• Music

    by Published on 06-03-2014 12:37 AM
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    Many music aficionados and hard core fans have been waiting a long time for a taste of Led Zeppelin in high resolution. The time has finally come. Tuesday June 03, 2014 marked the release of Led Zeppelin I, II, and III remastered at 24 bit / 96 kHz resolution plus a little extra bonus material included with the Deluxe Editions of each album. According to HDtracks, "The new remasters were created from 192 kHz/24 bit digital transfers of the original analogue tapes. The catalogue is being remastered now to take advantage of the significant advances in mastering technology that have occurred since 1991." Much of this catalog has been released several times over the years, but the dynamic range compression of so many of the releases has completely killed the sound quality. My favorite Led Zeppelin releases, in terms of sound quality, are the original Compact Disc masters with very nice high dynamic range. I used these releases as my reference when listening to the new 24/96 high resolution releases. Based on several hours of listening, I like the new high resolution masters as much or better than the original CD masters and certainly more than other previous versions of the first three Led Zeppelin albums. Sure the dynamic range of the original CD releases is greater than these new releases, but higher DR doesn't equate to better sound. There are many things that go into mastering an album. If it was all about DR nobody would have to listen to an album. We could purchase music based on numbers. Given that the original CD releases are out of print, I don't believe there's a better version than the 24/96 remasters available today. I've been listening to the first three albums for the last six hours in high resolution. I flip back to the original CD every so often just for a reality check to make sure I'm not hearing what I want and fooling myself. Every time I listen to the older versions I feel a need to switch back to the new high resolution material. It isn't an accident that I've gravitated to the new 24/96 remasters. I simply like the sound better than any other version of Led Zeppelin I, II and III I've ever heard. Period. ...
    by Published on 10-17-2013 02:40 PM
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    In 1990 I was listening to Def Leppard, Motley Crue, and Poison sing about decadence, drugs, and debauchery. The glamorous lifestyles portrayed on MTV and in Circus magazine were enough to make any fifteen year old dream of living the "good life". Stadiums and tour busses full of girls preoccupied my drifting mind rather than chemistry and history. On August 27, 1991 Pearl Jam's debut album Ten was released. The album was a musical shot of adrenaline that changed my life forever. One spin of the CD through my Sony Discman, connected via cassette adapter to the stereo in my Mom's red 1989 Chevy Beretta, and I was hooked. Nursing an injured arm that day I watched my baseball team's game from the parking lot rather than the dugout. This enabled me to keep listening to Ten during the game. The album instantly turned my previous rock star heroes into has-been zeros. Singing about backstage parties was suddenly uncool and my previously favorite bands were immediately irrelevant. Rock and Roll about real world problems and performances with incredible energy made the hair metal bands, who float around the stage with synchronized smiles and pink guitars, simply stupid. ...
    by Published on 04-03-2013 12:51 AM
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    I've been a fan of Van Halen since purchasing the cassette of 1984 as a nine year old budding audiophile. The album cover depicting a child with cigarettes was quite controversial back in the day. Soon after immersing myself in all the treasures on the 1984 album I purchased the previous five studio albums completing my collection of Van Halen cassettes. When the Compact Disc versions of the first six albums were released I purchased each one. As a Sophomore in high school I heard Pearl Jam and Nirvana for the first time and my taste in music immediately changed. I subsequently sold all my Van Halen CDs, with the exception of 1984, at the local used record shop. It's hard to believe I collected about a dollar for each of the first five Van Halen CDs, and walked out the door satisfied. The time had finally come to replenish my Van Halen music collection when I noticed HDtracks offering Van Halen's first six studio albums in high resolution at both 24 bit / 96 kHz and 24 bit / 192 kHz . I opted for the 24/192 download, containing 8 GB of FLAC files. Thirteen minutes later I had all sixty tracks on my desktop. I started listening to the albums in order of release, Van Halen, Van Halen II, Women And Children First, etc. Soon after the first click of the mouse I was hooked on high resolution Van Halen. The first six albums sound as good or better than any Van Halen release in recent memory. In fact I've had the entire Studio Album collection on repeat for several hours. Maybe I'll watch Fast Times At Ridgemont High tonight so I can see Mike Damone sell Van Halen tickets to two kids for a "sixteen" dollar profit. ...
    by Published on 04-12-2011 03:26 PM
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    Attention Jack Johnson fans: Jack's debut album has been remastered by Bernie Grundman and made available for download at 16 bit / 48 kHz. I've been a big Jack Johnson fan since the first time I heard his song Flake on the radio in 2002. I've purchased every JJ album since this debut. One thing is certain with Jack Johnson albums. I can put any one of them on repeat and enjoy every single track over and over. There's not an offensive note in the bunch. Based on the limited information available about this remaster it does appear sound quality was a major concern during the whole process. Vinyl lovers will be excited to read the 180 gram remastered release was kept in the analog domain from the tape it was recorded ...
    by Published on 03-17-2011 12:58 PM
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    2. Music,
    3. Downloads / Streaming

    In the past when I thought of virtual instruments I thought of MIDI tones emanating from an old cream colored computer's built-in speaker, some terrible synthesized songs from the 1980s, or even some chart-toppers created on a workstation in a bedroom without regard for the actual sound of real instruments. There's certainly nothing wrong with expressing one's musical creativity this way, but I'll pass on spending a buck when the first single is released. That was the past before I heard David Chesky's new creation Urbanicity / Concerto for Electric Guitar and Orchestra / The New York Variations. The album's only real physical instrument is an electric guitar played by the 24 year old rising star Bryan Baker on the Concerto centerpiece. Every other instrument comprising the Urbancity Orchestra of New York is virtual. This may be a hard concept to accept for many audiophiles, but if anyone understands what real instruments sound like it's music impresario and current Composure in Residence at the National Symphony of Taiwan David Chesky. This album is thrilling to listen to on a nice audio system and is available beginning March 17, 2011 from HDtracks.com as a 24 bit / 48 kHz FLAC download. Computer Audiophile readers will be pleased to know HDtracks has provided them a 50% off code.
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    by Published on 12-31-2010 01:05 PM
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    2. Music

    2010 is over and itís time to look back and reminisce about what makes this hobby so wonderful. Music. Without music our well designed and frequently very expensive components would be nothing but paperweights and room heaters. Over the last twelve months Iíve purchased more music than any previous year. An increasing percentage of this music was high resolution and downloaded legally via the Internet. Along with more high resolution material came an increased demand for storage. I was forced to increase the size of my Network Attached Storage (NAS) unit from five to ten terabytes. That said the vast majority of the music I purchased in 2010 was on plain old Redbook 16 bit / 44.1 kHz Compact Discs. What follows is my top fifteen of 2010. A list of albums that lit up the hard drives here at Computer Audiophile. Some of these selections were released in 2010 while others were new to me in 2010 or simply albums that I couldnít stop playing throughout 2010.
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