Brass Band Downloads - Preferred format?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by KMJ Recordings, Jun 14, 2006.


Brass Band Downloads - Which format?

  1. MP3 128 kbps

  2. MP3 192 kbps

  3. ogg vorbis

  4. AAC

  5. Something else (and don't forget to say what!)

Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    As The Music Man has stated elsewhere, there should be available a free download of The Mouthpiece march as played by the Leyland Band fairly soon. Additionally, there is the possibility that the Top 10 Testpieces Recording may also be made available as a download.

    My question is should you want to purchase this recording via download, what would be your preferred mechanism of delivery?

    Make your votes count, folks ;)
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2006
  2. Cornishwomble

    Cornishwomble Active Member

    Can you expand on what you mean when you say "mechanism of delivery"?
    What options would be available?
  3. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    Sorry, Roy, I was adding the poll!
  4. Adrian Horn

    Adrian Horn Member

    MP3 320Kbps

    Mp3 means it is compatible with iPods and other Mp3 players (rather than AAC which a lot don't support). 320Kbps as in these days of MP3 players with upto 60GB of hard disk space you might as well get as good quality as you can with what will still be a relatively small file (and with broadband being pretty much everywhere it will still be a quick download).
  5. tsawyer

    tsawyer Member

    I think it depends what you're going to charge.

    If it'll be the same price as buying the track on CD, it should be a lossless format. I believe flac is the current choice for audio enthusiasts. See

    If it's cheaper than CD and/or you want to provide less quality, mp3 seems to be the de facto standard, but oggs sound better and are smaller, so my vote is for ogg. Ogg is also a more open format, somebody owns patents on mp3 I believe.

  6. Cornishwomble

    Cornishwomble Active Member

    As long as I can stick the tracks on my iPod and have the choice of buying individual tracks then I don't mind what format it's in
  7. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    Don't worry - I know all about FLAC ;). However, I don't presently think that it's a viable option for most people even though download speeds are being generally increased to 8mbps (and that's not general). There are still fairly stringent download limits on a lot of people's accounts, such that if they'd like to download a fair amount of material FLAC files wouldn't be an option.

    By illustration (sorry, Roy, this is for a full CD only at the minute) these figures represent the total file size (so all tracks combined to one file that's 1h 09secs approx) for Gregson: Brass Music Vol. 2 (Black dyke Mills Band / James Watson / Doyen CD044 - it's what I had to hand :D):

    Wav File (so 'CD quality') 696 MB
    MP3 (128kbps CBR) 65 MB
    MP3 (192kbps CBR) 97 MB
    Ogg (VBR 50) 191 MB
    Ogg (128kbps CBR) 63 MB
    FLAC (Level 8 ) 291MB

    These are just rough and ready figures, you understand, but it gives people who've maybe not done this kind of thing before an idea of the file sizes.

    Another thing to take into consideration is that that it's entirely possible to minimise the effects of the lossy codec by creating a master specifically for the media - so material for (say) MP3 is treated differently than that for CD. Obviously, the more different masters have to be produced, the higher the potential cost implications for the consumer. It isn't (if you do it properly) as simple as creating the master and then ripping it ;)
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2006
  8. tsawyer

    tsawyer Member

    Good answer. :)

    I, for one, would consider buying a download of flac over a CD, but then I am on uncapped broadband. I probably wouldn't buy an MP3 unless it was cheaper (or I desperately wanted a subset of tracks from a CD) and I wasn't that bothered about the quality. The higher the bitrate the better, but I'm sure there's a tipping point.

    Changed my mind now, ogg is actually a bad choice - most mp3 players don't support it. Most of my music gets played on a computer or a squeezebox.

  9. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    If by 'tipping point' you mean when most people can't tell the difference, it's generally accepted to be 192 kbps...

    IMO anything over that is chasing a very small minority - most people listen under non-optimal conditions anyway, which is something else you have to consider. The difference between 192 and 128 I think is significant, although the latter is often cited as "FM Radio quality".

    FWIW, if it's MP3 then my vote would go for 192 kbps.
  10. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    I usually 'download' a large attachment about an hour before a contest :biggrin:

    Sorry, couldn't resist that one.....
  11. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    Not interested unless it's "top-end" CD quality ...

    Sorry ... :)
  12. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    You can still have the disc, Gareth ;)

    The thing with the download is that it opens up the distribution to anywhere in the World that has internet access and keeps their costs down in terms of shipping and so on. It also, as Cornishwomble has intimated, may allow people to have selected tracks only (although I'm not sure at this point whether this option will be available on this release).
  13. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    Oh yeah, what do you mean by "top end"? ;)
  14. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    I don't know! I'm not that much of a 'techie', but, whatever it is that Telarc use with their Cincinnati Pops/Kunzel series - 20bit oversampling (?), DSD, 2.8224MHz sampling, 0-100KHz+, >120bd dynamic range, SACD, etc., etc. - doesn't mean anything to me, but it sounds much better on my system than any brass band CD I've ever heard. And why? The best brass Bands are capable of producing sound quality and dynamic range at least as broad as that of most symphony orchestras, so why don't our engineers devote that kind of technology to recording them ... ?

    Let me guess ... ?

    Money ... ?
  15. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    The answer probably is indeed money.

    You've got to budget for the best equipment, the best halls, time...

    There's at least one brass recording company out there that makes a big play of the possibility of SACD recording. The technology to actually record the DSD stream is available fairly cheaply in the Tascam DV-RA1000 (it's about £1000 - but you've got to take into account that this really is the budget end of the market, a two channel dCS DSD capable AD converter is £3.5G + vat for example), but then you've got to have the gear to edit the files and then author the you're looking at large numbers of pound notes for high end Sadie or Pyramix DSD capable systems for instance.

    The dynamic range you quote is available with 24 bit systems (although CDs are dithered to 16 bit, so I guess we're back down to 96dB S/N)

    Benefits of > 96 KHz sampling rate (for 'normal' converters) is debated long and hard - sometimes all you do with a higher sampling rate is highlight deficiencies in, say, your venue's acoustics.

    Take also into account the fact that SACD players haven't really taken off that well....

    Bottom line is, given the (relatively) limited market for Brass Band recordings in order for companies to offer the kind of 'serious' technology you're talking about would cause a huge hike in prices - and Bands struggle enough to pay for recordings in today's market as it is.

    I definitely take your point though :D
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2006