Monthly Archives: December 2012

Anybody going to the 2013 International CES in Las Vegas? The whole BitPerfect team will be there, in the Light Harmonic rooms. Please drop by to say hello, and let us hear of your experiences with BitPerfect. You will also have an opportunity to hear some of the greatest sounding audio systems money can buy!

http://www.cesweb.org/

Anybody going to the 2013 International CES in Las Vegas? The whole BitPerfect team will be there, in the Light Harmonic rooms. Please drop by to say hello, and let us hear of your experiences with BitPerfect. You will also have an opportunity to hear some of the greatest sounding audio systems money can buy!

http://www.cesweb.org/

BitPerfect 1.0.5 has been released to the App Store.  This is a maintenance update which addresses a number of issues which relate to the Permissions Scan process.  For those users who still cannot get the automatic Permissions Scan to function, there is now an option to set the Permissions manually.  A number of other, relatively minor bugs have also been fixed.  All users are advised to upgrade to this version.

The main features of BitPerfect 1.0.5 are the same as for BitPerfect 1.0.4.

BitPerfect 1.0.5 has been released to the App Store.  This is a maintenance update which addresses a number of issues which relate to the Permissions Scan process.  For those users who still cannot get the automatic Permissions Scan to function, there is now an option to set the Permissions manually.  A number of other, relatively minor bugs have also been fixed.  All users are advised to upgrade to this version.

The main features of BitPerfect 1.0.5 are the same as for BitPerfect 1.0.4.

I wouldn’t normally give a “Rack Filler” CD a moment’s thought, but here I am actually recommending one!  “40 Most Beautiful Arias” is pretty much exactly what it says it is, and at $14 from Amazon for over 2 hours of achingly beautiful music, it is a great deal.

http://www.amazon.com/Most-Beautiful-Arias-Vincenzo-Bellini/dp/B0012908F0

These opera arias are collected from the Warner catalog, and it is pretty much stacked from beginning to end with major international names, including Plácido Domingo, Thomas Hampson, Cecilia Bartoli, José Carreras, Barbara Hendricks, Roberto Alagna, Angela Gheorghiu, Marylin Horne, Karita Matilla, Jennifer Larmore and many others.

The recordings themselves range from good to very good.  Nothing really stands out as being either very bad or truly exceptional.  But whoever has selected 40 arias to cram onto two discs has actually done a very creditable job.  With one exception though, which might make you spill your drink in frustration.  The famous duet from Bizet’s “The Pearl Fishers” suddenly stops half way through – an almost unforgivable omission.

A lot of people find opera to be too heavy going for them, and that is fine.  But a lot of those same people do enjoy the occasional highlight aria when they hear them, often out of context.   This album is for those listeners.  It is not designed to make an opera fan out of you, but it is an album you’ll want to play from time to time, just to make you feel good.

I wouldn’t normally give a “Rack Filler” CD a moment’s thought, but here I am actually recommending one!  “40 Most Beautiful Arias” is pretty much exactly what it says it is, and at $14 from Amazon for over 2 hours of achingly beautiful music, it is a great deal.

http://www.amazon.com/Most-Beautiful-Arias-Vincenzo-Bellini/dp/B0012908F0

These opera arias are collected from the Warner catalog, and it is pretty much stacked from beginning to end with major international names, including Plácido Domingo, Thomas Hampson, Cecilia Bartoli, José Carreras, Barbara Hendricks, Roberto Alagna, Angela Gheorghiu, Marylin Horne, Karita Matilla, Jennifer Larmore and many others.

The recordings themselves range from good to very good.  Nothing really stands out as being either very bad or truly exceptional.  But whoever has selected 40 arias to cram onto two discs has actually done a very creditable job.  With one exception though, which might make you spill your drink in frustration.  The famous duet from Bizet’s “The Pearl Fishers” suddenly stops half way through – an almost unforgivable omission.

A lot of people find opera to be too heavy going for them, and that is fine.  But a lot of those same people do enjoy the occasional highlight aria when they hear them, often out of context.   This album is for those listeners.  It is not designed to make an opera fan out of you, but it is an album you’ll want to play from time to time, just to make you feel good.

If you haven’t already done so, you owe it to yourself to check out B&W’s Society Of Sound.

http://www.bowers-wilkins.com/Society_of_Sound/Society_of_Sound/Music/Subscribe.html

For just $60 you get access to two free downloads every month, usually at 24-bit 48kHz resolution.  The music is an eclectic mix of current release orchestral heavyweights from the London Symphony Orchestra’s LSO Live collection, plus an interesting assortment of mostly world music from artists you may not otherwise have the opportunity to check out.  Some are good, a few are great, others meh…  But the recordings are all of the highest quality.

Plus – big plus – you also get to download everything that was released during the preceding 12 months.  That’s 48 hi-res albums for $60!!  Certainly the best $60 value I ever spent on music – I’m now in my second year of subscription.

If you haven’t already done so, you owe it to yourself to check out B&W’s Society Of Sound.

http://www.bowers-wilkins.com/Society_of_Sound/Society_of_Sound/Music/Subscribe.html

For just $60 you get access to two free downloads every month, usually at 24-bit 48kHz resolution.  The music is an eclectic mix of current release orchestral heavyweights from the London Symphony Orchestra’s LSO Live collection, plus an interesting assortment of mostly world music from artists you may not otherwise have the opportunity to check out.  Some are good, a few are great, others meh…  But the recordings are all of the highest quality.

Plus – big plus – you also get to download everything that was released during the preceding 12 months.  That’s 48 hi-res albums for $60!!  Certainly the best $60 value I ever spent on music – I’m now in my second year of subscription.

One of the most famous “Demonstration Discs” of all time is Telarc’s 1812 Overture, with Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra.  With its real firing cannons and peals of church bells, it is the ultimate in musical Special Effects!

https://www.hdtracks.com/index.php?file=catalogdetail&valbum_code=HX00089408054129

As early as 1958, Mercury Records, seeking a flagship recording for their “Mercury Living Presence” label released a recording with the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra under Antal Dorati, with brass cannons and a real carillon.  The recording was massively popular, and in truth, there was absolutely nothing like it on record at the time.  To this day it remains a well-known and highly desirable collectors piece.

Twenty years later, in 1978, Telarc decided that they needed their own 1812 overture as a flagship for their quality-oriented record label.  They commissioned Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra and pulled out all the stops with their own real brass cannon and bells.  This recording, however, presented the cannon blasts at a much higher volume, with far greater bass energy, and the resultant LP came with dire warnings about blowing the cones off your loudspeakers!

Whether originating through genuine concern, or unabashed marketing hype, the dire warnings spread like fire and Telarc all of a sudden had a major hit on their hands.  It sold phenomenally. Arguably, this recording put Telarc on the map all by itself.

The recording was refreshed for CD by the addition of digitally recorded cannons, but by then the novelty was wearing off and the recording was being criticized for its poor acoustics and for the less than stellar playing from the orchestra.  But the record still had enormous public appeal, so Telarc took the unusual step of re-recording it in 1999, using the same performers.  Indeed the same cannons were used, and were in fact fired by the same cannoneers.  This performance also added a choral introduction by the Kiev Symphony Chorus and a brief (and very effective) choral interlude from the Children’s Choir of Greater Cincinnati.  As far as I can tell, Kunzel was instructed (or chose, I don’t know) to recreate precisely the tempi, sonorities, and presentation of the original.  The only problem is, they’re still not the Berlin Phil.  The string playing in particular fails to impress.

This completely new recording shares a deceptively similar sleeve and cover design to the CD of the original, so it is easy to go out and buy the wrong one.  The key is to look for the accreditation of the Kiev Symphony Chorus on the sleeve.

The new recording is every bit the Audio Special FX reference!  Available as a dual-disc SACD/CD, and as a high-resolution 24/176 download from HDtracks, those cannons still kick butt.  I have just played through both the “original” CD version and the new recording.  The new one is most assuredly the one to have.  The two choirs are fabulous.  The brass and drums have authority, power, and weight.  The balance of the recording is impeccable.  Almost flawless, in fact.  The cannons are particularly impressive, thunderingly, percussively loud, and with real spatial definition, their sound probably limited more by the microphones than by anything else.  You still need to fear for your loudspeaker cones!

As my friend Nigel put it – “Wow! That parted my hair!”.

One of the most famous “Demonstration Discs” of all time is Telarc’s 1812 Overture, with Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra.  With its real firing cannons and peals of church bells, it is the ultimate in musical Special Effects!

https://www.hdtracks.com/index.php?file=catalogdetail&valbum_code=HX00089408054129

As early as 1958, Mercury Records, seeking a flagship recording for their “Mercury Living Presence” label released a recording with the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra under Antal Dorati, with brass cannons and a real carillon.  The recording was massively popular, and in truth, there was absolutely nothing like it on record at the time.  To this day it remains a well-known and highly desirable collectors piece.

Twenty years later, in 1978, Telarc decided that they needed their own 1812 overture as a flagship for their quality-oriented record label.  They commissioned Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra and pulled out all the stops with their own real brass cannon and bells.  This recording, however, presented the cannon blasts at a much higher volume, with far greater bass energy, and the resultant LP came with dire warnings about blowing the cones off your loudspeakers!

Whether originating through genuine concern, or unabashed marketing hype, the dire warnings spread like fire and Telarc all of a sudden had a major hit on their hands.  It sold phenomenally. Arguably, this recording put Telarc on the map all by itself.

The recording was refreshed for CD by the addition of digitally recorded cannons, but by then the novelty was wearing off and the recording was being criticized for its poor acoustics and for the less than stellar playing from the orchestra.  But the record still had enormous public appeal, so Telarc took the unusual step of re-recording it in 1999, using the same performers.  Indeed the same cannons were used, and were in fact fired by the same cannoneers.  This performance also added a choral introduction by the Kiev Symphony Chorus and a brief (and very effective) choral interlude from the Children’s Choir of Greater Cincinnati.  As far as I can tell, Kunzel was instructed (or chose, I don’t know) to recreate precisely the tempi, sonorities, and presentation of the original.  The only problem is, they’re still not the Berlin Phil.  The string playing in particular fails to impress.

This completely new recording shares a deceptively similar sleeve and cover design to the CD of the original, so it is easy to go out and buy the wrong one.  The key is to look for the accreditation of the Kiev Symphony Chorus on the sleeve.

The new recording is every bit the Audio Special FX reference!  Available as a dual-disc SACD/CD, and as a high-resolution 24/176 download from HDtracks, those cannons still kick butt.  I have just played through both the “original” CD version and the new recording.  The new one is most assuredly the one to have.  The two choirs are fabulous.  The brass and drums have authority, power, and weight.  The balance of the recording is impeccable.  Almost flawless, in fact.  The cannons are particularly impressive, thunderingly, percussively loud, and with real spatial definition, their sound probably limited more by the microphones than by anything else.  You still need to fear for your loudspeaker cones!

As my friend Nigel put it – “Wow! That parted my hair!”.