Hot Rocks SACD not so hot?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by MattCPT, Oct 13, 2002.

  1. MattCPT

    MattCPT Stunt Coordinator

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    I've been enjoying the improvements of SACD in my system a lot recently. I have purchased mostly classical and jazz recordings. I've found the improvements in sound to be significant, both 2 channel and multi-channel. I especially enjoy multi-channel when done right. Some of my more often played SACDs are Spyro Gyra, James Talyor, 1812 Overture (to name a few).

    I was excited about the new Stones release of Forty Licks, it has just about every song that I could want. Unfortunately it wasn't released in SACD, so I purchased Hot Rocks as well to get the improvements that SACD can make. I've read many positive posts about the improvements in sound quality that the SACD layer has over the redbook on HR.

    I opened Hot Rocks and played the redbook layer first for my wife and I to have a bases for comparison. I then played the same track with the SACD layer and heard no definite difference. I did this with most of the songs on both HR Cd's and didn't notice a significant difference with any of them. When playing the redbook layer through my Marantz 8200 I used the Source Direct feature that I find adds life to most if not all of my Cd's. I find the SACD layer to be over hyped. I'm very disappointed in my purchase of Hot Rocks, and wish I could be refunded my money.

    After many SACD purchases I have come to some conclusions that work for me. I will no longer buy single layer 2 channel SACDs. I will be very picky when buying multi-channel SACDs that are not hybrid, and 2-channel hybrids. I have found that the multi-channel layer of SACDs is often more involving and more enjoyable to listen to. I also find that if I can't play the disc in my car or bedroom system then the SACD is a poor value for my money. I agree with other members of this forum when they say that all SACDs should be multi-channel hybrids. If you don't like the multi-channel version then don't play it, but at least you have a choice. My decision has also been backed up by the re-release of some 2-channel SACDs in multi-channel versions. I just wanted to share my feelings on Hot Rocks and SACD in general in the event that I can save anyone else a disappointing purchase. Any comments on the Stones SACDs or the poor selection of multi-channel hybrids is welcome.
     
  2. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Matt, I understand your frustration concerning single-layer SACDs. Furthermore, I too am leery of buying single-layer Sony SACDs for "fear" that they will be reissued in multi-channel later. Something to note is that the multi-channel reissues from Sony don't necessarily differ from the original stereo-only issues merely by addition of the multi-channel tracks. In some cases, the stereo track has been re-done. Toto IV is a good example where the stereo track was remastered for the multi-channel SACD. I find the stereo track on the multi-channel SACD to be much better than the original stereo SACD. If you compare the credits on the back insert of the two SACDs, you will find that different personnel worked on the stereo track for the multi-channel disc than for the original stereo SACD.

    The multi-channel SACD of Carole King Tapestry has different credits for the stereo track than the original stereo SACD too, but I am not sure if the stereo track was re-done for the multi-channel disc. The credits on the multi-channel disc are more detailed. It could just be that some key information was left out on the stereo release and included on the multi-channel release and that the stereo tracks are actually the same. I only have the stereo version of Tapestry, but I would be curious to hear the stereo track on the multi-channel disc for comparison. Anyway, Sony's practice of issuing some SACDs in stereo and then reissuing them later in multi-channel is frustrating.

    As for the new version of Hot Rocks, I am very impressed with the SACD layers. The CD layers are very good -- much, much better than the original ABCKO version of Hot Rocks. However, I have found the SACD layers to provide more air and a greater "in-the-room" presence than the CD layers. Just my opinion.
     
  3. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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    I concur. I can hear a definate difference between the two layers on Hot Rocks on my system. My girlfriend noticed the differences immediately as well for what it's worth and I consider the two of us to be far from being what's considered "audiophiles".
     
  4. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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  5. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    I really don't care if all SACD's are multi-channel or not. Alot of old stuff is not going to be remixed to 5.1 . But, like Matt, I don't see good value for my money buying non-hybrid discs. If Sony wants me back as a customer they'd better issue hybrids. I hardly buy their discs anymore. If the format survives, all their present titles will be reissued as hybrids. If not...?
     
  6. Dan Joy

    Dan Joy Supporting Actor

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  7. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    While I gripe along with you guys about the non-hybrid discs, there is also this point: if you're buying an SACD of music you like, wouldn't it stand to reason that you already have that CD?

    Yeah, I know that's not always true, but at least for me that turns out to be the case.

    NP: Bach, Magnificat, DVD-A
     
  8. Michael St. Clair

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  9. MattCPT

    MattCPT Stunt Coordinator

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    I'd like to clarify a few things that may not have been so evident from my first post.

    1- I didn't own any Rolling Stones music before my purchase of Hot Rocks and Forty Licks (purchased the same day). I guess I was waiting for a greatest hits album since the music I liked was spread out between so many albums.

    2- I'm sure there is a difference between the old releases and the new re-masters, but that wasn't my point. I was only comparing the SACD layer to the Cd layer. I must admit that playing HR Cd layer through stereo mode doesn't sound as open or clear as the SACD layer. HOWEVER, I don't use the standard stereo mode with most of my Cds. I use the "Source Direct" mode that bypasses any processing from my Marantz 8200. I have noticed this feature to make a big difference with most of my Cds. What I was saying is that the SACD layer sounds like the Cd layer played through "Source Direct". The interesting part of this(to me anyway) is that SACD is played without processing of my receiver and I wonder if that is the benefit that others are hearing! I know that with other SACDs their is a difference between the SACD layer and Cd layer with "Source Direct", but that difference seems minimal to none with the Hot Rocks SACD (the only one in my collection that doesn't make a noticeable difference). I hope I explained this well enough.
     
  10. MattCPT

    MattCPT Stunt Coordinator

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    I thought I would try one more time to see if I could get a response to my previous statement. I know my opinion on Hot Rocks SACD isn't a popular one on this forum, but I would still like to know if anyone with Hot Rocks has a receiver that has a "Source Direct" feature that they've used on the redbook layer in comparison to the SACD layer. I still don't find a significant difference.

    Any feedback from someone that has tried this would be appreciated.
     
  11. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Matt, what SACD player do you have and what speakers are you using?
     
  12. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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  13. MattCPT

    MattCPT Stunt Coordinator

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    Keith,
    For 2 channel listening I have the following set-up:
    Marantz 8200 - receiver
    Sony 900V - SACD/DVD player
    Definitive Technology BP-30 Main speakers (floor standing)
    Audioquest Copperhead interconnects
    Maple Shade Golden Helix speaker wires

    Do you ask because you think that my system is limited?

    I find the sound of Cds and especially most SACDs to be very clean and enjoyable.
     
  14. Ryan Spaight

    Ryan Spaight Supporting Actor

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    The ABKCO Stones are never going to sound like James Taylor or Spyro Gyra -- the original recordings are just too grungy. This is not audiophile material.

    If you're expecting the SACD layer to "clean up" the sound, that's not going to happen. I find the SACD layer improves the detail, the impact and the sense of space, but it doesn't necessarily make the recording quality any better.

    It's just a more revealing look at the same crummy recording. With performances this good, it's worth it for me.

    Ryan
     
  15. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Ryan,
    Very well said. SACD cannot make a recording that is mediocre by today's standards sound like a Chesky, audiophile-grade recording. Hot Rocks 1964-1971 on SACD sounds raw, but I agree with you that there is greater detail, separation, and soundstaging than on the CD layer. As I usually find in comparing CD to SACD, the CD layer sounds compressed, boxy, and flat in comparison to the SACD layer.
    Matt,
    I was just curious about your system since your view of Hot Rocks on SACD surprised me. However, your system should readily bring out the differences between SACD and CD. I don't feel your system is limiting. Obviously, sound is open to interpretation. I feel the SACD layer is better and you don't. Who's right? I am. You are. There is no wrong opinion. As a result, it would be incorrect for me to label your system as culpable in slandering SACD. [​IMG]
     
  16. MattCPT

    MattCPT Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for your replies.

    Ryan,
    I agree with what you said about the difference in the recording masters.

    Keith,
    I agree that we will all interpret sound differently and their is no wrong or right as far as opinion. It comes down to finding what you like. However my question about the possible improvements that "Source Direct" can make on the redbook layer where never addressed by anyone. I still wonder if anyone has compared the redbook and SACD layers without any processing of the receiver during the redbook playback. This is where I noticed their wasn't much difference. I find that the "Source Direct" gives a similar improvement in sound that the SACD layer makes, so much so that I didn't find the SACD layer to be much different. I'm sorry for repeating myself, but no one has discussed this.
     
  17. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Matt, I assume the Source Direct feature is Marantz's version of analog bypass. Thus, this feature prevents analog signals fed through the stereo analog inputs from going through the receiver's DSP section, namely the A/D and D/A converters. This feature should always be engaged when using the stereo analog inputs to avoid degradation of the analog signals caused by extra and unnecessary processing. I'm sure many people here using home-theater receivers for SACD use the analog bypass mode if their receivers have one.

    Although you are using the Source Direct feature, I am still surprised by your observations with Hot Rocks. I used a Sony STR-V444ES receiver for SACD early one, and even there and with mid-fi speakers, I could hear differences between CD and SACD. Now, I never have played the Hot Rocks disc on this system, as I now use dedicated stereo systems for music. In any event, your observations are interesting, but as we have agreed, we all hear things and interpret things differently.

    One final question. Have you tried listening to CDs via a digital output on your 'NS900V? I'd be curious to hear your views on CD through a digital output versus SACD.
     
  18. MattCPT

    MattCPT Stunt Coordinator

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    Keith,
    I have never used the digital out on the 900V for Cds. Do you think that the sound would be better or worse? Is it worth spending the money for a digital cable to find out?
     
  19. Alex Shk

    Alex Shk Stunt Coordinator

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  20. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Matt, I agree with Alex. You should compare the sound quality via the analog and digital outputs. You don't necessarily have to buy a top-shelf digital cable. I prefer the coaxial digital connection over the optical digital connection, and I suggest you try either a Radio Shack or Monster coaxial digital cable. You can get a Monster coaxial digital cable at Best Buy or Circuit City. If you are not pleased with the sound using the digital output, you could return the cable to one of the major chain stores.
     

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