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Norah Jones on SACD.... Excellent!!!

Discussion in 'Music' started by Justin Lane, Jun 9, 2003.

  1. Justin Lane

    Justin Lane Cinematographer

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    Well I just received this disc today (along with Blue Train), and after listening to it once through in stereo and once in multichannel, I am left breathless. The stereo track on this SACD easily bests the CD in terms of sonics as well as dynamics. Not to sound trite, but it is like Ms. Jones is playing in my living room. Every instrument is incredibly clear and recognizable.

    The multichannel track is very nice as well. Vocals are placed in the left and right channels while the center channel is used primarily for the bass. Surrounds are used strictly for reverb, with nothing fancy going on there, which suits this music perfectly.

    If I had to choose only one track to listen to on this release it would be the stereo track, though the multichannel is no slouch.

    I will post some further thoughts after listening to the album a couple more times, but I can say for sure this is a no brainer as far as SACD purchases go.

    J
     
  2. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    Thanks Justin for the review. I understand that Arif Marden her producer assisted on this effort so I was expecting big things. [​IMG]
     
  3. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Odd question:

    How does the CD layer of the SACD compare with the original CD?

    I only ask because as of right now I'm not SACD capable (but plan on it within the next 6-12 months). So if there's a sonic improvement on the CD vs. CD front, I'll buy it now, otherwise I'll wait until I have an SACD player.

    Thanks!
     
  4. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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    I was one of the few people who held out and did NOT buy the Redbook version in anticipation of this title, so I cannot comment on the fidelity of this release in comparison with the redbook release.

    What I will say is that I have listened to the whole album once through and it is VERY, VERY good. I still think Alison Krauss and Union Station's LIVE album is my reference, but this is no slouch in comparison.

    By the way, I only have a 2.1 setup at the time and cannot comment on the multichannel mix.
     
  5. Brian E

    Brian E Screenwriter

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    I'm in the same situation as Carlo & second his question.
     
  6. Sathyan

    Sathyan Second Unit

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    I listened to the SACD Redbook layer today when I received it (I also have no SACD player - waiting for the Pio 563 to become available). And within a few measures of "Don't Know Why" thought I heard a difference but of course I wouldn't stop the disc to confirm this. Later I listened to "Don't Know Why" on SACD (redbook layer) and CD (which I bought over a year ago) in quick succession. I was controlling the equipment* so this wasn't a blind test. It was roughly level-matched.

    it must have been remastered
    the SACD redbook sounded better
    bigger soundstage
    less dynamic compression - confirmed by looking at waveforms
    more presence
    more detail on acoustical instruments

    similar to what you hear from good labels on good CD technology (XRCD, HDCD, SBM)

    I can't wait to hear the SACD layer!


    Why did I buy this having the CD already? A few reasons: (the political) I want to support minor labels like bluenote and non-clearchannel music and each SACD (I have 8 now) I buy is more justification for a player. If you have no plans to get an SACD player its probably not worth it as an additional copy but buy the hybrid over the CD-only if you've held off purchasing this album.



    Sathyan

    * equipment:

    digital transport: Sony DVD player (NS315)
    GE optical interconnect
    Onkyo SR500 receiver on "source direct" mode
    parts express 16ga speaker wire
    klh 900b speakers
    grado sr40 headphones
     
  7. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Thanks Sathyan, looks like I'll be picking this up tomorrow. I know the SACD layer will provide benfits down the road, but if the CD layer is also better, then I have no reason to hold off on the purchase.
     
  8. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Justin,

    Thanks for the review! By the way, how do you like the Blue Train SACD? Do you have the DAD for comparison?


    Sathyan,

    Thanks for the comments on the CD layer on the Norah Jones disc. I am often interested in such comparisons, but folks rarely post them. It is my assumption that Come Away With Me was recorded in PCM, perhaps 24/96. If it was recorded in PCM, then perhaps a DSD master then converted to 16/44.1 would sound better than going from 24/96 straight to 16/44.1. I don't know. Or perhaps they simply did a better job mastering the CD layer than the original CD (more attention to detail, better equipment, less EQ'ing, etc.).
     
  9. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    Mine didn't arrive yesterday, but the email newsletter from Music Direct had this to say (of course, these guys are in the business of selling these discs, but they do have a good reputation to uphold):
     
  10. Justin Lane

    Justin Lane Cinematographer

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  11. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Does anyone know if the original tracks and stereo mixes were analog, PCM or DSD?

    Guess it's time for me to do a little shopping ;-)

    Regards,
     
  12. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    John,
    I believe the album was recorded and mixed to 2-channel on analog tape. I seem to remember reading that the LP pressings were from the original analog master.

    Regards,
     
  13. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Ken,

    Well analog source tapes are generally speaking format agnostic when it comes to delivery on digital media [​IMG]

    Regards,
     
  14. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    Ken is right - I believe they recorded to analog.

    There is an incredible Classic Records release on LP. Get it if you have a turntable. Hobson played it at the Audio Society and it was stellar!
     
  15. Ron Reda

    Ron Reda Cinematographer

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    I am pretty stoked...while picking up some new DVD releases, I noticed that Best Buy actually had plenty of copies of the new SACD release. It was a really nice surpirse, so I'm looking forward to spinning this bad boy tonight!
     
  16. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Congrats Ron, I had the reverse experience. I actually think I saw a copy of this at BB a day early (along with St. Anger, I think it was an employee screwup as this store normally never puts anything out early) but didn't pick it up because I was waiting for reviews.

    Went back today to get some new DVD releases and they had zero copies of Norah's SACD. Even the BB website says that it's "not available for store pickup" so I may have to order online...
     
  17. Craig Robertson

    Craig Robertson Supporting Actor

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  18. Mike Likens

    Mike Likens Stunt Coordinator

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    Worth the wait! Simply outstanding. Right up there with Diana Krall as my favorite. A must have.
     
  19. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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    This is a great SACD...great sonics, great recording, great music. I've literally had this thing on repeat play since I woke up this morning and I'm still listening to it about 14 hours later.
     
  20. RobBenton

    RobBenton Stunt Coordinator

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    I liked the 5.1 mix. The rears are more then reverb but not exactly discreet effects either. They are noticable but not in your face. It just opens up the sound stage and makes it envelope you more and it does sound great. I am glad I waited to get this instead of the regular CD and since it is hybrid i can listen to it in my car too!
     

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