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Subject Topic: McCartney & Harrison remasters in FLAC! Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Brian W.
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Posted: 19 October 2010 at 12:44pm | IP Logged Quote Brian W.

Interesting news. The upcoming remasters of Paul McCartney's "Band on the Run" and George Harrison's "All Things Must Pass" will be available to download on the artists' websites... in 24-bit FLAC format! I believe that's full master tape quality, no?

Interestingly, "Band on the Run" will be available in two separate FLAC versions -- one with minor peak limiting applied, and one with no limiting at all.

Let's hope this is the start of a trend.
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eriejwg
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Posted: 19 October 2010 at 4:57pm | IP Logged Quote eriejwg

I've read that "My Sweet Lord" is different on 45 than CD. Could this be the original mix of the entire album in FLAC?
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aaronk
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Posted: 19 October 2010 at 5:54pm | IP Logged Quote aaronk

Brian W. wrote:
I believe that's full
master tape quality, no?

It's definitely better sound than 16 bit CD
quality, but I'm not sure you can call it
"master tape quality." Analog tape isn't
measured in digital terms, so it's not really
apples to apples, right? The better question
is whether or not you can tell the difference
between CD and 24 bit flac, if you were to
convert the flac to wav and burn to cd. Since
many people have trouble telling the
difference between 320k mp3 and wav, I'm
inclined to think not; however, a lot probably
depends on the stereo system you're
listening on.
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NightAire
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Posted: 19 October 2010 at 8:03pm | IP Logged Quote NightAire

You will NOT be able to tell a difference between the FLAC files and a CD. If anything, the FLACs will sound better because they are 24 bit.

Many may claim to hear a difference between CD & 320 or 256 kbps mp3; if I could, I'd challenge them to a double-blind test.

My suspicion is that they'd lose that challenge.

You may hear differences... but which one is uncompressed? The "smoother" copy may sound "dull" to someone else, the "brighter" copy sound "harsh," the "detailed" copy sound "gritty" to someone else.

In other words, with modern pop recordings you may have to know what the original was supposed to sound like to tell which is the uncompressed copy.

(Orchestras are easier if you know what an instrument is supposed to sound like; even so, you may guess BOTH are compressed, when it may simply be the positioning of the mics in the original recording.)

A 24 bit FLAC file likely exceeds the capabilities of your current sound card unless you're using a pro card. It is higher detail than a CD, and as Aaron pointed out, burned to a CD it will be indistinguishable from certainly any professionally produced CD of the tapes, and likely from the tapes even if you had them side by side to compare.

Brief technical info: CDs, and most WAV files, are 16 bit. 24 bit gives more info to the digital to analog converter (another influencer of the final sound) to determine the exact rise and fall of each sound wave.

FLAC is a lossless compression system. In other words, unlike mp3s which throw some of the sound it doesn't think you'll miss away, the FLAC decompresses to a bit-for-bit identical copy of the original WAV file.

If you're unhappy with the FLAC files, I'll buy them from you! (Offer only good if you get the version WITHOUT limiting.) ;-)

Edited by NightAire on 19 October 2010 at 8:05pm


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aaronk
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Posted: 19 October 2010 at 8:21pm | IP Logged Quote aaronk

NightAire wrote:
You will NOT be able to tell a difference between the FLAC files and a CD. If anything, the FLACs will sound better because they are 24 bit.

Yes, that's what I was getting at. The FLAC files should be better quality, but can you really tell the difference between a 16 bit "CD quality" file and a 24 bit file?
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Brian W.
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Posted: 19 October 2010 at 8:47pm | IP Logged Quote Brian W.

aaronk wrote:

It's definitely better sound than 16 bit CD
quality, but I'm not sure you can call it
"master tape quality."

What I meant to say was, isn't that the same bitrate as the digital master tape that is used for mastering CDs?
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Brian W.
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Posted: 19 October 2010 at 8:51pm | IP Logged Quote Brian W.

NightAire wrote:

Many may claim to hear a difference between CD & 320 or 256 kbps mp3; if I could, I'd challenge them to a double-blind test.

You can't 99% of the time, but I recently tested a "killer sample" that had clearly audible artifacts even at a flat 320kb encoded with LAME. (The artifact was a scratching sound, like sandpaper. The sample was the opening of Minstry's "Show Me Your Spine.")

Edited by Brian W. on 19 October 2010 at 8:53pm
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aaronk
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Posted: 19 October 2010 at 9:13pm | IP Logged Quote aaronk

Brian W. wrote:
What I meant to say was, isn't that the same bitrate as the digital master tape that is used for mastering CDs?

Yes, I think you might be right about that. I still wonder if I would be able to tell the difference, given the exact same mastering, just at different bit rates.
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aaronk
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Posted: 19 October 2010 at 9:15pm | IP Logged Quote aaronk

Brian W. wrote:
You can't 99% of the time, but I recently tested a "killer sample" that had clearly audible artifacts even at a flat 320kb encoded with LAME. (The artifact was a scratching sound, like sandpaper. The sample was the opening of Minstry's "Show Me Your Spine.")

I agree, although I think I'm able to tell more than 1% of the time. It's not so much the difference in the audio quality that my ear picks up; it's the audible artifacts that are left behind by the encoder.
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Brian W.
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Posted: 19 October 2010 at 9:27pm | IP Logged Quote Brian W.

aaronk wrote:
I agree, although I think I'm able to tell more than 1% of the time. It's not so much the difference in the audio quality that my ear picks up; it's the audible artifacts that are left behind by the encoder.

I was going to say, "Aaron can tell the difference," but I didn't want to volunteer you, LOL.

But you should hear someting encoded with Quicktime's True Variable Bitrate AAC encoder. It's pretty impressive.
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aaronk
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Posted: 19 October 2010 at 9:36pm | IP Logged Quote aaronk

:D I certainly can't tell unless I'm listening on a good sound system and paying close attention, and even then, I'm sure I would fail the test on some of them. I think I might do better than 1 out of 100, though.
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KentT
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Posted: 25 October 2010 at 4:23pm | IP Logged Quote KentT

Original Master Quality is a good 15 IPS dub of the master on 1/2 track open reel. That is master quality. No digital extant short of 24/96 or DSD gets you even close!

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NightAire
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Posted: 25 October 2010 at 10:18pm | IP Logged Quote NightAire

...and ANY analog copy is going to lose some fidelity, so even THAT wouldn't be master quality.

You lose high frequency response, your wow & flutter go up, and your noise floor jumps up, too. Stereo separation drops slightly as well. Distortion would increase.

(30 ips on 2" tape would be better.)

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Brian W.
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Posted: 25 October 2010 at 11:21pm | IP Logged Quote Brian W.

KentT wrote:
Original Master Quality is a good 15 IPS dub of the master on 1/2 track open reel. That is master quality. No digital extant short of 24/96 or DSD gets you even close!

As I said, I was referring to the digital master used to master CDs, not the original analog master. Furthermore, these McCartney/Harrison downloads ARE 24/96.

Edited by Brian W. on 25 October 2010 at 11:23pm
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KentT
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Posted: 26 October 2010 at 8:58am | IP Logged Quote KentT

These should be good as long as there is no obnoxious compression, boosted treble, or noise reduction misused. And 24/96 should be good.

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Brian W.
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Posted: 02 November 2010 at 7:12am | IP Logged Quote Brian W.

Bought the 24/96 hi-rez download of the "Band on the Run" album. You had your choice of downloading it with some limiting or no limiting at all, so I opted for the "unlimited" version. They're all waves in a zip file. Yikes! 4608 kbps! (A standard 16-bit .wav file is 1411 kbps.) The title track alone is 172 mb large. The whole 18-song album was 2.43 gigabytes. Took 3 hrs and 40 minutes to download. Not bad for $9.99. (Though I hear they've now raised the price to $19.99. I got the preorder price.)

The surprising thing was that Apple Lossless will actually retain the 24/96 sampling, so I actually could put this on my iPod if I wanted.

Edited by Brian W. on 02 November 2010 at 7:13am
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The Hits Man
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Posted: 05 November 2010 at 9:49pm | IP Logged Quote The Hits Man

The 24-bit/96k files are in the wav format. Along with the
pdf, and the 320kbps mp3 version, the whole thing is a
2.60GB zip file, and it took me 20 minutes
to download.

Edited by The Hits Man on 05 November 2010 at 9:50pm


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