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Blue Coast Records Recommendations


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Last week at RMAF I had the chance to talk with Cookie Marenco. The question I was most interested in asking her is what she thought was the best recorded most stunning album on her site to listen to. She recommended Seminole Star by Quiles and Cloud. I bought the album and she was right, it is a very wonderful album to listen to and it really is a great recording :)

 

My question to you is: What are your recommendations for a great album from BlueCoast :)

 

Thanks,

 

Dave

Crystal Clear Music Tweaked Mac Mini / Yosemite -> JRiver 22 -> Ayre QB9DSD -> Bryston BP26DA -> Bryston 4BSST2 -> B&W 802Di | Transparent Reference XLRs, Transparent Super Speaker Cable, Maple Shade USB cable

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Another album I would recommend for Piano lovers is Signature - Solo by Fiona Joy. The piano is captured so well and the sound is incredible. Highly recommended :)

 

Dave

Crystal Clear Music Tweaked Mac Mini / Yosemite -> JRiver 22 -> Ayre QB9DSD -> Bryston BP26DA -> Bryston 4BSST2 -> B&W 802Di | Transparent Reference XLRs, Transparent Super Speaker Cable, Maple Shade USB cable

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Any of the Tilson-Thomas + SFO recordings in DSD of the Mahler Symphonies.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: Ropieee (RPi3b+ with touchscreen) + Schiit Modi3E to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Note that she offers only the stereo versions of these and they are spectacular in 5.1 DSD.

 

Hopefully Cookie will add the 5.1 versions, especially the 4 SFS Mahler albums that were originally recorded in DSD, down the road.

 

In the meantime, fans of Classical Music in Multichannel DSD should check out the titles on Channel Classics and Challenge Classics on Native DSD.Com. Some excellent recordings!

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I have only a handful of albums from Blue Coast. All are pretty good.

 

I have a lateral question though that I have been pondering for some time that I hope doesn't detract from this thread:

 

What is the rationale behind her new offerings in DSD128 that she actually originally captures onto 2" tape (@ 30 ips I'm guessing)?

 

Is it because there is no easier way to mix/process tracks?

 

Or is it that she prefers the sound of analog tape (presuming she could have just as easily captured the mic feed straight to digital a la DSD128 bypassing tape altogether)?

 

Maybe none of the above?

 

Blue Coast does claim to process minimally, if at all, right?

Rob C

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She told me that she did it on tape so that she could do a vinyl release.

 

Dave

 

 

I have only a handful of albums from Blue Coast. All are pretty good.

 

I have a lateral question though that I have been pondering for some time that I hope doesn't detract from this thread:

 

What is the rationale behind her new offerings in DSD128 that she actually originally captures onto 2" tape (@ 30 ips I'm guessing)? Is it because there is no easier way to mix/process tracks? Or is it that she prefers the sound of analog tape (presuming she could have just as easily captured the mic feed straight to digital a la DSD128 bypassing tape altogether)? Maybe none of the above?

 

Blue Coast does claim to process minimally, right?

Crystal Clear Music Tweaked Mac Mini / Yosemite -> JRiver 22 -> Ayre QB9DSD -> Bryston BP26DA -> Bryston 4BSST2 -> B&W 802Di | Transparent Reference XLRs, Transparent Super Speaker Cable, Maple Shade USB cable

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A lot of people like the sound of tape to DSD.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: Ropieee (RPi3b+ with touchscreen) + Schiit Modi3E to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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A lot of people like the sound of tape to DSD.

 

If the transfer from Analog Master Tape to DSD is done well, the resulting DSD Download can be very good. Check out some of the classic Jazz Analog to DSD transfers on Super HiRez - not to mention the Elvis Stereo '57 - for examples.

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A lot of people like the sound of tape to DSD.

 

I am one of them. Transfers of analog tape to DSD are very good in the sense that they most certainly capture all the sonic information on the tape.

 

However, well-done modern high-res PCM or native DSD recordings sound more natural to my ears. But

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Why would introducing an intermediary stage "improve" sound quality? I mean, unless something is added, removed, or otherwise changed, what use is adding another step? It has to be coloration.

 

Transfers from existing analog tape to DSD is one thing but when the ability to forego analog tape altogether and capture straight to DSD is available why would one still choose an intermediary analog tape stage? (If vinyl is the only reason, then ok. But since I'm not buying vinyl I don't think I'll spend $50 on DSD128 albums recorded to tape first. I want to know more before I do...like the limitations of tape.)

Rob C

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Why would introducing an intermediary stage "improve" sound quality?

 

By adding colorations some listeners prefer. It all depends on what you're after; accuracy or a preferential tonality.

 

If one prefers the colorations of tape, then the best way to offer the first generation tape sound is re-record it to DSD. Otherwise the second and successive tape generations (the only way to distribute tape) become successively compromised. This production method also allows post process sweetening in analog, a desirable method.

 

If the objective however is to capture the actual microphone(s) analog signal, individually or analog mixed, then the most accurate way is DSD recording directly. The higher the DSD bit rate, the less shifted high frequency uncorrolated noise interaction there is with a listeners downstream components. So some listeners prefer higher DSD bit rates.

 

Please remember, audio music recording is a creative art form in itself. Listeners who prefer accuracy of a acoustic music event capture will support those labels that stress that.

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Not to stray too far off topic, but do you happen to know names of any of those "accuracy" labels offhand? I thought Blue Coast was one of them.

 

I do get the creative art form argument for the use of tape...but I've heard it invoked for the use of auto tuning too (both valid, of course). I just prefer old-fashioned natural voices and natural mechanical instruments and want to find those labels that record such as faithfully as possible since I absolutely don't want artistic "coloration" (although artistic mic placement, performer placement, etc. to emphasize a particular artistic point is welcomed).

Rob C

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Blue Coast still records to DSD AFAIK. Not every recording is to tape. Most of the direct to DSD is done by classical labels. I think Channel Classics is the most well known. Look over at the NativeDSD site and you can see a list of the labels involved. I think they fit what you are asking about.

 

Barry Diament for his own label also records live and direct to 24/192.

 

Not to stray too far off topic, but do you happen to know names of any of those "accuracy" labels offhand? I thought Blue Coast was one of them.

 

I do get the creative art form argument for the use of tape...but I've heard it invoked for the use of auto tuning too (both valid, of course). I just prefer old-fashioned natural voices and natural mechanical instruments and want to find those labels that record such as faithfully as possible since I absolutely don't want artistic "coloration" (although artistic mic placement, performer placement, etc. to emphasize a particular artistic point is welcomed).

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: Ropieee (RPi3b+ with touchscreen) + Schiit Modi3E to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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I am not holding my breath any longer.

 

Hey Kal, don't hold your breath. :) That could get ugly. But, as a favor to you for holding it this long, from our catalog... what would you like us to release as our first 5.1?

 

We've been busy expanding the catalog of music in stereo before moving to surround, but had promised a few people to have our first surround title out before the end of 2014. I think we'll hit that.

 

Hope all is well!

Cookie

Blue Coast Records

Downloads NOW!

Cookie Marenco[br]founder and producer[br]Blue Coast Records[br]http://www.bluecoastrecords.com/

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Hey Kal, don't hold your breath. :) That could get ugly. But, as a favor to you for holding it this long, from our catalog... what would you like us to release as our first 5.1?

 

Well, I'd recommend whatever would please the market and sell by the petabyte. That would encourage more.

 

As for a personal choice, let me suggest you find out who owns the rights to Willie Nelson's "Night and Day." It was fabulous, recorded in MCH by Larry Greenhill of Pedernales Recording Studios, mastered by Bob Ludwig and released on Jim Mageras' Surroundedby's label as a DVD-A. It was produced by Willie Nelson, so he might own the rights but, although you can buy it on CD, the MCH tracks have been out of print for years. It ain't DSD but I think more people will want it than any of the Mahler symphonies.

Kal Rubinson

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

 

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Not to stray too far off topic, but do you happen to know names of any of those "accuracy" labels offhand? I thought Blue Coast was one of them.

 

Sure, and I would agree with you about Blue Coast. Cookie's recordings can be very accurate sounding, especially those she does direct to DSD. Cookie also prefers the sound she gets from tape for certain types of music and projects, and uses that technique to great effect.

 

In classical and jazz acoustic music, where the venue supplies the ambiance and spatial cues, there are many labels that excel at recording accuracy, in spite of that not being their primary objective. Their (the producer/recording engineer team) objective is to provide a musically satisfying performance replica, not an actual seat experience in the performance hall.

 

For Classical I'd look at Pentatone, Channel Classics, Challenge Records, BIS, Exton and Telarc for labels that use a maximum of recording technique (microphone choice and placement in keeping with the artists and hall), and a minimum of post process sweetening in their projects. Others here will have their favorites that I've unfortunately overlooked. Europe incidentally has many small specialized labels dedicated to accurate recording techniques.

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Well, I'd recommend whatever would please the market and sell by the petabyte. That would encourage more.

 

As for a personal choice, let me suggest you find out who owns the rights to Willie Nelson's "Night and Day." It was fabulous, recorded in MCH by Larry Greenhill of Pedernales Recording Studios, mastered by Bob Ludwig and released on Jim Mageras' Surroundedby's label as a DVD-A. It was produced by Willie Nelson, so he might own the rights but, although you can buy it on CD, the MCH tracks have been out of print for years. It ain't DSD but I think more people will want it than any of the Mahler symphonies.

 

Sounds like a great recording that we'd like to have in our catalog! I don't think we could have that by end of 2014, though. We've been planning to release the Blue Coast Collection 1, but hey, we have a lot of classical music lovers coming to Downloads NOW! Maybe it will be a Mahler... or something new from the SF Symphony.

Cookie Marenco[br]founder and producer[br]Blue Coast Records[br]http://www.bluecoastrecords.com/

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Sounds like a great recording that we'd like to have in our catalog! I don't think we could have that by end of 2014, though. We've been planning to release the Blue Coast Collection 1, but hey, we have a lot of classical music lovers coming to Downloads NOW! Maybe it will be a Mahler... or something new from the SF Symphony.
From the SFSO, I'd suggest Adams: Harmonielehre, Short Ride in a Fast Machine (SFS 0053). There's already a lot of Mahler out there (and that's from a Mahler fan).

 

But follow up on the Willie Nelson. It is out of print and no one else has it. Used copies are selling for more than $50.

Kal Rubinson

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

 

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  • 1 month later...

Cookie just released a Free DSD download of her recordings of Quiles and Cloud from RMAF 2014. This was a demonstration using Sony's PCM-D100 handheld recorder. The sound is amazing and I highly recommend it. It also is a very good introduction to the music of Quiles and Cloud :)

 

To get the recording check out Blue Coast Records on Facebook

Crystal Clear Music Tweaked Mac Mini / Yosemite -> JRiver 22 -> Ayre QB9DSD -> Bryston BP26DA -> Bryston 4BSST2 -> B&W 802Di | Transparent Reference XLRs, Transparent Super Speaker Cable, Maple Shade USB cable

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Cookie just released a Free DSD download of her recordings of Quiles and Cloud from RMAF 2014. This was a demonstration using Sony's PCM-D100 handheld recorder. The sound is amazing and I highly recommend it. It also is a very good introduction to the music of Quiles and Cloud :)

 

To get the recording check out Blue Coast Records on Facebook

 

Yes, their 3 song set in DSD64 from the BBC Sessions interview is very good. And there is a full album up in DSD128 as well. Worth a listen.

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