HD Tracks is so bad.

Discussion in 'Music' started by mordicai, Feb 19, 2014.
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  1. mordicai

    +1  on Nativedsd, but I don't know if Peter is set up for DSD. Peter I don't know what you can and can't tell just listening to a MacBook with headphones. If you stay with this hobby you will quickly improve your setup, and in that case it behoves you to buy high end downloads now. The thing with HDTracks or ITunes is you are not getting the original recording, but a master that if set up to sound good on  a car sound system. There as a few really good recording companies but you have to search tham out and that for me is the hardest part of this hobby. Finding the music files. My favorite recordings come from Nativedsd,2L,Linn and Channel Classics. Your not going to get ripped off with some recycled crap  off these sites.
     
    Peter Hyatt likes this.
  2. jegnyc
    Over the years I've bought some good recordings from HDTracks and some poor ones (and a few dreadful ones).  My success ratio is best with jazz - actually I haven't bought that much classical from them.  I have several Harmonia Mundi downloads that I like.  I would assume the Channel Classics downloads are good, but buying the SACDs is usually cheaper.  And the Mercury conversions from SACDs seem to maintain the quality of the source.
     
    I feel strongly that the quality of the master is far more important than the resolution rate.
     
    Edit - just downloaded Murray Perahia's new recording of Bach's French Suites (flac 96/24).  The price after discount was less than the CDs at Amazon.  Sound through my computer set-up (HA-2 to AKG 701s or AudioEngine 5s) was fine.  Looking forward to playing it on my main system.
     
  3. Peter Hyatt

    It makes sense. 
     
    I have Macbook pro - Mojo - Beyerdynamic (T1 or T8ie, depending upon lap top or iPhone).  Eventually, I should get a DAP.  
     
    I will check the sites you reference.  Thank you.  
     
  4. mordicai
    Oh, you have good gear Peter. Didn't realize it. I have to say however, that some of my favorite albums are 16/44. Go figure. For me, good musicians, and a good recording recording is where it's at, not just the resolution.
     
  5. thatguyuphigh
    Well there are programs to play dsd on mac but sadly most of them are paid and not opensource. Also the mojo can sample 768kHz/32-bit and dsd256 over usb, optical, and tos-link. 
     
  6. Peter Hyatt

    You make good sense. 
     
    My hearing perception is not very keen, but over the last 6 months, I have gotten addicted to Mojo...without, the music sounds, in my wife's description, like a pillow blocking a speaker!
     
    I am going to see what I can do with the DSD and mac.  The site has sample to use, and I have quite a bit to learn about what constitutes a good recording. 
     
    I don't know if you are familiar, but I was hoping for comment on this...
     
    'they' say that Dylan's "Time Out of Mind" was recorded in a very special way, including a 'natural' sounding hanging of mics from the ceiling.  Daniel Lanois was in charge of it and the producer.  
     
    It does have some 'Lanois' sound to it, but it also has terrific soundstage.  
     
    Are there things you listen for, quite specifically, that point to a fine recording?  I have heard some that were 'muddy' sounding, and perhaps just loud, but lacking in instrument clarity. 
     
  7. mordicai

    Cant help you on that particular Dylan cd a I don't know it. But Im going  to check it out.  Actually one of my favorite Dylan recording is "The Essential Bob Dylan". I have recording that I bought were fabulous a few years ago when I just started getting serious about this hobby. So of them I still like and a lot I don't care for anymore. I think its like any  art form, you grow with it. After all its a very subjective thing. I bought so many albums from HDTracks because I bought there BS about them being HI Res super audio, when they were just upsampled CD's. When I started listening to stuff from Linn or 2L or Channel, I began to realize what a good recording sounded like. So all I can say is spend a lot of time just listening to the free samples of their music and comparing it to other recordings and you will start to hear very real differences between the two.
     
  8. mordicai

    Cant help you on that particular Dylan cd a I don't know it. But Im going  to check it out.  Actually one of my favorite Dylan recording is "The Essential Bob Dylan". I have recording that I bought were fabulous a few years ago when I just started getting serious about this hobby. So of them I still like and a lot I don't care for anymore. I think its like any  art form, you grow with it. After all its a very subjective thing. I bought so many albums from HDTracks because I bought there BS about them being HI Res super audio, when they were just upsampled CD's. When I started listening to stuff from Linn or 2L or Channel, I began to realize what a good recording sounded like. So all I can say is spend a lot of time just listening to the free samples of their music and comparing it to other recordings and you will start to hear very real differences between the two.
     
  9. jegnyc
    Not all albums on HDTracks are upsampled CDs.  Just as an example, the Mercury classical releases are conversions of the DSD masters, which derived from the analog masters.  The guy who did the conversion has written about them.  I suspect (though I do not know) that the Blue Note recordings derive from the analog masters.  I do know that the mastering was done by some of the best people in the business - and that they sound great.
     
     
    As I said above, in my opinion good mastering is more important than resolution.  However, the distinction I most often notice is an improvement in tonal color, which I hear primarily in acoustic instruments.  Cymbals are often better represented as well.
     
    My best sounding Dylan recordings (and this may frustrate you) are the four SACDs I have from Mobile Fidelity.  But they do not release them as downloads.  I have a number of the Sony SACDs, but not "Time Out of Mind."  And I don't even know if the 96/24 downloads derive from the same masters as the SACDs.  Also, I can't remember whether this came up earlier in the thread, but it looks like Acoustic Sounds offers more Dylan albums as DSD downloads than HDTracks.
     
    Peter Hyatt likes this.
  10. mordicai
    Oh the mercury albums are the best I ever got off of hdtrack. I have about 5-6 of them.
     
  11. jegnyc
    I think it's a good guide as to what to avoid whether it be HDTracks or music in any other format. Occasionally it can be misleading.  There are rare instances where I prefer recordings with a more limited dynamic range than others, but a substantial reduction is never a good sign.
     
    Edit - I tend to agree with Mordecai with respect to releases of popular music.  While there are exceptions (e.g. Moondance), in general the sound quality is poor for the reasons Mordecai has stated, and which can be observed at the above website.  Without question, the worst album I bought from HDTracks was "Some Girls."  The two Joni Mitchell albums I purchased were more modest disappointments.  I bought a six-pack of Linda Ronstadt, which was a mixed bag.
     
    I don't buy any recent pop/rock recordings from HDTracks or in any other Hi-Rez format (even though I make an effort to listen to it).  With few exceptions in my experience, the sound quality, and in particular the dynamic range, is poor.
     
  12. Peter Hyatt

    Thank you.  For a new person like me, listening specifically for acoustic instruments and cymbals is helpful, practical advice.    I will check out "Acoustic Sounds."  
     
  13. jegnyc
    One more suggestion from Steve Hoffman, a highly regarded (if sometimes controversial and mercurial) sound engineer:
     


     


    http://forums.stevehoffman.tv/threads/what-sounds-just-like-the-master-tape-cd-vinyl-sacd-or-a-1-1-analog-reel-tape-copy.133328/#post-3062841
     
    Peter Hyatt likes this.
  14. Peter Hyatt
  15. jegnyc
    Sound quality is not something that Bruce assiduously seeks.  I downloaded one of the concerts from that site, admittedly a much older one - from the "Darkness" tour.  I also purchased the remastered early albums box set and the hi-rez version of "Born to Run" from HDTracks.  I love the music, but it's not where I would recommend you begin your search for audio nirvana.
     
    If you want a good classic rock album to kick things off, try "Moondance." Other classic rock artists who seem to care about sound quality would include Neil Young, the Dead and Paul Simon.
     
    Edit for clarification - I mean "Moondance" on HDTracks.
     
    Peter Hyatt likes this.
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