Karajan Symph 9 SACD disappointing sonically

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by ReggieW, Nov 10, 2002.

  1. ReggieW

    ReggieW Screenwriter

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    I finally had the opportunity to pick up one of the batch of Universal SACD hybrids released last week and found it lacking sonically, and this in lieu of the fact that I didn't particularly care for the performance either. I was looking to pick up the ET soundtrack and the Diana Krall release but will probably wait for a few reviews before taking the plunge. The Karajan is the first truly disappointing SACD I've bought, and feel that it pales sonicially when compared to the Barenboim DVD-A's in 24/96 multi-channel. For those interested, I use a Sony SCD-C222ES for SACD/CD playback, and a Denon DVD-1600 for DVD-A/CD playback.

    Reg
     
  2. Seth_S

    Seth_S Second Unit

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    The Karajan recording was never that great sonically on either LP or CD. Karajan's strange balance, texture obsessed style and the fact that the recording was made in Berlin's acoustically iffy concert hall only makes matters worse. While I haven't heard the new SACD incarnation of the recording, I've heard similar complaints about it. And if you think that recording is bad in terms of sonics and interpretation, Karajan's '76 recording of the Mozart Requiem should be out very soon.
     
  3. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    I actually thought it was better in multi-channel vs. 2-channel and I usually prefer many of the SACDs I have in 2-channel. It was lifeless in 2-channel. I have heard the CD and it is better but a modern recording would certainly be nice. The "Look of Love" is a lot better. The CD sounds great, or that is what one might think until the SACD layer is played which takes away edge and harshness and takes it to a new level. Did not care for the multi-channel mix at all on it with percussion and strings in the rears.
     
  4. ReggieW

    ReggieW Screenwriter

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    Thanks for the reply Seth.

    I kinda of had a hunch that it had more to do with the recording technique/acoustics than the actual SACD. I have Telarc's Mahler 5 by Zander and the sonics are impressive compared to the Karajan. I did notice that the Karajan performance was produced in the late 70's. Some other classical discs I like are Naxos's Vivaldi Five Seasons DVD-A - which was surprising, since I have always loathed the sonics on their redbook CD's, and the straight 24/96 recording of Beethoven's 6th/Pines of Rome from AIX. The George Szell stuff on SACD is nice imho, though I've heard many complain about the sonics, I think they sound superb for their age and so do the Columbia Jazz catalogue titles. I do try to keep things in perspective and don't expect 40-50 year old analog recordings to sound like new pure DSD recordings.

    Reg
     
  5. Seth_S

    Seth_S Second Unit

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    ReggieW,

    I also believe that this recording was among Karajan's "experimental" surround sound recordings, so that could have made matters even worse (it's also probably why it was picked over Karajan's better '60s Beethoven Cycle). Most of DG's future SACDs are going to be of recordings made within the last 5-10 years. This is both good and bad. Obviously it means better sound quality, but at the same time, DG is neglecting many of their best recordings, such as ones by Kubelik, Jochum and Bohm. It also really pisses me off that Universal hasn't even slated any Gardiner/period instrument recordings for release. His Verdi Requiem should have been among the first wave of SACD releases.

    I think the Szell discs are fantastic, and they deserve some leeway considering many of them were recorded over 40 years ago at the advent of stereo sound. His mid 60s recordings sonically are much better, but most of them haven't appeared on SACD yet (I have no clue why Sony is holding out on his Mahler 4 and 6).
     

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