Nine Inch Nails offers “audiophile mastered” version of their album

Hesitation Marks was mastered in two different ways – the standard, “loud” mastering (which is what you’ll find on the CD, on iTunes, and everywhere else), and also an alternate “audiophile” mastering, which we’re offering as a free download option for anyone who purchases the album through nin.com. For the majority of people, the standard version will be preferable and differences will be difficult to detect. Audiophiles with high-end equipment and an understanding of the mastering process might prefer the alternate version.

It’s great to see bands getting away from the “louder is best” mentality or at least giving us an alternative.



  • Terry

    Overly compressed “loud” masters have done more harm to music than any of the so-called analogue vs digital debates of the last few years. Applause to the NIN folks for a reversal of this thinking.

    OMT- More cowbell please

    • Mother Hydra

      I got a fever, and the only prescription is…

  • perlguy

    Mine goes to 11

  • GadgetGav

    It seems counter-intuitive to me (someone who knows next to nothing about recording technology) that you’d sacrifice the low end when making a louder recording. I’d have thought that it was the bass that makes a recording seem loud. As an occasional NIN fan, I think I’ll have to buy this just to be able to compare the two versions.

  • Mother Hydra

    The spin article sights this specifically. From a sonic standpoint Reznor typically goes full force at the song’s chorus. Here, they took it down a notch instead of pushing up.