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A Love Supreme - brief comparison of all 4 CDs

Discussion in 'Music' started by Ken Stuart, Jun 15, 2003.

  1. Ken Stuart

    Ken Stuart Well-Known Member

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    Hello,

    I recently picked up a used Sony DVP-NC650V (at a very good price since the LCD is partially bad), which does 5 disks of DVD, SACD, or CD (and my Toshiba DVD/DVD-Audio player while having great sound in DVD-Audio, has mediocre CD playback, so CD was a factor).

    I'm a fan of John Coltrane's A Love Supreme, so one of the first disks I bought was the SACD version. I also have all the previous CD versions, so I used the disk changer feature to compare all 4 disks on the first 2 minutes of the album.

    None are particularly great in terms of audiophile sound quality, and the piano is too low in all versions (all use 2 track tapes, so no remixes and I'm not sure they used multitrack for the sessions (12/64)).

    However, none of the four is particuarly bad, either and any would serve for listening to this great classic.

    I auditioned them several times in order from oldest CD to the most recent (SACD). Like all original CDs, the original MCA CD had concise and small sounds that allow the listener to "place" the instrument in the image more easily. Since the trailing reverb dies off very quickly, then the initial percussive sound of the instrument is emphasized, such as the tap of the drumsticks hitting the cymbal.

    The next CD, the "20 bit remaster", increases all the detail of the instruments, with the result that the initial percussive sound almost disappears. In the cymbals, there is almost no tap and a wealth of shimmering high end energy. This CD is typical of my least favorite style of remaster - maximum detail and minimum dynamics. Still, this is not so bad with jazz.

    The most recent CD version is the original engineer's remaster (Rudy Van Gelder). The liner notes reveal that the original two track remaster is lost, and all the previous CDs used an equalized copy. So, he searched off-shore sites and found a better copy without the pre-equalization. This CD has some advantages over the previous remaster, but is still missing some percussiveness and drive.

    Rudy Van Gelder also did the SACD version (possibly in the same sessions, since the previous CD version was quite recent). And the result is very good. The SACD has the most detail yet, and is the first digital version to have both the instrument detail and that initial percussive sounds. The soundstaging is good, and it generally has that more smooth high-res sound. This is definitely the preferred version of this album.

    So, this SACD is a good example of how non-hybrid stereo-only SACDs can still be worthwhile. I paid $12.99 at Circuit City and they have had it as low as $11.25 on sale.
     
  2. Justin Lane

    Justin Lane Well-Known Member

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    Ken,

    I own both the SACD and the most recent CD release, and there is definitely a different mix going on here. Cymbals are more up front on the SACD, and bass is more prominent compared to the CD. I have not done a comparison between the two versions recently, but the two most mixes' differences were beyond improvements attributed strictly to hi-res

     
  3. Ken Stuart

    Ken Stuart Well-Known Member

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    Justin - when I stated:

     
  4. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Well-Known Member

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    I was under the impression that the "deluxe" CD and the SACD were using the same mix. These are the only two version I currently have, as I sold the previous CD when I bought the deluxe.

    Though I never did any direct comparisons, I seem to have similar impressions as you, Ken. The new mix is improved mostly in the rhythem section, something that is heard even more clearly on the SACD.
     

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