Beck's Morning Phase and The Vinyl Experience

Beck's Morning Phase is available now. I don't own it yet, but I have added it to my ever-growing list of Records to Buy. (Other Music is already sold out. Otherwise, I'd indulge my preferred method of consuming music: I'd go there immediately and buy it from a kind person.)

According to a very trusted source, Morning Phase is excellent. Another source explains that, as with many of today's releases, the vinyl edition comes with a download code that grants the owner immediate access to the album as MP3 files. In this case, however, that MP3 edition is referred to as "The Vinyl Experience," and is meant to sound and play like an LP—with subtle surface noise, an extra-long pause between sides A and B (after which the listener hears the sound of needle dropping into groove), and, at the album's very end, the sound of needle coursing run-out groove.

And, for what it's worth, the CD and standard digital (MP3) editions have a Dynamic Range Value of 6, while the LP and its accompanying download have DR values of 10 and 9, respectively.

It seems to me, then, that while Beck would like as many people as possible to enjoy his work, there's something about this particular album that wants to be an LP.

Still, I don't generally believe that there's a "best" format for any particular album. Instead, I think that different formats suit different purposes and situations. For that, I'm grateful. The best way to hear a piece of music is any way you can. Right now, as I sit in this cubicle, typing at a computer, I'm streaming "Blue Moon" from YouTube, and it sounds just perfect.

Al from Hudson Avenue's picture

NPR made available a full preview of Beck's Morning Phase.  I listened to it.


And as I listened to it, I wondered "Who in the world would want to listen to this?"


I think that the Beck organization has tapped into a very effective promotion organization.  I need to find out who they are.

Morris's picture

that's a lot of tracks for each side of this album.

I prever the way Radiohead releases vinyl, two 10" records with two songs on each side.

lots of room for the grooves to breathe :)

TriodeDave's picture

Computer did an impressive/horrifying amount of listening to the 6 downloadable versions of this album. What a rat's nest! And I thought keeping track of US, UK, Euro and Japanese pressings was a pain on vinyl.

apparently, to his ears on his system, the EQ Vinyl Experience lossy MP3 which comes in the vinyl packaging sounded best, and, as observed in comments earlier here, all kinds of nasty business goes on in some versions you would expect to be top notch.

I'll buy the vinyl and enjoy it. I'll give my son the download coupon. Digital with evermore impressive stat 'labels' may be the shiniest bauble in the audiophile universe, but all that glitters is still not gold.

ianshepherd's picture

This is another great Beck album, and a lot of it sounds pretty good, too. It would be interesting to know if the higher "DR" reading of the vinyl is because of a genuinely more dynamic master, or just a side-effect of the format, though - lots of vinyl reads higher without any additional audible dynamics:

Al from Hudson Avenue's picture

I heard this record at NPR's full-album stream.  I immediately recognized it as the most unnecessary record I've ever heard.

And the most expertly marketed.  Here, and everywhere else, are this article and this discussion.  For a record that, before the modern vicious marketing practices were developed, would have sunk into the 99-cent bins without a peep.


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