Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Beatles USB Apple - The End of a Long and Winding Road For Audiophiles

By James Magary

At long last, the Beatles will finally release properly remastered versions of their classic albums. For audiophiles, however, a limited release product called the Beatles USB Apple actually goes a step further, providing better than CD quality versions of all of the music, as well as high-quality mp3 files. But why are the remastered versions better than the old versions, and why would someone buy the Beatles USB Apple instead of the remastered Beatles CDs?

First let's discuss mastering, as many people do not know what it is, let alone what "remastering" is. When an artist makes a record in the studio, they mix it down to a "final" product. If the product is to be mass produced, however, their record company must make a "master", which is the single copy from which thousands, or millions, of copies will be duplicated.

When records were released on vinyl, the master was actually made as a reverse-image copy of the recording, which was then used as a "stamper" to press the grooves into the vinyl material so that the record would play correctly. Due to the limitations of the medium, the vinyl master would have to be tweaked vs the final studio recording in an attempt to maximize the quality on the vinyl.

Don't let anyone tell you that vinyl records sound better ... they may offer a certain nostalgic appeal, but they cannot possibly sound superior to a properly mastered digital audio product. In the vinyl mastering process, the sound is changed dramatically compared to the recording the artist created in the studio. If a recording has a lot of bass, for example, an exact transfer of the sound might make the actual grooves in a vinyl record too wide, causing the record to skip, so the record company would usually limit the amount of bass to prevent this from happening.

In the case of the Beatles and other classic artists, this vinyl mastering amounted to a crime against audio, so it is with great relief and anticipation that many fans are eagerly waiting to buy the remastered versions of the Beatles albums. The new CD versions and the Beatles USB Apple both contain remastered versions of the songs, meaning they have been specially remastered to modern digital formats, providing the maximum dynamic range and detail that today's technology allows.

If you are a true audiophile and a Beatles fan, then you probably are considering to buy the Beatles USB Apple, even in place of the remastered CDs. This USB Apple contains the remastered versions of the music, but notably, has them in 24 bit FLAC format. FLAC is a lossless format which is better than CD quality, so there is simply more data on the file than what you have in a CD, and that will bring out even more detail and emotional resonance from the music.

And, as a handy option for those mp3 listeners, the Beatles USB Apple includes 320 kbps mp3 versions of everything. These are higher quality than you can get from most mp3 download sites, and are also DRM-free, which means they are not restricted in terms of file access and duplication.

The Beatles USB Apple is out on December 8th, and there are only 30,000 copies made so it will probably be a massive collectors item.

To learn more, or to buy the Beatles USB Apple click here:

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