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High Resolution Audio Comparison


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#41 of 204 OFFLINE   Lee Scoggins

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Posted November 21 2002 - 11:31 AM

Quote:
You are still confusing me with the senior editorial staff at WSR. Gary and Perry make the decisions about what type of content is included within the publication.


I am not confusing you...just call these guys and run the idea by them. It's not like reaching the White House. I just think it would be neat to have a shoot-out. I don't believe enough light has been shed on the two formats.

Quote:
You mention $100K systems. You mention that $100K systems are common "in the circles you travel in".


I did say that but what is your point? I simply stated even on these high resolutions systems (more detail than the average system) I did not hear good cymbals.

You will be happy to know I was contacted by some DVDA team members for a meeting. I will let you know how that goes. How fair and balanced is that?

Quote:
You posted the information for commentary, and when people call you on your obvious DSD bias you don't like it.


Not at all, I am very open to any structured logical debate on the facts both pro and con for DSD. But look at the evidence:

1. One guy says he won't even read the documents since I wrote them.
2. One person quibbles over my title count despite my explaining I used official DVDA numbers at the time I did the comparison documents.
3. One person compared me to Steve Ballmer reviewing Microsoft. I wish I had that man's money Posted Image

I was frankly hoping for more of a discussion on the merits, not another contentious discussion between the two of us.

Keith and Jagan made some very good comments and I hope I explained my view on them in a reasonable manner.

I have an idea: why don't we again put aside personal differences and debate the merits of each format.

I will start by admitting that my title counts were inadvertantly too low and that approx. 400 DVD titles exist.

How do people like DVDA from a sonics standpoint?

How do people like Super Audio from a sonics standpoint?

What are your favorite titles?

What format has the best mix of content in your opinion?
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#42 of 204 OFFLINE   Lee Scoggins

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Posted November 21 2002 - 11:38 AM

Quote:
So did you invite anyone to speak for DVD-Audio? I mentioned Meridian since they are local to you.


Just to clarify this point, Bob Stuart spends much of his time in England and the meeting presentation was put together in a few days.

The Sony rep was there and no one from the DVDA side, but he did not have any input on my presentation as I was trying to give personal opinion from an engineers standpoint on the Technical piece and a fair and balanced view on the Practical piece.

We did the best we could with no company resources. We did play several of Mark Waldrep's discs which people liked and gave out samplers generously donated by him. As expected, I think the Stones and CCR SACDs were a highlight. Also David Chesky donated both DVDAs and SACDs.

The Atlanta Audio Society liked it in any event. Posted Image
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#43 of 204 OFFLINE   KeithH

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Posted November 21 2002 - 02:15 PM

Lee asked:

Quote:
How do people like DVDA from a sonics standpoint?


I very much like DVD-Audio overall. Like any format, some discs sound great (Steely Dan Two Against Nature), while others sound lackluster (Foreigner 4). DVD-Audio represents a marked improvement over CD. One of these days, I would like to upgrade my player, as I may be missing some of what the format can offer. I have a Technics DVD-A10.

Lee then asked:

Quote:
How do people like Super Audio from a sonics standpoint?


I very much like SACD overall. Like any format, some discs sound great (Alison Krauss Now That I've Found You: A Collection), while others sound lackluster (Boston Boston). SACD represents a marked improvement over CD. I am very pleased with the performance of my SACD players.

Lee also asked:

Quote:
What are your favorite titles?


I will answer in terms of discs that offer a combination of great music and great sound.

SACD
Alison Krauss Now That I've Found You: A Collection
Rebecca Pidgeon The Raven
The Isley Brothers 3 + 3
The Rolling Stones Hot Rocks 1964-1971
The Sopranos: Peppers & Eggs
The Dave Brubeck Quartet Time Out
All Miles Davis
James Taylor Hourglass and JT
Spyro Gyra In Modern Times
Creedence Clearwater Revival Willy and the Poorboys
Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble Couldn't Stand the Weather

DVD-Audio
Eagles Hotel California
Steely Dan Two Against Nature
Metallica Metallica
Fleetwood Mac Rumours
Emerson, Lake & Palmer Brain Salad Surgery

Finally, Lee asked:

Quote:
What format has the best mix of content in your opinion?


I think SACD offers the best mix of music. Some people are critical are the rock selection on SACD, but there are some good titles there. DVD-Audio is lacking in the jazz department.
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#44 of 204 OFFLINE   Micahel C

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Posted November 21 2002 - 02:43 PM

Keith, Have you ever checked out any DVD-A's by Hi-Res Music. If not you really should check out their stuff. I know you're a stereo lover and that's all they do. 24/96 stereo only DVD'A's. Some great jazz titles. I just picked up their newest release, Leon Russell: Leon Russell and it's awsome. Being a multichannel person, this is the first stereo only title I've purchased and I'm very glad I did. Following is the track selection and credits on the disc. The link to the site is below if interested. BTW, many of their titles can now be found at DVD Planet with more on the way. Pricing at $13.49-$14.99.

1. A Song for You (Russell) - 4:08
2. Dixie Lullaby (Russell/Stainton) - 2:30
3. I Put a Spell on You (Russell) - 4:10
4. Shoot Out on the Plantation (Russell) - 3:10
5. Humming Bird (Russell) - 3:57
6. Delta Lady (Russell) - 4:00
7. Prince of Peace (Russell/Dempsey) - 3:05
8. Give Peace a Chance (Russell/Bramlett) - 2:15
9. Hurtsome Body (Russell) - 3:35
10.Pisces Apple Lady (Russell) - 2:50
11.Roll Away the Stone (Russell/Dempsey) - 3:06
12.Masters of War(Old Masters)(Dylan) - 1:20
+ Three extra tracks from the original session
13.Jammin' with Eric (Russell/Clapton) - 4:14
14.Humming Bird(Russell) - 4:08
15.Shoot Out on the Plantation (Russell) - 3:31

Credits Leon Russell - Bass, Guitar, Piano, Keyboards, Vocals, Producer, Engineer, Mixing
Joe Cocker - Vocals
George Harrison - Guitar
Mick Jagger - Vocals
Ringo Starr - Drums
Steve Winwood - Keyboards
Charlie Watts - Drums
Bonnie Bramlett - Vocals
Delaney Bramlett - Guitar
Bill Wyman - Bass
Jim Gordon - Drums
Eric Clapton - Guitar
Merry Clayton - Vocals
Buddy Harmon - Drums
Jim Horn - Saxophone
Alan Spenner - Bass
Chris Stainton - Keyboards
Klaus Voorman - Bass
B.J. Wilson - Drums

Hi-Res Music

#45 of 204 OFFLINE   mike_decock

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Posted November 21 2002 - 02:53 PM

Quote:
How do people like DVDA from a sonics standpoint?


Don't know... Never heard it.

Quote:
How do people like Super Audio from a sonics standpoint?


Don't know... Never heard it.

Quote:
What are your favorite titles?


Nothing on either format has prompted me to run out and by a new player. I will need to see entire catalogs of my favorite artists (Yes, Rush, Beatles, Pink Floyd, Etc, Etc) available at the same price as their CD counterparts before I give them any serious consideration.

Right now, I'm leaning in favor of SACD because of the hybrid backwards compatibility and the bigger catalog. I also like the fact that there is a better focus on two channel audio since I don't own a surround system and if I did, it wouldn't be in my listening room. Also, I have no monitor in my listening room and the reports I have heard about needing a monitor to navigate DVD-A menus is a MAJOR turnoff.

In the meantime, I'm enjoying the heck out of my new turntable and taking advantage of the vinyl revolution Posted Image (pun intended).

Lee, I appreciate the effort you put into your documents. It gave a nice overview and looked fairly unbiased, IMO.

I would love to see something with a more in-depth technical comparison between the two formats.


-Mike...

#46 of 204 OFFLINE   KeithH

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Posted November 21 2002 - 03:56 PM

Micahel, I have not tried out any of the Hi-Res Music DVD-Audio discs. Thanks for yet another DVD-Audio tip. I have to admit that most of my attention has been focused on SACD lately. Anyway, that is some kind of cast on the Leon Russell disc. All that for $14.99 or less? I will have to check that one out.
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#47 of 204 OFFLINE   John Kotches

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Posted November 21 2002 - 05:25 PM

Lee,

I'm curious... is Sony a current client of yours, or a former client of yours? I know it is one or the other, but I'd like a clarification on that point from you.

I'm certain I'm not the only one who finds it highly suspicious that a Sony rep ended up at the meeting and no one from the DVD-A side appears to have been even invited.

How is it that Sony managed to make it to the meeting, even though you say it was pulled together on short notice?

If you want to write a piece on SACD for WSR, have at it. Again, it is you who are saying what you think is important for the readership of the publication. What you think is important for the readership of the publication and what is really important for the publication is a call that Gary and Perry make.

I know I have my hands full at this point in time, as things are quite hectic with a massive project at the office, and will be for the next several months.

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#48 of 204 OFFLINE   Lee Scoggins

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Posted November 22 2002 - 12:31 AM

Quote:
I'm curious... is Sony a current client of yours, or a former client of yours? I know it is one or the other, but I'd like a clarification on that point from you.


Not at all. I know some people like David Kawakami there but I did not actually know a Sony rep was going to be there until AFTER I prepared my presentation.

I told Ed, the owner of Sound & Cinema I was going to say some negative things about SACD (see hybrid issue) at the meeting and I did. This was the only way I could be fair to the format.

My presentation was pulled together at short notice. I had about five days to create the two-pager.

Quote:
If you want to write a piece on SACD for WSR, have at it. Again, it is you who are saying what you think is important for the readership of the publication. What you think is important for the readership of the publication and what is really important for the publication is a call that Gary and Perry make.


Where did you get this? I said run the idea past them and see what they think...why are you reluctant to do this? We would each present our own sides and if anything you would have an advantage given your association with the magazine. I offered this up as a way to create value for the readers, nothing more.

Mike, Micahel, and Keith,

Thanks for your comments. These were much in the spirit of the thread as I envisioned it.

Mike,

I think we have Yes on DVDA in one title and I am even excited about that. I think it may be a while until disc prices match CDs on the new formats, but anything can happen.
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#49 of 204 OFFLINE   mike_decock

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Posted November 22 2002 - 01:16 AM

Quote:
I think we have Yes on DVDA in one title

Yup... "Fragile". It's a start Posted Image.


-Mike...

#50 of 204 OFFLINE   KeithH

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Posted November 22 2002 - 02:54 AM

Lee and Mike, Yes Magnification is also out on DVD-Audio.
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#51 of 204 OFFLINE   mike_decock

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Posted November 22 2002 - 02:58 AM

Quote:
Yes Magnification is also out on DVD-Audio.

I don't consider anything after 90125 as Yes Posted Image.

-Mike...

#52 of 204 OFFLINE   Ted Lee

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Posted November 22 2002 - 03:46 AM

i have another question about these hi-res formats.

i've heard it mentioned several times that for both formats, there are good and bad releases.

what would account for that? is it personal preference or is there a technical reason? maybe the way the producer remixed the album?
 

#53 of 204 OFFLINE   Mike Broadman

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Posted November 22 2002 - 03:56 AM

I like questions.

How do people like DVDA from a sonics standpoint?

At it's best, it's simply wonderful.

How do people like Super Audio from a sonics standpoint?

Ditto. Beautiful seperation and clarity, especially on the "pure" DSD recordings.

What are your favorite titles?

DVD-A:
Queen, A Night At the Opera, DTS
Aggressive sound mix makes this album fun to listen to again.

Beethoven/Resphigi, 6th Symphony / Pines of Rome, AIX
The 6th is the perfect symphony for this format and surround sound. Many different mixes, commentaries, videos, etc. A high-res recording, too, so the sound is that much better.

John McEuon & Jimmy Ibbotson, Nitty Gritty Surround, AIX
Fun music, excellent surround mix (musicians playing around you).

ELP, Brain Salad Surgery, Rhino
The bombast of this music is perfect in surround and shows off what can be done sonically with an older recording.

Mendelssohn, Auryn Series Vol VII (Octets), Tacet
A string octet sitting around you in a circle playing one of my favoritie composer's music.

Bach, Concertos Vol II, Tacet
On the heels of their earlier Brandenburg Concertos release, which was great, I feel the music on this disc is served better by the surround sound.

SACD:

Mahler, 6th Symphony, San Francisco Orchestra
Pure DSD shows off the great dynamics in the composition and the performance. Bonus points for being a hybrid.

Joe Satriani, Strange Beautiful Music, Sony
MC and stereo mixes. Like Strange Engine, the sound is remarkably better than the CD. The MC mix just makes it cooler.

Mark O'Connor, The American Seasons, Sony
MC and stereo of great violinist performing original music.

Bill Evans, Sunday Night at the Village Vanguard, Analogue Productions
All the APs I have are great so I won't list them all. These hybrid stereo discs are great examples of what can be done with old legacy recordings.

What format has the best mix of content in your opinion?
As a jazz lover, I have to go with SACD. The only have 2 jazz DVD-As now while I have 30-40 jazz SACDs. I don't know about rock content, but I feel that DVD-A does a better job with rock. In many rock SACDs, I don't hear that much of a difference in sound quality, but DVD-A offers surround mixes more.

I guess this is why I want both formats to survive- in the Utopian World of Michael Broadman, jazz titles would come out like crazy every day for classic jazz titles and great classical recordings, while Tool, Rush, and The Beatles would release entire discographies on DVD-A.

NP: The 5th DVD-A I listed. Posted Image

#54 of 204 OFFLINE   Terry St

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Posted November 22 2002 - 03:58 AM

First of all, a question for Lee. Is there any chance of posting the full paper that this abstract is for? It looks like an interesting read. The differences between DVDA and SACD are not all that clear to me so I can appreciate any effort to explain them. If the full paper is not available, I would appreciate a few clarifications.

First, on DSD. If I read Lee's abstract correctly, DSD represents the waveform in relative rather than absolute terms. To my undeducated self, this sounds like it could produce a lot of extra resolution in sounds with relatively compressed waveforms. This is good, but how do you get to and from a relative representation when the recording source and playback output are ultimately absolute waveforms? A conversion must take place at both ends of the chain. There must be at least one other part not shown on Sony's diagram that does this; or do the ADC/DAC's handle this? They would be different animals than the ADC/DAC's used in the PCM chain if this were so.

On the PCM side, it would help greatly if someone could explain what the Decimation Digital Filter, Interpolation Digital Filter, and Delta-Sigma Modulator do. It appears Sony made these diagrams to point out that they are not necessary in a DSD stream. Understanding what they do in the PCM stream and why they are not necessary in the DSD stream would be of critical importance to an uninformed reader such as myself.

My impression, as it currently stands, is that Sony's diagrams leave a lot out. There are at least two parts on the DSD stream left out that are not necessary on the PCM stream. There could be thousands of links in both chains with only one extra link in the PCM chain for all these diagrams tell me. It is not unlike taking two items whose performance differs by a fraction of a percentage and then graphing their performance with such a huge scale that the difference becomes "clear and obvious". I need to be convinced that this is not the same sort of thing.

Speaking of zooming of using a huge scale to exaggerate differences, the scale showing Red Book CD's as a 1 and LP's as a 10 is dangerous to include, especially if you are trying to be objective. You could spark a real objective "CD's measure better" versus subjective "LP's done right sound better" debate. Many subjectivists believe that LP's sound better, but the difference is so minor that the practical advantages of CD's greatly outweighs them. You are not going to convert anyone to SACD or DVDA by suggesting that the differences between them and red book CD's are less than the differences between red-book CD's and LP's!

I have one other general question. Have any identical recordings been released on both SACD and DVDA? The ability to compare apples to apples would be invaluable to the debate over sound quality. Personally, I suspect recording and mastering methods have a much larger impact on sound quality. I would be quite happy to toss all future formats out the window if we could only bring all recordings up to the quality of the best red book CD's out there today.

#55 of 204 OFFLINE   KeithH

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Posted November 22 2002 - 04:12 AM

Mike,

I hear you. If only 90125 would be released on DVD-Audio. Geez, I'd be happy with Warner would release a remastered version of the CD. For now, I am contemplating the purchase of the Japanese HDCD.


Ted,

There are a lot of reasons why an SACD or DVD-Audio disc (or a CD, LP, etc.) might be interpreted as sounding good or bad, and I'm sure all of the reasons have factored into opinions thrown around here. For one thing, there is the quality of the original master to consider. Some recordings are simply outstanding, and the CDs of these recordings sound great. Some masters, on the other hand, are not very good. I have don't have the CD or SACD, but I have read several negative opinions regarding the sound quality of Aerosmith Just Push Play. It has been said that the CD sounds lousy (typical heavy processing and dynamic compression used in today's music) and that the SACD sounds only marginally better.

Personal preference and/or personal experience certainly is a factor. I'm sure one's enthusiasm for the music in question can in some ways shape his or her reviews of sound quality. Regarding experiences, some people may not have a good basis for comparison to the SACD or DVD-Audio disc. Perhaps some people in reviewing an SACD or DVD-Audio disc are used to sound quality of the recording on a lackluster CD. For example, I feel a better CD for comparison to the Eagles Hotel California DVD-Audio disc is the DCC gold CD as opposed to the original Asylum Records CD from the '80s.

For people really in tune with the music industry (pardon the pun :P)), the individual doing the authoring to SACD or DVD-Audio could shape opinions. I have always spoken highly of Steve Hoffman because his work has always impressed me. If I see his name in the credits, I expect the sound to be top-notch (with limitations of the source tape taken into account). Many people speak very highly of Hoffman, Bob Ludwig, David Chesky, and Mark Waldrep (and others). On the other hand, some folks are very critical of certain mixing engineers. As with any business, some individuals have a reputation for doing their job well, while others have a reputation for doing it poorly.

For me, it is difficult to assign the kudos or place the blame on one factor regarding the sound quality of any recording. If an SACD sounds great, for example, a version on CD may sound great too. The master tape may be of excellent quality. There may be a winning combination of a quality master, excellent personnel behind the authoring, and excellent technology in this case. Quite a novel concept, which unfortunately, is not always evident. Posted Image Segue... If an SACD sounds lousy, it could be due to the master being lackluster or because of a poor job of authoring. Perhaps both are at play.

For my next point, I have to admit upfront that I am at times guilty. We should take caution before declaring a high-resolution recording as the epiphany of our lives after comparing the SACD or DVD-Audio version to a CD. Remember that in some cases, we may be using a CD that in no way communicates the best the format can offer for that recording. Perhaps we are listening to a CD originally released in the '80s or early '90s that has not been remastered. Given the fact that high-resolution software is often marketed for its excellent fidelity and, in turn, is marketed to audiophiles, great care is often taken to locate original masters and mix them for the high-resolution release. This same care may not have been taken in preparing the CD some ten years ago or more.

As an example, let us consider a scenario where the Rolling Stones SACDs had been released as single-layer SACDs. One might have been tempted to compare the single-layer SACDs to the 1986 ABCKO CDs and declare SACD as an ephiphany. (People do this with the hybrid discs upon comparison to the original ABCKO CDs anyway. Posted Image) That would be an erroneous conclusion. To say that the 1986 ABCKO CDs are sub-optimal renderings of what the CD format can offer is a gross understatement. Point blank, the 1986 ABCKO CDs sound like dung. Now, in my opinion, a far better comparison is the SACD and CD layers on the hybrid discs. The CD layers sound far better than the 1986 ABCKO CDs, and these CD layers are derived from the same masters as the SACD layers. In my opinion, the SACD layer on Hot Rocks 1964-1971 is markedly better than the CD layer. From this comparison, which I consider to be a fair one, I consider SACD to be an epiphany. Posted Image Note that I have not compared the SACD layer to the original London LPs. Let's not open that can of worms. Posted Image

I will conclude this diatribe for the time being. In short, there are a number of reasons for why a recording is interpreted as good or bad.
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#56 of 204 OFFLINE   Ted Lee

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Posted November 22 2002 - 04:20 AM

thanks keith - you put into words pretty much what i was thinking. i know it's very rarely one single thing that makes or breaks a cd and personal preference (imo) weighs very heavy on the final vote. thx for the additional thoughts on the source master material...that's something i didn't think about.

btw -

Quote:
For people really in tune with the music industry (pardon the pun


where's a rotten egg when i need one? Posted Image
 

#57 of 204 OFFLINE   Lee Scoggins

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Posted November 22 2002 - 04:28 AM

Quote:
Is there any chance of posting the full paper that this abstract is for? It looks like an interesting read.


Terry, there is no full paper but you might try these links for more on DSD:

http://www.daisy-laser.com/tech3.htm

The above link will also explain why Sony left our certain things on the DSD diagram. The bottom line is that no perfect brickwall filter exists and leaving it out by doing one bit encoding is very useful for improved sonics.


Quote:
Speaking of zooming of using a huge scale to exaggerate differences, the scale showing Red Book CD's as a 1 and LP's as a 10 is dangerous to include, especially if you are trying to be objective.


Please note that I was most definitely not being objective in the Technical piece as stated in the Disclaimer. This scale represents my personal opinion on sonic qualities, based on 15 years in professional and home-brew audio recording.

If it makes you feel any better, I am working on a thread for Music which will describe my success with high resolution PCM (88.2khz) recording a chorale group and violinist at a local University last week.

Quote:
I guess this is why I want both formats to survive- in the Utopian World of Michael Broadman, jazz titles would come out like crazy every day for classic jazz titles and great classical recordings, while Tool, Rush, and The Beatles would release entire discographies on DVD-A.


Mike, thanks for replying - great post as usual. I am holding out hope for EMI to do both Pink Floyd and the Beatles on Super Audio but would be happy to have the DVDAs. Let's hope the engineers take a purist approach however. No multi-channel shenanigans for the Beatles please.
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#58 of 204 OFFLINE   Lee Scoggins

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Posted November 22 2002 - 04:30 AM

Quote:
For people really in tune with the music industry


Rotten eggs would be a suitable PUNishment, right?

Posted Image
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#59 of 204 OFFLINE   Ted Lee

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Posted November 22 2002 - 04:33 AM

ugh! see this fork pointed at my head? somebody kick it quick! Posted Image

btw - if there is any one band that may make me finally switch over to one format....it would definitely be the beatles! Posted Image

another btw - lee, i think you've done a commendable job here...especially handling john's emails (which i know you're already used to anyway!) Posted Image
 

#60 of 204 OFFLINE   KeithH

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Posted November 22 2002 - 04:34 AM

Mike said:

Quote:
in the Utopian World of Michael Broadman, jazz titles would come out like crazy every day for classic jazz titles and great classical recordings, while Tool, Rush, and The Beatles would release entire discographies on DVD-A.


I like that world. What's the price of admission? By the way, my favorite color is blue. No, red! Posted Image


Lee said:

Quote:
Rotten eggs would be a suitable PUNishment, right?


We always have to get commentary from the PUNdits. Posted Image
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