Octave Records - How Does it Sound Discussion

As Ron suggested, starting a thread for discussion on Octave Record releases.

I received Out Of Thin Air today and what a wonderful sound. For those of you that are much better at spotting specific/nuance sounds than me, I’m on a mission to figure out some very faint background sounds. On track 10, around 5-7 seconds in I hear a faint tap, almost like a very soft brush of a snare drum, but is more of a very light tap - it reoccurs in that track. And on track 11, I think I hear what sounds like someone taking a breath in - near the beginning and again 6 seconds in - it reoccurs faintly throughout that track.

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My copy showed up in the mail today. As soon as I get my 8 in I’ll be in my easy chair with a beer, listening to it.

the silence is deafening

Well, over a 1,000 folks will have received a copy in a week or two. Plus a number of digital downloads. Maybe it’s been on repeat and they haven’t been able to pull away long enough to leave an opinion. :smile: Hopefully after some Friday evening cocktails and listening, a few will hop on.


It’s a solid recording. I have listened to it in two or three different ways now (SACD, CD layer, and DSF through roon). Also via two DACs. It’s a good and interesting recording with lots of color.

Will PSA become a trusted name in recording quality like MFSL? Next up Steely Dan’s Aja?! I do hope the next effort comes in the way of multiple instruments or possibly some great vocals.

One of the most lifelike recordings of a piano I have heard. Most of the disc has a jazz feel to it. I really enjoyed it. What’s next for the label, anyone know?

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I just got through listening and posted this on the “What are You Spinning Now” thread:

“My 3rd or 4th time through, 1st with the Focals in the system. This is not my typical choice for music, solo piano isn’t my favourite. But it really is a wonderful recording. I feel sort of enveloped by the piano. @Elk I think said it was like being in the saddle and I get that now, it’s more than the piano is in the room, it’s like your drink or your elbow is on the piano. I am learning to like it and this time through more than the last.”

I guess that’s how I feel about how it sounds with a fresh in the mind perspective. I will buy whatever you guys put out just to support the endeavor but I am glad I have come to enjoy the first effort.

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A good description. You are almost in the piano.

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I am currently about halfway through first listen. The perspective is much like sitting at the keyboard. It sounds very familiar because that is what I hear when playing my piano. I wish that my piano and playing were half as good as what is on the recording.

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I applaud the efforts of Octave records, it’s a worthy venture for sure. I still wonder if in the grand scheme, given 99.99999% (or more) of music is not recorded at an audiophile anointed level, if it’s possible to create a DAC/ technology that makes recordings sound better than the original? I realize the orthodox ethos is to reveal the true nature of a recording, Even if Octave is successful, it will at best only represent a minuscule sample of music in the world. Chesky has gone about as far as an audiophile label can, and it’s not very far.

I just wonder if audiophile engineers are going about this in the most effective way. Rather than focus on pristine recording quality, and ultra revealing gear to play that pristine recording in all its deserved glory, wouldn’t it be a more effective strategy, and by effective I mean reaches far deeper into the world of music, to create technology that elevates the average recording to something in the general neighborhood of Octave or Chesky?

It seems to me that an inherent limitation of the niche audiophile approach is that the vast majority of artists will never be recorded at an audiophile level, ever.

I totally get orthodox audiophile ideology. I just wonder if there’s another way to approach it. Yes, I realize I speak sheer witchcraft to the orthodox :joy:

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Still waiting on mine.

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Mofi did half-speed mastering in the 1970s but, so far as I am aware, since then they have primarily been involved in remastering rather than recording. Loads of people do that, and remixing, for example Steven Wilson’s fantastic work with classic rock albums.


I should be more careful with my word choice. Thanks for the link.

That’s really quite a funny post. MQA was originally launched when internet speeds were quite low in the UK as a lossy format so that people could stream higher res than 16/44. MQA’s bad luck, our internet improved and the reason for it existing died. So as part of their plan to take over the world they came up with this marketing idea that it was effectively “better than the original”. Of course it was total B/S and about $20 million later MQA fell flat on its face and you can still find it if you look hard enough.

I’d love to know what an “audiophile anointed level” is. I’ve heard great things about Chesky but never bought any of their downloads. They are all actually PCM. I saw some references to 24/192 PCM.

Linn Records is about as audiophile as you can get. This album from a few years back is stunning.
It’s Australian Americana, there’s a version with the band and an acoustic version, you get both.
I also have the vinyl and heard her play the whole thing live.

I have a lot of Linn Records downloads and they are all incredible quality. But then they’ve been at it for 30+ years.

Mark Knopfler’s more recent albums are well known top rate audiophile quality because he owns a seriously good recording studio.
A number of really superb albums have been recorded there, including The Boy with No Name, which was massive, and The Sailor’s Revenge, which wasn’t but is superb.

Octave is about DSD because Gus Skinas things PCM is broken (or so he says in an interview on the internet).

I don’t think PCM is broken at all, there are great PCM recordings going back to the mid 1970s, well before they could be delivered digitally via a CD. I think your 99.99999% is out by at least 50.0000% or more. The problem is that some music must be engineered with limited dynamic range because the audience listen mostly using mobile devices and they need to hear all of it, not just the loud bits. Such music is fine on mp3 because it provides sufficient dynamic range.

I suspect that few studios bother with DSD because PCM is perfectly fine for them and their customers and I understand it costs money to buy the equipment to record using DSD, hence there are relatively few titles available and quite a lot of them seem to be transfers from old tapes.

I hope Octave prospers for those that like and want DSD, which does not include me.

I think we’re getting there – but the solution won’t come by way of analog specialists.

It’s going to be in the realm of digital when solutions can be made to pull apart and isolate all the sounds in a recording to which machine learning / artificial intelligence is applied to enhance the isolated sounds – and those sounds are then recomposed to form an enhanced output.

We see this is done today by using AI/ML solutions to enhance and upsample vintage films:

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My questioning is not so much about DSD vs PCM. It’s more about the orthodox view of “more revealing” equating to better sound. We spend gobs of money on yet more revealing equipment. But is that yielding better sound quality if it’s revealing more of the flaws of most modern day recordings? Yes, there are of course fabulous PCM recordings. But most modern music is not recorded well because the vast majority of consumers do not have audiophile goals. My question is if rather than seeking yet more revealing, if audiophile gear can be designed to make the best of lesser recording quality rather than further expose its warts?

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The thing for myself about buying particular releases for the sake of them sounding excellent, which is not entirely different than my recent purchase from PSA, is that I got into hifi because I want what I choose to sound great. That differs from choosing something because it sounds great. I made an exception with this purchase, and there is at least one RSD “audiophile” reference purchase in the works, but I generally stick to the music I like, and only try to find the best way to hear what I like. This road to buying good sources because they sound great will be a short drive for myself…I’ll never have more than a handful of such things.


In my experience, the more everything sounds great the less magic there is in the good stuff. Kind of like going from oatmeal and strawberries to just oatmeal. More consistent but no magic.


Isn’t that more a limitation of current technology and design than a fundamental truth? In a world that is 4 billion years old, and for a species that has been around about 100,000 years, today we are perhaps a mere 60 years into the age of HiFi, a tiny blip on the wheel of time. Is it not reasonable to conclude that as we move forward, things held as truth today will one day be seen as antiquated ? And given recording studios see no particular problem with the way most music is recorded, doesn’t the onus to make all music sound magical fall on audiophile companies given we are the only ones who seem to care?