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HDTT thoughts?


Norton
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I've never used HDTT but their classical transfers interest me.

 

Lots of different formats on offer, interested in feedback from members who can comment on relative merits of these.

 

For example, with their Pure DSD transfers, which of the 3 rates on offer is the rate at which the original transfer is made?

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I've bought one album from them: the Krause/Philly/Ormandy recording of Shostakovich Symphony No. 13, after I dug out my old vinyl copy and was reminded that one of my suite-mates junior year of college spilled a bong on it.

 

Obviously, they can only do as much as their sources allow them, but the Shost is superb. Dynamic range to burn, and dead quiet.

Office: MacBook Pro - Audirvana Plus - Resonessence Concero - Cavailli Liquid Carbon - Sennheiser HD 800.

Travel/Portable: iPhone 7 or iPad Pro - AudioQuest Dragonfly Red - Audeze SINE or Noble Savant

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I've bought a few albums from them. Anything from the 50's into the 70's. Am happy with them.

 

They do a good job with the transfers. If you are interested in the particular composition or performance they are selling, they are worth buying. Obviously the quality of the result depends on the source. But at least they tell you exactly what the source is. With a good source, you will get a very good sounding download.

 

My only issue with them is that they don't have that much material I'm interested enough in to drop $20 bucks on an album.

 

They also have very good customer service, and you get a personal answer from the site owner to emails or chats.

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: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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I'd highly recommend their Stereo DSD 256 transfer from Analog Tape of "In Stereo" by Cootie Williams & His Big Band.

 

First heard it during the debut of the Merging Technologies NADAC MC-8 at The Show Newport. Really excellent!

 

cootie_williams.jpg

 

https://www.highdeftapetransfers.com/collections/jazz-popular/products/cootie-williams-in-stereo-cootie-williams-on-trumpet-and-his-orchestra

 

Impressions: HDTT’s Brilliant Quad DSD release of Cootie Williams in Stereo - Positive Feedback

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I have 119 albums from HDTT at the moment, most of them classics. I can really recommend them. Some of my favourite snd best sounding albums are from HDTT.

 

The format jungle is a little bit confusing. I take the best DSD file, when it is a DSD transfer without any mastering. Sometimes mastering was necessary (you will find a note about that) then I buy the best PCM. Older transfers (before the DSD hype) are not available in DSD.

But I never compared the different formats.

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I have 119 albums from HDTT at the moment, most of them classics. I can really recommend them. Some of my favourite snd best sounding albums are from HDTT.

 

The format jungle is a little bit confusing. I take the best DSD file, when it is a DSD transfer without any mastering. Sometimes mastering was necessary (you will find a note about that) then I buy the best PCM. Older transfers (before the DSD hype) are not available in DSD.

But I never compared the different formats.

 

Thanks, my understanding is that the original transfer will be the highest rate Pure DSD version on offer. If no Pure DSD version then it's the highest rate PCM version.

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I also have a lot of Bob's transfers. I have just about all of mch recordings, many of which are from multitrack tapes that were made from live concerts and otherwise unavailable. Many others are from 15ips 2 track tapes (I am guessing many are from safety masters) which are available in vinyl. Bob started with digitizing 4 track stereo 7.5ips tapes and a few 7.5ips 2 track tapes at 96/24, which is when I started buying from him. He then moved to 192/24, and expanded his releases to include other sources. He was one of the first to do DSD, particularly 256DSD and even some DXD. He tells you that tapes that he digitized directly to DSD sometimes have slight imperfections that cannot be edited out in DSD. I haven't had any issues with those.

 

Bob (Witrak) has been at the forefront of high rez downloads. HDTT is very much a one person operation and you do get very personal service. However, now, the actual ordering and downloading process is automated and works very well. He has been using Merging Pyramix and HAPI to do the DSD rips. I think this is as close to a 15ips 2 track tape experience, without spending the big bucks for the necessary machines and the tapes (since I have both).

 

Larry

Analog-VPIClas3,3DArm,LyraSkala+MiyajimaZeromono,Herron VTPH2APhono,2AmpexATR-102+MerrillTridentMaster TapePreamp  Dig Rip-Pyramix,IzotopeRX3Adv,MykerinosCard,PacificMicrosonicsModel2; Dig Play-Lampi Pacific, mch NADAC, Roon-HQPlayer,Oppo105  Electronics-DoshiPre,CJ MET1mchPre,Cary2A3monoamps Speakers-AvantgardeDuosLR,3SolosC,LR,RR

Other-2x512EngineerMarutaniSymmetrical Power+Cables Music-15KRecs(90%classical),1.7KR2Rtapes,1.5KCD's,500SACDs,50TBripped files

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Obviously the quality of the result depends on the source. But at least they tell you exactly what the source is. With a good source, you will get a very good sounding download.

 

That's true.

 

I think the most interesting thing about HDTT is the music that is not available elsewhere, that has never been reissued on CD.

 

I've heard a couple of their releases, including albums which I own on CD. Almost every time, the CD sounded better, because it was mastered from the master tapes, while the HDTT release is mastered from a consumer tape.

 

High resolution will not compensate for the loss of fidelity due to the multi-generation copying (maybe even done at high speed) and the ageing of the tapes, which are 30-50 years old. The EQ on HDTT releases often sounds odd, and there are tape-related noises which are not on the master tape.

Claude

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That's true.

 

I think the most interesting thing about HDTT is the music that is not available elsewhere, that has never been reissued on CD.

 

I've heard a couple of their releases, including albums which I own on CD. Almost every time, the CD sounded better, because it was mastered from the master tapes, while the HDTT release is mastered from a consumer tape.

 

High resolution will not compensate for the loss of fidelity due to the multi-generation copying (maybe even done at high speed) and the ageing of the tapes, which are 30-50 years old. The EQ on HDTT releases often sounds odd, and there are tape-related noises which are not on the master tape.

 

Claude-

 

I haven't quantified this, but I don't think it is fair to give the impression the HDTT albums almost all come from consumer tapes, if that's what you meant. At least some of them are identified as coming from 4 channel sources or other sources which don't seem to be consumer tapes.

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: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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I haven't counted them, but a majority of their releases from well known artists come from consumer open reel tapes. When they indicate "Transferred from a 4-track tape", that's a commercially released tape (4 track = twin-sided stereo). You can find many of those on Ebay.

 

The section "Pre-recorded reel tapes" on this Wiki page gives a short historical background:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reel-to-reel_audio_tape_recording

 

So HDTT is comparable to someone releasing vinyl rips. I have no doubt about their excellent know how and equipment, but if the tape just sounds so-so, this won't be enough to make it a great release.

Claude

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I haven't counted them, but a majority of their releases from well known artists come from consumer open reel tapes. When they indicate "Transferred from a 4-track tape", that's a commercially released tape (4 track = twin-sided stereo). You can find many of those on Ebay.

 

The section "Pre-recorded reel tapes" on this Wiki page gives a short historical background:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reel-to-reel_audio_tape_recording

 

So HDTT is comparable to someone releasing vinyl rips. I have no doubt about their excellent know how and equipment, but if the tape just sounds so-so, this won't be enough to make it a great release.

 

Okay, not understanding something and didn't find the answer Googling: so 4 track tape in this instance isn't some sort of tape with 4 tracks that's played back as two, but a tape with 2 tracks (stereo) on each side of the tape?

 

In the end, I think it means that if the original commercial release sounded good, then the digitized version will, too. After all, don't most of us agree that a good sounding tape is one of the best sounding audio sources we can listen to, whether master or not?

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: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Yes, but as the Wiki page says, some tapes were copied at 16 times the playback speed, which lowers the sound quality. The tape material also plays a role, and of course the handling and storage conditions that a tape released in the 1960s has been subjected to.

 

I found this page which has a lot of interesting info on pre-recorded tapes, including an explantion of "4-track":

 

Open Reel Pre-recorded Tapes: Totally Worth It! | eBay

Claude

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For stereo HDTT issues, I specifically look for 15ips 2 track tapes. No commercial company ever released these tapes (until Tape Project started in 2006). These were typically copies of the master tapes, often called safety masters, copied in real time - not faster speed. I have quite a few of these safety master tapes purchased over the years. Many of the jazz releases that Bob has done are from 15ips 2 track tapes that Jonathan Horwich recorded. I have quite a few of those also, which cost several hundred dollars for each 30 minute tape. They are the best source - but Bob's files are as close to these tapes at a few percent of the cost. Bob still does some 4 track tapes, which Claude rightly says were typically done at high speed. made for a price. CD's which were done from the master tapes without further compression can sound better than the commercial tapes. However, it does depend on the how the CD's were done. Many, most? CD's, particularly of non-classical music have been highly compressed in recent years. However, the best are special. My FIM CD's from Winston Ma are among the treasures of my collection.

 

Larry

Analog-VPIClas3,3DArm,LyraSkala+MiyajimaZeromono,Herron VTPH2APhono,2AmpexATR-102+MerrillTridentMaster TapePreamp  Dig Rip-Pyramix,IzotopeRX3Adv,MykerinosCard,PacificMicrosonicsModel2; Dig Play-Lampi Pacific, mch NADAC, Roon-HQPlayer,Oppo105  Electronics-DoshiPre,CJ MET1mchPre,Cary2A3monoamps Speakers-AvantgardeDuosLR,3SolosC,LR,RR

Other-2x512EngineerMarutaniSymmetrical Power+Cables Music-15KRecs(90%classical),1.7KR2Rtapes,1.5KCD's,500SACDs,50TBripped files

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