High Resolution Audio Comparison

Discussion in 'Music' started by Lee Scoggins, Nov 19, 2002.

  1. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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  2. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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  3. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Lee asked:

     
  4. Micahel C

    Micahel C Stunt Coordinator

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    Keith, Have you ever checked out any DVD-A's by Hi-Res Music. If not you really should check out their stuff. I know you're a stereo lover and that's all they do. 24/96 stereo only DVD'A's. Some great jazz titles. I just picked up their newest release, Leon Russell: Leon Russell and it's awsome. Being a multichannel person, this is the first stereo only title I've purchased and I'm very glad I did. Following is the track selection and credits on the disc. The link to the site is below if interested. BTW, many of their titles can now be found at DVD Planet with more on the way. Pricing at $13.49-$14.99.
    1. A Song for You (Russell) - 4:08
    2. Dixie Lullaby (Russell/Stainton) - 2:30
    3. I Put a Spell on You (Russell) - 4:10
    4. Shoot Out on the Plantation (Russell) - 3:10
    5. Humming Bird (Russell) - 3:57
    6. Delta Lady (Russell) - 4:00
    7. Prince of Peace (Russell/Dempsey) - 3:05
    8. Give Peace a Chance (Russell/Bramlett) - 2:15
    9. Hurtsome Body (Russell) - 3:35
    10.Pisces Apple Lady (Russell) - 2:50
    11.Roll Away the Stone (Russell/Dempsey) - 3:06
    12.Masters of War(Old Masters)(Dylan) - 1:20
    + Three extra tracks from the original session
    13.Jammin' with Eric (Russell/Clapton) - 4:14
    14.Humming Bird(Russell) - 4:08
    15.Shoot Out on the Plantation (Russell) - 3:31
    Credits Leon Russell - Bass, Guitar, Piano, Keyboards, Vocals, Producer, Engineer, Mixing
    Joe Cocker - Vocals
    George Harrison - Guitar
    Mick Jagger - Vocals
    Ringo Starr - Drums
    Steve Winwood - Keyboards
    Charlie Watts - Drums
    Bonnie Bramlett - Vocals
    Delaney Bramlett - Guitar
    Bill Wyman - Bass
    Jim Gordon - Drums
    Eric Clapton - Guitar
    Merry Clayton - Vocals
    Buddy Harmon - Drums
    Jim Horn - Saxophone
    Alan Spenner - Bass
    Chris Stainton - Keyboards
    Klaus Voorman - Bass
    B.J. Wilson - Drums
    Hi-Res Music
     
  5. mike_decock

    mike_decock Supporting Actor

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  6. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Micahel, I have not tried out any of the Hi-Res Music DVD-Audio discs. Thanks for yet another DVD-Audio tip. I have to admit that most of my attention has been focused on SACD lately. Anyway, that is some kind of cast on the Leon Russell disc. All that for $14.99 or less? I will have to check that one out.
     
  7. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Lee,
    I'm curious... is Sony a current client of yours, or a former client of yours? I know it is one or the other, but I'd like a clarification on that point from you.
    I'm certain I'm not the only one who finds it highly suspicious that a Sony rep ended up at the meeting and no one from the DVD-A side appears to have been even invited.
    How is it that Sony managed to make it to the meeting, even though you say it was pulled together on short notice?
    If you want to write a piece on SACD for WSR, have at it. Again, it is you who are saying what you think is important for the readership of the publication. What you think is important for the readership of the publication and what is really important for the publication is a call that Gary and Perry make.
    I know I have my hands full at this point in time, as things are quite hectic with a massive project at the office, and will be for the next several months.
    Regards,
     
  8. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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  9. mike_decock

    mike_decock Supporting Actor

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  10. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Lee and Mike, Yes Magnification is also out on DVD-Audio.
     
  11. mike_decock

    mike_decock Supporting Actor

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  12. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    i have another question about these hi-res formats.

    i've heard it mentioned several times that for both formats, there are good and bad releases.

    what would account for that? is it personal preference or is there a technical reason? maybe the way the producer remixed the album?
     
  13. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    I like questions.
    How do people like DVDA from a sonics standpoint?
    At it's best, it's simply wonderful.
    How do people like Super Audio from a sonics standpoint?
    Ditto. Beautiful seperation and clarity, especially on the "pure" DSD recordings.
    What are your favorite titles?
    DVD-A:
    Queen, A Night At the Opera, DTS
    Aggressive sound mix makes this album fun to listen to again.
    Beethoven/Resphigi, 6th Symphony / Pines of Rome, AIX
    The 6th is the perfect symphony for this format and surround sound. Many different mixes, commentaries, videos, etc. A high-res recording, too, so the sound is that much better.
    John McEuon & Jimmy Ibbotson, Nitty Gritty Surround, AIX
    Fun music, excellent surround mix (musicians playing around you).
    ELP, Brain Salad Surgery, Rhino
    The bombast of this music is perfect in surround and shows off what can be done sonically with an older recording.
    Mendelssohn, Auryn Series Vol VII (Octets), Tacet
    A string octet sitting around you in a circle playing one of my favoritie composer's music.
    Bach, Concertos Vol II, Tacet
    On the heels of their earlier Brandenburg Concertos release, which was great, I feel the music on this disc is served better by the surround sound.
    SACD:
    Mahler, 6th Symphony, San Francisco Orchestra
    Pure DSD shows off the great dynamics in the composition and the performance. Bonus points for being a hybrid.
    Joe Satriani, Strange Beautiful Music, Sony
    MC and stereo mixes. Like Strange Engine, the sound is remarkably better than the CD. The MC mix just makes it cooler.
    Mark O'Connor, The American Seasons, Sony
    MC and stereo of great violinist performing original music.
    Bill Evans, Sunday Night at the Village Vanguard, Analogue Productions
    All the APs I have are great so I won't list them all. These hybrid stereo discs are great examples of what can be done with old legacy recordings.
    What format has the best mix of content in your opinion?
    As a jazz lover, I have to go with SACD. The only have 2 jazz DVD-As now while I have 30-40 jazz SACDs. I don't know about rock content, but I feel that DVD-A does a better job with rock. In many rock SACDs, I don't hear that much of a difference in sound quality, but DVD-A offers surround mixes more.
    I guess this is why I want both formats to survive- in the Utopian World of Michael Broadman, jazz titles would come out like crazy every day for classic jazz titles and great classical recordings, while Tool, Rush, and The Beatles would release entire discographies on DVD-A.
    NP: The 5th DVD-A I listed. [​IMG]
     
  14. Terry St

    Terry St Second Unit

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    First of all, a question for Lee. Is there any chance of posting the full paper that this abstract is for? It looks like an interesting read. The differences between DVDA and SACD are not all that clear to me so I can appreciate any effort to explain them. If the full paper is not available, I would appreciate a few clarifications.

    First, on DSD. If I read Lee's abstract correctly, DSD represents the waveform in relative rather than absolute terms. To my undeducated self, this sounds like it could produce a lot of extra resolution in sounds with relatively compressed waveforms. This is good, but how do you get to and from a relative representation when the recording source and playback output are ultimately absolute waveforms? A conversion must take place at both ends of the chain. There must be at least one other part not shown on Sony's diagram that does this; or do the ADC/DAC's handle this? They would be different animals than the ADC/DAC's used in the PCM chain if this were so.

    On the PCM side, it would help greatly if someone could explain what the Decimation Digital Filter, Interpolation Digital Filter, and Delta-Sigma Modulator do. It appears Sony made these diagrams to point out that they are not necessary in a DSD stream. Understanding what they do in the PCM stream and why they are not necessary in the DSD stream would be of critical importance to an uninformed reader such as myself.

    My impression, as it currently stands, is that Sony's diagrams leave a lot out. There are at least two parts on the DSD stream left out that are not necessary on the PCM stream. There could be thousands of links in both chains with only one extra link in the PCM chain for all these diagrams tell me. It is not unlike taking two items whose performance differs by a fraction of a percentage and then graphing their performance with such a huge scale that the difference becomes "clear and obvious". I need to be convinced that this is not the same sort of thing.

    Speaking of zooming of using a huge scale to exaggerate differences, the scale showing Red Book CD's as a 1 and LP's as a 10 is dangerous to include, especially if you are trying to be objective. You could spark a real objective "CD's measure better" versus subjective "LP's done right sound better" debate. Many subjectivists believe that LP's sound better, but the difference is so minor that the practical advantages of CD's greatly outweighs them. You are not going to convert anyone to SACD or DVDA by suggesting that the differences between them and red book CD's are less than the differences between red-book CD's and LP's!

    I have one other general question. Have any identical recordings been released on both SACD and DVDA? The ability to compare apples to apples would be invaluable to the debate over sound quality. Personally, I suspect recording and mastering methods have a much larger impact on sound quality. I would be quite happy to toss all future formats out the window if we could only bring all recordings up to the quality of the best red book CD's out there today.
     
  15. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Mike,
    I hear you. If only 90125 would be released on DVD-Audio. Geez, I'd be happy with Warner would release a remastered version of the CD. For now, I am contemplating the purchase of the Japanese HDCD.
    Ted,
    There are a lot of reasons why an SACD or DVD-Audio disc (or a CD, LP, etc.) might be interpreted as sounding good or bad, and I'm sure all of the reasons have factored into opinions thrown around here. For one thing, there is the quality of the original master to consider. Some recordings are simply outstanding, and the CDs of these recordings sound great. Some masters, on the other hand, are not very good. I have don't have the CD or SACD, but I have read several negative opinions regarding the sound quality of Aerosmith Just Push Play. It has been said that the CD sounds lousy (typical heavy processing and dynamic compression used in today's music) and that the SACD sounds only marginally better.
    Personal preference and/or personal experience certainly is a factor. I'm sure one's enthusiasm for the music in question can in some ways shape his or her reviews of sound quality. Regarding experiences, some people may not have a good basis for comparison to the SACD or DVD-Audio disc. Perhaps some people in reviewing an SACD or DVD-Audio disc are used to sound quality of the recording on a lackluster CD. For example, I feel a better CD for comparison to the Eagles Hotel California DVD-Audio disc is the DCC gold CD as opposed to the original Asylum Records CD from the '80s.
    For people really in tune with the music industry (pardon the pun :p)), the individual doing the authoring to SACD or DVD-Audio could shape opinions. I have always spoken highly of Steve Hoffman because his work has always impressed me. If I see his name in the credits, I expect the sound to be top-notch (with limitations of the source tape taken into account). Many people speak very highly of Hoffman, Bob Ludwig, David Chesky, and Mark Waldrep (and others). On the other hand, some folks are very critical of certain mixing engineers. As with any business, some individuals have a reputation for doing their job well, while others have a reputation for doing it poorly.
    For me, it is difficult to assign the kudos or place the blame on one factor regarding the sound quality of any recording. If an SACD sounds great, for example, a version on CD may sound great too. The master tape may be of excellent quality. There may be a winning combination of a quality master, excellent personnel behind the authoring, and excellent technology in this case. Quite a novel concept, which unfortunately, is not always evident. [​IMG] Segue... If an SACD sounds lousy, it could be due to the master being lackluster or because of a poor job of authoring. Perhaps both are at play.
    For my next point, I have to admit upfront that I am at times guilty. We should take caution before declaring a high-resolution recording as the epiphany of our lives after comparing the SACD or DVD-Audio version to a CD. Remember that in some cases, we may be using a CD that in no way communicates the best the format can offer for that recording. Perhaps we are listening to a CD originally released in the '80s or early '90s that has not been remastered. Given the fact that high-resolution software is often marketed for its excellent fidelity and, in turn, is marketed to audiophiles, great care is often taken to locate original masters and mix them for the high-resolution release. This same care may not have been taken in preparing the CD some ten years ago or more.
    As an example, let us consider a scenario where the Rolling Stones SACDs had been released as single-layer SACDs. One might have been tempted to compare the single-layer SACDs to the 1986 ABCKO CDs and declare SACD as an ephiphany. (People do this with the hybrid discs upon comparison to the original ABCKO CDs anyway. [​IMG]) That would be an erroneous conclusion. To say that the 1986 ABCKO CDs are sub-optimal renderings of what the CD format can offer is a gross understatement. Point blank, the 1986 ABCKO CDs sound like dung. Now, in my opinion, a far better comparison is the SACD and CD layers on the hybrid discs. The CD layers sound far better than the 1986 ABCKO CDs, and these CD layers are derived from the same masters as the SACD layers. In my opinion, the SACD layer on Hot Rocks 1964-1971 is markedly better than the CD layer. From this comparison, which I consider to be a fair one, I consider SACD to be an epiphany. [​IMG] Note that I have not compared the SACD layer to the original London LPs. Let's not open that can of worms. [​IMG]
    I will conclude this diatribe for the time being. In short, there are a number of reasons for why a recording is interpreted as good or bad.
     
  16. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    thanks keith - you put into words pretty much what i was thinking. i know it's very rarely one single thing that makes or breaks a cd and personal preference (imo) weighs very heavy on the final vote. thx for the additional thoughts on the source master material...that's something i didn't think about.
    btw -
     
  17. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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  18. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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  19. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    ugh! see this fork pointed at my head? somebody kick it quick! [​IMG]
    btw - if there is any one band that may make me finally switch over to one format....it would definitely be the beatles! [​IMG]
    another btw - lee, i think you've done a commendable job here...especially handling john's emails (which i know you're already used to anyway!) [​IMG]
     
  20. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Mike said:
     

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