Did Blue Note drop the ball with the *Blue Train* SACD?

Discussion in 'Music' started by KeithH, Jul 2, 2003.

  1. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    I started a thread on Steve Hoffman's forum last night about comparing the John Coltrane Blue Train SACD to the DAD (I haven't done the comparison myself yet). Much to my surprise, I read a fair amount of criticism of the SACD there. There were comments of compression, boosting, etc. The SACD was mastered by Rudy Van Gelder, and his efforts have received a fair bit of criticism on Steve Hoffman's board.

    The general consensus on Hoffman's board was that the DAD is much better than the SACD. Now, I haven't listened to the DAD in awhile, but the SACD sounds good to my ears. The cymbals sound a bit tinny in spots, and the horns also sound stuffy here and there, but I realize this is an older recording. Overall, I am pleased with the SACD. Nevertheless, did Blue Note blow it with this release? What is your opinion of the SACD? Thanks in advance.

    P.S. I plan on comparing the SACD and DAD tonight and will post some comments.
     
  2. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    I don't know (or care - I have the vinyl) which sounds better but I'll bet the SACD outsells the DAD by a vast margin despite it being notably inferior (based on everything I've read on the internet about this release).
     
  3. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    Keith,

    There are too many variables with these recordings to judge definitively either way IMHO. I have the DAD but not the SACD yet, but I suspect that some aspects of the SACD like soundstaging and midrange liquidity will be very good if they did it right.

    Here are some reasons why things might be different:

    1. Classic Records is ultra fussy about getting the original tapes, perhaps Blue Note used other than original tapes.

    2. Mike Hobson at Classic is probably doing a better job of mastering the tapes.

    3. Blue Note, being new to Super Audio, may still be learning what to do and how to do it.

    4. People posting may have better or worse playback devices for 24/96 DAD versus DSD. Even universal players like the Pioneers do not have the best SACD implementation.

    5. There could be some listening bias if people have listened for several years to the DAD only. They like a more relaxed (or detailed) presentation like Classic is famous for, while the SACD may be more detailed (or relaxed) to one's ears.

    So I guess I would caution people to get both recordings and decide for themselves based on what their listening tastes are.

    If I can find the recording locally, I will try to post a review versus the DAD.
     
  4. Michael_T

    Michael_T Second Unit

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    Another factor to consider, although it doesn't really speak to sound quality, is that the hybrid SACD can be purchased for $14.99 (and sounds OK), where the DAD will set you back $25.00.

    Is the DAD worth that much more than the SACD? Possibly. I haven't purchased the DAD (although I did borrow it from a friend about a year ago), and I remember it sounded very, very good. Maybe I should just break down and get the DAD also.[​IMG]
     
  5. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    The biggest problem with Blue Train is that they chose an album that already had an excellent resolution version of it out there which doesn't even need a special player. They just set themselves up for comparison.

    Of course, Blue Train is the only Coltrane title on Blue Note. I guess they felt that they really needed a heavyweight like 'Trane to get that kind of notice. It's sad that they couldn't count on their many other great legacy artists.
     
  6. LarryDavenport

    LarryDavenport Cinematographer

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    I read a review at Audiophile Audition that said the SACD was superior to the DAD so, as usual, it's just someone's opinion.
     
  7. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Lee,

    You make some valid points. In my thread on Hoffman's board, I was looking for opinions from people who had compared the DAD and SACD on one player. No one who replied had done that, and I won't be able to do it either. (I didn't get a chance to compare the DAD and SACD tonight.)

    You said:

     
  8. Ken Stuart

    Ken Stuart Second Unit

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  9. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    I'd have to have a lot of "proof" to determine RVG screwed up. Everything I've heard of his work (which is mostly the Blue Note remasters) is sonic gold.
     
  10. Ron Reda

    Ron Reda Cinematographer

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    Diggin' one up from the archives...

     
  11. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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  12. Ron Reda

    Ron Reda Cinematographer

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    Compared to the MoFi or just in general?
     
  13. LarryDavenport

    LarryDavenport Cinematographer

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    People on the Hoffman board, and others, think that if Steve didn't master it, it has to suck. I disagree, but would never say it over there for fear of beeing booted off. I prefer my Complete Fantasy CCR box (K2 remastered) CDs over the two Hoffman mastered SACDs I bought (Cosmo's and Willie) because for the price of two SACDs ($25 each) I got the complete CCR box and, to my ears, I like the K2 mixes better. I think Steve prefers everything to sound dry and without presence, he seemed to take the "atmosphere" out of the sound. John Fogerty's vocals in Hoffman's mixes lack depth and resonance. I a-b'd my favorite tune "Ramble Tamble" last weekend and I just like the K2 better.

    This weekend I'll give the SACDs anothertry (maybe I'll get some weed). :b
     
  14. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    I've also read that the Muddy Waters "Folk Singer" DAD from Classic Records is better than the Chess SACD. I've been living off the MoFi CD for forever now, but I might want to upgrade to the DAD if it's the best out there...

    What can one say? Classic Records makes damn good product. And I wish more companies would release DADs, as a matter of course. Sure, multichannel is the big thing, but for so many catalog recordings it's not essential and can certainly be simply gimmicky. Two-channel DAD, daddy-o!!!
     
  15. Ron Reda

    Ron Reda Cinematographer

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  16. Ron Reda

    Ron Reda Cinematographer

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  17. Jay_J

    Jay_J Agent

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    >>People on the Hoffman board, and others, think that if Steve didn't master it, it has to suck. I disagree, but would never say it over there for fear of beeing booted off.
     
  18. KrisM

    KrisM Second Unit

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    Ron, would you post when you get your Blue Train as I have the Mofi and have been wondering if I should upgrade.
    I have been also considering the Folk Singer upgrade as well.
    These are two of my favorite albums and I have been on the fence about upgrading them.

    Regards
    KrisM

    NP - Zepppelin - The Song Remains The Same - Lp
     
  19. Ron Reda

    Ron Reda Cinematographer

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    KrisM,

    Come on now, I wasn't planning on doing so until someone gave me reason to!!![​IMG]
     
  20. Ron Reda

    Ron Reda Cinematographer

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    You've got to be kidding me...I just checked the Elusive Disc site and the Blue Train DAD is now out of stock!

    [​IMG] to me for waiting until the end of the day to buy it!
     

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