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The Official RCA Living Stereo SACD Thread

Discussion in 'Music' started by Lee Scoggins, Sep 15, 2004.

  1. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Well-Known Member

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    I picked up my first two discs today and will be listening to them this evening:

    1. Fritz Reiner and Chicago Symphony Orchestra - Mussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition.

    2. Fritz Reiner and Chicago Symphony Orchestra - Bartok Concerto for Orchestra Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta.

    They sound very good in Red Book but I will report tonight back on the SACD layer.

    This collection is the first of two classic series based on performances that were captured on analog tape and converted straight into DSD. Like the other series Mercury Living Presence, these tapes were recorded in L-C-R configuration on three analog tapes. To preserve the history and integrity of the recordings, the engineers of both series are keeping the multi-channel recordings straight into the three channels as recorded. The stereo layer is the traditional mixdown.

    I figure since several of us are classical fans or new to classical that this thread would be a good place to keep the reviews.

    Please post your reviews as you experience these SACDs. [​IMG]
     
  2. Seth--L

    Seth--L Well-Known Member

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    With MLP, I know that the intention of the third mic was not for producing 3 channel recordings. The goal was always stereo sound. The Fines felt that 3 track recordings produced better stereo imaging than 2 track. Interestingly, Wilma Fine noted that she preferred the recordings played back in 3 track when she was creating the stereo mixes for the CDs in the early 90s.

    I'm going to have to research this, but I believe the same is true of RCA.
     
  3. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Well-Known Member

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    The red books are new transfers I believe. There is a story on the engineering I will try to hunt down. The liner notes are very good in fact on this. They used DCS DSD converters and went straight from the reel tapes.

    I finished listening to the Mussorgsky tonight. I really like this disc. It is the last word in dynamics. But for a real treat play Night on Bald Mountain. Fritz Reiner and the CSO sound perfect to me.



    Multi-channel was not really around but I talked to David Chesky about this and Wilma used three mics set to receive the same sound but from the different locations. Each mic went to analog tape. From there a stereo mix was created.

    I believe that we may see a story by Harry Pearson, a noted expert on the series. I do believe that Wilma likely felt the 3 channel was the closest to the performance-it certainly was the simplest recording chain (and a standard for classical recording today actually at least for high end labels).
     
  4. Seth--L

    Seth--L Well-Known Member

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    My point is that a lot of people have been saying the 3 channel playback was always the goal; the stereo mixes were a compromise. This is not necessarily the case. While I think the inclusion of the middle channel during playback could provide even more convincing imaging, because the engineers intended to mix down this channel, the stereo track might actually be superior. Have you seen any reviews yet of the 3 channel mixes?

    One last thing. Recently people have been going on and on about how great the MLP LPs were. Interestingly, Fine felt that the CDs were clearly superior -- there sound was much closer to the master tapes.
     
  5. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Well-Known Member

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    I read this too. I always find this funny and one can certainly make the case that the LPs are more dynamic. Perhaps she if referring to better mastering as well.
     
  6. Zen Butler

    Zen Butler Well-Known Member

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    Is there link to upcoming releases on this series. I can't wait for
    Saint Saens: Symphony # 3, Charles Munch BSO

    Love the Living Stereo series.
     
  7. Seth--L

    Seth--L Well-Known Member

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  8. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Well-Known Member

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  9. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Well-Known Member

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    The Fritz Reiner Bartok is wonderful. I had it on LP. This is in my shopping cart.

    I'm glad to see that the Munch/Boston recordings will be coming to Sack Dee. I wonder when they will put the Munch Beethoven's 9th on the series. See http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...ighlight=munch for my feelings about some of these Chuck Munch recordings. Seth - no comments on these recordings?
     
  10. Seth--L

    Seth--L Well-Known Member

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    I think that the repertoire is quite disappointing. I have no interest in picking up another copy of Pictures at an Exhibition (a work which I really don't like), Zarathustra , Pathétique, the Saint-Saens organ symphony, or the Bartok orchestral music. I already own the Heifetz and Cliburn recordings on redbook and have no desire to upgrade.

    With future releases, I'll probably pick up all the Heifetz recordings and any opera (if RCA releases their opera on SACD).

    RCA has so many great recordings that are OOP, many never released on CD. I would rather see some of these on SACD instead of exclusively the same 60s recordings from Munch and Reiner and Cliburn that they've been repackaging over and over again for the last 40 years (nothing against these artists, but how about sharing the wealth a bit).
     
  11. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Well-Known Member

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    Might be worth it for the extra resolution. [​IMG]

    I am surprised you don't like the Fritz Reiner recordings-many critics consider these classics. I'm not saying you are wrong but I am pointing out that others like them.
     
  12. Seth--L

    Seth--L Well-Known Member

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    I have nothing against the artists; I have the upmost respect for them. My issues is that I don't care for the music.
     
  13. Seth--L

    Seth--L Well-Known Member

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    Lee (or anyone else who owns these discs),

    Do the liner notes include any instructions for how the center channel should be setup during 3 channel playback?
     
  14. Sathyan

    Sathyan Well-Known Member

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    How do these compare to the XRCDs released by JVC for these titles?


    I've previously done comparisons for the JVC XRCD and RCA RBCD for several Living Stereo titles, and the XRCD was worlds better - mainly in terms of depth and texture, RBCD was lifeless. Even at double the price, JVC was worth it.

    CD Player: Music Hall CD25/96
    Interconnect: Straightwire Chorus
    Amp: Onkyo SR500 (in source direct analogue)
    Speaker cable: DIY biwired CAT5e
    Speakers: Wharfedale Diamond 8.2
    Headphones: Grado SR80

     
  15. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Well-Known Member

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    I think I have some XRCDs now to compare to. I will look around and if so do a test. The SACDs were meticulously transfered. No reviews yet but Kal Rubinson of Stereophile has made some positive comments at Audio Asylum.
     
  16. LarryDavenport

    LarryDavenport Well-Known Member

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    I hope they get around to doing some hi-rez, multi channels for Esquivel and Henry Mancini, not to mention Victory at Sea.
     
  17. DanFe

    DanFe Well-Known Member

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    I bought all the orchestral discs, except for the Ravel/Munch recording. Have the XRCD of many of them too, so will compare.
     
  18. Larry Geller

    Larry Geller Well-Known Member

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    I got the Van Cliburn & it's wonderful, but I have 1 question about the series. Why are they using the MC track for 2-track recordings? They seem to be using the 2-track mix for BOTH the 2-ch AND MC areas. Why not just a 2-ch SACD layer & a CD layer? Why are they even using the MC area in those instances? Seems very weird to me.

    PS-The Van Cliburn IS in 3-channel, so my question does not apply to it.
     
  19. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Well-Known Member

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    There are two mixes possible. Essentially a three channel no mix where the L-C-R is kept the same and put directly on the disc which is the most faithful and a 2 channel involving mixing down the three channels into L-R. These 2 channel is where I have done most of my listening (have to get that Maggie center channel [​IMG] ) and it sounds superb.

    My understanding is that the recording were all originally done in 3 channel. If not true for some of the discs then disregard the above as I don't know how the mixing worked in that event.

    Larry, get the Heifetz Beethoven. I listened to it last night and it is superb. In fact it beat the XRCD head in an A/B comparison (simultaneous play on 2 synched players).
     
  20. Larry Geller

    Larry Geller Well-Known Member

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    It is not true for all of the discs. Some of the discs are from 3-track masters, some are from 2-track masters & some have some cuts that are 3-track & some that are 2-track on the same disc (for those, I understand why they use the 2-track in the suround version, so you can listen to the entire program in surround mode). This can be seen on the back cover of each disc. So, my original question stands. Why waste the surround space duplicating a 2-channel program that is already on the stereo layer of the SACD?
     

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