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  • #76
    IRON-MaN, so which equipment do you use for MQA playback?

    I've just got my Audioquest Dragonfly Red, I have to wait one more day for 3,5mm/6,35mm adapter to arrive, so I could use Sennheiser HD 800 headphones on those MQAs, but using PXC 550 - it still sounds the same to me as MP3 from "The Vinyl Collection 1970-1978", although some ugly details popped up, which I hadn't paid attention to before. But these details present in both MP3 & MQA versions.
    http://vk.com/barghestboots

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    • #77
      Originally posted by AlexBarghest View Post
      I'm not sure about Universal, but they surely as hell look and sound different in comparison with Sanctuary deluxes.
      Thanks for your comment, Alex. I just learned from two friends, one of them Roller himself, that the European vs. US tapes situation has changed since 2012 - I will get back to that point in a minute. Anyway, Joe S. apparently had false information when he wrote that the TYW box used the 2009 mastering. The 2012 remasters apparently used different tapes, at least for some albums, than the 2009 remasters. Your tests show that the 2012 remasters were used for the TYW box - thanks so much for testing, so now we know that for sure, and that finding fits perfectly to my friends' claim that the 2012 tapes and mastering are now used for all further releases worldwide. Apparently there have been some exceptions from this new rule though - like different tape sources used for Wicked World on the 2012 vinyl collection vs. the 2014 US hi-res downloads (the latter being much better, according to my friend).

      Comment


      • #78
        Originally posted by Sabbabbath View Post
        Have you had the chance to compare them to the European 2009 Sanctuary remasters? According to Joe S., they should have the same mastering.
        Sorry Sabbabbath for missing your post earlier , I do own some of those 2009 remasters but unfortunately I didn't have the time to compare them yet , I also don't claim that I've heard or tell that those MQA are the best ever released (sound wise) , I doubt there are any better given its the latest advanced technology available , but as mentioned by Jeff , people have different preferences for sure , it just sound really remarkable and amazing from my own personal point of view.

        Originally posted by AlexBarghest View Post
        IRON-MaN, so which equipment do you use for MQA playback?

        I've just got my Audioquest Dragonfly Red, I have to wait one more day for 3,5mm/6,35mm adapter to arrive, so I could use Sennheiser HD 800 headphones on those MQAs, but using PXC 550 - it still sounds the same to me as MP3 from "The Vinyl Collection 1970-1978", although some ugly details popped up, which I hadn't paid attention to before. But these details present in both MP3 & MQA versions.
        Alex , nothing special in particular from my side yet ! I didn't even listen to them using preferred software like Tidal or so , will try them out at a friend's super amazing Klipshe home theater sometime soon ! I'm planning to get one myself as soon as I move to a new place next summer , with all that been said , they do sound better to my years just listening to my regular marshall headphones ...what do you exactly mean with ugly details ?

        Comment


        • #79
          Originally posted by Sabbabbath View Post
          Thanks for your comment, Alex. I just learned from two friends, one of them Roller himself, that the European vs. US tapes situation has changed since 2012 - I will get back to that point in a minute. Anyway, Joe S. apparently had false information when he wrote that the TYW box used the 2009 mastering. The 2012 remasters apparently used different tapes, at least for some albums, than the 2009 remasters. Your tests show that the 2012 remasters were used for the TYW box - thanks so much for testing, so now we know that for sure, and that finding fits perfectly to my friends' claim that the 2012 tapes and mastering are now used for all further releases worldwide. Apparently there have been some exceptions from this new rule though - like different tape sources used for Wicked World on the 2012 vinyl collection vs. the 2014 US hi-res downloads (the latter being much better, according to my friend).
          Roller is the man to go to for Sabbath, great guy he is Linda, you are lucky to have him as a friend, as we are lucky to have him here on the forums.
          "Without Black Sabbath there never would have been an Ozzy, and without Ozzy there never would have been a Black Sabbath"
          "If there ever was a band whose voice is so significant and distinct, that band is Black Sabbath and the voice is Ozzy Osbourne"
          ________Sabbath Forever, Forever Sabbath!______OzzyIsDio_ (YoY)

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          • #80
            Originally posted by IRON-MaN View Post
            Alex , nothing special in particular from my side yet ! I didn't even listen to them using preferred software like Tidal or so , will try them out at a friend's super amazing Klipshe home theater sometime soon ! I'm planning to get one myself as soon as I move to a new place next summer , with all that been said , they do sound better to my years just listening to my regular marshall headphones ...what do you exactly mean with ugly details ?
            Thank you for your reply, IRON-MaN. I'm not sure Tidal can handle them, but I can be wrong. Tidal is a streaming app. MQAs are actually made for streaming mainly. I'm on "Paranoid" right now. It sounds much better than their 1st. Oh, I wish you to get the system the sooner, the better.

            Originally posted by IRON-MaN View Post
            ...what do you exactly mean with ugly details ?
            There's a lot distortion moments on the 1st album, some audible tape hiss, a few tape fall outs in left/right channels, tape defects. But maybe these artefacts were present in the original tape and always have been there, just I've never noticed them. I own an original Vertigo 1st LP from 1970 in NM, so I think I should crosscheck with this one.

            Originally posted by Sabbabbath View Post
            Thanks for your comment, Alex.
            You're welcome, Linda. I still owe you a soundcheck from the last show My backlog of unreleased recordings to public is growing and growing, alas. Cannot force myself to deal with it.
            Last edited by AlexBarghest; 11-20-2017, 02:55 PM.
            http://vk.com/barghestboots

            Comment


            • #81
              Originally posted by Sabbabbath View Post
              Thanks for your comment, Alex. I just learned from two friends, one of them Roller himself, that the European vs. US tapes situation has changed since 2012 - I will get back to that point in a minute. Anyway, Joe S. apparently had false information when he wrote that the TYW box used the 2009 mastering. The 2012 remasters apparently used different tapes, at least for some albums, than the 2009 remasters. Your tests show that the 2012 remasters were used for the TYW box - thanks so much for testing, so now we know that for sure, and that finding fits perfectly to my friends' claim that the 2012 tapes and mastering are now used for all further releases worldwide. Apparently there have been some exceptions from this new rule though - like different tape sources used for Wicked World on the 2012 vinyl collection vs. the 2014 US hi-res downloads (the latter being much better, according to my friend).
              Hi Linda,

              I highly doubt any new tapes were pulled for this project. In fact I hghly doubt any tapes were pulled at all.

              These days, tapes (especially of a value like Sabbath's) are usually transferred to hi-res and stored by the major labels. They are not taken out unless absolutely necessary or under careful licensing to known entities and then it is done with maximum care.

              FX Copyroom did some transfers in the UK for S/T, MoR, Vol. 4 and SBS in 2011. These were released on SACD in Japan. My guess is that for those four albums those transfers done by FX Copyroom have been uploaded to Andy Pearce for mastering. For the other four albums I highly doubt he ever had his hands on a tape. If he did, it was probably in 2012 to work out the mastering for that box. Those masters used to create the 2012 vinyl box have been the ones that were on HDtracks and subsequently in print on CD since last year.

              As a side note ... personally, I believe that way too much assumption is involved in people thinking the UK tapes are better than the US. Vol. 4 was recorded here, Sabotage was mastered here, TE was recorded here. I wouldn't doubt for a second that Warner has very solid source tapes for those albums. And I wouldn't doubt that they have very good safety copies of most of the other albums (aside from Paranoid where the WB tape has long been damaged with volume fluctuation in "War Pigs"). The UK tapes may or may not be better. Let's face it, with the management battles and different labels involved in the UK, who knows what tapes are in the UK? The only info I've ever been able to verify is that Sanctuary Records acquired Nems in 1983, but what generation of tapes would Nems have had? Who knows ...
              "It is not opinion that Ozzy peaked on Sabotage, it is a measurable fact."
              -WTB

              Comment


              • #82
                Lo and behold, my friends!

                https://yadi.sk/i/Z5m5usoT3Psmja

                "The Vinyl Collection 1970-1978" & "Black Sabbath - Complete Studio Albums 1970-1978" in Hi-Res & "The Ten Year War"

                Show me the differences? There aren't any there, my friends! So what we have as fabulous, miraculous MQA stick in 2017 is nothing else than MQA-encoded Hi-Res from 2014, which was actually already done back in 2012 for "The Vinyl Collection 1970-1978". Maybe there are some CDs with this remaster as well.
                Last edited by AlexBarghest; 11-21-2017, 12:18 AM.
                http://vk.com/barghestboots

                Comment


                • #83
                  Originally posted by AlexBarghest View Post
                  Lo and behold, my friends!

                  https://yadi.sk/i/Z5m5usoT3Psmja

                  "The Vinyl Collection 1970-1972" & "Black Sabbath - Complete Studio Albums 1970-1978" in Hi-Res & "The Ten Year War"

                  Show me the differences? There aren't any there, my friends! So what we have as fabulous, miraculous MQA stick in 2017 is nothing else than MQA-encoded Hi-Res from 2014, which was actually already done back in 2012 for "The Vinyl Collection 1970-1972". Maybe there are some CDs with this remaster as well.
                  From looking at that it is clear as day that The Vinyl Collection 1970-1978 uses the exact same masters The Ten Year War. Those files are digitally identical; it's obvious.

                  I think any sonic differences (real or perceived) would be about MQA.
                  "It is not opinion that Ozzy peaked on Sabotage, it is a measurable fact."
                  -WTB

                  Comment


                  • #84
                    Originally posted by AlexBarghest View Post
                    You're welcome, Linda. I still owe you a soundcheck from the last show My backlog of unreleased recordings to public is growing and growing, alas. Cannot force myself to deal with it.
                    Don't worry, it is not urgent, take all the time you need! Thanks for remembering it! :-)
                    Best,
                    Linda

                    Comment


                    • #85
                      Originally posted by Jeff View Post
                      Hi Linda,

                      I highly doubt any new tapes were pulled for this project. In fact I hghly doubt any tapes were pulled at all.

                      These days, tapes (especially of a value like Sabbath's) are usually transferred to hi-res and stored by the major labels. They are not taken out unless absolutely necessary or under careful licensing to known entities and then it is done with maximum care.

                      FX Copyroom did some transfers in the UK for S/T, MoR, Vol. 4 and SBS in 2011. These were released on SACD in Japan. My guess is that for those four albums those transfers done by FX Copyroom have been uploaded to Andy Pearce for mastering. For the other four albums I highly doubt he ever had his hands on a tape. If he did, it was probably in 2012 to work out the mastering for that box. Those masters used to create the 2012 vinyl box have been the ones that were on HDtracks and subsequently in print on CD since last year.

                      As a side note ... personally, I believe that way too much assumption is involved in people thinking the UK tapes are better than the US. Vol. 4 was recorded here, Sabotage was mastered here, TE was recorded here. I wouldn't doubt for a second that Warner has very solid source tapes for those albums. And I wouldn't doubt that they have very good safety copies of most of the other albums (aside from Paranoid where the WB tape has long been damaged with volume fluctuation in "War Pigs"). The UK tapes may or may not be better. Let's face it, with the management battles and different labels involved in the UK, who knows what tapes are in the UK? The only info I've ever been able to verify is that Sanctuary Records acquired Nems in 1983, but what generation of tapes would Nems have had? Who knows ...
                      Thanks Jeff. I know that nowadays most music is stored digitally in hi-res. However, I am pretty sure that tapes were used for the 2007 remasters (I think that weas discussed in a book by Martin Popoff, and that's where Montreux 1970 is coming from), and I am pretty sure I also heard that was the case for the 2012 remasters too. But at least the second info may be wrong or maybe it was misleadingly phrased - it is well possible indeed that they used the already transferred digital files from the tapes they had used for the SACD releases of S/T, MoR, Vol. 4 and SBS.

                      Very good point you make about the quality of UK vs US tapes.

                      Do you happen to know why and how the Paranoid and HaH SACDs are different from the others? And can we expect any further releases of 'flat transfers' of original master tapes on SACD or redbook to happen? I have played my redbook copy of the MOR SACD to several people, and everybody loved it. Who needs remasters when the original mastering was so great?

                      Comment


                      • #86
                        Originally posted by IRON-MaN View Post
                        They're obviously compressed but the whole trick is how they maintained all the punch and dynamics while doing so (and if I may say , even enhanced them) , I think many here seem to bring the point of whether they used the same sources on previous remasters or not ! Might be the case for sure , but how manage to transfer that using a certain technology makes a whole difference too ! Also those MQA are recommended to be played using certain software and hardware ( well at least to get the full experience ). Also remember that MQA stands for Master Quality Authenticated , meaning that they have been viewed and authenticated by the band themselves , from what I read , this project took 2 years in the making tracking , comparing and cleaning original tapes to one another in order to get the most perfect digital versions of those albums to date !
                        I don't get the idea of MQA (except if the idea is for music companies to make more profit). It has been claimed that MQA guarantees that we hear exactly the same as the mastering engineer heard in the studio. And to me that seems to be logically impossible.

                        Why? Well, it is well known that the equimpment used for playing a file - amp, speakers etc. - was well as the room it is played in has large impact on how music sounds. For example, I moved to a new place a while ago. I use exactly the same equipment (computer, CD-player, amp, speakers, cables) as before, and I often listen to the same music in the same format (mostly redbook CDR, sometimes hi-res FLAC files). But the room where it is placed is very different - smaller, different form etc. I use what I consider to be good speakers and an OK amp. Well, in my old place, the sound was very crisp anc clear - great but just a little too bright for my taste. Now, in the new place, the sound is bassy, almost muddy - not really bad, but definitely worse than before.

                        Now my question is: HOW exactly would MQA guarantee that the sound I hear (with my speakers and amp, in my room) sounds exactly the same as it was intended to sound by the mastering engineer? Let's just for a moment assume that that would be even possible: what information exactly would the MQA file or player need to have in order to be able to do that? Well, at the very least, it would need to know which amp and cables and speakers I use and how they sound; and it would need to know the size and form and material of the room the music in which the music is played; it would even need to know where the windows and curtains and pictures are located and which other things in the room (like beds, blankets, carpets...) would affect the sound, and how exactly. If the MQA system does not have all that information, then it has no idea how the music played in my room will sound, which means it will be unable to do what it is supposed to do: guarantee a specific sound. Now, when I get my MQA files and whatever other equipment I need to play them properly, does it ask me for all that information?

                        To be sure, I don't have any MQA files, so I cannot rule out the possibility that there may be something about the MQA format that makes it sound better than other digital files. If that's the case, than maybe they should do a better marketing i.e. explain how that is possible. What we can rule out by pure logic, however, is the chance of guaranteeing a specific sound without knowing anything about the equipment and environment where it is played.

                        Comment


                        • #87
                          Originally posted by IRON-MaN View Post
                          Sorry Sabbabbath for missing your post earlier , I do own some of those 2009 remasters but unfortunately I didn't have the time to compare them yet , I also don't claim that I've heard or tell that those MQA are the best ever released (sound wise) , I doubt there are any better given its the latest advanced technology available , but as mentioned by Jeff , people have different preferences for sure , it just sound really remarkable and amazing from my own personal point of view.
                          Thanks and no need to say sorry, hard to keep track of what's written here. :-)

                          I doubt that a technology like MQA is the most important factor for how good a recording sounds. One of several things that Jeff has taught me, and that I can strongly confirm based on my own experience, is that the mastering is usually the most important factor. Thus, the best-sounding versions of MOR, SBS, Vol4 and most songs of the self-titled album for me are those released on SACD - not because of the SACD technology (my redbook CD copies of those SACDs sound just as good to me), but because they used the original mastering, which happens to sound better than any other (re-)mastering of those albums (to my ears, of course). Even if the band members themselves have all really listened and tested those MQA versions, they have done that on their (or their company's) equipment in their rooms AND with their taste of course, and I fail to see how exactly that is meant to secure any specific sound in my room on my equimpment (and with my own taste!) that they don't even know anything about.

                          Also, listening experience is largelly influenced by our opinions etc., as has been demonstrated scientifically uncounted times. Thus, if you listen to an album first on redbook CD and then with MQA technology, and you KNOW you're listening to different formats, and you KNOW which is which, and you know that MQA is a new technology that is claimed to sound better, than you are pretty likely to really HEAR the difference you expect. That's how listening works in human beings, and it is a reason that we need so called double-blind studies in order to test that there really IS a difference. The same goes of course for other technologies: SACD vs. redbook CD, hi-res vs. 16/44.1 etc. (Most scientific tests that I have seen seem to confirm that hi-res, while being better for remastering/sound-editing purposes, is not better for listening than redbook CD 16/44.1 format.) Mastering, in contrast, has of course a large influence on the listening experience.

                          Interestingly, I have not found a single double-blind study on MQA vs. redbook or hi-res on the internet - anybody?

                          If I were a big enterprise that owned a new audio format/codec or what that is REALLY better than anything else on the market, then I would commission a large-sample scientific double-blind study to prove it - because that's the ONLY reliable way to prove it. If the company hasn't bothered to do this, then I think the critics who claim that MQA is mainly an attempt of parts of the music industry to control and profit from every aspect of music-listening are probably just right. But I am very open to evidence to the contrary if anybody can offer that.
                          Last edited by Sabbabbath; 11-21-2017, 11:15 AM.

                          Comment


                          • #88
                            Originally posted by Sabbabbath View Post
                            Thanks Jeff. I know that nowadays most music is stored digitally in hi-res. However, I am pretty sure that tapes were used for the 2007 remasters (I think that weas discussed in a book by Martin Popoff, and that's where Montreux 1970 is coming from), and I am pretty sure I also heard that was the case for the 2012 remasters too. But at least the second info may be wrong or maybe it was misleadingly phrased - it is well possible indeed that they used the already transferred digital files from the tapes they had used for the SACD releases of S/T, MoR, Vol. 4 and SBS.

                            Very good point you make about the quality of UK vs US tapes.

                            Do you happen to know why and how the Paranoid and HaH SACDs are different from the others? And can we expect any further releases of 'flat transfers' of original master tapes on SACD or redbook to happen? I have played my redbook copy of the MOR SACD to several people, and everybody loved it. Who needs remasters when the original mastering was so great?
                            I'll try to explain what happened with Paranoid and H&H SACDs, Linda.

                            Paranoid was released in 2010, just as the series of SHM-SACDs by Universal Japan started. It was remastered by Hitoshi Takiguchi, who had already made somewhat of a minor name for himself when I and others complained about his using brickwall compression on his remasters during the years from about 2004 and forward. When some of the SACDs he mastered which were sourced from Japanese copy tapes hit the market in 2010, many were criticized heavily. Paranoid was said by some to be way too bright and treble heavy, for example. And other titles also took some flak. Still, I believe this was the first time Universal Japan had sourced anything from tapes in years. Perhaps my complaining on the Hoffman board about them mastering from previous CDs helped in this endeavor? ;-)

                            Then something else happened and I suspect it was because Universal Japan had somebody researching opinions (especially at the Hoffman site) but suddenly Takiguchi was not mastering the titles and Manubu Matsumara (I believe I have that right, too lazy to check) started doing the mastering. He did H&H. This was also from a Japanese copy tape, and while many of his masterings were a huge improvement I did not find H&H to be a good mastering on SACD at all. Doc and I hear this one differently. To me this release is so bright it is painful on the ears. I far prefer Andy Pearce's 2010 "Deluxe Edition" mastering of H&H in the UK.

                            But in both cases Japanese copy tapes were the source. And we don't know how much the sources at hand may have contributed. Based on his other work, I'm inclined to think Matsumara either had an old Japanese LP cutting tape for H&H that had been heavily boosted in the top end or somebody didn't align the tape properly for his mastering or SOMETHING, because his other work I heard (Rainbow, Cream, etc.) was far better, IMO.

                            So maybe about 2011, Universal Japan worked out a deal to get hi-res transfers of some titles done from master tapes in the UK and US. These would be issued "flat" with no additional mastering. Oddly, they later started releasing these titles on SHM-SACD, Platinum SHM CD, and standard SHM CD (incidentally, IMO, SHM is a largely a bunch of nonsense) simultaneously, but at the point the Sabbath titles were released it was still SHM-SACD only. Those transfers were done at FX Copyroom in the UK by Kevin Whittaker if memory serves. Bear in mind, "flat" transfers aren't always a guarantee of quality either. I have heard some FX Copyroom transfers (not Sabbath) that were clearly done incorrectly and Dolby probably not decoded properly.

                            I guess these are some of the reasons I love old vinyl so much. Very rarely do I come across anything unlistenable. Sure, some pressings are better than others, but anything prior the "digital" age is at least analog and likely cut by an engineer with vast experience in dealing with the analog recordings.
                            Last edited by Jeff; 11-21-2017, 12:10 PM.
                            "It is not opinion that Ozzy peaked on Sabotage, it is a measurable fact."
                            -WTB

                            Comment


                            • #89
                              Originally posted by Jeff View Post
                              I'll try to explain what happened with Paranoid and H&H SACDs, Linda.

                              Paranoid was released in 2010, just as the series of SHM-SACDs by Universal Japan started. It was remastered by Hitoshi Takiguchi, who had already made somewhat of a minor name for himself when I and others complained about his using brickwall compression on his remasters during the years from about 2004 and forward. When some of the SACDs he mastered which were sourced from Japanese copy tapes hit the market in 2010, many were criticized heavily. Paranoid was said by some to be way too bright and treble heavy, for example. And other titles also took some flak. Still, I believe this was the first time Universal Japan had sourced anything from tapes in years. Perhaps my complaining on the Hoffman board about them mastering from previous CDs helped in this endeavor? ;-)

                              Then something else happened and I suspect it was because Universal Japan had somebody researching opinions (especially at the Hoffman site) but suddenly Takiguchi was not mastering the titles and Manubu Matsumara (I believe I have that right, too lazy to check) started doing the mastering. He did H&H. This was also from a Japanese copy tape, and while many of his masterings were a huge improvement I did not find H&H to be a good mastering on SACD at all. Doc and I hear this one differently. To me this release is so bright it is painful on the ears. I far prefer Andy Pearce's 2010 "Deluxe Edition" mastering of H&H in the UK.

                              But in both cases Japanese copy tapes were the source. And we don't know how much the sources at hand may have contributed. Based on his other work, I'm inclined to think Matsumara either had an old Japanese LP cutting tape for H&H that had been heavily boosted in the top end or somebody didn't align the tape properly for his mastering or SOMETHING, because his other work I heard (Rainbow, Cream, etc.) was far better, IMO.

                              So maybe about 2011, Universal Japan worked out a deal to get hi-res transfers of some titles done from master tapes in the UK and US. These would be issued "flat" with no additional mastering. Oddly, they later started releasing these titles on SHM-SACD, Platinum SHM CD, and standard SHM CD (incidentally, IMO, SHM is a largely a bunch of nonsense) simultaneously, but at the point the Sabbath titles were released it was still SHM-SACD only. Those transfers were done at FX Copyroom in the UK by Kevin Whittaker if memory serves. Bear in mind, "flat" transfers aren't always a guarantee of quality either. I have heard some FX Copyroom transfers (not Sabbath) that were clearly done incorrectly and Dolby probably not decoded properly.

                              I guess these are some of the reasons I love old vinyl so much. Very rarely do I come across anything unlistenable. Sure, some pressings are better than others, but anything prior the "digital" age is at least analog and likely cut by an engineer with vast experience in dealing with the analog recordings.
                              Thanks so much, Jeff, for explaining this for probably about the 100th time. :-) Very cool, very interesting. I guess the fact that the transfers happened in the UK indicates that the tapes for those 4 Sabbath recordings were all from the UK, right?

                              I am aware that 'flat' transfers are not necessarily good ones, and even if the transfer goes well, this will not help in cases where the original mastering was either just bad or for some reason just happens not to meet my musical taste. But I am still impressed by the fact that the only 4 Sabbath 'flat transfers' of original master tapes that I have had the chance to listen to all sound so good. Anyway, I didn't do any blind testing with them - maybe my knowing that they were flat transfers influenced my listening experience, who knows.
                              Last edited by Sabbabbath; 11-21-2017, 12:26 PM.

                              Comment


                              • #90
                                Man, am i happy that i care more about the music being played than in what format it's being played on...
                                95% of everything i say is pure bullshit just for the fun of it. The other 95% is damn serious!
                                Til įrs ok frišar ok forn sišr

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