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The scarcity of high-res electronic and pop music.


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A common complaint I see about high-res audio is that there are not enough albums in the electronica and pop, pop/rock music genres for some people to really be interested in it.

 

Indeed, most of the catalogues appear to be acoustic, classical and jazz.

 

There have been some high-res productions for SACDs in the past. I know that there are Depeche Mode, David Bowie and The Human League albums in SACD format, but these appear few and far between.

 

I think there is a real dearth of available material of those genres.

 

If new productions could be made available in high-res, e.g. DSD128, I sure would be interested in getting them.

 

Would you?

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Your best bet for Pop music is over at Acoustic Sounds/Super HiRez. In addition to offering downloads from the SACD Edit Masters, they also have new downloads from artists like Alan Parsons that did not appear on SACD. Worth checking out.

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Your best bet for Pop music is over at Acoustic Sounds/Super HiRez. In addition to offering downloads from the SACD Edit Masters, they also have new downloads from artists like Alan Parsons that did not appear on SACD. Worth checking out.

 

Yes, thanks. That's a good exmaple of the endeavour I am looking for. Chad has a great project underway there. Two things I would have liked to see a difference though would be firstly, that more of these non-SACD albums being released, preferably in DSD128 downloads, and secondly, that the Canadian catalogue be more furnished.

 

So far, it seems this process with both things mentioned is quite slow.

 

We'll get there someday I am sure.

 

P.S. the Superhirez site could do a good UX/UI overhaul and use horizontal comboboxes for the menu and sub-menus rather than the current messy layout (I think many customers won't even realise that they can further filter their choices, and I think the functionality is buggy).

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I have a few thoughts on the Electronica side. A lot of electronica is issued on vinyl, so I'd guess that that forms the 'hi-res' part of the business, and may suck a lot of oxygen out of digital file media there.

 

Something I have noticed with a lot of the Electronica I listen to, is that the SQ of the samples, sound generators, and effects boxes, is very often quite good ! I can enjoy the SQ of a random wander thru my favorites. Not all tracks, or all of a track, but enough to put a smile on my face.

 

I haven't noticed this same phenomena in my Rock and Pop collections. In fact I've been very disappointed with most of the redbook rock rips I have (admittedly different selection then most).

 

I'd imagine most Pop is so heavily processed, compressed, and otherwise adulterated, that Hi-Res versions just might turn out to be excruciating !

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The girlfriend now has a Technics SL-1800 with Direct Drive, so vinyl is now possible as well, especially in the bargain bins.

 

For some odd reason, I am now drawn vinyl-side to the electronic sounds of analogue synths circa 1970's, you know, the Moogy, darker sounds like Larry Fast's Synergy albums, Tomita's Snowflakes are Dancing, etc... Got a Burt Bacharach on Moog album which is quite fun, actually a hybrid as there are some real musicians as well.

 

The variety of timbres in electronic synth music is what got me into it: as a kid I found most acoustic music very boring very quickly because of the same timbres over and over.

 

I think I'll try to get the other Tomitas, Kitaro, Jarre if I can, and possibly some old Tangerine Dream and Wendy Carlos when she was Walter.

 

As for synthpop, I managed to get a few very rare Animotion, Blancmange, Heaven 17 and Bronski Beat LPs.

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Regarding the Superhirez site, for months now, the top 5 releases are/were DSD of pop/rock origins. That means, that genre sells by the pound, hello does that tell something to the labels? Norah Jones "Come Away with Me" has been in the Top 5 front page ever since SuperHirez started. 'Legacy' music transferred from tape to DSD for rock/pop is gold and returns the work invested by a well known mastering engineer in no time. As for PCM, we can rip the best remaster. Don't bother with PCM hires only DSD.

 

Labels : Pull finger out, you have a wide and keen audience!

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Totally agree!

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Regarding the Superhirez site, for months now, the top 5 releases are/were DSD of pop/rock origins. That means, that genre sells by the pound, hello does that tell something to the labels? Norah Jones "Come Away with Me" has been in the Top 5 front page ever since SuperHirez started. 'Legacy' music transferred from tape to DSD for rock/pop is gold and returns the work invested by a well known mastering engineer in no time. As for PCM, we can rip the best remaster. Don't bother with PCM hires only DSD.

 

Labels : Pull finger out, you have a wide and keen audience!

 

Interestingly the Norah Jones catalog in 24/192 sounds better on my system than the DSD versions. Personal opinion, dependent on DAC, etc etc....so I would not dismiss PCM Hi Res so quickly. I have many high resolution PCM recordings that sound wonderful. In fact I have redbook that sounds wonderful as well. I have moved away from the I only want it in DSD camp and now embrace it all!

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I guess a supplier of high-res electronic music would do well to provide people with both high-res PCM/DXD and DSD, provided the provenance is disclosed. Most probably with multi-tracked modern electronic music, a lot of PCM processing is involved at least for those recording, mixing and mastering in DAWs.

 

Another way of proceeding would be to record to analogue and then mix and master in that domain and perhaps capture in DSD at the output.

 

I have an intermediate solution within the PCM realm which can sound really good. I have been thinking of testing that for a long time now, but need my gear to be set up correctly and it can also be a time-consuming process. One day I'll do some demo tracks especially with the analogue synths and we'll see how the final PCM and DSD turn out.

 

I will be able to share both of these to anyone interested in listening to them in their system.

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The DSD and PCM conversations have had me try a few things and read a lot. It really seems like you need a DSD specialized DAC or a PCM specialized DAC to get the best out of the format. My DAC definitely prefers PCM for example.

 

For electronic music it is moot due to the amount of processing, both in and out of the box, required to make it. All the layering and plug-ins for effects and virtual instruments required. Just the kick alone could have a few samples for deep, high, natural, click and on top of that reverbs, distortions. Or how about a riser, or tape stop effect. Good luck doing that in DSD.

 

Thus DSD versions of most electronic music will always have had conversion back and forth from PCM, which kind of defeats the purpose. Now if it is more of a live set where you play analog synths and real drums I guess you could go the DSD route with much effort.

 

Cheers

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Interestingly the Norah Jones catalog in 24/192 sounds better on my system than the DSD versions. Personal opinion, dependent on DAC, etc etc....so I would not dismiss PCM Hi Res so quickly. I have many high resolution PCM recordings that sound wonderful. In fact I have redbook that sounds wonderful as well. I have moved away from the I only want it in DSD camp and now embrace it all!

 

Maybe I should have put it this way. A DSD transfer from tape has a higher probability of sounding 'pretty good' whereas a PCM download is often hit and miss when it comes to popular titles, less more so with acoustic, jazz and the like that the OP stated.

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Maybe I should have put it this way. A DSD transfer from tape has a higher probability of sounding 'pretty good' whereas a PCM download is often hit and miss when it comes to popular titles, less more so with acoustic, jazz and the like that the OP stated.

 

DSD really scores in my system when the album comes from a DSD or Analog master. Some of the blues and jazz titles on Super HiRez from Analog Masters are not to be missed!

 

Ditto for the albums on Native DSD where all 530+ DSD downloads are from DSD and Analog masters along with the occasional DXD master. And of course the Analog to DSD titles on DSD File and the DSD and Analog to DSD titles on Blue Coast + Downloads Now. Good listening!

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++1

 

 

(Andreas Vollenwieder and Dead Can Dance are very good for expanding the timbre space too)

 

Always liked Dead Can Dance.

 

Someone who kind of combines rock/pop and electronica is Laurie Anderson. Was just playing my LP of Mister Heartbreak on the turntable last night.

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

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Always liked Dead Can Dance.

 

Someone who kind of combines rock/pop and electronica is Laurie Anderson. Was just playing my LP of Mister Heartbreak on the turntable last night.

 

Jud,

 

I recently read an interview with DCD's early drummer, that talks about how a large variety of unusual instruments made their way into the band.

 

In a similar vein, the DCD 'Towards the Within' DVD has wonderful live performances interspersed with fascinating interviews of the principles. Their individual histories are very relevant to the groups sound.

 

 

I'll have to listen to some of my LA tracks, to see how her SQ rates - that is, as soon as I get my speakers reinstalled !

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Not only is high-res pop scarce, but on top of that, with precious few exceptions, pop and electronic titles available in high-res are so dynamically compressed that they sound essentially the same in high-res and CD quality. The only true exception is Muse's The 2nd Law, which has much more dynamic range in high res than on CD. Daft Punk Random Access Memories does not have much more dynamic range in high res than redbook quality but still sounds better.

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Maybe I should have put it this way. A DSD transfer from tape has a higher probability of sounding 'pretty good' whereas a PCM download is often hit and miss when it comes to popular titles, less more so with acoustic, jazz and the like that the OP stated.

 

Ah, I understand your point, better curation goes into DSD.

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Hi tranz,

 

It really seems like you need a DSD specialized DAC or a PCM specialized DAC to get the best out of the format. My DAC definitely prefers PCM for example.

 

Indeed, and that's why it is usually necessary to find the DAC + overall system's sweet-spot for reproduction, especially with the versatile DACs doing both PCM/DXD and DSD. Mine appears to be DSD128 and above in my rig (I have posted a long post about it a few days ago in the iFi iDSD Nano thread, which is the DAC I am using).

 

For electronic music it is moot due to the amount of processing, both in and out of the box, required to make it. All the layering and plug-ins for effects and virtual instruments required. Just the kick alone could have a few samples for deep, high, natural, click and on top of that reverbs, distortions. Or how about a riser, or tape stop effect. Good luck doing that in DSD.

 

Not really, and you'd be surprised at what can be done. PCM-to-DSD still sounds fantastic (c.f. the PS Audio DirecStream internals). Additionally, my point-of-view is that DSD is very close to analogue, so with the DSD chain, I would rather process in the analogue domain. The alternative I was thinking about still involves PCM as I am not equipped yet with straight to DSD recording and still involves some digital processing, but with some tools which made me lose interest in any other digital effects plugins (yes, they're that good). The result doesn't sound digital at all. So this would be a candidate to then listen to as pure PCM or as DSD128 or more.

 

Additionally, when I got my analogue synths and listened to them in my rig, I lost interest in nearly all virtual instruments... (u-He does have a couple which come close). I also captured the sounds of my Roland JX-8P or Korg Polysix and these things have a lot of content in the upper registers.

 

Speaking of analogue synths, besides, think about how Jean-Michel Jarre recorded Oxygène back in the 70s: small multi-track tape and analogue synths with analogue effects. Sounds fantastic.

 

To summarise: it doesn't matter what most others are doing, I'd do it differently.

 

Thus DSD versions of most electronic music will always have had conversion back and forth from PCM, which kind of defeats the purpose.

 

Back-and-forth isn't very good, but a one-time from PCM to DSD is fine, especially if the PCM is very high rate, the route that 2L.no has taken. Even Redbook-to-DSD sounds great.

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DSD really scores in my system when the album comes from a DSD or Analog master. Some of the blues and jazz titles on Super HiRez from Analog Masters are not to be missed!

 

Indeed, but this thread is about electronic music and the lack of high-res versions.

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++1

(Andreas Vollenwieder and Dead Can Dance are very good for expanding the timbre space too)

 

My late uncle had Vollenweider's 'Caverna Magica' on vinyl. I remember that at the time, I didn't really like the acoustic-sounding music as I was more into Jarre's albums like 'Oxygène', 'Equinoxe' and 'Les Chants Magnétiques'.

 

However, the other day I stumbled upon an extract on Youtube and liked it, so next time I am heading for the second-hand stores, I'll keep an eye open for either a CD or the LP.

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Hi YashN,

 

Fair enough. I keep getting caught up in the no conversion is perfect mindset. But you are right, if the combination of DAC and format sounds good....

I am with you, I really wish there was more available. Perhaps until then options like HQP can help.

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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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