Alice In Chains SACD

Mike Broadman

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Aug 24, 2001
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I recently picked up the Alice In Chains Greatest Hits SACD, which has both a multi-channel and stereo mix.

Now, I'll admit that my speaker setup is not particulary condusive to multi-channel music. My rear speaker are actually kinda cheap and crummy. I will get better ones after I pay off my new DVD player. Also, they are not positioned in the best place, due to room limitations.

That being said, I still enjoy some of the multi-channel stuff. The Metallica DVD-A sounds very cool, and the two orchestral multi-channel SACDS I have, Mozart and Mark O'Connor, are great, as are my two jazz MC SACDS- Kind of Blue and Time Out.

However, I found the mix on the AIC disc to be kind of odd. Lead guitars in the back, drums in the center? It just didn't feel right. The stereo track sounds really great, so it's worth the purchase, but that surround mix is just... wrong.

Does anyone else get that, or is it just my poor setup that's to blame?

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Jeff Keene

Supporting Actor
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May 18, 2000
Messages
514
Darn it, I don't know, because I don't have an SACD player yet!! But this is on my short list of reasons to get one. Do I remember correctly that you bought the Pioneer combo player? I am right on the edge of going out and getting that. Care to push me one way or another?? The one complaint I've heard is SACD playback, I guess.

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Dean DeMass

Screenwriter
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Jun 30, 1997
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The AIC SACD was the 1st one I bought and I have mixed feelings about it. Some songs sound fantastic and others sound very thin. For some reason I like the DD 5.1 mix of the songs on the Music Video DVD. The one thing I hate about the SACD and the DVD is the new mix of Grind. Screw Cantrell for having his vocals now drown out Layne's during the deep "Yeeeeaaaaaahhhhhhhh" line.

I like Cantrell as a guitar player and a "back-up" vocalist but his songs where Layne is not really included just plain suck. Heaven Beside You and Over Now are the two worst Chains songs ever. Actually, the "Green" album sucks period except for 5 songs (Grind, Brush Away, Sludge Factory, Head Creeps, and Again). Layne proved that he didn't need Chains to be great (Mad Season), Cantrell proved that he does (his solo album is horrible).
Sorry for the rant.
-Dean-
 

KeithH

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Mar 28, 2000
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I have the Greatest Hits CD and SACD, and the SACD definitely beats the CD. However, this is the one case I have experienced where I cannot say that the difference is simply due to the higher resolution of SACD. I think the remastering job has something to do with it. There are differences between the CD and SACD that I don't feel can be explained just by the higher resolution of SACD. For example, consider the percussion intro. to "No Excuses" on the stereo track. On the last drum hit before the guitar starts, there is a noticeable echo on the SACD that is greatly subdued on the CD. I don't believe this difference is simply due to the higher resolution of SACD. This has to be tied to remastering. That is, I believe the CD could be remastered to provide more of that echo effect. Maybe there would still be more "air" to the echo on the SACD, but I think the echo effect could be closer on the CD with remastering.
 

Jeff Keene

Supporting Actor
Joined
May 18, 2000
Messages
514
Wow. Just for balance, let me say that I LOVE the green album. I LOVE Heaven Beside You. I LOVE Over Now. I listened to that album pretty much non-stop for an entire summer.

I do, however, agree with you that a remix of the vocals will drive me crazy, because I memorize music (not on purpose) and any change takes getting used to at best.

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Mike Broadman

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Aug 24, 2001
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4,951
Jeff, of course I'm gonna urge you to get the Pionneer Elite. For SACD playback, I did an in-store comparison with a Sony 222ES, which is considered an excellent player and is the lowest of the high-end Sony SACD players, and I didn't hear much of a difference. I'm sure a 777ES or whatever is the hightest brand will sound better, but for the price, the quality, and all the formats you can play, I really don't see how any A/V source can beat out the Pionneer Elite DV-47A.
I just love going to Best Buy and being able to buy anything I damn well want without having to worry about the format. Plus, the coax digital out (which I wanted because my receiver only has one optical input, occupied by my new statellite receiver) and prog scan (which I don't use, but it's nice to have just in case) make the overall package really sweet.
So, yeah, get that.

And I agree: the "green" album (though the one I have isn't green
) is great. Some of the songs at the end are filler, as they are with their other full-length albums, but Over Now is a great way to end an album, and Heaven Beside You is fun to play on the guitar.
The stereo track on the SACD greatest hits is very nice, so I'm not complaining about the sound quality. It's the surround mix that's just odd. I guess I'm not into "experimental" mixes: lead guitars go in the front, damnit!
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Jeff Keene

Supporting Actor
Joined
May 18, 2000
Messages
514
I guess I'm not into "experimental" mixes: lead guitars go in the front, damnit!
Now don't get excited

I'm going to try the Pioneer just as soon as I get my pre/pro and get it all set up. Thanks for the recommendation. It's always better to get an opinion of a music-lover than to read a vague review in Home Theater magazine.
I'll report to you when I've heard the surround mix on AIC. I'll be sad if it's no good (I really like the 5.1 DD track on the Unplugged DVD-V), but I'll just listen to the stereo track if that's the case.
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