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The Mystery Of Pono and HD Tracks?

Discussion in 'Music' started by redcarmoose, Jan 6, 2016.
  1. Redcarmoose
    I really don't want to make another HD thread but do have some questions that just don't seem to be answered.
    If you notice there are HD remasters coming out almost daily. I choose ELO Eldorado as an example but it's information database is really just the same as most of these new HD remasters.
    My point here is that there is absolutely no history or information on these new recordings? We are suppose to be living in an information age, but as far as Pono Tracks or HD Tracks there is absolutely zero information as to the process at hand?
    Take for example the audiophile records or CDs of the past. Even when you had a printed hard copy the jacket went on to explain the remaster process and the history of the tapes. Some sleeves went on to suggest how to care for your disks and records would even explain needle wear and lifetime, along with the theory involved in getting the best playback sound possible.
    Today we are left with questions. All this may be just in favor of the record companies as if you had a 16bit/44.1kHz remaster what chance would you get for sonic improvement from the same remaster put in HD. There are always these stories of how the artist has unearthed new rolls of master tapes and how there is this "cause" to try and resurrect or improve the musical detail.
    Still all we can do is listen and compare and guess as there is absolutely no hard evidence as to the process at hand. The public at large just goes along with the process, buying HD as a hope to get insurance to better SQ even if they hear it or not?
    You would think more information as to the history of these new classic album releases would help sales and generate interest and knowledge. Still in the end we are just left with a simple gamble, to keep what we have or take a chance?
    Am I missing something here?
  2. henkie196
    You've basically described my whole issue with the HD tracks, and I don't think you're missing something.
    It would be nice to know before buying if the tracks were anything other than just an upsampled version of the CD release. After all, what is the point of getting high bitrate and high sampling rate versions of heavily brickwalled recordings? I would prefer just a 16 bit / 44.1 kHz file, with just a mastering that was more focused on audio quality rather than loudness wars.
  3. Redcarmoose

    Thank-you, yes, that's what I thought, it's like buying a newer model of car with no specifications.

    I'm perfectly happy hearing non-remastered first pressing CDs in 16bit 44.1kHz and believe much of the time they are great if recorded well.

    It just seems they should give some details asking for $24 for music from 1974. The crazy part is that placebo is such a force, though at times it seems like HD has more "air". Still any improvements are not that big of a deal?

    But maybe for legal reasons, they seem to not even start to delineate a process or even try to sell it to you other than post a sample rate?
  4. henkie196
    Music from that far back, why not just get a CD and rip that? Or vinyl, if you have the gear to rip that.

    Maybe I'm just cynical, or maybe I just think that most record labels are merely money grubbing weasels, but it makes me think that they don't want to tell you that they just upsampled the original recording. Or that someone saw the opportunity to sell old records for more money if they just upsample some files so that it will give the appearance of a HD recording.
  5. Currawong Contributor
    I came across a block post from Mark Waldrep that may answer some of the questions. 
    I'd have to find the link, but there was some amusing discussion about a guy who reconditions old R2R tape decks, which are considered to sound absolutely fantastic. He recorded the output of a cheap DVD player playing a CD onto tape, hooked up the tape deck to a high-end system and wowed a bunch of people....until he told them the source. 
    Now...given all that, I visited a manufacturer some time ago, auditioned their TOTL DAC, played around trying inputs and other things, then we had a listen to the engineer's vinyl rig and (at the time) in-development phono stage. That blew away their $5k DAC totally. It was a vastly more enjoyable experience to listen with. 
    So with all this stuff most of the time I say....whatever! Just enjoy the hobby. [​IMG]
  6. Redcarmoose

    Due to moving overseas I actually sold a larg portion of vinyl. I still have some and a turntable but albums like Elo's Eldorado I sold. Many people over time just would not buy CDs that they already had in vinyl. In the 1990s an album like Eldorado was 10 cents in perfect condition so you could stock up on all the music you liked. The vinyl at times was better than digital but not always. I remember getting an expensive turntable just to find out that all the Rush vinyl sounded bad. For bands like Rush these HD tracks sound pretty good. Still there is no road map to understand the process and why some are great and some are not?

    Basic understanding is simply the way it's always been, that every recording is it's own animal.
    Tiemen and Jupiterknight like this.
  7. Redcarmoose
    Here is the true answer to your questions of HD Tracks: "Hello, we are happy to help you with your issues. We recently hired a health care provider to assist our many customers with the obsessive compulsive disorder. First, let me be very very clear. There are not just "Original Master Tape" and "Stereo master tape" as you said (and thanks for putting "THE ORIGINAL MASTER TAPE" is caps, as we are hard of hearing and appreciate when people speak loudly to us). There are also 'mono master tape', 'original first generation master tape', and there are also fifth, sixth, seventh and eight generation master tapes (sorry, original master tape, stereo master tape, mono master tape, first generation master tape, un-eq'd original master tape, production master tape, and so on). But we do want to help you and give all the information possible. First, we take an original first generation un-eq'd stereo master tape that has been fully authenticated by a known ancient antiquarian expert on dating and authenticating historical tapes. Next, we check with the Smithsonian and have a researcher who is a PhD in the science of various brands and types of original period analog tapes to authenticate from historical data that the tape is truly period-authentic and that it's date and place of manufacture are historically valid. Then, once this process has been complete, we have the tape delivered by three bonded security agents with extensive martial arts training, by livery service accompanied by two armed motorcycle escorts, placed gently and accurately on a lint and static free blanket within a certified fire and nuclear proof vault, behind the drivers seat (requiring that the back seats in the limousine be removed so that the vault can be secured fully without any encumbrances, equidistant from both rear doors to ensure no stray magnetic field affect the stereo image pricelessly preserved on the tapes in an unequal manner), and transported directly to our state of the art mastering studio, which is at a secure facility in the Colorado mountains. It is removed from the vehicle by our specialist transport expert, wearing only sanitary white gloves at all times, and hand delivered to the mastering suite. There, it is remastered on state of the art equipment that must past rigorous tests, such as a review on an online website such as 6 Moons or Tone Audio, and which we specially modify to ensure our customers get only the highest possible experience. Modifications such as South Africa certified pure organic white gold on all knobs and connectors, organic cotton lining on all components to ensure no finger marks, everything is true NOS (whatever that means), and only a pure direct analog chain with tubes at every stage. In fact, our technicians use tube powered toilet sensors only in all our washrooms, and we insist on a tube power coffee machine to ensure at all times that our customers have only a total, pure tube chain. Our mastering engineers are all highly known names, in selecting mastering engineers for our projects, we insist that they MUST be 'audiophile approved' by having an online forum, or at minimum must have a significant number of online fans. Again, approval by one or more of the known expert journals such as Tone, as well as industry awards and recognition such as being allowed to post on the Steve Hoffman Forum, are mandatory. Once mastering is complete, we validate every file. In fact, we require validation from an outside military grade testing facility on every BYTE of data in our files. We then upload the files to our servers, kept in a secure temperature and humidity controlled environment deep within an Arctic ice float and offer them for sale to our valued and esteemed customers. Further, we are simply not satisfied with this level of validation. We send 'test files' to a select number of online experts, determined by the number of posts they have on the key online forums, to draw graphs and prepare charts to compare. Further, we always go to the original engineer to check every file, whether alive or not. We never check with the artists, as we have found by checking online forums that artistic intent is not a recognized criteria. We hope that this is acceptable to you."
  8. icebear
    THERE you go, ROFL [​IMG] 
    On a more serious note and the tongue out of cheek [​IMG] ...
    Just listen and judge for yourself w/o relying on any given (or not) information. Obviously higher numbers don't automatically guarantee a better sound quality. Sometimes you don't get what you pay for[​IMG]

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