This past May, a post appeared on Audiophile Style ("A toast to PGGB, a heady brew of math and magic" by RayDude) that introduced a new approach to digital signal reconstruction. PGGB was file-based, offline pre-processing of PCM tracks to high resolution versions and raised the sound quality of digital to a new level. It uses near-perfect Nyquist Shannon reconstruction with insanely long filters and a no-compromise approach to remaster music to the maximum playback capabilities of a DAC.
I downloaded the trial PGGB software and, in a matter of hours, I became smitten. For sheer musical richness with analog smoothness, PGGB had overtaken HQPlayer (which had previously overtaken MScaler). The improvement was so compelling that it was hard (impossible) to go back - despite the drawbacks of PGGB's file-based approach. And, from a professional standpoint, PGGB was the tool I needed to extract the utmost musical detail with my isolation products.
So I spent the months of summer deeply involved in PGGB. First, I wrote PGGB-IT! a batch processing interface to PGGB and then AudioWise and Remastero (PGGB's founder company) agreed to cooperatively market PGGB using PGGB.IO as a remastering service. PGGB technology evolved rapidly over the summer; EQ was added and, in July, a 'real-time' version of PGGB was introduced as a component plug-in to foobar2000. Expect more acceleration, more features and more plug-ins over the coming months.
If you are interested in PGGB technology, check out the remastero site here. For getting PGGB to fit into your music playback workflow, here are some pointers:
- DAC: The best presentation of PGGB is remastering to 16fS or higher - which is 705.6/768kHz and at the native bit depth of the DAC (or the one that presents as the most linear).
- Library: Consider PGGB to be like vinyl playback using digital. Your library of master CD tracks remains but you also have 'more perfect' versions that you can use for serious listening.
- Processing: PGGB files can be processed quickly on a modern PC system and then moved to your playback system. In general it takes about 1 minute per track.
- Space: PGGB files losslessly compress to about 40% size using wavpack technology. A 5 minute track upsampled to 16fS takes about 350Mbytes of space so a commodity 8TB SSD can hold 20,000 tracks - PGGB and the original CD versions combined.
- foobar real-time: The PGGB plugin for foobar intelligently processes the next track in the playlist. This means you have seamless playback of PGGB quality without needing to pre-process.
- Streaming: PGGB is not (yet) available for streaming. So Spotify, TIDAL, etc., cannot interface to PGGB. For these services, use HQPlayer or your DACs own internal up-sampling.