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"Band on the Run" unlimited remaster, "retains the dynamic range of the original master recording"
2Bdecided
post Nov 10 2010, 11:22
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The anti "loudness race" trend continues...

QUOTE
HIGH RESOLUTION DETAILS

The audio industry has seen many technical innovations since Band on the Run was first released on vinyl in 1973, the most notable being digital recording. However, with the introduction of CD came two advances, “de-noising” and “peak limiting” which have become increasingly unpopular within certain areas of the music industry and amongst audiophiles.

De-noising was introduced to remove the inherent sound, or hiss, associated with analogue tape. The amount of processing used to remove tape noise can be varied, but when used excessively, many believe that it also has a detrimental effect on elements of the musical sound.

Peak limiting is a process that increases the loudness of music. It is achieved by holding the loudest peaks down and raising the overall level of the music. Much depends on the amount of limiting applied, but at its most extreme the result can be a serious reduction in the dynamic range and often audible distortion.

The release of The Beatles’ remasters in 2009 saw a marked change in attitudes towards these issues, where both noise reduction and limiting were used sparingly with the aim of representing the master tapes more accurately. Such is the case with the newly remastered CD of Band on the Run: tape noise reduction has scarcely been used and the degree of limiting is subtle. In addition digital technology has advanced with the ability now to offer recordings in 24 bit/96kHz. The high resolution version is being made available via download and is being offered in two formats: limited, which is comparable in volume to the remastered CD, and un-limited, which in comparison with the limited version will sound quieter, but retain the dynamic range of the original master recording.


Allan Rouse Abbey Road Studios

They're "only" charging an extra 3 / $5 above the comparable "CD" download, though you have no option but to pay for the 9 extra bonus tracks if you want hi-res.

If you just want the normal album, you're paying double to get hi-res (limited or unlimited version).

9-track "CD" download: 6 / $9
18-track "CD" download: 10 / $15
Hi-Res download: 13 / $20
Both Hi-Res downloads: 23 / $36

From here:
http://www.paulmccartney.com/bandontherun/

Cheers,
David.

P.S. I haven't heard it. It's a shame it's not on Spotify! (The recent John Lennon releases are).

This post has been edited by 2Bdecided: Nov 10 2010, 12:15
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Notat
post Nov 10 2010, 15:30
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I don't see this as something to complain about. They're charging a premium price for dynamic range. This sends the message that dynamic range is valuable and loudness is not. I think it is a promising development.
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AndyH-ha
post Nov 10 2010, 22:19
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It's hard to see how the selling prices are related to production costs.
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dhromed
post Nov 10 2010, 22:29
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QUOTE (AndyH-ha @ Nov 10 2010, 22:19) *
It's hard to see how the selling prices are related to production costs.


What price art?

More specifically, what kind of financial margin on top of strictly offsetting production costs would be reasonable to you?
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Soap
post Nov 10 2010, 22:32
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QUOTE (AndyH-ha @ Nov 10 2010, 16:19) *
It's hard to see how the selling prices are related to production costs.

Outside commodity items and high school economics when are they ever?

Selling prices are set to what the market will bear.


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AndyH-ha
post Nov 10 2010, 22:39
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I don't question a sellers right to price his product as he sees fit. Value is always personal. My question is rather is there any possibility that less processing, with no physical media, can somehow be more expensive to offer? It isn't exactly the same as a guady cables at $500/foot but it isn't exactly that different either.
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Canar
post Nov 10 2010, 23:02
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While your point is very valid, Andy, Notat's view that this is placing these "unlimited" masters as a premium, valuable good is the more important message this sends, IMO. I am seriously considering shelling out cash for this on principle. I figure that maybe by supporting this, we'll help turn the tide? I don't know if that'll actually pan out, but sure can't hurt to support movement towards more dynamic range.

This post has been edited by Canar: Nov 10 2010, 23:03


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greynol
post Nov 10 2010, 23:08
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I understand the concept, but I don't think it's a good idea to give them the impression that we're willing to pay more for recordings they haven't wrecked.


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mixminus1
post Nov 10 2010, 23:26
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Also, if I'm reading the website correctly, only the "high-res" (24/96) tracks are available in an "unlimited" version, further perpetuating the myth that you "need" higher bitrate/samplerates to get "better" sound.


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Teknojnky
post Nov 10 2010, 23:26
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I have to agree with greynol, this simply re-enforces intentionally providing crap-mastering by default and paying extra for pre-crap-mastering.


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DVDdoug
post Nov 10 2010, 23:33
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QUOTE (greynol @ Nov 10 2010, 14:08) *
I don't think it's a good idea to give them the impression that we're willing to pay more for recordings they haven't wrecked.
biggrin.gif That's funny! biggrin.gif But... If I were buying this album (which I'm not) I'd probably pay more and choose the unwrecked version. The uncompressed version has more value to someone who values good sound quality.

Switching it around... I certainly wouldn't pay more for the wrecked version, even if a lot of time & effort went into wrecking it! wink.gif
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Fandango
post Nov 10 2010, 23:56
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I'm wondering how this can actually turn the tide towards sane mastering. The target audience for Band on the Run especially for 24 bit/96kHz material is completely different from the audience that makes up the big majority of music consumers. Don't get me wrong there are probably a lot of people who would prefer non-CD downloaded music that isn't extensively mastered, but those people are happy with CD audio resolution or lossy formats and especially happy (happier) with CD prices.

This product is targeted at "audiophiles", and the thing with audiophile hypes is that they only become popular in the mainstream, when they are 1) free, 2) without or 3) with only little extra cost. Like salvaging old LPs or paying a few dollars more for the 999gram vinyl edition, which was secretly sourced from the CD master anyway.

PS: I know that a different way of mastering is "free" but if it's really done, is not to be decided by majority of the consumers, not with products like the above at least.

This post has been edited by Fandango: Nov 10 2010, 23:58
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Josh358
post Nov 11 2010, 00:50
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QUOTE (Fandango @ Nov 10 2010, 17:56) *
I'm wondering how this can actually turn the tide towards sane mastering. The target audience for Band on the Run especially for 24 bit/96kHz material is completely different from the audience that makes up the big majority of music consumers. Don't get me wrong there are probably a lot of people who would prefer non-CD downloaded music that isn't extensively mastered, but those people are happy with CD audio resolution or lossy formats and especially happy (happier) with CD prices.

This product is targeted at "audiophiles", and the thing with audiophile hypes is that they only become popular in the mainstream, when they are 1) free, 2) without or 3) with only little extra cost. Like salvaging old LPs or paying a few dollars more for the 999gram vinyl edition, which was secretly sourced from the CD master anyway.

PS: I know that a different way of mastering is "free" but if it's really done, is not to be decided by majority of the consumers, not with products like the above at least.


I don't know if at can turn the tide, but if it can move them in the direction of offering uncompressed releases as an option I'm all for it. The $30 price is ridiculous, though. I'm afraid it will dissuade too many potential purchasers, making the venture look like a commercial failure.
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BearcatSandor
post Nov 11 2010, 02:27
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Also, the $30 price will further encourage people to post it on-line for free. That whole allofmp3 fiasco was interesting to me in that you paid a price based on the size of the file. So low bit-rate mp3 were cheapest and flac ect was the most expensive.

I do love the new music distribution systems where you pay what you want from say $6-12, artist gets half and the files are lossless. I wish that were more popular but places like Magnatune are showing up more and more (or i'm just late to the party and no one tells me about these places)



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JSW
post Nov 11 2010, 02:35
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I actually did pay $20 for the 24/96 "unlimited" download, even though this isn't the kind of music that I usually listen to. I am extremely satisfied with the sound quality of this download, and I don't even really care whether it sounds better than the best possible 16/44.1 mastering. I figure they did well to find a way to reissue a classic rock album in a state-of-the-art mastering without dynamic range compression. The price? I think it's reasonable. It isn't clear how many copies of either 24/96 version will sell, and they have to set a price that will make the effort of setting up and hosting these rather large downloads worthwhile even with rather moderate expected sales. Certainly it would not have been commercially viable to issue the CD in double-inventory with and without peak limiting, and since many people prefer the sound with peak limiting, why not take advantage of the new trend in the audiophile market to offer a better product than would have been marketable otherwise? There is no way that sales figures for this version will be interpreted as support for DRC.

What I find surprising is that there are people choosing pay the same premium price for a 24/96 version with compressed dynamic range. What are they thinking?

This post has been edited by greynol: Nov 11 2010, 03:28
Reason for edit: Edited by request.
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2Bdecided
post Nov 11 2010, 11:19
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QUOTE (Notat @ Nov 10 2010, 14:30) *
I don't see this as something to complain about.
I wasn't complaining.


As for whether it's a good thing or a bad thing - well, certainly compared with just releasing a smashed CD master, it's a good thing. No argument.


I'm guessing that most people here would like the standard version of all releases to have reasonable dynamic range. Back to the early/mid 1990s in that respect I suppose.

I'm also guessing that having to pay extra, and having it targeted at the ill-informed audiophile market, makes most people here uncomfortable. Audiophile reviewers say some criminally stupid things - they could kill the commercial viability of a worthy release in a single phrase, and (even more likely) praise a "claimed" superior release which wasn't superior at all - making record companies realise that they can just release the same thing twice. Like the Beatles USB apple. And make lots of money for zero effort, while giving nothing of actual benefit.


For an album that I really wanted to buy, I'd probably buy the complete package (limited and unlimited). Certainly there are plenty of CDs in my collection from the last decade that I would re-buy if they were made available without the clipression. The price can't get stupid though. We can all use Spotify in our house (OK, my four year old daughter needs a little help, but my six year old son is perfectly capable) so even the idea of paying money for a CD seems a little strange to the rest of the family - 24 for a digital copy of some music we already own?! That's hard to justify when I can think of at least 10 CDs (which probably cost 5.99 from CDwow when new) which I'd replace.

I guess what I'm saying is that since most of the intended audience have already paid for the music once or even twice, they should probably find a cheaper way of letting this stuff out in its new glory.

There's an obvious way IMO: The expensive 24/96 unlimited FLAC for the audiophiles, and the far less expensive 44.1/16 unlimited FLAC or mp3 for people who know about good sound, but don't use oxygen-free listening rooms.

Cheers,
David.

P.S. I would love to start a legal discussion about whether copying release X of something you already own in release Y counts as copyright infringement, if there is no copyrightable difference between the two releases. Copyright only applies to creative endeavours, not technical ones. Pressing play on a 2" tape deck and record in Pro Tools does not create a new copyright, whatever most record companies would want to you believe. (No noise probably doesn't count either, but EQ may, reverb probably does, and remixing from a multi-track certainly does). However, under UK law any copying counts as copyright infringement (even copy from "my CD" to "my mp3" and from "my mp3" to "my iPod"), so it's impossible to have a sane discussion about this here.

P.P.S. I've gone all negative again now - but I'm really pleased that these releases are coming out - and whatever the price, I'd like to see more. At least if they're available, we can have an intelligent discussion about their merits!

This post has been edited by 2Bdecided: Nov 11 2010, 11:21
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2Bdecided
post Nov 11 2010, 11:33
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QUOTE (JSW @ Nov 11 2010, 01:35) *
I actually did pay $20 for the 24/96 "unlimited" download, even though this isn't the kind of music that I usually listen to.
I can't bring myself to part with the money for this - I have it on vinyl and never listen to it. Would you be willing to share a 30 second sample here on HA?

QUOTE
What I find surprising is that there are people choosing pay the same premium price for a 24/96 version with compressed dynamic range. What are they thinking?
They're thinking that 24/96 offers an obvious night-and-day audible advantage over nasty CD quality 16/44.1 - because that's what the magazines they read (and the record producers who post on-line!) tell them. In their minds, in their world, it's exactly the same difference as we would expect between 256kbps mp3 and an 80kbps mp3. Reality doesn't come into it.

They choose the standard version, rather than the version without limiting, because the artist approved the limiting in the first place, and the artist must be right.

(Think this is mad? There's a thread on the Steve Hoffman forums complaining about some Beatles mono tracks on the Capitol versions. On the original US LPs, they took the stereo master, summed the two channels to mono, recorded that to tape, and then cut the vinyl from that tape. On the CD versions, they took the stereo master, summed the two channels to mono, and made the CD from this. People on the SH forums complained that the mono CD version wasn't faithful to the original LP because it lacked that extra generation of tape. It sounded too good. It didn't sound like the original LPs.)

There's also the possibility that the limited version sounds punchier, and hence nicer, than the unlimited version - especially in some listening situations. So it actually makes sense to prefer it. Buying it as 24/96 makes no sense to anyone here, but see above! wink.gif

Best reason: it lets people buy two otherwise identical versions and compare. The recording geek in me wants to do that, even when I have no interest in the music itself. If I did, it would let me choose which I preferred (because it seems you can't listen before you buy!). So I'd have to buy both, if I didn't own the album already.

Cheers,
David.

P.S. That's why I like Spotify - I could listen to those new John Lennon albums and decide I preferred the originals - mostly.
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Meeko
post Nov 11 2010, 14:46
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Wow...talk about choices. I'm not positive anyone would hear a difference given the fact the source material. Ideally, why not just master it like it ought to be for a general release and not bother with the "unlimited" versions? At first glance, the differences between the choices were actually confusing because it was not specifically clear what you would be downloading with each package.

Is this good for the future? I think it could be if a lot of people are interested in the higher resolution downloads...might show if the market exists--or doesn't. Maybe downloadable formats would work. Clearly the physical discs (SACD, DVD audio) didn't.


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zipr
post Nov 11 2010, 15:06
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What a confusing mess of a page that is! I wonder if 'casual' listeners can makes sense of it all?
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ramicio
post Nov 11 2010, 16:33
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I procured the unlimited version. Sounds nice. It's too bad that people will pay more for something that is mastered better regardless of the format. That doesn't show promise that CD mastering/production will become better, just an indication that the music industry will learn people will pay MORE for something mastered better, so they can just charge more for a better master and still have the regular CD for everyone else. Just like when gas spiked up to like $5 a gallon a few years ago. Now OPEC knows people WILL pay that much for gas so it will never be cheap again.
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BearcatSandor
post Nov 11 2010, 16:52
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There's something i don't get about this thread and something i don't get about the audiophile industry. It may be because i live out in the wood practically speaking and most of my neighbors are deer, but who are the "they" people are referring to? People who read Stereophle? I'm the only one i know that does. I live in a town of 2k people and i'd bet i'm the only one in town who knows what HDCD is.

How many people are you worried are gonna be suckered by this? We..uh..audioph...i mean music recreating hardware enthusiasts are very rare in my experiance.

Or perhaps i've just been hanging out with the coyotes too much.

This post has been edited by BearcatSandor: Nov 11 2010, 16:54


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Josh358
post Nov 11 2010, 23:30
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QUOTE (BearcatSandor @ Nov 11 2010, 10:52) *
There's something i don't get about this thread and something i don't get about the audiophile industry. It may be because i live out in the wood practically speaking and most of my neighbors are deer, but who are the "they" people are referring to? People who read Stereophle? I'm the only one i know that does. I live in a town of 2k people and i'd bet i'm the only one in town who knows what HDCD is.

How many people are you worried are gonna be suckered by this? We..uh..audioph...i mean music recreating hardware enthusiasts are very rare in my experiance.

Or perhaps i've just been hanging out with the coyotes too much.


Well, Stereophile has a circulation of something like 60,000 (I'm too lazy to look) and The Absolute Sound of something like 30,000. And not all audio buffs subscribe. It doesn't take much extra time to run off an uncompressed master. So if only a small percentage of audiophiles buy it . . . I read somewhere that 2.1 million vinyl disks were sold in 2009, presumably to people who think they sound better than CD's. Some of the sales of the uncompressed version will presumably parasitize sales of the compressed version, but they're charging more and they'll presumably gain some sales from people who wouldn't be interested in the compressed remaster. So it's kind of hard to see where they could go wrong from an economic perspective.

It isn't like the days of CD's, when you had to invest in mastering the CD, a run of booklets, dealer stock, etc. Unless I'm missing something, the overhead isn't much more than adding an item to a web site and a few hours of production/studio time.
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2Bdecided
post Nov 12 2010, 11:04
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I agree.

All of which makes it surprising that this isn't common place.

But in a record company I suppose any new idea has to get past the very people who caused the loudness wars in the first place. It's probably taken them this long to "get it".

Cheers,
David.
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Brand
post Nov 12 2010, 13:19
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I really like seeing major labels openly mention the loudness race and its bad effects.

I wish they also offered the album in a CD quality FLAC, instead of just packing it in a "premium" 24/96, but overall it's still a positive move, IMO.
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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Nov 12 2010, 15:22
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QUOTE (BearcatSandor @ Nov 11 2010, 10:52) *
There's something i don't get about this thread and something i don't get about the audiophile industry. It may be because i live out in the wood practically speaking and most of my neighbors are deer, but who are the "they" people are referring to? People who read Stereophle? I'm the only one i know that does. I live in a town of 2k people and i'd bet i'm the only one in town who knows what HDCD is.


Last time I saw an estimate, it was that the high end audiophile market in the US was composed of about 200,000 people. That is about 3/4 of one tenth of a percent of the population. That you are the only audiophile in a town of 2,000 seems about right. There might be one other in town that you don't know about.
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