He’s a Hi-Res Star: Engineer Steve Hoffman on Remastering Four Deep Purple Classics

Posted on January 29th, by Mike Mettler in The SoundBard Interview. 1 Comment


“I want to hear what the band heard during playback in the studio. And I want to respect the sound that the engineers and producers tried so hard to capture.” It’s a mantra engineer Steve Hoffman follows whenever he remasters classic, iconic albums, and perhaps those words should be etched between the monitors perched above the mixing consoles in every mastering studio across the globe. One recent labor of reissued love is near and dear to Hoffman’s audiophile heart – namely, The Audio Fidelity Collection limited-edition box set that houses four classic Deep Purple albums he remastered: In Rock (1970), Fireball (1971), Machine Head (1972), and Who Do We Think We Are (1973). All were previously released individually on 24-karat gold discs by the Audio Fidelity label (and are all now quite hard to find). While Hoffman, 57, … Read More »

Still Climbing: Bruce Springsteen Fulfills High Hopes on New LP

Posted on January 14th, by Mike Mettler in High Resolution Reviews. No Comments


Could there be a more apt title for an album these days than High Hopes? While there are those who continue to loudly (and, well, annoyingly) ring the death knell for the album format, Bruce Springsteen once again proves the viability of the LP concept, making every song count on his 18th studio (ahem) album.

Ostensibly a collection of disconnected songs Springsteen had stockpiled over the past decade or so, High Hopes (Columbia) actually threads together quite well, with a common theme of ascendance and transcendence squarely at the forefront. (In fact, this theme has dominated much of The Boss’s post-millennial work.)

The title track opens with a NIN-like loop before Springsteen’s main Hopes foil, the ever-adventurous and innovative guitarist Tom Morello, comes in with his signature saddle-squall style. Acoustic guitar takes root in the left channel while Charlie Giordano’s … Read More »

Steven Wilson’s Raven in 5.1 on Blu-ray: The Undisputed Surround Sound Standard

Posted on January 1st, by Mike Mettler in High Resolution Reviews. 4 comments


Just when you think Steven Wilson is at the surround sound pinnacle, he ratchets it up another level.

I first heard The Raven That Refused to Sing (and Other Stories) at a playback session in New York’s Avatar Studios back on January 15, 2013. And this is how you know I’m super-hardcore dedicated to championing the glories of 5.1, since January 15 was literally the day after I had returned from a full, exhilarating but exhaustive week at CES in Las Vegas. But nothing was gonna stop me from hearing Raven in the best environment possible.

Right from the outset of that listening session, I (and everyone in the room) knew Raven was something special. Since then, I’ve played the album countless times, and I can unequivocally say that the 96/24 LPCM Blu-ray mix of The Raven That Refused to Sing … Read More »