Tag Archives: dsd

For The Holidaze ~ Buy One, Get One (MQA or DSD!)

Between now and the New Year (yes it will be 2018…) any full album you purchase from my pages for MQA masters *or* DSD masters will be acknowledged with a big MAHALO email from me containing a simple way for you to download any OTHER album of mine you want.

You can mix and match DSD and MQA all you have to do is reply to the thank you email I’ll send after your purchase and tell me which album you want to download for free.

You buy one or more with a download order, and I’ll send you a code/link to get one of your choice!  Any format, any resolution, you decide.

Easy peasy. You *won’t* have to volunteer your maiden middle name, the 2nd, 4th, and 9th digits of your Social Security Number, your Bitcoin wallet password, or your plans for the holiday season. Just tell me which album!

Here are the links to purchase from to get a free album.

For MQA Masters (stereo only) in all resolutions (16/44 to 24/352.8) use this link:

http://davidelias-mqa.com

For DSD64 Masters including multichannel use this link:

http://davidelias.com/dsd_downloads


As the year winds down you may be wandering, careening, catapulting, waltzing, wistfully walking, twist and shouting, meditating, mirroring, toe stepping, or broad jumping towards the great unknown in 2018…

I hope some music helps ease the transition and helps make it enjoyable for you and those surrounding you.

Be well – thank you for all the continued huge welcome and aloha you have shown me and my music through the year. Send this email or post to anyone you think might want to hear some.

With Aloha! Have some happy holidays!

– DE


PS… Some are asking me where I got that photo of the Golden Gate. I got it from seat 37J (if I remember that right)

PS2 (remember those? if you do you are probably nearly as old as me)………..If you too also wondering how the hell you might play *both* DSD *and* MQA audio files through a single setup (ideally one that can be mobile with battery and all the right quality and support for things like headphone amplification and matched impedances, and any other details that make it easier to just listen to well recorded digital music *INCLUDING* streaming MQA such as from TIDAL)…. then you may have to look no further.

Witness the new release of the iFI-audio USB DAC and headphone amp, the Nano iDSD BL (for Black Label). I saw it onsale at Amazon yesterday for $199…..

The small Nano needs a PC/MAC computer or smartphone connected to it (ie, it’s not a player just a DAC).

What a gift that would make!

 

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A complete way to mobile and studio high quality reproduction – Nano iDSD BL (USB DAC now supporting MQA and DSD)

The new release of the ifi-audio.com USB DAC product Nano iDSD BL (Black Label) is so impressive I can’t do it justice here without writing a treatise.

Suffice to say this small gem of a product provides anyone (at a great price for everyone) with a solution to any and all types of high quality digital recordings, whether they be downloaded, ripped or streaming from popular sites like TIDAL, Spotify or Apple Music.

iFi-Nano-iDSD-BL

I’ve had and used an original Nano iDSD product from iFI for several years now. It’s been upgraded several times and the latest incarnation known as Black Label now supports MQA!

It’s retailing in the US on Amazon right now for $199 as well as other outlets.

What does this DAC do for you?

  • Plays 1-bit DSD (up to DSD256) without PCM conversion (ie, native DSD!)
  • Plays MQA up to 24/384k encoded masters
  • Provides 10hrs or more of battery to operate OTG
  • Connects to your iPhone or Android to play music including STREAMING without using the phone battery to operate
  • Will stream MQA from places offering it like TIDAL today and many more tomorrow
  • Includes the heralded iFI iPurifier as a built-in protection against interference and noise on the USB connection
  • Supports S-balanced headphones with a separate output and lots of power
  • Provides headphone amplification giving you plenty of volume headroom on smartphone use and supports low to high impedance headphone ranges
  • Uses an analog volume control (dial) for the highest level of sound quality and convenience
  • Provides easy LED color indicators identifying the exact type of music (PCM, DSD, MQA) being played and its bit rate.

There are no doubt many more reasons this could be a very good affordable solution both at home via computer, with laptop, or with a smartphone to gain a future proof approach to high quality recording playback.

Take a look at their website and documents to read more about the Nano iDSD BL!

Aloha,

DE

 

The Mobile HRA Mighty Duo (Safe for Home Use Too!)

XDP-100R and HA-2

Pioneer XDP-100R and OPPO HA-2 linked via USB (DoP). Together they comprise a mighty mobile or home studio duo.

Well I’d say in these modern days of tech not enough things work well together, at least not as expected given the decades of preparation those science/art folks have had to interoperate and optimize efficiencies for best results at lowest cost.

Do I expect too much? Maybe I don’t know. But I know I have been using two perfect examples of that kind of interrelated power with these two devices.

From Pioneer last year came the XDP-100R a High Resolution Audio (HRA) player with its own storage for audio files. The “gotcha have to try that” incentive for me was that this was one of the very first (and still one of the only) portable audio players that supported native DSD (1-bit to analog via DoP, or conversion to PCM up to 192 on the player itself and PCM to 384 via USB) as well as full res MQA decoding (up to 24/384kHz).

The OPPO HA-2 (now supplanted by the HA-2SE) is a “simple” headphone amplifier (analog circuitry) as well as a supreme native DSD DAC as well as PCM — both convert to analog and presented to either a headphone jack (with amplification) or a line out jack (for home stereo/studio use). In addition it is a lithium battery pack capable of charging other devices (like a Pioneer XDP-100R or iPhone/Android smartphone).

I’m working with DSD as a recording media for my music over 15 years now and MQA as a mastering with authentication PCM encoding for over 1 year. To me these don’t compete!  I am not surrounded by people of that same persuasion but then again, I’m not sure that matters to me either.

There’s a lot more to this story of the Mighty Duo…

Given that these 2 devices work independently of each other and the XDP-100R is a standalone player with a headphone/line out jack and 161 position volume control, it is not that obvious why I might want to pair them together.

Granted the HA-2 needs a player attached as its role is to do digital to analog conversion (DAC) and amplify the resulting signal as needed.

However in addition to the fact that the XDP-100R decodes MQA as studio authenticated masters up to the maximum resolution of masters out there today (24/384kHz), it can also upsample the resulting PCM to DSD and pass it on to the HA-2 via DoP!

The result for me (MQA decoded then upsampled to DSD at 5.6mHz Real Precision and sent to HA-2 for 1-bit conversion to analog) is absolutely some of the best sound quality I have ever heard.

I typically listen to these devices using OPPO PM-1 (open planar magnetic) though also PM-3 (closed planar magnetic) as well as earbuds (typically travel with Zipbuds Pro at about $25 on Amazon – amazing!).

If I play DSD tracks on the XDP-100R they get sent as-is to the HA-2 for 1-bit conversion and off to the headphones/stereo. Again both components doing exactly what they were made to do and doing it expertly well. This is really what I consider the best sound possible: A native DSD master played from the linked XDP + HA-2, as DSD via DoP, with no conversion except to analog out the headphone jack on the HA-2.

Well made recordings as native DSD masters (not upsampled to DSD but recorded/mastered as DSD or transferred from analog tape masters) will translate perfectly well as needed to any other media format.

To me PCM with MQA  encoding is a perfect media format for today’s media environment as it delivers hi-res up to 24/384k (19mbps) in right around 1.5 mbps streams or audio files in a lossless FLAC or ALAC format at 24/48k or 24/44.1k folded MQA. That’s smaller than 1/10th the size of the hi-res file or stream it becomes when it plays! The MQA DAC unfolds the hi-res on playback after the file or stream is downloaded or received.

Dare I say that when MQA decoding can be done from a Smartphone app, the cell network bandwidth required to stream MQA masters at 24/96 to your phone will not be a problem…even if you are not on an unlimited plan. If you are on an unlimited plan most of those get restricted around 22GB anyway.

So the differences between 1.5 mbps and say 5mbps for hi-res audio streaming have big effects on what someone might do with great quality music playing anywhere they go. Remember MQA in a FLAC format is not just smaller (about 1/5th the size of a 24/96 WAV/AIF file or DSD64 file for that matter) it is time corrected as well, so it sounds much better than the original PCM master did.

The same master images can also be delivered on standard CD discs which again on playback or when ripped can be MQA decoded to full high resolution. These are then 16-bit depth with the same excellent sound quality to my ears as others. They can play on any CD player and to be honest sound very very good with no MQA decoding or unfolding at all. Pretty nifty.  These stream at well under 1mbps!

Back to the Mighty Duo…

What is unusual about this combo of devices  is that the XDP-100R as a audio player, is able to play and decode the MQA audio file and then upsample and convert it to DSD and pass it on (DoP) to a DSD DAC to be played as an analog signal.

This dual function is not possible with the typical MQA/DSD DAC such as the very capable Mytek Brooklyn.  It (the typical MQA/DSD DAC) is not an audio player, it only can decode MQA and convert to analog or it can convert DSD to analog to play. It can’t do both functions (decode MQA and then convert to DSD) in series as the XDP-100R does before handing it to a DAC to play as an audio signal.

Nor can any other strict DAC that I’m aware of (though I’m sure they could if minds were put to it).

So what I’ve found is 2 devices of very similar dimensions and weight that can inter-operate such that the resulting sound is as good or better than most pro setups out there.

By maxing out the storage support for media on the XDP-100R by buying and inserting 2 SD Micro chips at 200GB each, I arrived at a full 432GB storage that I can carry around on a device as big as a slightly fat smartphone. If I wanted to add 200GB, 400GB, … etc. I could just buy other SD Micros to swap as needed. Unlimited storage in other words with no USB drives to carry around, and certainly not a laptop.

The total package (XDP-100R and HA-2) with extra RAM, water resistant case for both devices ($10) and all cables and still easily fits with notepad in my day pack all cost me well under $1000 US, closer to $800 really. That also includes about $150 of the extra memory (400GB) which is of course optional. The XDP comes with 32GB and you could add any additional amount of storage via SD Micro chips as you wished.

Hard to believe but I found the XDP-100R for a very low price special. It was last year’s model, as the newer XDP-300R has 2 Sabre chips (left and right channel) as well as a separate balanced headphone jack. Not sure what retail prices and specials are today but suggested retail is probably somewhere in the $500-600 range which means you can find it for less.

I think the OPPO HA-2SE followup to my HA-2 is still retailing at $199. I didn’t check.

I shouldn’t go into some of the other enormous capabilities of the XDP-100R but suffice to say it is a full blown Android palm computer. It hosts and runs any Google Play app. I regularly use email (BlueMail), Dropbox, Skype, some internet browsing and a few other apps. The only thing it isn’t is a cell phone and a camera. It stores and plays (on a very nice display) pretty much any video format as well.

There is a TIDAL app for streaming MQA if you buy the account. The number of MQA (Warner and perhaps UMG now) masters released on TIDAL for streaming at this point is in the thousands including Zeppelin, Doors, Petty, Talking Heads, Costello, Black Sabbath, CSNY, Neil Young and many many other pop/rock legends.

Playing DSD and having it sound par excellence is easily achieved here.

Playing Studio Authenticated MQA on audio files or streaming is easily achieved here.

What I’ve found and written about elsewhere is that there are some huge gains to my ears in sound quality improvements when MQA Masters at the CD Red Book resolution (16/44.1) are upsampled to 2.8 or 5.6mHz DSD and played via a DSD DAC like the OPPO HA-2.  Other DACs supporting DoP (DSD over PCM) should work with the XDP’s in the same way.

The reason I think the MQA gains in reducing edgy, compressed CD-like sounding masters are greatest at this low resolution are due to the steepness of the brickwall filters used to cutoff frequencies above 20kHz. The backlash of this industry common way of filtering PCM is that it introduces large pre- and post-ringing echos on the digital signal.

This ringing also referred to as time smearing or blurring effect lessens with the increased resolution of the master recording (88.2k or 96k, 176.4k or 192k, 352.8 or 384k). DSD also measures very low in this ringing effect right out of the box.

MQA practically removes these echoes in its careful PCM technology and so the image you hear as a result is much more natural sounding and easier to listen to for longer periods of time.  Instruments and voices are much more naturally located in space (left to right, up and down) as well as less confusion in our brain as to what is going on with these echos we’re hearing before the note or pulse actually gets to us. The ear is much more sensitive to location than it is to pitch! Thank you Darwin.

What’s commonly referred to as ear fatigue then gets reduced greatly and you can continue to hear the music without having to give your ears breaks.

Upsampling to DSD is now also a common feature on audio players both software and hardware. Doing this with a decoded MQA digital signal is something I’ve found to be nothing short of magical in terms of what you end up hearing from the DSD DAC as an analog signal (ie, music).

So Mobile and Home HRA has made some mighty gains in what it can do for all listeners at prices that really most if not all listeners can afford if they are looking for audio gear to feed their music habits.

– DE

DVD Data Discs to the Hi-Res Audio Download Rescue

More for some less for others…

If you don’t want to read this and just want to check it out:

http://davidelias.com/dsd_on_dvd_data_discs/


Many of us including me started downloading MP3 music online in the mid 90’s. It sucked then. We used 33k or then advanced 56k modems over telephone dialup lines. This means we were getting our audio file data at the rates of 4.2KB, or 7.2KB per second.

Everything about download or transfer speed today is measured in either MB/s or even GB/s.  An MB/s is 1000 times faster than a KB/s.  A GB/s is 1,000,000 times faster than a KB/s.  I feel old.

Songs in MP3 format were then and are still often 1MB data per minute of music. So a 4 minute song (4MB data) took anywhere from say 16 minutes to maybe 10 minutes top speed to download…. zzzz …. zzzz ….. zzzz ……  one song, not one album.

A CD version of that same song as a WAV or AIF off the disc took about 10 times as long to download!  Now you see why MP3 was so popular even though it didn’t sound great, and why iTunes took advantage of that when they opened their store for downloads in 2004.

(Oops I forgot to mention that by 2004 there was plenty of Cable Modem and DSL and other much much faster internet to the home, but Apple and everyone else was used to MP3 crappy lossy quality by then….so no one adapted to the fact that good quality was also pretty easy to download. Then FLAC format came along and compressed the WAV file size by around half without loss of any music info. Still no one disrupted the money machine called iTunes, even when they made their own FLAC and called it ALAC and could have delivered CD quality back then no problem and no cost.)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Fast Forward to 2009. I started offering DSD downloads of my SACDs to mostly the owners of Sony Playstation3’s since most of the SACD players of that day could not play what was called a DSD Disc (data disc with DSD files) as defined by Sony then.

The DSD Disc was literally a DVD data disc burned with the DSD song files (as DSF types with tags or DFF without tags) in a specific folder hierarchy that allowed players of the day to read the data files and play the music.  It broke the mold Sony had created for watermarked copy protection on SACD. You still couldn’t rip SACDs (one can today with the right gear and software).

No one came…

Well a few did, but even though Internet was overall speedy by then (cable modem download speed in Hilo in 2009 was about 650KB/s) it still was not mainstream or always easy to download the large ISO image (to burn the DVD with) for many out there.

My download then was a single 2GB image (zipped ISO file) to burn a DVD disc with to play the audio files on something, either on your computer or on the DVD Disc playing in your Playstation3 or  special Sony or Onkyo SACD players that handled DSD Disc as well as SACD.

zzzz..zzz.zzz.zzzzzz

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Rapid Forward to 2017 when Hilo’s Time Warner Cable Modem in some people’s homes breaks the speed meter on speedtest.net at 20MB/s and above as high as maybe 26MB/s.

So while it is easy for some to download hi-res audio, it’s not easy for others. Lots of others. Worldwide. In fact 5 miles up the road from Hilo here in East Hawaii many people may not even be able to get cable modems from Time Warner and so use a much slower and costlier satellite confiugration. If they are in the forest blocking the satellite option and more than a few miles from the nearest telephone wire center (for DSL), forget about it.

By 2011 I moved away from the DSD Disc (ISO) format and just started offering to download the DSF files from my website. Then in 2013 a number of retailers came online to offer DSD downloads and that was great.

Nothing against large file downloads (I guess averages of my stereo DSD files are somewhere around 200MB per song and multichannel maybe 500 per song) but a lot of people around the world and in the US still have trouble with this today. Those files can be hard to retrieve and they take up a lot of space if you have a lot of music. (And they are hard to fit more than a small number into your smartphone.)

Problems often come from slow or interrupted Internet links, confusion on what to even do with files once they are downloaded, or combinations of other things like Safari browsers that insert .TXT file extensions on downloaded files because the server they got the (DSD) file from (like Dropbox) does not properly identify the MIME type for .DSF and .DFF music files.

Aren’t you sorry you asked?

It’s enough to … … … …. ………

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A few years ago I thought I’d offer to make downloads and their problems go away for those not interested in the challenge but who wanted the music. So I provided a way to purchase the music as a little USB stick I would then mail to you. You get the USB stick, put it in your computer or BDP player and get right to it.

No one came….

Today I am offering a similar thing but this time using DVD discs as data.

http://davidelias.com/dsd_on_dvd_data_discs/

These are just the same kind of good quality DVD discs anyone could burn files to off their PC/Mac for either video or just data. A blank single layer (SL), single sided disc has a 4.7 GB capacity. A double layer (DL) has twice that or 8.5GB. My multichannel SACDs require either 2 SL DVDs or 1 DL DVD.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Why would I do that you ask?

If you don’t like downloading large files but want to listen to the excellent qualities of DSD as the native source format for the hi-res recordings I have released, you might try buying the DVD version and just getting it in the mail.

The sound files are 100% identical to what is online for download. They are the same as what is/was on the SACDs for that matter. Many of my DSD titles were never SACD. These are now all available on DVD disc as well, not just as downloads.

You just pop the DVD into your OPPO or Sony or other Blu-ray/SACD/DVD/CD player (aka BDP for Blu-ray Disc Player) and select Music from from the menu.  On my OPPO 103 this is the first icon after the disc (audio CD/video DVD) icon and is called “Music”.

The DVD will then show up on your screen as a “Data Disc” choice (as opposed to, say “USB”).  Selecting the Data Disc media then shows the album song list just as it would from a CD or SACD.

Click on a song, play and enjoy. It continues to play songs from there to the end of the list like any CD/SACD.

If you like (and highly suggested by me), just copy the original DVD data to your computer or any backup media you use. In other words, back it up when it’s brand new. No DRM – if you don’t know what that means, good on you.

You can also play the files on your computer from your software media player through your DAC as DoP like any other DSD download. Just put the disc in the computer CD/DVD drive (just a CD drive won’t work) and select those files from your media player software (JRiver, Amarra, Audirvana….).  They then play DSD through your external DSD DAC (Mytek, iFi Audio, OPPO….).

DSD on DVD Data Discs. Hope this helps.

Questions about DVD Data Discs? Post a reply and I’ll answer you best I can.

Aloha!

~ DE
http://facebook.com/davideliasmusic
http://youtube.com/davideliasvideo
http://davidelias-mqa.com


 

4 MQA Songs to Try (1 Free) – CD to Hi-Res

Introducing you to MQA with 4 songs.

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

https://davidelias.bandcamp.com/album/mqa-track-sampler-any-player-works-1-free-track

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!

DE
http://www.davidelias-mqa.com (MQA Downloads)
http://www.davidelias.com/dsd_downloads (DSD Downloads)
http://youtube.com/davideliasvideo

David Elias MQA 24/352 Masters

MQA = Master Quality Authenticated.

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!

– DE

ONE – a year in the making

ONE – a year in the making

“Bought and listened to the album “One”. Have about 40 albums with hi-res stores (from 96 kHz to DSD128), but this sound never met. It’s incredibly clean, the background is blacker than black. Musical instruments are precise, clear, but not sharp, no porridge, no noise, no haste, no bloated confusing scenes and confusion. This album has a special, unique atmosphere. This amazing adventure. Bravo!”Online music lover

Finally, after nearly a year in the works, the limited edition PS Audio Sonoma Master Series release is shipping. A project to help musicians and further the state of the art in musical reproduction, this collection of pure DSD recorded music is nothing short of stunning, both musically and sonically.

http://www.psaudio.com/products/one-sonoma-master-series/

Hand mastered and curated by Gus Skinas, each of the 10 tracks is a sonic masterpiece you have to have in your collection. This two-disc set includes a dual-layer SACD with pure DSD as well as a uniquely mastered CD layer, playable in any CD transport (more on this in the further description), and a DVD data disc with high resolution 176kHz 24 PCM as well as DSD.

Also included is a beautiful 20 page color booklet. A true collector’s item. Get one in your hands before they’re gone. Ships worldwide.

Buy Here…

Thanks for Listening!

– DE

PS – “The Blue Planet” $1 EP download sale is good thru Friday 4/22 (Earth Day!)… If you have 3 minutes, the soundtrack to this video I created from film I shot of a partial lunar eclipse from the Big Island is “Inverness” from same EP. The synth I played is mixed with the night crickets during the eclipse…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFiXzSniF8M

Black.. Cyber.. What Next ? Purple Saturday?? – 20% off Coffeehouse (music)

Black… Cyber … what next .. Purple?

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:
https://skettisandwich.nativedsd.com/albums/coffeehouse-playlist-dsd-1

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:
https://davidelias.bandcamp.com/album/coffeehouse-dsd-playlist-1

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!

– DE

Free Download: Slipper DSD Sessions

IMG_8744-0.JPG

10/27/2014 – Update
Cut to the chase.. Free EP download as MP3-320 through the end of October is online .. Click Here!

Password is: slippah1

————————————-

To celebrate the release of my new 6-song EP “Slipper DSD Sessions – And The Bit Goes On…” hi-rez download I am giving away the entire album in MP3 format.

Just send me a note from my contact page at http://davidelias.com/contact.html and I’ll reply with the download link and password.

Just when you thought you understood “genre” you get Independent Acoustic ranging from heavy wood trio to electric quartet and a chilling solo thrown in for good measure. You also get a full PDF booklet with lyrics, notes and photos.

Read below what audiophile Gary R. wrote about these songs.. Hope you get to hear them and tell others about this offer through October.

The album is online for download in 3 different hi-rez formats: DSD, FLAC 24/88.2 and FLAC 24/176.4 — you get all formats now for $9.95 as well as the MP3 — Buy it in hi-rez here.

What you get to hear on this release is a very dynamic side of the David Elias catalog recorded carefully at Slipperworld to take advantage of the rich spectrum of harmonics, decay, resonance and natural analog like sound captured by single bit, 2.8mHz sample rate Direct Stream Digital (DSD…and the bit goes on…). You can listen to these nuances using any computer audio gear or home/studio hifi gear in any DSD or downsampled PCM digital formal.

Here is what audiohile Gary wrote me about these new tracks – Aloha! – DE

Miracles take time
There is a delicacy, hushed reverence and deeply felt awe in this song, a melancholy “smiling with sad eyes” vibe. I was deeply touched. Love that your lyrics are both accessible and enigmatic. They require the listener to pay attention and “get it” but without the struggle and off-putting frustration of completely obscure and inaccessible lyrics. You’ve always had the right balance as a poet and song writer in tuning in to this balance.

Poor Polly
Love the intro. Mysterious but inviting where an expectant anticipation is created. The ensemble playing is, as always, first rate.your voice is in a higher range which conveys a bit more anguish at being sometimes bewildered by life itself. Settle Down the Questions indeed? Love the riffs between stanzas. To me the song is about not taking the easy way out and giving in to glib and ready answers to life’s most difficult questions and quandaries. One continues the pursuit; the struggle because one must. There is really no other way to be truly human.

White & Blue as a propulsive allure that conveys a mystery within mystery. Perhaps the passage of time with its inevitable longing and as perceived from the different vantage points of other living creatures.

Silver Pen.. I love the opening intro and the transitions. Playing and ensemble are, as always, top rank. Nothing is overdone or underdone. The tonal balance matches the purity and honesty of your singing. Pristine.

River of Dreams is very much in the same spirit of longing and remembrance of what once was but can never be again . . . no regret . . . just sadness, longing and acceptance. Loved it.

With these last two songs, I’m reminded of several of my favorite songs of longing that make me deliciously melancholy every time I hear them. A contradiction in terms? I think not. These songs describe the person left behind and explore what draws the other person – sometimes inexplicably – to another place – like a magnetic north that can’t be resisted. These are some examples:

Bob Dylan “Man in the Long Black Coat” on Oh Mercy
Alison Krauss “Maybe” on Forget About it
Alison Krauss “Ghost in the House” same CD
Joan Baez “Jesse” on several of her classic CDs

With the final song “Miracles Take Time” the listener is gifted with two versions of the same song in this, David’s latest offering. One version is with his band; in the other he is solo. Both versions convey the same words but, at least for me, create a slightly different emotional response. Part of the delight of listening to great music like this is that the listener must construct meaning for his/her self. For me, “Miracles Take Time” conveys the indefiniteness of both outcome and time of things worth waiting for. The solo version is a deeply personal rendition that revels in the silence between the notes, whereas the version with the band is more communal – a shared experience, that is more upbeat in the sense of creating a lament that is shared with others in real time.

DSD and MP3 Download

Happy Equinox! New Album – Slipper DSD Sessions

Season of the Fall 2014 – Equinox for All
Download the new DSD album
Slipper DSD Sessions
…and the bit goes on….

6 Brand New Tracks in Native DSD recorded on Sonoma by Charlie Natzke at Slipperworld.net and mixed by Charlie Natzke as Analog directly back to Sonoma stereo DSD64.

It’s only $9.95 right now – You can get it only at
http://www.davidelias.com

The Slipper DSD Sessions are the result of live studio sessions performed by David Elias, Charlie Natzke, Chris Kee, Scott Beynon and Ken Owen in the small intimate studio at Slipperworld, La Honda, California in the redwoods not too far from the coast.

Songs included are: 01 – Miracles Take Time (solo); 02 – Poor Polly; 03 – White & Blue; 04 – Silver Pen; 05 – River of Dreams; 06 – Miracles Take Time (CasualTees)

These sessions were recorded to 8 tracks or less on Super Audio Center’s Sonoma DSD workstation using EMM Labs/Meitner ADC/DAC converters. They are not overdubbed. Like all my other DSD albums, this release uses the same approach of minimal micing without isolation, capturing the acoustics of the room, the band as well as the spontaneous arrangements of each song presented. These tracks range in dynamics from the sound of a full electric/acoustic band, to a pure acoustic trio (Heavy Wood!), to a solo acoustic singer/songwriter (that would be me). It’s as real as it sounds.

A PDF is included with song and concept notes by David Elias, photos by Peter Buranzon, as well as lyrics. You can get the PDF here…

What you get to hear on this release is a very dynamic side of my catalog recorded carefully at Slipperworld to take advantage of the rich spectrum of harmonics, decay, resonance and natural analog like sound captured by single bit, 2.8mHz sample rate Direct Stream Digital (DSD…and the bit goes on…). You can listen to these nuances using any computer audio gear or home/studio hifi gear supporting DSD playback. You also get MP3-320 downsamples for your smartphone or iPod.

Feel free to reply if you have questions.

Happy Equinox!  Aloha!

– DE

PS – here is what audiohile Gary wrote about these new tracks:

Miracles take time
There is a delicacy, hushed reverence  and deeply felt awe in this song, a melancholy “smiling with sad eyes” vibe. I was deeply touched.
Love that your lyrics are both accessible and enigmatic. They require the listener to pay attention and “get it” but without the struggle and off-putting frustration of completely obscure and inaccessible lyrics. You’ve always had the right balance as a poet and song writer in tuning in to this balance.

Poor Polly
Love the intro. Mysterious but inviting where an expectant anticipation is created. The ensemble playing is, as always, first rate.your voice is in a higher range which conveys a bit more anguish at being sometimes bewildered by life itself. Settle Down the Questions indeed?
Love the riffs between stanzas. To me the song is about not taking the easy way out and giving in to glib and ready answers to life’s most difficult questions and quandaries. One continues the pursuit; the struggle because one must. There is really no other way to be truly human.

White & Blue as a propulsive allure that conveys a mystery within mystery. Perhaps the passage of time with its inevitable longing and as perceived from the different vantage points of other living creatures.

Silver Pen.. I love the opening intro and the transitions. Playing and ensemble are, as always, top rank. Nothing is overdone or underdone. The tonal balance matches the purity and honesty of your singing. Pristine.

River of Dreams is very much in the same spirit of longing and remembrance of what once was but can never be again  . . . no regret . . . just sadness, longing and acceptance. Loved it.

With these last two songs, I’m reminded of several of my favorite songs of longing that make me deliciously melancholy every time I hear them. A contradiction in terms? I think not. These songs describe the person left behind and explore what draws the other person – sometimes inexplicably – to another place – like a magnetic north that can’t be resisted. These are some examples:

Bob Dylan “Man in the Long Black Coat” on Oh Mercy
Alison Krauss “Maybe” on Forget About it
Alison Krass “Ghost in the House” same CD
Joan Baez “Jesse” on several of her classic CDs