Steve Albini’s 24 Bit Downloads and Home Audio Setup


Oddly enough, Steve Albini (of Electric Audio recording studio, the bands Shellac of North America, Rapeman and Big Black) has been answering questions on a poker forum as a “micro celebrity.” He answers any question about favorite bands, musicians and recording sessions.

An interesting excerpt about digital and analog home audio listening:

Q: For your own listening pleasure, digital music (CDs) or analogue (vinyl)?
A: If I’m going to put on a record for pleasure, it will be a vinyl record, unless I’m at work. Understand though that I listen to original masters all day every day, and so I’m less likely than most people to want to throw on an album when I knock-off at midnight or whatever.
Q: Any thoughts on the new higher sample rate/bitrate SACD or DVDA releases?
A: Doesn’t matter, since both formats are now dead, but I think a greater bit depth (24 bits is plenty) grants a bigger quality improvement than increasing the sample rate. The downloadable version of the new album from my band (Shellac of North America) is available in compressed formats, but also 16-bit or 24-bit 44.1kHz versions [ED: these are 24-bit WAV files, I’ll have to research if these will work over my Airtunes setup (or I could maybe burn to a DVD with Roxio Toast). We did it as an experiment to see if anybody appreciates having it available.
Q:I thought the Bob Dylan and Rolling Stones remasters sound great on regular systems. Maybe SACD would be better.
A: No, I’m pretty sure they’re still going to have Dylan and the Stones on them.

I haven’t bought the new album yet as I haven’t made it out to an indie record store lately. I’m very excited about these 24 bit downloads in addition to the vinyl.

Then he lists his current home audio system:

Not all put together at the moment, but here’s what I got:

VPI record cleaner (incredible, I recommend it)
Studer linear-tracking TT (to be replaced by a VPI JR)
Ortofon cartridge (to be replaced by a pair of bayonet headshells, one with a Shure VR15X and one with a Sumiko Blue Point “nude” special)
Hagerman Bugle phono preamp
Marantz integrated amp (to be replaced by a home-made tube amp once I get off my ass and finish it)
Custom Linnaeum-tweeter speakers with reflex bass cabinets. No model number, but made by Linnaeum with Focal drivers.

It is so awesome to know that he is into clean vinyl, separates and DIY (I remember reading about his tube amp project on the Electric Audio Forums a while back).

You’ll also find some insane poker speak:

Folded Queens to a big four-bet when 200+BB deep (but covered by a guy who could squeeze) full ring the other day and got into a beef with Pavaveda about it. He was all “how do you magically put him on KK+” and I was all “dude shut up you play limit HE shorthanded” and he was all “you have 34 percent equity against their ranges” and I was all “dude shut up I have two outs that aren’t the nuts and I’m not playing for my stack with two outs and you’re wrong about those ranges” and he was all “I disagree” and I was all “dude shut up.”

The whole thread is a great read and still growing. Go ask your questions.

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