‘she likes to limbo, that much is clear… we’ve got to have some music on the new frontier’
Donald Fagen, The Nightfly 1982 .
The world of technology and entertainment is moving rapidly towards delivering more vivid realism and an ever more immersive experience. This is evident from the latest developments in gaming and to a lesser extent with film. It is not a question of if this will become more mainstream but when.
Music has been slow to wake up to this shift, but will inevitably be dragged along with it, so as musicians and recording engineers we owe it to ourselves and our audience to embrace the change, which raises the question of how to deliver it.
For music, file downloads and streaming may well eclipse physical discs as a means of delivering music in the near to medium future, but for now a physical disc option remains attractive to some, partly because the large data sizes involved pose a challenge to present download speeds, especially in some parts of the world like Australia, and partly because for surround at least, there are limited ready options for playing those files out through installed systems. Also, some consumers still seem to prefer a physical media option over the intangibility of files, whether for convenience or otherwise, and the format that best suits high resolution and surround music at present is Pure Audio BluRay.
Pure Audio BluRay (PABD) is a variation of the BluRay specification optimised for sound. It delivers audio up to a maximum resolution of 192kHz, 24bit and can hold multiple versions of a program in stereo and surround. For surround, more options are possible than the 5.1 maximum permitted by SACD, such as 7.1 and Auro-3D (a 10 speaker surround format with an overhead height layer), so it is a forward looking format ideal for the development of surround music recording and delivery at this point in time.
Recent research* indicates that 60% of people have access to a BluRay player. If these players are coupled with a home theatre system you have everything you need to enjoy high resolution surround music. Our role is to help provide contemporary music in this format for you to play.
The discs are easy to play, with or without a video monitor to view the menu, and alternative audio streams can be changed on the fly by using the coloured buttons on the player remote. Better still, with the mShuttle feature, stereo versions at CD resolution (44.1kHz, 16bit) and mp3 can be bundled with the disc and copied for use on mobile or workplace devices.
When a Pure Audio BluRay (PABD) disc is loaded, the player’s remote control can be used to play the disc without need of a screen, using Play and Track Number buttons for selection, and the Colour keys to change format.
If a screen is attached, a single menu image appears like the one above. The explanations below refer to the vertical menu control block.
start – this is a simple Play button to start disc playback from track 1
tracklist – this opens a full list of track titles, like that shown on the left
track number block – this shows the number of tracks and allows track selection based on track number
selected track – selecting a track number, displays it’s number and title under the track number block (track 1 in this case)
mShuttle – mShuttle is a PABD feature that gives the user access to extra stereo audio files bundled on the disc. These audio files can be copied for use on other mobile devices.
audio setup – the coloured bars relate to the buttons found on BluRay player remotes, and show which audio format will play when those buttons are pressed.
track currently playing – the blue highlighted selections show what track is playing now (track 4: Numinous in this case) and which format is active.
Despite the attraction of Pure Audio BluRay as a physical delivery option, market research among those that we are connected with suggests there is insufficient interest in the format to warrant the fairly substantial production costs. We remain open to embracing the medium should interest improve, so if you are one of those that would prefer to acquire music in such a way, please let us know by contacting us. In the meantime, however, there are no Mir Creation releases available on Pure Audio BluRay.