Spring 1990 (The Other One) Box
Less Than 500 Units Left.
•144-page paperback book with essays by Nicholas G. Meriwether and Blair Jackson
•A portfolio with three art prints by Jessica Dessner
• Replica ticket stubs and backstage passes for all eight shows
•8 complete shows on 23 discs
•3/14/90 Capital Centre, Landover, MD
•3/18/90 Civic Center, Hartford, CT
•3/21/90 Copps Coliseum, Hamilton, Ontario
•3/25/90 Knickerbocker Arena, Albany, NY
•3/28/90 Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, NY
•3/29/90 Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, NY (featuring Branford Marsalis)
•4/1/90 The Omni, Atlanta, GA
•4/3/90 The Omni, Atlanta, GA
Recorded by long-time Grateful Dead audio engineer John Cutler
Mixed from the master 24-track analog tapes by Jeffrey Norman at Bob Weir's TRI Studios
Mastered to HDCD specs by David Glasser
Original Art by Jessica Dessner
Individually Numbered, Limited Edition of 9,000
Announcing Spring 1990 (The Other One)
"If every concert tells a tale, then every tour writes an epic. Spring 1990 felt that way: an epic with more than its share of genius and drama, brilliance and tension. And that is why the rest of the music of that tour deserves this release, why the rest of those stories need to be heard." - Nicholas G. Meriwether
Some consider Spring 1990 the last great Grateful Dead tour. That it may be. In spite of outside difficulties and downsides, nothing could deter the Grateful Dead from crafting lightness from darkness. They were overwhelmingly triumphant in doing what they came to do, what they did best — forging powerful explorations in music. Yes, it was the music that would propel their legacy further, young fans joining the ranks with veteran Dead Heads, Jerry wondering "where do they keep coming from?" — a sentiment that still rings true today, a sentiment that offers up another opportunity for an exceptional release from a tour that serves as transcendental chapter in the Grateful Dead masterpiece.
With Spring 1990 (The Other One), you'll have the chance to explore another eight complete shows from this chapter, the band elevating their game to deliver inspired performances of concert staples (“Tennessee Jed” and “Sugar Magnolia”), exceptional covers (Dylan’s “When I Paint My Masterpiece” and the band’s last performance of the Beatles’ “Revolution”) and rare gems (the first “Loose Lucy” in 16 years) as well as many songs from Built To Last, which had been released the previous fall and would become the Dead’s final studio album. Also among the eight is one of the most sought-after shows in the Dead canon: the March, 29, 1990 show at Nassau Coliseum, where Grammy®-winning saxophonist Branford Marsalis sat in with the group. The entire second set is one continuous highlight, especially the breathtaking version of “Dark Star.”
For those of you who are keeping track, this release also marks a significant milestone as now, across the two Spring 1990 boxed sets, Dozin At The Knick, and Terrapin Limited, the entire spring tour of 1990 has been officially released, making it only the second Grateful Dead tour, after Europe 1972, to have that honor.
Now shipping, you'll want to order your copy soon as these beautiful boxes are going, going, gone...
Listening Party: 3/29/90, Nassau Coliseum With Branford Marsalis, Set 2
Enjoy the 2nd set of 3/29/90!
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A reply to the poster from 4/30.
Besides being a very poorly written post and wandering to the point where I don't know exactly what they were trying to say other than they don't like GD after 1979.. I simply disagree.
I love '67 - 74 too, but if you don't like later day sound, no one is holding a gun to your head to get this, please have some manners and show some respect.
There's plenty of energy in the shows in this box. I am half-way through a second listen of this whole tour and added in Formerly the Warlocks and Nightfall of Diamonds for good measure. The song selections, recordings, performances and mix are peak, later year GD. I especially like the song selections and performances contained in this box.
I am happy to disagree with the rant two posts prior to this and dig the mix on Spring '90 TOO. My experience is more in line with One-Man's.
Ya know, I'm not the biggest 80s or 90s fan either. But I gotta say the 3/21/90 show kinda blows me away. There is a ton of energy here and little MIDI. I saw 30 or so shows in the 80s and none of them were as good as this one. Maybe it's an acquired taste. Give it a few spins and see if you don't warm up to it.
I am not sure if i get this,people are saying that the recordings are not that great for one reason or another but what it comes down to is these shows will put you to sleep. The overall energy is almost invisible 7 minute Halfstep,8 minute playin's, 17 minutes for a Help On The Way>Slipknot>Franklins Tower TOTAL. A 8 or 9 minute China-Cat>Rider has no time to even find a groove or a 19 minute Scarlet-fire it's over before it starts. How is this for an idea lets forget the '90's forever plus there was a million tapers if you want that MIDI bullshit. Why not jump to some shows worth listening to like march of '73,fall of '73 with horns,6/22,6/23,6/27/74,10/15,11/1,11/6/77 or 4/12,5/7/78 or 2/17/79,1/5/79 i could keep going but one thing is for damn sure NO MORE'90's please. Am i the only person that despise's that freaking midi-sound?
Yeah that would be nice
I really wish these downloads were available piecemeal, show by show. I would definitely pick up each show individually over time, but dropping $200 all at once can be difficult for some people. Love that the FLACs are in HD though...
Was listening to the Nassau 3/28/90 show earlier and when thinking about the cover artwork-- the wolf, raven and gold crown piece-- couldn't help but think Jessica Dessner had Game of Thrones on her mind. Or... maybe I just do!
That was very funny. I just don't have that kind of it. Says a lot in a few short words.
Johndrano, You can now get the first box set as a lossless download. You don't get the book and other bits and pieces and you will have to burn your own cds if you want to listen on a cd player but the cost of the ALAC version from dead.net is way cheaper than $900! Here's the link
I finally talked myself into picking this up the other day. Came today, I am just starting disc 2 of 3-14 and I am already so glad I picked this up. The sound is incredible and the band was killing it. The box is on another level. I am now thinking I wished I had bought the first box when I had the chance. I won't pay $900 and up for it, i guess i will just keep my eyes peeled for a deal.
Thanks for the push fellow heads.
I'm afraid I don't have time to read 34 pages' worth of comments right about now, so I'm hoping that someone can answer this for me (with apologies if it has already been asked and answered somewhere in this thread): are the Hi-Def files seamless, or are there fade-outs (and fade-ins) between drums and space like there would be on the Apple files? I instinctively want to believe that they would be seamless, as they can't be burned to discs but I would appreciate it if someone could confirm this for me.
Thanks in advance!
I doubt that's coming back. It's been sold out for many months. It sold out around the time Winterland 73 sold out and that one is probably not coming back either.
Since there isn't a page for this particular box set anymore, anyone around here have an idea when "Winterland June 1977" box set will be back in the store? Thanks!!
That was funny. I just don't have that kind of wit. Says a lot in a few short words.
Wait a few years and super hi-def will be out. So what if you can't hear the difference, your dogs can, and aren't they worth it?
..all the thanks belongs to wjonjd. He deserves an honorary doctorate in digital musicology. I have been very curious about all this and from day 1 have not used compression (mp3's) in my digital library, its 100% non-compressed. I got a real education in all this by reading this thread over the last several months.
On a related note, I am very high on this recording and overall quality of this box. Like many others that have posted on this thread, I also wish the original Spring '90 was mastered from the multi-tracks.. it sounds good but this box sounds great.
oh well.. I am happy they put the extra time and expense into mastering the second half of this tour. ..might as well take the time to do things right, its always worth it, and in this case the music certainly deserves a little added respect.
I think I might just pop in 4/1 tonight while I get some work done.
After extensive review I have decided to keep my box set since it was a present from my Mom. I have been researching HD music for the past few months, and have come to the conclusion that this cds have been dithered properly, and they sound just as good as the 192khz files.
I also did a blind test with 3.29.1990 between the 192khz and the 44khz, and my wife, who has impeccable hearing, couldn't tell which was which. That being said, I also went ahead and bought the first box in 24/88.2 khz, and while the difference is there, its quite insignificant. Its really a shame they mixed the first box set with 2 tracks.
@Seth - thank you for the offer - contact me via email at email@example.com and i'll see if we can work something out.
@JimInMD - thank you for taking the time to answer my comment. You're awesome!
@wjonjd - thank you for your expansive explanation. I am conducting blind tests with various LZ 2014 remasters and PF's Division Bell remasters to see if people can tell the difference between the 16 and 24 bit versions. Most people can't - so the question comes up again, why are we going for the hi-res files if our ears really can't tell the difference.
@brianhahne - thanks for selling me the view from the vault 1 on ebay - I have to say, those summer tours don't have the same energy as the spring shows. I think I was spoiled by these box sets. I would love to hear the bonus tracks from view from the vault 2, but Ameoba is selling it for $150. That is crazy, but I would love to hear Brent's final dark star.
JimInMD is right that you can Ebay the box for primo bucks if you wait a bit.
Buuuuuuuutttttttttt, if you want to raise cash to buy the HD files and you live in the Bay Area, I have an immediate offer for you. I can't spend $240 on a box set. I have a wife and child to support here in SF on my $65K/yr income. But I can offer to give you $150 for just the CD sets and the book. You can keep 3/29 since I bought the stand alone release, and you can keep the box, the prints, the repro ticks/passes.
If you want to meet up some weekend day and do this, the quickest way to contact me is through this thread as I rarely log in/see my mailbox.
Just an offer.
wjonjd put a lot of info out on the difference between high def and what is on the CD's further down in this thread..
If you still would prefer the Hi Def files, once this box sells out (and I am sure it will eventually).. you will be able to get your money back for your box by reselling it on EBay or Amazon, then you can get the downloads, they will still be available then.
..on a related note, am I the only one that thinks they totally fibbed when they said this box was down to 1,500 copies a few months back?
I cant believe this still exists. I guess since they are selling the digital files and with Dave's Picks renewals going on (plus some Dicks Picks are being re-released right now also, I think).. there is more for sale now than usual.. but I thought this would have sold out before Christmas.
So, I was one of the suckers who bought the actual box, and now I see that they've released all the shows for both sets in 24bit, and the box set I got has compression. I think, people who have bought the box set should not have to pay twice to get the HD versions. Thoughts?
I can't say I fully understand quantum computing but was wondering if anyone had any foresight into how digital music might be affected by qubits and their superpositions. We're used to 1's and 0's but quantum computing has the ability to have 1 or both states held in the same qubit.
Hard to believe that there are still some of these available. The sound quality is outstanding. I could not pick which of the two '90 boxes has the better shows. To me, they are both equal and represent the band at one of its creative peaks. The boys were sure hot on this tour. If you continue to pass this one up you will only be kicking yourself down the road, guaranteed.
I'm going with the 3/14 and 4/3 shows. Of course the Branford show is awesome as well. But the 4/3 show is a whopper. Ironically I bought this box after saying I wouldn't and only bought 3/29 at first on its own. Then went back and bought the box. While it's not my all time fav, it's damn good.
Listened to the 04/01 Omni show for the first time today and it really blew my mind. Always love those "Victim Or The Crime" triptychs with a ballad and a rock song following. The Stella Blue made me cry. Not for too long, though - the Sugar Magnolia is pure fun. And I love Brent's simple but effective piano phrases on "Baby Blue". This box set definitely deserves the Grammy nomination. It's pure joy. So better get it while there are still some left...
Yeah, I think ALL the shows on this tour were great. Besides the obviously special 3/29 show, the 3/14 and 4/1 shows are standouts. Just fantastic.
Just want to say that I am very happy with this box set.
Initially, I decided I wasn't going to buy this because I have the first box and this is a big price tag, thought the better shows were in that one, etc. I ordered this after reading all the raving comments on here. Since I caved and bought it, I saved the box as a Christmas present. I opened it a bit early so that I could listen during traveling.
I’ve only listened to the first three shows so far, but Wow. It is such good sound quality. I especially like the way that Brent’s organ sounds.
I had never really listened to 3/18 or 3/21 before and they are both really good shows. I’m starting to believe the hype that these are all good shows. I really like 3/18/90. Pretty much the whole show rocks. Looking forward to hearing 4/1 and 4/3 in this sound quality.
Two great links:
One is a great article on expectation bias, but it also has some good technical information and a couple of really cool links as well. I added a second link that has some interesting stuff about listening tests and other digital audio trivia.
The other is a link I've posted before, but it covers ground so critical to the digital audio topic, and does it so well, that I'm reposting that link:
Hi rrot (and anyone else interested),
I didn't find the original link I first saw, but, I found something better. It's a link to two videos. I needed to use firefox to run them because my version of Internet Explorer wouldn't run them. they're about 30 minutes and 23 minutes and they're REALLY REALLY informative and well done.
Start with the SECOND video. The second video is MUCH more relevant to the discussion here, but vid1 does have some interesting stuff.
Clears up a lot of myths and is very easy to understand - he actually shows you what he is talking about with actual equipment.
You can also download it and watch it in a media player.
I would love to hear about it. Read all your other posts and the associated links with great interest. I might have even learned some things!
One thing that you have pointed out that no one can deny is that hi-fi audio is a field rife with misinformation in the service of salesmanship. You've been doing yeoman's work in cutting through the BS. It's appreciated!
I was looking for a link I've seen in the past but can't find it yet.
It is my understanding that modern DAC's are virtually perfect. That wasn't always the case.
There is also the problem that even with near-perfect modern DAC's, PC's are something of a hostile environment due to noise/interference, which is one reason external DAC's are frequently sought out.
But, the internal logic/functioning of the modern DAC chips, it is my understanding, is virtually perfect at recreating the original analog sound wave, which the Nyquist theorem stated before they existed that they should be able to do. Mathematically, you can re-create the original perfectly. I guess the problem is getting the hardware/software to do it. It is my understanding that modern dac's do this basically flawlessly.
Drinking up all this info on digital audio, that is! Thanks, wjonjd!
I am wondering about one thing:
"the DAC can mathematically recreate the EXACT analog sound wave"
From time to time, in discussions of upgrading home audio reproduction equipment, I will see the suggestion that a "better" DAC is essential.
Is there anything to this?
I looked at my original post to you and it was uncalled for, inaccurate, condescending, and not my best moment.
I have emailed DL letting him know what I found when I analyzed the CD and HD files, and asked him to ask Jeffrey Norman or other engineers if my conclusion is accurate, and why they feel they must do this.
I'll report back if I hear anything back.
The fact that dynamic compression was used on the cd's is why they sound like they do.
Order #'s sent to you.
I will also call Customer Service this afternoon and see if they have an update.
you too. So sorry.
Disc number two from the Omni Show (4/1/1990) will not play in my car. The car radio says "disc error" when I called Deadnet they told me they would not be able to replace the disc because it was over 30 days old. Can you help me? Who did you talk to when you called customer service? I am not very happy about this. Thanks!!
send me your order # and the details and I'll see what the Dr. can do.
I must say I am very impressed with the sound quality and strong performances of all of these shows. I have been listening off and on for the past couple of months. However when I got to disc two of the first Omni Show (April 1, 1990) I discovered the disc was defected and would not play. When I called DeadNet they told me there was nothing they could do for me because the purchase was over 30 days old. Well they did tell me to repurchase the box set and return it with the defective disc. I do not want to go through all of that. I payed close to $250.00 for this and Deadnet is not willing to replace a broken disc. Any advice?
Hi JMT2010 - I posted a few links that go into a lot of detail about the technical aspects of digital audio - you can find them below.
You're close, but not quite there in what you described.
for instance, at the very end, you refer "the human ear does not pick up ..... it just hears a continuum". The issue here is that it doesn't have to pick or not pick up the individual samples. The digital to analog converter (DAC) takes the stored digital information and converts it back to an analog wave. The Nyquist theorm, on which the very idea of digital audio is based, states that as long as the frequency of sampling is as least twice as high as the highest frequency of sound being reproduced, then the ORIGINAL analog sound wave, of any complexity, can be reproduced EXACTLY. That's why the "stair step" concept that hi res websites like to display is a deception. When you look at a graph of a waveform stored digitally, yes if you zoom way in you can see "stair step" looking (jagged) edges to the waveform. It's a deception, because the DAC recreates from this the original sound wave EXACTLY - as long as the frequencies are below half the sampling rate.
Another thing that was not quite right was your interpretation of bit-depth. It's even simpler than your first sentence. What is actually contained in each "sample" is one amplitude measurement, just a number between 0 and 65,536 for 16-bit and between 0 and 16,777,216 for 24-bit, representing the amplitude of the wave at that moment. Forget about the noise floor for a moment. The ONLY thing stored in each sample is a number representing an instantaneous measurement of the amplitude of the sound wave at that moment. Quantization error is the difference between the ACTUAL amplitude of the sound wave at that point, and the measured amplitude using a discrete number of only 65,536 or 16,777,216 possible values. Dithering is the process which mathematically converts those errors to white noise, and noise shaping actually moves that noise to largely inaudible ranges of the sound frequency spectrum.
Ultimately, it is the level of noise in a digital file that determines the "noise floor" of the file. This is the exact equivalent of the signal to noise ratio (SNR) of an analog recording (LP or analog tape). Keep in mind that the SNR of even a 16-bit recording is many times better than the SNR of LP OR analog tape. Most people don't understand that, either. So, taking your Pink Floyd "Time" example, a 16-bit recording can capture the quietest elements of the clocks ticking. Of course, THAT is a recording that was NOT originally recorded digitally - it was originally recorded to analog tape. So the SNR can NEVER be better than on the original analog tape - there is a minimum noise level already inherent in the recording to begin with. Modern recordings are recorded to 24/192 digital files, and then if converted to CD (or 16-bit downloads) they are converted to 16-bit using noise-shaped dithering. Done properly, the resulting 16-bit files have a slightly lower signal to noise ratio, however it is already below the level of human perception. The noise floor of your listening environment is ALWAYS (unless you're in outer space or something) higher than the noise floor of a properly dithered 16-bit recording. Noise you don't usually notice, the hum of the refrigerator, your breathing and heartbeat, the water heater, etc. - even the quietest of most rooms still has a noise floor that is above the noise floor of a 16-bit recording let alone a 24-bit one. This is nit-picking a bit, isn't it????
The other thing you referenced is HOW does a stream of amplitude measurements capture actual music. Take out a piece of paper. Let's say you're sampling at 10 times per second instead of 44,100 times per second. So, 1/10th of a second you capture an amplitude measurement (the height of a sound wave). On the piece of paper draw a dot at that height. It might be easier if you draw a rectangle with that height (just of like the rectangles under a curve in pictures of integration from a calculus textbook). When you connect the dots, you can see the sound wave shape. The more dots, the more exact the representation of the wave. This is where the Nyquist theorem comes in. Higher frequency sounds are going up and down across the x-axis in narrower bands than lower frequency sounds which take more time (stretch out farther along the x-axis) before coming back across the x-axis). The theorem states that as long as the sampling is rate is at least twice the highest frequency, the DAC can mathematically recreate the EXACT analog sound wave. So, 44,100 samples per second is enough to EXACTLY recreate any frequencies below 22,050Hz. This is above the range of hearing for human adults.
So, some people who don't understand the technical aspects will pay more for a 24/192 file than a 24/96 file. Keep in mind what the actual difference is. A 24/192 file is taking 192,000 samples per second, and a 24/96 file is taking 96,000 samples per second. The Nyquist theorem states that the 192k/s file can PERFECTLY reproduce any frequencies below 96kHz. The Nyquist theorem states that the 96k/s file can reproduce any frequencies below 48kHz. Um, most adults can't even hear much beyond 16-18khz let alone 20khz. The ONLY difference between the fidelity of the 24/96 and 24/192 is that the 24/192 can encode frequencies from 48kHz to 96kHz and the 24/96 can't. Those frequencies are all and entirely WAY WAY WAY beyond the human hearing apparatus. But, go through some of these threads and watch some people saying things like, "are we paying for 24/96 or are we actually getting the full 24/192?" The question is nonsensical. NO ONE can hear ANYTHING in the 48-96khz range AT ALL. Not only that - none of the microphones used to record the music capture anything in those frequencies at all AND on the off-chance they did, they're filtered out for technical reasons. Just WHAT do people think they're missing in the 96 vs the 192 file? It shows that they just don't understand what they're spending their $$$ on. They are assuming that 192 has to be better than 96, and/or that if its more expensive (and larger) it must be better. Anyone who understands sound at all knows that a audio with or without frequencies between 48khz and 96khz is going to be identical unless you're a hummingbird or something. It's like thinking that a picture that has light going up to the x-ray range encoded in it is going to look better than a picture that only includes light in the spectrum our eyes actually have the hardware to respond to. And then, they will actually post about how much more depth there is to the music, how much more full and somehow realistic the experience is. It's clearly entirely in the realm of psychological expectations.
Actually, properly dithered, a 16/44.1 digital file made from the EXACT SAME SOURCE as the 24/192 digital file is INDISTINGUISHABLE from each other by the human ear. ALL scientific studies done in controlled environments confirm this. You will NEVER convince some people of this, however. The idea that more bits and more samples must be better seems to make to much sense to most people, and marketing has done it's job.
Lastly, as you can see in one of my last posts, I compared the 16-bit CD files to the hi res files that are being offered for Wake Up To Find Out. I compared them using Audio Inspector. That comparison confirmed that these two digital files are NOT from the same source. This has nothing to do with the inherent ability of a 16/44.1 file to be as perfect to human ears as a 24/192 file. What is being done is common in the practice of making CD's. They compressed the dynamic range (the range of softest to loudest sounds) so that they could then increase the amplitude across the entire range, making the CD louder at any given volume setting than it would have been. This was either not done to the 24/192 file, or not to the same extent, because the 24/192 file is not as loud, the amplitude of the sound waves at any given point is lower than on the 16/44.1 file. This was done INTENTIONALLY (I'd rather they didn't). It is probably done because people "expect" their CD's be play at a certain volume - they think something is wrong if they put another CD on, and it's way louder without turning the volume up - they ask, "why is this one so damn low!". So, they're dealing with consumer expectations. It has nothing to do with 16/44.1 versus 24/96 or 24/192.
From what I have read, the higher the bit depth, say 16 bit vs. 24 bit, the more decibels of signal is possible above a noise threshold. I get that. It is a metric of quietest sounds to loudest possible to be reproduced in fidelity perhaps. An analogy for that might be Pink Floyd's song 'Time' where you hear the clocks ticking very quietly in the beginning and then have the loudness of the alarms going off the next moment after. The loudness change is dramatic. OK, I am having a difficult time drawing analogies to the music we listen to on CD versus say cassettes or vinyl. The waveform for analog music is continuous if displayed on a graph. Music in the forms of ones and zeroes getting converted to analog is what escapes me. How doe the reproduction of the sound of a guitar and drums get unscrambled from the digital ones and zeroes? I get that the sampling rate captures 44,100 pieces of information per a second (44.1kHz rate) of a music passage, but what is the information stored in that 1/44,100th of second? Playback is at 44.1 kHz per a second I assume ( on a CD's WAV file format). The human ear doe not pick up the 1/44,100ths of a second "quantized" sound pulses. It just hears a continuum.
If anyone is a big collector like me and bought a few box sets/poster combinations.. do yourself a favor. Open the poster container and make sure what you ordered is in there.
There's 1 poster left available to buy onlne... you can't add more than 1 to the cart.
I decided to open mine tonight.
Suffice to say, the 4" and 3" containers I have, which should have multiple posters, only had 1 each.
Nervous, scared and terrified doesn't begin to describe the butterflies in the stomach or stomach acid reflux in my throat...
since they've been sitting in my closet unopened and uninspected since July.
Word to the wise... check to make sure you got what you ordered.
Called customer service. Suffice to say, this has to go higher for any hope of resolution. Not how I wanted to start Christmas... check what you ordered... at least I checked now and not 5 years from now. But still...
my faith is w/ Dr. Rhino or someone, to help.
Audio inspector is the name of the software I was using. It makes some quick general assessments of the file and then starts to deeply analyze from the beginning. It takes a couple of minutes just to get through 15 seconds of a track, which is all I let it do as I didn't have much time. So keep in mind that I think those numbers are for the first 15 seconds. However, I coukd see and zoom into the entire file.
It was immediately clear that the HD file was significantly narrower from top to bottom, indicating no gain (I don't know the technical terms for most of this, so I'm assuming yours is correct) or else much less gain had been applied to that file. Since everything I read indicates that the primary purpose for applying dynamic compression is to make room for gain, I believe that little or no dynamic range compression was used on the HD file (at least compared to the 16-bit file). The CD file on the other hand appears to use almost all the available amplitude range from top to bottom. Keep in mind that the -10db and -15dn peak numbers (and the other numbers as well) I referred to may be for just the first 15 seconds.
Right, "make-up gain" is a post-compression volume increase that presumably brings the peak up to 0 dB (or wherever the engineer chooses). It's really odd that they chose -15 dB and -10 dB for the HD and CD files, respectively. That headroom (relatively huge) serves no purpose.
So, how did you know the CD files were more dynamically compressed than the HD files?
That's where my bet is too. Sadly.
"Why do I have to turn *this* CD up louder than my other discs?" is a question that often (not always) can be answered "because it was better engineered."
Not really, no. When dynamic range compression is applied, not only do they reduce the difference between the loudest and softest amplitudes, they also then have room to increase the amplitude over the entire range, so that at a given volume setting on your volume knob the volume of the music is louder than it would have been - the loudest sound is louder, the softest sound is louder, and the average sound is louder, than it would have been compared to the same signals prior to dynamic compression and raising the amplitude. This is why dynamic range compression is important in the "loudness wars" in commercial releases for radio. They compress the range, and then have room to make the whole range louder without going over peak and clipping. When you look at the visual representation of the sound from the HD file compared to the 16-bit file, the HD file is "smaller" from top to bottom - it is not as loud, but if you were to analyze it, you would find that the DIFFERENCE between the highest peaks and smallest peaks are, relative to each other, greater. So, while the -10db peak of the CD is louder than the -15db peak of the HD file, it is the CD that has had dynamic range compression applied so that they can then raise the amplitude of the entire signal by some percentage, making the peak volume of the CD louder than the peak volume of the HD file (and the average, and the softest sound as well). When the dynamic range compression is applied the DIFFERENCES between the amplitudes of loud and soft are made smaller - the percentage change is not the same across the spectrum of amplitudes, as the "average" amplitude will not have a change applied (that's a simplification, not exact, and also I'm not sure if it would be the mean or the median or some other midway point that remains unchanged). When they subsequently make the entire signal louder, the amplitude increase is percentage-wise the same across the board. THAT transformation DOES raise the average amplitude. Does that make sense?
Obviously, none of this is inherent to either 16-bit or HD 24-bit. It could be applied to either. For some reason they apply it to the 16-bit file, probably because a lot of people don't like it when a CD seems like the volume is too low compared to other CD's they have. In other words, I expect they have to cater to consumer expectations.
Isn't a peak of -15 dB lower than -10 dB? Doesn't that suggest the HD file is more compressed than the CD? Actually, they probably both have some amount of light compression on them because that's just how it's typically done in the world. It's bizarre that one would be that different from the other. You can hear as little as 1 dB, maybe even less. The first S90 box had lots of audible compression, at least on the individual tracks. It sounds way too smooth to be au naturel, even if the mix of the various signal levels is not always great.
Is it possible that a pono player has better components than another portable playback device ? It was designed with this in mind.Same files, different players, different playback results.
I did a comparison of the CD version of Wake Up To Find Out (actually the one from the full box) and the 24/192 download.
I used the first 15 seconds of Estimated Prophet (the software I'm using only lets you start at the beginning, and I didn't take the time to lop off an equal amount from the beginning of both files in order to get to the middle of the file). I chose Estimated Prophet because it begins right away having been transitioned into from the Eyes.
The average levels (left/right) on the CD are -17.42db/-16.19db
the average levels on the HD file are -17.96db/-16.72
the peak level on the CD is -10db
the peak level on the HD file is -15db
The Stereo Balance on the CD is -2.14db (diff between L and R)
The Stereo Balance on the HD file is -2.43db
And the peak frequency on the CD is 14,685Hz
the peak frequency on the HD file is 14,109Hz (that's a surprise)
So, it appears that they HAVE INDEED applied some dynamic range compression to the CD version, although not a lot.
I have NO IDEA why they wouldn't just convert the 24/192 file to 16/44.1 using noise-shaped dithering. The resulting files would be VIRTUALLY INDISTINGUISHABLE from each other.
This still says nothing about the inherent equivalency to the human ears of 16/44.1 versus 24/192, but THAT'S IF THEY'RE FROM THE SAME SOURCE.
My humble apologies FourWinds as you are indeed correct that they created a master for the 16-bit file that has had some amount of dynamic range compression applied to it. WHY???? Who knows. There is NO (good) reason to do this!!! The 24/192 is not better because it 24/192. It's better because they didn't apply dynamic range compression to master used for it.
However, FourWinds, in your original post you wished they would just release the HD 24/192 file already!! WHY NOT wish that they convert the 24/192 to 16/44.1 and LEAVE IT ALONE to create the CD and 16/44.1 files?? That would serve the SAME purpose. And here are the file sizes for that one file:
And, they have the same POTENTIAL for audio fidelity. Why not just wish for 16/44.1 files/CD's made directly from the 24/192's? Wouldn't that make far more sense.
In any case, you were right - they're not the same. I have no idea why they chose to do this.
One Man - Yes, for driving in my car (where I do a LOT of listening) files with more dynamic range compression make it much easier to hear all the music. You don't have to keep turning the volume up and down - up because you can hardly hear it and then BAM you get hit with the LOUD so you have to turn it down again. It is true that the range compression can pretty much fix that problem. Since we would never get two versions of everything with one purchase, my preference would be to get CD's/files that have NO dynamic range compression applied, and then I could apply my to create a set of files for travel (car/plane/walking, etc.)
You have a lot of patience ;)
I'm not sure what is fatiguing anyone's ears, but I hear some kind of pervasive audio distortion in about the first half of the E72 box mixes. It clears up on one of the Paris shows. I have no idea what caused it, but it is obvious to me and I'm sure the mix engineer noticed it eventually but no one bothered to go back and fix those first mixes. It could be inherent in just those first tapes (very doubtful), some kind of A-D transfer issue (can't imagine what), something to do with the Plangent Process (again, no idea), or something else. It still bugs me that these mixes were so rushed. Thank the gods they did not do the same with the '72 Veneta show or the new Spring 90 box.
Also, let's not confuse file (data) compression with dynamic range compression. Dynamic range can be severely squashed on ANY recording format if the engineer chooses to do that. The GD archival releases are generally lightly compressed compared to many commercial releases, and I'm sure that is intentional. I actually wish they had a touch more dynamic compression on them sometimes, just to make them sound less jumpy.
There is no dynamic compression required when converting from 24-bit to 16-bit, and there is no reason to believe they just CHOSE to use any dynamic compression on the 16-bit file, but not on the 24-bit file. Your comment makes it clear (unless I'm mistaken, which I could be) that you believed that 16-bit is INHERENTLY more compressed than 24-bit, which is simply not the case in any way. Unless you have some reason to believe they just chose to compress the range of softest to loudest sounds on the 16-bit file and not on the 24-bit, I'd be interested to hear it. I think that's more than very very highly unlikely.
Again, if you are experiencing ear fatigue from the 16-bit files, you have zero chance of improving that by buying the more expensive 24-bit ones except by placebo effect, unless they chose to reduce the dynamic range on the 16-bit files and not the 24-bit files for some reason.
What possible reason do you have to suspect they would even consider going through the trouble of instituting dynamic range compression on the 16-bit files (CD's). They were NEVER going to be destined for mainstream radio play, and even if they were I don't believe Jeffrey Norman and his team do that even for releases that ARE destined for radio play.
Of course, there is an easy way to answer this. Simply send DL an email to ask Jeffrey Norman (if you can't email Jeffrey Norman directly) if they compressed the dynamic range for the 16-bit release and CD's and not for the 24/192 (or 24/96) on any of their other archival releases where they have made hi-def available. I wouldn't promise my first-born, but I'd bet a lot that the answer will be no. In which case, as the links I posted point out pretty well, you will hear no difference between the two versions, nor experience a different level of ear fatigue or emotional connection - at least not due to the sound coming out of your loudspeakers.
EDIT - I decided to purchase the Wake Up To Find Out hi def (24/192) download. I will rip from my CD version direct to 16-bit wav and compare them using a software audio package and should be able to easily tell if dynamic compression was used on one and not the other. I will let you know. I see no reason why they would treat the E72 release differently than the Wake Up To Find Out release as far as whether they chose to modify the dynamic range for the CD's. They both came from multi-track tape masters. Even if they didn't spend the time on the E72 releases that they did on the Wake Up To Find out release, I would still bet they treated the CD's the same in terms of how they transferred the original 24-bit files they mixed/mastered with to the 16-bit files they used to create the CD's. I will report back with the results.