SACD review Laura Nyro & Alison Krauss on Rounder Records

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Rachael B, Mar 28, 2002.

  1. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2000
    Messages:
    4,709
    Likes Received:
    32
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    Location:
    Knocksville, TN
    Real Name:
    Rachael Bellomy
    ALison Krauss - FORGET ABOUT IT (the title)
    This is a really nice hybrid and everybody can check out the difference between the two tracks for themselves. Every non-Sony disc I've seen is a hybrid...but ya'all know that score, don't you? Anyway, I already had the CD of this one. It's a real fav of mine and I just couldn't resist this SACD. She has another one, forget the title hmnn, out which I'll proably soon aqquire. BTW, this is a stereo SACD.
    With my 555ES player I can't switch between the SACD and CD layer on the fly. I'm supposin' no player can. I have to push stop to switch layers. I decided to listen to STAY, the album's first cut and Her reindition of Todd Rundgren's IT WOULDN'T HAVE MADE ANY DIFFERENCE multiple times on each track. Before I go any farther, I'd like to qualify that I've always thought FORGET ALL ABOUT IT was really above average sounding CD. This is one CD track that gives the SACD version a run for the money me thinks.
    I thought the CD and CD layer of the hybrid, yes I had both out, sounded identical. I thought they did well in the high frequency range against SACD. The SACD needs more amplification to match the CD's level, I should add. It was my impression that the SACD's track's greatest strength was that the bass seemed more precise and acurate, as if the CD's was just a bit muddy. Maybe a little like a CD sounds and a minidisc copy sounds, atleast for the lower regions anyway. The vocals are touch sweeter on the SACD too. Damn, I like her take on Todd's IT WOULDN'T HAVE MADE ANY DIFFERENCE which is playing now.
    If you've never heard ths album, she does 3 Michael McDonald tunes including IT DON'T MATTER NOW. I think one of the album's real highlights is her version of Danny O'Keefe's NEVER GOT OFF THE GROUND. The twangy guitar and dobro play on each other so well. I think she did a really great job of selecting material for this album.
    I think that everybody who's doing SACD needs atleast a few of these hybrid discs in their collection to compare the formats. Thanks alot Sony for making that more difficult[​IMG] ! This here multi-purpose one is a good'un I think, thanks Rounder for doing SACD right.
    Laura Nyro - ANGEL IN THE DARK
    This was the late Laura Nyro's last albumn. It has a nice mix of her own songs and covers of stuff like: Burt Bacharach & Hal David's WALK ON BY, Smoky Robinson's OOH BABY BABY, Goffin & King's WILL YOU STILLE LOVE ME TOMORROW, and everybody's favourite soft soul classic LA LA MEANS I LOVE YOU. A few of the tunes are just solo, her and her piano. The excellent title tune ANGEL IN THE DARK has an alternate take, solo version, but I highly preffered the band version. It featured the likes of John Topea on guitar and the Brecker brothers tooting trumpet and sax. There are a bunch of real jazz pro's on the non-solo cuts. Boy, are the Brecker Brother's horns sweet on ANGEL IN THE DARK. I really like the way horns soud on SACD, in general, their horns are even better, even in this small dose. Oh, did I mention Laura sings good and really knows how to swing?
    The SACD is a stereo-hybrid, are you listening Sony (?) (!)...sorry, I tend to rant about this...moving on, uuh, basically, like, it's auh, real good but my copy has a tick on track 2, TRIPLE GODDESS TWILIGHT at 22 seconds that mars this otherwise well-named cut. I'm sending it back to Acoustic Sounds. They sent me an e-mail asking if it was the individual disc or maybe a pressing problem. I e-mailed them back, "how would I know? I'm an ignorant I'm afraid". Anyway, there's no tick on the CD layer. See, aren't these CD layers great(!)?
    The Brecker Brothers are back for SWEET DREAM FADE. Can you tell I'm a fan? It's an nice up-beat cut that doesn't have the strongest lyric but Tropea's guitar and the brothers rooty toot build it up to a nice pace before it's vocal end. Laura's solo LET IT BE ME cover is short and very sweet, clocking in at just a little over 2 minutes.
    Laura doesn't sound the least bit out of place performing the soul classics OOH BABY BABY & LA LA MEANS I LOVE YOU. She sounds rock solid on OOH BABY BABY's alternate solo take too. You get 3 SACD exclusive bonus cuts the title track and DON'T HURT BABY, too.
    I hope the tick in TRIPLE GODDESS TWILIGHT is just an isolated problem. I'd hate the wait if I had to wait for a repressing. This is my first run-in with an SACD defect. Could be nothing but one bad disc? We'll see. Otherwise this is a fabulous last album from Nyro. The SACD layer is sweet and her swing-y rhythm sound shines brighter on it.
    The last cut, #19, CODA, appears to end after about 2 minutes, but if you leave the disc running after about 2 minutes She comes back again for one more little, coda, or yodel, not yodel'l'l, but just a couple more bars. Just a little oddessey....
    I'll report back about the little defect when I know. Or, does anybody out there have a copy? Does your track 2, 22 seconds have a tick (pop)? Come on, enquiring minds want to know?
     
  2. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2000
    Messages:
    3,186
    Likes Received:
    44
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    Location:
    Central FL
    Real Name:
    Phil
    Rachael, thanks for the reviews. Don't have my copy of Laura Nyro yet as I have just done some work and my main system is totally apart awaiting a Sharp 9000 in the next week or so and then another week or so until I get new audio furniture (depends on the screen size I end up with) and then I will be ordering some stuff I have been waiting on. By all means keep us informed of anything you find out. I hear what you are saying about Sony but it is the same company that gave us the mini-disc, Beta and the 'L' Cassette. Nothing was wrong with any of those formats, they just shot themselves in the foot and they are certainly not helping their own SACD market by not putting CD layers on the discs. What I'm sure help kill or surpress a couple of previously mentioned formats is that people could not take them and use them in their cars. I would expect that in the near future we could have more DVD players in cars and if so, then DVD-A will have an advantage by at least being able to play it, not that I personally would want to hear it in 5.1. A CD layer would certainly cement their market lead. DVD-A looks like it is moving forward with a digital connection and if they manage more software and there are more car DVD players, Sony may find itself looking up.
     
  3. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2000
    Messages:
    4,709
    Likes Received:
    32
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    Location:
    Knocksville, TN
    Real Name:
    Rachael Bellomy
    Funny you should mention the car thang Phil. Recently, in a thread I read, an Asian guy said he had a DVD player in his car and I have seen one for sale here too. That sort of thing certainly could tip some scales, but so would CD player compatibiliy... Best wishes!
     
  4. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2001
    Messages:
    2,210
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Rachael, I cannot believe how your take on the Alison Krauss disk is so similar to my own. Makes me think my ears are better than I give them credit for. We have the exact same player, so that gives me a good point of reference.

    I totally agree that the Redbook layer is mastered at a higher volume, which makes A/B comparisons difficult and can lead to thinking the Redbook layer comes close to the SACD layer (which, IMO it comes closer than any other SACD I own). In fact, the layers are so close that I thought my ears were playing tricks on me. It was the only SACD I'd heard that wasn't what I call a "night and day" difference. Hearing you have a similar viewpoint makes me feel a little better.

    I think the highlights of this album are "It Don't Matter Now" and the title track. My only complaint with the disk is that there are just too many ultra slow ballads. I would have liked to have more upbeat tunes here as I think that is her strong suit. Her ballads really showcase her vocal ability, but having 6 on an album of 11 tracks kinda bogs it down IMO.

    However, I wouldn't hesitate suggesting this to others on the sonics alone. It's a great recording, like you said, on both layers.
     
  5. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2000
    Messages:
    4,709
    Likes Received:
    32
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    Location:
    Knocksville, TN
    Real Name:
    Rachael Bellomy
    Evan, I had the CD already. I have some other Rounder CD's and for the most part I think their recording quality is above average. See, you should trust your sense and use the force![​IMG] I had to playback the comparrison cuts repeatedly looking for little nuances. The Laura Nyro disc's SACD layer was easier to discern differences on, but the CD layer is no slouch! Maybe Sony doesn't want us to know that some of their SACD's don't sound that much better than the CD's do? I'm suprised I didn't hear back from Acoustic Sounds 2-day. Emily @ Acoustic usually gets back to me promptly. I hope all the Nyro discs aren't deffective. If so, I'll make an MD copy to play until it's fixed. I have a feeling they got the first lot of them. I haven't seen it offered else where yet.
    Oh, my fantasy for Alison Krauss is for her to make a jazz album. Ever since I heard her sing Johnny Mercer's THIS TIME THE DREAMS ON ME on the Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil soundtrack, I've been wishing that. Who knows? Best wishes!
     
  6. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2000
    Messages:
    9,413
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Rachael, thanks for posting the reviews of these discs. Very good info. I hope a new Nyro disc will work fine for you. I haven't looked into the Krauss SACD yet, so when I saw "ALison Krauss - FORGET ABOUT IT" at the beginning of your post, I thought you were saying that we shouldn't bother with this disc. I'm glad I kept on reading. [​IMG]
     
  7. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2001
    Messages:
    6,394
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Real Name:
    Lee
    Rachael,
    Thank you for the review. I will pick up both of these. Keep these reviews coming [​IMG] I always like to get several opinions before I head out to the record store.
    KeithH,
    I finally got the Mary Chapin Carpenter disc. I'll report back how I like it a bit later.
    Lee
     
  8. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2000
    Messages:
    9,413
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Lee, I'd like to hear your thoughts on the sound quality of the Carpenter disc.
     
  9. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2000
    Messages:
    4,709
    Likes Received:
    32
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    Location:
    Knocksville, TN
    Real Name:
    Rachael Bellomy
    Keith, I added : (the title) behind the Alison Krauss title. I don't want a bad review to be the first impression.

    Lee, next week I'll review a disc or two more. The Vivino Brothers, Mighty Sam McClain, Spyro Gyra, and the BluesQuest Sampler are on my list. Any requests?

    My Laura Nyro disc is bad, not the lot. Feel free to order it.... Best wishes guyz!
     
  10. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2001
    Messages:
    6,394
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Real Name:
    Lee
    KeithH,
    I want to spend more time on this one, but I will give you my initial thoughts:
    Mary Chapin Carpenter Time*Sex*Love
    PERFORMANCE
    Outstanding! This is a somewhat new artist for me - I'm always trying new things...but I really like the beauty and honesty of the lyrics and the overall musical performance.
    SONICS
    A bit of a disappointment. Let me be clear - this does not appear to be the fault of Super Audio, if anything the high sampling rate is probably allowing us to hear more of a poorly engineered recording. Here is what I don't like:
    Flat, lifeless soundstage - not surprising for a "popular" record
    Female vocal quality is, I'm sad to say, terrible. While we hear Mary Chapin fine, it is very muddy, almost phasy sounding, on my high resolution system.
    Musical Instruments - not well isolated and that contributes to a mixing board sound. They could have recorded this more purely to capture the acoustics.
    Based on my work in the studio on 12+ records, I believe there is a high probability this recording was mixed on a "big board" with entirely too many circuits and lots of dubs from separate sessions. Indeed, some were recorded after the fact in Nashville, original album at Air Studios in London. I also suspect that the microphones used were of non-audiophile quality, likely not tubed AKGs, for instance.
    George Massenberg can do better than this. The one thing I am positively convinced is the case about audio recording is that "less is more" (read less is better).
    Still, I recommend the SACD because it still sounds better than many of my CDs.
    ASSOCIATED EQUIPMENT
    Magneplanar 1.6QRS, ARC VT100 amp, ARC LS3 preamp, Sony SCD-777ES, Cardas Golden Reference cables and power cords throughout, Caig ProGold contact conditioner.
    [​IMG] Keep listening!
    Lee
     
  11. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2000
    Messages:
    9,413
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Lee,
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the Carpenter disc. I feel the vocals are a bit grainy. It's too bad because the music lends itself to a truly excellent recording. If only Mr. Chesky had been able to do this album, or maybe you! [​IMG] In any event, I will be getting the CD version from BMG (hopefully soon) and will be comparing the two discs. When I do, I'll post my thoughts.
    As an aside, are you using a Cardas power cord on your '777ES? If so, did you compare it to anything else before settling on it? I am still using the stock power cord and am thinking of replacing it with something. One concern is that I am not using any sort of power conditioner at present, and I have to use the cheater plug that came with the '777ES to prevent a low-level hum from coming through the speakers (as stated in the owner's manual for the '777ES as a distinct possibility when using the three-prong plug). A salesman at a local high-end dealer told me that I could use the cheater plug with a higher-end power cord if necessary and still get the benefit of the better power cord. I am skeptical, however. I am not ready to buy a power conditioner right now, but my gut tells me that I should get a power conditioner before buying a new power cord for the '777ES. It is possible that a good power conditioner will make the cheater plug unnecessary. Any thoughts you have on the subject would be appreciated.
    As you may have noted on the tweaks board recently, I am leaning to the Panamax MAX 5300 power conditioner whenever I decide to enter the world of "clean power". Hopefully the MAX 5300 would remove the hum I observe with the three-prong cord and improve the sound quality overall (lower noise floor, etc.).
    Rachael,
    Thanks for editing your initial post. That clarifies things for the ignorant (i.e., me). [​IMG]
    NP: Simon & Garfunkel Bridge Over Troubled Water MasterSound gold CD
     
  12. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2001
    Messages:
    6,394
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Real Name:
    Lee
    Keith,
    I did attach a Golden Reference cord to the 777ES and noticed a slight improvement. The original cord is not up to the build quality of the unit. I only compared to the older Kimber cords and was not swayed. The new Kimber cords are much better according to my wealthier friends, but they are expensive.
    On cords, I suggest you look at the AC cord discussion in tweaks. RicP lists some good ones. Also, Mike Knapp use Vans Evers and my friends in the business also like these. I have no first hand knowledge unfortunately...yet! [​IMG]
    I DO highly recommend power conditioners for an immediate sonic impact. I use a Monster HTS-5000 and I think anything Richard Marsh designs is top drawer. I am not a big fan of Monster but I give proper credit for video cables and these well-received power conditioners. I would suggest you wait and save for a PS Audio unit if in your budget. They make the most difference and I will likely purchase one soon.
    Let me know how things turn out.
    Lee
     
  13. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2000
    Messages:
    9,413
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Lee, thanks for the information. Much appreciated. A power conditioner is something that interests me. I'll continue to ponder my options there before buying a power cord.
     
  14. Emil Stoica

    Emil Stoica Second Unit

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 1998
    Messages:
    271
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
     

Share This Page