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The Nightfly 24/44.1 from HD Tracks


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Can anyone tell me why I should buy the newly announced 24/44.1khz version of the Nightfly? Surely adding a pile of zeroes to pad out the bitlength isn't going to make a button of difference to the output?

 

I know lots of people here have shown spectrum analysis of HD Tracks material - a review of this new rip of the Nightfly would be great.

 

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I came across a quote from Roger Nichols on the decision to record the Nightfly on digital equipment on another website.

 

"We booked the Village Recorder in 1981 to cut tracks for Nightfly and decided to try the 3M digital machine. We ran a Studer A-80 24-track analog machine in parallel with the 3M for the test. After the band laid down a take we performed an a-b-c listening test. The analog and digital machines were played back in sync while the band played along live. We could compare the analog machine, the digital machine, and the live band. The closest sound to the live band was the 3M digital machine. We re-aligned the Studer and gave it one more chance. The 3M was the clear winner. We rolled the Studer out into the street, (just kidding) and did the rest of the recording on the 3M 32-track machine. When it came time to mix, we mixed to the 3M 4-track machine."

 

You may well be right Chris that the original recording was 24bit and chopped for CD, I defer to your greater experience of these things. I suppose the only way to find out if a 24/44.1 version has benefits over the CD version is to download it and try it out!

 

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presented on my DVD-Audio disc (stereo layer and mch layer are both 24/48). This 24 bit version is significantly more dynamic than the redbook IMO.

 

How HDtracks's version will come across, being that it is only 24/44, dunno! Maybe the DVD-A is upsampled but sure doesn't seem to be. The spectrum looks clean to 24k.

 

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Hi otisbass - Very interesting. Thanks for the post. The more recording and mastering engineers I talk to the more I hear about how much they dislike recording to tape. Most of the engineers hate the sound of tape and say digital done right sounds much more accurate.

 

I'll soo if I can find out more info about the Nightfly. I'll look up the credits at All Music Guide. Maybe I know someone who worked on it.

 

 

 

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Hi otisbass,

considering that the original release is from 1982 we can be absolutely sure that it was not recorded in 24 Bit back then. The production was done in digital and a later DVD-A had multichannel and high resolution versions on it. It is quite possible that the original 16 Bit Multitrack files have been used to generate something new in 24 Bit. This way you don't loose resolution in mixing but obviously you still don't have a real 24 Bit file per se regarding dynamic levels.

 

The worldlength tells you very little about the sound quality but this title has been an audiophile favourite for quite some time so I imagine it will sound good regardless of bitlength. The Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab LP is long out of print but sounds quite wonderful.

 

Jan

 

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Chris

 

Just found this link http://www.aes.org/aeshc/pdf/fine_dawn-of-digital.pdf which explains that the 3M system used on the Nightfly was a 16bit 50khz system. The article is actually fascinating beyond this piece of information and I'd recommend it to anyone with an interest in early digital recording.

 

Still it pretty much confirms that any version of the Nightfly which has a bit length greater than 16-bit has had some generous padding with lots of zeroes.

 

I've read good reports of the 24/48 version on the DVD-A of the Nightfly - does anyone know if that was an actual remaster of the original or perhaps it was otherwise upsampled?

 

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This is getting more interesting every minute. I was off doing my own research and was ready to report the bit about a 16/50kHz recording!

 

You were correct about the original and the padding of zeros!

 

Here's a link to the 3M user manual as well. How primitive, but capable of great sound in the right hands.

 

http://files.computeraudiophile.com/2011/1028/the-3m-manual.pdf

 

 

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing The Audiophile Style Podcast

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it had shown the original to be 16 bit. Well, the 24/48k DVD-A is absolutely wonderful sounding, from 20-20k. I guess upsampling from 16 to 24 bit is less deliterious than changing sample rates.

 

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I always thought the original recording was vastly overrated and never understood all the fuss made over the sound quality. Sounded overly clinical, sterile, and lifeless.

 

Has the hi-rez version improved things?

 

Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not." — Nelson Pass

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So if it sounds "a bit more interesting" I would guess the reason is that for the DVD-A the multitracks have been re-worked to generate a new mix. Thus you are actually listening to a different mix which brings the comparison between the 16 Bit and the 24 Bit version more in the realm of "previous mix" and "mix done for the DVD-A".

 

Jan

 

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bu don;t make the assumption that the 2 channel mix is some sort of downmix from the 5.1. It isn't. It is the same mix as the redbook, just remastered at hirez. The 5.1 is clearly different, with some songs adding a few seconds, or slightly different takes on even the backing vocals.

 

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I agree with your assessment. From my limited experience (I'm a film editor, not a mixing engineer), a 16-bit recording is OK, but a 16-bit mix will cause a significant degradation. Any processing done to the the 16-bit tracks will be audibly worse than the same processing at 24 bits. For that reason I've been working at 24 bits or higher in Final Cut Pro and Soundtrack Pro for several years.

 

So if they did a 24-bit remix for DVD-A from the 16-bit tracks, I would imagine that it will sound much better.

 

Take care -- M Block

 

Mac Mini, Pure Music, iTunes, Lynx Hilo, Merrill Taranis amp, Seta Piccola phono preamp, Phil Jones Platinum Reference One speakers, Sennheiser HD 600 headphones.

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