This is exciting news for audiophiles. While the general earbudder might not give a shit about audio quality or dynamic range, people who really enjoy listening—and listening hard!—to music are going to be surprised by the following note from Abbey Road’s Allan Rouse regarding Paul McCartney’s remastered reissue of Band on the Run.
As is common with releases using Topspin’s tools, customers have a number of options, including CD only, deluxe CD package, vinyl, MP3 download, etc. This time, you can also purchase a High Resolution (24bit 96kHz) download for $19.99. The really cool thing about this is you get both limited and unlimited versions of the audio. For non-audiophiles, “limited” audio is a little louder, while the “unlimited” version will “sound quieter, but retain the dynamic range of the original master recording.” The fact that they’re giving people both may signal a real turning point in the Loudness Wars. Let’s hope so anyway…
Read Rouse’s full explanation below…
The audio industry has seen many technical innovations since Band on the Run was first released on vinyl in 1973, the most notable being digital recording. However, with the introduction of CD came two advances, “de-noising” and “peak limiting” which have become increasingly unpopular within certain areas of the music industry and amongst audiophiles.
De-noising was introduced to remove the inherent sound, or hiss, associated with analogue tape. The amount of processing used to remove tape noise can be varied, but when used excessively, many believe that it also has a detrimental effect on elements of the musical sound.
Peak limiting is a process that increases the loudness of music. It is achieved by holding the loudest peaks down and raising the overall level of the music. Much depends on the amount of limiting applied, but at its most extreme the result can be a serious reduction in the dynamic range and often audible distortion.
The release of The Beatles’ remasters in 2009 saw a marked change in attitudes towards these issues, where both noise reduction and limiting were used sparingly with the aim of representing the master tapes more accurately. Such is the case with the newly remastered CD of Band on the Run: tape noise reduction has scarcely been used and the degree of limiting is subtle. In addition digital technology has advanced with the ability now to offer recordings in 24 bit/96kHz. The high resolution version is being made available via download and is being offered in two formats: limited, which is comparable in volume to the remastered CD, and un-limited, which in comparison with the limited version will sound quieter, but retain the dynamic range of the original master recording.
Allan Rouse Abbey Road Studios