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sacd question (pioneer 563a)

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7 replies to this topic

#1 of 8 OFFLINE   Ted Lee

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Posted April 16 2004 - 05:56 PM

hi all -

my first venture into hi-res, so forgive any stupid questions. Posted Image

picked up sting's "ten summner's tales" (dvd-a) and peter gabriel's "passion" soundtrack (sacd).

when i play the dvd-a, everything seems correct. i can hear dedicated audio coming out of each channel and it sounds great.

but when i play the sacd, i seem to be only getting two channel. i'm definitely not hearing anything from the center or rear. i checked the 563a's settings and the sacd audio is set to find the multi-channel track, not the 2-ch track. plus, the display clearly says "sacd" - so it seems to "recognize" that it's a sacd inside.

so, any ideas? do i have some setting incorrect or is it just the mix of the sacd?


#2 of 8 OFFLINE   jeff peterson

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Posted April 16 2004 - 11:02 PM

All SACDs aren't multi-channel. I believe "Passion" is just stereo.

#3 of 8 OFFLINE   PaulDA



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Posted April 17 2004 - 02:36 AM

Even if you set multichannel as the default, your player will automatically play the two channel layer if no multichannel layer exists. I believe the only Peter Gabriel SACD to be multichannel is the latest one, Up. In any event, somewhere in the booklet for any disc there will be an indication of whether or not it is multichannel.
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#4 of 8 OFFLINE   Ken Groulx

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Posted April 17 2004 - 04:22 AM

A large proportion of SACDs are just 2-channel stereo. The Peter Gabriel remasters state on the back (albeit in small print) "SACD Stereo." It's just something you kind of really have to look for when purchasing these formats, but if you look hard enough at the packaging, it will tell you what it is. Cheers,

#5 of 8 OFFLINE   Ted Lee

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Posted April 17 2004 - 05:36 AM

thx guys. i really just wanted to make sure i wasn't doing something wrong. although "passion" woulda sounded great in mutli-ch. Posted Image

edit - so i guess the point of sacd stereo (or for that matter dvd-a stereo) is just a higher quality recording?

#6 of 8 OFFLINE   Mike Co

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Posted April 17 2004 - 07:28 AM

The advantage of both SACD and DVD-A is higher resolution than conventional (Red Book) CD's. Surround sound is more or less gravy, as most of the remastered music was never recorded in multi-channel format anyway. So the quality of sound in a stereo SACD should blow away a conventional CD. IMO SACD has greater fidelity to the origial signal than DVD-A, whether it's surround or stereo. But both formats make CD's sound "constricted". BTW you have to look close, but my experience is all the formats will indicate somewhere on the case whether it is multi-channel or stereo.

#7 of 8 OFFLINE   LanceJ



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Posted April 17 2004 - 05:44 PM

........while to others (like me) it is the entire steak.

And to this listener, neither hi-res format's stereo tracks are a huge improvement over CD.

Don't forget that many of the new hi-res releases have undergone careful remastering to take full advantage of these new technologies, so depending on the disc the majority of the improvements you are hearing could very well have originated in the recording studio, not the playback format.

And one definite advantage of a surround track is that to make a surround version of a particular album, the engineer must use the original multitrack master tapes. This means he has access to the "pure" version of the music and can remix that music with modern playback formats and hardware technologies in mind (a lot of vinyl back in the 50s, 60s and 70s was optimized to playback decently on low quality equipment, but when these are played back now with better turntables, cartridges and phono preamps they can sound like crap). Or, they can now avoid repeating mistakes in EQ/compression/level limiting/editing made during the construction of the original mix, which again results in higher quality sound.

All this obviously could be done with the stereo mix too but many people strongly object to this idea. Why? Because they have heard that same sound/mix for how ever long that song has been available--i.e. "rewriting history"--and don't want it monkeyed with. I pretty much agree with this (though I wouldn't mind a remixed stereo track as long as the original was still available somewhere).

The following titles are a few of the ones that I actually own that are examples of the above process(es) where the quality of the sound itself of the surround tracks is much better than the original stereo or mono mix: Yes' Fragile dvd-audio (the quality improvement is evident even on the Dolby and DTS tracks); the DTS-CD of Seventh Sojourn by The Moody Blues (check out the shimmering sound of the brushed cymbal at the beginning of track #3--amazing); and the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds (surround & stereo mixes vs. original 60s-era mono mix). I am usually very hesitant to use the phrase "much better" when discussing audio but in this case I feel totally comfortable doing so.

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BTW: for members that don't regularly read the Music forum, recently it became known of another possible reason for the sloooooow rate of hi-res/surround releases: Debate over multiple royalty payments for multiple format...er....formats.

Looks like my dream of hearing the Beastie Boys in surround could take longer than I thought because sitting in the middle of Hello Nasty or Check Your Head would be SO damn cool. Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image


#8 of 8 OFFLINE   Ken Groulx

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Posted April 18 2004 - 02:12 PM

Gabriel has expressed interest in re-mixing his catalog for 5.1, so there is a distinct possibility for at least some, if not all of his records, to be re-released by Universal on DVD-Audio in surround, especially consideringly their 'double-dip' strategy concerning their hi-rez titles. (The SACD of 'Up' sounds tremendous in surround BTW). Cheers, Ted.

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