This is what Neil says about it all, taken from a recent radio interview.
Q: And then after '72, there's a series of your records, albums like On
the Beach, American Stars and Bars. And for some reason, you've never
chosen to release these half dozen records on compact disc. Is there any reason
why these certain discs weren't released on CD and are they ever going to
A: Well, that's a deep question, because I was hoping that technology would come along to the point where it obviously could be at this point. We have - the record companies have a huge problem right now with - they have the DVD audio standard, which we worked for years to establish. And it's - the quality is just unbelievably better than the CD. I mean, it is - it approaches what you expected from digital in the first place. And it's much better. But someone cracked the code after we set it all up and there was all these committees and everything and we got it all together. And I was working with Warner Brothers and their representatives in that working group for - that was called to make the DVD audio standards. And it's a wonderful standard where the artist has creativity, has control and you program the DVD so that when you put it in, it configures your system to play it back optimum for what's on the disc. I mean, if you had 40 minutes of music on the disc, you could have a higher sampling rate. You might decide you want to listen in stereo or you might want to listen in 5-1. The artist decides. And the format keeps changing as the artist programmed it to be. So you get to take advantage of all of the digital information that the DVD has, the storage. By configuring your information to fit - to maximize it, much like on an old RPM record that you would - a vinyl record that you would have to keep the length down to 18 or 19 minutes if you wanted the thing to really hammer when it came out of the radio. So you know, if you get too long, the tone goes away. So if you try to pack too much stuff into a DVD or a CD - well, not a CD. CDs don't sound good no matter what you do. But DVDs you can put so much information into them. But if you only have like - suppose I made a record that was 39 minutes long. That thing would kill on DVD. I would use all of the computing in the DVD and focus - and raise the level of quality of the sampling and the rates and everything to the point where the shorter it is, the higher the quality is. So the artist can control the quality vector - you know, the quality level. And that's - that was a great thing. So what happened? We got it all together and then somebody figured out how to crack it, so that, of course, now it could be duplicated and so nobody - you know, the record companies couldn't make any money off of it. But, you know, that's already happened with the CD, so what's the big deal? Why not put out the quality? If there are people who are going to crack - you know, if they're going to crack it and send it around on napsters and whatever, you know, MP3, who cares? You know, I say, just let it go. We've got to work it out. It's music. If people can't afford music - if they can't afford it but they can get it with a napster, they can get music. Around the world, people who couldn't get it and have it in their houses and listen to it over and over again are going to be able to do it. Now, what's the difference - why doesn't the record companies come out with the higher quality? And then they'd have something to - well, okay. We've got the higher quality, but maybe the napster or whatever can' transfer the DVD quality or whatever. Maybe it's only a CD quality. The MP3 is less than CD. I mean, MP3 is dog. The quality sucks. It's all compressed and the data compression - it's terrible. They've - it's - that's not good. But the DVD stuff was approaching the way it should be. And it was frustrating to me. So the answer to your question is: I didn't really see things in CD because they don't sound good. So I like the original analog masters. And I don't want people to have CDs to listen to for the rest of time. I want to wait until these things are ready to be dumped into a format that I can understand is really relative to the original format in quality. (Laughter) There you go?
Q: I'm never going to hear On the Beach again.
A: You might hear it. You might hear it. I'm sure that - I mean, now - I mean, that's why I waited so long. I had to - you know, but they're coming out now HDCD. I mean, it's the best CDs you can make.
Hehe..Our man is still our man. And so it goes. ALL his answers are subtle. Here is the link for the entire interview: Interview (on Michals glorious traces site)