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New Pharrell Williams album [GIRL] in high-res: any views on sound quality/dynamic range?


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I received an e-mail from Qobuz this morning to announce that they are selling Pharrell Williams new album in 24-bit 44.1kHz for €10 for a limited time (link below). I am very tempted, but before I take the plunge, I would like to know if this is genuine high-res or an awfully volume-compressed master (like Beck's recent HDTracks release).

 

Has someone listened to it or run a dynamic-range meter on it? Would you please be so kind as to share your impressions or results? Your advice will be much appreciated.

 

0886444495158_600.jpg

 

G I R L | Pharrell Williams*– Télécharger et écouter l'album

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The CD version on Qobuz is €13 while the promo for the 24 bit copy is €10 so in this one case IF you want the music regardless of the DR, then 24 bit is the way to go regardless of DR as it is €3 cheaper. That is if you want the music…

 

G I R L (Mastered for iTunes) version is a DR7

 

foobar2000 1.3.1 / Dynamic Range Meter 1.1.1

log date: 2014-03-03 01:23:32

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Analyzed: Pharrell Williams / G I R L

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

DR Peak RMS Duration Track

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DR8 -0.22 dB -9.60 dB 5:51 01-Marilyn Monroe

DR7 -0.73 dB -8.96 dB 4:32 02-Brand New (Duet with Justin Timberlake)

DR7 0.00 dB -8.88 dB 4:01 03-Hunter

DR7 0.00 dB -9.67 dB 3:55 04-Gush

DR6 -0.34 dB -8.00 dB 3:53 05-Happy (From "Despicable Me 2")

DR7 -0.70 dB -9.16 dB 3:22 06-Come Get It Bae

DR7 -0.51 dB -9.24 dB 4:46 07-Gust of Wind

DR6 -0.34 dB -9.79 dB 7:57 08-Lost Queen

DR8 -0.67 dB -9.33 dB 3:57 09-Know Who You Are (Duet with Alicia Keys)

DR7 -0.53 dB -8.69 dB 4:47 10-It Girl

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Number of tracks: 10

Official DR value: DR7

 

Bitrate: 274 kbps

Codec: AAC

=============================================

 

 

P.S. I am just helping you with the posted DR values…I don't have the album so I can't comment on anything other than to say the promo cost seems very good! I truly doubt the 24 bit version will be much different than the DR7 iTunes version. But who knows, maybe this is the one to break the trend we are seeing...

Positive emotions enhance our musical experiences.

 

Synology DS213+ NAS -> Auralic Vega w/Linear Power Supply -> Auralic Vega DAC (Symposium Jr rollerball isolation) -> XLR -> Auralic Taurus Pre -> XLR -> Pass Labs XA-30.5 power amplifier (on 4" maple and 4 Stillpoints) -> Hawthorne Audio Reference K2 Speakers in MTM configuration (Symposium Jr HD rollerball isolation) and Hawthorne Audio Bass Augmentation Baffles (Symposium Jr rollerball isolation) -> Bi-amped w/ two Rythmic OB plate amps) -> Extensive Room Treatments (x2 SRL Acoustics Prime 37 diffusion plus key absorption and extensive bass trapping) and Pi Audio Uberbuss' for the front end and amplification

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This is another atrociously volume-compressed high-res release:

 

foobar2000 1.2.9 / Dynamic Range Meter 1.1.1

log date: 2014-03-03 20:20:30

 

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Analyzed: Pharrell Williams / G I R L

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

 

DR Peak RMS Duration Track

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

DR7 -1.26 dB -9.60 dB 5:51 01-Marilyn Monroe

DR6 -1.29 dB -8.95 dB 4:32 02-Brand New

DR7 -1.26 dB -8.87 dB 4:01 03-Hunter

DR6 -1.20 dB -9.66 dB 3:55 04-Gush

DR6 -1.26 dB -7.98 dB 3:53 05-Happy (from Despicable Me 2)

DR6 -1.29 dB -9.15 dB 3:22 06-Come Get It Bae

DR6 -1.25 dB -9.23 dB 4:46 07-Gust Of Wind

DR5 -1.20 dB -9.79 dB 7:57 08-Lost Queen

DR7 -1.29 dB -9.33 dB 3:57 09-Know Who You Are

DR6 -1.30 dB -8.68 dB 4:47 10-It Girl

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

 

Number of tracks: 10

Official DR value: DR6

 

 

Samplerate: 44100 Hz

Channels: 2

Bits per sample: 24

Bitrate: 1625 kbps

Codec: FLAC

================================================================================

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I downloaded this album (24/44,1) and am surprised by the poor DR results posted above...

 

On my system (Linn) it sounds very good - high frequencies are precise - nice full bass - I would even say that this is a perfect example of why 96kHz is not always necessary.

 

Satisfied customer here!

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Many people don't notice the negative effects of dynamic compression. That's why compression is so popular among mastering engineers.

 

But if compare the same album with and without compression (typically a pre-2000's CD released with a DR value around 12, and years later remastered with DR7) you'll immediately hear what you are missing.

 

The effects of high compression (DR7 and lower) are: bloated, imprecise bass bordering on distortion, harsh mid range producing an "in your face" sound, percussive instruments lacking punch

Claude

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The effects of high compression (DR7 and lower) are: bloated, imprecise bass bordering on distortion, harsh mid range producing an "in your face" sound, percussive instruments lacking punch

 

I fully share your impressions regarding highly compressed recordings. In my experience, strong compression implies, that after a couple of tracks, the sound fatigues me so that I turn down the volume button to background-listening levels.

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