October 29, 2012 at 11:56 am

Neil Young Goes Live with High-Resolution, Pre-Release Album

neil young orastream psychedelic pillNeil Young’s foray into high-resolution music formats continues with the pre-release of his next album in a high-fidelity web-streaming format.

To listen to Psychedelic Pill before its official release, enter your (unverified) email address here, then install the Orastream Java player (on Mac or Windows). Click the link that appears, give Java permission to run in your browser, follow the rest of the instructions that appear, and hit play.

Update: Neil Young’s album is now for sale, so the pre-release stream is over.

If all goes well, you’ll hear his album streamed in high-resolution, 192 kHz, 24-bit audio. (See also: our debate about whether that actually sounds better to the human ear.) However, even after following the directions, we couldn’t get it to play, and are contacting Orastream directly about that to find out what’s up with that. We hope to update this soon with news that it is in fact playing. Update: There was a technical issue that has been resolved.

Neil Young and Orastream are a perfect match — Neil is up in arms about improving sound quality with his Pono audio player (watch a video of the prototype) and its accompanying audio format, which sound better than CD, while Orastream got our attention with its iOS apps that stream up to CD quality and web technology that goes beyond CD quality.

Without the ability to listen to this, that’s all we have to say on the topic, other than that this is an interesting move by Neil, to release the stream early at better-than-CD quality — and another sign that he is serious about 192 kHz, 24-bit audio. We eagerly await the chance to check out his Pono hardware, which will obviate the need to play these high-resolution audio files in the browser (or this thing).