• Blue Coast Collection at 24/96 Now Available

    Ask and you shall receive! Do in part to the wonderful response to its three-hour-turn-around 24/96 download on April 10th, Blue Coast Records has begun to offer its Blue Coast Collection as 24/96 uncompressed WAV file downloads directly from its website. Three songs will be released each week from today until May 14, 2009. I suggest hitting up the Blue Coast site ASAP as early birds get a special discount of 25%. Again, I urge fans of great quality music and great quality recordings to support Blue Coast by purchasing these wonderful downloads. Read more for the link and details about the first three tracks available right now.


     

     



    Blue Coast Collection physical disc packaging
    Blue Coast Collection Digipak
    click to enlarge


     

     


    1. Looking For a Home (5:49)
    Written by Keith Greeninger
    Performed by Keith Greeninger & Dayan Kai

    2. Slow Day (4:04)
    Written by Jane Selkye
    Performed by Jane Selkye & Chris Kee

    3. Lilianna (4:05)
    Written by Jose Manuel Blanco Performed by
    Jose Manuel Blanco & Jason McGuire


     

    Here is a link to the Blue Coast Collection 24/96 download page

     
    Comments 11 Comments
    1. jjlucas76's Avatar
      jjlucas76 -
      to be honest I never heard of Blue Coast Records until I saw the post on this blog. The music out of the album is fantastic, but don't you think that $4 per song is a bit steep in price, specially during this period where our economy is not at its best? that is almost $50 if you are not quick to get the first 3 songs for $3 each.<br />
      It should be fare to align the price perhaps to HDTracks.com where a whole album in 96KHz 24bit is just below $16 including booklet and download manager facility.<br />
      <br />
      Regards<br />
      <br />
      Luca
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Hi Luca - I'm certainly not speaking for Blue Coast Records, but I do have an opinion on this issue. Based on conversations I've had with people in the industry it's clear that great recordings and engineering cost more money than someone using Pro Tools on their Mac in their basement. Neumann mics are not cheap! I think small labels who use very expensive equipment and good engineers need to cover their cost and make a little money to keep the company going. I know this doesn't address your comment about HDtracks pricing, but isn't that argument similar to saying iTunes should be the standard at $.099 per track? This is an interesting topic and I hope we can get some people who know much more than I to comment on the price and cost to produce great material.
    1. machei's Avatar
      machei -
      Actually, I'd love to hear a little of what was said regarding recording acoustic guitar well. I've been hobbying my way through multitrack recording for years, and getting a good sounding acoustic guitar on a budget is far more challenging than I ever thought it would be.<br />
      <br />
      Cheers,<br />
      m.<br />
    1. Christopher's Avatar
      Christopher -
      I’ve been a member of Computer Audiophile for over a year now. As Chris has pointed out, I rarely post in forums and should write more often. My limited post history is not because of lack of interest and desire. My heart is in the right place and I do my best to post when I can add value to relevant discussions. <br />
      <br />
      This is a perfect opportunity for me to contribute to CA because it involves two areas that are in my comfort zone: (1) quality recordings; and, (2) good company management. Regarding the latter, I feel strongly about this post because it touches on an aspect of our broader musical experience that falls outside of ‘music’ itself; namely, customer service and the ability of a company to connect with its customers.<br />
      <br />
      I have invested significant time and energy throughout my 37 years to music. I’ve been a drummer and percussionist using Gretsch and LP Percussion instruments for many bands in both large and small venues. I’ve also been in numerous NYC recording studios as a professional studio drummer. Music is my art and passion. However, I’m no longer a professional drummer/percussionist. Today, I co-own and run a company outside of music that has a global footprint and many moving parts. <br />
      <br />
      Music continues to be a learning process and growth experience for me. Before joining CA, I knew very little about home oriented computer-based audio. Thanks to Chris - thanks to all contributing members here at CA - I have a solid and reliable computer audio system that I truly enjoy. Thank you all.<br />
      <br />
      My recent experience with Blue Coast Records has inspired this post. I have downloaded a number of recordings from BCR. My favorite album so far is While She Sleeps by Art Lande (SACD download). This is an exceptional recording - period. Additionally, I’m beyond impressed with the customer service at Blue Coast Records.<br />
      <br />
      If you are a CA member and have not downloaded music from Blue Coast Records yet, I highly recommend that you do so. I considered calling this post, How to Improve Your Music Experience for $30. Truth is, the recordings from Blue Coast Records (and customer service) are priceless. I hope you enjoy your experiences with BCR as much as I do.<br />
      <br />
      Sincerely,<br />
      Chris<br />
      p.s. Sending a special ‘Thank You’ to Cookie and Patrick for your passion, expertise, leadership and exceptional customer service. I salute you.<br />
    1. cookiemarenco's Avatar
      cookiemarenco -
      I want to thank you both for discussing pricing. Chris, you did a very good job hitting the nail on the head about pricing. We don't list our music with iTunes because they will not allow for a higher priced product. We are in negotiation with HDtracks over pricing as well. Many of the discs at HDtracks I have recorded or knowledge of the recording process used. I believe that a recording made in a bedroom on ProTools with less than admirable engineering techniques should have a some kind 'buyer beware' for audiophiles. At the same time, I will be first to admit that great music music should have value regardless of quality of recording gear used.<br />
      <br />
      Value is in the ears of the listener. We're happy to allow full streaming of our songs at mp3 (By the end of the year, all of our music will be full length for preview). If someone finds enough value in our music to buy it, we enjoy developing a direct relationship with our fans and welcome them to our Blue Coast community. We believe the value in our music is in the repeated listenings. A $4 song played 100 times is a value compared to an $0.89 piece of music played once and forgotten. <br />
      <br />
      Both fans and manufacturers spend a lot of time and money in their gear. We are proud of the fact that we record to analog tape or DSD, using expensive mic, preamps and cables.. and great musicians. I would like to see more disclosure on the original/basic recording and mixing techniques used in recordings. <br />
      <br />
      Having been involved with more than 400 independent and major label recordings, I think it's unfortunate that music has been pigeon holed into 'one price fits all'. Walmart's decision to make all discs $9.95 was the end of the disc era. Apple is doing the same with iTunes. Pricing in that manner devalues the music to promotional pieces that sells ipods and gets people to walk into the stores. Mp3's are today's radio format, only people are paying for it.<br />
      <br />
      I applaud the few artists who have received millions of dollars for exclusive deals with Walmart and Best Buy. Certainly, I'd have to reconsider my stance with Walmart if they allowed me to create quality products and paid me $5M in advance.... and if they chose to sell my discs at $3.95, that would be ok with me. I'd be able to repay the mortgages I took out to pay for my gear and the recordings I've made. <br />
      <br />
      Fortunately, I love what I do. On a daily basis, I work with artists and their music. Occasionally, I make a recording for Blue Coast Records where I have full control, not the artist. Those records are made for me and the fans who love music and sound. <br />
      <br />
      Thanks for understanding!<br />
      <br />
      Cookie Marenco<br />
    1. Nels Ferre's Avatar
      Nels Ferre -
      Hi All,<br />
      <br />
      Cookie hit the mail on the head as far as Walmart and iTunes. Something was missed however. Although I am aware of Cookie's work, I have never met her, or heard any of her recordings to date.<br />
      <br />
      HD Tracks was brought up as a pricing example. Comparing HD Tracks to Blue Coast is like comparing apples and oranges. HD Tracks is better compared to Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs or Speakers Corner. These companies license recordings from the record company that owns the master tapes. The cost of recording the music is usually borne by the artists themselves, and is deducted from royalty payments. Examining the costs, I recently downloaded The Kinks Misfits in 24/96 for $15.99. I own two other versions of this album, both on LP, the original Arista pressing that I probably paid $8 for and a Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs copy that was probably $17, purchased back when $17 for an LP was considered outrageous. It is still the best sounding version I own, with the HD Tracks version a distant second. <br />
      <br />
      Cookie's operation is a horse of a completely different color. She can't expect the artists to pay the costs associated with recording , which can be substantial. As Chris pointed out, quality recording gear is not inexpensive. Then there is the know how. One may have the all the "right" gear, but without the skills and talent to get the most out of it, it is useless. Look at most of the new music today- all state of the art gear, but the recordings, for the most part, sound like crap. Cookie also won't sell large numbers of these recordings, so each recording will have to cost more. It is simple economics. <br />
      <br />
      What gets me is that people say they want high quality (insert recordings, gear, food, whatever.) Then they see the price and go "Whoa!" As Chris said, its not like she has a MacBook in her basement. (I'm paraphrasing here.) It s simply not realistic to expect new (not reissued) high rez recordings to be anything close in cost to the MP3 quality recordings from the iTunes store.<br />
      <br />
      I'm putting my flame retardant suit on now.<br />
      <br />
      Nels<br />
      <br />
      <br />
      <br />
      <br />
      <br />
    1. cookiemarenco's Avatar
      cookiemarenco -
      Thank you, Nels... I think we've hit every nail now.. LOL...<br />
      You are absolutely right. HDTracks and Blue Coast Records are apples and oranges. You're also right that owning expensive gear doesn't make for great sound. And has even less to do with a great performance from the musicians. I seek to achieve both. <br />
      <br />
      And not to overlook Chris, the drummer's comments... very heartwarming!<br />
      <br />
      Blue Coast exists to achieve great music, sound and some magic.
    1. Spike's Avatar
      Spike -
      I have owned the Hybrid SACD for over a year and it is one of my favorite CDs. I naturally ripped it to my collection when I switched to a music server a few months ago. The sound got even better on my system even over the SACD version. I just downloaded the first three 24/96 tracks. Not surprisingly the sound is better: more refined, more air around the instruments, different nuances to the voices and instruments. On track #1 the voices are much more distinct and separate. On track #2 there is an open, more natural sound to Jane's voice. And on track #3 the plucking of the guitar strings is so real, it is as if I was at the session. Amazing work--highly recommended, especially if your system is very resolving. I'll be downloading the rest as it becomes available. Thanks!
    1. jjlucas76's Avatar
      jjlucas76 -
      I think Cookie has done an excellent job with BCC and for the owner of such project and many others, nothing will pay back the satisfaction to be the head behind such musical delicatessens. my point about the price was not related to the fact that it was not worth to pay for high class goods such the BCC that definitely steps up from the crowd because of the technical components and skills used to record, contrariwise I wanted to highlight the fact that the artists, that in BCC outperforms themselves, should be considered too therefore making their music available to a wider public. <br />
      It is wrong to think that such work will not sell many copies therefore needs to be priced higher to brake-even with the costs. I think a lot of people are interested in good music and make it available to the general public helps to open the market. It maybe true that some musicians record at home using a MBP and ProTools but I have purchased many records from HDTracks.com (I don't consider iTunes a valid platform to compare) and albums made at Chesky records for example sound fantastic. Of course if David Chesky achieved all that with a microphone and a MBP, then he should make the world aware of his magic. (no magic in music, just art)<br />
      <br />
      It would be nice to see on BCC's page the option to choose more then just huge .wav file so to appeal to more customers and spread the word of good music around to all the people that don't own $500.000 worth of Hi-Fi. At the end of the day we all want the music and if it happen to me to listen to it on the go or in my $500 stereo at home that should be available and at a different price. The .wav could definitely be flanked by FLAC that nowadays is a standard. In this way the download and bandwidth is cut from the user end and from Cookie end too, that I believe she pays for the traffic she hosts. this should bring already the price down slightly only by doing just a technical distribution modification, then another option is to provide at a more reasonable price an [MP3 - 320Kbs] version that users can play on the go and in their cheap stereos where the master record would not make any difference, if played instead.<br />
      this is of course is just my opinion but we are already in a time where huge changes are happening in the music market where Records company are able to jump the distributions channels and get to the customers with just few clicks. few years ago this was not possible. you never know on this new way of distribution who is going to be your customers and how much is going to sell your work for, all you can do is to make it available on a webpage to a variety of people from all over the world. Cookie, think in big numbers and give the chance to your products to get into people's stereos because it is worth.<br />
      <br />
      Many Thanks<br />
      <br />
      Luca
    1. Thunktank's Avatar
      Thunktank -
      I am just about to buy a new DAC and will last be able to play Hi-res files. Having visited the link I was delighted that I was able to listen to decent demo's, I have no doubt one of these tracks will be my first foray beyond 16/44. As regards the discussion on pricing, the price seems even higher to me here in the UK, considering the current exchange rate. This said I would rather my money went to support people who care about music and quality reproduction. Where is your money going if you buy a chart CD, record execs, stylists, advertisers and a hundred other hangers on who contribute nothing to the product you are purchasing. <br />
      <br />
      I despair of the way the music "industry" is going, with music recording aimed at the mp3 market. If Blue Coast Records pricing reflects what it takes to keep them alive then perhaps we have to take it on the chin. I have heard "I can not tell the difference between CD and Mp3" so many times from friends and colleagues, and it is they who are causing the shift in the market away from CD and toward low res downloads. If we want lower pricing on hi-res downloads then surely we have to up the number of units they can shift. For my part I have taken my little tri-path amps USB Dac and B&W 601's round to friends houses and played AIFF along side a crappy ipod dock setup. I could have taken them to my listening room, but that would defeat the object, "of course it sounds good, It cost more than my car", they are not interested if it costs more than what the currently use. This is why I love the myriad of small Chinese manufacturers that are popping up, they may not be making gear that will delight members of these forums, but the inexpensive Tri-path amps and USB DAC's are 10 times better than what most people use for playback at home. <br />
      <br />
      Oops I seem to have gone off on one, perhaps i should cut down on the coffee.
    1. cookiemarenco's Avatar
      cookiemarenco -
      We very much appreciate your support and encouragement of maintaining quality workmanship. We fight a battle everyday to do what we believe in. <br />
      <br />
      The number of people who will buy a latte from their local cafe everyday tells me that there are probably enough people who will buy a song at $3-4 if the quality and performance is what they want. Twenty years ago, it was unheard of to consider paying 4x the price for a cup of joe until people were educated that there was a difference. I like to think our music is as valuable as a cup of coffee and you get more 'return on investment' . <br />
      <br />
      We are one of the few recording studios still offering and intern program and to my delight, ALL of our students welcome higher quality. Mp3's will be free in a few years (and should be). We allow our fans to audition the whole song at 192kbps, already higher than what iTunes offers. We don't sell on iTunes because there is no control over sound, snippet or price. Not every book published is $9.95 and we believe music is the same way.<br />
      <br />
      It's still a few years away, but I think people the change will come to quality as it did with coffee. It won't be for everyone, but then, not everyone wants to drink Folgers.<br />
      <br />
      Sip slow, and enjoy the music! I'm off to my espresso drink!<br />
      Let us know how your first experience of the download was.<br />
      <br />
      thanks, Cookie<br />
      <br />