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Nine Inch Nails Satisfy Audiophiles With Dedicated Mix

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Audiophiles are incredibly strange creatures... They forever alienate their friends and family with their criticisms of their audio equipment whenever they try to show them a cool new song, it’s a surprise that these people can function in the world. Especially a world where teenagers are constantly blasting bad rips of RnB songs out of tinny phone speakers. However, we here at The Pro Audio Web Blog understand their plight, and apparently, so does Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor, who is set to release a version of the band’s latest album intended for audio nerds only.

The album, named “Hesitation Marks”, will be released on the 3rd of September this year. Reznor has chosen to shun the convention of releasing one mix of the album, and will be releasing 2 instead. One version is mastered for “loudness”. This means that the record is mastered to be as loud as possible without clipping. This has become the norm in recent years, as the public seem to demand their music at ear splitting levels. However, this annoys the hell out of audio nerds.

This is because a lot of the subtle nuances of a record can be lost. For example, a record like “Hesitation Marks” is naturally bass heavy. If you want the record to be as loud as possible, you have to lose some of the bass in the mix, which can leave it sounding a bit flat.  This is why Reznor has given his listeners option 2, that allows the listener to hear the more delicate and subtle tones hidden within the album, as originally intended.

If anyone was going to offer an “Audiophile Version” of an album, it would have had to have been Trent Reznor, as he is famously something of an audio nerd himself. Reznor is a multi-instrumentalist, who has written, recorded and produced the bulk of Nine Inch Nail’s material on his own. He has said to have a great command over studio equipment both new and old, and is known to record his material in some unconventional ways. On “The Downward Spiral”, he recorded live drums, and then chopped them up and used them as samples.

Perhaps even more interestingly, Reznor is perhaps the first not to pick a side in the “loudness war”. The list of artists that have been criticised for producing overly loud music is forever growing. Reznor has managed to sidestep criticism from audiophiles whilst appeasing those who demand loudness. Although producing 2 mixes of an album is a time consuming and expensive process, it does offer an interesting alternative for those who have had their heart broken by a great album that has been ruined by poor mixing. Hopefully other bands will pick up this method in the future, and we can live in a world where audiophiles can live in peace with the rest of society.

Sean Lewis

Audiophiles are incredibly strange creatures... Yes, our editor-in-chief, Edd Harris, is one of these creatures of habbit. They forever alienate their friend...

Sean Lewis - 3rd September 2013

Article Ref: #NINAudiophileMix