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cookiemarenco

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  1. Thank you, bluesman, for the extensive article and timely for our purposes as well. Kal, thank you for mentioning DSD file playback. We have recently experience technical challenges with large track size playback. We have been recording and releasing files with track sizes longer than 50 minutes in 8 formats up to DSD256. These are ambient music tracks that might seem trivial to many people, but for some, are essential for sleep, focus, work, clam, meditation, etc. Here's an example of a popular one... Qua Continuum... https://bluecoastmusic.com/qua-continuum/continuum-one I'm happy to provide files to test if you can handle DSD256... send a note to [email protected] What's happening is sudden stopping, stuttering and crashing that is intermittent. When creating these files, there is no problem. Playback from consumer system like Roon, Audirvana has provided challenges for our customers (mostly using Macintosh) that prompted us to begin testing. We use PC and found challenges that varied with Roon and JRiver playing DSD256 files. Before I comment on the differences playing back the files on Roon and JRiver, we want to do more extensive testing (after CES and NAMM). The difference in playback was substantial... and suspicious quality differences that needs more investigation. I don't want to mention our findings until we confirm again. I will mention that sonically, one of the music players seemed to have a 'caching' like sound which dimmed the high end and width of the image. Ambient music is a growing sound area that we enjoy working in and have customers for. We have programs up to 2 hours that we would like to release once this is solved. Telling our music lovers to listen on youtube is not going to cut it. We hope to get the software players onboard to help us with this new technological issue. Thank you, both, for your work, Cookie Marenco Blue Coast Records and Music https://bluecoastmusic.com
  2. OOOOPSSSS! I meant... thank you, Chrisopher3393! okay... I have to go mix a record now... I mean fold laundry. You boys are a lot of fun, but I gotta go Cookie Marenco Blue Coast Music
  3. Thanks Lee. I love this song and her version.... Cookie Marenco Blue Coast Music
  4. You guys are pretty funny! :) and what gives you the idea I fold my laundry? LOL ;) Here's something to piss everyone off... a $12 single. :) An credible live performance of I'm on Fire... amazing. Recorded live, without overdubs to DSD256... Meghan Andrews.. the guitar sound is heaven. https://bluecoastmusic.com/meghan-andrews/fire-single Or... how about this... Devil Dub.... Reggae dub from 20 years ago remastered for today. https://bluecoastmusic.com/devil-dub/devil-dub Coupon code DUB20 for a 20% discount. Enjoy! and oh... I have no opinion on MQA... I can't find anyone to actually encode our music to test what it does. :) Cookie Marenco Blue Coast Music
  5. Yes, thank you for responding on my behalf. By the way, just saw the video of John Cuniberti's recordings. He's a great guy and a friend. This is a passion of his to do the OneMic Series. I applaud him for it. We have talked a lot over the years and have recorded the same artists. One mic, many headphones... or many mics no headphones... kind of amusing to consider. John is wonderful and been through much of the same history as I have recording in traditional settings. Before I had a commercial studio, we did a lot of stereo pair miking to record our band rehearsals. I enjoy stereo pair recordings, especially when other people do them. There are times when I use only a stereo pair... mostly with a single instrument like when recording piano or guitar, etc. But, I find for myself and the artists I'm recording for, I tend to use a multiple mic setup. Some mics are close, some are far, some are a stereo pair of the room. It really depends on the instrumentation and players. It's never the same. There is nothing wrong with miking using a stereo pair.. for me personally, it's not what I want from my own recordings. As you mentioned, when recording a vocalist, the song is important. Hearing the words and the breath of the artist is important to me. If you record a vocalist like Jenna Mammina in the same room with a pianist (Like John R Burr -- who is dynamically considerate) you wouldn't be able to hear her sing with only a stereo pair. Her voice is soft and delicate to deliver. I want to hear her voice and breath. You can check out the previews of this album here.,, recorded direct to DSD256. https://bluecoastmusic.com/jenna-mammina/moonlight-ladies Also, we record a lot of singers who play the piano at the same time. It's nearly impossible to get both piano and voice with a stereo pair setup.... and get a piano sound that I enjoy. It's hard with multiple mics, too. Depending on the vocalist, I am using a two mic setup on the voice so that they can more freely move around. Microphone(s) depends on the vocalist. We have a good collection of vintage mics and I have a good friend who rents mics if I need. We were just given three vintage ribbon mics to test. More on that later. About the only mics I insist on are for the piano... stereo -- BK4012's run through Millennia preamps using our silver/copper cable (that we build in house). It took 6 years for me to settle on this setup. It's become a signature sound for us. I'm a piano player.. the piano is a 7' 1885 Steinway. This is a sound that makes me very happy. There's an article in MIx Magazine from the mid 90's on how I mic the piano with photos if you can find it. No two piano players play with the same amount of force so adjustments are made for each player. I don't use headphones unless we have a drummer in another room. Headphones adds another layer of complication and distance to the musician's performance. We have 3 isolated rooms at the studio and I recorded that way since 1982... but if I can, I prefer the live in the studio with multiple mics methods. Now, I should say that I spent more than 20 years doing typical overdub sessions. Much easier to get a great sound when everything is isolated. Much harder to get a good groove or emotional locked-in performance. We've had our audiophile group over during a recording and they are often shocked how soft a vocalist performs. Now, on the other hand, I've had classical duos of violin and piano over and time when the violin was so loud in the room the piano had to be brought up in the mix for a balanced sound. That's how they heard each other in the room. I'm sure some people would have enjoyed hearing it that way, but, it was not a pleasing sound that I felt most people would buy. I was a hired gun to do what I do... make what I consider a balanced sound. When you make a living at recording (which is what I've been doing for 35 years) you don't always have the luxury of 'choice'. You provide what the customer (the artist or label) wants. That's how you get paid. When I decided to start my own label 10 years ago, it was an interesting twist... I got to make the recordings I wanted to make. I made a lot of artists upset when I said, "no, you can't fix that note and "no", you can't stay around for the mix". They can still hire me to make a recordings for them. I'll do that for a few artists. If you have no one to answer to that is paying for your time, you have the luxury of putting up 2-100 mics, testing gear for hours and spending all day moving diffusers and baffles around. Take as long as you want, have fun with it. When you add a price tag to your time, you learn to compromise those things -- you learn to solve problems quickly and "good enough" is the mode of the day. You're hired to meet deadlines and do "good enough" work. You bring your experience of mistakes made in the past to get a "good enough" job done now. I haven't made a record I didn't think I could do better but the budget got in the way. My apologies if I don't respond to every question here. This is a very busy time. You can find me on Facebook more easily at our various company websites (BlueCoastMusic and BlueCoastRecords and DSD-Guide). I may revive the studio pages as well. If you search my name you'll find articles in Mix and other pro audio magazines that better explain my recording techniques. Those reading this... sign up for our newsletter. I sent out something 3x a week about our music and recording. Every sign up helps us do more of what we believe in. While you're there, check out a subscription to Blue Coast PRIME for a year round discount, free downloads every month and a free album for signing up. https://bluecoastmusic.com/prime Yeah, that was shameless promotion... I have no guilt about it, either. I love what I do and want to continue doing it. Join me for the journey! (and we do answer emails directly, BTW). Enjoy! Cookie Marenco Blue Coast Records and Music https://bluecoastmusic.com/
  6. Oh that is funny, thank you! I love this track. Actually, that was Jenna saying, "do you want this door closed". LOL.... I was in the control room and they started grooving. I wasn't ready, so I hit the "record" button on the tape (the first rollup sound) and ran upstairs to close the door... Jenna was talking while I was headed up. I knew I could edit all that out, but I loved it... and still love hearing it. Kind of a "kiss the sky" vs "kiss this guy" moment a la Hendrix. I will always sacrifice sound for a great take. That was incredible moment of the finest musicians I know playing together for the first time... amazing. It was a great session... Brain (drummer with Tom Waits, GunsNRoses, Primus and on most of my recordings) plus Jenna Mammina on vocals (amazing -- the female Bobby McFerrin) and Derek Jones.. bass player with Cirque du Soleil and hundreds of albums. Here's the full album.. many improvisations. Some incredible songs, too. https://bluecoastmusic.com/derek-jones/dusk-til-dawn#.W4Ci3M4zrbg Oh... you should see the video from the control room antics... tears of laughter. Thank you! Cookie Marenco Blue Coast Records and Music
  7. Thank you for prompting me to write an article on comparative listening tests. I scribbled something out this morning for you to read. It's an off the top of my head guide to how we do the tests. I'm sure I've forgotten something. Testing is not easy and requires a minimum of people to do a good test and half a day to setup properly. We listen for differences in sample clips whether it's in the silence, wideness of space, movement of phase, fall off of dynamic response. It's not easy, but we find we can teach people in a workshop (which we've done successfully at many audio shows). Here's the article. https://dsd-guide.com/how-do-comparative-listening-test This has been an interesting thread. Enjoy your music! Cookie Marenco Blue Coast Music https://bluecoastmusic.com/
  8. Hello Bachish, I did read your thread from the beginning. I thought it was quite charming and adventurous for a first post. I was familiar with the null test from years gone by. I'm not sure how much has been deleted from this forum, but there have been some very interesting responses over the years to issues you brought up about the math. I find no reason to argue any more. I understand we all have different opinions and different experiences in life. I'll listen more closely to your recordings tomorrow when I'm in a better listening environment. I agree that most of the classical recording engineers record in at least 24 bit (even if 44.1). Two of my best buddy engineers are Jack Vad (San Francisco Symphony engineer for 30 years and now records to 192) and Michael Bishop (records in DSD). Classical music represents a good percentage of the music audiophiles buy (though still not as much as rock/pop). That said, beyond classical it's a very different world of professional audio engineers. Classical is a small percentage of the total music recorded in the world. My generalization was about the total spectrum of music being created and how few audio engineers work above 44.1 (24 or 16 bit). Sorry if there was a misunderstanding. I'm not suggesting audio engineers don't care about sound, but there are different definitions of what that sound is. Very few are taught good recording techniques these days. We get a lot of interns at the studio from audio programs that are unaware of good techniques for recording. If I were asked what was the most important part of the recording to get a great sound, it would start with proper grounding and understanding gain structure. Everything else is simplified once you get gain structure and grounding right.. and have a good set of ears. . All the best to you and your recording projects. It seems like you have good taste in music. all the best, Cookie Marenco Blue Coast Music https://bluecoastmusic.com
  9. Sure! What do you want to know? I've moved to smaller, chamber acoustic recordings that are live in the studio without headphones or overdubs. Much harder than having unlimited tracks, isolated rooms and control over the sound and performances. I don't mix in the box (computer).. instead I run through an analog mixing console. Have great stories about recording Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Charlie Haden and Quartet West, Max Roach... what do you want to know? Thanks for asking Cookie Marenco Blue Coast Music https://bluecoastmusic.com
  10. Hello and thank you for the mention, First I'd like to mention that I applaud anyone buying music, especially in high resolution and disc format. Streaming rate payouts will never support a robust ecosystem of varying music genres. We want to support you all and the format of your choice. What ever works best for you, in your listening situation and to fit your budget. Your continuing enjoyment of music helps support us making new music. Thank you. Math vs listening tests.... Arguments that could arise from our differences are not often understood by the main stream music listener and even professional audio engineers. I've been in the pro audio side of thing since opening a commercial facility in 1982. I left active participation with pro audio to create an audiophile music label in 2007. 99% of the professional audio community is still recording in 44.1/24 or 16 bits. 99% of the music we receive for evaluation, mixing and mastering arrives as 44.1 files. If you ask 99% of the record labels (and I include the major labels here) for the multitrack masters or even the final mixes pre mastering... you'll get a look of horror. They don't know where they are. This is a tragedy. I suspect the thought of learning something new or managing large files or spending more money on gear during a time when audio engineering jobs and commercial studios are dying off and labels going out of business, is not really a pleasant consideration. What and how we listen is a personal decision. When I'm at home and in my office, I listen to youtube, CDs, SACDs, and DSD.. depends on my mood and what I'm doing. I listen to the baseball games on a 20 year old transistor Sony radio, by the way. What I record to is a different story. I record to 2" tape and DSD256, no PCM. If you have more questions, feel free to ask. Do we hear the difference between FLAC and WAV? yes. We have repeated this test dozens of times, blindfolded and can teach people how to hear the difference. Do we hear the difference between the conversion of various levels of FLAC? Yes, and we optimize our conversions to create the best sounding FLAC. Do we hear the difference between a FLAC made from a DSD256 and from WAV? Yes. Do we hear differences in USB and Ethernet cables? Yes... for another discussion. In the early 80's we were beta testers for the first digital audio workstations. Part of my job was to do rigorous listening tests. For more than 30 years I've been paid by dozens of audio manufacturers (both pro and consumer) to test their gear. We got started in this because we complained about digital audio conversions. When engineers discovered we were right, they hired us to test. But hey, if you want to believe the math, that's cool. I wanted to believe the math when I started distributing downloads in 2008. We were told that FLAC sounded the same. Sure, the files would be smaller, easier to download, cost less to host, etc. But, before we hosted hundreds of FLAC files, I suggested we do comparative listening tests. As the owner of the business, FLAC was a more financially advantageous file to deliver. My "oh s*&t" moment came when we heard the difference. WAV sounded better. We couldn't lie to our customers about what we heard. It's not a big difference but we heard it... test after test after test. It was going to cost more money to deliver WAV but we promised our customers the best files we could deliver at the time... and we still do. Bottomline... we sell the FLAC, DSD and WAV... we sell all formats available to us at Blue Coast Music. Buy what makes you happy. Math? I love math. But ...... This has been a great article. I'm going to submit it to DSD-Guide.com where you can read more about the tests we do and why. https://dsd-guide.com Enjoy your listening and support your favorite musicians, Cookie Marenco Blue Coast Music https://bluecoastmusic.com
  11. We have a "Test your systems" page for free downloads. One song, 4 formats. It's free. The source file is DSD256 recorded to DSD256 and no conversion to PCM / DXD for the DSD256. The other DSD, WAV, FLAC files were made from the DSD256. Here's the link at Blue Coast Music https://bluecoastmusic.com/free-downloads I recorded it so I'm familiar with the processes used if you have any questions. BTW.. we have found ways to keep the editing process in DSD on the Pyramix. It involves mixing through an analog mixing console. Sounds great. Enjoy! Cookie Marenco founder and producer Blue Coast Records (produces and owns music) and Music (store for all high resolution labels) https://bluecoastmusic.com/
  12. From Cookie Marenco, Blue Coast Records and Music. https://bluecoastmusic.com/ Recently questions have come up about recording in DSD and how to stay in the DSD domain. Thank you, @mansr for asking the question. I've reposted my answer here. We use both DSD and tape as part of our recording process when needed. Here's why... I enjoy working on 2" tape for multi-track recording, with more than 8 tracks but tape is very expensive. My guess is 90% of our basic recording starts on DSD256 where we can keep more takes (meaning multiple performances of the same song). I have owned a commercial recording studio since the early 80's and was part of the development / beta testing for the first digital audio recorders on the computer. By the mid 90's I was tired of digital sound from PCM and returned to working on tape. In the early 2000's we were introduced to DSD recording and developed techniques we use today (running through the analog console to mix from DSD and output the stereo mix back to DSD). We did (and still do) maintained the digital gear necessary to run mastering sessions for all formats. We were encouraged to try DSD256 using the Pyramix system (the only system that handles DSD256 recording). I'm not a fan of going to DXD to mix. I don't enjoy the sound after recording to DSD (I'm sure if you're reading this you'd have the ears to hear the difference in the studio as we do). I do understand that many engineers don't have access to a large analog console with all the outboard gear necessary to mix and for them it is necessary to mix inside the computer in DXD.' About editing in DSD... 95% of our edits stay in DSD without conversion to DXD. Because we are mixing through an analog console and back to DSD, if the edit sounds good, we have found it's not necessary to convert to DXD. The style of recording we now specialize in (acoustic / live) also lends itself to this. If we have a session that is more complex or pop oriented, we will assemble the basic performance on DSD, transfer to tape and do the overdubs on tape. It's faster and easier. We sell downloads (Blue Coast Music Store) from other labels in 8 different formats. I will agree that whether the original has been recorded on tape, DSD or PCM the original recorded sound will make more difference than the final recording. More important, a great performance of the music captured on any format outweighs what format used. The real work for the engineer and producer is getting that great performance. If anyone has production questions, I'm happy to answer in this thread. Thank you and enjoy your music! Cookie Marenco Blue Coast Music (store for high resolution audio from many labels) Blue Coast Records (label that I record live performance) https://bluecoastmusic.com/
  13. Thank you for the mention, mansr. I'm not sure what the 'flow' is you've mentioned, but yes, we use both DSD and tape. Here's why... I enjoy working on 2" tape for multi-track recording, with more than 8 tracks but tape is very expensive. My guess is 90% of our basic recording starts on DSD256 where we can keep more takes (meaning multiple performances of the same song). I have owned a commercial recording studio since the early 80's and was part of the development / beta testing for the first digital audio recorders on the computer. By the mid 90's I was tired of digital sound from PCM and returned to working on tape. In the early 2000's we were introduced to DSD recording and developed techniques we use today (running through the analog console to mix from DSD and output the stereo mix back to DSD). We did (and still do) maintained the digital gear necessary to run mastering sessions for all formats. We were encouraged to try DSD256 using the Pyramix system (the only system that handles DSD256 recording). I'm not a fan of going to DXD to mix. I don't enjoy the sound after recording to DSD (I'm sure if you're reading this you'd have the ears to hear the difference in the studio as we do). I do understand that many engineers don't have access to a large analog console with all the outboard gear necessary to mix and for them it is necessary to mix inside the computer in DXD.' About editing in DSD... 95% of our edits stay in DSD without conversion to DXD. Because we are mixing through an analog console and back to DSD, if the edit sounds good, we have found it's not necessary to convert to DXD. The style of recording we now specialize in (acoustic / live) also lends itself to this. If we have a session that is more complex or pop oriented, we will assemble the basic performance on DSD, transfer to tape and do the overdubs on tape. It's faster and easier. We sell downloads (Blue Coast Music Store) from other labels in 8 different formats. I will agree that whether the original has been recorded on tape, DSD or PCM the original recorded sound will make more difference than the final recording. More important, a great performance of the music captured on any format outweighs what format used. The real work for the engineer and producer is getting that great performance. If anyone has production questions, I'm happy to answer in this thread. Thank you and enjoy your music! Cookie Marenco Blue Coast Music (store for high resolution audio from many labels) Blue Coast Records (label that I record live performance) https://bluecoastmusic.com/
  14. This is a very good question and quite technical having to do with copyrights and ownership of the music. There are several types of copyright ownership that surround music, recording, composing, performance, etc. Generally, a record label "owns'" the rights to the "sound recording". Meaning, the record label usually pays for the recording, marketing, sales, distribution and pays the artist a royalty as described in the agreement. The labels has rights to sell as they need and in some cases determines how the final product sounds as to acceptibility. Blue Coast Records owns the sound copyrights to the music on Blue Coast Records. In our agreements with the artists, we have say in how the music is recorded, distributed and sold. The artists know that they will be recording in DSD or analog tape. No overdubs or headphones used. That is the promise to our customer. I may get hired as a producer or engineer to record in other formats where the artist or label owns the music and will be distributing. In those cases I may be asked to record in PCM, tape or DSD. I have no control over how the artist chooses to create that music if I want to get paid for a session. Blue Coast Music is a store that sell high resolution digital downloads. We sell the music of Blue Coast Records and many other labels. Many of those "other" labels are recordings in PCM. Blue Coast Music doesn't own the rights to that music. It is a retail seller arrangement. We have no control over how the music comes to us except to say "no, not good enough for our store." For the store, we are agnostic in our sales of downloads. We'll sell what the customers buy. Right now, the customers are buying DSD... which we like regardless of how it got there. https://bluecoastmusic.com/ If you have more questions, let me know... Cookie Marenco Blue Coast Records Blue Coast Music
  15. Hi all, glad to hear the discussion on DSD continues! At Blue Coast Music (our music store for downloads, not our label "Blue Coast Records") we offer free downloads to test in various formats of DSD, PCM and WAV. Every few months you can download one song. Over several months, you'll have a collection of music that was recorded direct to DSD 256. https://bluecoastmusic.com/free-downloads At our high resolution download store we offer up to 8 formats of downloads. While we prefer DSD we know not everyone prefers that format. Also, it's very difficult to get music from record labels recorded in DSD. We prefer to offer what we feel would be the highest quality format of the album as it was recorded in the studio. Blue Coast Records is my label. The criteria for my label (not the store) is all the music is recorded live in the studio direct to DSD. At this time we record direct to DSD256. If an ensemble is large we may record to 2" tape (which I love, but is very expensive). We mix everything through an analog console back to DSD256. I prefer mixing in analog vs moving into DXD (which is PCM) and using the computer's mixing system. It doesn't sound good to me. Mixing in analog offer a much bigger sound in my opinion. Hope that helps! Cookie Marenco Blue Coast Music (store) Blue Coast Records (label)
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