The marketing push for High Fidelity Pure Audio Blu-ray is in top gear as I discovered the other day on Amazon. I wrote about the complete lack of integrity regarding these poor attempts to wrest more money from unsuspecting audiophiles by using overzealous and uninformed messaging. In addition to the normal enlargements of the front and back of the packaging at Amazon, they’ve included a promotional video all about “Blu ray Audio” (nice that Amazon can’t even get the name of the format correct…it’s Blu-ray WITH the hyphen).
You can check it out yourself by linking over to the video here Amazon Blu Ray Audio Promotional Video. As someone that has produced many of these short promotional video segments, I can attest to the quality of the production. But one of the first steps that every promo spot needs is an accurate script.
My sense is that the people behind the spot (probably some ad agency) have not clue what they’re talking about. Or perhaps they do and are well aware of the inaccuracies that they are spewing.
Here’s a blow-by-blow analysis of the spot:
I’ve transcribed the on screen animated text that drives the 1:17 piece.
Every music lover’s dream
To hear music as it sounded…at the moment of creation
Now it is possible with high fidelity pure audio
Straight from the studio to your home
A dynamic of 144 decibels
HD and non-compressed format
24 bit material
With a sampling rate between 96 and 192 kHz
All on a high capacity Blu-ray disc
Just play it through your Blu-ray player or PS3 and listen…really listen
High Fidelity Pure Audio
The segment has no narration…it’s a series of musical selections with videos fading in and fading out as the text above (in all caps) appears on screen. There’s classical music, solo guitar and a short piece featuring Stevie Wonder.
What they would have us believe is that an older album (regardless of genre or format) can be completely transformed into “Ultra High Quality Audio” by simply dumping that older master into a high-resolution bucket. If this transformative model of quality enhancement were imagined in a different medium such as video, all we’d have to do is transfer a standard definition video from 70 years ago into an Ultra HD-Video copy and the result would be just like having shot the scenes using a brand new 4K RED camera. Sadly, it doesn’t work that way.
Figure 1 – A screen grab from the promo video.
Here’s a little explanation and “myth busting” regards the script.
“Straight from the studio to your home” – Recording engineers and producers go through a lot of intervening steps to capture music and make it available to you. Even if I simply put a stereo pair of microphones and captured a live performance, “every music lover’s dream” would have to wait until it was edited, mastered and replicated until it was available for distribution.
“A dynamic of 144 decibels” – I’m not even sure what this means? Someone cracked open Wikipedia and did the calculation of 24-bits into the roughly equivalent potential dynamic of these longer words. But hold on a second. None, I mean absolutely none of the recordings available on Blu-ray (and I include my own albums…which have as much dynamic range as a live performance) come close to this potential number. I would guesstimate that the Rolling Stones or Derek and Dominoes High Fidelity Pure Audio releases have less than 10 dB SNR. This is another case of pushing large numbers at customers without explaining what they mean.
“24 bit material” – The source recordings used in the production of these new HFPA discs are decidedly NOT 24-bit material. See the explanation above…this number is the word length of the format NOT the sources!
To be continued…