• A Special Gift From Bill Schnee And Bravura Records

    Computer Audiophile readers familiar with Bill Schnee and Bravura Records have likely stopped reading this already and clicked over to the Bravura website. Yes, that's how good the music and sound quality are from this label. Bill, the generous person he is, has recorded five Christmas singles and made them available for absolutely no cost. That's correct, free downloads just in time for the holiday season. These 24 bit / 44.1 kHz singles are a taste of what's to come from Bravura Records' future 24 bit / 192 kHz releases. I encourage all readers to browse the Bravura site and get a feel for what Bravura is all about. In addition both parts of my interview with Bill Schnee are available here on Computer Audiophile. Read more for links to everything important.


     







    Complementary Christmas Singles:


     

    Bill Schnee Interview:


     

     

     
    Comments 23 Comments
    1. Erwin S's Avatar
      Erwin S -
      Downloaded yesterday and gave it a few listens. SQ is palpably realistic. Very promising.<br />
      <br />
      But not really my kind of music if you allow me to be brutally honest. To suit my taste, it needs to be spiced up with female vocalists such as Corinne Bailey Rae or Melody Gardot. Would make me melt that bit more easy.<br />
      <br />
      http://www.corinnebaileyrae.net/<br />
      <br />
      http://www.melodygardot.com/
    1. seta's Avatar
      seta -
      Sound quality is superb! Even at 44.1khz.<br />
      Actually these are my kind of music and looking forward to more releases!<br />
      <br />
    1. nabadanga's Avatar
      nabadanga -
      I advise to be very careful with these Christmas gifts, as spectres of audio files contain some additional components. E.g., playing them with J. River Media Center, there can be heard very strong noise which repeats regularly. On the other hand, with Foobar they sound normal. In turn to Chris I would advise to take a look at file spectrums before recommending them for download.
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Hi nabadanga -There is nothing wrong with these files. I believe your problems indicate an issue with your J River configuration on your computer. <br />
      <br />
      If the files play fine on foobar for you why do you think the files are the issue? Have you examined them with some other tool and found something wrong?
    1. Encore's Avatar
      Encore -
      Not exactly my kind of music either, but they sure sound great!
    1. Bones13's Avatar
      Bones13 -
      I really enjoyed the music, it really sounds great in my headphone system, which is quite revealing. I had no issues as mentioned above importing the files directly into iTunes.<br />
      <br />
      Thank you much for posting them, and I look forward to your future works.
    1. nabadanga's Avatar
      nabadanga -
      I tried out Bravura Records files with MC14 on Vista and MC15 on Windows 7. Results are identical. Can it be a bug in Media Center? I also tried to convert one of files to wav and look at the waveform and spectrum. Never have seen anything like yet…
    1. Part-Time Audiophile's Avatar
      Part-Time Audiophile -
      Thanks to Bravura!
    1. JeffH's Avatar
      JeffH -
      <br />
      Thank you Bravura Records and the Computer Audiophile. These sound great. I especially like "Christmas Time Is Here". Great Jazz!
    1. wattage's Avatar
      wattage -
      These break up when I play them in J River 15 associated with AIF files. I don't want to introduce Quicktime to my environment. Too bad they are not provided as FLACs. Thanks for the chance at free, nice sounding music. Hopefully something to look forward to in the future.
    1. Andydehua's Avatar
      Andydehua -
      Thanks for sharing such a profound and informative article, I’m really savoring it. I actually had a couple of questions in relation to your post though. Do you think it will be feasible for me to make contact with you further to discuss it? Maybe setup a chat on e mail or an instant messanging application? If not, cheers anyhow and I'll continue to read and comment.<a href="http://www.powerpointtovideo.net/">PowerPoint to video</a>
    1. francisleung's Avatar
      francisleung -
      I have been pondering whether I should put up this post because I feel hesitant to criticize the recordings of Bill Schnee for whom I have high respect. Perhaps my original expectation of sonic quality was too high arising from the interview in Computer Audiophile. I hope he takes my comments as constructive because others may give due regard to his position in the industry and mention only positive points. Well if that is the case and consumers gradually shy away from Bravura, that will be the end of it and that is the last thing I want to see happen. I will touch on merely one of the five recordings and withhold expanding here the listening notes on God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.<br />
      I’ll Be Home For Christmas<br />
      The voice of Krikes”, in the first section (ending “if only in my dream”), was recorded close to the mike but after that it was laid back. The track thus gives the impression of it being spliced together from two sessions each having different mike placements. If that was not the case, then perhaps after the electric guitar solo, it was the engineer who used his slider or volume control to push back the voice. Maybe Bill Schnee likes the voice to be laid back because I note the “Portrait” and “the Rose” tracks in the “Growing Up in Hollywood Town” album of the Sheffield direct to disc engineered by him, the voice was laid back in similar manner. In the opening of the track, there was an introduction by an acoustic guitar. If played by Krikis, I could explain why if the voice was recorded in the opposite manner, that is, laid-back first and then close. Laid-back it was initially because there need to be room between his guitar and the mike. The voice of Krikis sounds dull and sleepy though he sings well, perhaps because it was recorded laid back and aggravated by the loudness of the instrumental accompaniment. I also question the use of an electric guitar and even with tremolo/echo effect towards the end of the piece. We are talking about recording for reference use, thus natural instruments are preferred. You see Eagles members, Don, Glenn and Joe, changed over to acoustic guitars in Hell Freezes Over. I would also have liked the bass in the Krikes track to be a double bass rather than an electric guitar for the same reason, though Tim stuck with his electric instrument in the album cited. Tim is a member of Eagles, indispensable, but a double bass player could have been called in for the Krikes session. The ambience of this recording is hazy, that is, individual instruments and voice does not appear crispy, sharp and 3D within the sound stage. It may be explained that the ambience in the recording studio with sounds bouncing back and forth was like that. But then for arguments sake, the ambience of the Thelma Houston album mentioned in the interview and handled by Bill Schnee is clear, and individual instruments and voice are sharp and 3D. The studio ambience captured in this Krikes track is like contained in a cocoon and separated from the ambience of the listening room, thus sounding artificial in manner as I described in the Amarra report. <br />
      I hope Bill Schnee will let us have for download half or even a third of the track that he used in the Audio Show, the track that many exhibitors wanted to buy. <br />
      Honestly when Bravura has formal release of albums, and if the requirement is whole album only and not individual tracks, I will not be a customer judging by the sonic quality of the present five tracks. <br />
      Anyway, we should thank Bill Schnee and Computer Audiophile for putting up these tracks for us. <br />
    1. JR_Audio's Avatar
      JR_Audio -
      I was able to play theses Files on a Mac with Amarra, Pure Music, iTunes, AyreWave, Audirvana, VLC, … but not with Songbird.<br />
      <br />
      But on Windows, I was only able to play this with iTunes, but not with JRiver, not with Windows Media Player, not with Winamp, not with Media Monkey, (all with the needed Plug-Ins), .…<br />
      <br />
      So when I open these files with a Wave Editor (for example Auditon) and save them again, without doing nothing, just creating new headers due to new savings, then I was able to play it back under Windows. So the audio file itself is fine, but not the header.<br />
      <br />
      When I tried to convert it with dBPowerAmp under Windows, I was able to convert the audio part, but the header with the Tags when partly lost. When I was doing this with Max on a Mac, then I got correct FLAC files with correct Tags and Album Art.<br />
      <br />
      I have also checked JRiver about playing back correct 16 and 24 Bit AIFF files it is doing this perfectly.<br />
      <br />
      So it seems an incompatibility of the file header in these AIFF files with the windows world.<br />
      <br />
      Juergen<br />
      <br />
      Edit: I forgot to mention, that Foobar is reading these AIFF files, but Foobar doesn't read neither the Tags nor the Album Art with AIFF files, and so, has no problems with these specific AIFF files, as other Windows programs have, that are trying to read the complete header with Tags and Album Art.<br />
      <br />
      Maybe this is an Little / Big Indian problem, with having the Header at the start or the end of the file, so this was, to my knowledge, only an issue, between older non intel and new intel based systems, but I am relatively new into Mac, only for 1 ½ year, so maybe I am wrong with that.
    1. JohnDonaldson's Avatar
      JohnDonaldson -
      I too am have problems playing the Bravura files in MC 16, get a loud buzzing noise. MC 16 plays all my other AIFF files with no problem. Hopefully either J River or Bravura will make a change to insure compatibility.
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Hi nabadanga - Wow do I feel dumb. Sorry for the accusatory tone when you first mentioned something may be wrong with the files themselves :~|
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Thanks for the info Juergen.<br />
      <br />
      I sent Matt at J River an email about this last night and he said "the issue with the files is that the AIFF headers on them have an SSND chunk that specifies a block alignment of 128. The correct value is 6, or 0 (in which case we figure out the correct alignment from the other information). Most AIFF files use 0.<br />
      <br />
      I found this document that agrees with how we're using the block alignment:<br />
      http://www.aesnashville.org/PDFs/AIFF%20Specs.pdf"<br />
      <br />
      Also -> Here is an updated build of Media Center 15 that works around the bad headers in the AIFF files:<br />
      http://files.jriver.com/mediacenter/MediaCenter150166.exe<br />
      <br />
      This is a 'beta' build since it has not gone through the usual testing of public releases.
    1. JR_Audio's Avatar
      JR_Audio -
      Hi Chris. Yesterday I was also thinking to contact Matt concerning this AIFF files, but then I noticed, that all the windows software (*1) that I tried, that would normally play AIFF files (at least some of them need Plug-Ins) also don't play this AIFF files. So I came to the possibility, that theses files must have a non compatible header concerning windows software.<br />
      <br />
      And as I wrote above, I tested JRiver with 16 Bit and 24 Bit AIFF Files, including Tags and Album Art, to succeed Bit True and JRiver was. Sure, I would be nice, if JRiver would play also this, at least for windows, very uncommon headers in the AIFF files, but I think it would also be good idea to offer AIFF files, that are more compatible.<br />
      <br />
      I hope my explanations are clear enough (because I am limited in time).<br />
      <br />
      Juergen<br />
      <br />
      *1) I haven't had time to investigate further, because I have a immense amount of work to finish before christmas, so I tested only some of the most popular windows software and also I haven't look deeper into the files.
    1. nabadanga's Avatar
      nabadanga -
      Thank you Chris, with your involvement all became clear so fast! The first time I tried out these files on MC15 system quite loudly – the noise was awful. In future I’ll be more careful with new content
    1. PeterSt's Avatar
      PeterSt -
      I must be overlooking something completely ...<br />
      <br />
      I have PCs I don't want Quicktime to be installed. So, I refuse that. In that case (but even before explicitly rejecting, but, Active-X applications are blocked) it seems that the default player for the file type comes up. Well, if there is one (WMP in my case, but which won't play the file anyway). If there's no player associated with whatever it is I can't see, but Quicktime *is* installed, I'm waiting for the so called "download" which just ends up after that download (say 15 minutes) in the Quicktime player itself wanting to play the track. No possibility to save the file, because no QuickTime Pro version.<br />
      <br />
      In one occasion, the PC not containing QuickTime and no association, I was able to receive a download popup of the .aiff file, but in the end it does nothing and the download times out.<br />
      <br />
      Now, what do you guys do in order to download the file(s) ? I'm out of ideas myself ... (yea, find the temporary file somewhere in the QuickTime situation, but it can't be the intention).<br />
      <br />
      Peter
    1. tennisarm's Avatar
      tennisarm -
      Hi there,<br />
      <br />
      while playing flawless via the Mac, the files can't be played with a Squeezebox Touch - gives an error message that the files can't be opened. Well Bill - back to work, you surely can do better, can't you?<br />
      <br />
      Recordings sound great anyway, although the Christmas sweetness in it makes me suffer... ;-)<br />
      <br />
      EDIT: using MAX to convert the files to FLAC and then back to AIFF solves the issue - now the SBT plays the files without problems.<br />
      <br />
      Ciao, tennisarm