Sunday, December 28, 2008

audio: search for master tape holy grail continues

In thoughts on digitizing vinyl I talked about the futility of digitizing my vinyl records when what I really want is the best digital file possible.

There's a fascinating thread on the topic of better-than-CD digitized formats in the SMR higher-res forum. The engineer from Blue Coast Records wants to offer high-quality downloads, but like Pete Towsend in the EQ interview, concedes “we did a listening test and found that analog was the best medium and chose to record the Blue Coast Collection on 2", with a backup to DSD.” But a sounds-great-but-not-perfect digital file is much less compelling than the master tape. Figuring out that final format is I think the only hope for quality recorded music — why else bother going for better-than-CD sound when 95% of all music sales are crappy MP3s?

It's tragicomical that the biggest impetus for quality digital files is not artists and record companies trying to create sonic masterpieces, but people making bootlegs of live concerts. A How to make a DSD Disc guide seems focused on "Snow Patrol 2007-07-18 Phoenix AZ"

It's all somewhat irrelevant to me right now, the financiapocalypse means it's a stretch to replace the blown fuse on a VTL power amp, let alone buy a Squeezebox Transporter to play such digital files on my stereo, or some kind of HDMI gizmo so I can play the SACD release of Gaucho on my PS3 and hear it through my stereo.



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