I am so very excited to introduce you to a new way to listen to the Kruger Brothers! Finally, after almost a half year of diligent work, we are opening our HD download section in our web shop. And we are doing it with a bang!
As of now, we offer you the opportunity to download a version of our newest CD Project Lucid Dreamer, in addition to the “normal” mp3/ compressed format version (iTunes standard), now in stunning 96kHz, 24bit resolution, a recording format that is sonically far superior to the normal way we all consume music nowadays. It is, in fact, the format we used to record the album in the first place, so what you get in reality are the exact files Jens and I listened to when we were working on the project in our studio in Wilkesboro, North Carolina.
To print a traditional CD, we are required to downsize the original files to what is called “Redbook Standard”, and even though this standard has proven to give great results, it has always involved discarding a lot of the original information contained in the master files. By offering you the undiluted .wav files in their original form, we give you an opportunity to hear what we actually sound like in the recording studio!
I am a sound geek. I freely admit to this fact. I have been listening to music professionally since the days of the analog record and magnetic tape, and I still love the sound of these old formats. The last twenty years have brought us a tidal wave of new possibilities in the recording field, though, and the normal way to listen to music nowadays is from a digital device, from aniPod, mp3 player,iPad, or the Smartphone, and of course, the personal computer. The quality of modern listening devices is amazing, compared to what we had when I was a kid. And the affordability of all this makes the enjoyment of music easier than ever before. But the quality of the recordings themselves, the purely technical aspect of music,has suffered somewhat through the introduction of highly compressed file formats, like mp3. We accept a less than ideal medium for the sake of comfort, and because of constrains in the not too distant past imposed by the limited size of storage media.
These constraints are quickly disappearing, though, and we are now finally getting used to downloading large files purely for entertainment reasons. Netflix is larger than CBS now, and we regularly buy and rent HD movies from the internet. Isn’t it time for Music to catch up?
This is why I have initiated this HD section in our store, to present a state-of-the-art view of our music, as we record it in our studio. It involves a few more steps from the customer to enjoy this new format, and I will explain now as simply as I can to all interested music lovers.
Thank you so much for considering. It means a lot to me.
Most of you might be familiar with the way of how to buy music through iTunes. The process is very simple, and the ease of operation is a big part of the success of Apple’s revolutionary service. We, as an independent micro-label, cannot possibly compete with this, nor would we ever want to. Our HD shop is intended for customers who want the best quality, not necessarily the easiest shopping experience. As technology allows right now, there are some steps that you, the customer, have to take to enjoy the full benefits of the better file format.
You can download the files as they are into your download folder on your computer, and then import the whole package into iTunes by simply dragging it into the open iTunes window, or the MS Media Player. There are, however, restrictions on how these applications handle these files. Album art can not be embedded with .wav files, and so they look somewhat bland on the computer. But they will sound great!
If you are serious about Hi-Res music, as it is known to its fans, you can download a specialized application to play these files in all of their sonic glory through a computer based system, or to convert to file formats that suit your individual preferences better. I believe that the .wav format is the best sounding alternative right now available to the general public, but that might change in time. Thankfully, it is easy to convert wav files into other formats.
There are some really nice alternatives to the generic music applications that come with your computer when you buy it. Some of them are free, some of them cost a pretty penny, but they are all worth the price of admission. Look up Decibel, Amarra, Fidelia, or my personal favorite, Pure Music. This is a very sophisticated way of listening to music today, but if you are as serious about sound as we are, the learning curve is not too steep, and the results are stunning.
You can order the CD, and import it into your system as usual. We will continue to produce physical media, and we are proud of our web shop.
As an incentive to get you to use our download section in the shop we have two special free files for you to download first, and figure out how to do this whole download thing. Fair enough?
How Does This Change Things?
One of the most important aspects of our download store is totally different from the pure and great sound we now finally can offer. It is the possibility to present new works more quickly and easily to you, our audience. Instead of having to wait for a new album, which usually takes about a year’s worth of work, we can now publish new music as soon as we have created it. No more waiting for the new album, no more constraints on how long a piece can be, and all of it sounding incredibly life-like in HD!
We will keep on producing traditional CDs, but will add new music, now more immediate and very current as well. You can literally witness the making of a CD, or experience tunes that would not fit on a normal release. We can publish instructional materials, and we also have plans to include exclusive video content in the shop. Another field I am currently experimenting with are Binaural Recordings, done with specialized equipment for a true 3-D experience in sound. Very involving!
So, I want to invite you to join us in this exciting new part of our lives. We want to share our work with you, and let you be the proverbial fly on the wall in our studio. You will hear the Kruger Brothers like never before, that I can promise, wholeheartedly.
This is the first edition of a new product. Our friend Tom Macie has spent countless hours to complete the task, and we think it looks and works great. He has done a great job, and we will continually upgrade the experience. You can help us by commenting, and giving us feedback firstname.lastname@example.org, your direct line to our office.
Now, to end, a few purely technical remarks.
I listen to music mainly with headphones. Since the days of the Walkman, it has become a normal way to enjoy music for large parts of the modern audience. Every smartphone sold is in fact a mobile listening device, and was intended to be just that by its inventors. So it makes sense that when we sit down to mix and master our music, we take into consideration the millions of earbuds, headphones and in-ear monitors that are in use today. We utilize sophisticated listening devices and state of the art digital to analog converters, to have absolute insight into how our music sounds through headphones, as well as traditional speaker setups, and car stereos as well.
My personal headphone setup right now includes a Benchmark DAC2, fed by a MacBook Pro 15” retina, running Pure Music Audio player software. The signal then, after conversion, is fed into a custom Phonitor2 Headphone amp, and then finally to a specially cabled Sennheiser HD800 reference headphone and into my ears. The setup is not so much fun, since I can hear everything, like music under a microscope, faults and everything magnified. The resulting clarity of perception, though, is translating beautifully into a nice, honest life-like sound, that scales very well to different formats. For fun, I listen with a set of Grado Labs PS500e, run by a Valhalla2 tube amp.
On the road, I use a Astell & Kern Digital Music player, along side my iPhone and iPad, with Shure in-ear monitors se846.
Finally, you don’t have to invest a lot of money to experience great sound. It is as simple as replacing the stock earbuds that came with your smartphone with a better headphone. A good starting point are the Sony MDR-7506 studio monitors, they are not too expensive and have been a staple in every recording studio around the world since 1992. The big online retailers have good prices on them, and they sound so much better than most other, more fashionable headsets on the market. You’ll be very pleased! The main thing is to enjoy music, and no matter how you do that, I hope that a Kruger Brothers tune is in your playlist sometimes…..
How long will it take to download the HD files?
The table below represents approximate download times for HD package of Lucid Dreamer, which is 1.16 GB in size. This includes image files for the album art and liner notes.