First, Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor announced that the new album “Hesitation Marks” was going to have an alternative “audiophile” version – not as loud as the “standard” version, and with more bass.
And then they all started asking me what I thought. So I made this video.
Nine Inch Nails ‘Hesitation Marks’ – “Audiophile”, or “AudioFAIL” ?
I’ll tell you my opinion – but make sure you listen and make up your own mind.
Soon after I posted this video I got an email from Alex at Metal-Fi.com, who has a different take on this issue ! Here’s what he said:
“This was a sham, no question about it. It’s a major disaster actually. Let me explain:
Most folks don’t even know what “dynamic range” is or what the Loudness War is all about or will ever visit your blog or Metal-Fi. And now you have a digital release with the “audiophile” label on it that folks will download, listen too, and through most playback devices, think, “What the heck is the difference? What’s all the fuss about?” With Hesitation Marks, NONE!
They won’t level match because frankly, there is no need too, the “audiophile” version is decently loud enough. Why bother?
The fact is, if they would have released a semi-dynamic master (say DR8 for arguments sake) it would have been *noticeably quieter* and as a result, folks would have been FORCED to level match (even seat of the pants stuff).
That simple act of turning the volume knob up and hearing the difference is the way most folks “get it.” This alternative master really doesn’t offer the listener that opportunity and as a result, doesn’t deserve the “audiophile” moniker.
It’s a step backward and given Reznor’s technical savvy, it’s a massive disappointment. I for one am pissed off.”
You can read more reaction from Metal-Fi here. I think Alex makes some good points, which is why I quoted him here. (Although I just took a quick listen on my iPod and yes, the Audiophile version sounds noticeably richer and smoother, even there…!)
So what do you think ? Is this version Worthwhile Audiophile or just an Awful Audiofail ? Tell me in the comments…