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How much will you pay for stellar sound?


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As many of you know, I am starting a project that will result in the release of a pair of DVD-A, DVD and CD in 07 and hopefully more to follow. The working title for the series is "The Exploration of Space" and recording will be done in accordance with my 6 Cardinal Rules for Virtual Presence. The DVD may have some stills on it, but probably no video and will play in standard DVD players. The DVD-A will be a no stone left unturned, total freak recording.

So, what is the price point for sonic product produced with your ears in mind? Bear in mind I there is no way I could price these high enough to recover the 10 years of time and the money my sweet wife has allowed me to expend in pursuit of my dreams. So don't think I am trying to gouge here. As you all know, this is a dry hole for profitability, but I'd like to at least stop the hemmoraging and see to it that the groups involved make a few bucks to support their dreams as well.

It is my intent to go with the highest quality packaging possible and to include comprehensive notes on the music, musicians, acoustic spaces, and techinical info as well. I am thinking perhaps keeping the CD with less info and in general price of the market, around 15.00, since it will not be targeted at the level of sophisticated ear that either the DVD or DVD-A surround product will be. However, I am testing a technique that might make a reasonable surround effect possible on CD without any compromise or special treatment at the source end. I don't have all the results on that yet, however.

So what do you think? What is the right price for a DVD-A good enough to make those of you who haven't purchased a DVD-A deck want to go get one?


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q I would check Chesky, DMP and reference recordings for comparison prices.

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q BTW, all high end recordings say they are using the very best techniques known to man, but mics, placements, hall, cables, recoding equipment, etc. that is all very subjective. Your could be 10 times better and still have to compete with other audiophile recordings.

q How are you going to sell them? eBay? Yahoo store? Web site?


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If I were not naive I would not even be considering this. As it is, I am going for a Grammy. No turn left unstoned.

It may well be that the sound that pleases me is far too much of a niche to support anything. Most of the "audiophile" recordings I hear don't do a thing for me. I've an AIX that won high praise and recommendation from $tereophile that sounds just like the kind of equipment they love at that mag-clinical, cold, in-your-face, and non-musical. No matter how hard I listened I could not visualize the space where it was done due to close multiple mikeing and mixing.

Anyway, I've already gone farther than I should in discussing the rest of the market. I will not do that again. Like various philosophies here in the forum, they have good reason for doing what they do and more power to them.

My own interest is to produce a recording with as few qualities of its own as possible and to convey as much as possible of a moment in space-time with as little editorializing as is possible.

OK, I am getting a lot of looks but only one comment. Don't be complaining about the available software (and don't be criticizing my results) unless you help out here.


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Did something I asked offend?

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I would price the work at cost, plus some multiple of what you get for your time at your real job. In other words, lets say a recording takes 2 hours for set-up, 6 hours of recording, 4 hours of mixing, etc.

Or 12 hours. Each musician wants one (at cost, of course), so you have, what? 5 firm orders. You make $10/hr. normally, so weekend work has to pay you $30/hr. to be worth while (unless your labor is free initially). So price each pressing at $360/5 or $72 (not counting expenses).

If your labor is free initially, then charge only your cost (amortize your overhead and expenses) divided by firm orders that way you can keep making superior recordings as long as you like.

Have you heard the stereo recordings where they place two mics in a head-like baffle arrangement (forget the name)? Are you thinking of something like that for 5.1 channels?


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OK, I will bite, and since I am rather aware of the groups that you

mentioned form the Dallas area in another thread, I will weigh in...

If this is the recording that you are going to be putting together that

you mentioned from another thread, I remember thinking the choice of

music was rather obscure, <but> if the recording is incredible, I

would be willing to pay $25.00 for the DVD-A (would prefer SACD, but

that is just me) - and I routinely pay that now, for some recordings

that haven't and don't pass muster.

And yes, if this is part of your original question, I read and reread

the liner notes, and technical information that is added to good

recordings and keep track of same for future recordings.

Does that help at all?


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"Did something I asked offend?"

Jeez, Colin. Have you ever seen me offended yet??? Not sure how you got that idea but ABSOLUTELY NOT. I've not had time to fully parse this one but you can bet I will.

And, yes, Kriton, that is what I am looking for. I want to know EVERYTHING Klipsch Krazed Klan members like and dislike about high end recordings.

As to the repertoire, it is not exactly what I had in mind but you can't fight Steve Cantrell ( Belo music critic and local cultural czar) and these pieces can be spectacular done my way. Plus, I will have first input on the "filler" pieces as both of these will require a bit of timeing out to fill a disk. I'll be asking for input on that as well.

In fact, I'll be asking Klan input on just about EVERY aspect of this project...so stay tuned and stay involved. Some will be getting gratis copies for review...commensurate with their help in making it happen.


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OK, I have said this in several other threads, but as far as choral

works go, that are challenging and sublime, and which there are

precious few recordings of - look up anything by composer Eric

Whitacre. His Cd done with the Brigham Young choir is very good,

not for the quality fo the engineering but the content. In

surround sound, with the proper acoustics and really quality

engineering, this stuff could soar. As a onetime member of the

Dallas Bach Society choir (definitely had their moments), I have a

little reference with the Metroplex groups to which you referred and I

think the combined efforts with a semi-pro bunch would turn out some

crazy sounds.

Even some of the polyphonic early music multiple choir Te Deums or

Sanctii, with the right engineering - wow...what I wouldn't pay...to

have that sound coming from discrete channels, man...not a recording

for a religious bent, but for the sound...truly spectacular - you pull

that off, and I am there...


Edit: Grammys are difficult with obscure reference material - look at Arvo Part too...obscure and brilliant

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That is an intriguing question.

I am not sure about the DVD price, but the CD could go for much more than $15. The logic is as follows. Many folks would love to show off their systems. For the 2-Ch crowd the issues would be realism and for the 5.1 crowd the issues would be a "jaw-dropping" experience (heavy on the low bass and heavy on the simulation of being in the "middle of things").

Regarding 2-Ch, I would think a price of $20-30 is not unreasonable. Especially if the listener can walk away with the experience of: "I felt like I was there" (in the concert hall, etc). Obviously with a lower price, more units can be sold. I asume the 5.1 product would simply scale upwards, perhaps 1.5 times the price of the CD. My view is that folks would probably buy a single version as a way to demo their system. Given what folks pay for 5.1 systems as part of a home theater, they are willing to spend money to show off the goods.

I was peripherally involved in a project (which ended up never going anywhere) that was perhaps similar. The idea was to provide a recording that would allow a listener to be "immersed" in a soundscape. One nagging concern was the issue of quality control. A good recording can be played back very badly. The key red flags were folks that normally set their systems to have an exaggerated bass, excessive volume, or allow excessive ambient noise to mask the more subtle passages (just look at the amount of bass people use with home theater - there is nothing accurate about it). The goal in this case was to accurately recreate the soundscape.

As a word of encouragement, a very good recording played on a decent system comes much closer to providing this "immersion" than a messy recording on a very expensive system. Most recordings tend toward the messy end.

Good luck! I am quite interested in how this project turns out,


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"wow...what I wouldn't pay"

THAT's the spirit! [:D]

Kriton, you are talking my language. Most recordings center on the content and seem to ignore the context. The E. Power Biggs/Edward Tarr/Texas Boys Choir recording from the '60's proved so popular I purchased a copy in a Gibson's (WalMart of the times in the south). It was not just about the music as even today the Gabrieli's are hardly a household word, but about the context...recording in the structure the music was designed for!!!!!! It is the CONTEXT, stupid! (I am playing on Clinton there, no offense intended to anyone) Gabrieli played in a park or even a fine concert hall is like a Gibson guitar not plugged in. These composers had definite frames in mind for their work and without them the heart and soul of the music is missing.

I have been lucky to have spent the past 10 years in a parish with world class acoustics. Return time is between 3 and 4 seconds with not a hint of slap or coloration. I chose the organ that now resides there and fits the space to a perfection I never dreamed possible. It is only 3/5's complete from the original design but nonetheless totally liturgically ready and more than adequate for anything written before 1900 or so. When full polyphony is attained with the remaining ranks, look out.

Anyway, the fill material will be chosen to complement the main program. However, I will be looking for major antiphonal-friendly works with brass, winds, percussion, organ, choirs...you get the idea. I want to RELISH the decay of great harmonies as they pass into eternity.

And I want to share that.

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Folks, I am going to keep chewing on this subject until I am told nobody here really cares about the quality of their recordings. I am going to be on the road for the next 36 hours. I know some of you are rather fanatical about recording quality and perhaps you just haven't weighed in yet.

While I am most interested in what you are willing to pay at the moment, I am going to be picking your brains about everything from repertoire, packaging, documentation, perspective, to liner notes and containers over the next year or so.

Not only will I be passing around a few of the final products for reviews by those providing useful info, I'll be sending out a few experimentals for comments over the next year to help hone the process before the big date in 07.

If you want better recordings...help me! Stravinsky and Bruckner are hardly my only interests. Anything acoustic from gospel, to blues, to jazz, and even environmental is on my radar for the future but it is gigs like this one that will pay for such projects.


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