Thursday, May 18, 2017


Hello and welcome back... As record company's fight to keep their heads above water, one wonders whats next in the world of music.

Lets face it, CDs are dead.

Dead technology. Released in the mid 80s, these discs of 16bit 44,100Hz have had their day.
Or have they?

Currently, their is a surge of music lovers looking to go one step better (me included) with 24bit / 96-192Khz HD music... Basically, its double the information found on a CD.
24Bit music is often stored on a computer as a format, mainly FLAC or WAV and is large in size.
A normal MP3 song is often about 3-5MB where as a HD Flac song is about 80-95MB in size.
A full size HD album can be 800MB to 3.GB for DVD-Audio.

A while ago, Sony released the SACD (Super Audio Compact Disc) which kinda failed, mostly because you needed to buy a SACD Player, but are currently experience a resurgence.

So the record company's have found a solution... Remastered Albums, either downloaded as 24bit files or on a new release CD's.
Add more info to a disc and you have DVD-Audio and 5.1 Surround Music.

These new Re-Mastered albums are often copied from Master Tapes and then given the 24bit / 96Khz treatment... suddenly sounds that were lost or squashed on a standard CD are now allowed to spread their wings and be separated just like as if you were listening to them in the recording studio

BUT is it any good?

Below is video of 80s band Toto with the track Africa which has been downloaded from a 5.1 SACD remixed and remixed to stereo.
Its best to listen on a good set of headphones. (be sure to set 720p in Youtube settings)

If your like me, you should be able to hear a marked improvement. Bass sounds heavier, vocals and guitars are crisp and in the chorus, i can hear a faint guitar i couldn't hear before.

While Youtube often down-samples the sound, its still a marked improvement.
I imagine the original CD it was recorded off would be a real feast for the ears.


Stunning sound, love this...

The only downside i can see with this, if you want to purchase a HD SACD, they cost about $80 (even more if they are imported from Japan)

Just recently, i downloaded from Itunes, the Re-Mastered album from Canadian band Rush, their 1985 album 'Power Windows'.
The album is in a Itunes Remastered format know as AAC / 256kbps / 44.100Khz.
While the file size doesn't look impressive, it does sound pretty good.... Its secret is that it has a 32Bit float behind the sound which leaves a well polished (low distortion & noise) with good bass response.

While some people might say that Re-Mastering is nothing but hype / gimmick, I beg to differ but everyone is different.

Somethings to check to get the best sound available =

Headphones - Some headphones are branded for HD Music.
I am using a pair of Sony Headphones mostly because the publish the frequency range on the box (this is helpful).
Most headphones only cover 20-20,000hz, where as the headphones i have cover 8-25,000hz (this is good because it allows the frequency's of music to be spread across the spectrum). The lower number (8hz) is for Bass, human hearing stops around 12hz so if a sound goes lower, it becomes more a feeling (that thump bass makes) than a sound you can hear.
25,000hz is the high end (very crispy up here).
They needn't be expensive (mine cost about $125) but obviously, brands like Shure, Sony & Bose are going to be better than a cheap pair of $9 headphones.

Setup your Computer - Go to your soundcard settings (control panel - sound and hardware) and under speakers / headphones, go to properties - advanced and click on default format and set toggle to 24bit / 96,000hz (studio quality)... you can click 'Test' to see if your computer can take this setting... if it sounds fine, click apply then OK to save.
Make sure you also have the latest sound drivers for your computer (mine is Realtek), often found when doing a windows update or going to Realtek website

I like Apple Itunes, its easy to get around, has a store to buy more albums and you can rip your CDs using AAC (better than MP3) at 320kbps.
Problem is Apple does not support FLAC HD files (boooo)

Windows Media Player (no longer updated)

VLC Player does (its free and covers Mac and other formats).. Click Here to download

Music Bee is another player i like, has a good layout and music is set automatically to 32bit and can also be set to 5.1 Audio as well
It can also import CDs to FLAC (and other formats including WAV) on the fly and burn to CDs as well.
Music Bee also handles WASAPI (Windows Audio Session API) and ASIO drivers for a even better sound experience.
WASAPI and ASIO drivers bypass computer sound setting and play direct from music = cleaner, higher bit sound. (asio drivers) (wasapi / asio drivers)
Once downloaded, go to MusicBee edit - preferences - player... here you can use the dropdown box to change to Wasapi / Asio drivers if you want, tick 32bit output, upmix stereo to 5.1, resample to 96k.

Another good program called Foobar2000 also handles HD Audio (FLAC)

Apple Itunes sells Re-Mastered albums...

There is a site called HD-Tracks that has some really good albums but sadly does not allow Australians to download... Pretty pathetic, like our money is not good enough.. Shame, The site looks really good..

Make your own = using MusicBee or Foobar2000, you can import your own CDs and set the rip to FLAC or WAV (highest setting)

Band websites sometime offer albums that have been Re-Mastered, and the money goes directly to the band.. is one of the sites.

Bandcamp & Soundcloud = some new artists are offering albums in 24bit sound.

JB HI-FI stores

Ebay has some bargains

Anyone Else have any suggestions?? Comment below..

In the next few posts on Electronic80s (this site :)) covering the Classix Album Series, i will post a few HD albums so you can hear what i am talking about.
Try not to re-format the downloaded albums on offer ( i sometimes re-format downloaded albums from MP3 to AAC).. Leave as is otherwise you will lose sound information.

*** Hey Guys, Please don't forget to shout me a coffee (see link top right corner).. Any amount big or small is much appreciated and it keeps this site happening :)***


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