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Tubular Bells in FLAC

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Tubular Bells in FLAC

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Oct 08, 2012 4:34 pm

Bowers and Wilkins are offering an exclusive high-res FLAC download (24 bit -- they don't say what the sample rate is) of Tubular bells in stereo and surround formats. £20 for both... only available to people in the UK, France and Germany.

http://www.bowers-wilkins.co.uk/Society_of_Sound/Society_of_Sound/Music/Tubular_Bells.html

I presume these are the remastered versions put out on SACD a while ago...

Lots of duff hi-fi monkey information about digital audio on the company website, which is disappointing...

Anyway, following the previous threads about high quality downloads, I thought some folk might be interested...

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Re: Tubular Bells in FLAC

Postby oggyb » Mon Oct 08, 2012 5:09 pm

hnnnnnnnngh
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Re: Tubular Bells in FLAC

Postby M.A.D. » Sun Oct 21, 2012 7:36 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:only available to people in the UK, France and Germany
H
G*DAMN M*THERF*CKERS!
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Re: Tubular Bells in FLAC

Postby Zukan » Mon Oct 22, 2012 7:34 am

Good call Hugh. We now need one for Dark Side of the Moon.
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PG's SO in FLAC

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Nov 02, 2012 11:35 am

B&W are now offering the Peter Gabriel SO album in 24 bit FLAC:

HERE

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Re: Tubular Bells in FLAC

Postby Theremax » Fri Nov 02, 2012 11:38 am

Zukan wrote:Good call Hugh. We now need one for Dark Side of the Moon.

Oh, yes!
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Re: Tubular Bells in FLAC

Postby mjfe2 » Sun Nov 04, 2012 6:13 pm

But if these are still only 44.1 then all we're getting is a lower noise floor? And could we really turn up the volume of the 16-bit version such that the noise floor becomes an audible problem during the quiet bits and the loudest bits are still below the threshold of pain?!
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Re: Tubular Bells in FLAC

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sun Nov 04, 2012 6:42 pm

mjfe2 wrote:But if these are still only 44.1 then all we're getting is a lower noise floor?

I doubt you're even getting that! The noise floor is far more likely to have been determined by the source recordings and mixing than the output medium.

But what you are getting is a guaranteed accurate audio file, with no CD-style interpolation whatsoever.

And could we really turn up the volume of the 16-bit version such that the noise floor becomes an audible problem during the quiet bits and the loudest bits are still below the threshold of pain?!

Not in most cases!

The typical ambient noise floor of a quiet suburban living room is about 30dB SPL. If you set the replay noise floor of a 16 bit system to the same sort of level, peaks will be around 93dB higher, which is 123dB SPL at the listening position.

Not many project studio speakers are able to deliver anything like that, and few neighbours would tolerate it for long either!

And that, m'lud, is why 16 bit replay formats are entirely appropriate for fully mastered material where there is no headroom margin, and why 24 bit systems are entirely pointless in that role at the moment.

Of course, if loudness normalisation standards are adopted across the music industry, then headroom will reaappear in commercially released material and 24 bit systems would then become much more relevant for the end user. But what are the chances of that happening?

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Re: Tubular Bells in FLAC

Postby narcoman » Sun Nov 04, 2012 7:48 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
.

But what you are getting is a guaranteed accurate audio file, with no CD-style interpolation whatsoever.


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I assume you mean from clipped waves rather than declaring FLAC some new analogue format!!!
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Re: Tubular Bells in FLAC

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sun Nov 04, 2012 8:10 pm

I mean what I said!

A corrupted CD would lead to data interpolation, and that can't happen with a FLAC file... But I cant see any other advantage.

FLAC is obviously not an analogue format (!!!!), and both formats will suffer clipped waves if the mastering has created inter-sample peaks.

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Re: Tubular Bells in FLAC

Postby narcoman » Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:38 am

All digital data is interpolated. Via the rebuild through the implemention of it's sinc function. The CD spec referring to sample guesstimation as interpolation is a mild misuse of the term (and us maths people are pretty annoyed at computer peoples misuse of many terms. We're thinking about having a fight at break time). interpolation is a method of constructing new data points within the range of a discrete set of known data points. That's what I was getting at. Never liked CD error guesses being referred to as interpolated points.

Worse can happen with a FLAC file - if it's corrupt beyond Hamming (or similar) repair you is screweth'd.
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Re: Tubular Bells in FLAC

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Nov 05, 2012 11:08 am

narcoman wrote:All digital data is interpolated.

Different use of the term -- I was referring to the final stage of error concealment that all CD players impose on damaged discs.

The 'I' word is a constant source of confusion to everyone, and is probably best avoided completely!

...As far as I'm concerned, use of the term 'interpolation' when referring to the sinc function reconstruction of digital audio is very unhelpful as it is associated in the minds of most with 'guessing', which isn't what happens as you well know. The dictionary definition familiar to most is along the lines of 'to corrupt by spurious insertions' -- guessing, in other words.

However, the mathematicians' definition is of 'filling in as an intermediate term' and while that is technically accurate, it is ludicrously vague -- are you calulating the value using sinc functions, or are you drawing a straight line between two known points and taking a crude average? The inherent ambiguity over the form of calculation and the level of precision involved must perplex even the mathematicians, and it is certainly deeply unsatisfying to a pedantic engineer like me!

Worse can happen with a FLAC file - if it's corrupt beyond Hamming (or similar) repair you is screweth'd.

This is true of all error protection systems -- there is always a level of damage beyond which the data can not be recovered intact, as you know. However, the error protection capability of pure computer file formats is far, far more robust than the CD-audio format which was designed in the full expectation of using concealment as a routine part of the error correction process.

The original point I raised when we started this remains, though, the advantages of the FLAC format are marginal...

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Re: Tubular Bells in FLAC

Postby Tomás Mulcahy » Sun Mar 24, 2013 9:30 pm

http://blog.bowers-wilkins.com/music/remastering-peter-gabriels-so/
Glad to see they did the same things with mastering "So" as they did in 1986, but with better converters. The changes on the 2002 remaster really did not work IMHO. Ian Cooper. What a pro- still had his notes from 1986. I think he did the same thing with David Sylvian's "Secrets of the Beehive" (which sounds superb in 16 bit CD) and the Culture Club remasters. We need more people like this...
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Re: Tubular Bells in FLAC

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Mar 25, 2013 9:40 am

I know Ian and he is a true pro with amazing ears! Glad to see some sense being injected back into the mastering world with a realisation that the demand for more of everything is self-defeating. Impressive and encouraging to see Gabriel to admit he got it wrong with the direction he set for the 2002 remaster, and to return to less compression and cleaner sonics.

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Re: Tubular Bells in FLAC

Postby Tomás Mulcahy » Tue Mar 26, 2013 12:00 pm

It would be very cool if SOS did a feature on Ian's work!
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Re: Tubular Bells in FLAC

Postby The Korff » Tue Mar 26, 2013 12:15 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:he is a true pro with amazing ears!

I have been racking my brain trying to think of any other context in which this would be an even remotely normal thing to say, and the only one I can think of is in the world of earring modelling.
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Re: Tubular Bells in FLAC

Postby molecular » Tue Mar 26, 2013 12:46 pm

Korff wrote:
Hugh Robjohns wrote:he is a true pro with amazing ears!

I have been racking my brain trying to think of any other context in which this would be an even remotely normal thing to say, and the only one I can think of is in the world of earring modelling.

Casting session for an Andrew Marr biopic?
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Re: Tubular Bells in FLAC

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Mar 26, 2013 4:23 pm

yes... perhaps that didn't come out quite right...

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