Nine Inch Nails: Hesitation Marks (audiophile mastered version)

Discussion in 'Musical Goodness' started by mikey d, Sep 30, 2013.

  1. mikey d Junior Audioholic

    mikey d
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    Ive been reading here since way back when I purchased my yamaha 4600 and axiom speakers. I dont have the boatload of knowledge most have here so I just follow the conversations.

    This is a copy paste from the nine inch nails site.
    Though this is by far from my favorite band I think the production quality is normally very good. Im interested to check out these recordings and thought I would share the find with everyone.

    Hesitation Marks was mastered in two different ways - the standard, “loud” mastering (which is what you’ll find on the CD, on iTunes, and everywhere else), and also an alternate “audiophile” mastering, which we’re offering as a free download option for anyone who purchases the album through nin.com. For the majority of people, the standard version will be preferable and differences will be difficult to detect. Audiophiles with high-end equipment and an understanding of the mastering process might prefer the alternate version.
    Alan Moulder, who mixed the album, offers a more detailed explanation:
    When we were mixing Hesitation Marks we decided to treat the mastering process in a slightly different way to the usual. Since we had tried to treat every other aspect of making this record differently to how we were used to, it seemed to make sense. We were mixing as we went along with the production of each song rather than at the end, so we thought that once we had a song pretty close we would send it off to Tom Baker, our long time serving mastering engineer, to give it some mastering treatment. Normally you wait until the record is finished being recorded and mixed, then take all the mixes to mastering. But we thought doing it again, as we went along, might make us push the process further and spend more time on mastering rather than rush through it at the end. Whilst doing this we became aware of how much low bass information there was on the record. Since that can define how loud of a level the mastering can be, we were faced with a dilemma: do we keep the bass and and have a significantly lower level record, or do we sacrifice the bass for a more competitive level of volume? The biggest issue in mastering these days tends to be how loud can you make your record. It is a fact that when listening back-to-back, loud records will come across more impressively, although in the long run what you sacrifice for that level can be quality and fidelity. So after much discussion we decided to go with two versions. On the main release Tom did exceptional work to maintain the integrity of our mixes and reproduce the low end as much as possible and still get a decent level, although it’s still nowhere as loud as a lot of modern records. The Audiophile Mastered Version is more true to how the mixes sounded to us in the studio when we were working on the songs. Have a listen, turn up the volume and enjoy the experience!
    [/COLOR]

    Mastering Engineer Tom Baker adds:


    I believe it was Trent’s idea to master the album two different ways, and to my knowledge it has never been done before.
    The standard version is “loud” and more aggressive and has more of a bite or edge to the sound with a tighter low end.
    The Audiophile Mastered Version highlights the mixes as they are without compromising the dynamics and low end, and not being concerned about how “loud” the album would be. The goal was to simply allow the mixes to retain the spatial relationship between instruments and the robust, grandiose sound.



    NOTE: The standard mastered version is in no way inferior to the Audiophile Version - we wouldn’t release something inferior as the default. And vinyl purists rest assured, the vinyl edition was mastered to sound the very best for that format. The Audiophile Version is merely an alternate take on the mastering, which some people will appreciate. It’s meant to give a slightly different experience, not denigrate the standard version. Listen to each and come to your own conclusions.


    If you ordered any format of Hesitation Marks from nin.com, you’ll be able to download one or both mastering versions, in whichever formats you prefer (MP3, FLAC, Apple Lossless, and WAV), beginning September 3rd.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 19, 2014
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  2. Hicks Audioholics Approved Vendor

    Hicks
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    It's certainly nice to see that he cares about this stuff.

    Personally my gear has a volume knob, and I know how to use it, so keep the dynamics in tact! :D
  3. j_garcia Audioholic Jedi

    j_garcia
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    Sucks because I preordered it off Amazon and have been very much enjoying it since it came out. Had I known this, I would have ordered from NIN.
  4. Surrealist Audiophyte

    Surrealist
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    I found the audiophile version a bit lacking, still an improvement over the "standard" master, but not by a whole hell of a lot. However, the vinyl master is indeed a beast all it's own that is the real winner out of all the various masters for my taste. If possible a/b the vinyl/digital masters against each other and see what you think.
  5. mikey d Junior Audioholic

    mikey d
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    NO access to listen to the vinyl version but I purchased and downloaded both flac versions last night.
    I did a quick low volume listen to the 2nd/3rd songs and didn't notice any huge differences. Im looking forward to really testing it out this weekend.
  6. mikey d Junior Audioholic

    mikey d
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    I got a chance to listen to some last night. I'm not sure how I feel about it yet. I wasn't particularly excited or blow away though
  7. panteragstk Audioholic Chief

    panteragstk
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    I thought the "audiophile" master was pretty good. Quite a lot of dynamic range there. Granted, I didn't hear the other version. The album itself is good, but I was expecting more I guess.
  8. MidnightSensi2 Audioholic Chief

    MidnightSensi2
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    Sorry for those who didn't know you could purchase directly from NIN's website, I probably should have dropped a note on here. He has released that way for a while. Some excellent masters with hd downloads on his side projects too, that stay a little under the radar.

    I purchased the vinyl from NIN when it came out, I got my 'audiophile' WAV's right away and then the vinyl came in 4-5 days.

    Trent Reznor has always cared about sound quality, from his tours, to his albums. Their experimental nature sometimes lends itself to either large dynamics, although the average will be sort of high due to the nature of the music (thick, bass, textured, layered, etc).

    As far as the difference between the audiophile and regular version, I hear and measure a large difference. I'll grab the regular again later, but here is track 4 of the audiophile master:

    Left / Right
    Peak Amplitude: -0.05 dB / -0.05 dB
    True Peak Amplitude: 0.94 dBTP / 1.24 dBTP
    Maximum Sample Value: 8340294 / 8340294
    Minimum Sample Value: -8340294 / -8340294
    Possibly Clipped Samples: 0 / 0
    Total RMS Amplitude: -11.30 dB / -11.32 dB
    Maximum RMS Amplitude: -2.78 dB / -2.48 dB
    Minimum RMS Amplitude: -75.24 dB / -73.30 dB
    Average RMS Amplitude: -14.46 dB / -14.91 dB
    DC Offset: 0.01 % / 0.02 %
    Measured Bit Depth: 24 / 24
    Dynamic Range: 72.46 dB / 70.82 dB
    Dynamic Range Used: 53.30 dB / 53.10 dB
    Loudness: -8.42 dB / -8.20 dB
    Perceived Loudness: -7.89 dB / -7.44 dB
    ITU-R BS.1770-2 Loudness: -10.05 LUFS


    0dB = FS Square Wave
    Using RMS Window of 50.00 ms
    Account for DC = true
  9. MidnightSensi2 Audioholic Chief

    MidnightSensi2
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    You'll see it certainly has a lot of bass (subwoofer fun!), here are some random points in the same track, overlayed:

    (one is in log format, other linear... same samples) Screen Shot 2013-10-11 at 8.21.53 AM.jpg Screen Shot 2013-10-11 at 8.22.13 AM.png
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2013
  10. MidnightSensi2 Audioholic Chief

    MidnightSensi2
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    Hard to take a screenshot you'd be able to see clearly after it gets compressed/downsized for audioholics to host (when I get home, if you guys want, I can upload some self hosted ones that can be larger - I don't blame audioholics for limiting and compressing hehe, bandwidth bills get expensive!), but, there is content down to the first fundamental frequency (8Hz) in this particular track. Couple pretty heavy drops. Also can see, it's thick in bass haha.
    Screen Shot 2013-10-11 at 8.30.28 AM.jpg


    I'll take a look at some more if you guys want, this was just a grab.
  11. its phillip Audioholic Ninja

    its phillip
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    Host your images on imgur or whatever instead of uploading to the forum :)

    Anyway, I've not listened to NIN in years, but I'll try and check out some of this new stuff.
  12. j_garcia Audioholic Jedi

    j_garcia
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    IMO, some hardcore fans of the old stuff might not like the new album. I find it different and a little upbeat for him, but I really like this album. Even on my digital copy on Amazon the bass is already pretty decent, and the CD also sounds good. Yes, Trent has been into high quality sound for a long time.
  13. 3db Audioholic Overlord

    3db
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    How does this album compare to "Fragile" I walked to a music store and seaw it on 180gm for $40 which also includes a CD. If this album is solid, I may just pick it up on vinyl. haven't purchased any new vinyl lately.
    3db,
  14. j_garcia Audioholic Jedi

    j_garcia
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    Listen to a couple of tracks:





    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 19, 2014
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  15. 3db Audioholic Overlord

    3db
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    I bought the vinyl/CD combo today. Will listen to it tonight. :)
    3db,

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