Checking new SACD player with Chesky SACD's: A question...

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by David Tolsky, Nov 15, 2002.

  1. David Tolsky

    David Tolsky Supporting Actor

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    Thanks to Keith's suggestion, I went out and purchased a few Radio Shack switcher boxes so I could hook up my new C222ES SACD player and the DVD-A player to the same amp. After checking a few SACD's from Chesky (David Johansen, Ana Caram, Wagner and Verdi) I was not getting anything from the center channel or subwoofer. These are multi-channel discs so I was wondering if they were mixed using these channels or not. It's probably something in my cabling but the DVD-A side has all channels firing. Any input would be appreciated.
     
  2. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    David, check the liner notes for the Chesky SACDs to see if the multi-channel tracks are encoded in 6.0 instead of 5.1. The 6.0 configuration often, if not always, calls for two front speakers, two rear speakers, and two side speakers. The assumption here is that all speakers are full-range, so a dedicated subwoofer is not really necessary. David Chesky contends that this 6.0 set-up better recreates a three-dimensional soundfield than does the standard 5.1 set-up. In any event, even if the multi-channel tracks are in 6.0, I would expect you to hear something out of your center speaker. So, check your wiring. Finally, double-check the speaker configuration you have selected on the 'C222ES. Make sure you have indicated the presence of a center speaker and subwoofer.
     
  3. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    David, one more thing. Some multi-channel tracks, be they on SACDs, DVD-Audio discs, DTS CDs, etc. are weak in the LFE channel. Perhaps the Chesky discs do not make use of the subwoofer or center channel. Just a thought.
     
  4. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    Chesky does not use a center. Below is an interview from Chesky's site.

    "What is 6.0 Surround?
    11/12/2001
    Steve Guttenberg: Dave, I think there's a lot of confusion surrounding Chesky 6.0 -- please explain what 6.0 Surround is and how it differs from the current 5.1 system and stereo.

    David Chesky: I'll tell you this - 6.0 leaves stereo in the dust.


    5.1 Surround was developed for movies/home theater, and that system has nothing to do with the science of concert hall acoustics. 6.0 Surround was designed for music recordings and is all about recreating concert hall acoustics in your listening room. 5.1 is really nothing but a glorified quad setup and we all know quad didn't make it in the 70's. With our 6.0 DVD Audio recordings we can deliver 6 full-range channels of high resolution 96/24 and exploit the full potential of the DVD-A format.


    SG: Audiophiles are hung-up on stereo.


    DC: Audiophiles are obsessed with recreating a musical event in two channel, but in the real world we always hear ambient information around us. The problem with stereo is that all that ambient information is stuck in the front two channels. We have become so used to stereo we think it's correct when it's entirely wrong for recreating a real space in our listening rooms! Two channel is like looking into the recording -- 6.0 puts you in the space.


    SG: Hey, I think 6.0 sounds great, but it's a 5.1 world. Why don't you make it easy on yourself and just make 5.1 recordings?


    DC: Listen, the world is not flat. We cannot simply sit back and accept things because they are the norm, otherwise we would all still be listening to mono 78 rpm records. We must progress in our thinking because some of today's craziest ideas will become tomorrow's norm. In the future we will have 7.1 Surround, 9.1 Surround, 10.2 Surround and then who knows what. In art, dignity is in the effort. I want to make the best recordings I can and 5.1 does not allow that, but 6.0 does. And for the few out there who want the best, it is there.


    SG: What happens to 5.1's center and subwoofer channels?


    DC: We take the center speaker channel (channel 5) and the subwoofer channel (channel 6) and redirect them to side channels positioned at 55 degrees from the listener. We do this because the 55 degree side reflection is the first reflection the listener hears off the side wall in a concert hall. This side reflection gives the listener a sense of lateral envelopment, and our use of the 55 degree side speakers recreates the concert hall space. That reflection is missing in the 5.1 Surround setup. Why waste a channel on bass when most audiophile speakers can deliver enough bass without the subwoofer channel? If you need to use a subwoofer, simply run it off the main pair. The center channel was designed to anchor dialog to the TV for off-center listeners, but most audiophiles do their serious listening alone, and in the sweet spot. I cannot remember when I invited someone over to listen to music on a stereo. Go to a live concert if you want to hear music with your friends.


    SG: But the home theater crowd depends on subwoofers.


    DC: As I said, I am not in the home theater business. Audiophiles don't own multi-channel systems -- I just hope that when they begin to set them up, they will use them as music systems instead of all that noise and nonsense you get with home theater systems. They're just crazy amusement park rides that have absolutely nothing, and I mean nothing to do with acoustic music. And acoustic music is what I hope my customers are interested in.


    SG: Today's DVD-A players lack any form of bass management, can you explain that?


    DC: DVD Audio players lack bass management - they can't "redirect" bass information lost by small satellite speakers to a subwoofer. But my market is the audiophile market and audiophiles do not need bass management because they already have full range systems. We are not interested in playing back Star Wars and having the whole neighborhood shake, rattle and roll!


    SG: Which reminds me, how sweet is the "sweet spot" in 6.0 Surround?


    DC: The sweet spot will vary from recording to recording. The recording process will determine the sweet spot as much as the speaker layout, but that subject deserves a whole entire article. With 5.1, you get a better center image if you sit off axis, but how many people listen at home off axis? With 6.0, you will get a smaller sweet spot but a much better sense of a real space within that sweet spot, which is a small trade off in my opinion. When multi-channel goes to 7.1 then maybe we'll reintroduce a center channel, but with 6 full channels, 6.0 is a better way to go for now.


    SG: How do Chesky's 2/4/6 discs work?


    DC: These discs are the ultimate audiophile fantasy discs -- there is something for everyone here. Our 4.0 Dolby Digital mix will play on 5.1 home theater systems with DVD Video players. We also include the 4 channel 96/24 DVD Audio mix for the newer DVD Audio players. So we're totally compatible with 5.1.


    The two channel crowd can select stereo on either their DVD Audio or DVD Video machine. This stereo mix is not a 5 to 2 fold down, but rather a true 96/24 stereo mix.


    For the audiophiles and music lovers who want the best ride, there is the 6.0 mix. This mix will give you six full channels of 96/24. This mix includes our side channel layout (the center and subwoofer channels now become side channels) and surpasses any 5.1 mix. You get true lateral envelopment which is very necessary for creating a surround environment.


    SG: That's great but I'd say you're going to have a tough time convincing audiophiles, you know, the hard core two channel people, to run out and buy four more speakers and four channels of amplification to get into surround.


    DC: I am not forcing anyone into surround. Like I said, I encourage listeners who prefer two channel to try the 2/4/6 disc in stereo. Regardless of your feelings about surround, this disc, when played in two channel still sounds much better than any CD. If you want to get into surround later the mixes are on the discs, you can always do that. If you do not, no problem, enjoy the discs in stereo. This disc will make everybody happy - home theater buffs, stereo-philes and those adventurous people looking to get into serious surround.


    SG: Do you think any other record companies will use 6.0?


    DC: This format will become the norm, and as time passes, we will evolve past 6.0. With our 2/4/6 discs, we are giving a glimpse of the future today. The problem is the same as always: the lack of acceptance of the unfamiliar by both other record companies and the industry at large. It will take time!


    SG: And one day we will look at stereo the way we look at old mono 78 records?


    DC: Not sad, but true and exciting! "
     
  5. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Phil, thanks for posting this. I had read this a long time ago and appreciated the refresher.
     
  6. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Phil, one more thing. If David is playing the 6.0-channel tracks on his 5.1-channel system, he should still hear something from his center speaker, shouldn't he? The sound from this speaker obviously would not originate from the intended location (either the left or right side), but there still would be sound.
     
  7. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Keith and David,

    SACD doesn't support 3 mixes per disc, that's outside of specifications.

    So Chesky's multi-channel SACDs are only stereo and 4 channel, aka 4.0. Nothing from the Center and Subwoofer is correct.

    The Swing Live disc on DVD-A has the 2/4/6 channel mixes, the SACDs don't.

    Regards,
     
  8. David Tolsky

    David Tolsky Supporting Actor

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    Interesting John, so you're saying all Chesky SACD's are strictly 4.0? So are there any multi-channel SACD's out there that support traditional 5.1? Which ones can you guys recommend?

    PS: Keith, I know you've told a lot of people about the RS switchboxes and I just wanted to let you know they work great. Hopefully soon I will be upgrading the the Denon 5803. Does anyone know if that unit has two sets of 5.1 analog inputs?
     
  9. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    John,
    I don't think Phil or I were implying that SACDs could have three mixes. [​IMG] We were discussing the idea that the Chesky discs might have 6.0-channel mixes instead of 5.1-channel mixes. Given that David Chesky talks a lot about his preference for 6.0 over 5.1, I thought his multi-channel SACDs would have a 6.0-channel mix. Correctly, it seems that he realizes that 4.0 is a good compromise, seeing as few people, if any, are going to set up a 6.0-channel system just for playback of his SACDs. 4.0 works just fine on standard 5.1-channel systems. I do understand your point, though. The flexibility of DVD-Audio should not be overlooked. Chesky can offer both 4.0- and 6.0-channel mixes on DVD-Audio discs, though probably no one still is likely to go with a 6.0-channel set-up. [​IMG]
    David,
    Glad to hear that the Radio Shack switch boxes are working well for you. [​IMG] [​IMG] The Denon AVR-5803 has two sets of 7.1-channel inputs, which can be used with 5.1-channel sources. You just wouldn't use the extra two inputs. They are there for "future formats", whatever they may be. Here is a picture of the back panel of the '5803 (taken from Crutchfield):
    [c][​IMG][/c]
    The '5803 is a great receiver, but it is worth noting that a number of the Sony receivers, including the STR-DA4ES and 'DA7ES have two sets of multi-channel inputs as well. I am not in any way suggesting that the Sony receivers are in the same league as the '5803, but simply noting that there are lesser expensive receivers out there with this feature.
     
  10. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Keith,
    Having heard properly setup 6.0 on a couple of occasions, it sounds incredible.
    If funds and space weren't limiting factors there is no question in my mind that I would implement a 6.0 configuration.
    David,
    As with DVD-A, the mixes vary on surround. A couple of Sony pop titles that should be readily available and have good 5.1 mixes include James Taylor's Hourglass and JT.
    A couple of the Telarc titles are worth listening to as well, but I'm not writing this from home to give specific recommendations.
    Regards,
     
  11. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    Among the best multi-channel mixes I have heard are Jorma Kaukonen "Blue Country Heart" and Alison Kraus and Union Station "New Favorite." Zander's Mahler's 5th on Telarc is a good classical title too.
     
  12. John Geelan

    John Geelan Screenwriter

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    And don't forget Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield. Spectacular surround disc. A hybrid to boot!
     
  13. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    John, I'm sure a 6.0 set-up with well-mixed material does sound great. The space and funds limitations are the issues, of course.
     
  14. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    John Geelan, Tubular Bells is definitely one of the better surround-sound mixes in my opinion. Good call there. As an older title, I think it tends to get lost in the shuffle, but it shouldn't.
     
  15. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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  16. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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  17. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Lee,
    Feel free to take pot shots at DVD-A (and me personally I noticed in other threads) but why are you so desperate to downplay DVD-A?
    How many of those 300 or so Sony SACD titles can you play back in your car? Not many, because they lack CD layers. To date there still isn't a portable SACD player, or a car SACD player even though we're supposed to be in the mass market phase of rollout.
    Meanwhile portable DVD-A players and car DVD-A players are on the market. In addition, Creative Labs has released their Audigy 2 Soundcard for the PC which can playback DVD-Audio at native resolution as well. This means I have the potential to playback DVD-A discs at their highest available resolution anyplace I'd like with the exception of my my laptop computer for the time being.
    Work continues on recordable DVD-Audio for computers, and an MLP encoder can even be purchased for your PC(I think it goes for about US$2500) for authoring. You can't do that with SACD either. In short, cost effective tools are available for DVD-A that don't exist for SACD.
    So while Sony continues subsidizing DSD gear for boutique record labels (this is what a long term loan is) and paying out millions of dollars to ABKCO + the Stones (upfront to them was US$20 million dollars), the DVD-Audio camp continues to make progress without subsidies which means the format will stand on its own two feet.
    How many of those titles on the boutique labels would be around, if the format weren't subsidized with gear loans and financial assistance for the first few titles? The labels that aren't getting subsidies are picking PCM tools (Chesky, AIX, Tacet, MDG are examples) as the best available.
    BMG is releasing Elv1s in mid-December on DVD-A and conspicuously absent is any mention of SACD release for this title. A "killer app" type title, Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon is coming on 03/03/03, where mention of SACD is also conspicuously absent. The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds is slated for early January release as well.
    The addition of the CD layer addresses an area where the product could be improved and I for one am happy that they're considering this as a future possibility.
    Regards,
     
  18. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    IMO, Lee's point about backward-compatibility is the crux of mainstream acceptance for either format. For most people, this means compatibility with car stereos and portable discmans. Thus, Sony's continued foray into single-layer SACDs strikes me as very stupid.

    On the other hand, I've amassed a small, but respectable collection of SACD-hybrid discs over the past few months, despite the fact that I've only just purchased an SACD player (which will hopefully arrive tomorrow). I could have amassed DVD-A discs, as well, and enjoyed them as best as I'm able given that I'd only be able to access the lossy track... but only on my home system with my DVD player. That's not a huge drawback for me - I do most of my listening at home and I don't even own a car - but that's not the kind of portability and compatibility most people will demand.

    So, John, I'm saying that Lee's point is very valid, and hardly a pot-shot at you. And I certainly agree with all that the addition of a CD-layer on DVD-A discs will go a long toward rectifying what IMO is currently a rather large compatibility problem for the format.

     
  19. David Tolsky

    David Tolsky Supporting Actor

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    If I were to choose one title to promote a hi-rez audio format, it would be Dark Side of the Moon. Holy Crap, I didn't know it was coming until now! Can't wait for this one! And the fact that it's DVD-A means we may even get some video in multi-channel from Pink Floyd. You gotta love that. Jeez, why do we need to keep arguing between formats?
    They are what they are, let's enjoy them both.
     
  20. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    Indeed, David! [​IMG]
    The point I was making - and that I've made elsewhere - is that there is no one title or artist's ouevre that will "save" a format. Not the Stones, nor Floyd, nor Miles, nor Britney, nor anyone else you can name.
    FWIW, my primary concern is sound quality. Period. But if these formats are going to gain real traction in the mainstream, then backwards-compatibility (portability, flexibility) are key. If a regular Joe can't play a disc in his car or on his discman, then that disc is gonna lose a great deal of value in his eyes to the point of being essentially value-less. Improved sound quality? Why would he even care if it's not playable in his car or on his phones, if those are his primary listening devices?
    Which is why it pains me to see Sony releasing single-layer SACDs (even seeming to ramp up a bit in this area), and why I believe it's crucial that DVD-A incorporate a CD-layer. If both formats contain CD layers, then suddenly a great many people will have "universal players" in their cars and hooked to their belts.
    But they won't hear the benefits of hi-rez sound, you aver? True enough, but as I said, that's not the crucial element in gaining mainstream traction. Most of these same folks will tell you that MP3 delivers "CD-quality sound", and that simple statement speaks volumes about the market. Flexibility and portability are key.
     

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