Hi-Res Audio

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Steven Plaskin  |  Sep 27, 2012
The Hoff Ensemble Quiet Winter Night 2L (192/24)

This wonderful recording is a blend of jazz and folk with Norwegian songs sung by Norway’s top vocalists including Helene Boksle, Sondre Bratland, Unni Wilhelmsen, Tomine Harket and Cecilia Vennersten. Now I have never heard of any of these singers, but the album fits together beautifully. As the title suggests, this is quiet reflective music with a touch of melancholy that is very well recorded. A large acoustic space with deep bass. And yes, this recording has dynamics; an overall DR13. Another 2L showpiece.

Michael Lavorgna  |  Feb 07, 2012
A big thank you to reader Brian R. for pointing us to three lovely and free downloads from Gimell:
Josquin - Missa De beata virgine and Missa Ave maris stella, The Tallis Scholars
Josquin - Missa Malheur me bat & Missa Fortuna desperata, The Tallis Scholars
Victoria - Lamentations of Jeremiah Victoria, The Tallis Scholars
Michael Lavorgna  |  Sep 17, 2014
From the press release:
The announcement of the first live concert recording in DSD follows an agreement between Acoustic Sounds and Warner Music Group (WMG) to provide the company’s digital download music service with more than 1,200 high-resolution, mainstream albums by some of the most dynamic names in music.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Aug 28, 2013
Online music and gear retailer Acoustic Sounds will begin offering DSD downloads...today! Wednesday, August 28th! That's right, here's the first source for popular titles from artists like John Coltrane, Muddy Waters, and Cat Stevens in lovely resplendent DSD. Kinda makes you glad you have that DSD-ready DAC. You do have one, right?
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jun 17, 2013
High Definition Tape Transfers (HDTT), purveyors of "rare classical recordings in audiophile sound" mainly sourced from analog tape will begin releasing DSD64 and DSD128 downloads from their catalog starting this week. Expect between 4 and 6 titles for the initial release and more to follow. If you're not familiar with HDTT, I would recommend a trip to their website but their name provides a nice summary.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Dec 19, 2012
Our top 10 (each) HD releases from 2012 (and some from before that) selected by yours truly, Steve Plaskin, and Jon Iverson = 30 great-sounding music picks. Enjoy!
Michael Lavorgna  |  Dec 17, 2013
I think its fair to say that Charlie Hansen, Ayre's Founder and Designer, is not exactly a fan of DSD. Thankfully, that didn't stop him from offering DSD-capable versions of Ayre's QB-9, DX-5-DSD, and now the QA-9 thanks to AlpineSoft's VinylStudio DoP vinyl ripping software. What the guys at Ayre have gone and done is ripped parts of three tracks to single-rate DSD and 24/192 using the QA-9 so we can compare DSD to PCM. But there's more...
Michael Lavorgna  |  Apr 26, 2012

Thanks to reader Guilherme R. for turning me/us onto this free 24/96 FLAC download from all-around bad boys in a good way BADBADNOTGOOD's latest BBNG2. Mainly a three-piece consisting of piano/keyboards, acoustic and electric bass, and drums/sampler, if you like your music all modern and jazzy with an attitude, you may very well like BADBADNOTGOOD. I know I do. Then again, you may hate them. Did I mention BBNG2's free?

Michael Lavorgna  |  Mar 03, 2014
Thanks to reader Juergen R. for alerting me to what appears to be the fact that two of the tracks from Beck's wonderful Morning Phase included in the 24/96 download from HDtracks are sourced from MP3. Juergen commented in the original DotW post:
"Besides the high compression for this kind of music, where the bass drum kicks extremely often into hard limiting and the bass notes most times also, I have recognized, that for example the Track 10 and also Track 11 of the 24 Bit 96 kHz HighRes versions are 100 % for sure from 44k1 MP3. They show all the typical 44k1 MP3 artifacts of modulating a 16 kHz low pass filter with level. So we have 2 MP3 tracks sold as 24/96 HighRes. This 2 MP3 tracks are also valid in the other releases, not just the HighRes release, All other HighRes Tracks are based on 44k1 sources with the same DR and Bandwidth, as with the CD release."
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 19, 2015
I have a confession to make; near the end of nearly every RMAF, some piece of music played on some system in some room chokes me up to the point of having to hold back tears. I would suggest my reaction has to do with everything including the music and its sound. Three year's ago, it was the "Violin Sonata in G Minor" composed by Claude Debussy as performed by David Abel, violin, and Julie Steinberg, piano, from a DSD transfer in the Wilson/VTL room (see details).
Michael Lavorgna  |  Mar 22, 2013
Miles Davis' In A Silent Way is near the top of any list I'd make. When I first listened to it decades ago my heart raced (literally) after the opening notes and things got more intense from there on in. The same still holds after countless listens. In A Silent Way, along with Bitches Brew and A Tribute to Jack Johnson helped me get over the passing of Jimi Hendrix and pointed toward a very bright future. I don't really care all that much as to whether or not In A Silent Way was the first 'fusion' album because the music speaks to matters beyond category. You simply need to sit and do nothing other than listen.
Steven Plaskin  |  Feb 01, 2013
Aaron Neville’s latest release, My True Story, is available as a hi res download from HDtracks (96/24, 192/24). Aaron is returning to his “roots” performing doo-wop rock ballads in this album. The recording also features Keith Richards on guitar with a great band. There are no lush strings behind Aaron’s smooth vocals; just a tight band with excellent backup singers including Eugene Pitt, Booby Jay, Dickie Harmon, and Joel Katz.
Steven Plaskin  |  Nov 09, 2012
Sessions From The 17th Ward is Amber Rubarth’s latest release on Chesky Records. While HDtracks refers to her music as folk, there is a wide variety of music on this download with songs written by Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, Oscar Hammerstein II, and Amber’s own songs accompanied by her guitar. Along with Amber, is Dave Eggar:cello, Chuck Palmer: percussion, and Tim Snider: violin.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Nov 08, 2013
I'll say up front that I loved this record before I heard it. That's right, Archie Shepp, saxophone player extraordinaire and one of our greatest living artists, has a new record. No, not a reissue, a new record on his own Archieball label recorded live in France on Sept 9 2012 at the Jazz à La Villette Festival, June 14 2013 at CNCDC de Châteauvallon, and on June 17 2013 at Les Nuits de Fourvière Festival with his Attica Blues Orchestra. I Hear the Sound swings like Duke, romps like Mingus, and sings the blues like, well, Archie Shepp. I Hear a Sound is a re-telling of Shepp's 1972 Attica Blues LP originally released on Impulse! as a tribute to the rebellion that took place within the walls of Attica State Prison. Let's let Archie Shepp tell us about it (from the excellent liner notes):
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jun 01, 2012
Da Pacem (Give Peace) featuring the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and Christopher Bowers-Broadbent on organ led by Pärt perfectionist Paul Hillier spans nearly 30 years of the composer's output. Here we have a collection of short-form sacred choral works both a cappella and with organ accompaniment and they are sparse, minimal, medieval, monastic, and lovely. If you go for that sort of thing.