DAP’s, Portable Rig And Driveline Specs Updated For Reviews, Going Forward

DAP’s, Portable Rig And Driveline Specs Updated For Reviews, Going Forward…

The Updated Specs are in Bold below.

AK120 Portable Digital Audio Player and Amplifier Stack ©Christmachine 2017

 

VinylTransfer(Needledrop) / Reel To Reel Transfer/ HD TRAcks/ CD to FLAC/ALAC/ WAV/.mp3(320kbps) -> AK120 (No Mods) 24/192 Capable Portable Audio Reference Server (2 X Stock Wolfson WM8740 DAC’s [One For Each Channel]) w/ 3-ohm output impedance (64GB Onboard FLASH + 2 x 200GB San Disk Micro SDXC-10 Cards) -> ALO Audio SXC 22 mini to mini 3 Wire Silver Plated Copper -> ALO Audio International Headphone Amp w/ 24bit96kHz DAC w/ Cirrus Logic CS4398 DAC Chip -> ALO Audio Green Line (balanced universal mini XLR) w/classic copper sends and silver-plated copper returns -> ALO Audio Green Line RSA 4 pin Balanced XLR -> Audeze LCD2 Bamboo rev. 2G w/mini XLR Metal Reinforced Male Input Connects.

Additional DAP Source Players: Fiio X5 & The Pono Player (For Cross Reference Listening).

Additional Headphones Used: Sennheiser HD700, Audio Technica ATH M50 (OLD Model w/ Coil Chord), Sony MDRV6 (Studio Monitor w/ Coil Chord).

Note #1…I do not use IEM’s (In Ear Monitors) so one has to know whether or not their particular IEM’s match with the 3 Ohm Output Impedance of the AK120.

Note #2…You will notice that the AK120 was not modified (for lower output impedance) as I did with the AK100.  The reason I chose not to modify is because I wanted to use a stock AK120 player…so others could hear what I was hearing if they so choose.

 

Here Is a link to the Spec Sheet for the AK120 (PDF Opens New Tab).

http://www.soundfidelity.co.uk/media/downloads/products/AstellKern_AK120_Manual_English.pdf

 

Disclaimer:  As you know this site is not here to sell anyone anything, so I must disclose that the Pono Player was given to me, as I was an early stage beta tester.  I did not know I was going to be asked to be a beta tester nor did I know that we would be able to keep the player after testing was completed.  More on that another time…I will say that whatever you have read, the people behind Pono are well intentioned.  They created a damn good DAP…all criticisms aside, they really were and are (in the end) just trying to move Hirez forward.  This is a win for all.  The Pono Player will not be a main feature in reviews…I just wanted to let people know my source DAP’s for info.

 

As Far as the other DAP’s:

Some quick thoughts that might be helpful.  I never use the bundled software with the DAP units.  You want headaches…then use the software.  I simply use the DAP’s as default external drives, when plugged into the computer, just drag and drop my music files / folders into the onboard flash or memory cards.  I fill the memory cards by using the adaptor that comes with the cards and do the heavy transferring of music files via the memory card slot on the computer.

Another helpful hint, with the exception of the Pono Player which automatically scans my it’s memory at startup, I never ever ever scan my AK120 DAP…there is no need for me to do so.  I turn automatic scanning off on the AK120 and just remember where I put the files.  I just organize the folders in a way that makes it pretty simple to navigate.  On occasion it will take a minute or two to find something but it’s not a burden.

I don’t listen the way most people do…I do not use playlists, I tag my own files with mp3 Tag freeware, I listen to full albums (except for maybe electronic).  Every time I listen to an album I try to listen for something I never heard before, and every time…no matter how many listens, it presents itself.  I’m not trying to tell anyone how to listen to their music but I see people giving excellent DAP’s a bad review because the software was buggy, or they fill their memory cards with hundreds of GB of music while in the DAPs’ expansion slots.  Sometimes the GUI in the player itself is a little glitchy, but never miserable unless you’re expecting iPhone fast.

I Have had the AK120 for 2 years now and I use it daily with no battery issues…recharge is  slow, just plug in at night and it’s ready to go the next morning.  I do not use the DAP’s continuously all day, I switch between the phone to DAP’s throughout the day and they just work.  A little clunky but sounds damn good enough to make up for any shortfalls.

Next Up Reviews…

 

 

If there’s anything I forgot I will add to the update section below this sentence.

Update: 

As of today 02/23/17 No Updates At This Time.
Thanks For Reading & All Your Endless Support!

Love You Lots! Stay Well, Be Kind & Bless.

Tak Tak, Bless!

Grazie, Ciao!

Obrigadx, Tchau! Adeus!

Gracias, Adios!

Danke, Tchuss!

Merci, Au revoir!

Dank je…Bedankt, Alstublieft!

Merci Vilmal, Adeau!

Gracies, Adieu!

Gracies, Adeu!

 

CM ☕

Please do not reproduce this article either all or in part without the expressed written permission of the (nutty) author who can be reached via the “Contact” section in the header menu. You may link to the article if you wish, all that we ask is that you give credit to the respective author…”Christmachine” wherever you post a link. Thank you.

Copyright © 2017 Christmachine. All Rights Reserved.

©2014 – 2020 Christmachine ☕

Now With That Out Of The Way, Back To Christmachine – Audio Reference Server

Now With That Out Of The Way, Back To Christmachine – Audio Reference Server

Ahhh… Where Do You Keep The Vinyl Rips and Hi Resolution Digital Files ? ——————————–>Photo Courtesy Of Doc KEYAZA!!!

 

So there has been enough (So much!) time passed, it’s blatantly obvious to me that no one else will create an Audio Reference Quality Standards Catalogue for individual album releases.  The powers that be have showed us time and time again that they feel that we should be left in the dark about the music we have purchased and continue to purchase.  It’s loud and clear, they do not have to, there is no other option.

All we asked for was lineage and provenance of recordings that we spend gobs of cash for, as well as the textual and numerical details as to how they mastered, remastered, and transferred the new releases. Once again we are left clueless as to what we are purchasing. We know it can be done, some releases have done just that, usually projects overseen by reputable audio engineers.

I do understand that in some cases they do not know some of these details as they have been lost to time, poor record keeping, lack of proper labeling, and a sad state of storage of the original master tapes.  In some cases they don’t even know whether they are the “original studio masters” or well travelled copies.  We saw that in the report on the sad state of historical music archiving, much has been lost or destroyed….as we know back just a few decades ago music industry analysts and label bosses went with the prevailing wisdom, why would we want to preserve all this music–who is going to want it?  What is the use?

This:

https://www.clir.org/pubs/reports/pub148/pub148.pdf

And ESPECIALLY This (Re-Post):

http://www.billholland.net/words/Labels%20Strive%20to%20Rectify%20Past%20Archival%20Problems.pdf

 

Now that they realize the marketing and money making potential, oh the irony there, eh?  All we have asked for is crumbs; forget about the old arguments (for a moment) on the loudness wars, whether high rez audio can be heard by the human ear (The Nyquist Theorem), Wheather vinyl has more warmth and soul, whether expensive cables give a +/- better listening experience, The law of diminishing returns, “Sources? / Laws of Science?, Do CD’s suck, the failure of SACD, .mp3’s are garbage, etc.  Noel Gallagher saying there will be no more vinyl niche as an industry in a few short years as a result of streaming (He thinks? I agree, he is probably right).

With that said, our niche is just that–our niche, and it will continue as long as the electric grids are up.  Even then some of us crazies will be powering phonographs with a stationary bike, using a carefully sharpened fishbone as a rudimentary needle, a significant other propping up a makeshift jimmy-rigged cardboard cone to telescope and carry those wondrous melodies to the flash mobs in our living rooms.  Vinyl wear and tear bad, but for a time the ears are very good.

Remember what is normal any way, and relative to what?  With those previous dire predictions of the future, keeping in mind that some of us have never had or witnessed an argument on the early Yahoo and Alta Vista message boards about the wonders of Hi Resolution Audio (It will always be Hi-rez to me, soz!), I will try to parse mixed nuts.  Threading the needle like a steaming locomotive on crazy good meds, diplomacy will avail for all, no matter what our differences.  Joy!

 

Why don’t we focus on the things that which we do agree.

  1. We pay a lot of money re-purchasing music over and over.
  2. Music listening is a different subjective experience for each person.
  3. It “can” take a wee bit of trained ear (Not a B.S Degree), to hear improvements.
  4. The music is only as good as it’s source.
  5. ABX’ing can, not always, but “can” manifest as human listening fallibility & weakness.
  6. Placebo affect and bias are real “things”[sic].
  7. Provenance and Lineage of our recordings is Interesting and “nice” to have.
  8. There is such a thing as “brick walling”, “anti aliasing”, and de-noising”.
  9. There is more than one type of compression in music.
  10. Type A removes many of the tiny spaces to make music file formats smaller.
  11. Type B holds the fidelity of the performance together, Very Good!
  12. Good source players are available at many price ranges.
  13. There are good headphones and bad headphones at all price ranges.
  14. When in noisy public settings, audio nuances tend to decline.
  15. You Do NOT need to be an audiophile, to source good quality audio (If Available).
  16. Audiophiles can be nuts, same with Hi-Rez deniers. (In a good way 😉 )
  17. That said, Head-fi has it’s place, and deniers seem to hang around bigly.
  18. There are, subjectively to each of us, good mastering engineers and poor ones.
  19. We all have to listen to our source material and make our own judgements.
  20. I can have (IMO); my own vast archive of “self-proclaimed” Reference Quality Vinyl Rips, Hi-Rez digital lossless [FLAC 24/48, 24/96, 24/172, 24/192, 32 bit float, .WAV, even ALAC and DSD], quality sourced and mastered CD’s [16/44] etc., portable DAP’s/amps/DAC’s, and use .mp3’s and Youtube to preview and stream when need be.  It’s fine that you might consider this fodder, trendy, and hipsterish.  I often use apple ear buds while on the go with the mobile. I’m not a gobsmacked music snob…I listen to AC/DC cranked on the local radio in the car, beautifully overbearingly loud in all its overly-compressed glory.  I’d dance randomly in the street to an 80’s boombox with cassettes daily if these types of gatherings where more frequent.
  21. You can have 50,000 lossy .mp3’s on the go, with an excellent ear, sourcing quality CD’s and audio on your own volition (all without my schtick). You might even listen to vinyl for nostalgia purposes possibly.  Further you own low cost but excellent sounding source players as well as an expensive pair of headphones and/ or IEM’s. Even bluetooth love…it’s almost 5.0 (I too am sick of those frickin tangly chords). There’s nothing wrong with any of that.  What I’m getting at is it doesn’t matter.
  22. We can all site the Nyquist Theorem till we are blue in the face, and never get anywhere…agree to disagree perhaps.  If you’re happy, I am happy.
  23. Electronic music and Hip Hop does not and should not have to follow any of these rules.  Electronic music tends to sound great, almost always produced very well, unless it’s a very low bit rate or has been up sampled, but that is usually by design.  Hip Hop needs to be vicious or passive aggressive and Bassy…clean tight bassy…Superb dope! The only reservation I have is when either genre is too bright and shreds my ears. It’s rare, again unless by design.
  24. Classical music is on the other end of the spectrum…the rules DO very very very much apply. Soundstage and instrument separation are paramount.  Loud and soft, loud and soft just like The Pixies or Nirvana. A muddy midrange is a killer.  Attack, sustain, decay should be transparently punchy, grainy, and accurate.  The music has to breathe and pulse…ripping the heart right out your chest even with headphones on. Emotions, knocked about, tugged like a puppet to strings. It should convey an air of atmospheric space with perceivable parameters…and in a perfect world, pseudo-holophonic sound, as if you the listener can imagine you’re there live sitting center stage with the orchestra wrapped 180 degrees from ear to ear.  You’ll know something is wrong right off, a piano from each and every-little-single-ebony-to-ivory key is muddled together as one, or squashed in a constant spew of notes like an accordion. We should be able to perceive and hear milliseconds of spaciation[sic] and be acute to a differentiation between every single tapped key, no matter how fast the piece. I’ve said before piano is the hardest instrument to reproduce in recording with accuracy.  If that’s muddy then it’s all over.  I won’t get started on the pneumatic breath of the solo cello…you get my drift.
  25. Pop music…It depends on if it’s good! 😉 😉

So with all that said we arrive at the conclusion that we may not agree subjectively.  Please forgive me, as I was being purposefully presumptuous in some of the things I said above… but that is not the point.  I’m just generalizing for the sake of getting at the crux.  Most of the people reading this will not care one way or the other.  Some will be bored to tears as to, “what is the going on and on about”.  In the end we all just love music and are devilishly passionate about it–Pretty simple, no? 🙂

So, in the past I did some reviews….Beck, The Beatles Catalogue, Led Zeppelin Catalog, etc., they each get hundreds of hits daily as reference, awesome.  I also posted full album playlists (with some lineage)…it was quite subtle, again on purpose as to what I have deemed a Reference Quality Audio Recording.  I don’t know if I said it outright, I may have…If not my tongue in cheek went over people’s heads. A failed attempt by me.  Yes, you are left to taking me at my word, have to search for it yourself, and availability is spotty.  I know it’s somewhat authoritarian but let your ears be the judge.  There were many times I have searched for a single particular recording over weeks and months before finally getting a hold of it.  Time well spent!

If you search hard enough you will be able to get a hold of same source as I did, some searches will be easy, others will require patience and time.  Moderately I will recommend the High-Rez digital transfer available for everyone to purchase with a quick download and some cash.  I have no stake in this…no adverts, self funded hosting and servers.  I’m just passionate about music and everything else, and I know you are as well, or you would not be reading this.

Just a note **** again, the night site is under maintenance (The links from here the day page are static as of writing this)…It will be up again soon enough.  I’m going to do all those recordings here on the main page individually anyhow.  So there will probably be some updates as well.  When live, it will give you an idea of some of what I will cover, and it is only a small part of projected works.

From now on instead of taking a few months to do mega reviews, although I will someday do the Complete Pink Floyd Archives Posts (Damn there I go again, that’s one exception), from now on there will be single album releases (From past and present) which a single post can be done in one day.  I will do whatever I am listening to and I have in my wheelhouse as the best recordings and rips / digital to date.  The posts will vary widely in style, genre, and medium.  One day or two could be Thrash, the next Classical, Jazz, Electronic, Pop, wherever the music takes me.

In between I will continue to do my sordid stories, post mixes, photos, memorabilia, any type of art really.  I intend on making this site better by making it a reference site for individual albums.  In that vein It would make it possible for those who do not want to read my silly erotica, still be able to come here intentionally via direct link or search engine in order to just browse my reviews and recommendations on specific albums…quick and easy.

In conclusion, each album will have an easy to read, specific format that I have worked out, and tweak things as I go along.  If there is anything extra about a specific release that you would like to see, send me an email or message.  If I can get the info – I will post it or write you back.  Understand that I cannot council and/or recommend file sharing or piracy, so do not ask…messages from readers as to these types of questions will go unanswered.   No disrespect…just being clear.

 

Thanks For Reading & All Your Endless Support. My Readers Are Awesome!

Love You Lots! Stay Well, Be Kind & Bless.

 

Tak Tak, Bless!

Grazie, Ciao!

Obrigadx, Tchau! Adeus!

Gracias, Adios!

Danke, Tchuss!

Merci, Au revoir!

Dank je…Bedankt, Alstublieft!

Merci Vilmal, Adeau!

Gracies, Adieu!

Gracies, Adeu!

 

CM ☕

Please do not reproduce this article either all or in part without the expressed written permission of the author who can be reached via the “Contact” section in the header menu. You may link to the article if you wish, all that we ask is that you give credit to the respective author…”Christmachine” wherever you post a link. Thank you.

Copyright © 2017 Christmachine. All Rights Reserved.

 

©2014 – 2020 Christmachine ☕

Neil Young On Pono Music / Videos From This Weeks 2015 CES In Las Vegas…

Neil Young On Pono Music / Videos From This Weeks 2015 CES In Las Vegas… I will update this page with any new videos or articles that are released ASAP!

 

Today Up On Christmachine Audio Reference Music Server :

Video #1 Neil Young On Pono At 2015 CES

This first video is only available off site…it is a Pro Shot and embedding is not allowed. So here’s the link below photo :

IgubWzKEAOlzhttp://www.cesweb.org/News/CES-TV/Video-Detail?vID=UKXkJRAGXSCY&dID=DliGIusJiD1C&sID=OhYr3WpdgEMj

 

Video #2 Neil Young On Pono At 2015 CES

Enjoy and Bless Bless!

Thanks for your support.

 

CM ☕

 

Please do not reproduce this article either all or in part without the expressed written permission of the author who can be reached via the “Contact” section in the header menu. You may link to the article if you wish, all that we ask is that you give credit to the respective author…”Christmachine” wherever you post a link. Thank you.

 

 

 

Copyright © 2015 Christmachine. All Rights Reserved.

©2014 – 2020 Christmachine

Today’s Favorite Videos #18 – A Little Bit For Everyone… [N.S.F.W.] ~ All Videos And Mixes Are Fixed!

 

Today Up On Christmachine Audio Reference Music Server :

Reviews for individual albums or sets will be posted HERE (The Main “DAY” Page) but daily Videos & Playlists will be posted in the Playlist “Night” Feed Blog. Again you can C5642aFLPaccess it from the “Playlist “Night” Feed” button in the header menu below the “HOME” button. Or you can get there using the links below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Todays Favorite Videos #18…A little something for everyone…~NSFW~[Video-Direct Links] Link Below A Direct Portal To “Night Page” Side of this Site…

http://playlists.christmachine.com/youtube/2days-fav-vidz-18a-little-something-4-every1video-direct-links-nsfw/

***Also All Previous Videos And Mixes Are Fixed! (Except 1 Which Is Unavailable)***

 

1_400FLP

 

Playlist Coming Soon!

Thanks As Always For Your Support.

Enjoy, more interesting articles to come!

Cheers and Bless Bless!

CM ☕

 

 

Please do not reproduce this article either all or in part without the expressed written permission of the author who can be reached via the “Contact” section in the header menu. You may link to the article if you wish, all that we ask is that you give credit to the respective author…”Christmachine” wherever you post a link. Thank you.

 

 

 

Copyright © 2015 Christmachine. All Rights Reserved.

©2014 – 2020 Christmachine

The Best Of The “Led Zeppelin” Catalog Pressings…[Post Special] [Second Pass Edit 07/02/14]

Today Up On Christmachine Audio Reference Music Server :

 

The Best Of The “Led Zeppelin” Catalog Pressings…[Post Special]

465px-Led_Zeppelin_logo.svg

You will not find underground compilation lists like this anywhere else on the worldwide web. Christmachine Audio Reference Music Server Exclusive!

It’s what I call Guerrilla Listening Sessions…I’m on Fire here!!!

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

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The Best Of The “Led Zeppelin” Catalog Pressings…[Post Special] Part 1 of 2

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  • Click On Photos To Enlarge:
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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

This first section was written early on, I have returned to edit to make it seemless with part two, no latency here. I do not yet know how this mega post review is going to be laid out yet. I know that sounds strange, but I know what releases make the grade, just not sure how I will lay it out here. So this should be interesting. I have been listening to only Led Zeppelin for two weeks now and I am ready to lay it all on the line. Well almost, I had to listen to other stuff like The Black Crowes first three albums in Hi-res to rest my mind. OMG The Black Crowes in Hi-rez (listening now) & The Black Sabbath Dio Albums as well (I’m In good hands fo’ sho’!!!) Obviously that is not to say that this list did not take many years of listening to compile. I had my favorites, but I had to take into account the Deluxe Reissues released at the beginning of this month. This includes the first three records of the catalog reissues, in all three formats available, including CD’s, 24Bit/96kHz Hi-Res, and vinyl.

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

At first I had a very hard time being as subjective as possible because although there are the releases that I clearly prefer. There were also many releases that had decent quality, although I still did not prefer them (or find their sound quality better) over my original favorites… some were close but clearly not superior. Therefore different from the few reviews I have done so far, I decided to add some new factors into my decisions specific for this review based on availability, price, and reputation. Of course sound quality will always be the number one determining factor, but there are releases (especially the Original and early Vinyl) that come very close to the best although they are still inferior IMHO.The thing is many people do not know the difference, so I build this guide with you in mind so you can go directly to the pressings recommended and know you are getting decent sound quality even if you have to settle with sources farther down the list. Still although there is lots of good, the bad is still quite bad…I expose the comparable sources with easier availability at a better price and acceptable sound quality to boot. The Law of diminishing returns is in full effect.

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

What it came down to here fundamentally was what sound signature each listener is used to. So I am happy to announce there are a lot of choices for the general listening public, it depends a lot on what you know as “The Led Zeppelin Sound” as well as your budget and dedication to the craft of mastering and pressing. For example some reviews I am able to wipe out a whole swath of choices because say there were no good quality CD releases. That is definitely not the case here, with some searching It is possible to find an excellent quality CD in the used CD bins at any record store (or online) on the cheap, as long as you know what the specific years, mastering, and pressings from which the CD or vinyl for sale was cut.

 

 

Here is the Led Zeppelin Discography Referred to throughout this review:

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

Led Zeppelin (1969)
Led Zeppelin II (1969)
Led Zeppelin III (1970)
Led Zeppelin IV (1971)
Houses of the Holy (1973)
Physical Graffiti (1975)
Presence (1976)
In Through the Out Door (1979)
Coda (1982)

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First We’ll Start with the CD’s:

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

For the CD’s there were two early masterings… The Original 1980’s Atlantic Barry Diament/ Joe Sidore’s and the 1990’s Marino/Page Remasters. It does not matter which countries for the Diament/Sidore’s (US, German, Canadian, Japanese, etc.) the specific year of release is more important as it varies sometimes by one or more years depending on country. Although Barry Diament has stated publicly that he can hear a difference in CD sound quality from one pressing plant to the next. You probably will not be able to tell the difference unless you are a super fan and have multiple copies of which to compare, if at all.

Recommended CD’s Original 1980’s Atlantic Diament/Sidore Example:

http://www.discogs.com/Led-Zeppelin-Led-Zeppelin/release/895323

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

So my standard recommendations would be to look for any of the 1980’s Original Atlantic Diament/Sidore CD’s, they have the punch and dynamics to be highly recommended here. The only caveat would be Led Zeppelin IV (the only title to be mastered by Joe Sidore only), It is well known that he had a sub par copy of the Original Analogue Masters. You would think that with the importance of LZ IV they would get it right, but he only had access to inferior tape. Then again on the other side of the coin they have never made available the Original Analog Master Tapes of Led Zeppelin IV, or any other release ever from Zep, other than for the Original Vinyl from the Complete Catalog, but that’s another story. This is not a killer for me as I still prefer the 1980’s Original Atlantic Led Zeppelin IV mastered by Sidore. If you’re feeling dangerous then try 1990’s Zeppelin IV George Marino Remaster (cheap used) and compare it against the 1980’s Original. Also the Marino Zep IV’s suffer from early fades, unforgivable by some. Get both on the cheap and compare yourself, you’ll see what I mean.

Overall none of the 1990’s Marino Remasters are recommended here as they Distort when turned up loud. They are a victim of “The Loudness Wars” and they do not have 20974_1074039588034_3176351_nthe same tight punch that the 1980’s Diament/Sidore’s have. One other problem to note on some of the early 1980’s Diament/Sidore’s, from a few pressing plants have the channels reversed, so be aware if you are a long time listener. This is not restricted to CD’s, it affects vinyl as well. Again if you don’t know the difference, just listen and enjoy!

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

Here we can jump on quickly to the June 2014 digital remasters of the first three records just released this month. All of the formats (24Bit/96kHz Hi-res, CD & Vinyl: All Digitally Sourced) were sourced from  24Bit/192kHz digital transfers of the original analog tapes. They were then mastered, compressed, and dithered down to their respective formats. IMO I still like the 1980’s Diament/Sidore’s over these 2014 remaster CD’s, however they are an acceptable CD pressing (espcially over the 1990 Marino Remasters) and if your not hung up on the sound of the Original 1980’s CD’s you will still get good sound and that is great news for all. Dynamically speaking they are not as good as the 1980’s Originals, you will find an prime example here where a lower DR is not the be all end all for the sound quality. Remember kids it’s all about the mastering!

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

Coming from the same source as the CD’s, with the added improvement of higher bit depth and sample rate, the Hi-Res 24Bit/96kHz although different in many ways and (IMO) a step down in sound quality from the Original 1980’s CD’s. The 2014 Deluxe Reissue vinyl is included in this, I could not hear much difference between the 2014 Hi-Res and the 2014 vinyl, except for the added warmth typical of vinyl. The 2014 remasters have superior detail over the 1980’s Diament /Sidore’s but I still prefer raw sound of the original 1980’s CD’s. One complaint that I can render from all these 2014 remasters is that they have a more clinical sound signature. So if your a vinyl hound and are not on an endless search for a clean copy of the original vinyls then the 2014 Remastered Vinyl and Hi-Res are a worthy and easily accessible format. With that said I still believe that the 1980’s Diament/Sidore Mastered CD’s are better than all formats of the 2014 Deluxe Reissues. When I mentioned a step down that is subjective opinion on my part, as I said earlier what you make of these 2014 digital remasters will depend on what the “Led Zeppelin Sound” is to you. Many will hear the clarity and detail of the remasters and say they are better. Food for thought.

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

The last angle has to do with price and availability. The Original 1980’s Japanese Diament/Sidore mastered CD’s have excellent sound as well, the problem is their availability and price. Add in the Original Red OBI and the price goes up significantly. So unless you are a collector or find one of these CD’s on the cheap I would just go with the other 1980’s Diament/ Sidore’s recommended. One last thought stay away from the 2008 SHM Japanese Releases either in the original box set or separately. Here is an incidence where Japanese does not mean better sound. They are said to be sourced from the 1990’s remasters, and when I heard them, all I got was louder and more compressed in a bad way. They may be no different from the 1990’s Marino CD’s but just a tad louder. You know how I feel about “Louder”. Next!

Recommended CD’s Original 1980’s Japanese Atlantic Diament/Sidore Example:

http://www.discogs.com/Led-Zeppelin-Led-Zeppelin/release/3864824

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

 

The Best Of The “Led Zeppelin” Catalog Pressings…[Post Special] Part 2 of 2

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

CD Vs Vinyl Vs Hi-Res Digital Vs. Hi-Res Vinyl Rips…

Read this well articulated piece on Led Zeppelin Vinyl, before reading on…my previous concerns are touched on here as to value and the Law of Diminishing Returns:

Taken From The “Every Record Tells A Story” Blog…Link Below Excerpt,

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“in contrast to the general rule of record collecting that if you buy an early pressing from the country of origin of the artist, you are most likely to be nearer the source tapes, and therefore the sound ought to be better. It seems Led Zep are an exception: they had such great success in the USA that this generally fairly reliable guideline doesn’t hold true – after the first album at least. I didn’t know it at the time, but my US pressing was pretty early and has excellent sound – probably better than an equivalent UK version.”

http://everyrecordtellsastory.com/2014/03/03/led-zeppelin-a-vinyl-buyers-guide/

Now that I’ve got that out of the way, I can get back to form with the Original Vinyl as well as the Classic 45 Reissues and others. How I will do this is start by listing each record of the full Led Zeppelin Catalog. With each record I will list in order IMHO what the best pressings / releases are, and I will incorporate the Original 1980’s Atlantic Barry Diament/ Joe Sidore releases as well as the 2014 Deluxe Remasters.

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You can feel safe knowing I’m in the ballpark after listening to no less than 138 Led Zeppelin Vinyl Sources over the last two weeks. I already had my favorites but had to make a few swaps here and there after some aggressive A/Bing as well as some recent acquisitions. ADHD helps in this regard.:) Also I heard someone say in another forum vinyl rips are not the same as listening to vinyl….bullshit, if your sources drivelines and methodology are the best anywhere, whatever is on that vinyl will come through so transparent and quiet with very limited post processing. Therefore I can say with complete confidence that this technology does not just reveal limitations of the source tapes…it enhances them!

 

 

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

 

Led Zeppelin I (1969) Best Releases / Pressings:

L1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Led Zeppelin – I (1969) (Original US George Piros/Monarch Pressing) Ans2TheMstr Vinyl Rip > transferred to 24Bit/48kHz ALAC .MP4 [Hi-Rez]

2. Led Zeppelin – I (1969) (German Strawberry Pressing) Mach5 Vinyl Rip  > Transferred to 24Bit/96kHz Lossless Flac [HI-RES]

3. Led Zeppelin – I (1969/2006) (Classic Records 45 RPM Reissue) FnlMstr (NC) Vinyl Rip > Transferred to 24Bit/96kHz Lossless Flac [HI-RES]

4. Led Zeppelin – I (1969) (Original UK Plum LP) Early AT33PTG Vinyl Rip   > Transferred to 16Bit/44.1kHz Lossless Flac

5. Led Zeppelin – I (1969/1987) (1987 US Atlantic Barry Diament/Joe Sidore Mastered CD) 16Bit/44.1kHz Lossless Flac

6. Led Zeppelin – I (1969/1987) (1987 Barry Diament/Joe Sidore Japan Atlantic Mastered CD) 16Bit/44.1kHz Lossless Flac

7. Led Zeppelin – I (1969/2014) (2014 Deluxe Digital Remaster) Vinyl Rip  > Transferred to 24Bit/96kHz Lossless Flac [HI-RES]

8. Led Zeppelin – I (1969/2014) (2014 Deluxe Digital Remaster) HD Tracks 24Bit/96kHz Lossless Flac [HI-RES]

9. Led Zeppelin – I (1969/2014) (2014 Deluxe Digital Remaster CD) 16Bit/44.1kHz Lossless Flac

This is the list for Zep 1 but as I said before, don’t fret if you can’t get a hold of any original Zep Vinyl…you will go broke. Just reach and search for the pressings/releases farther down the list.

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

 

Led Zeppelin II (1969) Best Releases / Pressings:

L2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Led Zeppelin – II (1969) (Original US Robert Ludwig Pressing) Ans2TheMstr Vinyl Rip > Transferred to 24Bit/96kHz Lossless Flac [HI-RES]

2. Led Zeppelin – II (1969/2006) (Classic Records 200 Gram Reissue) LegMstr Vinyl Rip > Transferred to 24Bit/48kHz Lossless Flac [HI-RES]

3. Led Zeppelin – II (1969/1987) (1987 US Atlantic Barry Diament/Joe Sidore Mastered CD) 16Bit/44.1kHz Lossless Flac

4. Led Zeppelin – II (1969/1987) (1987 Barry Diament/Joe Sidore Japan Atlantic Mastered CD) 16Bit/44.1kHz Lossless Flac

5. Led Zeppelin – II (1969/2014) (2014 Deluxe Digital Remaster) Vinyl Rip  > Transferred to 24Bit/96kHz Lossless Flac [HI-RES]

6. Led Zeppelin – II (1969/2014) (2014 Deluxe Digital Remaster) HD Tracks 24Bit/96kHz Lossless Flac [HI-RES]

7. Led Zeppelin – II (1969/2014) (2014 Deluxe Digital Remaster CD) 16Bit/44.1kHz Lossless Flac

 

The Original US Robert Ludwig Mastered Vinyl Blows all others away. Clarity, Control, and punch…unsurpassed. From which all other Led Zeppelin II’s are judged!

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

Led Zeppelin III (1970) Best Releases / Pressings:

L3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Led zeppelin – III (1970) (Original Canadian Pressing) FnlMstr (NC) Vinyl Rip > Transferred to 24Bit/96kHz Lossless Flac [HI-RES]

2. Led Zeppelin – III (1970/2006) (Classic Records 45 RPM Reissue) ZxAryMstr Vinyl Rip > Transferred to 24Bit/96kHz Lossless Flac [HI-RES]

3. Led Zeppelin – III (1970) (Original UK Atlantic) Vinyl Rip > Transferred to 24Bit/96kHz Lossless Flac [HI-RES]

4. Led Zeppelin – III (1969/1987) (1987 US Atlantic Barry Diament/Joe Sidore Mastered CD) 16Bit/44.1kHz Lossless Flac

5. Led Zeppelin – III (1969/1987) (1987 Barry Diament/Joe Sidore Japan Atlantic Mastered CD) 16Bit/44.1kHz Lossless Flac

6. Led Zeppelin – III (1969/2014) (2014 Deluxe Digital Remaster) Vinyl Rip  > Transferred to 24Bit/96kHz Lossless Flac [HI-RES]

7. Led Zeppelin – III (1969/2014) (2014 Deluxe Digital Remaster) HD Tracks 24Bit/96kHz Lossless Flac [HI-RES]

8. Led Zeppelin – III (1969/2014) (2014 Deluxe Digital Remaster CD) 16Bit/44.1kHz Lossless Flac

I could not find a clean Original US Atlantic Vinyl Rip, if I could it probably would rank high on this list from what I’ve heard from others. Conjecture of course.

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Bron-y-aur!

 

 

Led Zeppelin IV (1971) Best Releases / Pressings:

L4

 

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1. Led Zeppelin – IV (1971) (Original US Pressing) FnlMstr (NC) Vinyl Rip > Transferred to 24Bit/96kHz Lossless Flac [HI-RES]

2. Led Zeppelin – IV (1971) (Original US Pressing) Mach5 Vinyl Rip  > Transferred to 24Bit/96kHz Lossless Flac [HI-RES]

3. Led Zeppelin – IV (1971) (Original US 1841 Broadway LP George Peckham “Porky” PECKO DUCK Matrix) Early AT33PTG Vinyl Rip   > Transferred to 16Bit/44.1kHz Lossless Flac

4. Led Zeppelin – IV (1971) (ZoSo) (Rare UK 1st Stamper) Vinyl Rip > Transferred to 24Bit/192kHz Lossless Flac [HI-RES]

5. Led Zeppelin – IV (1971/2006) (Classic Records Reissue) LegMstr Vinyl Rip > Transferred to 24Bit/48kHz ALAC .MP4 [HI-RES]

6. Led Zeppelin – IV (1971/1985) (1985 US Atlantic Joe Sidore Mastered CD) 16Bit/44.1kHz Lossless Flac

7. Led Zeppelin – IV (1971/1985) (1985 Atlantic Japan Joe Sidore Mastered CD) 16Bit/44.1kHz Lossless Flac

8. Led Zeppelin – IV (1971/1994) (1994 Atlantic US George Marino/Jimmy Page Re-Mastered CD) 16Bit/44.1kHz Lossless Flac

 

As I said earlier that this is the only CD that was Originally Mastered by Joe Sidore only with an inferior copy of the analogue tapes…I still prefer it over the 1994 George Marino Re-Master but others go for this remaster even with the unforgivable early fades, overly compressed, and loud mastering. Uncrankable without distorting and ear fatigue city. Not much choice other than the vinyl and hopefully the coming 2014 Deluxe Reissues. See for yourself.

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

 

Led Zeppelin – Houses of the Holy (1973) Best Releases / Pressings:

L5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Led Zeppelin – Houses Of The Holy (1973) (Original UK “Porky” George Peckham Pressing) Ans2TheMstr Vinyl Rip > Transferred to 24Bit/96kHz Lossless Flac [HI-RES]

2. Led Zeppelin – Houses Of The Holy (1973) (Original US Robert Ludwig Pressing) Ans2TheMstr Vinyl Rip > Transferred to 24Bit/96kHz Lossless Flac [HI-RES]

3.  Led Zeppelin – Houses Of The Holy (1973/2006) (Classic Records 45 RPM Reissue) FnlMstr Vinyl Rip > Transferred to 24Bit/48kHz ALAC .MP4 [HI-RES]

4. Led Zeppelin – Houses Of The Holy (1973/1987) (1987 US Atlantic Barry Diament/Joe Sidore Mastered CD) 16Bit/44.1kHz Lossless Flac

5. Led Zeppelin – Houses Of The Holy (1973/1987) (1987 Barry Diament/Joe Sidore Japan Atlantic Mastered CD) 16Bit/44.1kHz Lossless Flac

 

 

UK George Peckham Porky Beats out US Robert Ludwig IMHO. This is my favorite Zeppelin album with II right at it’s heels!

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

 

Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti (1975) Best Releases / Pressings:

L6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti (1975) (Original US Pressing)  Ans2TheMstr Vinyl Rip > transferred to 24Bit/48kHz ALAC .MP4 [Hi-Rez]

2. Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti (1975/2006) (Classic Records 2LP 200gr Pressing) Vinyl Rip > Transferred to 24Bit/96kHz Lossless Flac [HI-RES]

3. Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti (1975/2006) (Classic Records Reissue) LegMstr Vinyl Rip > transferred to 24Bit/48kHz ALAC .MP4 [Hi-Rez]

4. Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti (1975) (UK) Early AT33PTG Vinyl Rip   > Transferred to 16Bit/44.1kHz Lossless Flac

5. Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti (1975/1987) (1987 US Atlantic Swan Song 2XCD Barry Diament/Joe Sidore Mastered CD’s) 16Bit/44.1kHz Lossless Flac

 

If you can get hold of 1987 US Atlantic Swan Song 2XCD Barry Diament/Joe Sidore Mastered CD’s it is highly recommended.

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

 

Led Zeppelin – Presence (1976) Best Releases / Pressings:

L7

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Led Zeppelin – Presence (1976/2006) (Classic Records 45 RPM Reissue) FnlMstr (NC) Vinyl Rip > Transferred to 24Bit/96kHz Lossless Flac [HI-RES]

2. Led Zeppelin – Presence (1976) (German Second Pressing) Ans2TheMstr Vinyl Rip > transferred to 24Bit/48kHz ALAC .MP4 [Hi-Rez]

3. Led Zeppelin – Presence (1976/1987) (1987 US Atlantic Swan Song Barry Diament/Joe Sidore Mastered CD) 16Bit/44.1kHz Lossless Flac

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

 

 

Led Zeppelin – In Through the Out Door (1979) Best Releases / Pressings:

L8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Led Zeppelin – In Through The Out Door (1979) (Original US Pressing) Ans2TheMstr Vinyl Rip > Transferred to 24Bit/96kHz Lossless Flac [HI-RES]

2. Led Zeppelin – In Through The Out Door (1979/2006) (Classic Records Reissue) LegMstr Vinyl Rip > transferred to 24Bit/48kHz ALAC .MP4 [Hi-Rez]

3. Led Zeppelin – In Through The Out Door (1979/1988) (1988 US Atlantic Swan Song Barry Diament/Joe Sidore Mastered CD) 16Bit/44.1kHz Lossless Flac

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

 

Led Zeppelin – Coda (1982) Best Releases / Pressings:

L9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.Led Zeppelin – Coda (1982/2006) (Classic Records Reissue) LegMstr Vinyl Rip > transferred to 24Bit/48kHz ALAC .MP4 [Hi-Rez]

2. Led Zeppelin –  Coda (1982/1988) (1988 US Atlantic Swan Song Barry Diament/Joe Sidore Mastered CD) 16Bit/44.1kHz Lossless Flac

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

 

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Final Verdict Overall: I recommend that if you cannot get a hold of the Early Vinyl, you search out the 1980’s Barry Diament/ Joe Sidore Mastered CD’s. They are the unsurpassed digital version of the RAW Led Zeppelin “Sound”. As you can see from my rankings all versions of the 2014 Deluxe Reissues fall behind the 1980’s Diament/Sidore Masterings. As I said earlier you may love the 2014 Deluxe Reissues. Whether or not that is the case is up to you. This may be a good time to start to get a trained ear by acquiring different pressings as you probably already have one or two releases. If not and want to just save your cash, you now know which releases to go directly after and enter bliss.

I hope this gives you some reference information. I will be updating it over time as the music continues to evolve. The next batch of Deluxe Issues are slated for Early Fall 2014. Thank you all for you questions, comments, and words of wisdom. Do What Thou Whilt!

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So there you have it…thanks for reading and your massive support.

Bless Bless!

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