Q&A With David Chesky of HDtracks Part 2
Based on the comments from Part 1 of our Q&A with David Chesky of HDtracks, I sent along some additional questions. I should say that this process is not perfect and David's answers are obviously to a large extent a reflection of my questions. That being the case, David has offered to continue this dialog so consider this a work in process.
The main issue that's come up in the Comments on the Q&A relate to provenance. There seems to be a general question of how HDtracks physically receives files from the labels. Are they delivered on disc, through an FTP site, on hard drive, or does HDtracks rip from a commercial DVD-A or SACD release?
We used to get physical discs but I would say most things come now via SFTP [SSH File Transfer Protocol] from the labels. It is a file that their engineers made from the master that must be approved by the artist, producer, and label.
If we do get a physical disc our mastering houses can rip bit perfect and test. We have done many tests and digital data is digital data and will null out in the studio if done correctly. If it passes that test it is bit perfect and is a perfect copy of the master. I have done this test many times with my own Chesky recordings.
With SACD or DSD files we have to filter HF noise as to NOT blow up tweeters. Remember SACD players have analog filters to filter out the HF dither noise, PCM DACs do not. And realize many of the SACDs and DVD audio discs are out of print. The point of HDtracks is to make all of these recordings available to everyone all the time in a Hi Res format.
On the same subject of provenance, two examples were raised - The Doors and Yes Fragile - where it was unclear what mix was used as the source of the HD download. Could you clarify the source of these releases and can this information be made available on the HDtracks website?
I am looking into Yes and the Doors and will get back to you. [I will add this information as soon as I get it. Ed.]
A few readers commented that they experience ongoing problems with the HDtracks download Manager app - slow downloads, crashes, etc. What do think are the causes of these problems and are there plans to address these issues?
Download speeds are really a function of the local provider. In NYC at home I have Time Warner and it works well at around 10 Mbps. The office is fiber and runs really fast at around 100 Mbps.
We are currently building version 2 of our DM. This new DM will be a lot better and have a lot more flexibility and cool things. That should be out before the end of the summer, and it will be a big game changer for the best.
In closing what I don't think people realize is I have spent hundreds of hours listening to different files at different sample rates, ripping devices, format converters, A/D converters, etc, with my own hi-res recordings that I think have a much lower noise floor than any commercial rock album. And you can rest assured this is under ideal studio conditions where we have the best playback gear.
"...it is and will always be about pushing the audiophile envelope to try to one day be able to really make a recording where you cannot tell if it is live or not, and until we do that, we have to keep trying."
I am fanatical about getting the best resolution sound. I want to hear every last inch of reverb tails. Chesky Records and HDtracks is, and will always be about the best quality and resolution, that is our thing. We come from the world of setting up mics in rooms and making records the old fashioned way...And that is why we are doing our new Binaural+ series on Chesky as well.
Do you really think we are doing this to make some new format to make billions from the masses? No, it is and will always be about pushing the audiophile envelope to try to one day be able to really make a recording where you cannot tell if it is live or not, and until we do that, we have to keep trying. That is our business model.
See Part 1 of our Q&A with David Chesky of HDtracks here.