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Have been a listener since early '80's when HOS was carried on local PBS stations early Sunday AM.I've never given HOS sound quality a second thought for simple reason the device I was listening to limited the quality. However, the selection of artists and their discography is the best. Thank You.

Great write up. I’m not sure if I was the listener who requested high-res but I did speak to you about this a year ago or so. 256 is nice but can’t compete with a high-res Tidal stream (which is my high-res subscription choice). I’m actually surprised that more listeners haven’t requested a high-res stream. I would think that HOS fans are a more “cultured” breed than most music listeners and have a specific taste outside the norm; I would expect them to be some amount of audiophile. Perhaps they just never asked you if it was possible? Clearly you are an appreciator of a quality source, based on your very detailed and well written explanation. ;) I always have and always will loved your service. Thank you. I still dream of the day I can listen to the program on my hi-Fi system. Cheers!

Thanks for the noodge, Tom. It's really not a question of whether we'll do this, but when. Frankly, we've only received a small number of requests for it, but we still want to offer a true hi-res service. We've talked about an uncompressed 16 bit/44.1 kHz "lossless" FLAC or ALAC stream.

It's just that other things constantly take priority and our development resources are very limited.

How can I subscribe to HOS?

Kevin Manson
[email protected]
2.17.2022

The shows have superb sound quality without being hi res. I have hi res recordings locally on a server
And I can’t tell the difference with ohm Walsh 3000 speakers, and a Krell showcase pre amp and Carver Av 505 amp. Maybe I need to spend $100k to hear that slight difference? I’m pretty picky about production quality of recordings. I’m happy with Stephen’s productions just as they are!

Opus is in my view the best sounding, highest fidelity audio format than any other codec at the same bitrate by a long shot. It is also amazingly versatile in supporting many channels and best yet, it's completely open patent-free tech.

On the other end of the scale, Facebook has just created a audio compression tool using neural networks called Encodec that can compress 4 minutes of music to 130kb, that means 30 minutes can fit on a floppy disc, and it really sounds quite good.

While audiophiles may certainly have a distinct taste and ear for qualitative sound reproduction, that same ear can also focus on the originality and creative production. While still a connoisseur of great music, this listener has long surrendered the need for exact duplication and instead the enjoyment of the final production, not that ears have lost it's finesse and appreciation for wonderful music but rather leaning into the emotional ambience created by the final cut has become more of priority.

Stephen i would pay an extra 30 bucks a month on top of the year subscription just to hear your voice (and the music of course) in lossless 16 bit/44.1 kHz FLAC or ALAC streams. You don't need to remaster then all from the CD/LP sources, just use your 7.5 ips Reel to Reel masters. Heck even 7.5 ips open reel is an amazing format. I love hearing even the few clicks and pops from your LP's. I think you used a Sota Star Sapphire with that vacuum turntable back then, and you certainly cleaned and treated your LP's exceedingly well. After all these decades listening to your show, you really do select the best tracks for the shows. You "get" the spirit of the show, heck you created it! I would also love to have a vintage option for episodes 1 to 118, in their original voice overs, they hold a special place in my heart growing up with you and Anna. Thanks Stephen for the journeys.

Could not agree more, Ray. Production has become an art in itself.

:: SH

Dana Ward: Thanks for your comments on lossless streams and our production process.

I wish there were more listeners like you, willing to pay a premium for high res audio. Sadly, the requests for this level of service are very few, and the cost of implementing it, though less than say, 10 years ago, is still significant enough that we have to concentrate on attracting new subscribers at affordable prices, rather than super-serving audiophiles at premium prices.

FYI, we no longer use 7.5 ips analog tape in production. Nor do we use LPs as source audio. We still have the Sota Star Sapphire vacuum turntable, but it's not in active use. I have to say I do not miss the clicks and pops.

Everything has moved to digital: we acquire new music on CD or as FLAC or ALAC lossless digital downloads, store them on large hard drive arrays, and produce in CD format 16 bit/44.1 kHz digital on a Pro Tools digital audio workstation.

A finished program is a 624 MB WAV file, which we upload to Amazon Web Services for conversion to a range of streaming audio formats. Our top level 256 kbps AAC streams are almost indistinguishable from the uncompressed WAV source files.

As for "vintage" episodes from the early days, there are a few on the existing HOS web service. At some point we'll put up a few of the early KPFA-FM late night shows with Timitheo and Annamystik to document our provenance for listeners who may not have been born when they aired in the 1970s, and provide some nostalgic memories for original listeners like you;-}

Thanks for years of faithful listening!

:: SH

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