"Really Only Dust" album now available!


Praise the Lord! I am happy to announce that my album, "Really Only Dust" is now officially released and available to purchase!

This is the culmination of over two years of hard work. Much care went into the making of the final release. Some of you may know that in addition to being a songwriter and recording artist, I have also done audio mastering work for many of my clients. I've had a lifelong love affair with high-end audio, and my audiophile roots demand the very best in sound quality. And I want you, the listener, to enjoy the same experience I had listening to the final product in the studio. So I'm making the album available in three different formats here on my website, so that you can choose the one that's right for you:

WAV: If you want the best of me, this is it. These are 24-bit, 44.1 kHz WAV files that are of identical quality to the high resolution playback from the studio mastering software. This is a lossless, uncompressed format, which means it sounds better than any data compressed format such as MP3. You will hear all the sound frequencies that were captured in the original recordings. It is also better than audio CD quality because there is less audible hiss due to the fact that audio CD is 16-bit and therefore noisier. Also, audio CD players employ "error correction and concealment", meaning that when the player's laser is unable to read the data from the CD due to problems with the disc or the player, it makes up the data whenever it can. I bet you didn't know that! This could explain why CD sound is often harsher and more "brittle" than the original source recordings.

Audio CD: Despite its shortcomings, CD is still the industry standard. It's something physical and tangible that you can hold in your hand and, with proper care, will probably outlive you. Although it's a 35 year old format, it still sounds better than any MP3 made today. And it's nice to have the included printed artwork and album notes. The master for this CD release was created from the same 24-bit WAV files as listed above, but converted to 16-bit as required by the CD format and then exported as a DDP file set. DDP (Data Description Protocol) is a special kind of format used exclusively for duplication purposes, because it ensures no loss of information from the mastering house to the duplicator. Without DDP, some duplicators will do additional editing and/or processing to the final master which can degrade the audio quality.

Note: I have noticed that duplicators will accept MP3 files and use them to create a duplication master that is then used to duplicate audio CDs. This totally negates the quality advantage of the audio CD format over the MP3 format, resulting in a CD that has the same lower quality of an MP3. As they say in the computer biz, garbage in, garbage out. Be assured that I will NEVER do that!

MP3 320: Let's face it. Even guys like me that can hear the difference still use MP3's. Why? They're quick to download, they're compatible with just about every device, they don't take up a lot of space on your phone, they have embedded artwork and other metadata, and sometimes they can sound pretty good, especially if you're not playing them back on some super high end audio system that can reveal all their sonic flaws. So I make the MP3 format available as well, and I encode the original 24-bit WAV files to MP3 at 320mbps, which is the highest standard MP3 resolution available. They're slightly larger, but better sounding than most MP3 files.

A word about "Mastered for iTunes": Apple has been touting this as making their releases sound indistinguishable from the original masters. I think they are stretching the truth. The fact is that they still employ a "lossy" data compression format similar to MP3 which (at least in theory) will never equal the sound of the original 24-bit master. However, they do require the master submitted to them to be created by an "approved" mastering engineer in order for them to list the release as "Mastered for iTunes", and the mastering engineer has to employ "best practices" in the mastering process. I believe this is the only reason the "Mastered for iTunes" releases can sound better than the standard iTunes releases.

Well, guess what? I've been employing those "best practices" all along, even before Apple came up with them! So rather than me having to release a special "Mastered for iTunes" version of the album, and you having to pay Apple an extra 30 cents per song to get it, why not purchase from my website and get the highest sound quality included at a lower price?

The WAV and MP3 320 digital album versions are available to download right now from this website. The digital album will soon be available from all the usual music sources like iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, etc., although the sound quality will vary depending on the audio format supported by each distributor partner. The Audio CD is expected to be in stock July 2017. If you're interested pre-ordering the Audio CD, contact me and I'll put you on the list to notify you as soon as they're in stock.


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