Just a couple weeks ago, we learned that Paul McCartney would be releasing his remastered Band on the Run album as a High Resolution (24bit 96kHz) download, and now George Harrison’s estate is doing the same thing with All Things Must Pass for its 40th anniversary on November 26. No word on whether you’ll be able to get versions with and without peak limiting like you can with Band on the Run, but the fact that hi-res audio is becoming de rigueur from the Apple/Abbey Road team is surely a good sign.
In addition to the digital download, All Things Must Pass will be also released on 180-gram vinyl in its original three-LP configuration, remastered at Abbey Road Studios from the original analog master tapes.
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…
The Wall Street Journal asks, Are Technology Limits In MP3s and iPods Ruining Pop Music? But man, couldn’t they find anyone who doesn’t sound like a complete “back in my day” fogeyist? Kids these days, I tell ya, they just don’t care about quality anymore. At least according to dudes who’ve worked with Fleetwood Mac, the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Cher, Michael Jackson, Santana and, ahem, Chris Daughtry.
The annoying thing is that what they are saying really is important:
Producers and engineers say there are many ways they might change a track to accommodate an iPod MP3. Sometimes, the changes are for the worse.
For example, says veteran Los Angeles studio owner Skip Saylor, high frequencies that might seem splendid on a CD might not sound as good as an MP3 file and so will get taken out of the mix. “The result might make you happy on an MP3, but it wouldn’t make you happy on a CD,” he says. “Am I glad I am doing this? No. But it’s the real world and so you make adjustments.”
This shift to compressed music heard via an iPod is occurring at the same time as another music trend that bothers audiophiles: Music today is released at higher volume levels than ever before, on the assumption that louder music sells better. The process of boosting volume, though, tends to eliminate a track’s distinct highs and lows.
It’s true, and it sucks. But they’re not going to convince anybody with that kind of tone.
Audiophiles Become Ipodiophiles: “The quality of the components used in the iPod are on the same level as low- to medium-priced audiophile gear. From the audio standpoint, iPod makes a very good source.” The iMod hack seems a little bulky for the commute though…