Beatles: Is the 2009 Special-Edition USB Drive Worth Getting?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by 2141, Aug 10, 2017.

  1. 2141

    2141 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I've always wondered how much better (if any) this version of the 2009 Stereo Remasters is. The USB drive contains all of the studio albums, including both FLAC format and a 320 kbps mp3s. The FLAC 44.1 Khz 24 bit files are supposedly better than CD quality. But can you really hear the difference? It this the top of the top for the remasters?
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2017
  2. 2141

    2141 Forum Resident Thread Starter

     
  3. GLYNSTYLER

    GLYNSTYLER Forum Resident

    Location:
    NEW ORLEANS
    Once I got the Apple USB I never listened to the 2009 CD's again. Unfortunately, the mono mixes aren't included.
     
  4. 2141

    2141 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    So it's very noticeably better sounding than the CDs? Or just more convenient, or...?
     
  5. Beatmaniac

    Beatmaniac Well-Known Member

    I mean, technically, yes. The only difference is 24 bit instead of 16, but it is technically better than the remasters.
     
  6. 2141

    2141 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    It's the sound I care about most. "Technically" doesn't mean that much to me; it's all about how good they sound. That's what I'm really curious about.
     
  7. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

    If you don't have it, and everybody around here does, then yes it is essential. If on the other hand, you did score one, and you paid more than $22.50 for it, no, you got hosed.

    [HoffmanBeatleAudioAuthorities]This is how we do it, baby...[/HoffmanBeatleAudioAuthorities]
     
  8. aphexj

    aphexj Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    There's absolutely no audible difference from the 2009 stereo CDs, unless your CD player is likely to do funky things to their dynamics/tonality that your digital frontend is not. Same tape transfers, same sample rate conversion, same digital NR, same EQ application, same limiting, only difference is inaudible dither and a slight level shift (barely perceptible, which vanishes when you turn the USB files down by 0.2dB or whatever it is).
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2017
  9. 2141

    2141 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    But the bit rate is 24, as opposed to 16. Does that higher sampling rate not matter in what you hear?
     
  10. aphexj

    aphexj Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    The sample rate is 44.1kHz on both formats. The bit DEPTH is higher, sure, but that doesn't make any practical difference because they both use the same dynamic range, give or take 0.2 dBFS which is a really small, as I say barely perceptible, level shift. Seriously, other than that, the only real difference is dither noise on the CDs, and that is way, way below the threshold that you'll ever hear.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2017
  11. applebonkerz

    applebonkerz Forum Resident

    I couldn't personally hear any audible difference between the flac files and the CDs. It's cute packaging though.
    :shrug:
     
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  12. carrolls

    carrolls Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dublin
    Yes because its hi-res. And its cool and rare.
     
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  13. 2141

    2141 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Thanks for the correction. I don't know too much about the technicalities (as you can probably tell) but the real question is, how does this format sound? So far it seems like it may not really be an improvement. Is that a fair statement?
     
  14. aphexj

    aphexj Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    All things being equal, it should sound just the same as the stereo 2009 CDs, even though there is a technical improvement in terms of data delivery. They use the exact same mastering, ie. the things I mentioned including EQ/limiting and so forth, which really determine how it sounds over and above numbers and resolution figures

    If you prefer digital front end playback over a traditional CD player, my recommendation is to get the USB stick. Takes up less space and includes all the same content as the stereo box set, and you don't need to spend hours ripping all those discs to a digital library. If CD is your preferred format then don't bother
     
  15. That is one of my 2 pet peeves about the USB. They were too lazy by including Past Masters instead of actually inserting the Singles & EPs. (Long Tall Sally & MMT) in chronicle order within the LPs.

    Not worth it in my eyes/ears!!!!!
     
  16. GLYNSTYLER

    GLYNSTYLER Forum Resident

    Location:
    NEW ORLEANS
    The Apple USB is my most prized audio possession. On my OPPO BDP-95, the 24-bit files sound markedly better than the CD's. I have a couple of friends who bought the USB after hearing a comparison at my house. Maybe we're all crazy.
     
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  17. Lownote30

    Lownote30 Bass Clef Addict

    Location:
    Nashville, TN, USA
    Did you like the 2009 mastering job? I think that's the first question you should ask yourself. I didn't, so it doesn't matter how hi-rez the audio files are. I still won't like the EQ and limiting.
     
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  18. 2141

    2141 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I like the stereo remasters pretty well. I like the mono remasters even more! Unfortunately, the mono is not included in the USB stick. But, if this USB stereo sounds noticeably better, than I'm interested. :agree:
     
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  19. 2141

    2141 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Hmmm.... That's very interesting! So when you do an A/B comparison, can you say what stands out as most improved?
     
  20. aphexj

    aphexj Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    Nobody would call you crazy. There can be a certain perfectly natural amount of confirmation bias in such tests, which I assume you didn't set up as a blind ABX between ripped FLAC from the CDs and the 24bit versions
     
  21. GLYNSTYLER

    GLYNSTYLER Forum Resident

    Location:
    NEW ORLEANS
    I assume you didn't set up a blind ABX between ripped FLAC from the CDs and the 24bit versions

    Your assumption is correct. I played selections from the 2009 CD's, then followed with the same tracks from the USB. And it was eight years ago. Mostly what I remember is the tears welling up in my eyes after hearing the USB, which didn't happen when I listened to the 2009 CD's. I was skeptical when I realized the USB files were 44.1/24, but felt that there was enough difference (clarity, separation) to justify the re-purchase of the stereo remasters.
     
  22. Dinstun

    Dinstun Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tennessee
    Maybe some samples for comparison will help. Here's samples of "Baby You're A Rich Man", one is from the 2009 stereo CD, the other from the USB (but not necessarily in that order):

    Dropbox - byarm-a.flac
    Dropbox - byarm-b.flac
     
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  23. testikoff

    testikoff Forum Resident

    Here is the spectrum of the quantization error (a null-test delta) between a 24/44 USB & a 16/44 RBCD 2009 versions of Honey Don't track (at equal perceived loudness, lined up time-wise):

    [​IMG]
     
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  24. daca

    daca Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I would say it comes down to price paid.

    If you are going to pay over $200, stick with the CDs. If you are going to pay over $300, take a couple of days off and reflect on your potential choice. If you are going to pay over $400, you should probably seek professional help.

    However, if you are going to spend the equivalent of an 8 or 16 GB flash drive, get the USB.

    My $0.02.
     
    kwadguy likes this.
  25. aphexj

    aphexj Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    Laughing out loud at that y-axis... the loudest signal in the audible range is -130 dB?!
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2017

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