'Xscape' High Resolution audio review

IMWhizzle

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LNFSG:

The opening with the string section is beautiful, crisp and clean and then,

The mix is too full, you can obviously hear the hiss in Michael's voice. The guitars on this version are more noticeable. Unfortunately the kick of this track seems totally out of place. Even in HD audio the quality of the track itself is ultimate, but this mix is not bearable, even in hd audio.

The bridge is where this version shines, though! Great dynamics in the bridge only!

Fidelity: 2/5

Chicago:

Crisp and clean mix! His voice is very clean, like he is present in the room!! The synths are beautiful, it brings a whole new dimension in contrary to the cd version! You can hear every gasp and breath in Michaels voice. The bass and the kick are subtlety deep. Well done Timbaland!!

Fidelity: 4/5

Loving You:

This is where the album shines when it comes to the quality of the songs and the production! Very we'll balanced mix with beautiful percussion. Michaels chorus is breathtaking! The emotion of his lead vocals together with the music, oh my god it feels like I'm attending a live studio session! Great dynamics! The ending of this songs makes one cry, really. His voice is so crisp and clear, as it's intended to hear.

Fidelity: 5/5


APWNN:

One of my favorites!! Empty mix, without it being boring. The combination of his vocals together with the vintage synths is simply outstanding. The shakers in this version are very present! The kick drum doesn't waste the other instruments in contrary to the cd version! The vocals are very clean and in the chorus Dr. Freeze is actually there!!

Fidelity: 4/5

STTR:

The intro, oh my god!!!! The stings are breathtaking!! As if it's a scene from a drama movie!! Beaufiful! The fidelity in this track is great! As a whole this track is very full! But Timbaland somehow managed to keep the balance here! I clearly hear woodblock and metal percussion!! Even the string section is steady here! Totally muffled in the cd version. Love the synth thingy! Absolutely great track!

Fidelity: 4/5

DYKWYCA:

A total violence of synths and there is to much going on! Even high fidelity can't help the listener figure out what's going on here.

The only thing I've noticed in this track is the fidelity of his vocals. Crisp and clean. Love the digitized guitar towards the end though!

Fidelity: 3/5 (slightly better than LNFSG)

BG:

As you could've guessed the vocals in the intro are MINDBLOWING! Together with the strings in the opening and the background, this track is totally porn for your ears!! When the beat kicks in, you're in another world!! The hi hats drives the beat in this track. They're ticklish in my ears! Love it! The baseline has a great character too!!! Together with Loving you, this is an outstanding demo track in the world of HD audio. The bridge, oh my god....

Fidelity: 5/5

Xscape:
The bass drum has kind kind of deep roll of, and plays tonal around in some places, and it's deep!! Love the string and horn section in here!!! Very we'll balanced mix! All the sounds in track are 'in your face' and clean! Michaels voice is slightly muffled compared to the other tracks on this album, not so crisp and clean. My observation is that his voice is slightly distorted and compressed, which I know he doesn't like when it comes to vocal production. But that's a mix thing. Overall good fidelity.

Fidelity: 3/5

As a side note, dynamics on this album are zero to none, as this cd was mastered too loud. It's such a shame. Could have been better.
 

InvincibleMJ

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Thanks for the review. Do I need a special device to play HR audio? my sound system reads HDCD, is that it?
[h=2][/h]
 

DJ_OXyGeNe_8

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http://www.hdtracks.com/xscape-167476

Actually I did buy BAD before from here (48.000 - 24bit - wav)

Didn't notice any differences...

I've good eq. to listen.

M-Audio Profire 610 external sound card - M-Audio BX8D2 Speakers and Yamaha RH-5Ma headphone. They all good enough to give every details, I didn't feel any differences between CD and HD Audio...
 
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IMWhizzle

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http://www.hdtracks.com/xscape-167476

Actually I did buy BAD before from here (48.000 - 24bit)

Didn't notice any differences...

I've good eq. to listen.

M-Audio Profire 610 external sound card - M-Audio BX8D2 Speakers and Yamaha RH-5Ma headphone. They all good enough to give every details, I didn't feel any differences between CD and HD Audio...

You'll need an external DAC to actually hear the difference. What you have is an all in one solution, which has an effect on the actual sound. The sound card is okay, but not good enough to experience real fidelity.
 

DJ_OXyGeNe_8

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I know soundcrad's DAC unite is good enough. It's already using in music production - recording, mixing et.c
 

ShipOfFools

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Is it safe to buy from there?

I have a pair of really good headphones, but I'm not sure if it's worth spending money for something I can't stream.
 

Remington Steele

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Is this a legal source - does HDtrack pay their international royalties to Sony?

Is it ensured it's not just an upmix of the 16 Bit CD to 24 Bit? Can anybody confirm they heard a difference?
 

DJ_OXyGeNe_8

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I'm sorry but I'm not sure what are they doing...

In normally, if they want to remaster old albums with HD audio, they have to transfer from original tape records (yes, before there was no computers and they recorded albums in analog (which is better)

So, how they got these tapes? Did Sony give them? I don't think so.

If they don't have first sources, how can they remaster and how can it be HD transfer?
 

Topcronos

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Accoustic sounds website has Bad album at 96khz-24bit ;)

Does anybody know how it sounds ? I already have the 48/24 version and although it sounds good, I was not impressed as opposed to the CD version.
 

coffre

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Accoustic sounds website has Bad album at 96khz-24bit ;)

To my knowledge 24Bit@96khz is the source that Sony provides to CD & LP plants. At least that's the case with Invincible and the 2001 SE remasters.
 

MJJuniorSinceMW

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HDtracks is an official site, as is Qobuz.
So You don't have to worry about that.

Sony is even advertising some official download sites for high res material:
http://www.sony.de/hub/high-resolution-audio

For hearing the difference:
-You need the right equipment to really get & enjoy the difference (best start with a pair of good headphones - and i don't mean fancy-trendy-cool, i mean GOOD headphones)
-You also need to sit down & listen. If you will play it in the background you won't notice a difference. You need to let go of everything else & just relaxe & LISTEN, then you will hear (& feel by the way) the difference.

IMWhizzle brought me to this HDtracks site. And since, i loaded the new Pharrell album, some compilations & now Xscape. And there is definitely a difference in clarity, better separated instruments & vocal tracks.
It's like watching HD movies, everything more bright & clear.
 

kissybissy

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Loving you is the song that most appeal to me. The others, I'm not so excited about. It may grow on me, but at the moment, Loving You is the only song that makes me miss Michael's great work....
 

NotAlone

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Problem come from bad source. Source and mastering are already bad so unfortunately the better file format or a vinyl release would only have slight improvement.

Go here for good detail on Dynamic Range of all songs of the 24 bit version of Xscape, this is from DR database:
http://dr.loudness-war.info/album/view/63775

You can search "Micahel Jackson" on that website see how it compare to others. I found link on MaxJax.
 

Alec

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A note of caution:

To anyone considering buying the album using a proxy server, PLEASE DO NOT. Your credit card information will be processed through external servers = zero security. Please don't do this. It's not a good idea.

Moreover, there is no such thing as "high resolution" music. These downloads are utter nonsense and a sad marketing ploy people increasingly fall for.
The increased sampling rate or bit depth have no added value for human listeners, and only have practical applications in audio production.

Sometimes the "HD" downloads sound better, because they are a different master. I don't know if it's the case here, but just as an example, the Dangerous download referenced above could come from the original 1991 source. If compared with the 2001 pressing that most people have, it will sound more "open", because the masters differ in favor of the original pressing. But compared to the 1991 CD, the increased sampling rate and bit depth of the "HD download" would make no difference whatsoever. In other words, the "HD audio" specifications have nothing to do with what you hear, you could encode the exact same files at CD quality and they would sound equally good.

In the case of "Xscape", I'm positive the album has only one master from which all versions are sourced. Therefore the "HD" download is perceptually exactly the same as the CD version, they only differ on paper.
 

IMWhizzle

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A note of caution:

To anyone considering buying the album using a proxy server, PLEASE DO NOT. Your credit card information will be processed through external servers = zero security. Please don't do this. It's not a good idea.

Moreover, there is no such thing as "high resolution" music. These downloads are utter nonsense and a sad marketing ploy people increasingly fall for.
The increased sampling rate or bit depth have no added value for human listeners, and only have practical applications in audio production.

Sometimes the "HD" downloads sound better, because they are a different master. I don't know if it's the case here, but just as an example, the Dangerous download referenced above could come from the original 1991 source. If compared with the 2001 pressing that most people have, it will sound more "open", because the masters differ in favor of the original pressing. But compared to the 1991 CD, the increased sampling rate and bit depth of the "HD download" would make no difference whatsoever. In other words, the "HD audio" specifications have nothing to do with what you hear, you could encode the exact same files at CD quality and they would sound equally good.

In the case of "Xscape", I'm positive the album has only one master from which all versions are sourced. Therefore the "HD" download is perceptually exactly the same as the CD version, they only differ on paper.

That's complete false information.
 

Alec

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The vast majority of experimental studies published in peer-reviewed academic journals find no perceptible differences between the two formats.
Understanding of human hearing helps see why this is the case.


For any person interested, I will of course gladly direct you to the relevant literature.
 

MJJuniorSinceMW

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^
I can a hear a clear cut difference between Xscape 16 bit CD release & Xscape 24 bit HRA release!
Same with Pharrell's GIRL album!

Maybe i just have good ears...
 

MJ5

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Just found download-links.

Its a little bit clearer :)
 

Alec

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^
I can a hear a clear cut difference between Xscape 16 bit CD release & Xscape 24 bit HRA release!
Same with Pharrell's GIRL album!

Maybe i just have good ears...

I don't doubt you can hear a clear cut difference.
It doesn't mean it's due to differences in the signal itself.
 

Korgnex

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I still archive albums in lossless for the sake of archiving lossless source material but in fact I do listen to all my music in CBR 128kbps MP3, encoded with Sony Sound Forge (FYI: AAC does NOT produce any better sound quality with Stereo - NOT Joint Stereo - and its only advantages do not apply here (better at bitrates
 

MpMj1011

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LNFSG:

The opening with the string section is beautiful, crisp and clean and then,

The mix is too full, you can obviously hear the hiss in Michael's voice. The guitars on this version are more noticeable. Unfortunately the kick of this track seems totally out of place. Even in HD audio the quality of the track itself is ultimate, but this mix is not bearable, even in hd audio.

The bridge is where this version shines, though! Great dynamics in the bridge only!

Fidelity: 2/5

Chicago:

Crisp and clean mix! His voice is very clean, like he is present in the room!! The synths are beautiful, it brings a whole new dimension in contrary to the cd version! You can hear every gasp and breath in Michaels voice. The bass and the kick are subtlety deep. Well done Timbaland!!

Fidelity: 4/5

Loving You:

This is where the album shines when it comes to the quality of the songs and the production! Very we'll balanced mix with beautiful percussion. Michaels chorus is breathtaking! The emotion of his lead vocals together with the music, oh my god it feels like I'm attending a live studio session! Great dynamics! The ending of this songs makes one cry, really. His voice is so crisp and clear, as it's intended to hear.

Fidelity: 5/5


APWNN:

One of my favorites!! Empty mix, without it being boring. The combination of his vocals together with the vintage synths is simply outstanding. The shakers in this version are very present! The kick drum doesn't waste the other instruments in contrary to the cd version! The vocals are very clean and in the chorus Dr. Freeze is actually there!!

Fidelity: 4/5

STTR:

The intro, oh my god!!!! The stings are breathtaking!! As if it's a scene from a drama movie!! Beaufiful! The fidelity in this track is great! As a whole this track is very full! But Timbaland somehow managed to keep the balance here! I clearly hear woodblock and metal percussion!! Even the string section is steady here! Totally muffled in the cd version. Love the synth thingy! Absolutely great track!

Fidelity: 4/5

DYKWYCA:

A total violence of synths and there is to much going on! Even high fidelity can't help the listener figure out what's going on here.

The only thing I've noticed in this track is the fidelity of his vocals. Crisp and clean. Love the digitized guitar towards the end though!

Fidelity: 3/5 (slightly better than LNFSG)

BG:

As you could've guessed the vocals in the intro are MINDBLOWING! Together with the strings in the opening and the background, this track is totally porn for your ears!! When the beat kicks in, you're in another world!! The hi hats drives the beat in this track. They're ticklish in my ears! Love it! The baseline has a great character too!!! Together with Loving you, this is an outstanding demo track in the world of HD audio. The bridge, oh my god....

Fidelity: 5/5

Xscape:
The bass drum has kind kind of deep roll of, and plays tonal around in some places, and it's deep!! Love the string and horn section in here!!! Very we'll balanced mix! All the sounds in track are 'in your face' and clean! Michaels voice is slightly muffled compared to the other tracks on this album, not so crisp and clean. My observation is that his voice is slightly distorted and compressed, which I know he doesn't like when it comes to vocal production. But that's a mix thing. Overall good fidelity.

Fidelity: 3/5

As a side note, dynamics on this album are zero to none, as this cd was mastered too loud. It's such a shame. Could have been better.

How are the songs compressed?
 
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