What Classical are you spinning?

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Hello Rushton - Perhaps I missed it, but what are the sources for these HDTT releases? I checked their website and found nothing. Do they license clones from the labels? How is this legal? I see very little PD material…isn’t Canada under 70-year copyright laws? Just curious…if it’s mentioned somewhere on the thread please point me in the right direction. Many thanks…

@xianharris, as far as I’ve been able to determine over the years, HDTT releases digital transfers of analog tapes that have gone out of copyright. Or the master tape is owned by someone who has provided it to HDTT for release (e.g., jazz from the International Phonograph Inc. label, the Judy Garland Final Concert in Copenhagen, the Nathaniel Rosen recordings on Desmar, with more Desmar recordings coming, etc.). HDTT is not licensing from the major labels that originally released the out-of-copyright recordings you’re most likely wondering about.

Keep in mind that copyright law is a very murky subject. Canadian copyright law is perhaps the most straight-forward: 50-years after the end of the calendar year in which the work was first recorded (here). But of course one might additionally get into the question of what country’s law governs. As one copyright attorney told me, it’s a morass that even lawyers generally familiar with copyright dread to tread. Simple laypersons’ determinations are most likely wrong.

HDTT’s sources for these tapes vary. Many of the early releases came from Bob Witrak’s personal collection of analog tapes (which is extensive). Some of the tapes used are commercially released 15ips 2-track tapes** and 4-track tapes. But others are archival tapes from various collectors, past recording/mastering engineers or others in the industry (often referred to as courtesy copies), and they may be copies of safeties or production tapes. Bob has an extensive network of other vintage tape collectors and he is very discreet about his sources.

I’ve been pushing him to once again tell us at least what kind of source tape it is, e.g., 15ips. He’s now done that once again with some recent releases (e.g., Kind of Blue, Moanin’, Just One of Those Things). But, he doesn’t provide this information for the majority of his releases which is frustrating to me because I’m just curious and would enjoy knowing. It is amazing to me that what he releases from a commercial 4-track tape typically sounds better than any other digital release of that album that I have in my library.

And I’m not alone in this. Many of us listening to HDTTs releases, regardless of Bob’s source, find his transfers to sound better than the commercial house’s digital releases where they presumably had access to a second or third generation copy of the master tape. The care with which his transfers are made, and the equipment he’s using, is simply better, resulting in better sound.

Hope this helps.

**Keep in mind that the early stereo recordings that were released on tape during the 1950s were very often one-to-one transfers from a copy of the master tape. These were often of very high quality and sold to well-healed audiophiles in demonstration of stereo.

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Thanks Rushton – I truly appreciate your response! My first gig at Sony Classical (many moons ago) was in the Business Affairs department focused on mechanical royalties/licensing projects…hence the curiosity.

I haven’t worked with downloads or streaming yet, other than trying Tidal/Qobuz via the PS Audio Bridge, but seeing some of your posts makes me want to try a few of the DSD256 releases from HDTT. Maybe someday…

Thanks again!!!

You are most welcome, @xianharris. If you begin to explore some DSD256 downloads, don’t forget Eudora and Cobra and Just Listen at NativeDSD. All are also releasing Pure DSD256 downloads with some very impressive artists.

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Open scene always give me that chill (and also a bit hope later on), plus that legendary Decca sound, very intoxicating.

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The piano played by Gergely Bogányi in this recording is of a very unusual design and whether one will like this recording will depend more on one’s reaction to the sound of the piano than to the very nice performance by Bogányi. This is the second recording I’ve listened to with this piano, and I’m still grappling with my reaction to its sound characteristics.

The piano is built by Boganyi Piano in Hungary and is of carbon fiber construction, not wood. Quoting from the album notes:

The revolutionary Bogányi Piano – a first in the history of grand piano building – is constructed with a fully composite structure including a patented carbon fiber soundboard and action and recently the Carbon Core center plate, which helps reduce the total weight by 200 kgs (440 lbs), rendering the piano much more reliable and stable.

The new carbon fiber soundboard is more resistant to most exterior conditions, including heat, humidity, cold, damp and dryness. This keeps the quality and consistency of the sound as stable as possible, enabling the piano to stay in tune for much longer and to require less maintenance.

The Bogányi piano comes with a redesigned agraffe system, which connects the strings with the soundboard in a more precise manner, allowing for higher tension and liberating the sound when the instrument is played.

Our concert grands are equipped with standard carbon fiber action, combining our carbon fiber materials into a modern design, which allows for a wider range of dynamics than do traditional wood constructions.

The Bogányi Piano shape and soundboard, combined with the technical innovations, results in a uniquely refined sound. Every note played is refreshingly clear and distinct. This is a piano rethought, reassessed and reinterpreted from the perspective of the classical piano.

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For those with an interest in high resolution digital files, Black Friday sales are ongoing at:

HDTT

NativeDSD

Spirit of Turtle (home to download native DXD resolutions of Bert van der Wolf’s Northstar Recordings for Challenge Classical releases)

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Enjoy reading the background /comments you shared for each music.

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I decided to listen to this recording this morning.

I get the point of this release - some reconstructed pieces and some Venetian comparators, although Vivaldi was top dog at the time. Clearly a fine band of young musicians.

The sonics of this album seem poor. It was recorded in a Spanish crypt and clearly closely mic’ed. There is no air in it at all, no reverberation. It doesn’t sound real. The harpsichord continuo is the first concerto was too dominant and the same for the organ later on. As this is a rather vivacous recording with little let-up, I found it hard going.

Half way through I switched to the violin concerto extract RV 263a (Riccardo Minasi on Naive) and it was a bit like being released from prison. If you compare the Largo of RV 182 to Minasi’s recording of RV 171 the difference is immediate and apparent. This is their rather more appropriate recording location - an 18thC drawing room just outside Venice, where such pieces would likely have been performed.

The Naive was recorded and mixed on the same Pyramix system. Released on CD and 16/44 streaming.

The sound is gorgeous. It was achieved using a Pyramix plug-in called PanNoir, described as follows:

PanNoir - Advanced Panning Plugin

In any recording where more than 1 microphone is used to record a source, PanNoir provides a completely unique solution to correcting the phase error that will exist. Able to correct for the difference between stereo close and stereo room mics with an incredibly simple to use interface has completely changed what is possible to achieve in any mix situation.

Sticking to the above recording location, listening to this wonderful recording of Ariodante.

handel_ariodante

Handel had moved to the new Covent Garden Theatre in late 1734 and this was his second production, to considerable success. One of the main attractions was the castrato Carestini in the lead role, but here we have to put up with Joyce Di Donato.

It’s an almost believable opera seria, based on common elements of cross-dressing, near-death experiences and a generally happy ending.

A few months later GFH produced Alcina, from the same text, Carestini back in the lead role. Saw a fine production of Alcina about 10 days ago, we had to put up with Lisette Oropesa. Shame. She was great, but the orchestra wasn’t. We were there twice last week and the orchestra were magnificent. This doesn’t sound like a stage production, even from my usual Row E, more like an Oratorio production. But the singing and the band are spot on.

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Yes, I understand the recording venue on the Eudora was more of a challenge than anticipated, and required more work with the microphones to accomplish. Always the cardinal rule for recording: choose the venue with a nice natural acoustic that will complement your intended outcome. I love this recording for the transparency with which the instruments are captured, as heard in Pure DSD256.

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Working my way through this near mint recent lp set I acquired. Only downside is the previous owner was apparently a lover of cigars. Opening the package was like walking into a cigar lounge.

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The problem is that the recording and mixing techniques required for pure DSD has resulted in a poor sounding recording and this is a good example of the limitations of DSD. The instruments are clear, but it is not a coherent sound.

I suspect they were more focused on the technology than the sound, plus it was the band’s first recording and probably didn’t have much to say about it.

There are some very good examples, like this famous one.
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It was done at a church a short walk away, I know the acoustics, they are not great, it takes a great recording engineer and performers to capture this so well, effectively a live performance.

I am indifferent to lossless formats, but it interesting to see how you get so much a better recording and using Pyramix with PCM files even with a 16/44 output.

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I checked out the Eudora recordings reviewed in Gramophone and they are problematic. The one recommendation is this one.


As the review explains, William Carter’s two sets of Late and Early Sor pretty much closed the book. I bought them both when they were released and they are beguiling, also brilliantly recorded by Linn.
I will see if this can be streamed.

Just curious… Are you listening to a NativeDSD download or to another source for this album? Sources other than NativeDSD (the SACD, the various streaming services, etc) are Pyramix DXD (PCM) mixed and mastered versions of this album. Just as the Channel Classics Four Seasons with Podger.

At the same time, since I’m listening via electrostatic headphones, I’m no doubt less sensitive to soundstage than I used to be with speakers and far more sensitive to transparency and clarity.

I’m streaming. There is a wealth of great Italian Baroque recordings by Naive, favourites are the Vivaldi Bassoon concertos (Azzolini). The liner notes of the Pomo D’Oro violin concerto recordings said they were were captured and mixed on Pyramix using the aforementioned plug-in.

The limitations of DSD were based on your review in positive feedback, quoted below. You explain they cannot be mixed in DSD, so we’re mixed using HQPlayer, not Pyramix.

The problem is the mic’ing and the mix, mentioned in another review. The crypt certainly doesn’t help. Eudora is based in Madrid, a modern city (the old capital Toledo became too small), so they went a short distance north to the old town of Segovia.

You said:

While it is possible to splice sections of the recording to allow for assembling different “takes,” there is no mixing capability in DSD. To mix one needs to pull the file from DSD into PCM, and by doing so, the possibility of a Pure DSD release is lost. The inability to do any mixing of the channels is why orchestral performances are almost never Pure DSD releases.

Gonzalo emailed me to clarify that this recording, Lost in Venice, was mixed in post, but mixed entirely in DSD. Tom Caulfield at NativeDSD accomplished mixing channels from 12 different microphones: main pair, room pair and spot microphones. He did this following Gonzalo’s instructions using the remodulation capabilities in HQPlayer Pro.

Thanks for following up with a reply. I don’t wish to belabor the differences because I agree with you about the venue and the miking being problems on this release. The crypt did not help the sound stage. The venue and the placement of the mikes are clear limitations to the ultimate sound quality we’d both prefer to have. Gonzalo said the venue was more difficult to work in than he’d expected. I think his solution was to mike more closely than usual to deal with the acoustics. It is a loss, for sure.

But, the utter clarity of the Pure DSD256 file is what excites me - still does. I’ve heard a file from the DXD processed edit master out of Pyramix. It simply does not have the ultimate clarity, the transparency, of the NativeDSD mastered Pure DSD256 release.

As you accurately quote from my article, we’d all been told this was not possible without pulling the file into PCM for mixing. But here it is. A 12-microphone recording released by NativeDSD as “Pure DSD,” and through what I later learned was a collaborative process between Gonzalo Noqué and Tom Caulfield. I’m still working to get more information on how they accomplished this that I can talk about.

So, please believe me that I’m not intending to diss DXD or Pyramix, both of which are superb solutions to a great commercial challenge. My point entirely is that a Pure DSD file is capable of sounding more transparent, with greater clarity, than a DXD processed file. But Pure DSD certainly is a very niche market - it is not commercially viable at scale. The major labels will never go there.

Just as an fyi…, both the Rachel Podger Four Seasons album from Channel Classics (that you and I both like) and the Qobuz file of the Lost in Venice album are recorded originally in DSD256. The DSD256 tracking channels for both albums are then post-processed in DXD/Pyramix for mixing and production of the final release formats. For the Lost in Venice album, only the version that is sold on the NativeDSD site is Pure DSD. The album provided to Qobuz and other outlets comes from the DXD post-processed file create by Eudora for distribution through those other channels.

I do enjoy our “virtual” conversations. We have different listening priorities, which I greatly value. More importantly, I’m just a dilettante listener/audio enthusiast, but you have true music knowledge and depth of experience. So, I consider what I learn from you a real gift. Thank you.

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Allesandro Perpich
Mastery- Ysaye 6 Sonatas
Farefive Label

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A very enjoyable album!

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