Has anyone else here purchased the 24bit hdtracks digital versions of the studio albums? Unfortunately, they're not sold through this site....but I'm sure the doors still get a cut of the sales so I don't feel bad talking about them here...hope that's ok. Just know that I don't have any affiliation with hdtracks!
Simply put, these 24bit versions are stunning. I'm not sure if they are the same masters they've used to create the new infinate vinyl box set, but I suspect they might be. My go to versions used to be the DCC/Steve Hoffman gold cd masters, but now I swear by these new 24 bit masterings. Simply the cleanest, best "soundstage" I've heard. The separation is soooo clean, you can hear all sorts of small nuances, especially in the higher resolution (CD is only 16 bit) If you've only listened to the doors via .mp3, these would blow your mind.
Interestingly on the doors s/t some of the fadeouts are slightly longer, for instance you can hear a bit of talking at the end of 20th century fox that isn't present on any other version (including the dcc).
Comparing the s/t album in 24bit vs the gold DCC (my previous favorite master of the s/t) the DCC still has a little more "oomph" in the bass, but feels a little muddier as a result. Listening to the 24bit, you can hear a lot more separation, even the punch ins, tape cuts and errors are more noticeable. The 24 bit also features Light My Fire at the correct speed, but is the original mix! (Light my Fire was speed corrected for the 40th anniversary mix). The DCC only has the slowed down version.
So the s/t DCC is still a great listening experience and probably sounds a little more like the original vinyl, darker, murkier, and the 24bit s/t really is like listening to the actual master, there's just a level of detail and separation there that I've never heard before (for instance "I looked at you" feels quite different as the guitars are more pronounced and vibrant) It's a tad more "clean" so it does lose a little of that darker edge that the DCC has (so I'll probably still listen to the DCC once in a while). It will be interesting to see if the new sacds/vinyl coming out have the same extended fadeouts, indicating that this is all from the same new batch of mastering.
As far as Strange Days goes, to my ears the 24bit version blows every previous mastered version out of the water (including my previous favorite the DCC)
Although intended to have a "brighter" sound, I always found this album in particular felt like the bottom end was really shelfed. The 24bit version just has a much more "rounded" sound, especially in the low frequencies. Also, the clarity jump is even more significant on this mastering than the s/t..again revealing some interesting "quirks" with the recording. (The title track for instance has kind of a weird intermittent kick bass drum sound, there on other masters like the DCC but there was more buried and less separated - here it sticks out like a sore thumb. Also there's some feedback on WTMO that is more pronounced here. However the 24bit really reveals how intricate the album was, using many different techniques to try to emulate the sound and layering of sgt. Pepper. This is really the first time I've heard this album in that light.
More on the next few albums soon....
Anybody else have some thoughts on their mastering preferences?