Interesting project started by Michael Fremer

Michael Fremer has started a Kickstarter campaign to produce an album, side A will be all analog, including Mastering, side B will have Digital mastering, can anyone tell the difference ? Thats the Question

The project was first describedWhat can we Hear?

The Kickstarter kick off announcement is Hearing is Deceiving

I think this is quite interesting looking forward to the results, have already backed it, and will of course order the album from Acoustic Sounds when / if it becomes a reality.

What are your thoughts on this project ?

Good Listening

Doesn't he have anything better to do, I wonder? But if he is really interested in the project, he can finance it all by himself. Not really big money.
Inna, really?
Even assuming that there are no mechanical rights to pay, he still needs a
master use license, needs somebody to do the mastering, has to pay a
pressing plant to manufacture, and deal with getting the thing packaged and
distributed. Why should he finance it all by himself? Do you know what the
costs are to do this?
FWIW, I think it is a legitimate issue- more and more records are being
reissued using digital masters. Can people really hear the difference? My bet
is that a good digital remaster is better than a bad analog one, but who
knows? That's the point of the exercise...
And no, I have no horse in this race.
PS: and if Symphonic Dances was composed in 1940 based on a quick
intraweb look- I didn't really research the publication history of the
compositions involved--mechanicals would have to be paid as well.
*can anyone tell the difference ? Thats the Question*

To tell or not to tell, that is the question?
Whether 'tis Nobler in the mind to suffer the Slings and Arrows of outrageous analog, or to take arms against a sea of quantifying troubles. (Hamlet?)

*A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.* (Macbeth)

Let the games begin,
Best mastering wins.
If you follow AnlaogPlanet like I do, they have been talking about this for several months now.

I think it's a great idea, however, I'm a little upset that the initial $10, (yeah I know it's only 10 bucks) won't go towards the LP? Seems like we are funding the project, but don't reap any of the benefits like a "normal" KickStarter campaign.

Hopefully this will change and at least give us something back for actually getting it done.

Yes, I gave my $10 to the project.
Assuming an initial pressing of 500, the break even point will be enough to recover $180,000 of cost. Of course, $50,000 will go to Michael for his time and effort. Count me in when the fund is at $175,000.
Other things being equal, digital remastering will sound different and might even be prefered by people who are digiheads and don't listen to analog.
There is no point in this exercise. And the fact that your contribution does not guarantee you the record for $10 less than regular price is quite telling.
This has been done in the 80's.

"Digital How Accurate?" Lp by Wilson Audio.
Sounds like a big waste of time and money.

Are you working logarithmically, your 0's are off. 500 LPs at apx. $35 = $ 17500.

However, they hope to make 1000 copies should the project get funded and it appears that the ones that are kicking in should get a $ 10 discount on their purchase from Acoustic Sounds.

"I would like to be able to sell it to the first 1000 Kickstarter participants for an amount that reflects the $10.00 "kicked in".

Above from the post on AnalogPlanet

Anyway, I think is a very interesting project and hope it get's on the way. The Wilson Audio Album mentioned above is close to unobtanium - a quick google check listed the last one sold for $ 80 on eBay, so the $25 for this one sounds like a good deal.

Good Listening

Digital done right can be excellent. The problem is, on so many of the modern digital recordings, the engineer adds so much artificial digital reverb that I can't stand listening to it. The CD's I have, for the most part, are not "audiophile" recordings. I probably have a couple thousand CDs. I don't keep the ones drenched in reverb or with strings that replicate pulling dental floss through one's ears. Those go into the trade in pile.

Hopefully, Mikey will do a great job on the digital side of the new album. I'd like to hear it.
Hopefully, Mikey will do a great job on the digital side of the new album. I'd like to hear it.

That's the crux of the biscuit, as Frank Zappa said.

The mastering engineer is the one who decides what we can hear from any album. Using an engineer who knows how to get the maximum from each medium would be ideal.
And since the mastering engineer is Kevin Gray I am confident. I have quite a few he mastered. The Blue Note reissues from musicmattersjazz are awesome.
Will the result determine which technology is better or who is the better mastering engineer?

There is a huge sample of quality recordings out there both analog and digital in various formats. Not sure what two additional data points can prove regarding digital versus analog other than how the two cases covered are different and why. The answer would probably lie mostly in the skills of the people involved using the tools they choose to do their thing.

Even then what is determined about those two resulting recordings would have no bearing on any of the rest out there both digital and analog. Either technology might win anytime in any particular case.

Unless I'm missing something?
Mapman- fair point. I think there is a tendency for people to say: digital master= sucks. I'm more of an early/original pressing (which country, which plant, etc) kinda guy, but given that many remasters today are from digital files (not talking about stuff that started life recorded digitally), perhaps it will show that not all digital is bad. (Kind of ironic coming from me, not that I'm a basher, but have no digital in my system). The Steve Wilson re-do's of Aqualung and Benefit both impressed me compared to numerous other early and later versions on vinyl, though much of the magic was in the remix, rather than simply the mastering medium. I haven't really followed the Fremer project in detail,was aware of it and chimed in originally just to point out that it does cost real money to do this. But, your point- that every record and mastering is different, is on target in my estimation.
I have the Wilson Audio LP Don and Peter referred to. Its purpose, as stated on the jacket notes, was:
... to produce a test recording of musical material to specifically demonstrate one test variable ... one generation of digital processing by a professional grade digital recorder. Any difference in sound between side one ("Original") and side two ("Digital") can only be caused by distortions introduced by the digital processing itself. All other excuses used by digital apologists to explain less than perfect sound from digital ... all have been cancelled out."
The LP was produced using very high quality material from two Wilson Audio recordings, one of ragtime piano and one of a jazz trio. They had been recorded and were played back during the mastering using Dave Wilson's custom 30 ips 1/2 inch analog recorder. Both masters were cut within one hour of each other using the same equipment, with levels carefully matched. The only difference between the two sides is that on the "digital" side the Soundstream 50 kHz 16 bit digital recorder, which as I recall was state of the art in its day, was inserted into the signal path between the analog tape machine and the mastering equipment.

That methodology made the question of which side was "better" irrelevant. The only question was the existence or non-existence of differences between the two sides. And exist they did, the differences being clearly audible, as I recall, even on the fairly modest system (by high end standards) that I was using in the mid-1980s.

Thirty or so years later it seems like a re-do of that kind of comparison would very much be of interest, even though I whole-heartedly agree with Mapman that "either technology might win anytime in any particular case." I will be signing up and contributing my $10.

Thanks, Peter, for calling this to our attention.

-- Al
I think if the mastering job is done by the same engineer, the results should still have validity and be of interest to all of us. I'm surprised to see so many skeptics and negative comments.
If it an be done from start to end product and review in an open, tightly controlled, and unbiased manner then I would probably find it somewhat interesting. Not an easy thing to pull off though.
as a format junkie I applaud Michael's efforts to bring greater clarity to cause and effect with native formats and media. and I hope he makes a bit of money on it too. no doubt he has been important to my own audiophile path for many years.

another similar project now happening is the Debussy solo piano recording by Ilyn Iten from Wave Kinetics Music. this was recorded last May in upstate New York from the same mic feed in 30ips 1/2" tape and Quad dsd. there will be analog tape offered along with 45rpm pressings, and Quad dsd along with 2xdsd, regular dsd, and all manner of PCM too. not sure there will be a PCM based vinyl pressing, but this recording will certainly demonstrate the best of analog verses the best of digital. right now I have a few cuts from the recording in Quad dsd and it is an outstanding recording. this should be out in the next month or two. you need to watch for it.
Mike...thanks for the heads up about the Wave Kinetics Music release. Do you know who is going to be selling it yet? Any info available?
I'll be looking forward to that, Mike. I hope Jonathan details particulars of the recording process in the liner notes!
Mike...thanks for the heads up about the Wave Kinetics Music release. Do you know who is going to be selling it yet? Any info available?


nothing yet other than as soon as within 30 days.

I will ask about it and when I get that info I will post it here. personally I'm planning on getting the tape, 45 rpm vinyl, and the full recording in Quad dsd.
Mike...thanks. I tried to look it up, but didn't find anything. Please let me know when the 45RPM LP is available.

Thanks again.
hi Sam,

I will be sure to mention that to Jonathan. I think he knows that people will have great interest in the details. I know how much I love these Quad dsd files, they are superb sounding.