Alison Krauss *New Favorite*: Anyone compared the CD and SACD layers?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by KeithH, Aug 7, 2002.

  1. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    I recently purchased the Alison Krauss + Union Station New Favorite CD, and I love the music. The problem is that I find the vocals to be a bit forward and harsh (on the first two tracks, for example). Perhaps Alison Krauss and Dan Tyminski were swallowing the microphones during the recording sessions. Anyway, I can't help but wonder if the SACD sounds smoother. Has anyone compared the CD and SACD layers on the hybrid disc? Is the SACD smoother in the vocals? For now, I am assuming that the standard CD sounds the same as the CD layer on the hybrid disc, which could be a bad assumption, I suppose. Anyway, comments on layer comparisons would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.
    Before anyone asks why I didn't buy the SACD in the first place, I have not been able to find it locally, and I bought the CD for $12.99 on impulse because of all the good things I had heard about the album. [​IMG]
     
  2. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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    Keith, I have listened to both layers. However, I have not listened that critically, and I typically listen on different systems.

    With that being said, I do not hear the forwardness in Alison's voice on the SACD layer...although to be honest, I don't really listen for it. The SACD sounds great to me, one of my best.

    I listen to the Redbook layer in my car on a much less revealing system and usually with a lot of exterior noise (wind, road, elements, etc.), so I would probably have to sit down in my living room and do a critical A/B, but I think the SACD sounds GREAT however.

    Someone else on this board posted that he thought the SACD layer had this "forwardness" problem on the SACD layer as well a while back. I remember he said Alison's voice sounded 'Breathy', like she was standing too close to the mic when recording (similar to what you mention). Perhaps I don't listen with that critical of an ear, so take my findings with a grain of salt.
     
  3. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Evan, thanks for sharing your experiences. I do remember the comments from someone else that you referred to. I listened to the CD in the car and through my computer speakers in the office yesterday and did not detect the forward sound of the vocals in either lackluster system. However, at home, I noticed the forward sound in both of my stereo systems. That said, the vocals were somewhat tamed on the main system when the CD was played on my 'C555ES and '777ES. Through the Ah! Njoe Tjoeb 4000 in the main system, the vocals had a harsher tone. In my second system, I only listened through a 'C555ES and detected harshness. In any event, I will have to get the SACD for comparison.
     
  4. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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  5. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Lee, I look forward to your report on the New Favorite SACD.

    You said:

     
  6. John Tillman

    John Tillman Supporting Actor

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    Keith, I too am waiting delivery of this title from Rounder. I'll spin it on my C555' and (don't laugh :wink: ) on my Altima's 8 speaker Bose system. Although it'll have to be damn good to make it's way onto to the Bose 6-changer lineup. I've got Keb Mo, Springsteen, Lucinda, Norah Jones & Spyro Gyra in perpetual rotation.
     
  7. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    John, I am more eager to hear your thoughts of the Krauss hybrid disc when played on the 'C555ES than in the car. [​IMG]
     
  8. John Tillman

    John Tillman Supporting Actor

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    Well I received it today and gave a listen. It defaulted to multichannel SACD so I let it do it's thing and played it through. I'd only heard Lucky One previously, I was not familiar with the rest. Nice bunch of songs and a great bunch of musicians combined with a good multichannel mix gives this a smooth, full, at times enveloping sound.

    Alison's vocals are great as usual, especially on the title track. Dan's vocals seem to blend more with the music, a very good match. I didn't find either one to be forward or harsh.

    I gave Lucky One a spin on 2-channel SACD, then the Redbook layer. My environment had some competition at this point (kids, dog, etc.) but they sounded pretty similar to me. In other words, the Redbook layer sounded great, no problems with the vocals.

    This is going to get a lot of play time on my system, it is high quality music. If you have a desire to enjoy some bluegrass, this is a good one to reach for. Additionally, the multichannel mix is good, not overdone.
     
  9. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    John, thanks for sharing your experience. As I said in an earlier post, the vocals on the CD are easier to live with when played on the 'C555ES and '777ES in my main system. When played in the Ah! Njoe Tjoeb 4000 in the main system or any player in my second system ('C555ES, 'C333ES, or Pioneer Elite PD-65), the vocals are a bit edgy.

    By the way, you can set the 'C555ES to default to the stereo SACD layer on a hybrid disc if interested. Check your owner's manual. I have my two 'C555ES set to default to the stereo SACD layer since I only use one of them in multi-channel mode occasionally.
     

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