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qubuz - high def downloads of Elvis Albums - fake?

Thu Mar 12, 2015 6:43 pm

Hello all,

a question for the experts out there. As far as I know the only high resolution Elvis music out there was limited to 3 SACD's. Now on a site called Qobuz I see many albums all listed as High Def 24 bit - 96.00 khz files.
My thought is that these are not genuine high def files, but upscaled 44.1 khz (CD standard) files.
Can these be the real thing or just upscaled? Any ideas?
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Re: qubuz - high def downloads of Elvis Albums - fake?

Thu Mar 12, 2015 7:05 pm

I haven't tried Qubuz, but they are most likely genuine. Except a few titles HDTracks have all Elvis albums in hires until 1965. They are the 2007 remasters most of the time but before they were downconverted for cd release.

Re: qubuz - high def downloads of Elvis Albums - fake?

Thu Mar 12, 2015 7:16 pm

Well, that interesting, may have to choose one and try it! Thank you...

Re: qubuz - high def downloads of Elvis Albums - fake?

Thu Mar 12, 2015 7:22 pm

If they are the exact same masters as the CDs, you aren't going to hear a difference.

Re: qubuz - high def downloads of Elvis Albums - fake?

Thu Mar 12, 2015 7:28 pm

They are the same masterings, but they are not downconvertered to cd-resolution. More inner-detail, better imaging and a better low-end is what you get. Of course it depends on the recording, but the best ones are fantastic.

Re: qubuz - high def downloads of Elvis Albums - fake?

Thu Mar 12, 2015 7:47 pm

Exactly, the mastering is one thing, the recording resolution is quite another. This was illustrated to me in shocking fashion when I first listened to Elvis Is Back on SACD, it was so much better than the CD version. These claim to be of the same resolution as the SACD... Feel a purchase approaching, but which one....

Re: qubuz - high def downloads of Elvis Albums - fake?

Thu Mar 12, 2015 7:51 pm

Scoobie wrote:Exactly, the mastering is one thing, the recording resolution is quite another. This was illustrated to me in shocking fashion when I first listened to Elvis Is Back on SACD, it was so much better than the CD version. These claim to be of the same resolution as the SACD... Feel a purchase approaching, but which one....

Pot Luck
His Hand In Mine
Something For Everybody
Elvis Is Back

I haven't heard Golden Records 3 yet, but I bet it's amazing. The 45 rpm Vinyl reissue from QRP certainly was.

Re: qubuz - high def downloads of Elvis Albums - fake?

Thu Mar 12, 2015 8:56 pm

damn.. foiled.. my Apple tv I use for music playback can only accept CD quality 44.1 khz is the only option.
If I were to somehow bypass Apple TV. Perhaps using a Mac Mini connected via USB direct to the DAC would do it.
Need to run some tests prior to spending any money.
I knew it was too good to be true.

Re: qubuz - high def downloads of Elvis Albums - fake?

Thu Mar 12, 2015 9:21 pm

Burn the files to a dvd and play them on your dvd-player if it's connected to your stereo.

Re: qubuz - high def downloads of Elvis Albums - fake?

Thu Mar 12, 2015 9:55 pm

Elvis is Back! and 24 Karat Hits are also available as 96/24 and DSD downloads from Acoustic Sounds. Both are the George Marino masterings from the SACD's.

I downloaded MSG in 96/24 from HDTracks. It's the original LP mix, same Vic Anesini mastering as the big box and the Legacy Edition, but as Claus correctly stated, the higher resolution allows for more detail in the playback, especially if you're working with a good quality DAC.

Re: qubuz - high def downloads of Elvis Albums - fake?

Thu Mar 12, 2015 10:44 pm

Scoobie wrote:Exactly, the mastering is one thing, the recording resolution is quite another. This was illustrated to me in shocking fashion when I first listened to Elvis Is Back on SACD, it was so much better than the CD version. These claim to be of the same resolution as the SACD... Feel a purchase approaching, but which one....


SACD should be streets better than their cd versions but in reality they are only marginally better. When the hifi company I work (will stay nameless for my protection as not meant to be sharing this :smt002 ) for decided to design there own SACD and DAC player a couple of years ago they found out that if they took the music straight from source and not to downgrade it they would be breaking the licence agreement for SACD, as the industry was scared of near perfect cd copies. Strangely the same does not apply to dsd files you can download. So if they are copies of SACD discs then they will be downgraded files.

Re: qubuz - high def downloads of Elvis Albums - fake?

Thu Mar 12, 2015 10:51 pm

Very interesting! Ha, it is funny in retrospect. They were afraid of near perfect copies! Now the cat is out of the bag, I think the best way for the music industry to save themselves now is to offer near perfect physical media. Er whatever happened to CD's slogan "perfect sound forever"? What a crock.

Re: qubuz - high def downloads of Elvis Albums - fake?

Fri Mar 13, 2015 12:52 am

Claus wrote:They are the same masterings, but they are not downconvertered to cd-resolution. More inner-detail, better imaging and a better low-end is what you get. Of course it depends on the recording, but the best ones are fantastic.

The specification for CDs already covers the threshold of human hearing, so unless you are a dog you aren't going to get any benefit from the higher resolution. That's not opinion, that's a fact. Double blind studies have shown that people can not tell the difference. If you think you can, it's only because you want to believe it based on the fact that you know what you are listening to. It's the placebo effect.

Re: qubuz - high def downloads of Elvis Albums - fake?

Fri Mar 13, 2015 12:58 am

This explains it all.

http://xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html

Here's a very relevant part:

Listening tests

Understanding is where theory and reality meet. A matter is settled only when the two agree.

Empirical evidence from listening tests backs up the assertion that 44.1kHz/16 bit provides highest-possible fidelity playback. There are numerous controlled tests confirming this, but I'll plug a recent paper, Audibility of a CD-Standard A/D/A Loop Inserted into High-Resolution Audio Playback, done by local folks here at the Boston Audio Society.

This paper presented listeners with a choice between high-rate DVD-A/SACD content, chosen by high-definition audio advocates to show off high-def's superiority, and that same content resampled on the spot down to 16-bit / 44.1kHz Compact Disc rate. The listeners were challenged to identify any difference whatsoever between the two using an ABX methodology. BAS conducted the test using high-end professional equipment in noise-isolated studio listening environments with both amateur and trained professional listeners.

In 554 trials, listeners chose correctly 49.8% of the time. In other words, they were guessing. Not one listener throughout the entire test was able to identify which was 16/44.1 and which was high rate [15], and the 16-bit signal wasn't even dithered!

Re: qubuz - high def downloads of Elvis Albums - fake?

Fri Mar 13, 2015 1:18 am

The Pirate wrote:This explains it all.

http://xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html

Here's a very relevant part:

Listening tests

Understanding is where theory and reality meet. A matter is settled only when the two agree.

Empirical evidence from listening tests backs up the assertion that 44.1kHz/16 bit provides highest-possible fidelity playback. There are numerous controlled tests confirming this, but I'll plug a recent paper, Audibility of a CD-Standard A/D/A Loop Inserted into High-Resolution Audio Playback, done by local folks here at the Boston Audio Society.

This paper presented listeners with a choice between high-rate DVD-A/SACD content, chosen by high-definition audio advocates to show off high-def's superiority, and that same content resampled on the spot down to 16-bit / 44.1kHz Compact Disc rate. The listeners were challenged to identify any difference whatsoever between the two using an ABX methodology. BAS conducted the test using high-end professional equipment in noise-isolated studio listening environments with both amateur and trained professional listeners.

In 554 trials, listeners chose correctly 49.8% of the time. In other words, they were guessing. Not one listener throughout the entire test was able to identify which was 16/44.1 and which was high rate [15], and the 16-bit signal wasn't even dithered!


Very interesting, thanks for this info Pirate!

Re: qubuz - high def downloads of Elvis Albums - fake?

Fri Mar 13, 2015 10:35 am

It's good for you that you don't hear a difference, because then you don't have to spend Money on hi-res files.
Engineers have said for ages that something is lost with cd resolution, particularly inner-detail. It simply comes down to lack of resolution with the cd medium.

Re: qubuz - high def downloads of Elvis Albums - fake?

Fri Mar 13, 2015 12:01 pm

Claus wrote:It's good for you that you don't hear a difference, because then you don't have to spend Money on hi-res files.
Engineers have said for ages that something is lost with cd resolution, particularly inner-detail. It simply comes down to lack of resolution with the cd medium.

Aha! So you're the one with the magic ears that I've heard so much about. The 554 people who were tested in the trial I quoted above, the ones who could not tell any difference, they're all a bunch of cloth-eared idiots while you are one of those rare human beings born with canine auditory capacity. Congratulations!

Re: qubuz - high def downloads of Elvis Albums - fake?

Fri Mar 13, 2015 12:19 pm

Have you heard any hi-res files or are you just going by what you have read?

Anyway, Im out of here!

Re: qubuz - high def downloads of Elvis Albums - fake?

Fri Mar 13, 2015 12:38 pm

Claus wrote:Have you heard any hi-res files or are you just going by what you have read?

Anyway, Im out of here!

Yes, I've heard some. I've got a few audio players with Hi-Res capability, and various sets of high quality headphones, and there's no audible difference between a Hi-Res file and the same master in CD quality. If you can consistently pick out which is which, then you're doing something that nobody else has been able to do.

When it comes to convincing self-styled 'audiophiles' that now might be a good time to part with huge amounts of cash, it seems that there are no limits to man's ingenuity. Here's an article that would keep more than a few long-suffering wives awake at night if they read it.

http://www.wired.com/2015/03/hot-stampers/

Re: qubuz - high def downloads of Elvis Albums - fake?

Fri Mar 13, 2015 12:59 pm

Scoobie wrote:Hello all,

a question for the experts out there. As far as I know the only high resolution Elvis music out there was limited to 3 SACD's. Now on a site called Qobuz I see many albums all listed as High Def 24 bit - 96.00 khz files.
My thought is that these are not genuine high def files, but upscaled 44.1 khz (CD standard) files
Can these be the real thing or just upscaled? Any ideas?

Yes your thoughts are correct these are just up-scaled ripoffs unless any one of these companys can acquire the original multitrack masters from Sony to create raw 24 bit 96k transfers ( which is highly unlikely they would let these generic companys play with their priceless tapes in the vaults) unless you want to be apart of the ignorance that buys these scams I would suggest save your money and stay away.

Re: qubuz - high def downloads of Elvis Albums - fake?

Fri Mar 13, 2015 4:00 pm

Really Promisedland? It's my understanding that Sony/BMG did high resolution transfers of all the mastertapes years ago. So that would mean that they are in high resolution digital format stored on some sort of medium somewhere in their vaults, pc or some other storage type, would it not? That being the case, how hard would it be for Sony to transfer high resolution digital files directly over the internet to some of these companies? No mastertape access necessary. Remember these don't have to be the mastertapes actually to be higher resolution than cd. They just have to be images of the high resolution recording taken years ago, or close to that so improvements can be made. And these files can still technically be called direct from the mastertape. I'm not saying that is what happened, I'm not privy to that kind of info, but it is possible. I do agree with you tho that it is probably not what Sony would do.

Re: qubuz - high def downloads of Elvis Albums - fake?

Fri Mar 13, 2015 5:21 pm

The Pirate wrote:
Claus wrote:They are the same masterings, but they are not downconvertered to cd-resolution. More inner-detail, better imaging and a better low-end is what you get. Of course it depends on the recording, but the best ones are fantastic.

The specification for CDs already covers the threshold of human hearing, so unless you are a dog you aren't going to get any benefit from the higher resolution. That's not opinion, that's a fact. Double blind studies have shown that people can not tell the difference. If you think you can, it's only because you want to believe it based on the fact that you know what you are listening to. It's the placebo effect.

There is more to fidelity than frequency response, and that is also a fact.

Re: qubuz - high def downloads of Elvis Albums - fake?

Fri Mar 13, 2015 5:40 pm

skatterbrane wrote:
The Pirate wrote:
Claus wrote:They are the same masterings, but they are not downconvertered to cd-resolution. More inner-detail, better imaging and a better low-end is what you get. Of course it depends on the recording, but the best ones are fantastic.

The specification for CDs already covers the threshold of human hearing, so unless you are a dog you aren't going to get any benefit from the higher resolution. That's not opinion, that's a fact. Double blind studies have shown that people can not tell the difference. If you think you can, it's only because you want to believe it based on the fact that you know what you are listening to. It's the placebo effect.

There is more to fidelity than frequency response, and that is also a fact.

Yes, there's mastering. But if the two files come from the same master, it is an absolute fact that in double blind tests nobody can tell the difference. Did you read the information on the link that I posted?

Re: qubuz - high def downloads of Elvis Albums - fake?

Sat Mar 14, 2015 12:16 am

The Pirate wrote:Yes, there's mastering. But if the two files come from the same master, it is an absolute fact that in double blind tests nobody can tell the difference.


I agree but if they used a Sacd player anyone could buy then it would be hard to tell the difference as the output would only be marginally better than cd anyway.
but have to say I think everyone has a different judgement on Hifi as when I've done Hifi shows with the company I work for you get people with there own cd come into the room and say wow this is best sound I've heard what speakers, what speaker wires do you use, and thats when the fun starts as we use plain standard 24/0.2 wire at 45p a metre not the stuff which can cost hundreds lol. we had one bloke drag his mate into our room saying " you have to listen to these amps, you can't beat the sound of valves there so clear just listen!!" which we got great pleasure in informing him that this year we were only demostrating our new transistor amps :twisted:

Re: qubuz - high def downloads of Elvis Albums - fake?

Sat Mar 14, 2015 12:33 pm

This is one thorny subject for sure. Sony are pushing 24 bit 96khz file downloads, hardware etcetera, but as long as there is any issue over source verification of the files, and the process used to make files, HD music in this format will be dogged by issues. Even if one could purchase with confidence, there will still be arguments over the validity of the format over CD. There will always be those whose genuinely held belief is that there is a difference, and those who equally believe there is no point at all. Both points of view are valid. Each to their own.
Personally, I know when I am listening to the Eagles "Hotel California" on DVD A format (24 bit 96khz) as against the CD, just like I can hear the improvements on Elvis Is Back on SACD as against CD.
PromisedLand, thanks for your advice, I think I will hold off on Elvis High Def. Until I can buy from Sony/FTD/BMG rather than from a company in France where I am unsure of the provenance of the files.
Even HD Tracks were said to be selling up scaled CD's as high def 24/96 :!: it comes down to trust I guess.
Your DAC may tell you, yes the file is purporting to be 24/96, but that can still just be an up scaled cd.

If and when this becomes mainstream, how can consumers know what they are buying? When we bought bootlegs or imports on CD we are very aware of what they are, but with a digital file, how will you know?