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Thread: Ten Year War

  1. #81

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    Quote 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

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    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 at 02:18 AM.

  3. #83

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    Quote 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

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    Quote 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

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    Quote 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?

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    Quote 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.

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    Quote 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 at 01:15 PM.

  8. #88

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    Quote 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 at 02:10 PM.
    "It is not opinion that Ozzy peaked on Sabotage, it is a measurable fact."
    -WTB

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    Quote 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 at 02:26 PM.

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    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!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Underdog View Post
    Man, am i happy that i care more about the music being played than in what format it's being played on...
    LOL, amen to that! :-)

  12. #92

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    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Underdog View Post
    Man, am i happy that i care more about the music being played than in what format it's being played on...
    Some people feel passionately about both.

    Since music is sound, it only stands to reason that many become interested in how something sounds.
    "It is not opinion that Ozzy peaked on Sabotage, it is a measurable fact."
    -WTB

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff View Post
    Since music is sound, it only stands to reason that many become interested in how something sounds.
    Sure. The fact that alot of the 80's extreme metal demo's was recorded on a cassette player with horrible, almost inaudible sound is part of the charm. Still prefer what's actually being played, though...
    But yeah, i can understand audiophiles. I'm just glad i'm not one of them.

    My biggest problem with modern day compression is, as you mentioned, the dynamics disappear. And sometimes it feels like needles to the eardrums. Smooth is nice, rough is nice too...
    Last edited by Billy Underdog; 11-21-2017 at 05:14 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sabbabbath View Post
    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.
    Doc does listening sessions with Bob Stuart the creator of MQA, he may even be with him tonight? Meridian audio.
    Doc is more of a purist when it comes to sound, so not sure how much of a fan he is when it comes to streaming music

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sabbabbath View Post
    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.
    Linda, you're spot on with your commentaries, regarding what effects the sound, when dealing with speakers and acoustic systems, however the message from the people marketing MQAs is that while unpacked (processed through DAC by means of software or hardware) the resulting set of info is as close to original recording as it could be (allegedly).

    The playback is something they cannot have influence on, but it's abosultely the same with any audio media - CD, LP, MC, digital files. When you have any intermediate between your ears and any audio source you have a lot of factors.

    And your comments are actually pointing out at another very important issue - how much audio equipment itself has influence on the resulting sound one hears. I'm of the firm belief, that quality depends mostly on acoustic conditions of the space you are listening at (configuration of the space, materials used in construction, etc) , rather than equipment itself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexBarghest View Post
    Linda, you're spot on with your commentaries, regarding what effects the sound, when dealing with speakers and acoustic systems, however the message from the people marketing MQAs is that while unpacked (processed through DAC by means of software or hardware) the resulting set of info is as close to original recording as it could be (allegedly).

    The playback is something they cannot have influence on, but it's abosultely the same with any audio media - CD, LP, MC, digital files. When you have any intermediate between your ears and any audio source you have a lot of factors.

    And your comments are actually pointing out at another very important issue - how much audio equipment itself has influence on the resulting sound one hears. I'm of the firm belief, that quality depends mostly on acoustic conditions of the space you are listening at (configuration of the space, materials used in construction, etc) , rather than equipment itself.
    Thanks for your valuable comments, Alex. I have listened to some of your own recordings from live gigs, and their quality is absolutely amazing. So I know for a fact that you're good with sound.

    As for MQA, if, as we agree, environmental factors are hugely relevant for the actual sound of music, then the idea of exactly reproducing the studio mastering sound is nonsense. You wrote: "the message from the people marketing MQAs is that while unpacked (processed through DAC by means of software or hardware) the resulting set of info is as close to original recording as it could be (allegedly)." Now, if that does NOT refer to actual playback sound, then I am wondering why this should be better than 'classical' lossless hi-res at all. What does it even mean then that the "resulting set of information" (and I am not criticizing you here - you are summarizing their marketing claims very well here) is maximum close to the original recording? If they were talking about the actual digital data, the stored information, being identical, then that would be exactly the same effect that lossless audio has - and that's an arena where MQA, as a lossy process, cannot win against lossless audio. And as we agreed, it is entirely impossible to secure that the actual sound in studio and in my flat will be the same. So what's left that MQA could (logically, at least) achieve? Are they claiming the "resulting set of information" is almost identical to the actual studio mastering sound? What would that even mean? How can such a claim be tested? And how would that help? Would it mean that if I had exactly the same equipment and environment as they had in studio, then the actual sound would be identical? Again, that's something that 'traditional' lossless audio is definitely better equipped to do than any lossy codec or process like MQA. Moreover, even if that was the way to go, they would have to add you a very, very long text to every MQA file set then that gives you all relevent data about the studio environment and equipment. And then, what? Were we all supposed to build an identical studio in order to reproduce the original sound?

    Honestly, that sounds ridiculous, doesn't it?

    EDIT: Or is what they claiming simply that the MQA process guarantees that the digital-to-audio conversion happaning when playing the files most closely resembles the analog-to-digital conversion they did in studio, probably by giving our DAC very accurate information on the algorythms of the original digital-to-audio conversion? I am totally a laywoman, but that would be something that I understand might be possible. Many of their marketing claims would still not be warrented by this, since those claims often refer to our actual listening experience, and that's something they definitely cannot control; additionally, they would still have to prove by double-blind testing that the increased congruence of analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog conversion has any positive effect on the average listening experience performance. But of course marketing is profit-oriented, not truth-oriented, so I am not expecting any miracles there.
    Last edited by Sabbabbath; 11-22-2017 at 06:25 AM.

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    Going back to the main topic, did anybody already compare the sound of the vinyl LPs (as opposed to the MQA files) from the Ten Year War box to the 2012 LPs (as opposed to the MP3 files)? Are they any different? (I apologize in case I overlooked any comment that already answered my question.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sabbabbath View Post
    Going back to the main topic, did anybody already compare the sound of the vinyl LPs (as opposed to the MQA files) from the Ten Year War box to the 2012 LPs (as opposed to the MP3 files)? Are they any different? (I apologize in case I overlooked any comment that already answered my question.)
    I haven't compared any LPs , but apparently I was a bit mislead about the MQA digital files myself ! I didn't notice I was comparing on different soft wares and the differences is unbelievable ! Will have to give further listens and compare different version on different soft wares to give some final thoughts about it (but I do get where Alex is coming from indeed) , also for anyone listening to those MQA files , make sure the software and settings are made to decode and enhance those files.

    P.S - For some reason , those digital files sound a NIGHT and DAY different using VLC software ! much better in every single aspect even when compared to an MQA decoder software like Roon ! no explanation yet , I have followed the exact steps and setting recommended on Roon to hear those MQA files and some how they sound way better on VLC !
    Last edited by IRON-MaN; 11-22-2017 at 05:53 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by IRON-MaN View Post
    I haven't compared any LPs , but apparently I was a bit mislead about the MQA digital files myself ! I didn't notice I was comparing on different soft wares and the differences is unbelievable ! Will have to give further listens and compare different version on different soft wares to give some final thoughts about it (but I do get where Alex is coming from indeed) , also for anyone listening to those MQA files , make sure the software and settings are made to decode and enhance those files.

    P.S - Those digital files sound a NIGHT and DAY different using VLC software !
    Thanks very much for your reply and info! Hm, that's odd that the files sound different with different software. Yes, the most obvious reason would be if one player can do MQA and the other one cannot, so the latter one will use the more traditional information also stored in MQA files in order to be compatible with traditional systems. Alternatively, maybe one of the players as some plug-in, EQ or whatever activated and the other one hasn't? For example, I sometimes activate compression in the tools > effects section of VLC in order to make very silent movies a bit louder; then when I forget to turn that off, the next music I listen to will of course sound different (more compressed) too. Even if ReplayGain is activated in one player and not in the other, this could have an effect, if you then try to counterbalance the volume difference using the analog volum control of your amplifier (because analog and digital volume control seems to work a bit different, or so I was told). Anyway, I guess Alex or one of the other people here with expertise in digtial audio can give you helpful advice. Good luck!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sabbabbath View Post
    Thanks for your valuable comments, Alex. I have listened to some of your own recordings from live gigs, and their quality is absolutely amazing. So I know for a fact that you're good with sound.

    As for MQA, if, as we agree, environmental factors are hugely relevant for the actual sound of music, then the idea of exactly reproducing the studio mastering sound is nonsense. You wrote: "the message from the people marketing MQAs is that while unpacked (processed through DAC by means of software or hardware) the resulting set of info is as close to original recording as it could be (allegedly)." Now, if that does NOT refer to actual playback sound, then I am wondering why this should be better than 'classical' lossless hi-res at all. What does it even mean then that the "resulting set of information" (and I am not criticizing you here - you are summarizing their marketing claims very well here) is maximum close to the original recording? If they were talking about the actual digital data, the stored information, being identical, then that would be exactly the same effect that lossless audio has - and that's an arena where MQA, as a lossy process, cannot win against lossless audio. And as we agreed, it is entirely impossible to secure that the actual sound in studio and in my flat will be the same. So what's left that MQA could (logically, at least) achieve? Are they claiming the "resulting set of information" is almost identical to the actual studio mastering sound? What would that even mean? How can such a claim be tested? And how would that help? Would it mean that if I had exactly the same equipment and environment as they had in studio, then the actual sound would be identical? Again, that's something that 'traditional' lossless audio is definitely better equipped to do than any lossy codec or process like MQA. Moreover, even if that was the way to go, they would have to add you a very, very long text to every MQA file set then that gives you all relevent data about the studio environment and equipment. And then, what? Were we all supposed to build an identical studio in order to reproduce the original sound?

    Honestly, that sounds ridiculous, doesn't it?

    EDIT: Or is what they claiming simply that the MQA process guarantees that the digital-to-audio conversion happaning when playing the files most closely resembles the analog-to-digital conversion they did in studio, probably by giving our DAC very accurate information on the algorythms of the original digital-to-audio conversion? I am totally a laywoman, but that would be something that I understand might be possible. Many of their marketing claims would still not be warrented by this, since those claims often refer to our actual listening experience, and that's something they definitely cannot control; additionally, they would still have to prove by double-blind testing that the increased congruence of analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog conversion has any positive effect on the average listening experience performance. But of course marketing is profit-oriented, not truth-oriented, so I am not expecting any miracles there.
    Thank you very much for your comment, Linda, and I really appreciate your comment on my live recordings, while my actual interference with recordings usually is very minimal, I never use EQ as many tapers do, I only do compression and amplifying basically.

    Now to MQA thing. They claim to offer a high quality lossy substitute to hi-res files. Basically they maintain, that MQAs, though being lossy in essence, offer you almost the same quality as hi-res lossless files. All else is not relevant. So you should compare MQA with hir-res FLACs/WAVs. Period. And again playback conditions are of no influence for them (just like for any media ( CD, LP, MC) manufacturer. How can a CD manufacturer be eligible for the fact, that you listen to something at open air/under water/God knows where and on laptop internal speakers?). You summarized it all pretty good in your 1st EDIT question, so the answer to it is - YES.

    And again, MQAs are a marketing niche for streaming services mainly. It’s obvious, that serious audio connoisseurs should stick to lossless sources when possible, because lossy is lossy no matter how good it is, So MQA should be seen as an upgrade to current MP3, AAC, etc standards, being closer to hi-res, but it’s in no way an upgrade to hi-res lossless, just (allegedly) superb alternative to enable listeners to achieve a quality close to hi-res audio in streaming mode.
    The question, which arises here, what is better – a standard 16/44 lossless file and lossy 24/48 (packed from 24/94)?

    I can tell you the following thing. When I have only started taping I did recordings in 16/44, but one of my friends had identical equipment – the same mics and recorder, so we stood side by side at a gig and tried to make parallel recording : me - in 24/96 and he – in 16/44. The resulting difference in quality was amazing. However, the resulting 24/96 file sounded almost the same , when being downgraded to 16/44 AFTERWARDS, and considerably superior in sound, than original 16/44 recording.

    Quote Originally Posted by IRON-MaN View Post
    I haven't compared any LPs , but apparently I was a bit mislead about the MQA digital files myself ! I didn't notice I was comparing on different soft wares and the differences is unbelievable ! Will have to give further listens and compare different version on different soft wares to give some final thoughts about it (but I do get where Alex is coming from indeed) , also for anyone listening to those MQA files , make sure the software and settings are made to decode and enhance those files.

    P.S - For some reason , those digital files sound a NIGHT and DAY different using VLC software ! much better in every single aspect even when compared to an MQA decoder software like Roon ! no explanation yet , I have followed the exact steps and setting recommended on Roon to hear those MQA files and some how they sound way better on VLC !
    IRON-MAN, I would recommend you actually to try to crosscheck MQAs (with proper equipment) against Hi-Res FLACs. They should sound the same as the source is identical (maybe Hi-Res will sound better, but at such sample rate, I think this difference should be inaudible). VLC player, to my knowledge (as well any other non-specific player), will treat MQA encoded files just as simple FLACs. And also headphones are quite important (of course), Sennheiser HD 800 make it a whole new experience vs. Sennheiser PXC 550 with a plugged-in cord.
    Last edited by AlexBarghest; 11-22-2017 at 07:34 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexBarghest View Post
    Thank you very much for your comment, Linda, and I really appreciate your comment on my live recordings, while my actual interference with recordings usually is very minimal, I never use EQ as many tapers do, I only do compression and amplifying basically.
    Thanks again for your comment too, Alex, I like to learn from you and others here. I am aware you're not tampering with your recordings a lot. Instead, I believe you use very good equipment and take good care of choosing a good location for taping, right?

    Quote Originally Posted by AlexBarghest View Post
    Now to MQA thing. They claim to offer a high quality lossy substitute to hi-res files. Basically they maintain, that MQAs, though being lossy in essence, offer you almost the same quality as hi-res lossless files. All else is not relevant. So you should compare MQA with hir-res FLACs/WAVs. Period. And again playback conditions are of no influence for them (just like for any media ( CD, LP, MC) manufacturer. How can a CD manufacturer be eligible for the fact, that you listen to something at open air/under water/God knows where and on laptop internal speakers?). You summarized it all pretty good in your 1st EDIT question, so the answer to it is - YES.

    And again, MQAs are a marketing niche for streaming services mainly. It’s obvious, that serious audio connoisseurs should stick to lossless sources when possible, because lossy is lossy no matter how good it is, So MQA should be seen as an upgrade to current MP3, AAC, etc standards, being closer to hi-res, but it’s in no way an upgrade to hi-res lossless, just (allegedly) superb alternative to enable listeners to achieve a quality close to hi-res audio in streaming mode.
    Totally makes sense. And this means that about 75 percent at least of the marketing claims on MQA are plain bullshit: talking about "a whole new listening experience" and similar claims made by the company itself and by magazines etc. alike is just nonsense when in fact MQA are at best nothing more than kind of a better MP3. People with good internet connections don't need compressed audio anymore anyway, and even if they do, then only for streaming, but not for saving to HD and listening from HD (which is what I do).

    Quote Originally Posted by AlexBarghest View Post
    The question, which arises here, what is better – a standard 16/44 lossless file and lossy 24/48 (packed from 24/94)?
    I can tell you the following thing. When I have only started taping I did recordings in 16/44, but one of my friends had identical equipment – the same mics and recorder, so we stood side by side at a gig and tried to make parallel recording : me - in 24/96 and he – in 16/44. The resulting difference in quality was amazing. However, the resulting 24/96 file sounded almost the same , when being downgraded to 16/44 AFTERWARDS, and considerably superior in sound, than original 16/44 recording.
    Yes, that's what most real experts seem to agree on: recording in hi-res makes a lot of sense, mastering or remastering in hi-res makes a lot of sense, listening in hi-res makes no or minimal difference.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sabbabbath View Post
    Thanks again for your comment too, Alex, I like to learn from you and others here. I am aware you're not tampering with your recordings a lot. Instead, I believe you use very good equipment and take good care of choosing a good location for taping, right?
    Yupp, you're absolutely right. As a rule I try to find a balance between a good viewpoint and a good sound. Usually I position myself dead center. You know, which equipment I use - it's pretty standard stuff for audio bootleggers. But sometimes I choose to sacrifice a better point soundwise for a better viewpoint.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sabbabbath
    Totally makes sense. And this means that about 75 percent at least of the marketing claims on MQA are plain bullshit: talking about "a whole new listening experience" and similar claims made by the company itself and by magazines etc. alike is just nonsense when in fact MQA are at best nothing more than kind of a better MP3. People with good internet connections don't need compressed audio anymore anyway, and even if they do, then only for streaming, but not for saving to HD and listening from HD (which is what I do).
    Yupp, I don't buy MQA claims until I see any solid proofs of their claims. But streaming is definitely where the future of the mass music industry is: you don't have to have a storage space (even virtual space wise, not mentioning physical one), you can have access to your content almost anywhere with WiFi/LTE connection, the stuff doesn't become worse with years unlike physical media and so on. It's more so for movies and books than music for now, but the vector is clear.

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    So I spent sometime today adjusting all settings needed for MQA and went over again to compare 3 main versions (Black Box Remasters , Vinyl Boxset 2012 and obviously the Ten Year Wars MQA) , and here in my humble brief summary and opinion :

    1. The MQA are definitely the best version of all 3 with the 2012 Vinyl Box set extremely close.
    2. At full volume the MQA versions has amazing brilliant clarity compared to the Black Box Remasters which tends to get a bit more muddy.
    3. The greatest feature that edges the MQA versions in my opinion is how all instruments seems to be separated and crystal clear to spot with all its tiniest details , The 2012 Vinyl versions are very close in that matter , but I felt that the instruments channels through my headphones were incredibly more defined , so while you hear the song as a whole my ears could easily pick any instrument , its hard to explain but it really has that warm studio feel to it more than the rest.

    Kindly notice that I've only compared those 3 main versions (there might others out there that other fans might consider or reference as better versions) , also I made sure to compare all different versions on different soft wares , and to be more clear , my main focus was on the those three Sabbath classic albums (Vol.4 , SBS and Sabotage) , the reasons why I've picked those 3 in particular were :

    1st.They're my favorite Sabbath albums
    2nd. They had a lot of experimentation , layers and textures specially when compared to the first 3.
    3rd. I think the first albums were sonic ally incredible anyway and their mix were absolutely perfect , I've always the later albums had some major room for sound improvement and enhancement one way or the other.

    Also my method was quite simple , pick certain songs and some particular parts and start playing them over and over comparing all 3 versions almost instantly , it was LOUD and my ears kinda of hurt now.
    Last edited by IRON-MaN; 11-23-2017 at 04:18 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by IRON-MaN View Post
    So I spent sometime today adjusting all settings needed for MQA and went over again to compare 3 main versions (Black Box Remasters , Vinyl Boxset 2012 and obviously the Ten Year Wars MQA) , and here in my humble brief summary and opinion :

    1. The MQA are definitely the best version of all 3 with the 2012 Vinyl Box set extremely close.
    2. At full volume the MQA versions has amazing brilliant clarity compared to the Black Box Remasters which tends to get a bit more muddy.
    3. The greatest feature that edges the MQA versions in my opinion is how all instruments seems to be separated and crystal clear to spot with all its tiniest details , The 2012 Vinyl versions are very close in that matter , but I felt that the instruments channels through my headphones were incredibly more defined , so while you hear the song as a whole my ears could easily pick any instrument , its hard to explain but it really has that warm studio feel to it more than the rest.

    Kindly notice that I've only compared those 3 main versions (there might others out there that other fans might consider or reference as better versions) , also I made sure to compare all different versions on different soft wares , and to be more clear , my main focus was on the those three Sabbath classic albums (Vol.4 , SBS and Sabotage) , the reasons why I've picked those 3 in particular were :

    1st.They're my favorite Sabbath albums
    2nd. They had a lot of experimentation , layers and textures specially when compared to the first 3.
    3rd. I think the first albums were sonic ally incredible anyway and their mix were absolutely perfect , I've always the later albums had some major room for sound improvement and enhancement one way or the other.

    Also my method was quite simple , pick certain songs and some particular parts and start playing them over and over comparing all 3 versions almost instantly , it was LOUD and my ears kinda of hurt now.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. Quite interesting!

    IMO, Black Box if of little help in any comparison. Just too much compression and in some cases the EQ is way over the top to my ears. Vol. 4 especially was a bit of a screechy mess in my view.

    Do you have the JAPAN SACDs? The 1986 (not '96!) Castles? These would seem to me to be a much better basis for comparison for Vol. 4 and SBS.
    "It is not opinion that Ozzy peaked on Sabotage, it is a measurable fact."
    -WTB

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff View Post
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. Quite interesting!

    IMO, Black Box if of little help in any comparison. Just too much compression and in some cases the EQ is way over the top to my ears. Vol. 4 especially was a bit of a screechy mess in my view.

    Do you have the JAPAN SACDs? The 1986 (not '96!) Castles? These would seem to me to be a much better basis for comparison for Vol. 4 and SBS.
    Yes , I totally agree those Black Box versions sounds a bit compressed and harsh on the ears when really played loud , and just to be clear , I do enjoy all versions one way or the other and they're quite comparable in many different aspects , I do own many 96' castles but none of the 1986 Japanese versions you've mentioned ! Also it have to be clear that the MQA versions sounds extremely close to those amazing Vinyl 2012 Box Set versions (and which were my favorite till I've heard those new ones) , also the differences is minor and definitely none would really ruin any listening experiences , with that been said , and at very high volumes I felt the MQA sound saturates really nicely and warmly , the whole sound doesn't get distorted or muddy while the clarity and separation of each instrument is quite impressive and quite comfy to the ears as well.
    Last edited by IRON-MaN; 11-23-2017 at 06:20 PM.

  26. #106

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    Quote Originally Posted by ronn View Post
    Doc does listening sessions with Bob Stuart the creator of MQA, he may even be with him tonight? Meridian audio.
    Doc is more of a purist when it comes to sound, so not sure how much of a fan he is when it comes to streaming music
    Bob is a great guy .... Has been involved in recreating the live experience at home and in studio forever now , and at the highest level , responsible for some of the most revolutionary improvements in sound reproduction the world over.

    I don't agree with a lot of his ideas ,, because my ear tells me otherwise , but my goodness the man is a genius.

    About "the ear" , and the way it hears - it's impossible to evaluate sound reproduction properly in any way shape or form through a pair of headphones .... even the great 'Sennheiser Orpheus' falls short in true musical evaluation ,,, to compare an acoustic or electric instrument as a live event through a pair of headphones makes about as much sense as an elephant in a mousetrap.

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    Quote Originally Posted by IRON-MaN View Post
    Yes , I totally agree those Black Box versions sounds a bit compressed and harsh on the ears when really played loud , and just to be clear , I do enjoy all versions one way or the other and they're quite comparable in many different aspects , I do own many 96' castles but none of the 1986 Japanese versions you've mentioned ! Also it have to be clear that the MQA versions sounds extremely close to those amazing Vinyl 2012 Box Set versions (and which were my favorite till I've heard those new ones) , also the differences is minor and definitely none would really ruin any listening experiences , with that been said , and at very high volumes I felt the MQA sound saturates really nicely and warmly , the whole sound doesn't get distorted or muddy while the clarity and separation of each instrument is quite impressive and quite comfy to the ears as well.
    The '86 Castles are HIGHLY recommended for:

    S/T
    Vol. 4
    SBS

    These were released in the UK. Whether pressed in Japan, France or the UK, they are identical. The NELCDxxx catalog versions contain a bonus track on each album but they are just taken from Live At Last. The CLACDxxx catalog versions are identical to the NELCD versions but no bonus track.

    Personally, I would not be surprised if the same tapes used all the way back at the time these were issued are still the best tapes available in the UK.
    "It is not opinion that Ozzy peaked on Sabotage, it is a measurable fact."
    -WTB

  28. #108

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff View Post
    The '86 Castles are HIGHLY recommended for:

    S/T
    Vol. 4
    SBS

    These were released in the UK. Whether pressed in Japan, France or the UK, they are identical. The NELCDxxx catalog versions contain a bonus track on each album but they are just taken from Live At Last. The CLACDxxx catalog versions are identical to the NELCD versions but no bonus track.

    Personally, I would not be surprised if the same tapes used all the way back at the time these were issued are still the best tapes available in the UK.
    Thanks ! Will probably add those to my collection in the near future.I also got to test those MQA versions on a friend's Klipsch home theater that is worth 5,000$ and I've got to say , its truly a heavenly experience ! Unfortunately I didn't get to compare any other versions on the spot , I've tried 2012 Vinyl versions on the same system a few years back and it was such a revelation as well ! Fingers crossed I'm planning to get my own system when I move to a new place later this year , words can't tell how its like to hear those albums (and any other music to be honest) on such high quality music system !

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    I'm not a big audiophile like you guys if it sounds good and I love the music like I do Sabbath, then it all sounds good, I guess that's why the production of Born Again never bothered me.
    "Without Black Sabbath there never would have been an Ozzy, and without Ozzy there never would have been a Black Sabbath"
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff View Post
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. Quite interesting!
    IMO, Black Box if of little help in any comparison. Just too much compression and in some cases the EQ is way over the top to my ears. Vol. 4 especially was a bit of a screechy mess in my view.
    Do you have the JAPAN SACDs? The 1986 (not '96!) Castles? These would seem to me to be a much better basis for comparison for Vol. 4 and SBS.
    Fully agreed of course. Black Box and most of the 1996 Castle remasters are rubbish. Everything that does not hurt your ear after more than a few minutes of listening would be an upgrade over those. :-) In order to appreciate whether the 2012 remasters (and the releases based in them: 2012 vinyl, 2014 hi-res downloads, 2016 Rhino/Warner CDs, 2017 MQA and vinyl) are upgrades or not, we need to take into account the best earlier versions - which, at least for the first 5 albums, means: Japan SACDs, 2009 Sanctuary CDs, 1986 Castle CDs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by IRON-MaN View Post
    Thanks ! Will probably add those to my collection in the near future.I also got to test those MQA versions on a friend's Klipsch home theater that is worth 5,000$ and I've got to say , its truly a heavenly experience ! Unfortunately I didn't get to compare any other versions on the spot , I've tried 2012 Vinyl versions on the same system a few years back and it was such a revelation as well ! Fingers crossed I'm planning to get my own system when I move to a new place later this year , words can't tell how its like to hear those albums (and any other music to be honest) on such high quality music system !
    Thanks for keeping us updated. Since you compared the MQA files to the 2012 MP3, keep in mind that the difference you hear might easily be due to the well-known limitations of MP3. In order to appreciate if MQA actually sounds better than the same mastering on a redbook CD or even hi-res file (something which Alex and me seriously doubt), you would obviously have to compare to those - and, again, in a double-blind setting, in order to avoid the interference of what might compared to a placebo effect.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff View Post
    The '86 Castles are HIGHLY recommended for:

    S/T
    Vol. 4
    SBS

    These were released in the UK. Whether pressed in Japan, France or the UK, they are identical. The NELCDxxx catalog versions contain a bonus track on each album but they are just taken from Live At Last. The CLACDxxx catalog versions are identical to the NELCD versions but no bonus track.

    Personally, I would not be surprised if the same tapes used all the way back at the time these were issued are still the best tapes available in the UK.
    Quote Originally Posted by IRON-MaN View Post
    Thanks ! Will probably add those to my collection in the near future.I also got to test those MQA versions on a friend's Klipsch home theater that is worth 5,000$ and I've got to say , its truly a heavenly experience ! Unfortunately I didn't get to compare any other versions on the spot , I've tried 2012 Vinyl versions on the same system a few years back and it was such a revelation as well ! Fingers crossed I'm planning to get my own system when I move to a new place later this year , words can't tell how its like to hear those albums (and any other music to be honest) on such high quality music system !
    Jeff, do I remember correctly that the 1986 Castles CDs use pre-emphasis? You can explain that stuff much better than me - I guess it would be good to explain the problems that might potentially arise from that fact (e.g. in case IRON-MaN will rip them to PC). Also, I'd like to offer to send IRON-MaN and other interested persons FLAC audio samples from those CDs (I think it's better to first have a chance to listen before starting to buy multiple used out-of-print CDs); however, de-emphasis means that I have to edit them with SoX in order to sound right, is that correct?

  33. #113

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sabbabbath View Post
    Jeff, do I remember correctly that the 1986 Castles CDs use pre-emphasis? You can explain that stuff much better than me - I guess it would be good to explain the problems that might potentially arise from that fact (e.g. in case IRON-MaN will rip them to PC). Also, I'd like to offer to send IRON-MaN and other interested persons FLAC audio samples from those CDs (I think it's better to first have a chance to listen before starting to buy multiple used out-of-print CDs); however, de-emphasis means that I have to edit them with SoX in order to sound right, is that correct?
    Yes, they do have PE.

    Most CD players will decode it correctly, but not all. If they sound treble heavy, the PE is not being decoded correctly.

    Also, keep in mind that on 1986 MoR, the pre-emphasis flag was set wrong, so you actually need to manually change it to "No" and burn a new CDR if you want to play it back in a CD player that is set up to correctly decode it. If you change the flag on MoR, it sounds similar to Pearce's Deluxe or the Japan SACD (brighter than both, but not by that much).

    These days, I believe programs like Foobar will decode it automatically if one listens via computer.
    "It is not opinion that Ozzy peaked on Sabotage, it is a measurable fact."
    -WTB

  34. #114
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff View Post
    Yes, they do have PE.

    Most CD players will decode it correctly, but not all. If they sound treble heavy, the PE is not being decoded correctly.

    Also, keep in mind that on 1986 MoR, the pre-emphasis flag was set wrong, so you actually need to manually change it to "No" and burn a new CDR if you want to play it back in a CD player that is set up to correctly decode it. If you change the flag on MoR, it sounds similar to Pearce's Deluxe or the Japan SACD (brighter than both, but not by that much).

    These days, I believe programs like Foobar will decode it automatically if one listens via computer.
    Thanks Jeff! As for MOR, right, I remember there was something strange going on with the Castle 1986 CD. Anyway, IMHO the SACD and the 2009 Sanctuary release of this album are so good that we don't need to bother with the Castle anymore.

    I am not sure if Foobar will automatically decode pre-emphasized CDs correctly - I have none of those CDs here physically, so I cannot check. I am pretty sure that Foobar does NOT do it automatically for audio files ripped from pre-emphasized CDs - a specific component still seems to be needed <http://www.foobar2000.org/components/view/foo_dsp_deemph>, and a tag has to be added to the file (or maybe EAC adds it automatically when ripping).

    IRON-MaN, you see, the 1986 Castles can be a bit tricky, but the ones that Jeff recommends (S/T, Vol4, SBS) are nevertheless worth checking out. Not necessarily the best versions available - I tend to prefer the SACDs, though the S/T SACD has a tape problem during "Evil Woman" if I remember correctly, and it is missing "Wicked World" which should be added from one of the releases based on the 2012 mastering -, but definitely among the better ones.

  35. #115
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    I first fell in love with this band on cassette tape.
    "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"
    ________________________________________OzzyIsDio_ (YoY)

  36. #116

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    Quote Originally Posted by OzzyIsDio View Post
    I first fell in love with this band on cassette tape.
    OID , absolutely great post


    Quote Originally Posted by Sabbabbath View Post
    Thanks Jeff! As for MOR, right, I remember there was something strange going on with the Castle 1986 CD. Anyway, IMHO the SACD and the 2009 Sanctuary release of this album are so good that we don't need to bother with the Castle anymore.

    I am not sure if Foobar will automatically decode pre-emphasized CDs correctly - I have none of those CDs here physically, so I cannot check. I am pretty sure that Foobar does NOT do it automatically for audio files ripped from pre-emphasized CDs - a specific component still seems to be needed <http://www.foobar2000.org/components/view/foo_dsp_deemph>, and a tag has to be added to the file (or maybe EAC adds it automatically when ripping).

    IRON-MaN, you see, the 1986 Castles can be a bit tricky, but the ones that Jeff recommends (S/T, Vol4, SBS) are nevertheless worth checking out. Not necessarily the best versions available - I tend to prefer the SACDs, though the S/T SACD has a tape problem during "Evil Woman" if I remember correctly, and it is missing "Wicked World" which should be added from one of the releases based on the 2012 mastering -, but definitely among the better ones.
    Linda , listen to "Sabotage" on CD , the original WB 86/87 ,, and see what your ears tell ya .... I'm curious to what happens ....


    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff View Post
    Yes, they do have PE.

    Most CD players will decode it correctly, but not all. If they sound treble heavy, the PE is not being decoded correctly.

    Also, keep in mind that on 1986 MoR, the pre-emphasis flag was set wrong, so you actually need to manually change it to "No" and burn a new CDR if you want to play it back in a CD player that is set up to correctly decode it. If you change the flag on MoR, it sounds similar to Pearce's Deluxe or the Japan SACD (brighter than both, but not by that much).

    These days, I believe programs like Foobar will decode it automatically if one listens via computer.
    Brother Jeff , has your gorgeous set reached your hands yet ??


    God Bless all you Sabbath maniacs

  37. #117

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    Quote Originally Posted by OzzyIsDio View Post
    I first fell in love with this band on cassette tape.
    me too, a long long time ago. it was a born again K7.
    love at first hearing.
    my absolute favorite band since that day (all eras, i must say).

  38. #118

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    Quote Originally Posted by BACK TO EDEN View Post
    Brother Jeff , has your gorgeous set reached your hands yet ??
    It did. But it arrived with a huge gash in the side of the box. I noticed the box it was mailed in had a pretty big dent but didn't expect it had gone through to the box of the set itself. Well, it did. :(

    I returned it for a replacement. It was just a freak thing. The Seller is a reasonable guy. I hope to have the replacement very soon.

    You're the best, Doc! Will post a picture here when I receive it!
    "It is not opinion that Ozzy peaked on Sabotage, it is a measurable fact."
    -WTB

  39. #119
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    Quote Originally Posted by BACK TO EDEN View Post
    OID , absolutely great post
    Thank you BTE.

    Quote Originally Posted by Geelerm View Post
    me too, a long long time ago. it was a born again K7.
    love at first hearing.
    my absolute favorite band since that day (all eras, i must say).
    Mine was the eponymous debut, I had heard Mob Rules before at a friends house on record, but the self titled I bought myself with money I earned from I job I had back then and continued to buy the whole catalog after that.

    Not trying to derail this thread, the point I'm trying to make is, I don't get all this technology, it's great I'm sure, but something as simple as cassette tape was good enough for me, maybe some day when I have the time and money I can buy me a nice system, I'm happy with the way my Sabbath sounds to me now.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff View Post
    It did. But it arrived with a huge gash in the side of the box. I noticed the box it was mailed in had a pretty big dent but didn't expect it had gone through to the box of the set itself. Well, it did. :(

    I returned it for a replacement. It was just a freak thing. The Seller is a reasonable guy. I hope to have the replacement very soon.

    You're the best, Doc! Will post a picture here when I receive it!
    Sorry to hear that Jeff, I hope you get your replacement soon.
    Last edited by OzzyIsDio; 11-26-2017 at 10:50 AM.
    "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"
    ________________________________________OzzyIsDio_ (YoY)

  40. #120

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    I have received my box!

    This set is absolutely gorgeous. The book is fantastic! So many memorable quotes from other musicians. Probably my very favorite was seeing Nick Mason give them so much credit, because of course Pink Floyd (well, mainly Roger Waters) were critical of Sabbath way back in the early days. To see that sort of come full circle was heartwarming, because it made me think about all these guys have been through.

    The reproduction of the '78 Tour Book is sensational! And the reprint of the '78 Promo Press Cartoon Magazine is a real gem! I used to own a copy of the real thing many years ago, but at some point I think I sold it or put it away somewhere, but now I have it again for sure. That magazine is a real treasure. Sabbath's PR Team were clearly trying to convert some non-believers in the late 70s. Who can blame the band for being on board after so much criticism by ignorant, musically inept writers. They wanted to survive and expand their reach. And whatever some people think of TE and NSD, they did survive and even thrived.

    To have Mint copies of all the UK covers is a real joy. I am not going to get into debates about sound on this set. I don't expect it to replace my favorite vinyl pressings, but I don't even care about that.

    My limited number is 2561. It was worth the wait. Even this set arrived with just a very minor nick, but no big deal. I am happy.

    I want to again thank Doc for being so generous. It was a great contest! Thanks to everybody. Truly!

    Sabbath Forever!

    -Jeff
    "It is not opinion that Ozzy peaked on Sabotage, it is a measurable fact."
    -WTB

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