Nine Inch Nails to Offer Two Different Masters of New Album

"Hesitation Marks" will be available in "loud" and "audiophile" versions.

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Nine Inch Nails' new album "Hesitation Marks" will be available in two different versions, NME reports.

In a blog post added to the band's Tumblr yesterday (August 28), it is revealed that the album was mastered in two different ways: a standard, "loud" master, available on CD, iTunes and elsewhere, and an "audiophile" mastering available only to those purchasing any version of the album through the band's website.

The post explains that the average listener might not notice the difference: "For the majority of people, the standard version will be preferable and differences will be difficult to detect," it says. "Audiophiles with high-end equipment and an understanding of the mastering process might prefer the alternate version."

Alan Moulder, who mixed the album, explains: "The biggest issue in mastering these days tends to be how loud can you make your record. It is a fact that when listening back-to-back, loud records will come across more impressively, although in the long run what you sacrifice for that level can be quality and fidelity.

"So after much discussion we decided to go with two versions ... The Audiophile Mastered Version is more true to how the mixes sounded to us in the studio when we were working on the songs. Have a listen, turn up the volume and enjoy the experience!"

13 comments sorted by best / new / date

    That's cool. On the last semester for my Audio Engineering Degree. after learning the process, and the mistakes that can be made in the studio. A lot of old records I used to enjoy, sometimes just sound...borderline shitty. This will be great to listen to.
    Will have to hear both versions to really get the picture.
    Jacques Nel
    So you have to buy both to decide which one you like? Uhm is this a pyramid scheme?
    I think you get the "audiophile" version free if you buy it from their website. Pretty sure that's the only way to get it. All retailers, including online services like iTunes, will carry the "regular" version. I personally think he should've just released the properly-mastered version instead of pandering to current mastering habits. He's a big enough artist to do so.
    I don't get the point of mastering "loud". Any listener has a volume knob and is probably able to use it, so I prefer having high dynamic range than a brick-walled sound...
    Okay, so the album will suck unless you buy from their website? Good to know.
    d.a. garabedian
    Somebody doesn't know anything about the mastering process, nor read the entire post from Reznor. Though, to be fair, UG didn't post a link to the original post, nor the piece in its entirety. I understand that there are certain limitations and restrictions when it comes to running a website, but come on, guys.
    At first i just read that one vesrion would be nice and dynamic and the other would be brick-walled. But ive since read the original statement and im defineately going to check out both versions.
    I'm actually having bit of problem to listen to this album on in-ears. The sound is really overwhelmed by lower frequencies on high volume, so I need to turn the volume bit down when listening on headphones. But listening to NIN on half volume doesn't seem right, so I'm really looking forward to this different master
    I kind of regret pre-ordering it on Amazon now, but $8 to ship a CD on NIN's site was a bit much.