + VSonic GR07, so I'm pretty sure I would have heard a discernible difference if there was one. This isn't the case with all of their music, but the new Beck release was a let down imo.

post #48 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by doctorjazz View Post

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. […]

Seriously? What started this all was a poster asking for info on the Dylan releases because they had bought the Beck release from HDTracks and were not pleased.

 

I will say that while at this point I wouldn't spend more on Morning Phase than I already have, my experience with Sea Change is thus — all the fancy expensive versions, including the HDTracks version, sounded the same (and the same as the original, cheap-as-bananas CD excepting a mix issue). The only improvement to Sea Change came from remastering — the MFSL edition by Rob Loverde. Mixing and mastering trumps mine-is-bigger-than-yours numbering, every… single… time.

post #49 of 64
I missed the poster not pleased with the HDTracks Dylan, was close to purchasing, think I'll need to keep an eye on this thread before buying. Makes it hard to deal with them, they carry such a large catalog, probably safer to spend the extra and go to MoFi (though it won't give you a chance to work out the fancy hi-rez DA converter you just bought. Oh well, I think we are just in the infancy of hi resolution audio, hopefully it doesn't go the way of SACD).
post #50 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by doctorjazz View Post

I missed the poster not pleased with the HDTracks Dylan, was close to purchasing, think I'll need to keep an eye on this thread before buying. Makes it hard to deal with them, they carry such a large catalog, probably safer to spend the extra and go to MoFi (though it won't give you a chance to work out the fancy hi-rez DA converter you just bought. Oh well, I think we are just in the infancy of hi resolution audio, hopefully it doesn't go the way of SACD).

Sorry if I was unclear — the poster was asking about the Dylan after being unimpressed with the Beck (Morning Phase). But, I highly doubt HDTracks has the MFSL masters of Dylan either, and unless they have some new, previously unheard remaster that they're working with… those Dylan MFSL discs are hard to beat. If only we knew what masters these were… 

post #51 of 64
It would seem, on older albums, you would need an early generation of the ANALOG master, the way MFSL works. Once they convert to Red Book digital, you may have a better sounding CD quality master, but you can't get back the missing information. Thus, Sony would have to license the original master tapes, otherwise you have to be upsampling to get those high bit rates. More recent recordings, done with DSD or other archive worthy codecs, would be different.
post #52 of 64

As I said earlier, a simple way for HDTracks to keep customers happy is to only sell albums that discernibly sound better than standard res/mp3 files at high-res prices. There's no point in paying a premium for a 24/96 album that is 3 times the size of a 320kbps or flac file if there is no improvement in the sound. I trust them to make that call, and they should instead of just being passive middlemen. I can understand how hard or impossible it may be in some cases to track down all of the information about how an album was mastered and converted into a high-res file, but I'll have a very hard time accepting the position that they're just selling what is given and won't make any judgements on behalf of the customer. They know enough about sound quality to determine whether a high-res release sounds better than a standard download (HDTracks is owned by the Chesky brothers if I'm not mistaken) - if they are unwilling to take a position and vet what is being given to them by the labels to sell, the moaning and groaning will never end. I don't know if there is a more finicky market than audiophiles, and that isn't necessarily a bad thing although we can be a pretty tiresome bunch at times. If we sit on our hands and shut our mouths, there's no incentive for them or the labels to give a rat's tookus about delivering a product worthy of a premium price.

post #53 of 64

I think a lot of the people arguing here are missing the point. HDTracks is selling hi-res audio files - now whether most people can hear any difference between the CD and master quality is another topic. The issue here is that HDTracks is selling whatever the studios and companies send them and what they do is only check whether the files are actually hi-res but most people don't just want hi-res they want a different and better mastering because that's what makes the most difference and what pretty much everyone can hear - the dynamic range playing the biggest part.

 

Now, I guess because HDtracks have a whole bunch of albums that are using a better master from the CD release and thus a lot better dynamic range, people heard some of those albums and now expect this to be the case with every single album coz otherwise they don't hear any difference between hi-res and CD quality. This brings me to the whole Beck argument because the issue here is not that the files aren't hi-res but that the master used is exactly the same as the CD's while the vinyl has a clearly superior dynamic range and also the free mp3 download of the vinyl rip of the album, and probably most people expected that HDTracks will have a hi-res version of the album that would have the higher dynamic range. The above talk about Bob Dylan just proves my point - people don't care as much about the actual bit depth as much - they care about the mastering and I know I care mostly about it too.

 

I have heard a bunch of HDtracks' albums that used different mastering from the CD and were better and honestly most of the time I'm also expecting that they would be selling versions, which use the best possible mastering and I have been let down on more than one occasion but to be honest HDTracks are only guaranteeing tracks in hi-res - there aren't actually guaranteeing that those tracks will always have better mastering and high dynamic range, so I can't be angry with them - I'm mostly angry with the stupid companies that send that stuff out as if it's not a niche market and the people buying this stuff don't know anything about Loudness wars, compression, clipping and so on. 

 

Of course, HDtracks is not without fault either - I think that they should try to strive for the highest possible quality, so the customers can be happy. As a start they should be checking the DR of the albums before putting them for sale and if an album is compressed they shouldn't sell it but call the people who sent it to them and tell them they won't be selling it or these albums should be sold at lower prices coz what's the point of buying hi-res music and wasting space and money if it's highly compressed and the whole point of HD audio goes down the drain.


Edited by kova4a - 3/9/14 at 11:36pm
post #54 of 64
I don't have any argument with any of these points... Of course the goal is the best sound not the largest files. I think I give HDTracks extra slack BECAUSE they are Chesky. I used to buy Chesky LP's when they were one of the few companies that cared about good sound. This required attention to detail one album at a time. What we may be seeing is the change in the company to a more mass market approach, which removes that attention to good sound release by release, which is a pity.
post #55 of 64

Honestly I think the biggest thing is how dismissive they are about it, how they're treating potential customers who have valid concerns…

post #56 of 64

I don't know the quality of the tracks they are selling but their responses just seems irresponsible to me. How is asking for info on the product you are going to buy "hurting the movement"? I think as paying customers we have the right to get the info needed before any purchases, especially it's one of the most important thing to assure the quality we are buying. Also making it sounds like you guys are doing audiophiles a favor, and without you guys there will be no good music. Please, you are getting paid for what you do, so be responsible and do what your paid to do and assure the quality of your products.

post #57 of 64

Hi again.

 

I read HDTrack's first few posts in real time, and yeah, they made some really bad mistakes in their response.  Of interest to me personally, this came on the heals of a friend of mine talking about the difficulty of responding to criticism on the Internet.  He claimed -- and I agree -- that we almost always end up looking like a butt!  And it's not necessarily because we are a butt, it's just because the nature of criticism, and the nature of reacting to criticism.  Combine the pressure to answer quickly with the emotional response to negative criticism, and we inevitably say stupid things.  Sure, we can make an apology… but then we run the risk of being interpreted as insincere or patronizing, as well as actually being insincere and patronizing (case in point, AP Photographer Apologies for Editing Photo, stating "it happened to me.")

 

So I am willing to cut these guys a bit of slack in their responses.  I also think we've been glossing over a couple of important facts that are to their credit!

 

First, and foremost, they actually stated on their site that the songs were CD Quality.  We all know they make their livings from selling High Res music, so it's easy to see that stating certain tracks are not  High Resolution would be detrimental to their bottom line.  And it's not at all something they had to do.

 

Another thing to consider is that they revealed the CD Quality tracks based on their own testing.   As if stating "The following tracks are CD Quality" isn't bad enough for sales, they actually legitimize that claim by revealing it was from their own tests.  For comparison, consider that they could have watered it down, pointing to "a random blogger" as the source of concern.  "Random Blogger" vs. "Our own testing" reveals…  I don't think I have to ask which would hold more weight!

 

So in all honesty, I have a hard time seeing their actions as anything but them showing integrity!

 

Okay, sure I would have preferred they put resolution info on the main product page,   And sure, they could have done a much better job of responding to criticism -- well, probably not (see above).  But to me it really looks like they tried to do the right thing.  Yes, I want them to continue with testing and revealing resolution, and would even prefer a greater level of disclosure.  And I have other concerns similar to some already posted.  But my concerns shouldn't stop me  from recognizing the good things HDTracks has already done.

 

-Pie

post #58 of 64

Charging high-res prices for CD-quality sound doesn't exactly coincide with my idea of integrity, and if the best we can expect is CD quality, then there is no point in offering 24/192 files for sale since CDs top out at 16/44. It's misleading to even call it HD music; by their definition, it's HD only if you compare it to a heavily compressed, low bitrate mp3....They are basically admitting that there is nothing high-res about the sound quality of what they sell at all, only the bit depth. The only real benefit in light of this is the vast majority of their music is really well-mastered, which is more important than bit depth/sample rate imho.

post #59 of 64

well, i just skimmed the whole thread and don't think i saw any comments on how the new dylan albums sound.

 

anyone????????

post #60 of 64
About the same as the SACD's if you have those, IMO the best versions of Dylans classic albums there are available, but not exactly an improvement on what we already have.
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