New moon, new song “Didn’t Want To Know”. Recorded in my first kitchen studio. You can hear it here.
We all learn as we go. Sometimes we just don’t want to know even though we do.
New moon, new song “Didn’t Want To Know”. Recorded in my first kitchen studio. You can hear it here.
We all learn as we go. Sometimes we just don’t want to know even though we do.
Here’s a link to the Google doc worksheet that has the codes and links to redeem – 20 Lost In The Green MQA CD Master downloads (any PCM lossless format you choose). Also allows Bandcamp (not MQA) streaming of the same title forever.
These downloads will play on *any* media player. You don’t need special hardware or software to listen to this 16/44.1 MQA encoded master.
If you use BlueSound gear, you may have to rename the audio files to end with “.mqa” (no quotes) so that media player knows to engage the MQA decoding.
[Update: if you can’t see the link go to my Facebook page here:
— WordPress can drive me crazy with embedded links not supported, sorry.]
Please mark the worksheet code you use with an “X” so others don’t try it later. Each code works only once.
Enjoy the music.
New Release 2017 – Two Track Mind – Solo Acoustic!
No one has heard these solo acoustic tracks. They are recorded with just 2 microphones (2 tracks!) on voice and guitar. There is nothing edited. Recorded and mixed digitally as hi-res, then mastered for CD release (16/44.1).
MQA Encoding provided by MQA Ltd., UK greatly restores the source PCM recordings to the natural ambient nature of the room and performance. Mic’d close and intimate. Solo Acoustic.
Hear it for yourself…. Online CD is for sale.
Plays from any CD player and sounds way acoustic live studio!
Plays with Studio Authenticated MQA from CD or ripped (ALAC, FLAC, WAV, AIF). I don’t know where else MQA CD’s are being sold, but here’s one online through good old CD Baby…. Aloha!
Christmas Blue on YouTube
David Elias – Christmas Blue – YouTube HD
From the brand new “David Elias – Christmas 2016 Sampler (Format Agnostic!)“ playlist online at http://davidelias.bandcamp.com
Lots of hard to find and hard to reach or capture on film places on the Big Island in Hawaii visited here including the peaks of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea (with snow!), remote beaches at the bottom of steep Pali’s, and the rare explosive Lava Lake that appeared for a few weeks last year on Kilauea Volcano at the Halema’uma’u Crater.
“Christmas 2016 Sampler” is a format agnostic playlist of originals that were created using everything from a stock iPhone, to 2 mics setup in the room at a band studio rehearsal, to the house board at San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall, to a single stereo mic in front of the band performing in a pub/hall, to the uber quality Sonoma DSD workstation from SuperAudioCenter.com.
Careful recording, mixing and mastering allow wide varieties of sources to all co-reside on albums and playlists.
You can preview and download the 10-track Sampler here:
Thanks for listening and sharing music.
Independent Acoustic online since 1995
There’s nothing like a good old General Store that serves beverages and hosts live music to help an autumn weekend out on the Northern California Coast.
I’m back visiting San G. in October – Please come with some friends and family to the shows there on Sunday October 9th (2pm to 5pm) and Friday October 14th (5pm to 7pm).
Here’s their schedule and directions online: SanGregorioStore.com
CD Masters – $5 downloads (with MQA encoding for best sound quality)
To make it offishal, for the next 30 days you can download any of the first 4 CDs I created back in the day (1995 to 2000) as CD Master downloads for $5.
$5 for any of these titles using the discount code for each album shown below.
Lost in the Green – acoustic coffeehouse first CD release 1995/96 – album cover photograph is San G. above the Store off Stage Rd. (same location as scenic pan in this email!).
Use this code: LITG75
Time Forgets – kind of LITG Part 2, some electric instruments added 1997/98 – album cover photo is from one of the annual Greenpeace weekend concerts that went on for 20+ years there.
Use this code: TF75
The Blue Planet – a concept recorded for the planet in 1998 – album cover photo is a blue disc :)
Use this code: BP50
Half An Hour Away – acoustic trio with mando and flute – live session 2000/01 – album cover photo is from Inverness on Tomales Bay near Pt. Reyes Nat’l. Seashore.
Use this code: HAHA75
You can preview the songs on each album page. The downloads are the CD masters with MQA encoding and will play on any media player or you can burn a CD with it.
For the best sound quality, please avoid the Bandcamp default of MP3 format and select one of these from the dropdown list to dowload: FLAC, ALAC, WAV, AIF. You can always download any of the formats anytime after purchase. You can also always stream from the album page online using your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Hope all’s well and wishing you Aloha! Hope to see some of you again in October.
We were quite lucky in Hawaii this Labor Day weekend with the oncoming Cat 4 hurricane Lester (2nd approaching in consecutive weekends) when it chose (with Pele’s urging) to move north and bypass all islands. Here it is as of this morning. Bad ass!
I have a Lucky $7 album download price on all of my hi-res albums that are now encoded as PCM using MQA to improve the PCM sound quality as well as reduce the size of the files you download.
Here’s the deal – When you buy any of these album downloads online at http://davidelias-mqa.com you can checkout using the “code name” below to get 70% off. That will adjust the price of the album to $7.
These are all hi-res! If you have an MQA DAC today it will unfold the Studio Authenticated MQA hi-res audio above 24/44.1 (up to 352.8kHz) and play it.
If you don’t have a MQA DAC today, you can still play these great sounding recordings on any player you have (iTunes, smartphone, JRiver, Audirvana, Amarra, foobar2000). If you get the MQA DAC later or it becomes available in the player you are using later (based on whoever makes the media player adopting MQA) it will unfold the hi-res at that time.
Either way, you can download the albums for $7 now until midnight (UTC which is Greenwich Mean Time) on Tuesday September 6th.
Use the code above (like: labor2016sampler) for the album you are buying and it will discount the price by 70% which will be $7.
You can checkout using a credit card or PayPal account, both are secure encrypted by PayPal.
(“Name Your Price” is an option as well, up to you or leave blank to keep price at $7.)
When it comes to actually downloading the files make sure you choose one of these formats (click the dropdown arrow to see all the choices on download): FLAC, ALAC, AIFF, WAV.
I recommend FLAC which is the original master uploaded. MQA works fine in the 3 other lossless formats as well but keeping it as FLAC is the simplest I’ve found in a few cases. Bandcamp lets you down any or all of the formats it offers so you can try more than one. If you want an MP3 copy for your phone or whatever that’s ok too, just be aware it won’t play as MQA authenticated.
The other nice thing here is that Bandcamp allows you to stream the albums you buy forever after from the website page — or download their smartphone app (iPhone/Android).
Mahalo to All and Happy Holiday – anywhere you go, you always take the weather :)
(questions reply to this message and I get it, no one else does)
UPDATED Jan 18, 2017
These 4 songs now download for $4. There is 1 free track available
Here is how MQA Ltd. described me in their newsletter this week (emphasis is mine):
MQA Artist Release
Sound quality has been a driving motivation for singer-songwriter David Elias since he started recording his music digitally more than 20 years ago. On listening to some of his earliest recordings encoded with MQA, David noted, “The original intention and sounds are much more accurately represented [with MQA] and are therefore much, much more enjoyable to listen to. The convenience of MQA’s smaller file size is an additional no-brainer.”
This paragraph says a lot for me because I’ve lived with CD and its problems with sound quality as long as everyone else. In fact I had no CDs long after many did, sticking to vinyl and even my own mix tape cassettes (analog ruled) for years after the CD deluge. It sounded better. I liked album covers. What can I say.
I broke my teeth on CD quality recording in 1995 making my first CD in a home studio setup. I recorded to Hi-8 Video Tape at 16/48 on an 8-track Tascam DA-88. I’d recorded myself at times on various tape machines and a few digital boxes for almost 20 years but this was much different.
I listened to a lot of everything I put on tape through that whole process of recording, mixing analog (lengend original Mackie 1202!) to 16/44.1 (Sony TCD-10 DAT) and then mastered on a DyaxisII Workstation. It sounded good and in fact better in the studio than on the final CD that was printed.
Those early CDs and many later recordings were either created or converted to PCM to be moved online one way or another. All my released songs are on YouTube Music now for example, as audio, as well as lots of other places, like 50 or more. The more they travel in the Etherspace the worse they sound generally. They get downsampled and converted into whatever suits the retailer or streaming radio like Pandora (one of my least favorites for sound quality).
But shoots, I want to get heard…otherwise I wouldn’t put music I write out there in the first place.
Enter MQA… I started listening to it in February on hi-res converted music from 2L in Norway. Classical works. I knew some of them from 10+ years prior as SACDs I had actually been given by Morten Lindberg there. 2L put MQA converted masters (DXD conversions which are PCM at 24/352.8) online to try as well as other hi-res formats. I was using a Meridian Explorer2 MQA DAC connected to my Dell Windows 10 notebook running the latest JRiver.
All I can say is I didn’t hear anything I didn’t like, and in some cases heard some things I really really liked.
So I started listening to other MQA encoded tracks. MQA is not a new audio format. It is still linear PCM, just has its own corrections (aka filtering) applied to the encoding of the music.
What I started paying attention to more and more and hearing more and more were the timing coherence corrections in the playback. What PCM has always done to my ears, along with countless others, is present a very sharp unnatural edge to the sound that can get worse for me the louder or harder the music is played. It doesn’t flow like vinyl, cassette, or DSD. Usually it kind of attacks quickly, then disappears. It’s not relaxing, let me put it that way.
MQA encoded tracks I listened to had lost much of that sharp attack, no decay characteristic. They were well presented and much easier to listen to. They positioned things more clearly in the stereo space noticeably including the front and back locations in addition to left and right. The soundstage was then more 2 dimensional with depth as well as 3 dimensional with up and down.
This listening started with a lot of music I didn’t know, yet I was happy to listen to it with open ears so to speak.
Over the next few months, I decided I wanted to hear some of my PCM recordings as MQA and started making inquiries as to how I might do that. In the end, I became an MQA artist partner and have converted my catalog and archives to MQA encoded PCM.
I’ve actually had most of my catalog online as PCM on the Bandcamp site (http://davidelias.bandcamp.com) as CD quality up to 24/88.2 for a couple years now. Now most of that has been updated to download in the smaller FLAC or ALAC MQA encoded files.
Overall, MQA sounded better to me than any CD or hi-res PCM master I had. It doesn’t need much more proof to me. I have read a lot about the “what it is” and “why it works” to understand that better, but after my intro through reading and some YouTubes, I just started listening a lot. I still am.
What About The 4 Songs… The first album on the page at the link above is a free download. You can also stream it as much as you want. Bandcamp lets you download songs in a variety of formats. The default is MP3. Don’t download it as MP3!
MQA requires what’s called a lossless format — The 4 big lossless formats being used out there are the original WAV (PC) and AIF (Mac) and their file (not audio) compressed counterparts FLAC (PC) and ALAC (Mac). Choose one of those when you download from anywhere no matter what the site or music! It is not missing some of its music from the original like MP3!
FLAC and ALAC are roughly 1/2 the size of WAV and AIF. They sound identical and are better at carrying the magic metadata or tags that include all the song and album info for the media player to display when playing the track.
MP3 and Apple’s AAC use math to remove audio data in an original CD or hi-res audio master to make it a much smaller file (in general about 1/10th the size). That was the strategy from the beginning when everyone was dialing up the Internet on modems. It made sense then as one didn’t want to stay online for hours or days to download an album. Apple cemented that approach since iTunes Store came online in 2004. How long will that go on? As long as people buy it I guess.
Excuse Me, What About The 4 Songs… Ok, I have a lot of MQA encoded music I am really kind of hearing for the first time myself. This includes both very good and some not so great recordings (like live public hall stuff through a single $99 Sony stereo mic to DAT).
Most of it got created as a PCM recording. The MQA encoded versions of these tracks changed how they sound to me and took me a lot closer to the original performance whether was studio or live stage. It sounds more like the sound in the room at the time and what was played and I am relaxed when I listen to it because of that.
Go here and try 4 songs at 3 different PCM resolutions, all encoded as MQA
If I went into too much detail this email might get long :)
Here’s the (short) not so fine print:
1) If you have an MQA DAC you can hear the full resolution up to 24/352.8 or the limits of your MQA DAC.
2) If you don’t have an MQA DAC you can just play it anyway at 16/44.1, 24/44.1 or 24/48 depending on source track
3) If you get an MQA DAC later (or the media players do it for you) you’ll hear the hi-res then
The song audio resolutions range from CD (16/44.1) hi-res (24/96) to DXD (24/352.8). They are all only about as big as a CD file to download (about 700MB), maybe a little bigger.
CD’s sound better as MQA to me with or without the MQA DAC gear. You can just play them. I’ve had different people tell me the same thing about my stuff. So far I have heard its biggest benefits on the lowest res recordings. I might even know why.
If you have questions you can reply to this email, it just comes to me…I hope you try downloading the tracks. If you have an MQA DAC, don’t stream them, download them!
Thanks For Listening!
Maybe you don’t keep up on this stuff. I don’t always either…But MQA has been something gnawing at my good sound quality curiosity for awhile now. It is a mysterious (to some anyway) approach to getting better sounding audio from just about any source including typical downloads (compared often to iTunes), streaming (compared often to Pandora) and even CDs (compared often to “the industry”).
So… enter MQA, not anytime that recently, as they (MQA Ltd. spun from Meridian-Audio.com) have been at this research and development for some years now.
My short version is:
Yes, in order to get the hi-res unfolded benefits of MQA encoded audio files you need a DAC that is MQA enabled. There are a few for sale out there now.
Yes, MQA is being supported by some large streaming providers including 7Digital. Others with interest may follow.
Yes, MQA might eventually be deployed in software media players so the need for DAC compatibility could become optional.
Yes, MQA folds the hi-res audio data such that the transport of the data whether streaming or downloaded as a file is a much smaller image than what hi-res files cost today in bandwidth. MQA is always not much bigger than a normal CD to download or stream. But you can get the big hi-res unfolded quality when you play it! If you don’t have the MQA DAC, it still sounds good and is playable on what you might have today.
Yes, MQA playback can sound a lot better to my ears than what I usually hear from PCM masters. The biggest improvement in my unlearned opinion comes from what is referred to as a reduction in the temporal or time blurring of the playback. There is a better focus and location of each instrument in the mix. It is also a more relaxed, natural sound losing some of the PCM edge that I have become pretty sensitive to picking up over the years.
It is more ambient and to me, more DSD-like. It is also more 3-dimensional. I described it to an audiophile friend as a pyramid of sound with the point of the pyramid pointed slightly towards the listener, not straight up in the air. So the image of a band performing the song came to mind very readily, with the back edge of the stage raised and tilted slightly towards me.
So I developed MQA masters of my hi-res albums and my newest CD release “Rare To Go – December Solstice” to allow easier and faster downloads of my masters to be accessed by those who are not especially interested in DSD, or just are maybe just especially interested in MQA or better sounding PCM masters.
Trying to download a 24/352.8 audio file is a “good luck” proposition normally. But MQA allows this to be easily done where the total album is still just around 1GB of data. That’s it.
However the playback sounds excellent with an MQA DAC in use. I am using the Meridian Explorer2 which retails for $299. It does not play DSD files, just PCM at all bit rates.
My MQA Promo…Go here for 2-for-1 MQA downloads…
If you are listening to MQA today and want to hear how my albums sound with that encoding, I will give you a free title of your choice when you buy any of the four 24/352.8k releases: “The Window”, “Crossing”, “Acoustic Trio”, “Coffeehouse Playlist”.
It’s Memorial Day Tomorrow! You can get the Buy 1 Get 1 Free deal until May 15, 2016
If you have questions about MQA feel free to reply to this message, it just goes to me.
I have been working with MQA Ltd. in the UK on getting my DSD masters converted to DXD and then having the PCM masters encoded as MQA. All the work was done by MQA Ltd. and the results have been very and sometimes surprisingly excellent.
I like good sound. If it sounds good, it is good. I don’t have to go too much beyond that for my own sonic barometer. Good job MQA.
I’ve always maintained that DSD is the magic sauce behind many many great sounding recordings and master tape transfers. That’s still 100% true to my ears. How can it be delivered through PCM channels including streaming? The hybrid SACD was and still is a good but only partial solution with the Redbook CD layer.
But what about hi-res DSD conversions as well as native PCM hi-res masters at 24/96 and above?
PCM needs help.
Large hi-res file downloads (DSD and PCM) need help saving time and the ISP’s gigabyte limit for many.
Streaming needs help sounding a lot better than it has from most big sites.
Regular CD download quality needs help sounding a lot better than it has since the beginning, especially when it’s in the form of lossy compressed formats like MP3 and AAC from iTunes, but even as it’s delivered on a typical CD.
MQA helps… Mahalo!
For the Solstice and Holidays, and with 25% discount on both the CD package (ready for shipping around New Year’s Day) or the CD Master audio download (ready now as WAV, FLAC, ALAC, AIFF), I want to share what I came to think of as something like my musical diary of a working band.
It was more than just finding a new CD to come up with. In fact it started with me over a period of months just listening to tracks that had accumulated at different times on a mastering/recording box I have (Alesis ML-9600).
Some of these were mixed DSD studio takes downsampled to CD resolution for reviewing, others were live band rehearsals capturing the room in stereo with 2 mics. Others were from shows where I had a DAT recorder at 16/48 plugged into a mixing board.
So the story of how events (rehearsal, studio recording, live shows) progressed at seemingly random steps slowly emerged from these playbacks. Then I wanted to organize a thread of them for myself as a warm recollection of a lot of talent and a lot of work and even more so, the fun and enjoyment shared among the musicians during the journeys.
And that was the genesis of this different kind of album. It’s one that took all the hi-res and lo-res, well prepared and getting prepared, and live material, and put 10 songs together that helped visualize in an audio fashion that story, ending with my migration to Hawaii (“Help Yourself”on ukelele). It’s just my personal version of that story through these tracks. I am so grateful to have been part of it.
Then I wanted to share it with anyone interested. I also wanted to optimize the fact that all the source recordings were going to be mastered as a homogenous album for CD release. In other words, all I wanted was a good sounding CD, nothing else. This is not the focus of the SACD hybrids or DSD Downloads. So I then worked critically on that final CD mastering using the tools I had.
A lot of people who have been listening to me for 20 years or so haven’t had time or inclination to get on fast tracks to h-res and all the gear and software that takes plenty of both of those ingredients (time & inclination), not to mention some extra dough.
I felt in a retro way that it should be simple to provide an honest and very good sounding CD to anyone and everyone, instead of isolating the music towards only those with hi-res (DSD, HRA) inclinations. Something to carry to the car or to someone’s house or to just keep laying around in the living room to play a bunch…
So by putting this out I’m breaking down some of the walls I myself created diving into hi-res (which I still love don’t get me wrong). And this disc still contains all the important qualities I’ve been tuned into for all these years: good honest performances, good room/mood/ambient captured in recordings, and good studio preparation (mix/master) for release. Is it hi-res? No. Does it sound real, live and natural with high quality? Yes!
So here it is for you to enjoy as well. In addition to the 25% discount offer that is good through New Year’s Eve 2015, I am including a free copy of the “David Elias & The CasualTees” CD with all of the CD disc orders. This has a limited edition quantity (signed if you like, one or both discs) of 50.
Use these Discount Codes for the Bandcamp 25% off:
CD (w/ downloads and streaming): raretogo_cd
Download Only (with streaming): raretogo_download
The CD will begin shipping right around New Year’s Day 2016 + 1… (that’s Jan 2nd or so). Yes if you buy the CD you get the CD Master downloads as well as unlimited streaming from the album page. Bandcamp happens to sound very good to me, however it is streaming the CD and HRA masters I have there. You can in fact preview any of the albums I have there in full — not clips, the whole song.
You can find either media to order using the discount codes above right here on Bandcamp…
When I get the discs (I like the new package a lot!) that are being replicated right now (real CD’s not CD-R’s) I’ll start shipping the CD orders to you with the free “Live in San G.” copy as well.
I suggest you download the PDF to read and reference for all the lyrics and other notes. The lyrics are even written like a story this time (i.e., paragraphs). What can I say, it just happened.
So be well and enjoy yourself through the holidays and into the new year. My thanks to you always for listening and to the musicians and studio/sound people on these tracks with endless gratitude.
OK it’s a holiday season thing. Good!
I got included in a nice promotion from one of most CAREFUL hi-rez download sites out there. www.nativedsd.com is in Holland (you know Amsterdam, but they are in another city nearby). They are offering the DSD download of my “Coffeehouse DSD Playlist #1” for 20% off from now through January 5th, 2015 (2015???).
Here’s the page link:
Don’t forget to use the Coupon Code: XmasCoffee (capital X, C) when you checkout. Friends of mine have told me that NativeDSD.com is one of the friendliest, easiest download sites for hi-rez.
For my part, I created the downsampled 24/48k FLAC of the same playlist album. This sampler has hi-res songs from all my other full releases so anyone wondering what all this DSD or FLAC stuff is about… here’s a way to try it.
If you’re not into DSD (yet), try the FLAC, it plays on PC and Mac (with free Flip converter) with most if not all media players and sounds way better than MP3 or lossy AAC.
Here it is on Bandcamp:
Use the same Coupon Code at checkout: XmasCoffee
The songs on the Coffeehouse sampler from “The Window”, “Crossing”, “Slipperworld DSD Sessions”, “Acoustic Trio DSD Session” are:
– The Old King
– Half An Hour Away
– Rodeo On A Ridge
– Mend My Mind
– Close My Eyes
– Morning Light / Western Town
– Vision Of Her
– Poor Polly
– Aspen Rose (solo, prev. unreleased)
Click here to look at the PDF with lyrics and notes on each song. Musicians on these tracks include: Sally Van Meter, Ross Martin, John Magnie, Matt Flinner, Marc Dalio, Charlie Natzke, Chris Kee, Scott Beynon, Ken Owen, Peter Tucker.
Enjoy the holidaze season…Aloha!