The SSI 2014 Show is over. I started today’s post as I sat at the airport waiting to board an Air Canada flight back to Los Angeles. I paid the extra baggage fees but I refused to pay to select a seat and it seems I’ll be sitting in the middle seat for the 6-hour ride home. The Air Canada people couldn’t even handle a cash payment for my extra bags AND then it was different amount ($9 more!) to use cash than credit cards. “I’m sorry it’s out of my control,” the agent told me. Flying has become a real drag these days. I usually fly Southwest because I can get two bags without paying more but they don’t come to Montreal.
Traffic at the SSI show was very slow yesterday due to the early morning snow. I would have to guess that it was the slowest Sunday I’ve ever encountered. I think I sold enough discs to cover the cab ride and extra baggage fees…not too good. The people that did stop and chat were very interested and friendly. Most walked away with at least the sampler.
However, I was very encouraged by the attendance at my seminar. I spoke for an hour on “High-Resolution Digital Downloads: Time for Truth and Honesty”, a topic that was nixed for the upcoming AXPONA Show in Chicago because it would be too controversial and might alienate other vendors or sponsors.
I was glad the Canadians could handle the truth. The many spectrograms I displayed clearly demonstrate why most of the music you download in high-resolution is no better than the vinyl LPs or CDs that you already have. In fact, the websites are deliberately misleading you about the files they allow you to purchase. You’re paying for premium gas or even racing fuel and getting low octane regular. No wonder you souped up ride doesn’t feel any different.
Early yesterday morning, as I prepared the Power Point for my presentation, I went through the media library associated with this site and peeled out nearly 20 spectrograms from previous posts. They were from files downloaded from 8 high-resolution digital music sites…and all of them showed that they had been filtered or processed AND contained no information that would qualify them as HRA. Many of them claimed to be 96 kHz or 192 kHz PCM files but contained no frequencies higher than 22 kHz…meaning they probably started life as DSD 64 files. This is very disappointing and doesn’t bode well for the market in general and Pono specifically.
I let the attendees know that I would be slowly populating the HRA Database over at HRA Planet with accurate information on ALL of the High-Resolution digital music download sites AND that I would include a spectrogram and evaluation for each album they offer. This will take a while so please be patient. I think it’s the only way that the powers that be will get the message that we want more information AND hopefully better source files.
The new iTrax site will present this information as well AND be a resource for reference quality downloads. It’s going to take a while but I’m committed.
There are lots of really wonderful recordings available on HDtracks and Qobuz but they are merely misrepresented as “high-resolution audio” or “master quality” when they are actually standard resolution.
I watched a couple of movies on the plane with my new Sony MDR 7250 phones (with response up to 80 kHz). After a couple of hours, I couldn’t handle the ear fatique…I’m not really a headphone guy.