Thursday, 26 November 2009

Beatles in 24 bit


It was recently brought to my attention that the new Apple USB Memory stick containing all the Beatles remasters offers a sonic advantage over their CD equivalents. The memory stick contains 44kHz FLAC files, but they are in 24 bit of superior audio quality in comparison to CDs (which are 44kHz/16bit, which is all a standard CD can handle).
This is the second time we have been offered music in such a high quality from The Beatles. The first one was when the DeLuxe version of the LOVE album contained a DVD with all the songs from the regular CD in 5.1 surround sound and 24 bit, both in DVD Audio as well as in the standard DVD format with two-channel stereo (48 kHz 16-bit PCM) and 5.1-channel surround (448 kbit/s Dolby Digital and 754 kbit/s DTS). Ringo Starr has also offered us higher quality when his 2005 album Choose Love was issued as either a 1 DVD + 1CD package or as a hybrid CD/DVD disc, where both sides were playable. The DVD contained the same songs in 24 bit.
Now The Beatles has done it again and released a higher than CD quality version of their albums, although in a far less accessible format. Due to the incompatibility of FLAC in a standard home audio set up, you're going to have to plug your computer in to your amplifier and either play the FLAC's in a FLAC compatible media player, or convert the FLAC's to WAV, which can be played by most media players.
Or, if you don't want to connect your computer to your audio system, you can convert the files to WAV and author either a DVD-Audio or a DVD-Video (with just a still picture) and use the WAV as the soundtrack. This can then be played back on your audio system, provided you already have your DVD player connected to it (and we all have, don't we?). I'm hoping someone out there will do this and make it available, so I can sample the difference!

4 comments:

Macfamily said...

Are CD's limited to 16 bit because of space limitation of the physical media or the specifications of the playback devices... meaning a CD player in your home, car or computer is unable to play back a CD that was encoded in 24 bit?

Just curious.

L.

Wogew said...

The CD specification is a two-channel 16-bit PCM encoding at a 44.1 kHz sampling rate per channel. So that's what a CD player can understand.

Anonymous said...

Hi! Please let us know if you find a way to get this!

Macfamily said...

Ahhh, thanks for the clarification!

L.