Cedille Records Offers CD-Quality Downloads
The downloads, utilizing the FLAC audio format, are priced at $10 or less per album.
The FLAC format, which stands for Free Lossless Audio Codec, yields compressed sound files with all of the data--and audio fidelity--of the original compact disc, compared to "lossy" compression methods such as MP3.
According to the FLAC Web site (http://flac.sourceforge.net), "this is similar to how Zip works, except with FLAC you will get much better compression because it is designed specifically for audio."
Cedille's new CD-quality downloads are 16-bit, 44.1 kHz FLAC files.
FLAC files can be imported and played directly on a variety of hardware and software media players, such as Winamp for Windows or VLC for Mac. Some players, such as Windows Media Player and Apple's iTunes, require plug-ins to play FLAC files. But FLAC files can always be converted back into original uncompressed .wav files, using free and widely available transcoding software, and played in any media player.
In addition to the new FLAC downloads, Cedille continues to offer all albums in its catalog as unusually high-quality MP3 downloads at twice the bit rate of those sold on most other download sites--256 kbps (kilobits per second) versus the industry standard 128 kbps.
Visitors to Cedille's Web site don't have to download an album at all to get the accompanying CD booklet. They can download a free PDF of the booklet via the CD's Web page before deciding whether to buy the recording.
Cedille (pronounced say-DEE), which embarked on its 20th anniversary season in November, has been selling MP3 album downloads directly to the public from its Web site since May 2008.
Cedille features world-class musicians in and from the Chicago area. The label's catalog has 116 principal CD titles ranging from solo keyboard works to complete symphonies and operas. These include world-premiere recordings and CD premieres of important compositions, plus the commercial recording debuts of some celebrated artists.
The label's newest release is the recording debut of Baroque Band, Chicago's new and highly acclaimed period-instrument ensemble, in works by Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber. Arriving later this month is The Balkan Project, the label's second album with the Cavatina Duo (flutist Eugenia Moliner and guitarist Denis Azabagic). May will bring the world-premiere recording of Beethoven's recently discovered Piano Trio in E-flat, Hess 47, with the Beethoven Project Trio, which gave the world-premiere performance last year in Chicago.
Nathan J. Silverman PR
William (Bill) Heck, Contributing Reviewer
Among my early childhood memories are those of listening to my mother playing records (some even 78 rpm ones!) of both classical music and jazz tunes. I suppose that her love of music was transmitted genetically, and my interest was sustained by years of playing in rock bands – until I realized that this was no way to make a living. The interest in classical music was rekindled in grad school when the university FM station serving as background music for studying happened to play the Brahms First Symphony. As the work came to an end, it struck me forcibly that this was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard, and from that point on, I never looked back. This revelation was to the detriment of my studies, as I subsequently spent way too much time simply listening, but music has remained a significant part of my life. These days, although I still can tell a trumpet from a bassoon and a quarter note from a treble clef, I have to admit that I remain a nonexpert. But I do love music in general and classical music in particular, and I enjoy sharing both information and opinions about it.
The audiophile bug bit about the same time that I returned to that classical music. I’ve gone through plenty of equipment, brands from Audio Research to Yamaha, and the best of it has opened new audio insights. Along the way, I reviewed components, and occasionally recordings, for The $ensible Sound magazine. Recently I’ve rebuilt--I prefer to say reinvigorated--my audio system, with a Sangean FM HD tuner and (for the moment) an ancient Toshiba multi-format disk player serving as a transport, both feeding a NAD C 658 streaming preamp/DAC, which in turn connects to a Legacy Powerbloc2 amplifier driving my trusty Waveform Mach Solo speakers, supplemented by a Hsu Research ULS 15 Mk II subwoofer.