Tag Archives: audiophile

MESSAGE FROM DE: When a message is better than a mission. Why DSD Why MQA Why Hi-Res Why Art Of Listening

On Mar 4, 2020, at 12:01 PM, music at davidelias.com wrote:

Aloha & Welcome to the hi-res world with DSD and MQA as well as PCM above 16/44.1. I was introduced to DSD long ago and still work quite a bit at what I came to call the art of listening, a lot of which has to do with retraining my ears not to listen to music the way compressed CD was first presented in the early 80’s. In 1999 I heard DSD64 from a Sony prototype 2-track (Stereo) archive machine on some of the Sony analog masters converted to DSD and captured in the new PDM (not PCM) approach to digital audio. I finally had some relief in listening to digital audio and could relax with what I was hearing as a counterpart to the original analog recording. I’ve been working at those listening skills ever since and there are many dimensions to them.

To answer some of your questions about free DSD demos, the first page I can send you to is here:

https://www.oppodigital.com/hra/dsd-by-davidelias.aspx

I worked with OPPO for many years before they shut their doors in the US. Great company and products for value and quality. I still use the 103 here for SACD and CD mostly. My samples on this OPPO page can get you into comparing some of the basic variations in digital audio from straight PCM, to hi-res PCM, to DSD and then MQA.

In prior years I have tried to upsample my own DSD masters to DSD128 and DSD256 and never had a conclusive result as far as listening and comparing to the original DSD64. So I left that aside until NativeDSD did their conversions using more modern tools and gear. Things improved dramatically for my ears under their process of the DSD resample. In addition, I use a fantastic product from iFi Audio that has the ability to upsample/resample everything it receives streaming from MP3 (any bitrate) to CD (ie, TIDAL) to higher res (Qobuz 24/96) and first filter then resample as DSD1024 before converting to analog and preamplification through their analog tube component.

This is the iFi Audio Pro iDSD Preamp/DAC — I wrote about it on my blog (https://art-of-listening.com) and it was published at Positive Feedback Online (https://positive-feedback.com/reviews/hardware-reviews/ifi-audio-pro-idsd-dac/).

If you take the time to download and compare some of the samples on the OPPO page, let me know if there’s a particular song that works best for you as far as comparative listening and I can send you a DSD128 of that for you to play in your OPPO.  The 205 by the way can be used as a DAC connected via to the PC and support DSD rates higher than 128.  Mac has problem going above DSD128. I use JRiver as my main computer audio player setup. The iFi Pro iDSD by the way can act as a regular USB DAC as well up to DSD512 playing downloaded audio.

The MQA approach (PCM not PDM) to higher sample rates makes the headache of the large DSD files go away for downloading as well as storage. You will see from my samples that the MQA remaster is not much larger than any 24/44.1k download (slightly larger than a CD ripped to FLAC). I measure the streaming bitrate of my MQA which unfolds to 24/352.8k at well under 1mbps. This is incredibly useful for anyone streaming, especially in places like here in East Hawaii where cell service and internet service are not fat pipes like in the big cities.

As I’ve written on my blog, MQA does an incredibly good job correcting the pre- (most important) and post-echo ringing in PCM masters. This is most effective on the Red Book CD Masters at 16/44.1k but adds sonic improvements at the higher rates as well like the popular 24/96 (ringing is not as severe on higher bitrate recorded/mastered work, nor does it exist for sonic detriment in DSD).

As you know already, hi-res is a big subject with lots of diversions to follow and things to try to get your best sound to your ears from your equipment in your rooms for listening and headphones. I’m happy to send you these samples and hope you take some time to compare them. The DSD128, DSD256 and DSD512 from NativeDSD are further improvements on what I get from my DSD masters. I wrote about this on my blog as well.

https://art-of-listening.com/2019/11/23/the-single-bit-in-dsd-goes-further-than-the-us-dollar/

Here is some summary of things I’ve been addressing in hi-res lately:
https://art-of-listening.com/2020/01/24/3-things-nothing-related-to-anything-except-everything/

If you search the web for OPPO 205 and DSD256 you can find more info on how the OPPO can play higher res DSD as a DAC from players like JRiver or Foobar2000 on the PC/Windows.

Hope all this helps.
Best Regards,

David Elias
https://davidelias.com
https://davidelias.bandcamp.com (PCM and MQA catalog)
https://youtube.com/davideliasvideo
https://art-of-listening.com

The Fading Audiophile Armchair

(This post excerpt comes in part from an email response to my friend Harold in the Netherlands. He was curious about our discussion related to my early MP3 work as an online musician through the 90’s into 2000’s and how and why my MP3s could have sounded so good back then to literally everyone who heard them. At the same time in another email to audiophile Dez in LA how the audio gear available today has removed ‘computer’ from the delivery of ‘computer audio’. Of course smartphones are all computers too but what we usually mean by computer is a desktop, laptop, or even tablet. The network is becoming transparent. Music libraries can exist in many places and a single playlist can reference any or all of them at will. The quality of the audio delivered to headphones and speakers can be streamed at studio master DXD quality using little more than 1mbps (1024kbps) which even my iffy satellite connection in Hawaii can support. This unfolds to 24/352.8k on my MQA Masters via TIDAL also on 7Digital, Deezer, Qobuz and other streaming lossless services.

If you can listen to studio masters from anywhere at anytime there’s no need for a sweet spot in a single room to go to when you want to hear your good sounding music. You don’t have to lug it around on computers with you either. It is a new audiophile armchair-less world in these ways these days.)


There are too many ways to hear music today. It creates lots of confusion and uncertainty about what any music listener should buy for equipment or should subscribe to for service. How much does good sounding music matter? How much does convenience in listening to the music that you like matter no matter where your are including the BART or car or plane or hotel or work? How much does it cost to do either or both (have good sounding mobile music)? These are the questions of the day.

In the past 2 years I’ve observed huge gains towards a convergent path for these things that has never existed before. One can even look back at the introduction of CD in the consumer market at the beginning of the 80’s with the clear intent by Sony to disable and destroy the vinyl LP market it hoped to capture with new digital audio. It was cleaner and didn’t hiss like tape or skip and pop like vinyl. Boo hoo. It also made the listener mobile with the first CD Walkman.

20 years later the masses at all age levels particularly young generations have flocked back to vinyl as something that actually sounds good so they produce it as artists and buy it as listeners. The production for vinyl can’t keep up with the demand to print the good old 12″ discs. Despite the fact that cassette was born along with early FM radio and lived with vinyl through the 70’s and long beyond, it has stayed a huge favorite for younger generations making music through the Bandcamp explosion and many other outlets. Vinyl and Cassette win there. Analog wins! Sound Quality wins! CD is the dinosaur.  Downloads and streaming are necessary conveniences and work when they need to.

Good sounding music always wins. That’s what I say. Convenience comes in second after the thrill is gone, which can take a decade or more no doubt. Still, sound quality wins.

When I started working with DSD as an independent artist and was invited and treated kindly beyond words by some of the Sony SACD Project team to participate with their newly evolving DSD gear, I was able to record and hear what my natural acoustic singer-songwriter material really sounded like on excellent digital recording and reproduction setups. I’d been doing things with my songs as recordings from the early 4-track Tascam cassette players in the 80’s to the then current mid-90’s 16/44.1 and 16/48k PCM multitrack (usually up to 8) recorders. I had cut my teeth on this approach with 4 self-produced and released home studio CDs in the market on CDBaby (I was one of first 50 artists signed up there) and online via my websites since 1995 where I was handwriting HTML to code the pages using Windows Notepad because Dreamweaver and the rest of the WYSIWYG tools hadn’t been invented yet.

DSD instantly solved everything I didn’t like about recording digital, even not thrilled with results from some 24-bit leading edge workstations I was able to test things on like the early Waveframe. It was always a compressed sounding result and lacked natural sustain on notes and breath released and didn’t have any warm cozy acoustic ambient cushion to place the real song and real performance onto for listening to the playback, not matter how much work was done trying to fix that in the mixes using EQ or effects like compression, reverb and delay and the rest.

So DSD was the instant magic sauce for me. I heard it first used on early Sony legacy jazz and folk/rock archive tapes transferred from analog masters to DSD64. It was played from a prototype Sony archive workstation into my home studio setup which of course I knew the sound characteristics of. And what I heard through my speakers then changed the way I listen to music to this day. It’s been elaborated on and compounded more than I ever imagined and I’m still working on the art of listening which in a large part involves unlearning a lot of old habits for listening based on compressed sliced and diced CD and other digital recordings since the 80’s. It’s hard to unlearn how to listen but one has to to let really good recordings seep into our ears and brain’s recognition of sounds correctly to enjoy fully. Spatial and temporal issues are at the heart of much of the problems with standard PCM recordings rendering them unnatural sounding and hard to listen to for hours and hours and hours without getting fatigued and maybe suddenly hating having any sound in your ears at all.  DSD, MQA, and now iFi Audio’s GTO filter (along with other earlier minimum phase and apodized filters) all address these big problems in different ways.

When I was able to take some of the early DSD recordings I had (2002 – 2006) and convert them to a format that I could deliver to some of the online musician forums I was participating in to share my work in its best sounding quality, it was of course not in the native DSD format they were recorded in. This was in 2000. The world had barely advanced to the wonders of 33.6k and 56k dialup modems to get to the internet. ISDN tests on the public network by the phone companies had already all but come and gone. What was left was early ADSL (DSL) at max. around 1.2mbps in the US for download and far less upstream speeds, and the early cable modems at maybe around 5mbps. But the cable modems were then as they are now shared so you couldn’t rely on any fixed throughput for downloading anything when your neighbors or coworkers were online nearby.

There wasn’t much audio streaming then.  It was all about new ideas of how to download music for a price per song or album (iTunes) onto your PC or Mac to play later at will. You built a CD library by ripping yours and your friends’ CDs and downloading MP3s or AACs at 128k or less from Apple and a few others or wherever you could find a Napster or the like. Crappy sounding music for the most part yes at rates up to 128. Pandora was and still I believe streams at 64kbps. Very crappy sounding, which is not a knock against MP3, just the low bit rates used by almost everyone even today except Bandcamp, Spotify and a few others not serving lossless streaming. How so many others using the same old low MP3/AAC streaming bit rates get away with it, I have no idea. Maybe their customers have never listened anything better and expect it to be the way it has always been. MP3 sampled at 256kbps and 320kbps on the other hand is often hard to distinguish from CD quality and in fact may have fewer errors in the sound file and could even sound better than the source. Another subject for another day. I’m not a a big fan of either high sample rate MP3 or Red Book CD but what I mean to say here is that a lot of much worse quality has been clogging the ether pipes for a good 25 years now and still is. Shame on some.

So with my 4 released CDs (“Lost in the Green”, “Time Forgets”, “Half An Hour Away”, “The Blue Planet”) and lots and lots of unreleased songs as digital masters I wanted my stuff to sound as good as it could online in the forums. A good example of the forums (before Myspace – don’t get me started) was a place called Mixsposure. I think a version of Mixsposure may still exist and for all I know some of my songs might still be up there I really don’t know.

But it was a great collection of musicians from all countries sharing their original work and getting listened to and reviewed and rated to some extent through the forum. Those were days of truly constructive (not destructive) criticism with common interests in self-producing good sounding albums with good songs.  Lots of music to hear and some really nice friendships made long distance in those early music online days. I enjoyed it and participated quite a bit. It wasn’t the only site I went on over those years, there were tons coming and going and I tried to try all of them to see what I preferred. But Mixposure kept its cool while others crashed and burned or got nasty as in Myspace.

So my DSD conversions to MP3-128 and MP3-256 were uploaded slowly slowly slowly over DSL to Mixposure et. al. and posted for everyone to take listens to. The results were always surprisingly and even embarrassingly strong and forward. Musicians online in  2002, 2003 heard things I’d created for my “The Window” SACD release using DSD and simply converted to MP3 using PCM converted test mixes of my DSD 2-track and multitrack to stereo projects along with PC tools like Audiograbber and others to create the MP3s with the LAME encoder. Then early versions of Audiogate from Korg appeared in 2006 which I used as a main tool for lots of DSD mastering and exporting to other formats including MP3. Audiogate was also the way I worked with Gus Skinas at superaudiocenter.com to create the first Sony DSD Disc download (as a zipped ISO image for DVD burning) in 2009. “The Window” DSD stereo master was then getting downloaded into Sony Playstation3’s for native playback as well as on some special Sony and Onkyo players with USB inputs.

These ~2GB album files were no easy match to download for many people, as the cable modem world hadn’t expanded greatly beyond some of the same early 5-10mbps limits. But hell, we had to wait an hour for a CD to download 10 years before at 33.6k dialup so fair is fair, right? Netflix had the same problem with their early streaming in 2009 as well when they begged their customers to make sure they had at least 5mbps download speeds at home so the movies would not hiccup and stall and stutter in the middle. (Does any one else get the little chime going off in their head for audio that points to MQA’s design to stream at often under 1mbps and still deliver a 24/384k studio bit perfect master unfolded and decoded at the listener’s end — I do. They are a killer vending machine of their own with their design.)

WHY DID MY ARTIST TRACKS ON MIXPOSURE SOUND SO GOOD AS MP3

There is a word that the industry has come to use called “provenance”. I don’t know where its use in audio came from and don’t particularly like the word’s implications and confusing context definitions in Websters, but for audio it simply refers to the quality and care used in making the source studio or live recording. It’s what goes into making a good master. Provenance is completely agnostic to all the media types and equipment types used. It (the recording) just has to be done well.

Provenance has always been at the top of my list, regardless of  the term used to refer to sound quality or the media used. (I made one CD “Voice Memo: Songs From Hawai’i” in the past few years with 30 tunes all recorded on my iPhone using the smartphone’s stock Voice Memo app. Then I mastered it all on PC and released it on CD and download. I used provenance including the phone’s mono mic proximity for voice and guitar, levels, upsample and mastering on PC using Audacity, to the maximum capabilities of the environment I chose to make that album in. The album idea was to capture the process of songwriting as since 2007 I often record new songs I’m writing onto my iPhone to capture the true original song and remember how I wrote and played and sang it as I was writing it.)

Anyone can make a terrible recording using DSD, just as they can do so using an iPhone. As I’ve written before online, the things that make all the difference to what the listeners end up valuing are in my mind staged in a very particular order of precedence:

First is the performance of the musicians. This trumps all else in my opinion. Along these lines but much more subjective is the quality of the song itself. Good songs sound better, kind of a no brainer, but what constitutes a good song is of course up to everyone to decide for themselves. Still there are many commonalities the public has had about what good songs are, otherwise there would be no Billboard or Grammys, or CMAs, but don’t get me started there. Suffice to say that finding good songs is not always as easy as looking up Billboard, or lookup up the Grammy or CMA winners or reading a magazine’s best-of. It never was that easy and never will be in today’s exploded quantity of music world.

Next important is the quality of the engineering used in whatever setting the music is recorded in (studio, field recording, concert, kitchen table…). Proper selection and use of microphones and any preamp or other gear in line to the recording device is an incredibly important factor on delivering a good result. Setting up these devices properly which includes things like proximity (where to place the microphone and how to angle it) are all tasks for qualified sound and recording engineers. Anyone can do it but not everyone can do it well.

Third important is the gear to record the music such as analog tape machines including reel-to-reel (R2R), cassette, and digital machines like MP3 or CD/HD portable, studio quality PCM/DXD or DSD workstations. This has to be done correctly without clipping and all the other problems that can arise.

Fourth is the art of mixing and mastering. This is critical as it can both destroy a perfectly perfect recording by doing things (to my ears) like adding compression, unneeded effects, overdubs and edits and otherwise chopping apart the sonic values of the performance and turning it into something else much more manufactured sounding. On top of the, the nature of mixing is to literally create the environment (2D, 3D) that the listener will experience a multitrack recorded album in their setup. Good mixes are just that and vice versa. All art, no bull. Nearly all my recordings took just part of one day or just a few days to record and then many months to mix and then master. I’m not saying my albums are automatically good because of that, I’m saying that mixing and mastering are no bull.

Fifth is the media delivery which can include streaming or downloads as lossy or lossless with extra improvements in the proper circumstances such as MQA decoding at the listener’s end, or gear like the iFi Pro iDSD to do such reconstruction on its own during playback in the forms of GTO filters and then DSD1024 upsampling to further allow the music to sound more analog like in very very real and distinctive ways to the listener.

Those are the 5 steps in order that I think need to be addressed to result in a media portable recording that can literally be played or sprayed through the ether anywhere to any device and still sound very very good within the context of how it is being played.


Doing these things above correctly to the fullest extent allows low converted (downsampled) streaming or downloaded 128k MP3s, CDs or anything else to sound better than any other low quality 128 MP3 tracks, CDs or anything else, as far as sound quality at least. It only gets better from there with the higher res formats for delivery.  And if the listener is setup for hi-res reproduction in the native format of the source recording (say DSD64, 128, 256 or MQA 192, 352, 384) guess what, they will be blown away ever time.

So if a golden master is created with high degrees of provenance, then its good sound to all listeners travels from its source master (DSD64, DSD128, DSD256, DSD512, or DXD (352.8 or 384), MQA (DXD with MQA encoding, or MQA CD 16.44.1 PCM with MQA encoding) to any other downsampled format such as MP3 for say downloads or streaming on Bandcamp or Soundcloud, or Garageband or LastFM, or Streaming on Spotify (which can use 320k and sounds very good) or any other use, even Pandora at 64kbps.

In my world MQA PCM always qualifies as significantly improved provenance to the source PCM without MQA so this applies equally to MQA CD and and 24-bit encoded PCM remaster at different bit rates 48k, 88.2, 176.4, 192.

Bandwidth, cost, OTG lilfestyle issues, are just some of the reasons music has to be available in many formats today. The transparency of the network itself is essential and critical. That includes gear, music players as apps on phones, tablets and computers, wires or wireless protocols (Bluetooth vs WiFi, Airplay vs Google Cast), and finally the output devices (wireless/wired speakers or headphones/earbuds) is essential and critical. The details of HOW and WHERE one listens to THEIR MUSIC has to become less and less and less and eventually invisible with the requirement to still have very very good sounding music coming through to our ears.

So once again my point for all of this post is in the paragraph above. With that becoming an advanced reality more and more each day, the armchair requirement of the dated audiophile of the 80’s and 90’s is becoming a non sequitur and so the armchair audiophile in a single room with a limited library of music has all but faded to the past.

Amen to that since it also means that the burden of finding a single sweet spot in a room to listen to great sounding music is not quite the burden it has been in the past for all of us, nor does it cost as much to find just about anywhere. This is just as true for diehard audiophiles as for anyone else.

Live Long!

~ DE, January 11, 2020
Cover Photo © 2020 David Elias, “Standing Waves”

 

4 MQA Songs to Try (1 Free) – CD to Hi-Res

Introducing you to MQA with 4 songs.


UPDATE OFFER – January, 2020 – Some of the best-known songs by David Elias are now available at a 50% Discount for the MQA Studio Masters on his Bandcamp catalog.  Coffeehouse MQA Playlist #1 (Remastered) contains 10 MQA tracks some of which decode up to 24/352.8k.

Use check out code TRYCOFFEE50 and pay about $5.

Some of David Elias’s best known music played at audiophile trade show demos, on Spotify  and TIDAL, and as mobile HRA OTG go to’s on Smartphones including “Morning Light/Western Town” and “The Old King” are in this collection.

Preview and Buy Coffeehouse Playlist #1 (Remastered) as MQA. It plays on any media player (hardware or software). It can also be decoded as MQA up to 24/352.8k with compatible gear.

Hear Acoustic like you never have before.

No DRM. Full Previews. With purchase you have unlimited downloads forever. All popular audio formats supported (suggested: FLAC, ALAC). Also unlimited streaming from Bandcamp’s free Bandcamp Music iOs/Android app.

Get 50% off – Use check code: TRYCOFFEE50 and pay about $5 for the entire playlist.

coffehouseplaylist-50%-screenshot


UPDATED Jan 18, 2017
These 4 songs now download for $4. There is 1 free track available
——-Here is how MQA Ltd. described me in their newsletter this week (emphasis is mine):

MQA Artist Release
Sound quality has been a driving motivation for singer-songwriter David Elias since he started recording his music digitally more than 20 years ago. On listening to some of his earliest recordings encoded with MQA, David noted, “The original intention and sounds are much more accurately represented [with MQA] and are therefore much, much more enjoyable to listen to. The convenience of MQA’s smaller file size is an additional no-brainer.” 

This paragraph says a lot for me because I’ve lived with CD and its problems with sound quality as long as everyone else. In fact I had no CDs long after many did, sticking to vinyl and even my own mix tape cassettes (analog ruled) for years after the CD deluge. It sounded better. I liked album covers. What can I say.

I broke my teeth on CD quality recording in 1995 making my first CD in a home studio setup. I recorded to Hi-8 Video Tape at 16/48 on an 8-track Tascam DA-88. I’d recorded myself at times on various tape machines and a few digital boxes for almost 20 years but this was much different.

I listened to a lot of everything I put on tape through that whole process of recording, mixing analog (lengend original Mackie 1202!) to 16/44.1 (Sony TCD-10 DAT) and then mastered on a DyaxisII Workstation. It sounded good and in fact better in the studio than on the final CD that was printed.

Those early CDs and many later recordings were either created or converted to PCM to be moved online one way or another. All my released songs are on YouTube Music now for example, as audio, as well as lots of other places, like 50 or more. The more they travel in the Etherspace the worse they sound generally.  They get downsampled and converted into whatever suits the retailer or streaming radio like Pandora (one of my least favorites for sound quality).

But shoots, I want to get heard…otherwise I wouldn’t put music I write out there in the first place.

Enter MQA… I started listening to it in February on hi-res converted music from 2L in Norway. Classical works. I knew some of them from 10+ years prior as SACDs I had actually been given by Morten Lindberg there. 2L put MQA converted masters (DXD conversions which are PCM at 24/352.8) online to try as well as other hi-res formats. I was using a Meridian Explorer2 MQA DAC connected to my Dell Windows 10 notebook running the latest JRiver.

All I can say is I didn’t hear anything I didn’t like, and in some cases heard some things I really really liked.

So I started listening to other MQA encoded tracks. MQA is not a new audio format. It is still linear PCM, just has its own corrections (aka filtering) applied to the encoding of the music.

 What I started paying attention to more and more and hearing more and more were the timing coherence corrections in the playback. What PCM has always done to my ears, along with countless others, is present a very sharp unnatural edge to the sound that can get worse for me the louder or harder the music is played. It doesn’t flow like vinyl, cassette, or DSD. Usually it kind of attacks quickly, then disappears. It’s not relaxing, let me put it that way.

MQA encoded tracks I listened to had lost much of that sharp attack, no decay characteristic. They were well presented and much easier to listen to. They positioned things more clearly in the stereo space noticeably including the front and back locations in addition to left and right. The soundstage was then more 2 dimensional with depth as well as 3 dimensional with up and down.

This listening started with a lot of music I didn’t know, yet I was happy to listen to it with open ears so to speak.

Over the next few months, I decided I wanted to hear some of my PCM recordings as MQA and started making inquiries as to how I might do that. In the end, I became an MQA artist partner and have converted my catalog and archives to MQA encoded PCM.

I’ve actually had most of my catalog online as PCM on the Bandcamp site (http://davidelias.bandcamp.com) as CD quality up to 24/88.2 for a couple years now. Now most of that has been updated to download in the smaller FLAC or ALAC MQA encoded files.

Overall, MQA sounded better to me than any CD or hi-res PCM master I had. It doesn’t need much more proof to me. I have read a lot about the “what it is” and “why it works” to understand that better, but after my intro through reading and some YouTubes, I just started listening a lot. I still am.

What About The 4 Songs…  The first album on the page at the link above is a free download. You can also stream it as much as you want. Bandcamp lets you download songs in a variety of formats. The default is MP3.  Don’t download it as MP3! 

MQA requires what’s called a lossless format — The 4 big lossless formats being used out there are the original WAV (PC) and AIF (Mac) and their file (not audio) compressed counterparts FLAC (PC) and ALAC (Mac).  Choose one of those when you download from anywhere no matter what the site or music! It is not missing some of its music from the original like MP3!

FLAC and ALAC are roughly 1/2 the size of WAV and AIF. They sound identical and are better at carrying the magic metadata or tags that include all the song and album info for the media player to display when playing the track.

MP3 and Apple’s AAC use math to remove audio data in an original CD or hi-res audio master to make it a much smaller file (in general about 1/10th the size). That was the strategy from the beginning when everyone was dialing up the Internet on modems. It made sense then as one didn’t want to stay online for hours or days to download an album. Apple cemented that approach since iTunes Store came online in 2004. How long will that go on? As long as people buy it I guess.

 Excuse Me, What About The 4 Songs…  Ok, I have a lot of MQA encoded music I am really kind of hearing for the first time myself. This includes both very good and some not so great recordings (like live public hall stuff through a single $99 Sony stereo mic to DAT).

Most of it got created as a PCM recording. The MQA encoded versions of these tracks changed how they sound to me and took me a lot closer to the original performance whether was studio or live stage. It sounds more like the sound in the room at the time and what was played and I am relaxed when I listen to it because of that.

Go here and try 4 songs at 3 different PCM resolutions, all encoded as MQA

https://davidelias.bandcamp.com/album/mqa-track-sampler-any-player-works-1-free-track

If I went into too much detail this email might get long :)

Here’s the (short) not so fine print:

1) If you have an MQA DAC you can hear the full resolution up to 24/352.8 or the limits of your MQA DAC.

2) If you don’t have an MQA DAC you can just play it anyway at 16/44.1, 24/44.1 or 24/48 depending on source track

3) If you get an MQA DAC later (or the media players do it for you) you’ll hear the hi-res then

 The song audio resolutions range from CD (16/44.1) hi-res (24/96) to DXD (24/352.8). They are all only about as big as a CD file to download (about 700MB), maybe a little bigger.

CD’s sound better as MQA to me with or without the MQA DAC gear. You can just play them. I’ve had different people tell me the same thing about my stuff. So far I have heard its biggest benefits on the lowest res recordings. I might even know why.

If you have questions you can reply to this email, it just comes to me…I hope you try downloading the tracks. If you have an MQA DAC, don’t stream them, download them!

Thanks For Listening!

DE
http://www.davidelias-mqa.com (MQA Downloads)
http://www.davidelias.com/dsd_downloads (DSD Downloads)
http://youtube.com/davideliasvideo

Go Get Some…Hi-Rez…

What’s New and How You Can Get Some…

David Elias - Independent Acoustic

David Elias – Independent Acoustic


I have been watching and listening to the way online music is changing further towards higher quality on almost a daily basis. One of the latest rockets here is that Sony is now opening their vault of master archives and letting the hi-rez bug put their titles online as downloads in the DSD format.

What’s that mean to you? I think it means a lot for anyone who has listened to vinyl, analog tapes (reel-to-reel), or other HD quality downloads from the ever increasing number of sources that give you something beyond the CD quality we’ve grown accustomed to, but not comfortable with.

You can watch the supposed 500 titles from Sony start appearing at http://SuperHiRez.com now through the end of the year. There are already a few hundred HD (FLAC and ALAC to 176.4k, 24-bit) and DSD64 downloads up there.

Click on the “Digital Downloads” menu in the left column to select specific formats. I’m still in their Top Seller 25 list with “Acoustic Trio DSD Sessions” and “The Window” so thank you if you helped with that.


As you must know by now, I care a lot about how things sound, mostly because there are ways to record and produce things that others can listen to (discs, downloads, videos, streaming mp3’s…) and cause them them say things like: “How did you make that sound so natural and real?”, and “How do you get the bass to sound like that?”, and “I never heard that on the CD!”, and “This is almost as good as my vinyl”, or “This is the best #**@#$(#$ thing I ever heard!”…

So listening to music gets fun again and more relaxed and more enjoyable as a pastime, and not necessarily as a background sound filler.  That is something I like a lot!

If you are into Classical and Rare Audiophile Recordings, try browsing High Definition Tape Transfers…They have HD and DSD for Baroque, Chamber, Orchestral, Symphonies, Jazz…You can find my DSD albums there as well. Thanks Bob!

The new release of the “Acoustic Trio DSD Sessions” recorded by Charlie Natzke at Slipperworld.net is a set of 14 songs recorded in 3.5 hrs. by me (acoustic/vocal/harmonica), Charlie (acoustic/vocal), and Chris Kee (upright bass).  We had the windows open (you can hear the redwing blackbirds on one track). We were standing about arms length from each other in a circle. We had our mics bleeding into each other…

We recorded to Sonoma DSD64 live with no overdubs. Nothing was edited.  I mixed this on Sonoma in a day and a night. The Sony mixer card allowed me to do that without ever converting the source tracks from DSD to anything else, even to analog and then back to DSD. The result is 100% pure DSD.

So it is a very live acoustic natural reproduction of a studio performance of the trio. Some people feel this is my most “authentic” recording. Their impression may be so because there are only 3 instruments to pick out and spatially they are represented in stereo in just the way they were recorded.  As I told a friend online, you have to stop thinking of “L/R” (left/right) and think of a performance of 3 guys standing in a circle and you sitting or standing there with them.

I now have the HD version of this album as an 24-bit, 88.2kHz FLAC download for those not using DSD playback hardware or software.  In addition, you get the smaller files as MP3-320 (320kHz) to use in your Smartphone or tablet.

The HD version is now online for $14.95.

The DSD (which also includes FLAC and MP3-320 copies) is also there for $24.95.

You can find these downloads at http://www.davidelias.com

If you have any questions, just reply to this email. Hardware and software for DSD playback is getting easier and cheaper to find. If you are interested in learning more about it, I can try to answer your questions. Two good sources to search for info are Positive Feedback and DSD Guide.

Thanks for Listening!
If it sounds good, it is good…


If you are interested in creating a DSD multitrack recording of your own, contact Charlie Natzke via email – He’s in La Honda, CA at Slipperworld.net.

Charlie is the studio and DSD engineer behind my “Crossing” and “Acoustic Trio” recordings. Another new DSD album release I hope to get out this year is one more project Charlie setup the studio for, recorded to DSD on Sonoma and mixed as analog. He’s da man!

My song “Silver Pen” online for download now is a single from this next DSD album release. It lets you compare different audio formats to hear the differences for yourself. It cost $4.99 for all 5 formats (DSF, FLAC 24/96, WMA Lossless 24/96, WAV 16/44.1 (CD), MP3-320).

Aloha!

– DE