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Will you stick with hirez audio?


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#1 of 175 OFFLINE   Lee Scoggins

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Posted March 26 2004 - 09:24 AM

I'm curious as to what the members here think about staying with hirez...

Let's assume the following to simplify the discussion:

1. Hirez remains a niche among serious music fans and audiophiles and home theater fans and early adopters, ie. it does not widen to a broad audience of citizens.

2. Discussion is format neutral, meaning either DVDA and/or SACD remains in place with periodic title releases.

3. Some reasonable if small title release slate remains in place.

4. Hardware players and servicing remains in place.

Given all this...

Do you enough the hirez audio formats enough to keep buying titles?

I look forward to your thoughts. Posted Image
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#2 of 175 OFFLINE   Brian L

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Posted March 26 2004 - 10:04 AM

Lee, I think I may be missing the point, but let me try.

Once one makes the investment in HW, why would anyone quit buying the SW? Sure, everyone would like there to be day and date release of new stuff (or maybe some hybrid CD/Hi-Rez disc, like the Stones where there is only one release), and we all have a good list of back catalog stuff we would all kill for in MC Hi-Rez, but even if things remained status quo, I personally see no reason to bail.

Then again, if there were something on the horizon that were both better AND cheaper, I may rethink that.

BGL

#3 of 175 OFFLINE   Lee Scoggins

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Posted March 26 2004 - 10:12 AM

Brian,

Let me see if I can be more specific:

If you have invested in hardware, will you keep buying titles?

If you have not invested in hardware, will you still consider going hirez?

I understand that many will keep buying software now that they have a player, but there have been comments from some that they may stop buying software if they are not sure how much longer it will be around....plus we have the new DVD formats around the corner. Posted Image
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#4 of 175 OFFLINE   Brian L

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Posted March 26 2004 - 10:27 AM

OK then.

1. Yes.

2. Does not apply.

3. We will have to see if/when the new stuff gets closer to reality.

BGL

#5 of 175 OFFLINE   Ken Groulx

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Posted March 26 2004 - 10:36 AM

Although I am an avid viewer of these hi-rez threads, I have never felt the need to post a comment one way or the other, but to be honest Lee, I'm losing faith in the whole thing. I own about a dozen hybrid SACD's produced by Crest - all are cracked to varying degrees. Some - like my copy of Peter Gabriel's 'Up' - have flaked so badly near the hub, I have ended up simply refusing to play them. Despite what Crest says about their flaws as purely "cosmetic" I can't believe that my player will benefit from bits of plastic debris circulating around it. If these defects were only an isolated incident affecting a particular press-run, that would be understandable, but this issue continues to plague their discs, despite their claims that they have rectified the problem. My copy of Tommy, purchased just a month ago, began to crack before I had even played it! That is simply unnaceptable.

And now, after waiting nearly a year for Neil Young's 'Greendale' to show up, it doesn't play on my unit (I have a Pioneer 563a). So, I waited, through countless delays, excuses, and more delays, for a disc that doesn't even work. Thanks. Of course, we're all aware of all the other discs that don't output properly on different players. For me, every potential purchase is unfortunately marred with hesitance: 1) If I choose to buy a hybrid manufactured by Crest, I have to worry about when, and to what degree, it will self-destruct, and 2) If I choose to buy a DVD-Audio, I have to worry about compatibility issues. Admittedly, I don't own an elite playback unit, but at the very least I expect the hardware, and the software, to function. This is not an unreasonable demand. And let's not even begin to talk about Warner's vaporware schedule (I believe Running on Empty was announced three years ago)? And now I find out that the "missing four" from Young's catalog have been pushed back yet again; these were to have been released in September.

I'm sorry, but after picking up the new Fleetwood Mac CD remasters, which sound fantastic, you really do begin to understand why people aren't jumping onto these formats. I am a proponent for hi-rez and multi-channel music, but between the endless delays waiting for product, and the varying compatibility issues, it's just not happening. Thanks for letting me vent. Posted Image

#6 of 175 OFFLINE   Marc Colella

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Posted March 26 2004 - 11:28 AM

I purchased a Sony 333ES player about 3 years ago, so I have some money invested in the format.

Right now I have a total of 15 SACD titles in my collection - trading/selling away 5 more - so I never had more than 20.

Simply put, I've lost interest.

It no longer "excites" me when a title I like gets released on SACD, and it doesn't bother me when a title I like doesn't get released on the format.

To me, the difference in sound quality isn't great enough for me to spend twice the amount of money to purchase a title. I just want to listen to music, instead of my system. I've purchased few music tiles in the last couple years - but I have no problem purchasing it on CD.

I concern myself more with DVD movies, and am looking foward to HD-DVD - where I feel the difference in picture quality from DVD is greater (by a large margin) than the jump from CD to SACD.

If something I really want is released on SACD for about the same price as the CD - I will purchase it, otherwise I'll pick up the CD.

Most of my music listening is done on my iPOD when I commute on the train for 1h 30m each day.

If my SACD player dies, I would probably hold off replacing it with another player until down the road - even though most of SACDs are single layer. I have all those discs on MP3 in the meantime.

#7 of 175 OFFLINE   Kevin C Brown

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Posted March 26 2004 - 12:23 PM

Initially, I was a very big 2 channel high res proponent. But like a lot of people, the differences between 2 ch CD quality and 2 ch SACD/DVD-A quality just aren't enough for me to even think about replacing discs. But... If SACD/DVD-A discs come with half-decent multichannel mixes, then I'll continue to buy discs.
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#8 of 175 OFFLINE   gregD

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Posted March 26 2004 - 12:32 PM

I'll continue to buy titles, but they'll be few and far between... I'm only gonna do this if I can do it cheap... I'll wait for a future single hi-res format with a foolproof backward-compatible universal player before I start making a big investment in hi-res music... (if it can't be backward-compatible, I don't wanna be stuck with too many SACD/DVDA discs -- I will not go through that Laserdisc thing again.)

I can't believe that hi-res as it exists now will possibly last -- it's too complicated for most people to care about... I still insist that mass market acceptance is important if any serious proliferation of titles is to be achieved... software is everything -- it's the main reason DVD-Video finally took off.

Title release slates are of no consequence to me... I stopped looking at those a long time ago... they come out when they come out... I've got too many crucial redbook releases (99% of which will never make it to any hi-res platform) to worry about.

In fact, the one and only reason for me to hang around at all is --- damn, they sound good!... even out of my crappy little 563A thru my low-mid-fi HT rig.

So, yeah, I'll continue to buy a few here and there.

#9 of 175 OFFLINE   John Geelan

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Posted March 26 2004 - 12:57 PM

Its the multi-channel mix's that keeps me in the SACD/DVDA game. Don't care so much about the Stereo tracks....most cds are decent at that part (I'm glad SACD's and DVDA's have the Stereo tracks but thats not why I buy em).

It is the Surround Sound tracks or mix's that made me buy both a SACD player and a DVDA player.

As long as good quality MC mixes still appear, I'll keep buying.
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#10 of 175 OFFLINE   Ken Groulx

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Posted March 26 2004 - 12:59 PM

I echo many of Marc's sentiments. I purchased the Pioneer 563a universal player for its inexpensive progressive scan DVD abilities, and delved into hi-rez music out of curiosity. After being initially intrigued and excited by what both formats had to offer, I too have lost interest, mainly because my musical interests - certainly not ecclectic by any measure - are not being well-represented by the trickle of releases. I enjoy artists like Springsteen, U2, alt-country music, and many, many others, but the things I like aren't even in the rumor pipeline. Unless you're interested in classical, '70s acts, or Toto, there isn't much to choose from in the few brick and mortar outlets that carry hi-rez music. The recluctance to release the biggest names in hi-rez is a fatal campaign flaw; I mean who is clamoring for a hi-rez version of 'Hydra'? Canadian costs are also prohibitive for me: I live in Kitchener, Ontario, just outside of Toronto, and the cost of some of these discs is ridiculous, even at my local Best Buy - $53 for Goodbye Yellow Brick Road? For a disc that may fall apart? Pass.

And does Sony even release SACDs anymore? Bowie's 'Reality' disc was the first I've purchased from them in more than a year. As Marc says, it's frankly not a monumental upgrade from the redbook CD.

If the forces that be decide to ramp up on the things I, and many other people would like to hear, then great, but Sony's decision to downgrade the latest Dylan Bootleg Series disc from a surround sound SACD to a redbook disc was the final nail in the coffin for me.Posted Image

#11 of 175 OFFLINE   Mark C.

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Posted March 26 2004 - 02:09 PM

I could care less about multi-channel, but I'll continue to buy SACD as long as the disc is a hybrid. Really, it's nothing to get excited about; the difference between redbook and SACD is subtle.

#12 of 175 OFFLINE   Stu Rosen

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Posted March 26 2004 - 02:27 PM

After the initial rush of enthusiasm, I admit the excitement for me has dimmed. On the other hand, I put on a great DVD-A or SACD once in a while and remind myself how cool the format it.

I often wonder whether I'm investing in a dead-end format, but if they stopped manufacturing hi-rez discs tomorrow, I still have the discs I have to enjoy.

I'm an old-time laserdisc collector, so I know from dead formats.
 

#13 of 175 OFFLINE   MikeH1

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Posted March 26 2004 - 03:37 PM

I only own a few DVD A discs and I love to throw them in either for stereo or multichannel. But the truth is...how much longer is it going to be until some artists are released that I really want?

Whenever I go into a store that carries DVD A its either they have the same ochestra, blues and 70's rock discs or don't carry them at all. I couldn't believe going into the downtown Future Shop location last week and being told they don't carry HiRez.

My interest is still there but they desperetly need to release some new titles.

#14 of 175 OFFLINE   LanceJ

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Posted March 26 2004 - 04:13 PM

As John G. said, I'm really only interested in the surround aspects of the hi-res formats (sacd still only has seven titles I would buy right now, and that just ain't enough for me to invest in an sacd player).

The improvements of hi-res stereo over CD are nice but very subtle and don't do much for me. So I will continue to buy CDs & feel no guilt about doing so.

I've owned a Pioneer DV-656A for a year now but play MANY more movies on it than dvd-audio discs because the dvd-audio title selection is horrible. Just guesstimating here but there are probably only a total of fifteen dvd-audio titles I really want to own, including the few I have already bought.

I will continue to buy titles but no longer look at release schedules anymore.

And as I've said here before, though they are not considered hi-res, I will also continue to buy DTS-CDs when the music on them interests me. I personally think they can sound very good.

And the Dvd-Audio Council or whatever the hell they call themselves nowadays need to agree on ONE operating standard for their format--the lack of this right now is very unprofessional IMO & is obviously causing problems (duh!). This wish also includes things like: the audio button ALWAYS changes between all audio formats; players programmed to just play the stereo tracks continue to play them with EVERY disc loaded afterwards; when the music is over with it is really over with & no looped menus/music; etc.

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#15 of 175 OFFLINE   Rachael B

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Posted March 27 2004 - 01:32 AM

Maybe it's more pertinent to ask if hi-rez will stick with me. They're not doing a very good job of it!
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#16 of 175 OFFLINE   Lee Scoggins

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Posted March 27 2004 - 04:21 AM

Quote:
To me, the difference in sound quality isn't great enough for me to spend twice the amount of money to purchase a title.


I guess that may be one area where there is a disconnect between audiophiles and others. Admittedly I have a very resolving and expensive sound system, but to my ears the difference in sonics over redbook is vast.

Nevertheless, if people have systems or listening skills that are different than the typical audiophile, then this may explain in part (in addition to horrific marketing) why audiophiles have strongly embraced the hirez formats and the market has not.

I have heard Super Audio and DVD-Audio (and mucho experience with 24/96 while at Chesky in the 90s) on modest systems and the difference has always seemed well worth it to me. As I purchased finer quality components the difference has become night and day.

I wonder if people feel strongly about this if they might visit a high end store and listen on a very nice system. I think the members here may be surprised how different and more vivid the midrange purity and soundstage is, particularly for Super Audio. DVD-Audio is also very nice at the higher sampling rates and I am enjoying around a dozen titles in that format (and still praying for Van Morrison albums).

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#17 of 175 OFFLINE   Justin Lane

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Posted March 27 2004 - 04:24 AM

Since I have already invested in players for both hi-res formats, I will be sticking with the formats until something newer/better comes along which improves upon or replaces these formats.

Like others, one of the main drawing cards for Hi-res are the multichannel tracks. I buy stereo only discs of those artists which are my all time favorites, or I fnd the previous redbook release to be severely lacking.

I am also disappointed with the lack of new music coming to either format at any sort of regularity. Don't get me wrong, I like alot of the fossil rock that comes out on both formats, but balance is needed, especially if they wish to gain a larger market segment at some point (i.e. people younger then 40).

At this point, I am looking at Hi-res discs as strictly a bonus. I will no longer skip picking up a redbook CD because there is a rumor of a Hi-res version on the way at some point in time (usually 6 months to a year later or never). If a great release comes along in either format, I will still pick it up, but I am past worrying about missed released dates and other delays.

J

#18 of 175 OFFLINE   charles white

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Posted March 27 2004 - 05:10 AM

I have a good system, not a great high end system but I do hear the difference between the high resolution formats and CD's. I plan to stick it out. I'm just disappointed by the slow trickle of new music in either format. I would had easily bought the new David Bowie album in SACD if it had been available when I first heard it back in November. It's out now but I already have the Red Book CD and it sounds fine so I'm not going to duplicate my collection. And my patience for the rest of the catalog is wearing thin. Both sides have really stumbled when it comes to marketing to the masses. If we must have Hillary Duff, Jessica Simpson and Outcast in high resolution audio, so be it. I won't buy it but it will at least the message out to the world that there's something better than low-fi MP3s and CDs.

#19 of 175 OFFLINE   John Milton

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Posted March 27 2004 - 06:02 AM

Quote:
Initially, I was a very big 2 channel high res proponent. But like a lot of people, the differences between 2 ch CD quality and 2 ch SACD/DVD-A quality just aren't enough for me to even think about replacing discs. But... If SACD/DVD-A discs come with half-decent multichannel mixes, then I'll continue to buy discs.

Same here. I will no longer buy stereo hi-res titles.

#20 of 175 OFFLINE   Will_B

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Posted March 27 2004 - 02:08 PM

Quote:
Maybe it's more pertinent to ask if hi-rez will stick with me. They're not doing a very good job of it!


Amen sister!

I go to music store at least every other weekend, and I am SO SICK of seeing the same darn Norah Jones, Aerosmith, Sting, and moldy oldy SACDs. I give a half-hearted look-see each time, hoping to find U2 or ANYTHING other than what was there the week before and the week before that...

The labels have clearly given up on both formats.
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