• HRx Arrives At Computer Audiophile!

    The Postman delivered the first three HRx releases from Reference Recordings this morning! The albums arrived in standard DVD "movie" type cases and the music is on DVD-R discs. The tracks are "digit-for-digit copies of the original Reference Recordings 176.4 kHz / 24 bit digital masters." Nothing else to report at this time. As soon as the UPS guy arrives this afternoon with the Weiss Minerva DAC I'll be in my listening room with the volume a notch or two higher than normal :-) I'll have some follow-up articles on converting to another format while keeping the high bit rate and of course on the quality. Here are some photos of the HRx discs and Wellington the Computer Audiophile cat.

    Note: I just added 11.94 GB worth of music to my library with these three discs. HRx albums consume massive amounts of space! Oh well, I've got 5 TB to fill.
     


    HR-112, HR-109, HR-96



    HRx Is Here, Literally!
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    HRx Is Here, Literally!
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    HRx Is Here, Literally!
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    HRx Is Here, Literally!
    click to enlarge


     


    HRx Is Here, Literally!
    click to enlarge


     


    HRx Is Here, Literally!
    click to enlarge


     


    HRx Is Here, Literally!
    click to enlarge


     


    HRx Is Here, Literally!
    click to enlarge


     


    HRx Is Here, Literally!
    click to enlarge


     


    HRx Is Here, Literally!
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    HRx Is Here, Literally!
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    HRx Is Here, Literally!
    click to enlarge
    Comments 16 Comments
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      They certainly do include a booklet! It is similar to a standard DVD booklet in size. The DVD-R discs also look like standard CDs on the top and standard DVD-Rs on the bottom (kind of purple).
    1. davip's Avatar
      davip -
      Interesting Chris;<br />
      <br />
      I'm all for 24-bit high-samples audio, and files on disc is a definite imrovement on DVD-A with its menu-driven rubbish (e.g., 'search backwards operation not permitted by disc'). However, putting these on burned media is a cheap-ass act on the part of RR, one that smacks of the same profiteering as Universal with their 'CDO' format, re-releasing titles on CD-R. Burned media have a definite lifetime -- years at most when well-treated and much less when not. When 'cyclic redundancy' errors start to appear (drive can't read part of file), the disc is useless, and you'll have to buy another. Of course, you can always copy the files to HDD, but the optical media are supposed to be the back-up, not need backing-up.<br />
      <br />
      This sort of practise on the part of the record companies should be discouraged, not trumpeted.<br />
      <br />
      cheers,<br />
      Dave
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Hey Dave - Thanks for the post, but I respectfully disagree with your views toward the HRx releases. It doesn't bother me at all that these are DVD-R releases. Plus, we don't really know if RR used any higher quality discs for these releases. <br />
      <br />
      In addition, I would be even more thrilled with these releases if I could just add them to my virtual cart and download them from my listening chair. Then I'm left with no purchased backup. <br />
      <br />
      Out of curiosity, would you have the same views if these were download only releases or do you shy away from these etc...?<br />
      <br />
      Not trying to start something, just like good discussions with intelligent readers like yourself :-)
    1. davip's Avatar
      davip -
      Well, it's an issue that will become more significant as people move toward computer-based storage I think. I posted elsewhere on the site about the dangers of HDD storage without backup, and most would regard this as prudent (e.g., your RAID setup) but, assuming we only have our own music ripped, it's having the stamped CDs that are the real backup. If they're burned media, that security is gone. In truth, it doesn't really matter if RR use Tai Yuden or the cheapest Mitsubishy-wishy-washy discs they can find; a CD is a physically-stamped medium, a CD-R / DVD-R is an organic dye, and one that is vulnerable to damage simply from light, humidity and temperature variations -- it can be rendered useless just sitting on a shelf, untouched. I'm not against these things, I just think people need to be aware of their limitations, and it's questionable for companies like RR to put their product on this sort of medium (although it makes great business sense -- ask Universal). <br />
      <br />
      Downloading is certainly convenient, but anyone who knows someone with a dead ipod (or a working ipod, but with a new computer) will realise the problems associated with downloaded music. I would never buy any compressed stuff from iTunes, but even if I could get it as uncompressed WAVs I would still want the physical copy. It is the latter that you're paying for; if you're happy to pay for the file alone then the DRM people have already got you without even having to cripple the files. Find that the disc you paid for is unreadable one day, and your only recourse is to buy another one. <br />
      <br />
      I would prefer to pay for stamped media than RAID to preserve my music (let's not even get into DVD and Blu-Ray, and Pb's of files). What I see here is the successor to DRM -- ORM: 'optical rights managment'. Sneaky...<br />
      <br />
      Dave
    1. ASB's Avatar
      ASB -
      I would like to hear your opinion after you have converted them to FLAC. I have bought some 24bit/96kHz FLAC files from "High Definition Tape Transfers" and they sound terrific. <br />
      <br />
      24/176.4 files should be much better.<br />
      <br />
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Hi ASB - I usually would not even go down the path of converting to flac because I prefer uncompressed. I'll give this a shot for you and let you know.
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Hi guys - I talked to Reference Recordings about the DVD-R concerns mentioned here and they were very cool about it. They aren't trying to be sneaky or anything sinister. RR just didn't know how many units they would sell and couldn't justify the risk of making the quantity needed for replicated discs rather than duplicated discs. Also, the pressing plants would not guarantee that the data files provided would be transferred digit-for-digit in their mastering process. By making the discs themselves, they can check them on their own playback system, which tests for integrity of the transfer. RR uses a duplicating machine that allows them to burn at a low speed, and also does a bit-for-bit comparison of each disc to the master that is stored on the hard drive as part of the process.<br />
      <br />
      RR is really a class act and passed along this message to me as well - <br />
      <br />
      <i>"If anyone has a disc that becomes unplayable, we will replace it. Also, if we find a way to change to a better medium we will work out a way for HRx purchasers to upgrade." </i><br />
      <br />
      I certainly won't hesitate to purchase anything from RR no matter what medium it is on. They'll make it right in the end if something goes wrong. It's in everyone's best interest.
    1. Dietmar's Avatar
      Dietmar -
      Hi Chris,<br />
      I got my Discs yesterday and played them via our TRINITY DAC and I can tell you these recordings are really great. I own almost all hi-rez (192kHz/24bit)recordings ever published on this planet and can compare these recordings with other DVD-As. You are right, my first impression was the same you need at least 4dB more on the volume control, but if you look on a peak level meter you will see the most music runs between -50 and -20dBFS with some louder parts of -10dBFS, but there are some very short peaks which go up to -6dBFS. Normally the recording engineer does not go higher than -3dBFS, because you need some headroom for the digital filter. I guess they need the -6dBFS for the HDCD processor.<br />
      By the way our DAC do not have any digital or analogue filter, so I can say we play back the music digit for digit as it was recorded. The recommendation to use high-end gear is necessary, because the most DACs lose the room information, if the play silent music and here we are the most time below -20dBFS. This is a real good dynamic range without any compression. I hope they publish other recordings as well and keep the high-rez music alive.<br />
      <br />
      Dietmar <br />
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Hey Dietmar - Thanks a lot for the post here on Computer Audiophile. <br />
      <br />
      If any readers are interested in the TRINITY DAC that Dietmar is referring to they can find it at the <a href="http://www.gte-audio.com/en/produkte_dac.htm">GTE site</a>.<br />
      <br />
      In addition here is a link to the <a href="http://www.gte-audio.com/pdf/trinitydac_e.pdf">Trinity DAC Manual PDF<a/><br />
      <br />
      <br />
      <br />
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      One more item to get the Computer Audiophile readers more familiar with Dietmar's products. Here is a video from T.H.E. Show in Las Vegas.<br />
      <br />
      <center><br />
      <object width="425" height="355"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/l9g8NB70cj8"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/l9g8NB70cj8" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="355"></embed></object><br />
      </center>
    1. Dietmar's Avatar
      Dietmar -
      Hi Chris,<br />
      you are right that me. During this show I played only 192kHz/24bits from DVD-As with a modified Denon 1920 player. I had added a hi-rez SPDIF interface to this player and used the player just as a transport. <br />
      Maybe it would be a good idea if we share the info about the platforms we use to play back HRx recordings, because it took a while for me just to find the right hardware. I use now an E-MU 1616m external SoundBlaster card. The only thing I have to mention is, that you have to download the newest driver from the website, because the ones on the CD are from 2005 and did not work at all at this data rate. The recommended monkey media player runs fine and shows a bit rate of 8467kbps (174600Hz x 24 x 2 = 8,467,200bits/sec). I also checked the SPDIF output of the E-MU1616m, which shows that the card feeds the digital output with the correct hi-rez data stream. Just to note, if you want the exact copy of the data stream you should not touch the volume control scroll bars in the mixer menu of the SoundBlaster card.<br />
      It would be good if we could convince the guys from “creative” to write a template for just playing back HRx recordings, since the entire additional mixer set-ups they offer in the standard templates are not necessary for a pure playback system and confuse only. <br />
      Do you know this record? http://www.2l.no/epost/nyheter2008mai.html <br />
      I have odered this blu-ray disc, but did not got my copy. The recording format looks very promissing. Hopefully we can get the hi-rez SPDIF signal to feed external DACs otherwise I would expect it will end like DVD-A. No sells, no future.<br />
      <br />
      Dietmar<br />
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Hi Dietmar - Thanks a lot for letting everyone know how you are playing back the HRx format.<br />
      <br />
      I am very familiar with the new Bluray album you mentioned. I don't have a copy of it though. In my mind new physical media formats are already dead. I do hope you can get the SPDIF output to feed an external DAC, but this is a Sony product so it may be as difficult as SACD (just a guess).
    1. Dietmar's Avatar
      Dietmar -
      Hi Chris,<br />
      <br />
      Today I used DVD-Audio Solo http://www.download3000.com/download-count-home-20626.html to create my own DVD-Audio on the basis of the HRX wave files. Same sampling rate and resolution.<br />
      Now I can use my modified DVD-A player instead of the laptop. Even if you got the error message “not enough space on the DVD” during burning the “Crown Imperial” you can burn the disc.<br />
      Normally the software should also play the wave files, but on both of my computers the music stops every 6 seconds for one second.<br />
      I have asked the software guys, but did not get an answer yet.<br />
      There is a website https://www.dvdupgrades.ch/product/Modification/SPDIF/Output/Six_channel_S_P_DIF_output_board/24308.html ,which offers additional SPDIF interfaces to modify DVD Players to get ot the hi-rez SPDIF. I had never contact to them or have tested the products, because I use my own modified player. <br />
      Dietmar<br />
    1. musicalsound's Avatar
      musicalsound -
      I am trying to use DVD-Audio Solo 1.5 http://www.cirlinca.com/products.htm to create DVD-A from Linn's 24bit/96KHz FLAC files. It is suppose to support this format but it had problem even playing 24bit files - there was a lot of noise. 16bit FLAC files seems to be fine. <br />
      <br />
      I'm still awaiting feedback from support. Anyone got some experience in this area?
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Sorry no experience with that one. Let us know how it turns out.
    1. Dietmar's Avatar
      Dietmar -
      I have no problems to play these DVD-As in my DVD-A players, but I got also problems if I try to playback DVD-As with Solo as a media player, even if I have used the same software to generate and burn the DVD-As.<br />
      I asked the Solo team the following:<br />
      “Does your software supports only self-made DVD-As or also commercial ones? By the way I have also problems to play 176.4kHz wave files, which I have moved in the project window. After every 6 seconds the playback stops for 1 second and than it starts again. That means, the timing counter in the window stops as well. What is wrong?“<br />
      I got this answer:<br />
      DVD-Audio Solo supports only unencrypted and non MLP encoded DVD-Audio discs, i.e. DVD-Audio Solo authored DVD-Audio disc. Commercial DVD-Audio discs are encrypted and some are also MLP encoded, and DVD-Audio Solo does not support this kind of DVD-Audio discs. Regarding the play and stop problem. Could you upload one of the file in question (a fragment of the file if you can trancate the file to make a smaller one) to our FTP site for us to review the problem.”<br />
      My answer<br />
      “ I have created a DVD-A (176.4kHz/24bit) from the HRx recordings from http://www.referencerecordings.com/HRx1.asp , which I can playback on my DVD-A player without any problem. On my laptop I have Windows XP new with SP3 installed. Playing the DVD-A back is now no problem for the most time. But from time to time I get now the message “DVD Solo had a problem and must be switched off”. I use the E-MU1616m SoundBlaster Card in a 176.4kHz mode. But if I play the original wave files with your software I still get some interruptions on the beginning and the end of the file and the same error message, which close the program afterwards.” <br />
      I bought the PowerDVD Ultra to playback DVD-As, but this does not work at all. In a phone call the guy from Cyberlink told me that the feed only down-sampled CD sound to the soundblaster cards, even if there is no copy protection on it. I mean to the analog outputs or headphones not to the SPDIF, which is never supported. The only help would be to use DVD-Audio Solo as a media player. Hopefully they can fix it.<br />
      <br />
      <br />