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What kind of hd tracks would you like us to release?


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Hi,

 

I am from Ace Records. For those of you who don't know us, we are a UK based re-issue label specialising in predominantly american blues, soul, funk & Rock 'n' Roll from the 50s through to the early 80s. We have a huge catalogue and a reputation for high quality audio on CD.

 

Whilst we are already selling digitally on iTunes etc and have 320kbps MP3s available from our own site, we are keen to explore making high definition tracks available from our site too.

 

Rather than just jump into this, I thought it would be beneficial to ask people who live and breathe this stuff each day for their opinion.

 

What I'd be interested to know is:

 

a) Would you be interested in us making hd tracks available?

b) What formats (wav vs flac etc) and bit rates etc would you be interested in? (Please be specific on your requirements)

c) What suggestions do you have for how to get the word out to people who might be interested?

 

Many thanks for anyone who would like to contribute. The bigger success this is the higher the chances of us doing more in this area.

 

Thanks. Chris

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Thanks for your interest. I think the most popular format here is probably 24/96.

Some of us would be happy with any conversion to any 24 bit format

 

What probably none of us want is up sampling of material and calling it hi-res. so please no up sampling of CD quality material.

Audiophiles like to know the source of the hires download they buy. Is the file made from the master tape, a safety copy, or even sourced from a previous digital File?

I assume you have catalog material in tape format. If so, many here think tape is best converted to DSD format, but I realize that's not a very realistic request.

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a) Would you be interested in us making hd tracks available?

b) What formats (wav vs flac etc) and bit rates etc would you be interested in? (Please be specific on your requirements)

c) What suggestions do you have for how to get the word out to people who might be interested?

 

 

a) yes, for sure. I am not familiar with your catalogue, but the genres you are covering would match my musical taste

b) AIFF for Mac, FLAC for Windows users, with embedded artwork and correct metadata, 24bit resolution, sampling-fs depending on the source files, but 96/24 will do in most cases. Like mentioned above, do not upsample your material !

c) active membership here at CA, use the known online and print magazines for reviews and advertorials

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Agree with my predecessors that Flac and Alac are the most popular formats. Some people prefer uncompressed formats like WAV and AIFF; however, some of these (especially WAV) have severe issues with tagging.

 

With regards to bit-rate and depth, usually what people prefer is the to be as close to the original as possible. Therefore, ideally you should release whatever digital format you've used when you digitized your recordings, as any additional transformational step could potentially be deleterious.

 

Could you elaborate in which formats your re-issue masters are done?

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[...] What probably none of us want is up sampling of material and calling it hi-res. so please no up sampling of CD quality material.

+1

To the consumer, this comes across as fraud that represents 16/44.1 content as being more than what it is.

 

Based on what I've seen, it is entirely possible to get upsampled (misrepresented) goods from the labels. So to get this right I believe your shop will need to verify before putting the product up on your shelves. If you take this (strongly recommended) approach, please advertise it proudly.

 

Back in the day, brick and mortar shops received a shipment of LPs from the distributor and just put them on the shelf, shrink-wrapped, at the MSRP. The shop typically did not break the shrink-wrap to inspect the record. The product was warranted to be a playable record in either mono or stereo. If warped, a reputable business would replace it and inspect the replacement in store to be sure it was playable. Beyond that, you either bought it or not and end of story. At least that was the mode of operation in my experience.

 

But the digital business is different, in my opinion. When the consumer looks at a track as it appears in the music player software, its nominal sample rate, bit depth, and file size are apparent. In some you can see a representation of the waveform as the music plays. To carry the analogy, these elements are obvious in exactly the same way that a warped record is obvious. And beyond this, with fairly simple, free tools you can inspect the wave form in detail and get the spectral plots. And this is all information that we discuss -- and often lament -- on this site.

 

[...] Audiophiles like to know the source of the hires download they buy. Is the file made from the master tape, a safety copy, or even sourced from a previous digital File?

Agreed. I suspect this is not necessarily easy to determine. In that case, simply say that provenance is unknown but file is verified to be bona fide (not upsampled) 24/96 -- or whatever you've determined it to be.

 

Also, I hope this is obvious, but I think we all value responsive and transparent customer service. It is irksome to report a perceived problem with a purchase and to get no response or a canned response. Both indicate that the customer is not being heard, IMO.

 

Speaking for myself, especially in regards to the early part of this era of recording, if there is a choice between mono and stereo, I'd like to have the option for the mono mix. I have a number of jazz LPs where tragic stereo enhancements have been perpetrated. I realize a choice is not always available.

 

Your site already provides preview and this remains essential.

 

I've looked at your website and you've got a great catalog. There are many titles and artists that I'm interested in and I look forward to being one of your customers. Thanks for reaching out.

2013 MacBook Pro Retina -> {Pure Music | Audirvana} -> {Dragonfly Red v.1} -> AKG K-702 or Sennheiser HD650 headphones.

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Love love love Ace Records. The care that label has put into their myriad reissues has been mind-boggling. From an audio standpoint, Ace always found the best sources of the killer soul and R&B they'd release. The mastering on the CD reissues has always been first-rate, always. I have dozen of Ace releases. Kudos to them for even considering hi-res ...

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Love love love Ace Records. The care that label has put into their myriad reissues has been mind-boggling. From an audio standpoint, Ace always found the best sources of the killer soul and R&B they'd release. The mastering on the CD reissues has always been first-rate, always. I have dozen of Ace releases. Kudos to them for even considering hi-res ...

I have to second the praise of Ace Records' mastering.

 

Funkadelic.

 

Please.

Please.

Please.

 

The 2005 CD remasters of Funkadelic's Westbound Records catalog are the standard by which my friend and I judge remasters. The quality of sound is extraordinary and of course, the music is endlessly interesting. I would buy every single one of these masters in HD. Preferably in DSD, but 24-192 flac would be my second choice.

 

Did I already say please?

 

As for getting the word out, there is a very active Facebook community of Parliament-Funkadelic fans called the "The P-Funk Universe Page". They would be very receptive to these releases, on CD and in HD.

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These what I would buy, in 24 bit 44 or higher and very good sound quality

 

Gary Bartz all

The first five Funkadelic releases

Chico Hamilton

Roy Haynes

Idris Muhammad

 

A-M I'll work on the rest of the alphabet tomorrow.

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I didn't know your had Gary Bartz and Idris Muhammad albums in your catalog.

 

I'd be interested in those too.

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I prefer 24bit/96-192kHz WAV files with zero dynamic compression of the master files. I often find myself lamenting the purchase of a hi-res title after discovering the original CD release sounds better. Michael Jackson's "Off The Wall" is one example: the hi-res remaster version sounds very good, but it can't match the sound-stage balance of the original 16bit/44kHz release. So please stay away from remastered "for cheap headphones while listening in noisy environment" recordings.

 

And please, please, please do not use the dynamically compressed versions of new releases. Use the uncompressed master, instead. I know they exist, it's what they use for vinyl. I buy very few new recordings because of dynamic compression: have you heard what they did to the Black Keys' "Brothers"? It's atrocious.

 

Flac is OK, but it sounds muddled compared to WAV.

 

The higher the bitrate the greater the detail and the higher the sampling rate the better instrument separation. I know I can't hear above 20kHz, but what I can hear is how the frequencies above 20kHz affect the frequencies below 20kHz.

 

Provenance is a word used a lot around here, so if you list it for each recording you will make many new friends.

 

Maybe you could list the average Dynamic Range (DR) of each listing, too.

 

I know I am asking a lot, but you asked first, and if you follow my recommendations you can proclaim in your adverts: NO DYNAMIC COMPRESSION FOR THE BEST SOUND!

-square

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First, I would like to thank the OP for having the forethought to reach out to the CA community for suggestions. I think its a good move considering us and others like us would probably be the biggest market for such material.

 

Lord knows we have certainly been around the block long enough at this point to know what we dont like seeing in terms of downloadable music so thanks again for asking our opinions.

 

My suggestions are pretty simple I think:

 

NO Upsampled Red Book offerings pawned off as HiRez

 

Red Book resolution offerings are perfectly fine and most welcome in my opinion

 

In terms of formats I think you can't go wrong with FLAC, WAV, AIFF and some DSD wouldnt hurt either

 

Proper Meta Data Tagging on all files will go along way in keeping your customers happy

 

This one is just my opinion but I thnk it may not be worth your time to offer any albums with a lousy overall Dynamic Range value. This topic in particular has been beaten to death on the web and its almost a guarantee that if a particular album is found to have a DR value of less than 10 overall the seller will be on the wrong end of a Tar & Feather campaign with people ready to eat your first born! IMO, the best way to avoid such a headache will be to test EVERY album prior to offering it for sale as a download and if its found to not make the cut, toss it away!

 

Have a robust download server/cluster infrastructure in place with a nice fat Internet pipe

 

Have an intuitive, fast and visually pleasing web site that hosts your content

 

Use a reliable download manager software

 

 

Welp, that's all I can think of at this pont but I'm pretty sure you will have great success if these suggestions are strongly considered during the design phase of this endeavor.

 

Good Luck and thanks again for asking.

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Hi,

 

I am from Ace Records. For those of you who don't know us, we are a UK based re-issue label specialising in predominantly american blues, soul, funk & Rock 'n' Roll from the 50s through to the early 80s. We have a huge catalogue and a reputation for high quality audio on CD.

 

If the tapes are analog sources, a transfer and release in DSD is definitely the way to go.

Link to comment
Agree with my predecessors that Flac and Alac are the most popular formats. Some people prefer uncompressed formats like WAV and AIFF; however, some of these (especially WAV) have severe issues with tagging.

 

With regards to bit-rate and depth, usually what people prefer is the to be as close to the original as possible. Therefore, ideally you should release whatever digital format you've used when you digitized your recordings, as any additional transformational step could potentially be deleterious.

 

Could you elaborate in which formats your re-issue masters are done?

 

At the moment we release on CD and digitally we release on 320 kbps from our own site.

 

We also release digitally on iTunes and all the regular sites - as you know file format and quality can vary there.

Link to comment
+1

To the consumer, this comes across as fraud that represents 16/44.1 content as being more than what it is.

 

Based on what I've seen, it is entirely possible to get upsampled (misrepresented) goods from the labels. So to get this right I believe your shop will need to verify before putting the product up on your shelves. If you take this (strongly recommended) approach, please advertise it proudly.

 

Back in the day, brick and mortar shops received a shipment of LPs from the distributor and just put them on the shelf, shrink-wrapped, at the MSRP. The shop typically did not break the shrink-wrap to inspect the record. The product was warranted to be a playable record in either mono or stereo. If warped, a reputable business would replace it and inspect the replacement in store to be sure it was playable. Beyond that, you either bought it or not and end of story. At least that was the mode of operation in my experience.

 

But the digital business is different, in my opinion. When the consumer looks at a track as it appears in the music player software, its nominal sample rate, bit depth, and file size are apparent. In some you can see a representation of the waveform as the music plays. To carry the analogy, these elements are obvious in exactly the same way that a warped record is obvious. And beyond this, with fairly simple, free tools you can inspect the wave form in detail and get the spectral plots. And this is all information that we discuss -- and often lament -- on this site.

 

 

Agreed. I suspect this is not necessarily easy to determine. In that case, simply say that provenance is unknown but file is verified to be bona fide (not upsampled) 24/96 -- or whatever you've determined it to be.

 

Also, I hope this is obvious, but I think we all value responsive and transparent customer service. It is irksome to report a perceived problem with a purchase and to get no response or a canned response. Both indicate that the customer is not being heard, IMO.

 

Speaking for myself, especially in regards to the early part of this era of recording, if there is a choice between mono and stereo, I'd like to have the option for the mono mix. I have a number of jazz LPs where tragic stereo enhancements have been perpetrated. I realize a choice is not always available.

 

Your site already provides preview and this remains essential.

 

I've looked at your website and you've got a great catalog. There are many titles and artists that I'm interested in and I look forward to being one of your customers. Thanks for reaching out.

 

Re Mono vs Stereo - this is really a licensing/compiling issue. Depending on what tracks are included in the album a compiler would have made the choice that the stereo version should or shouldn't be included etc.

 

We certainly couldn't make too many options for the customer eg choice of formats, choice of mono/stereo as that would be a logistical (and technical) nightmare.

 

There could be a case for an 'original mono recordings' type album if it was appropriate for that artist.

 

Showing the details of how and where the high res files are from certainly seems to appeal so I've certainly noted that.

 

In terms of customer service, I'm in charge of digital here at Ace so you can always e-mail me directly with any issues: [email protected] or of course contact me via this forum.

 

Thanks for your time.

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I have to second the praise of Ace Records' mastering.

 

Funkadelic.

 

Please.

Please.

Please.

 

The 2005 CD remasters of Funkadelic's Westbound Records catalog are the standard by which my friend and I judge remasters. The quality of sound is extraordinary and of course, the music is endlessly interesting. I would buy every single one of these masters in HD. Preferably in DSD, but 24-192 flac would be my second choice.

 

Did I already say please?

 

As for getting the word out, there is a very active Facebook community of Parliament-Funkadelic fans called the "The P-Funk Universe Page". They would be very receptive to these releases, on CD and in HD.

 

Good stuff - We've started doing Funkadelic at 320 kbps from our own site already. I will look into high res versions of these. Thanks for your kind words.

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These what I would buy, in 24 bit 44 or higher and very good sound quality

 

Gary Bartz all

The first five Funkadelic releases

Chico Hamilton

Roy Haynes

Idris Muhammad

 

A-M I'll work on the rest of the alphabet tomorrow.

 

Something to bear in mind is that there is a lot of catalogue Ace releases that we either don't own or have digital rights to. So out of the above, the only ones we have digital rights to are Funkadelic. As a general rule, if it's not here, we don't have digital rights, and so this would include any high res releases.

 

The vast majority of releases on our site are licensed in and for various reasons we can't release digitally.

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First, I would like to thank the OP for having the forethought to reach out to the CA community for suggestions. I think its a good move considering us and others like us would probably be the biggest market for such material.

 

Lord knows we have certainly been around the block long enough at this point to know what we dont like seeing in terms of downloadable music so thanks again for asking our opinions.

 

My suggestions are pretty simple I think:

 

NO Upsampled Red Book offerings pawned off as HiRez

 

Red Book resolution offerings are perfectly fine and most welcome in my opinion

 

In terms of formats I think you can't go wrong with FLAC, WAV, AIFF and some DSD wouldnt hurt either

 

Proper Meta Data Tagging on all files will go along way in keeping your customers happy

 

This one is just my opinion but I thnk it may not be worth your time to offer any albums with a lousy overall Dynamic Range value. This topic in particular has been beaten to death on the web and its almost a guarantee that if a particular album is found to have a DR value of less than 10 overall the seller will be on the wrong end of a Tar & Feather campaign with people ready to eat your first born! IMO, the best way to avoid such a headache will be to test EVERY album prior to offering it for sale as a download and if its found to not make the cut, toss it away!

 

Have a robust download server/cluster infrastructure in place with a nice fat Internet pipe

 

Have an intuitive, fast and visually pleasing web site that hosts your content

 

Use a reliable download manager software

 

 

Welp, that's all I can think of at this pont but I'm pretty sure you will have great success if these suggestions are strongly considered during the design phase of this endeavor.

 

Good Luck and thanks again for asking.

 

Thanks very much for your suggestions. Chris

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What do you mean by "digital rights"? Are you saying you do not have the master tapes (analog tapes or DAT tapes)? If not, what is the source of any hirez? Sounds like everything would be upsampled....what am I missing here. Thanks

 

And yes, DSD would be my choice, but not if the source of these albums are PCM.

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Thanks. No we wouldn't up-sample and call it Hi Res. Not familiar with DSD - could you elaborate or point me in the direction of a thread on this subject?

 

Chris, the short and very non-technical story is that DSD is the digital audio format that is used for the audiophile Super Audio Compact Disc (SACD). It is a very high resolution alternative to the much more common PCM formats. There is a subset of audiophiles that consider it superior to PCM for a host of technical and subjective reasons, especially when a live performance or an original studio master tape is archived directly to DSD.

 

Although relatively few SACD discs are released these days, DSD has enjoyed a resurgence as a format for HD downloads in the audiophile market and most of the latest audiophile hardware is equipped to play it.

 

For those like myself who prize DSD, it would be our preference that the analog masters be archived in DSD and sold as DSD downloads. In essence, it's like releasing the data from an SACD as an HD download.

 

Apart from DSD, PCM in 24-bit, 192kHz FLAC would be a welcome second choice.

 

Here is an online retailer with a substantial offering of HD downloads in both DSD and PCM formats:

DSD | Acoustic Sounds and FLAC 192kHz | Acoustic Sounds.

 

Thanks!

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This one is just my opinion but I thnk it may not be worth your time to offer any albums with a lousy overall Dynamic Range value. This topic in particular has been beaten to death on the web and its almost a guarantee that if a particular album is found to have a DR value of less than 10 overall the seller will be on the wrong end of a Tar & Feather campaign with people ready to eat your first born! IMO, the best way to avoid such a headache will be to test EVERY album prior to offering it for sale as a download and if its found to not make the cut, toss it away![...]

 

Well I generally agree. However there is terrific blues music recorded in non-ideal circumstances and I wouldn't necessarily toss them out automatically.

 

What is terrific is to explain special circumstances so the buyer knows up front.

2013 MacBook Pro Retina -> {Pure Music | Audirvana} -> {Dragonfly Red v.1} -> AKG K-702 or Sennheiser HD650 headphones.

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Well I generally agree. However there is terrific blues music recorded in non-ideal circumstances and I wouldn't necessarily toss them out automatically.

What is terrific is to explain special circumstances so the buyer knows up front.

 

I would echo that comment, saying that a lot of the old stuff was not recorded with the highest fidelity, just with whatever technology and budget limitations were available at the time. This does not diminish the performances, so I would be just as interested in 16/44.1 LOSSLESS downloads as Hi-Res. That would still a big improvement over lossy MP3's.

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