Holiday Gift Guides – Music – High Resolution

Holiday Gift Guides – Music – High Resolution

2023 has been a bumper year for extraordinary musical releases, more than we could hope to cover in detail, so forgive us if we’ve left out your favorites. Here a few notable vendors.


We just heard about TRPTK (pronounced “triptych”) this year at AES 2023 in NYC by way of a conversation with Kalman Robinson. We were discussing some of the labels and engineers who were creating the best immersive recordings, and he told us to check out TRPTK, so we did. A small label, consisting of three individuals all multi-tasking (hence the name), they offer outstanding immersive audio. Founder and lead recording and mastering engineer Brendon Heinst, created Optimised Omnidirectional Array (OOA for short), which instructs their approach to recording and production. Maya Fridman, artists and repertoire manager, is also a recording artist for the label, and the third peg of the team is Hans Erblich, editor. They have surround mixes, SACD, FLAC, and video files for download.

For more information on TRPTK visit:

Native DSD

Are you a fan of DSD? The fine folks at NativeDSD offer a wide variety of music and genres, with surround mixes, DSD, and PCM versions. Jim Anderson and Ulrike Schwartz referred me to them with some download codes of their titles, and I was able to experience their ultra-high-resolution, incredibly musical files. Interesting to me is that super high-res sampling rates might not be all that necessary. Not only are they larger and more expensive, but we started to discover how DSDs with the highest sampling rates weren’t always easy to play. First of all, while current high-end DACs might be able to handle the highest sampling rates, a model from a couple of years ago might not be able to.

USB DACs are often limited in their ability to handle higher bitrates, and most importantly, in our tests, the difference in audio quality is so slight, so subtle that you might be hard pressed to tell the differences. Just as 96K is the sweet spot for many engineers with PCM recordings, we found that 128K DSDs was eminently workable. Accordingly, we have started to standardize on lower-resolution DSDs, and are entirely pleased with the outcome. They have a great set of samplers from different labels so don’t overlook them. They are probably the most complete source for DSD files that we have come across.

For more information on Native DSD visit:

The Audiophile Society

David Chesky is an agent provocateur. Not content as an acclaimed musician and composer, he was also one of the driving forces behind Chesky Records, the award-winning jazz label known for meticulous recording techniques and performances. If that weren’t enough, he went on to found HD Tracks, one of the first high-resolution download sites that ushered into the high-resolution market. There he helped create their acclaimed binaural audio series, with mixes designed for headphones. David then founded this new venture, The Audiophile Society, featuring all new recordings, with different formats and mixes. When I asked him why, he said that making new music is much more interesting than working with old recordings, even restored reissues. Accordingly, The Audiophile Society is a welcome new venture sure to be popular with audiophiles and music lovers. Featuring new recordings from Chesky, the label has adventurous works that will provoke and inspire you.

For more information on The Audiophile Society check out:

2L The Nordic Sound

A visit to the annual Audio Engineering Society (AES) conference is where the best engineers, producers, and equipment experts gather, rub shoulders, listen to each other, celebrate, and learn. While there were lots of crowded lectures and sessions, when it came to Immersive Audio, the lectures by Morten Lindberg, founder of 2L The Nordic Sound were standing room only and for good reason as 2L has garnered a slew of accolades and as of this writing Lindberg’s recordings were just nominated for numerous Grammy awards. I’ve listened to downloads as well as physical media, which I prefer for surround mixes, and all are available from their online store. Lindberg’s approach to recording is what sets his immersive productions apart. Rather than rely on post-production, he meticulously chooses locations, heights, distance, and microphone placement, and artists for some of the finest recordings you have ever heard. He's also an awfully nice guy.

For more information on 2L The Nordic Sound visit: or

The Jazz Detective

It isn’t often that you know two subjects featured in The New Yorker’s “Talk of the Town” feature, but a month back, that’s exactly what happened. I mean what are the chances, ya know? On one page, the photographer Man Ray’s muse Lee Miller’s granddaughter, Ami Bouhassane, was preparing for a lunch in honor of Miller, whose life was just immortalized by Kate Winslet in the new movie “Lee.” And on the preceding page, was a story about Zev Feldman, aka The Jazz Detective. After a long career in music, Feldman had followed his passion to uncover hidden jems. Like a jazz Indiana Jones, Feldman dives into archives in search of unreleased recordings by jazz masters. He’s also involved with other labels, such as Elemental Music, and Resonance Records, and his name on the production is a mark of both integrity and care. It seemed more than serendipity that both Bouhassane and Feldman were in the same issue. Both care for preserving works and artists from the past, both are diving deep into archives, and both aren’t rushing anything, they strive for the utmost expression of their subjects’ work and lives.

Just as we were ready to post, a Hanukkah gift arrived with CDs, and consider this amazing selection: Ahmad Jamal, Wes Montgomery and the Wynton Kelly Trio, Bill Evans, Chet Baker, Cal Tjader discs, all unreleased recordings, beautifully mastered and noted. Such a treat, at holiday time or all year long.

For more information on The Jazz Detective visit:

The Rolling Stones – Grrr Live!

Against all odds, somehow – amazingly - The Rolling Stones are going on tour again in 2024, with a new album under their arms to boot. In 2023 they released Grrr Live!, complete with a host of special guests. John Mayer, Lady Gaga, Mick Taylor, Gary Clark Jr., The Black Keys, and even Bruce Springsteen showed up. Filmed in New Jersey in glorious high-resolution Blu-ray video with a superbly mixed surround soundtrack. Recorded on December 15, 2012 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, it might be the best all-around live album of the Stones. It is in fact so complete, that I had to take a few breaks to stretch my legs. Grrr Live! is a follow-up to Grrr!, a compilation that accumulated tracks from their earliest days through the Exile on Main Street period, to two new tracks recorded in 2012, “Doom and Gloom”, and “One More Shot” The audio is great, so are the performances, and guests are great fun. It's a long watch, so be prepared to party!

For more information on The Rolling Stones – Grrr Live! visit:

The Beatles

Who would have thought that the director of The Lord of the Rings would have brought us all-new, remixed, remastered music from the Beatles. Peter Jackson satisfied every Beatles fan’s dreams with the amazing restoration and creation of a new video version of “The Beatles: Get Back”. The technology Jackson utilized on earlier restoration projects came into a new use with Jackson’s favorite band, with earlier albums like Revolver taking advantage in the state-of-the-art Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) routines to separate out instruments and vocals that existed as final, conflated mixes, without the ability to undo those mixes. Enter Jackson’s team, Giles Martin (son of original producer George Martin), Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and Yoko Ono, who worked with the new technology on the master tapes. They also released “Now and Then,” a final unreleased song by the four released, edited together from different sources spanning decades. That song turned out to be pretty much a yawn, even to the most hardcore Fab Four disciples, the larger effort was beneficial to all.

For much of the world, the introduction to The Beatles, as strange as it might seem, didn’t come from the original albums, but from the two greatest hits compilations, The Beatles - 1962–1967 (Red Album), and The Beatles - 1967–1970 (Blue Album). These were wonderfully sequenced albums and became huge hits worldwide. They’ve been released on vinyl, cassette, 8-track, and CD. And now, with brand new, somewhat radically reworked remixes, the Beatles recordings have yet another new lease on life. Until you compare, via the last CD remasterings, the original to these new versions, you can’t really grasp how different they are. Guitars ring out, bass lines are clear, rich and concise, and the voices really do feel like you are sitting there with the band. Some purists won’t like them, while others have already celebrated them. Either way, this use of A.I. has allowed a reassessment of one of the most important bodies of work in pop music history, and much like the innovators they were, the new Beatles releases will act as a showcase for future restorations, remixes, and more to follow, not just from the Beatles but for countless other bands and musicians. The Deluxe Versions also include wonderful surround and Dolby Atmos mixes.

Make no mistake, these releases are far more important than just a rethinking of the Beatles catalog, they paint the future for the potential restoration of all music and soundtracks. They offer audio engineers the opportunity to turn back the clock, to unfold recordings, to create multitracks for remixing, audio improvments, noise reducation, in ways that are often breathtaking. To hear an organ clearly, not buried by a drum kit nearby, allows that organ to have the impact the musicians and producers intended, if they had the technology.

For more information on The Beatles - 1962–1967 (Red Album), and The Beatles - 1967–1970 (Blue Album) 2023 remixes, visit:

Harris Fogel, Nancy Burlan, and Frank Schramm, posted 12/05/2023.