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High Res Provenance


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In the Pono thread, Barry Diament commented (in a continuation of discussion with respect to Pono authenticating audio downloads)

Point taken regarding the supply of files from the labels to the small vendors. However, the vendors still have the option of offering what is not real high res or not offering it -- public statement or not. If you claim to be selling high res and get files from a label that are not, the choice is to sell them to your customers or to not sell them. Unfortunately, it seems many vendors have gone with the former. The result is their "word", in my opinion, no longer has any value.

 

If a vendor wants me to see them as a source of high res files, they can't sell something that isn't high res without very clearly identifying it as such. Perhaps I'm missing something but I don't see the point in a high res "business" that isn't selling high res. What is not high res should not be touted as high res. There is either respect for the customer (and the desire to have them continue as customers) or there are (what I see as) lame excuses.

Just my perspective, of course.

 

Anyway ... I was wondering if people would see it less of a problem (selling up sampled audio as High Res) if the cost differential was less to none - i.e. if the CDRB download (lossless) cost $9.99; the 24/96 was $10.49 and the 24/192 was $10.49?

 

As it is currently there is a $10+ differential between CDRB and the highest resolution files. Is part of the issue that people feel defrauded to a significant level with up sampled files?

 

Eloise

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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Anyway ... I was wondering if people would see it less of a problem (selling up sampled audio as High Res) if the cost differential was less to none - i.e. if the CDRB download (lossless) cost $9.99; the 24/96 was $10.49 and the 24/192 was $10.49?

 

Eloise

 

Its consumer fraud. How places like HDtracks get away with it is beyond me. They regularly sell "high rez" releases that if you look on the record company web site or ask them, you find they have only released in standard CD. Given the trivial amount of sales HDtracks generates, their marketing influence to get a special release from a major label just isn't there

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In the Pono thread, Barry Diament commented (in a continuation of discussion with respect to Pono authenticating audio downloads)

 

 

Anyway ... I was wondering if people would see it less of a problem (selling up sampled audio as High Res) if the cost differential was less to none - i.e. if the CDRB download (lossless) cost $9.99; the 24/96 was $10.49 and the 24/192 was $10.49?

 

As it is currently there is a $10+ differential between CDRB and the highest resolution files. Is part of the issue that people feel defrauded to a significant level with up sampled files?

 

Eloise

I would see it as "less of a problem." But what am i getting for my $10.49? If I'm getting up sampled CDRB what's the point? I'm buying something that takes up more space and not getting all the sound quality benefits.

Just sell the CDRB version and don't bother with the up sampled version at all. The only reason for selling the up sampled version is to charge more and that starts to get fraudulent.

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In my opinion upsampled files need to be clearly identified as such. I would like to see both original file format and mastering resolution listed. Also they could have quality control run a spectrogram and/or plot spectrum to reveal the true origins of high resolution downloads before offering them for sale to the public.

 

As it stands now it is only safe to buy high resolution downloads from authentic audiophile recording companies or wait for someone else to be the guinea pig as the major labels are notorious for sending upsampled music files, that in my book is clearly fraudulent.

 

For me there would still be a problem if the cost differential was less to none since I don't like the sound of 16 bit PCM and would not spend a penny for such music files even dressed up as 24 bit. Fraud is fraud.

I have dementia. I save all my posts in a text file I call Forums.  I do a search in that file to find out what I said or did in the past.

 

I still love music.

 

Teresa

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In my opinion upsampled files need to be clearly identified as such. I would like to see both original file format and mastering resolution listed. Also they could have quality control run a spectrogram and/or plot spectrum to reveal the true origins of high resolution downloads before offering them for sale to the public.

 

As it stands now it is only safe to buy high resolution downloads from authentic audiophile recording companies or wait for someone else to be the guinea pig as the major labels are notorious for sending upsampled music files, that in my book is clearly fraudulent.

 

For me there would still be a problem if the cost differential was less to none since I don't like the sound of 16 bit PCM and would not spend a penny for such music files even dressed up as 24 bit. Fraud is fraud.

 

 

 

 

+1. Agree with Teresa. I do not understand how a company can sell fake high resolution files and stay in business.

 

In re Eloise's question: Fraud is fraud and a lower price differential would not matter to me.

In any dispute the intensity of feeling is inversely proportional to the value of the issues at stake ~ Sayre's Law

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An industry that is trying to market "high resolution" as something better than CD - as indicated by marketing of SACD and DVDA as well as pricing of high resolution files - on one hand, and selling up-sampled files on the other is digging its own grave. It clearly shows that they have no regard for their own products.

 

Another big mistake in my eyes is that the music industry is disconnected from their target market(s). People willing to spend additional money for high resolution files are incredibly concerned about "bit perfect" playback. Another reason to leave the source material unchanged.

Primary ::= Nabla music server | Mutec MC-3+USB w/ Temex LPFRS-01 RB clock | WLM Gamma Reference DAC; Secondary ::= Nabla music server | WaveIO | PrismSound Lyra

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Pretty much agree with Barry on this. And with the idea these companies don't care about their customers.

 

I don't know how this works, but the excuse they offer what record companies send them is lame. Do you sign a deal to take just whatever they send you and have to sell it? Seems like a bad plan. I know were I them, I would inspect each offering (the excuse they don't have the time is ludicrous), if it turned out to be questionable in terms of being hirez I would not agree to pay the record companies for it nor would I ever let that out to my customers. It looks like they only care if they get caught. Customer's are so hungry for hirez, they take it and know it will sell regardless. Refund the few who catch it and let the rest go. Haven't seen announcements by them once a lowrez upsample is uncovered where they contact everyone who purchased it and refunded them all.

 

I also have been amazed at how some bend over backwards to defend companies because they want to continue the availability of hirez recordings. Customers who themselves have been ripped off (what else can you all it when you are sold at extra cost something that isn't what is claimed), are still willing to defend them? WOW! Either wow or maybe I need to get into that business.

 

As for only paying a little and it is okay, well no. Why pay one dollar extra if it is a sham, a con, a bait and switch? I have read of one release that appeared to have a couple tracks from an MP3 source, and a couple upsampled with the rest true hirez. If you sell something like that seems only right you point out which tracks are which. Some may still want it with the idea it is a different or better mastering. But putting out without saying a word is just poor customer service.

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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Regardless of cost differential, one should know exactly what one buys. Because of the obvious lack of clear information about provenance, I have been buying less and less from HDTrack and more from sites like eclassical, Hyperion, and B&W. But the bulk of my music purchases is still CDs, where at least one knows what one gets. And a well made CD sounds as well as or better than a phony HR download.

 

Guido F.

For my system details, please see my profile. Thank you.

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Regardless of cost differential, one should know exactly what one buys. Because of the obvious lack of clear information about provenance, I have been buying less and less from HDTrack and more from sites like eclassical, Hyperion, and B&W. But the bulk of my music purchases is still CDs, where at least one knows what one gets. And a well made CD sounds as well as or better than a phony HR download.

 

Guido F.

 

I fully agree with the proposition that truth in labeling should apply to downloads. However, where I disagree is that a well made CD will necessarily sound as good as or better than an upsampled download.

 

Just for the moment, let's separate out the issues of different masters, compression, etc., in order to concentrate on upsampling alone, specifically on whether it's preferable to get a 44.1k sample rate download or 176.4/192. To me, it's possible the vendor may have better upsampling algorithms than exist in my home system, so maybe I *want* a (clearly labeled) upsampled download in preference to a file with a sample rate of 44.1k. How to tell which sounds better, the vendor's upsampling or mine? Have the vendor offer a 20 or 30 second snippet of the music at the high sample rate and the 44.1k rate. Then I can decide for myself whose upsampling sounds better, and whether any price difference is worth it.

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> ISO Regen -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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In the Pono thread, Barry Diament commented (in a continuation of discussion with respect to Pono authenticating audio downloads)

 

 

Anyway ... I was wondering if people would see it less of a problem (selling up sampled audio as High Res) if the cost differential was less to none - i.e. if the CDRB download (lossless) cost $9.99; the 24/96 was $10.49 and the 24/192 was $10.49?

 

As it is currently there is a $10+ differential between CDRB and the highest resolution files. Is part of the issue that people feel defrauded to a significant level with up sampled files?

 

Eloise

 

I've found it to be a slippery slope. I won't deal with HDTracks any more as I've been burned by them once too often. Needless to say, several HD files that I bought from them turned out to be up-sampled 16-bit/44.1 KHz material, but the capper was a 24/96 digitized copy of a famous Everest recording of the music of Heitor Villa-Lobos ("The Little Train of the Ciapira") with Sir Eugene Goosens and the London Philharmonic. It is a delightful album (I have the LP) and I had no qualms about shelling out the $20 or so for the 24/96 download. When I played the recording I was horrified to hear that the digital rendition had so much wow and flutter in it as to be unlistenable! Of course, I contacted HDTRacks customer service immediately. They were very sorry that I was unhappy with my purchase and offered to give me a 15% discount on my next order! HOW ABOUT A REFUND ON THIS ORDER? , I angrily shot back. Nothing. Needless to say, there have been no further orders from me and I haven't "redeemed" my 15% discount!. I've had much better luck with eClassical.com. They know how to properly and honestly run their business!

George

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I've found it to be a slippery slope. I won't deal with HDTracks any more as I've been burned by them once too often. Needless to say, several HD files that I bought from them turned out to be up-sampled 16-bit/44.1 KHz material, but the capper was a 24/96 digitized copy of a famous Everest recording of the music of Heitor Villa-Lobos ("The Little Train of the Ciapira") with Sir Eugene Goosens and the London Philharmonic. It is a delightful album (I have the LP) and I had no qualms about shelling out the $20 or so for the 24/96 download. When I played the recording I was horrified to hear that the digital rendition had so much wow and flutter in it as to be unlistenable! Of course, I contacted HDTRacks customer service immediately. They were very sorry that I was unhappy with my purchase and offered to give me a 15% discount on my next order! HOW ABOUT A REFUND ON THIS ORDER? , I angrily shot back. Nothing. Needless to say, there have been no further orders from me and I haven't "redeemed" my 15% discount!. I've had much better luck with eClassical.com. They know how to properly and honestly run their business!

 

Wow and flutter? You mean the download was essentially a needle drop? Those can sound really *really* good, but selling one? Oh brother...

-Paul

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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Wow and flutter? You mean the download was essentially a needle drop? Those can sound really *really* good, but selling one? Oh brother...

-Paul

 

 

No paul, I don't think that it was a "needle drop" but it was an analog recording (recorded by Bert Whyte of Audio Magazine fame, BTW) on magnetic tape. The deck used to transfer the tape to digital obviously was not running correctly. It's possible that the 50 year old tape was sticking to the reel or that the pinch roller was out of round or the guides were sticking, but it does happen. It's just that usually recordings with problems like this don't get to market. Even a casual listen would tell anybody either at the studio where the analog tape was transferred to digital, or anybody at HDTracks that this transfer was defective. Like I said, I have the LP (somewhat the worse for wear, these days, unfortunately) and it doesn't have wow and flutter, so I know that the master had no such problems.

George

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In the Pono thread, Barry Diament commented (in a continuation of discussion with respect to Pono authenticating audio downloads)

 

 

Anyway ... I was wondering if people would see it less of a problem (selling up sampled audio as High Res) if the cost differential was less to none - i.e. if the CDRB download (lossless) cost $9.99; the 24/96 was $10.49 and the 24/192 was $10.49?

 

As it is currently there is a $10+ differential between CDRB and the highest resolution files. Is part of the issue that people feel defrauded to a significant level with up sampled files?

 

Eloise

 

That would be fraud....One cannot call something Hi-Rez when it is simply up sampled....

I have found you an argument; I am not obliged to find you any understanding – Samuel Johnson

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I fully agree with the proposition that truth in labeling should apply to downloads. However, where I disagree is that a well made CD will necessarily sound as good as or better than an upsampled download. - Jud

As a matter of interest, the "Best Audiophile Voices" series was derived from 24 bit remastering. It may have been interesting to also hear the 24 bit remasters directly against the eventual 16/44.1 versions, as well as the source material used..

 

Alex

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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That would be fraud....One cannot call something Hi-Rez when it is simply up sampled....

I'm not sure it's as clear cut as that... It's not fraud but also not being completely transparent.

 

Eloise

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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Personally I would call it fraud. But not a lawyer. Jud is maybe he can enlighten us. Knowing the legality of things isn't quite the same as how one thinks in casual discourse I looked up, and found the following:

 

Fraud must be proved by showing that the defendant's actions involved five separate elements: (1) a false statement of a material fact,(2) knowledge on the part of the defendant that the statement is untrue, (3) intent on the part of the defendant to deceive the alleged victim, (4) justifiable reliance by the alleged victim on the statement, and (5) injury to the alleged victim as a result.

 

So are purveyors of faux hi res guilty of fraud by the above points?

 

Point 1:

I would say yes (though that is perhaps murky)

 

Point 2:

Once they have been notified, but maybe not checking what they are handed is a form of legal defense.

That may get them off the hook though in my opinion it is low class conduct for a business.

 

Point3:

That one would be hard to show in these cases unless one has records of them planning to sell something they know is low res sourced, and intent on passing it off otherwise. I doubt you could check this one off.

 

Point 4:

I would think this one is clearly one that applies to businesses selling hi res downloads.

 

Point 5:

I doubt you can show this one either. At least not convincingly.

 

So to those wondering "how they get away with it" I think the above makes it clear getting anywhere with fraud might be difficult to show to the satisfaction of a court. Again, no lawyer.

 

Of course the market can decide. If they do a scummy enough job of passing off low res for high res at high price, they should go out of business. Or be put out of business by those who give you the real goods. Who do a good job of supplying a product with the customer in mind.

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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I'm not sure it's as clear cut as that... It's not fraud but also not being completely transparent.

 

Would you be more comfortable with "negligent misrepresentation", which is a tort (a civil wrong) as opposed to a crime?

"Relax, it's only hi-fi. There's never been a hi-fi emergency." - Roy Hall

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." - William Bruce Cameron

 

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Speaking of upsampling, here's an interesting piece of information about Neil Young's Archives vol.1 "24/192" release:

 

"In the case of Blu-ray, the audio program went through a final upsampling after the 24-bit 96kHz mastering. This final stage, utilizing a Pacific Microsonics HDCD® Model 2 processor, resulted in the 24-bit 192kHz Blu-ray master." Neil Young News: The Making of The Neil Young Archives

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Would you be more comfortable with "negligent misrepresentation", which is a tort (a civil wrong) as opposed to a crime?

 

Fraud (at least here in the US) can be civil as well.

 

One other difficulty with alleging fraud is that unlike the vast majority of other wrongs of a civil nature, each of the elements Dennis mentioned above must be proved by "clear and convincing" evidence. Most other civil wrongs need only be proved by a "preponderance" of the evidence, i.e., as between you and the other guy/gal, you showed a scintilla more. "Clear and convincing" is a higher standard to meet.

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> ISO Regen -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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Fraud (at least here in the US) can be civil as well.

 

One other difficulty with alleging fraud is that unlike the vast majority of other wrongs of a civil nature, each of the elements Dennis mentioned above must be proved by "clear and convincing" evidence. Most other civil wrongs need only be proved by a "preponderance" of the evidence, i.e., as between you and the other guy/gal, you showed a scintilla more. "Clear and convincing" is a higher standard to meet.

 

Fraudulent misrepresentation is a tort in Canada. A contract induced by fraud may be avoided by the deceived party, who may sue for damages resulting from the fraud. As far as I am aware, the "clear and convincing" evidence standard does not apply in Canadian law.

"Relax, it's only hi-fi. There's never been a hi-fi emergency." - Roy Hall

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." - William Bruce Cameron

 

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Fraudulent misrepresentation is a tort in Canada. A contract induced by fraud may be avoided by the deceived party, who may sue for damages resulting from the fraud. As far as I am aware, the "clear and convincing" evidence standard does not apply in Canadian law.

 

Correct. From a Canadian law blog:

 

In F.H. v. McDougall, released October 2, 2008, the Supreme Court of Canada has confirmed that there is only one standard of proof in a civil case: proof on a balance of probabilities.

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> ISO Regen -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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Guys, I have had some very encouraging conversations over the last few days with a record label regarding the provenance of their recordings where I had some questions, and potentially uncovered some inconsistencies. I have most of my answers, but I am still working to get a couple more.

 

With their permission I will share the correspondence here so that we can all discuss, but I will do it only with their permission. The take away from this experience talking with the recording and mastering engineers is that they really genuinely care about the quality of their album and in no way intend to misrepresent the provenance.

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Guys, I have had some very encouraging conversations over the last few days with a record label regarding the provenance of their recordings where I had some questions, and potentially uncovered some inconsistencies. I have most of my answers, but I am still working to get a couple more.

 

With their permission I will share the correspondence here so that we can all discuss, but I will do it only with their permission. The take away from this experience talking with the recording and mastering engineers is that they really genuinely care about the quality of their album and in no way intend to misrepresent the provenance.

 

I don't doubt that at all. It is their life. They care genuinely.

 

However, record companies, music companies, often part of larger conglomerates care about profit. Profit is good above anything else. Even when short sighted thinking may lead to harm. There are other factors too that short circuit the wishes of those making and recording music before it gets to the consumer.

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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