Interview

INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT: Pure Audio boss on plans for the blu-ray format

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Olivier Robert-Murphy and some of the titles released on HFPA this year

Olivier Robert-Murphy is a Global Head of New Business at Universal Music Group.

He and fellow Frenchman Laurant Villaume have spent the last two years bringing their vision of hi-res audio to market, in the form of audio-only blu-ray discs branded High Fidelity Pure Audio. This year has seen a flurry of releases on the format including albums by The Rolling Stones, Supertramp, The Velvet Underground, Amy Winehouse, Stevie Wonder and Queen. John Lennon’s Imagine has just been announced as a new release for later this month.

We caught up with Olivier at Universal’s offices in West London and put some questions to him about High Fidelity Pure Audio…


SuperDeluxeEdition: What were your aims with this project?

Olivier Robert-Murphy: It all started two years ago with a business friend called Laurent Villaume as we were having dinner. He’s got a very sexy, expensive hi-fi system in his house and he was telling me that his daughter just plugged an mp3 player into it and it sounded shit. He said ‘what are you doing?!’ and he was frustrated by the quality of the sound. I share this frustration with him and cut to the story short at the end of the dinner we had a name – ‘High Fidelity Pure Audio’ – and we had a plan, which was ‘let’s do it – let’s launch something.’

And so it all started from there – defining minimum sound quality of masters… and more importantly, how do we do it? Laurent, being president of the blu-ray association in France, was the best person to know how much blu-ray could help. So we created this format together.

SDE: Did you see this as a business opportunity, or do you personally share Laurent’s passion for high quality audio?

ORM: I’ve been a drummer for 30 years, I like music and like to hear music sounding right, and I have to say when you see what happened with the film industry – you started from black and white tapes, then VHS, then DVD and everything is focusing on the best quality. With the music industry the best format in the beginning was vinyl, and then you went from mini-disc, CD, to MP3 – all about portability and not necessarily about quality. And that’s always been a frustration,  a personal one. A business opportunity? Maybe. But at the beginning it was a personal battle against the quality of sound.

SDE: How do you listen to music when you’re at home? Do you listen to vinyl? What’s your preferred method?

ORM: Well I’m going to tell you the truth, being French I’m going to say, it’s not ‘Fromage ou dessert’ – Cheese or Desert. It’s not meat or fish. You can choose whatever you what, and actually what we see is that 35% of vinyl buyers today are 35 years old, or less. It’s not all about the old farts like us [laughs]. So they’re buying this but at the same time they’re consuming unlimited music as MP3s. That’s what it’s all about. And I do the same, I’m the same as those people. I consume in different ways.

SDE: What do you think the challenges are? Your current challenges, and the difficulties when you kicked this initiative off?

ORM: Excellent point, I’m going to mention something now that you will love. Someone called Arthur Schopenhauer said “Every big idea is first ridiculed, then passionately fought against and then accepted as self-evident”. And that’s exactly what I’m facing. So at first it was like “are you kidding? A physical format, in this digital world?!” And then it was “it’s not going to work because of this and that, it’s too expensive, it needs clearance etc.” And now we’re starting on the third phase which is “of course, what a great idea!” So that’s where we are at the moment. The way we did it was we first launched The Rolling Stones on amazon.co.uk [the GRRR! 50th Anniversary hits collection] which as you know was a success and created a buzz, and then we picked a market and under the leadership of Pascal Nègre, whose the French President and senior member of the board at Universal, he said “I love this, let’s do it”. Pascal is very famous in France, so he went to media: news, journalists etc.

SDE: So that sounds crucial, he was a big advocate?

ORM: Exactly. And suddenly there was a spark. We lauched this [in France] in partnership with FNAC [long-established French entertainment retail chain] and we’ve expanded to all markets and have launched 32 new products in addition to the 35 available. We’re spreading around the world.

SDE: How will you measure success? What does success look like for you?

ORM: It’s a good question. It’s about expectation. When I started this with Laurent, we said ‘what’s the target?’ One million units? That would be quite nice to start with, over two years. But the real success is five million.  At the moment, we launched 1 June, roughly, and we have sold 400,000 units. I’m absolutely convinced we will reach one million – there’s no question. Now how do you measure the success of the vision? It will still be a niche market, because people will buy deluxe packages and normal CDs etc., but if 25% of physical sales come from this format, then it will be exactly where it should be. When we launched SHM-CD in Japan it represented 25% of new sales. When we launched Mylene Farmer in France, Monkey Me the album sold 500,000 units and 85,000 units of that were Pure Audio.

SDE: Does that mean some terrorities are going to be easier to switch on to this? Are the French, for example, particularly enthusiastic?

ORM: I’m going to say something controversial. It’s about people. It’s about, ‘I believe in this and I’m going after it’. It’s about who owns it at a local level. That’s why I created this industry group with Jim Bottoms. We created the Pure Audio Industry Group because we realised this initiative talks to the music industry, but you also have a lot of independents: Metropolis Studios, Abbey Road, sound specialists, DTS, Dolby, the guys who manage the packaging… it talks to a lot of people. You put all of this together and then it’s about ownership. As a group you go to countries and they say ‘I like this’ Why do you think that Warner France is releasing product now? Because they’ve seen it and they believe in it.

SDE: But why don’t Warner France just go off and do their own thing? Do they see the value in pulling together for something like this?

ORM: It’s about learning from the mistakes of the past. Do you remember the SACD versus DVD-Audio battle? For SACD you had to buy a player and initially it was €1000 or something ridiculous, you had patents you had people protecting it and fighting for it… here it’s about promoting music as it’s intended by the artist. The number one battle for Laurent and me has been [to ensure] no patent. Open it up to people, offer it to everyone. And that’s why people such Warners, and now Sony, are joining us. It’s a common interest.

SDE: When you say ‘no patent’, what you mean is they don’t have to pay you some licensing fee or the like?

ORM: They don’t have to pay anyone. The other reason [why it’s being well-received], going back to the SACD-DVD-Audio point, is the penetration of households that have blu-ray [capability] . It’s massive and it’s growing so fast, for three reasons. The first one is the [take-up of the] standard blu-ray player, the second one is X-box/PS3/PS4 which are blu-ray players and the third one is the TV [set-top] box. They have blu-ray players now, integrated. And that immediately explodes the integration. And the behaviour or the act – we’re not reinventing something. It’s the exact same gesture or behaviour as taking my CD out of the box and putting it in my CD player. With this I’ll take it out of the box but I won’t put it in my CD player, I’ll put it in my blu-ray player. Also not everyone realises that blu-ray players play DVD and CD – so one device for everything.

SDE: So going back to SACD and DVD-Audio, what do you think the mistakes were? Just the fact that they were in competition with each other and people had to spend large amounts of money, and sometimes the SACD wasn’t a hybrid disc, and you couldn’t even play it in a normal CD player…

ORM: You’ve just summarized it. I mean you might love the format, but you need two players an SACD player and a DVD-Audio player – forget about it.

SDE: SACD discs are still being released today, by niche labels like Audio Fidelity in the United States. Do you see that format carrying on, but just remaining very niche?

ORM: I have to be honest, and I’m going to get killed for saying this, but no I don’t see this going on. I do believe with Pure Audio today, it makes a lot more sense. The volumes will be so significant compared to SACD today.

SDE: How do you decide what titles to release?

ORM: There are different factors in deciding what products to release. The first one is ‘do I have the master?’ As a rule, we implemented 24/96 minimum (24 bit / 96 Khz) which is not the case on everything, unfortunately…

SDE: But if you don’t have a 24/96 available you could get a new transfer done?

ORM: Well yes, if you go back to the original, original one…

SDE: That’s good isn’t it? To do that?

ORM: But you have to have access to this and it’s difficult to source. We’re talking about going back 50 years ago in some cases, or 40 or 30 or 20. So [it’s about] where is all this material, how can we source it…

SDE: [exaggerating slightly] But Universal own half the world’s music anyway, don’t they, so…

ORM: I can’t say that. But the point is, it’s not about owning music, it’s about sourcing it and doing it. So first one is purely technical. The second reason is rights. Yes you might have the right to do this, but we’re working with artists. No one works ‘for’ anyone, it’s a joint partnership, so they have to say “yes, I love it, I want to release it.” And it has to fit. Imagine you are between two albums – is it right to release at this time? These are the kind of discussions we have with artists. And the third reason is what the consumer wants. Does he want the new Lady Gaga album in this format, or does he want all the catalogue stuff such as Queen, Elton John, Marvin Gaye, Bob Marley or does he want classical or jazz. Or does he want domestic repertoire. Does he want the new Stromae – I’m talking about a French act here… so there all these factors and there is a fourth one, which I have to be honest, if you’re going to release 200 or 300 albums, it costs a lot of money. It’s the birth of the format. We have roughly at this point in time 100 albums available to release and we’re looking to move to 200 very quickly. It’s a huge investment.

SDE: So does this mean with the original flurry of releases, you’re likely to be risk-averse – sticking with the Bob Marleys, the John Lennons…

ORM: I can’t argue with that. It’s true we’re talking to a fanbase and to a population who likes music, who likes [high quality] audio sound – it’s true, with the first titles, yes.

SDE: So taking John Lennon’s “Imagine” album as an example. What’s the process of getting that out the door? Do you have to go and talk to people like Yoko Ono and have a process of negotiation? Or does someone just look at a spreadsheet and say ‘okay we now own EMI, so we’ll do John Lennon’

ORM: It doesn’t work like that. It’s not me doing it anymore, so that might be a question for other people here, but the way it works is usually we identify a list of preferred titles, then we go to see if technically we have it, and then we go and talk to the artist, explaining what we’re doing. We show them examples of what we’ve released, we make them listen to it, [and ask] “is that okay with you?” then we start production. That’s usually how it works.

SDE: One thing I’ve noticed recently is that some smaller labels are starting to bring out product on Blu-ray audio. For instance there’s an XTC album that’s just come out called ‘Nonsuch’. Andy Partridge from the band has his own label called Ape and he’s licensed the content from whoever owns it.  Anyway, he’s put out a CD+Blu-ray audio combo pack…

ORM: A Blu-ray Pure Audio? 24/96 minimum?

SDE: Yes, it’s hi-res – it’s as good as what you’re doing, but on the blu-ray, they’ve got the original version of the album – in hi-res – they’ve got a new Steven Wilson remix, also in hi-res, they’ve got demos, video content, an instrumental version of the album… in other words they’ve got a hell of a lot of content on there. Does that worry you? Is that a threat to you? Because despite the clarity and the great sound, some of your products are eight tracks, or 10 tracks and that’s it.

ORM: It’s a good point. I have a personal belief and I’m going to share it with you, and I’m not the only one who thinks this…. Do I want to do a Blu-ray Video? Because that’s what they’re doing. They’re creating a Blu-ray video…

SDE: Well video is part of it…

ORM: Exactly, that’s my point. It’s different; it’s not the same thing. At the moment the only thing we’re doing… an artist has created an album, in a certain order, in a certain way. All this is creativity, creative musical thinking, and he [the artist] wants to put it in front of the public in that way. And all we’re doing is respecting that 100%. Except it’s in hi-def. It’s as he recorded it in the studio. Second point, it’s actually not the same thing – listening to music and watching music. You normally watch only once. When you listen, you listen many times. It’s a different experience and I don’t think it’s the right strategy at the beginning to include all this content. Because where’s the limit? We’re launching a standardised format. One time it will be a gallery of 100 photos, the next time there will be backstage video content, etc etc.

SDE: The trouble is, the music industry over the last 10 or 15 years has got the consumer used to wanting bonus material. So for instance take Lionel Richie’s “Can’t Slow Down”. That’s already been out as a 2CD deluxe edition. The second disc has unreleased versions of the album tracks, at the end of the first CD there’s some single versions and twelve-inch remixes. And also with the super deluxe box sets, consumers are used to being given an incentive, because if it has come out before I want you to give me something extra.

ORM: The Who ‘Tommy’ deluxe box includes a Pure Audio. So that’s what will happen. You’ll have a deluxe package that will include both.

SDE: But back to Lionel Richie, what’s the issue? Why not just put those extra tracks on the Pure Audio as a bonus?

ORM: I agree, I agree. It’s a good point.

SDE: Well, why didn’t it happen?

ORM:  I’ll raise it. It’s possible. It’s an artistic decision as well, but you’re right.

SDE: So you’re not ruling out that [the inclusion of bonus material] could happen in the future?

ORM: No, not at all. And actually, I think it will happen.

SDE: Let’s talk about 5.1 surround sound. As you said, more and more households have blu-ray players sitting under their TV; they might also have a surround set-up with speakers behind the sofa, a subwoofer etc., so they can enjoy Lord Of The Rings and the like, but it’s only a small minority of titles that you have released so far that have included a 5.1 mix. Looking online, it seems to be the most desired thing, particularly from audiophiles who may have some SACDs sitting on their shelf or have enjoyed DVD-Audios in 5.1 in the past. Are you going to start releasing more titles with 5.1?

ORM: Two things about this. Number one, you have your personal belief when you launch something. You do your best to test, what does the market want? So I had to follow my belief, and my belief is that when I’m listening to an orchestra, and don’t like to hear the trumpets behind my right ear. I like to be in a theatre with everything in front of me listening to a performance. That’s what Pure Audio was about. What I found out, is the same as you. I got a lot of feedback from consumers saying ‘actually, you know what, we want 5.1’. So we started to release Queen and others. We have more product coming in 5.1. We’ve actually launched a dedicated plan for the next six months to have a lot of 5.1 releases – as a pure dedicated initiative. I have to be honest and say that I was surprised how much people wanted that. I thought all these music lovers will want it exactly as it was originally recorded, but no, they want it like that.

SDE: Ultimately you can give people the choice can’t you. If you don’t want 5.1, just listen to the stereo version.

ORM: Yes, but we have costs to consider and sourcing – we don’t have 5.1 available everywhere.

Before asking the next question I handed Olivier Robert-Murphy the mastering details from the new Japanese mini-LP CD reissue of the Rolling Stones’ ‘Sticky Fingers’ which has lots of information about when the transfer was made and who made it (see image below)

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Mastering information on Universal Japanese SHM-CD reissues

SDE: One of the criticisms I’ve seen on your Facebook page, is that people consider that they are having to buy your products ‘blind’ because there is no information about mastering. However great the original recording is, an engineer can remaster it and change the sound for the worse. A good example is Nirvana’s “Nevermind”. That is not considered to be an audiophile remastering; the 2011 version is widely criticised as being compressed and ‘brickwalled’ [ie lack of dynamic range]. So putting it on a blu-ray audio when you have ‘no compression and no compromise’ as your tag line doesn’t make sense. People might say, why haven’t you gone back and created a new audiophile remastering, since this is supposed to be a product where the quality of music is paramount.

ORM: I’ll have to speak to people in charge of this and understand it better. But you and me and these other people you mention, what we have in common is that we’re quite geeky. [Gesturing towards the Rolling Stones Japanese mastering details] If I see that at the back of a package it could influence me, in terms of buying it, that’s for sure. I’m not sure this is something for the mass market. But does it hurt, to put it? Probably not. Should we put it? Let’s see. It’s more a discussion I should have with the industry group as well. We’re not just talking about Universal here – it’s as an industry should it be recommended or compulsory to put or the sourcing details. In a way, it would legitimate the initiative, it would make it more transparent.

SDE: I think so. The other thing is the early adopters for this kind of product are likely to be the ‘geeks’…

ORM: I meant ‘geeks’ in a positive way!

SDE: Yes, I know. But would you consider putting more information about mastering on the packaging?

ORM: Yes, I’m going to raise it at the next Pure Audio Industry Group. We’re meeting soon [Olivier gets someone to photocopy the mastering details from the Japanese booklet]. 

SDE: Over the years mastering has had it’s ups and downs in terms of the quality of what is produced, but to me it seems like you just take the latest remaster and use that. I wonder how much time is spent investigating what is the most appropriate remaster to use? That Nirvana remastering might sound great on CD blasting away in your car, but is that an appropriate mastering to use for Pure Audio?

ORM: Interesting. Interesting comment.

SDE: Final question, do you think anyone at Universal sees the Pure Audio product as a threat to the Super Deluxe box set? If you put too much content on them, people won’t buy the £80 box set, they’ll just buy the £15 Pure Audio disc.

ORM: I don’t see it as a threat and I’ll tell you why. Who is buying the deluxe package? There is a lot of gifting. And we are not in the same price category. Let’s say an album costs €10 today, a Pure Audio will cost €12 or €13. A deluxe package might cost €30. It’s not the same. It’s about being logical about who you’re talking to and what you’re offering.


Olivier Robert-Murphy was talking to Paul Sinclair for SuperDeluxeEdition.

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67 responses to INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT: Pure Audio boss on plans for the blu-ray format

  1. fedge says:

    Interesting, coming from Universal Music Group, the label that released Days Are Gone by Haim – THE WORST MASTERED ALBUM OF 2013.

  2. Mike F says:

    Nice – you pressed him a bit there!

  3. Will says:

    Excellent interview with some pertinent questions.
    I’m still amazed my bluray copy of In Utero arrived with only the original 12 tracks and none of the many bonus features of the 2CD or the box set.

  4. Stephen Strahan says:

    Paul, you suggested we comment. Well, here goes. I have just bought my first blu-ray audio. Its Breakfast In America by Supertramp. I love it!! I do think however that marketing-wise you need to be much clearer about what this is called – Blu-ray Audio? High Fidelity Pure Audio? Pure Audio? and then whatever it is called needs to be communicated clearly to retail as finding info about this is hard. I love the idea of the format. I will happily buy more well-mastered hi-res Pure Audio discs. I would like to know more details about mastering too. Most importantly, Id like 5.1 surround for these discs. After the fiasco that was SACD and DVD-A I would hope lessons are learned. Blu-ray is the perfect successor to these. But 5.1 should definitely be part of this. Next most important to me is, variety of catalog. I would like first up stuff that has not been done to death in the various formats. I LOVE Queen, but A Night At The Opera is or has been in everything. Id love A Day At The Races in 5.1, or give us the unreleased Elton John 5.1 masters that we know Greg Penny has already done. Not that Im not grateful to have the others, but something new would be great! Thanks for Breakfast In America and Crime Of the Century for example, and Songs In The Key Of Life and Can’t Slow Down. But what about a 5.1 of Donna Summer On The Radio or Bad Girls. What about Diana Ross? What about ABBA, what about U2? What about …. you get the picture. I hope WE get the discs!! :) Great interview. Hope my comments help.

    • I second Steve’s comments: I want other Queen albums in 5.1 then ANATO/The Game (released yet), I want Elton John albums in 5.1 not released in SACD (and we know that Greg Penny has done the 5.1 mix yet)!

      Also, when Supertramp’s Crime of the Century is planned, since I see it on the cover pic?

      The interview is great on your part, but Mr.Murphy doesn’t seem very prepared, and he even avoided some of your questions!

  5. Robert van Diggele says:

    Good interview Paul, thank you for sharing this. Very good questions about the mastering and 5.1 (or lack there off).

    Looking forward to that 5.1 initiative.

  6. Robert van Diggele says:

    ORM: “. I have to be honest and say that I was surprised how much people wanted that (5.1 mixes) thought all these music lovers will want it exactly as it was originally recorded, but no, they want it like that.”

    Well, music is never recorded in stereo of course. Its all mono mixed together. Stereo is the most common thing, that is the most logical reason that artist release their music in stereo. But as Paul rightly mentioned more and more households have a surround set up, so why bot take advantage of that fact, and mix studio albums in surround anyway.

    Universal could use old quad mixes and unreleased 5.1 mixes that are in the vaults and release them on BD as a start, plus the OOP sacd and dvda stuff. Not much effort needed and great return.

  7. Bert says:

    I’m baffled that a blogger has to teach the guy in charge of yet another re-issue format that a) people buying an “expensive” product promising quality deserve a worthy master and b) people want detailed information. It’s nearly 2014; I weep for the utter cluelessness of so many in the music industry.

    It’s one of my pet peeves WRT HDTracks.com: they know nothing, they don’t offer any information, they remain clueless even when you press them on it. Most releases include a PDF with only the cover of the alum; no tracklist, no credits, no mastering information,… Yet they expect people to fork over good money.

    Blu-rays can contain 25GB of data per layer, so why include only a barebones album? Why *object* to Andy Partridge offering numerous bonus features?

  8. Mike F says:

    I like what Bert said. If I’m going to be asked YET AGAIN to buy something, make it worth my while! It’s not rocket science.

  9. Steven Roberts says:

    Honestly, it should be child’s play for UMG to put together an audiophile release of a title. Assuming they have the artist’s permission (sometimes the hardest thing to obtain) they should include as a MINIMUM:-

    *The original album in stereo and/or mono (depending on the age of the material) from the best possible source ie the original master tapes;

    *The album remixed in quad/5.1 (if a surround mix exists)

    It wouldn’t hurt for them also to include the following:-

    *All period B-sides, 12″ mixes, A-side remixes, and so forth – if you want to retain the ‘integrity’ of the original album, make them accessible via a different menu! Easy?

    *How about a live concert from the period? Or demos?

    It goes without saying – but I’ll say it anyway – that all the material should be flat transferred or at least tastefully mastered to retain the maximum dynamic range – NOT brickwalled to death.

    See? Simple!

  10. Guillaume robert says:

    no choice, we must try. strongly a new album in blu-ray. we will unfortunately have to wait some time before you can listen to our favorite authors. Thanks.

  11. Justin says:

    Paul, great interview. Like others here, I’m astonished that a guy in that position with the so-called ‘dedication’ that he promotes, really has no idea about what the majority of audiophiles want. Bases the entire concept on his own wants, then ignores most of them and packages the format for the lowest common denominator…as far as mastering research and details are concerned. I think the ‘surprise’ over the need for 5.1 is a little disingenuous. Having to pay someone to remix the albums and not just bung a master on a blu-ray disc would take away from the bottom line, sounds a little like ‘record company speak’ to me.

    I’d appreciate if they could widen the scope a little. I’m an enormous Queen fan, but to buy ‘A Night At The Opera’ again for the 6th time?…..probably not.
    Thank you for highlighting XTC’s “Nonsuch” as a reference for both fidelity and value. It’s a brilliant example of what can be done, especially when released by a small label with nowhere near the resources and marketing of Universal.

    I was actually pleasantly surprised by a large display of most of these titles in my local Australian store. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a display like it for a supposed ‘audiophile’ format. Maybe there’s hope for us yet.

  12. Danny says:

    That man is not remotely interested in the quality of the music.

    He has identified that blu-ray players of one form or another are now the primary playback device in many people’s homes and he is just sticking music that will appeal to the most people on lazily produced blu-ray discs to exploit the market.

    The advertising is misleading, the origin of the audio is not stated (it has been determined that masters inferior even to current CD releases have been used) and even reprints of existing CD booklets have been re-used that list tracks not even featured on the HFPA disc.

    Your questions were excellent and he floundered badly.

    Compare a £12.99 King Crimson 40th release and the wealth of audio options and the comprehensive information given in the booklets against these barebones, misleading ‘HFPA’ rip-offs.

    If they stumble across a decent master and the odd one of these comes out sounding brilliant, as they will, it is just down to pure luck and not a dedicated program of producing high-res audio. Most HFPA discs will sound the same as the CD equivalent already on the market.

    The only selling point will be if any are released with good sounding, unique 5.1 mixes and not recycled ones.

    The master will outperform the format and they don’t seem to know or care where the master came from.

    • Ranasakawa says:

      Fantastic reply, my thoughts exactly.
      I WANT to support this format in BluRay but I demand the best available tapes are sourced and at least some bonus tracks are included, a decent booklet that tells us more info about the mastering and if possible a quad or 5.1 mix is also included.

      I’ll buy them !

  13. Robert says:

    I would buy BIA and COTC if they included 5.1. I buy those classic remixes.Yes’s Close to the Edge in 5.1 Blu-Ray beat’s anything this Pure Audio has. Including an instrumental version of the entire album as well as single edits and needle drop version flat transfer. It’s absolutely fantastic. But then I see this Blu-Ray Pure Audio and look at what is on it and think “eh, no thanks, nothing special here. Bring on the extras! I can live without the video content but don’t skimp on adding single versions and 5.1 etc.

  14. Ranasakawa says:

    The only way these will sell well is if more extras are included as an incentive for us. I am yet to buy any despite seeing them at 20% off this week at my local shop.

    I really want this format to work,

  15. Many thanks for this interview Paul.

    I had hoped that Monsieur Robert-Murphy might shed some light on the, thus far, shambolic efforts of his “brain-child”. However, what he has done is display total ignorance and arrogance. He clearly doesn’t understand the market and believes that we should all share his vision of taking 11 songs in 2.0, poorly mastered and billed as “pure audio” and pay handsomely for it.

    I was stunned at his comment about SACD and DVD-A and how one would need two players to benefit from both formats. I’ve never owned separate players and I’ve been buying these discs for over a decade. But that comment paled into insignificance when he admitted to not knowing a single thing about the XTC release and then had the audacity to dismiss it completely because it had “extras” on it! The simple fact is that this release, along with others, such as “Close To The Edge” and “The Raven That Refused To Sing” quite literally pisses all over any of the HFPA efforts so far. I own SACD’s and DVD-A’s that are far superior to any HFPA release, both in terms of content and audio fidelity.

    I am sat here, completely staggered by his responses and I wonder how he even exists in this industry. He is clueless, his efforts are vacuous and he runs the risk of killing off the format. One can only hope that another major label comes along and kicks his ass, the same way a great many smaller labels are doing.

    The omission of 5.1 on virtually all his releases is completely insane, but he can’t even seem to get the 2.0 stuff right, so maybe it’s good that he doesn’t sully the numerous 5.1 opportunities that have sailed under his cocked nose.

    For someone who is helming this effort, he seems remarkably detached from his target market and the industry as a whole. He seems happy and snug in his conceited little cocoon, convinced he’s the saviour of quality music on a physical format, when in fact, he is more likely to go down in history as its executioner.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Thanks Rob.

      It’s true you can/could get combo SACD/DVD-audio players but I don’t think anyone is going to sit here and argue that either format was a ‘success’, beyond a very niche audiophile market group. One of the key problems was asking people to buy new hardware, which Olivier mentioned.

      Also let’s not hammer the man too much. Without him it is unlikely this format would have been adopted and supported by Universal and the Working Group is a great initiative to bring the industry together.

      Pure Audio may not be where you want it to be at this present moment in time, but Olivier was pretty honest and open in the interview, admitting he was caught by surprise regarding 5.1, and the newly announced Sex Pistols with the bonus tracks suggests that they may start offering more than just the basic albums.

      I think your last sentence is very unfair. He has spent time and effort wrangling with the internal politics of the industry, and dealing with sceptics and managed to MAKE THIS HAPPEN. No mean feat, I assure you. Is it perfect at this present moment in time? No. But there are some superb releases out there including Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, Beck (in 5.1) – these hi-res physical formats can be picked up for £12. There’s quite a few old out of print SACDs with no extras that we’d probably pay a lot more than £12 for.

      If we hang on in there and support this format, I think it will ‘mature’ and improve. It is unrealistic to expect every release to be like “Nonsuch” – that was mainly to do with Andy Partridge having the vision. Most artists particularly ‘big’ names (Rolling Stones, Lennon etc) are going to be quite reticent. Yoko Ono is the reason “Imagine” doesn’t have the 1999 remix, or the Quad from the 1970s, nothing to do with Universal or Mr Robert-Murphy. Also “Nonsuch” took at least a year to come to fruition, where this initiative is a bit more about scale and volume and penetrating the market, so probably not realistic to expect a labour of love on each release.

  16. Paolo says:

    If I’ll win I’m very glad/happy

  17. Warren Mason says:

    Does anyone know what the difference is between Pure Audio and Blu-spec? The latter, produced by Sony DADC, has been around since 2008.

  18. Gerd says:

    Well done, Paul.
    Interesting interview. It seems there is stillspace left to improve the product.

  19. Danny says:

    Anybody with even a remote interest in high-res/audiophile music would not be “caught by surprise regarding 5.1″. The “we have gone back to the master tapes to bring you the best quality” rhetoric is also entirely misleading marketing bluff.

    Sorry, but this is just one big con. Anybody in charge of releasing music aimed primarily at an audiophile audience ‘should’ have put the time and effort into each and every release to ensure it is the best thing out there in terms of audio and presentation. Customers would rather these came out properly done, slowly but surely rather than in half-arsed chunks of mediocrity. However, it is clear it is not an audiophile audience they are aiming at and are looking for large selling albums to release in bulk.

    As I said earlier, it would seem they are running around trying to get whatever music they can get their hands on cheaply, that appeal to a big audience, to bash out with as little monetary outlay as possible. This will result in them luckily using the odd audio source that results in a decent HFPA disc but it will be entirely hit and miss as to which discs would be worth picking up.

    There will be no confidence from the target audience as the majority of comments on here from knowledgeable music buyers testify and word of mouth spreads quickly on dedicated forums. We see £100+ box sets poorly cobbled together by money-men and efforts like these HFPA discs and say no, we are not that stupid. We know quality and a reason to spend money when we see it.

    These things can be done well when the right people are involved and have the motivation and dedication to be the best there is. That will not be achieved when you have a team bashing as many of these out as quickly as they can. This guy was bragging about how many they would get out in the near future, which to me just means they will be hastily and sloppily thrown together. The exact opposite of what the competition do.

    There is a good reason why the King Crimson, Jethro Tull, Yes etc releases come out slowly. It’s because the people involved are taking the time to do it right and are spread thinly between projects because the people in charge of releasing it want the best people for the job and a product to be proud of at the end.

    • Richard Menzies says:

      The SACD format would have succeeded in popularity had the record companies released the music that people want to buy, sourced from original master tapes.
      But they didn’t AND STILL HAVEN’T. When they release “Deluxe Editions” what do they do? They release it as low-res CDs!!!!! Rare it is to find one with SACD or DVD-Audio (which is the same 24/96kHz as Blu-Ray anyway). So yeah….. SACD is having a rough time and Blu-Ray will also if they don’t get people involved who are in touch with what people want to buy!!
      And if they don’t keep hiding what their music source and who the production team is! That just makes people suspicious, so it puts them off. Trust is a huge issue that they chose to ignore.

      People say SACD is a “niche market” but it isn’t, no more than Blu-Ray is, it’s just due to the fact record companies ignore what music consumers want to buy and release crap that OF COURSE no one buys!! So the format is made to unjustly suffer.
      The format is not unpopular, it’s the music they have chosen to release that is!!!
      And that is because all they did was buy the rights for the music that was CHEAP for them to buy, instead of rights for the music that people want to own in high-resolution format! You need to spend money to make money.

      They don’t CARE what consumers want, all they want is to line their pockets the quickest, easiest, and cheapest way possible.

      SACD is roughly 29 times the resolution of Blu-Ray or DVD-Audio (both being mostly 24/96kHz recordings).
      Since Sony owns Universal, what they need to do is start manufacturing players that are truly universal, that will play all discs. And they need to make them affordable while being high-quality.
      But I live in a dream world I guess.

      • Wilson Richards says:

        @Richard Menzies –
        You wrote:
        “People say SACD is a “niche market” but it isn’t, no more than Blu-Ray is, it’s just due to the fact record companies ignore what music consumers want to buy and release crap that OF COURSE no one buys!! So the format is made to unjustly suffer.
        The format is not unpopular, it’s the music they have chosen to release that is!!!
        And that is because all they did was buy the rights for the music that was CHEAP for them to buy, instead of rights for the music that people want to own in high-resolution format! You need to spend money to make money.
        They don’t CARE what consumers want, all they want is to line their pockets the quickest, easiest, and cheapest way possible.”
        —————————————————–
        I could not agree more. All you have to do is look at the SHM-SACDs produced by Universal. Look at how many excellent titles are available (and the ones coming soon) and how well they are selling. Yet it’s still just an SACD with a special protective coating. So why all of the popularity now of SHM-SACDs? If SACD is such a “failed market”? People are now spending ridiculous, unreasonable amounts of money for what they should have been able to buy when SACDs were first being released, one-third the price!! There is absolutely NO reason why they couldn’t have.

        So jack-up the price to a ridiculous amount and the format will succeed?? I guess so because that’s what’s happening!!
        WTF???

        • Tony Ruffell says:

          I did like SACD but could not afford the player at the time were now I have a Blu-ray player only a cheep Philips BDP3000 but with new high grade caps PANASONIC FM in the power supply PCB the sound is very open with pure audio and good on CDS and don’t forget with 24BIT LPCM there is no unpacking of the data stream and no noise shaping problems you get with SACD DSD Recordings

      • Tony Ruffell says:

        SACD is not 29 times the resolution of DVD audio is works on pulls width so needs a very high sample frequency compered to linear PCM and DSD on SACD has a lot of ultrasonic noise that comes up at just over 20khz. Also pure audio uses 24bit at 96k or 192k with no compression with no ultrasonic noise problems and there is space for up to seven hours (maximum)

  20. Alexandre says:

    To Rob, Justin and Bert and other non-believers, I think you are a little unfair here. I don’t know this gentleman but clearly he and Mr Villaume had the strength to do it. You know, there are two kinds of people in life: the doers and the talkers. I would put them in the first category, and you probably in the second one.

    Any initiative that promotes high quality sound should be welcomed by everyone.

    • Bert says:

      They’re “doers” because they are in a position to do something. Go ahead, try setting up your own record company and licensing one of the albums they “mistreated” — good luck with that.

      “Any initiative that promotes high quality sound should be welcomed by everyone.” Not when they make a shambles out of it, because that will only hinder the future. Isn’t it beyond sad that a format that has barely started already has numerous duds on its record? Especially when you consider that there is plenty of source material that would have been far better?

      Like I said: we’re nearly in 2014 and yet the music industry still seems utterly clueless. Today I read they’re trying to take down RapGenius, a site that offers *annotated* rap lyrics. I can sort of understand why they attack sleazy websites that offer lyrics (often riddled with mistakes) surrounded by ads, but RapGenius? And by the way, where is the music industry’s legal solution for lyric sites?

      Isn’t it sad that we have to celebrate that the 20th anniversary edition of Nirvana’s In Utero isn’t a complete failure? That it doesn’t feature a brickwalled mastering job? Shouldn’t that be a minimum?

      Just compare Olivier Robert-Murphy’s utter cluelessness at people wanting detailed credits with Dave Grohl’s “Sound City” documentary and you see the difference: one’s a business man who thinks he sees an opportunity to make money, the other’s a music lover who spends a ton of money and time on documenting a studio that was a crucial element in so many classic recordings. How many times do you read interviews with musicians etc. who read all those credits on the albums they had when they were young and cite that as at least part of their fascination with music — and here is an exec who seems baffled that people want those things. How come I can find out which cow my steak came from (if I wanted to) yet I cannot get details about the master source of the music I’m interested in?

      • Tony Ruffell says:

        I did send universal an email on labelling and mastering information on the disc cases for example any compression s the master a DXD wide band digital recording? or up sampled from 16 bit or 20 bit ? I have some good examples of pure audio some are over or near 2 hours long in HD Audio don’t forget how bad CDS were even in the last 10 to 15 years CDS have improved in sound and as mastering improves blu ray will get better it is a natural slow improvement in technology the same with flat TVS ok now but rubbish not that long ago.

  21. Amy Allen says:

    I have actually discovered this format by chance during a recent trip to Canada and I need to be honest here on one point particularly, it seems we are getting a little caught up, and by some means, confused by what this format actually is, and its purpose as a product from the music industry. By no means is it supposed to be acting as a ‘deluxe box set, with extra this, and extra that, and extra kitchen sink’ replacement, or anything in-between.

    This is an audio format, plain and simple. Released in the same way as records, tapes, CDs, and mp3’s have been through the years. In the same way ‘deluxe editions’ are released on these formats when a marketing strategy, or gap in the market calls for it on any other format, eventually HFPA will be in a position to do the same I believe.

    However, when a format is just starting out, it is not in a position to be able to jump right to that end point that we now have with CD, Vinyl etc. People won’t be as interested in buying a ‘deluxe edition of HFPA’ until they know the format well enough to buy into it.

    Perhaps including HFPA in deluxe box set editions that are being released i.e. Nick Drake’s recent ‘Tuck Box’ release might be the way to inject it further into the market, to make room for further additional content to be added on each release such as Lionel Ritchie when the time calls for it.

    For now, patience is a virtue, and I agree with Paul that we can’t expect the world and its kitchen sink from a new format in its first phases. Its time to sit back, embrace the ability to listen to high quality sound and allow the format to grow within the industry to iron out the creases so we as consumers will end up with something ultimately we all want, one format that we all can trust is the best. So perhaps give the industry heads like these guys a chance to push this format forward.

  22. Marko says:

    Give us Kraftwerk&Depeche mode on Blu ray audio!!!!!!!!!

  23. Keith says:

    ORM: Do I want to do a Blu-ray Video? Because that’s what they’re doing. They’re creating a Blu-ray video…
    I say – what they are doing is evolving the market and at the same time showing what the potential is for the market. It’s Not Blue ray Video but it has Video content. The key is that Nonsuch has better menus for the Stereo mixes original and new and instrumental & 5.1 Content. All of which is artist approved.
    ORM : Except it’s in hi-def. It’s as he recorded it in the studio.
    I say – exactly as recorded in the studio so 24 track analog tape recording? No they are all interpretations of what was recorded in the studio since the advent of multi-track tape. And mixed for the best format that was available at the time. There have since been better and worse media, all of which should have different mastering and mixes to bring out the best in the recording.
    ORM: Yes, but we have costs to consider and sourcing – we don’t have 5.1 available everywhere.
    I say – but even when you do you have on many occasions chosen to ignore those ‘Layla’ two stereo mixes two 5.1 mixes one Grammy award-winning yet we get a retread of LP master without a re-master to bring out the best sound for the format.
    On another 5.1 note so far we have had two very compressed (i.e. not HFPA) mixes Historie and ANATO, one where by all accounts the channels have been futzed Tommy, and one very good mix the album from Beck.
    What we have not had is a transfer from a Quad mix (as the artist intended in the 70’s for instance)
    We also have a marketing strategy in the UK at least which means these discs are hellishly difficult to find on line or the high street.
    On a plus note it’s not all doom and gloom of the discs I have the john Coltrane comes as per the deluxe edition with an hour of extra music. I await the release of the many times delayed nick drake disc. And agree on the whole with the points put forward by SDE

  24. Matthew Best says:

    I agree with most of the comments already posted that it is somewhat disappointing to see how out of touch with consumers this guy is. However, I mainly wanted to say well done to Paul for posing the right questions – maybe he will go away and think about what you asked and come up with some more decent releases in future? We can hope anyway.

  25. Tim H says:

    What struck me from another great interview is how unaware ORM seemed to be of what the consumer wants and when pressed by Paul appeared either suprised or clueless about their desire for transfer/matering info, stereo + 5.1 mixes, bonus content….I thought his reaction to and lack of engagement in regard the XTC release was most telling!

    It would seem logical and common sense to canvas the consumer and model your releases/advertising campaigns around that info. I am HUGELY grateful and pleased at the recent Yes and XTC blu-ray audio releases as it shows what fans (geeks…music afficionado’s, audiphiles….whatever) really want and an independent corner of the industry who is really responding to that. Mr ORM seems several steps behind and subsequently his laudable campaign could well fall flat.

    As has been said previously, Joe Average will see these Pure Audio releases (as great as the audio may be…if transferred and remastered appropriately) and say ‘ I’ve already got that, it doesnt give me any additional content so why bother’…

  26. Danny says:

    Amy

    You clearly don’t understand the crux of the argument when you say “embrace the ability to listen to high quality sound.”

    That is most definitely NOT what is being offered but it’s obviously enough to convince people like yourself to spend your money without asking questions or knowing what you are actually getting. Which in most cases will be a disc that sounds no better than current CD versions of the same album.

  27. Gilbert Burnett says:

    Great interview!
    I think it is wrong to claim the lack of universal success of SACD was down to expensive equipment. The earlier PS3’s were able to play SACD. Sony killed that function. I think there was more to it politically. Also the notion that classical multi channel is about ‘trumpets over your left shoulder’ shows a huge lack of understanding of classical music and its followers. I am sure other labels will be listening to all this discussion and will try to improve matters. A good marketing decision to let Universal make the mistakes first!

  28. Steven Roberts says:

    And I quote ORM’s response to Paul’s question about doing new hi-res transfers of classic albums from the original master tapes:-

    “But you have to have access to this and it’s difficult to source. We’re talking about going back 50 years ago in some cases, or 40 or 30 or 20. So [it’s about] where is all this material, how can we source it…”

    Well, Universal JAPAN seem to be able to find all this stuff, as their recent Platinum SHM-CD and SHM-SACD campaign proves. (Yes, Mr ORM, you heard me right … S – A – C – D).

    Universal Japan have gone back and dug out the source tapes for a number of classic albums from 20, 30, 40 years ago, and made fresh, flat hi-res DSD transfers, a number of which have been released on (extremely well received) SHM-CD and/or SHM-SACD.

    Interestingly, one of the titles in question is Breakfast in America by Supertramp – a title also released on HFPA.

    In the case of the Japanese disc, we are guaranteed a flat transfer from the original tapes – it is completely documented on the (excellent) packaging. Can ORM tell me the source used for the HFPA? Can ANYONE?

    If Universal Japan can can go to the trouble to source this stuff, why can’t Universal France? Actually, why can’t Universal France just TALK to Universal Japan !?!

    • Echo says:

      Please, no meeting between Universal France and Universal Japan. That will always mean in he record industry the best idea (SHM-SACDs) will be killed and the worst one (Pure Audio with bad master jobs as source) will be leading for the coming future….

  29. Tim H says:

    Think it’s great we have a forum to debate this topic…but I’m also sure that those who have critiqued the interview (me included) have probably hypocritically put their names forward for the Blu-Ray audio give away previous to the interview…just sayin.

  30. Peter Suthers says:

    ORM is a completely deluded, and has no grasp of the history of audio recording formats (CDs pre-dated Minidisk by 10 years!), let alone any real grasp of recording technology.
    He talks about the SACD v DVD-Audio war that DVD-Audio lost, then blames SACDs for needing a special player, So did DVD-Audio! And as far as I can tell does Blu ray audio.
    DVD-Audio was 24bit 96kHz, BluRay Audio is the failed DVD-Audio format on a new disk, if it failed last time, why will it succeed this time.
    So non-hybrid SACDs would not play on a normal CD player, how many BluRay Audi disks will play in a CD Player, or DVD player for that matter NONE! At least SACD had the hybrid option, it was a Record Co decision as to whether their release was a hybrid or not. Single inventory hybrid SACDs would have satisfied every customer, the disk would play on any CD player, then when the customer has a number of disks he might invest in an SACD player & benefit from the improved sound quality & surround sound.
    The point about master quality is extremely pertinent, i was a CD mastering engineer in the 1980, I remember one double album release where the record Co had lost the master tape of side 3, we were instructed to copy a vinyl record for the CD master!

    • Tony Ruffell says:

      No DVD Audio is not the same as pure audio on a different disc DVD Audio is MLP lossless audio packaging were pure audio can be 24bit at 96k or 192k sampling watch is still better than lossless packing in theory as it is more direct weather you can tell the difference from 24/96 PCM IS OPEN TO QUESTION ? but the format can hold a lot more than SACD or DVD AUIDO just get the excellent sounding ELLA and LOUIS 2 on one disc about 2.5 hours long and in high res

  31. Stephen Strahan says:

    @ Peter Sure, both SACD and DVD-Audio needed special players. If you wanted hi-res results or multi-channel then you had to have a compatible player. The difference with blu-ray is that a lot of people now have blu-ray already as they have bought it as their next step up from DVD. They dont need to buy anything new this time to access the hi-res or multi-channel features of HFPA. The mastering of course is still very important and they must learn that we want that kind of documentation. The thing that Amy, who posted above, missed is that its not just that this is a new format, they want us in many cases to buy stuff we already have in several different formats. If you want us to buy, give us a good reason! If its already been released on SACD and/or DVD-Audio etc then why would I buy it again?
    At a bare minimum, to make this successful, I think they need clear and honest information about mastering and what tapes were used [for the audiophiles who will form the initial bulk of buyers at least till it becomes established]. They need stereo and mono mixes [if there were original mono mixes] and a multichannel mix. This isnt giving away too much I dont think. Lots of extras in the form of b-sides etc would be welcome but I understand they may not wish to cannibalize future box sets, however I think the basic audio formats , mono, stereo, multi-channel [original quad or new 5.1] are essential.
    That way at least they are giving us a decent reason to buy, particularly where titles have seen hi-res releases before.

    Steve

    • Wilson Richards says:

      You have to also realize that this talk about putting out quality music for a good price….. comes from a man who works for the company that releases HUGELY over-priced (unreasonably so) SHM-SACDs.
      The “SHM” is nothing more than a thin poly-coating that was originally developed to protect Blu-Ray discs. That’s the ONLY difference from a normal SACD. There’s NO reason whatsoever that they couldn’t manufacture those here in the US (where most of the original tapes are anyway) and sell them for less money. But they have to try to make it “the next best thing” by convincing people it’s so much better than a regular SACD, it’s not. It’s just that now music is finally available on SACD…… but ONLY on discs that have an extortionary price. Not because it’s the only way to do it, but because they want to seperate the public from as much of their hard-earned money as they possibly can.

  32. baward says:

    The words ‘mastered for iTunes’ for some reason strike fear into my very soul. What the phrase actually means, I have no idea.

  33. crossroads69 says:

    Great interview Paul!

    I am still puzzled by the pricing of HFPA discs here in the states. ORM talks about a 20-30% premium over standard CD in the above interview but in reality it’s way more than that here.

    For example, the 2011 remaster of Nevermind currently sells for $9.27 on Amazon but the HFPA is priced at $26. That’s almost triple! In many cases, you can pick albums on CD for under $10 but HFPA sells closer to $30. This pricing is definitely not aimed at mainstream buyer.

    Then you come to content and again I am using Nirvana as example. The deluxe 2CD of In Utero can be bought for around $20 and contains 43 tracks. Compare that to the HFPA disc that sells for $26 and contains just the original 12 tracks! I was looking forward to buying the Bluray Audio for the release but lack of bonus tracks meant getting the 2CD. (HdTracks is another rip-off selling the deluxe for $40!)

    I hope someone stops this money grab and makes the format more affordable for its own success.

  34. Steve Burke says:

    None of this should have come as a surprise, their FB page had received many insightful comments months and months before the first titles ended up launching mentioning how in order for a format to succeed it has to have transparency in the mastering chain, has to have a surround sound mix for the folk that love that, no loudness wars mastering, bonus content where available.

    Sorry, but if the In Utero CD has 40 extra tracks over 1.4GB of space while the 25GB Blu-ray has only the original album tracks…something is wrong!

    He doesn’t understand one key thing – he is releasing Blu-ray Video discs too! There is no “Blu-ray Audio” format like there was with DVD-Audio, there are only 25GB and 50GB Blu-ray Disc and 3D Blu-ray Disc formats, they might be releasing audio-only discs but it’s not some new format specification as they would need that approved by the Blu-ray Disc Association, and they’d shoot themselves in the foot trying to create a new format as that wouldn’t be BC with the millions upon millions of playback devices on the market.

    It’s clear the wrong person is in charge of this, but interviews like this which asked all the right questions will hopefully help steer the ship in the right direction. I won’t hold my breath, but it’s great Paul that you asked all the right questions.

    The two CD+BD discs that have come out recently from XTC and Yes really set the bar high.

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  36. LedMan says:

    Paul, I’m glad you were able to arrange this interview. Seems to me that “ORM” is starting to really listen to what people want and it’s very positive that he mentioned more 5.1 releases are on the way. I noticed yesterday that Beach Boys “Pet Sounds”, Stones “Let It Bleed” and several other albums will be released soon and although “Pet Sounds” in 5.1 is nothing new, perhaps a future release will be. I’m also starting to notice a pattern of SHM-SACD releases also being announced as current and future “HFPA” discs. By the end of the year I will have 30+ of these albums in my collection and the average price I paid for them is around $21 USD. I’ve noticed that more online stores are starting to sell these and as a result prices are starting to decrease.

    It’s also worth mentioning that WB/Rhino have started to offer BRD and also some previously released DVD-A albums. Van Morrison “Moondance” and the previously released Rhino Handmade Aretha Franklin “The Best Of”….

  37. Peter Chrisp says:

    Great interview, some of the questions you asked he was unsure of, as these discs are in there infancy, will they take off? With so many formats,
    in recent times a number of them haven’t really made much of an impression on the record buying public. From a personal perspective, what does the consumer want? He or she wants the best sound possible in
    what ever format is available. Is High Fidelity/Pure Audio the best sound
    in your current system? I am with Steve Roberts above, i have just bought Yes’s “Close To The Edge” in cd/5.1 bluray with six versions in various mixes in 5.1!!! Now that’s what i call extras, stunning is the word. I guess for me the top priority would have to be a bluray edition
    in 5.1 with extras. The past year or so the super deluxe edition of classic albums seem to be the way to go. Who cannot forget Pink Floyd’s Immersion Box Sets 5 discs & 7 for The Wall in cd/dvd/bluray 5.1, and
    the killer Jethro Tull’s “Aqualung” also 5 discs the same audio. Not to mention The Who’s “Tommy” 4 discs super deluxe edition, it cannot get any better than that. With the above it may take a long time, as there are no extras, is it in 5.1? if it’s not is it a waste of time? In the end
    what is best for you the consumer? I am “over the moon” in more ways than one with 5.1 bluray surround sound. Is there a better format?

  38. Wilson Richards says:

    I think the most important information that should be included with every release (Blu-Ray, SACD, or DVD-Audio) is FULL honest and accurate details about not only the Production and Remastering Engineers but also where, and what source was used (hopefully since it’s high-res they would ONLY ever use original master tapes, to give us the “real deal”).
    With some shady music production houses ruining the trust for the general public in the past by using low-res sources and simply upsampled for SACD or DVD-Audio (or to vinyl!!)….. the music companies with any integrity and who are concerned for the peace of mind of their customers will willingly supply that information without fail. Why wouldn’t they? They always have before. Look on any LP released in the past 50 years or more!
    Is there some reason why they would hide that information now??
    That makes people wonder….. what is really going on?
    So tell us. We want to know.

  39. Echo says:

    Please, no meeting between Universal France and Universal Japan…. That will always mean in the record industry the best idea (SHM-SACDs) will be killed and the worst one (Pure Audio with bad master jobs as source) will be the leading format for the coming future….

    I’m very pleased with the Japanese initiative. I thi k the prices will go down (and for the American readers here, are now allready partly the result of the bad exchange rate with the US dollar)

  40. Julian says:

    The HFPA format is conceived as a successor to CD, but it will not be a success for various reasons:
    1. A well-mastered CD is all that is needed to hear everything you can hear. The profit of higher resolutions is scientifically proven to be inaudible, because it only affects ultrasonic frequencies that you can’t hear unless you have bats’ ears.
    2. Who has a Blu-Ray player in their car?
    3. High price for little content.
    4. Can’t be ripped onto PC or MP3 player!!

    • Tony Ruffell says:

      I have had over 300 CDS in the past and although there has been an improvement due to better mastering from high resolution digital mastering and mixing Pure audio is better very clean singing with Ella and louse from 1956 and 1957 2 on one very good value and a very rich sound on serge gainsbourg history of melody nelson (1971) also listen to the NAXOS HD AUDIO Blu-ray audio discs all high res digital classical recordings there is more space like listening in a hall different to cd and LP

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  42. James says:

    This guy sucks. I have been trying to buy these titles in the US and it almost impossible. I tried to buy the Deep Purple blu ray Universal UK and it will only let you pay in Euros or Pounds which are not used in the state of Texas. If you buy it through Amazon the first listing is from Movie Mars a large US retailer. Their site says this is a DVD (?) and is the disc has the wrong region and will not play in the US. This whole thing is a piece of crap and Universal needs to hire someone who resembles a leader (Look at the PIC of this guy) and understandings the concept of logistics

  43. Gary says:

    @ Paul
    I’m fairly new to your site and stumbled upon this interview you posted a year ago. You asked all the right questions and I found myself quite engaged. Excellent work! Your XTC blu-ray analogy was quite revealing, as you continued to raise good points for him to consider.
    As an owner of many SACD, DVD-A and Blu-ray discs, as well as hi-res FLACs and multi-channel ISOs; I hope this last ditch effort for hi-res optical media survives. Time will tell. But, this type of reporting will keep me coming back to your informative site. Cheers!
    P.S. And thanks for the heads up on the recent King Crimson “Starless” box set price alert. I live in the States and it was much cheaper to buy it across the Atlantic. :-)

  44. kevin patrick says:

    I have purchased Grace Jones Nightclubbing, Tears For Fears The Hurting and Bob Marley 30th anniversary Legend and these were all well worth it. Would like to see some Joy Division, Dire Straits, Blur and Smashing Pumpkins. Was really pleased to see the release of Underworlds Dubnospacewithmyhead which was a really great surprise. Will keep buying as long as you keep releasing some great titles.

  45. Pingback:Saturday Deluxe / 28 March 2015 | superdeluxeedition

  46. Buyex says:

    This excellent website certainly has all the information and facts I needed about this subject and didn’t know who to ask.

  47. Pingback:Bon Jovi / Slippery When Wet / Pure Audio blu-ray audio | superdeluxeedition

  48. Dima says:

    what a great article.. too bad his format hasn’t been successful :(

  49. John says:

    Well, i’m taking a different tack to most – just give us a high res, blu ray audio disc in stereo of an artists entire output – make it two discs if necessary. I need a reason to re-buy an artists output & it’s not one album at a time, it’s as a high res collection on one or two discs!

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