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 ☕

In the days before Hi-rez audio…we wanted it and we got it…

How we got to where we are in music culture today with the growing rise of technology, an informed public’s insatiable demand for value for their hard earned 900x900px-LL-1e198959_7208_862f_largemoney in the face of incessant greed, the sad state of audio archive preservation, and the largest black market the world has ever seen. The whole sure is greater than the sum of its parts. This piece walks a fine line.

People have been transferring vinyl and audio in general to different formats for many decades but an interesting thing happened in the late 1990’s and the early part of the new millennium that is the story of an unlikely phenomenon. An odd brotherhood arose in the tech savvy public inadvertently from the idea that artists were hearing Hi-rez on analog tape in the studio but for some reason it was not reaching the fans. Because people were understandably uninformed before the era of the twenty four hour news cycle and the interwebs they were just happy to have the music period.

Through some kind of pretzel logic regular people knew something was not right because at some point moments of audio brilliance and bliss had revealed itself to some curious individuals who had found that they could only in part reproduce this experience at home and they had to know why. Artists on the other hand have always been somewhat disconnected from the world, isolated amongst thousands of screaming fans night after night in different cities and countries every day around the globe. These artists, the greatest in the world, exuded creativity and genius in many ways, having all the latest technology at their disposal and amazing audio engineers, who when working together produced all the classics in every genre that have become the soundtrack to our memories and lives. They literally were in an alternate universe where the outcome of their music in the end was the label’s job. With that said there still was a problem, and as I said a disconnect nonetheless which was even worse in the business of selling music.900x900px-LL-54c3e3af_listening

In the 90’s as technology hardware got smaller and software more complex, with the rapid progression of an interconnected world there was a collision of people in the public domain that knew in theory what Hi-rez analog was but it was not offered to the fans from the record companies again for too many reasons to name here and the people knew that record executives at the same time were printing their own money. Media moguls were living the high life and getting extremely rich off artists and although there were many who cared about the final product of music, their were many more who did not. When you think about it (and this will be covered again in this article), how many times have you bought the same or different format of the same album because it was worn out, lost, or destroyed, but more often because you were often misled to believe the new version was “superior” in  sound quality.

Meanwhile in the world of the recording industry the analog tapes were not being well cared for and many were lost, stolen, destroyed, and so many had just plain disappeared. Tapes were mislabeled and stored in appalling conditions of dark warehouses with volatile climates. Lets just say that there was little quality control of recording archives and further many did not care or have the insight why the original master tapes would even be worth saving. In hindsight the recording industry has been building climate controlled vaults with what masters they can piece together but so much of music history was destroyed and is sadly now gone forever. A disturbing conservative estimate that has been tossed around is that 80% of recorded works have never seen modern technological light beyond the era of vinyl.

One position of thought about all this is concerned with what it would have been like if the record companies at the time had the foresight to install strict quality control and care for the original audio masters to realize that someday when advanced digital audio technology was introduced and mass produced for the public in the early to late 80’s that they could have made a killing and salvaged an important part of our history for future generations. This way of thinking brings us to the next logical thought, what if the music industry released all of their music in hi-rez as a standard early on. Keep in mind that technology did not give rise, economically and technologically to the general public until computers hit the market in the early 90’s, but what if the releases kept up with technology would the recording industry have failed so miserably. I guess we’ll never know.

To put it all in perspective think of the buying behavior of the fans and again I reiterate how many versions of an album you bought on vinyl, tape, large laser discs the size of vinyl, cd, and ultimately digital in all of it’s various formats and then throw into the mix corporate greed, technology, and the collapse of the music industry and the rise of windows / Apple / Android / Streaming services/ piracy and you have a steaming cesspool headed for a whole lot of hurt. It does not take a genius to conclude that there is a massive conflict of interest with the aforementioned postulates and that although they were comfortably numb, they also may have had no idea what they were doing, greed, power, and influence therefore brought on some extremely bad decision making. The logical way of putting this into perspective is that their thinking (The music industry), if they released hi-rez digital early on that would have meant the end of the fat cash cow from an uninformed public. So it would be easy to conclude that the reason the industry is in the predicament it is in is because they had a comfortably convenient reason to misjudge the future terrain in essence solidifying their imminent demise. They fought it all the way never realizing that they had lost the very moment they took VCR producers to court because people were recording tv shows and MTV music videos.

Now it’s thirty years later they’re still reeling, hanging on to the very industry rulebook that got them into this predicament by a thread but although the film industry last year made record profits, the music industry did not fare so well. There was a movement though in the underground that has been percolating since the 60’s and that was bootlegging, audience taping, trading, and ultimately vinyl ripping. A whole society of open source enthusiasts, were introduced around the world to audio trading and bootlegs. Now days it’s called filesharing via peer to peer and file pots and it has pretty much slayed the giant but over the last several years it has become even more sophisticated, let me put it this way the torrent of which only dreams are made. They gave birth to ways you could not be tracked by internet piracy monitors in swarms. I tell you friends it is common knowledge that public tracker torrents are so 2008 to pirates. So out of necessity and with a little bending of the rules a whole underground culture came into prominence to fill a void all the while continually staying three steps ahead of their enemy.

Most of the rips are from needledroppers that remain Anonymous. These “rippers” (Not really “ripping” vinyl but “transfers” is the correct term) make amazing rips with very expensive rigs, custom TT’s, custom tonearms, hi-end carts and interconnects…the whole nine. They seek out and clean minty vinyl like a rug, and in turn transfer the analog signal with little post processing (Some light click repair only…no eq) into digital and they get the finished product dead quiet. Therefore the integrity of the high quality source is not compromised in any way.

So these are the specific rip descriptions posted here and in forums all over the web, many vinyl rips original sources are impossible to acquire from any other means, but in terms of my situation I also have bought and own several different copies of alternate pressings which are all inferior in sound quality to the downloaded material all which I paid for (I did not know any better at the time).

Many Follow their favorite rippers around the web by identifying them in other signature ways. Most of these titles I’m told are found with in depth searching techniques on the net and that it’s possible to tell which needledroppers (Over time through listening tests) put out superior transfers. It’s only logical to have a popup blocker on and good anti-virus/firewall software as there can be malicious 3rd party spyware and even worse viruses. Also make sure to always scan any .rar or .zip file parts that you download with your anti-virus. I’ve never heard of anyone getting a virus by doing this but they always scan.

So as some are asking why post text of specific quality audio files and not links…well that’s easy it’s illegal and copyright infringement. Second it is well known that one does not post a link to rip without asking the ripper…most never ask because most vinyl rippers forbid it. Most are able to be found on the internet in various formats…sure it takes some work but those you find over time will prove fruitful. In time you get to know who produces the best transfers, so you know if you download a vinyl transfer that great care was taken and more importantly that the audio will be the finest quality available. You also get to know which rips are not worth the time, not always because the quality is poor but often times their extraction method, audio sources, or equipment has a sound signature that subjectively does not fit your liking.

Here is where the gray area comes in. Some will say downloading a title is not paying for it and therefore not rational in any way. Many obviously take exception with that because they already own a copy of the album but to bring scientific research into the equation, it has been proven that people that engage in filesharing spend large amounts of their income on entertainment in all forms. Even though there are large numbers of file sharers for a specific album around the world it has also been shown that many of these people would never have bought the media in the first place either because they do not have the access to the necessary disposable income or the media is not available in their respective countries due to copyright restrictions from country to country. Throw in certain countries limitations on freedom of speech, dictators, or restrictive governments with horrible human rights records and the rapid increase in bandwidth and instantaneous connectivity to those across the world, a perfect storm is inadvertently created.

So some will always still say that there is no justification no matter what your reason is because piracy is piracy…remind them that at one point in time they gave their friends a mixtape or made a backup copy of a CD for a family member. Look at youtube and realize that when you watch any type of music or post a photo that you did not take yourself that you were committing piracy…do not take the excuse they have never done it, it happens every day to people that have no idea that they are even engaging in copyright infringement no matter how innocent it may seem. It’s impossible to know all the laws and statutes from state to state or country to country and because there are so many gray areas, it would take a local lawyer to understand the statutes, never mind our fast changing world where there the laws cannot cover the complexities of constantly changing world or if there is even a law that exists. Some will call this rationalization but that’s what makes the world go around, we can all have our own beliefs and opinions.

I get it, if you get all your media via download and never pay for it or compensate the artists it is illegal and there are a large number of people that do this because the media conglomerates make questionable overreaches with a broad brush for the bad apples, it hurts everyone and they are in essence biting the hands that feed. I can understand why they feel desperate because of a dwindling income stream but it’s like jobs…automated machines have taken the places or jobs that would normally be filled by people but people are complex and require benefits and concessions so it is much less cost effective for an industry to hire a human being. So there is a new society where after after outsourcing and cuts, new types of careers are created. Don’t tell me that many of these shifting economy jobs are analogous to those of the past, people are taking work anywhere they can get just so their families can survive and these jobs are insufficient to provide for a family.

The same kind of social commentary can be said for the music industry…for all of us it’s either change or die, there is no choice. It’s not my idea that the music industry should not fight the tide, even they know that they have little control over this other than a silly game of whack-a-mole. So as we people have to change and learn to adapt and navigate today’s world they are finding more and more that they must as well. It’s not our choice any more than it is theirs, the choice has been made for us by a progressive society whether we like it or not.

So now as the recording industry is getting nudged by the new Pono music format to join the enemy as they are finally getting it through their skulls that they can  still make a lot of money if they come along and join the fight against DRM and advocacy for open source. A genie can never be put back in a bottle and the industry is being dragged kicking and screaming with a weird smile on their faces. We can take comfort in the fact that once again a movement once considered to be the blight of society has induced change not out of advocacy but out of necessity.

Thanks for Reading and all the 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

Audio Reference Music Server Essential Reading Post #1

Today we rejoice the Pono Kickstarter campaign which has ended as the 3rd most funded project since it’s inception. The tremendous tally of donations now stands at a very impressive $6,225,354 U.S. unseating “The Veronica Mars Movie” which had held the third spot, is now rightfully owned by the Pono campaign. So let’s suffice to say there are a lot of happy ears 5970_1187535964119_7451457_nthat will avoid future ear fatigue and hearing loss from poor quality audio which can be left behind as a thing of the past (but still be careful with your volume especialy with earbuds and IEM’s).

I did also notice that there are a large amount of people for whom this is their first foray into the world of Hi-rez digital music. So as a result I will be posting links to content that will enrich the new and  old converts as to how we got where we are today…and also how (especially the newly anointed) can make the whole listening experience even more enjoyable for free.

So today here is a link to an extremely interesting and revealing article on how “Labels are striving to rectify past archival problems”. It’s quite an eye opening read…and it ties in directly to our yearning to obtain high quality digital sources because if a source does not exist anymore then they will have to use inferior sources (not always a terrible thing but sad) in order to facilitate a new digital release. Remember there are hundreds of thousands of extremely important works of music that have never even been released on CD. One such release was Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham’s vinyl release “Buckingham Nicks – ST”, an amazing album which many people had never heard if they did not access the vinyl…I must say happily that a few years ago it was released as a “Deluxe Edition” on CD as a result of “Vinyl Rippers” making available for download an amazing rendering from the original vinyl…so the black market demand for the album forced a CD release. The vinyl rip is still better to my ears but the point is that these “grass roots movements” such as Pono and even some legally questionable movements in the end can have a great influence on the music industry for a good outcome of a goal.

This week I have some excellent articles to post in my own words on the History of Hi-rez including the underground trade of Hi-rez works / where we are now and how it forced the industry to finally get on board, how to get the most out of your Hi-rez listening experience for free (links to essential freeware downloads), Reviews, and New Playlists & Videos (in the “Playlist part of this site). Something for everyone I guarantee.

I thank you all for all the support and emails and hope you will continue to come back here to learn and enjoy this ride with us. For your convenience there is a link in the lower right hand corner of the websites that will allow you to add this site to your RSS feed bookmarks so you can see in real time what I have posted each day. Thanks again and respect.

Thanks to Bill Holland for this amazing piece of archival work. [Direct Link]

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

Enjoy….More posts later today.

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 ☕