SACDs at Tower

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Mike Broadman, Aug 26, 2002.

  1. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    Fortunately for my musical needs and unfortunately for my wallet, I work right near a Tower Records, a Newbury Comics, and a Barnes & Noble (which I rarely visit, but I did find some obscure Robert Fripp stuff there). I have avoided going there to try to save money (instead I end up spending it in Virgin and Best Buy [​IMG] ).
    Today I venture in the Tower looking for the new Miles Davis remastered CDs. Lo and behold- their SACD section is pretty big... well, relatively. It was even organised by artist. Besides seeing some familiar titles, there were a few that I was quite surprised about, like a Johny Winters compilation (I'm surprised it hasn't been brought up in this forum) and Billie Holiday's Lady In Satin. Two more titles on my to-get list. There were also a bunch of titles from Channel Classics that featured some exotic (to me) music, or at least they weren't the typical classical warhorses. However, I was not adventurous enough today to select one of those.
    My final purchase:
    Miles Davis- Filles De Killemenjaro and In A Silent Way, remastered.
    Bela Fleck & the Flecktones- UFO TOFU (the only Flecktones album missing from my collection)
    Murray Perahia- Bach Piano Concertos, volume 2, SACD. I already have two of his SACDs- Bach's Godlberg Variations and Mozart's piano concertos. I can't go wrong with this one. Since it's a "volume 2," there must be a volume 1. Must.. get.. that!
    Oscar Peterson, Milt Jackson, Ray Brown- The Very Tall Band, SACD hybrid (Telarc). Listening to it now (CD layer). This song is called "Remembering Clifford," which I assume refers to the great trumpet player Clifford Brown, who died tragically before his star fully rised. The lament over Cliff Brown performed by Ray Brown (no relation) who himself recently passed is kind of depressing.
    Way to go Telarc on getting those titles out there!
    Kudos to Tower, or at least my Tower, on stocking, labeling, and organising SACDS.
    I also noticed that in the Rolling Stones section, they had a sign on the shelf promoting the "remastered" CDs coming out tomorrow. Sweet.
     
  2. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Mike, Tower Records stores in my area do the best job of stocking SACDs. All of these stores have the SACDs arranged alphabetically by artist in shelves that are very easy to peruse. I like the set-up. If only Tower's prices were more reasonable.

    By the way, you might want to get the Miles Davis In A Silent Way SACD soon if you can find it. As you may know, Sony made a mistake in packaging the SACD, and the back cover insert card is the one that is used for the CD. As a result, many stores are selling the SACD for the price of the remastered CD. This is because the back cover insert has the bar code for the CD. I picked up the SACD at a local store for $11.99 yesterday. It was marked $11.99 and it scanned for that price. Note that since the SACD has the back cover insert for the CD, the catalog number on the spine is that of the CD, which is CK 86556. The ways immediately tell the SACD and CD apart are as follows:

    1) The SACD comes in the gold SACD slipcase. The CD, of course, doesn't.

    2) The seal on the top of the SACD jewel case has the correct catalog number of CS 86556, even though the spine has the catalog number of the CD, which is CK 86556.

    3) The CD has the now common yellow advertising sticker that most Miles Davis remastered CDs have. The sticker says "JAZZ MASTERPIECE" at the top. The SACD does not have this sticker.

    4) The CD has a clear plastic disc holder that reveals a photo of Miles Davis in the bottom left corner (visible when the jewel case is closed). In typical Sony fashion, the SACD comes with a black plastic disc holder.

    Other differences I noticed when I opened the SACD case, aside from the fact that the SACD was inside, was that the SACD came with the typical information card about the format and did not come with the standard Miles Davis catalog insert that are included with the remastered CDs.

    In any event, I suspect that Sony will correct the error soon. So get the SACD cheap while you can!
     
  3. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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  4. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Mike, note that the catalog number for the In A Silent Way remastered CD is CK 86556, while the catalog number for the SACD is CS 86556. I know that technically, the catalog numbers differ by a letter ([​IMG] ), but the two-letter prefix is part of the catalog number. Sony SACDs always seem to have an 'S' as the second letter in the two-letter prefix, while the corresponding CDs have a 'K'. That makes it easy to pick out SACDs in stores when you can only see the labels on top of the jewel cases. In any event, the five-digit number is the same on Sony CDs and SACDs.
    I picked up the Aerosmith greatest hits compilation SACD at Best Buy on Friday night for $30 and am giving it a first pass as I type. Thus far, I am just on track 2 of disc one, "Dream On", but I like what I hear so far. I can see why some people were not blown away by "Dream On" on SACD, but I am actually quite impressed with the sound given that we are talking about an older rock recording. "Same Old Song and Dance" plays now, and it is not the best track to show off SACD, but it sounds quite good.
    Unfortunately, I do not have this Aerosmith compilation on CD yet for comparison to the SACD. I have the remastered single-disc greatest hits release, but have not compared it to the SACD yet. Still, the SACD has a depth and clarity that I have never heard in my system with Aerosmith classics. There is an "SACD-ness" to the sound. I will have to get this compilation on CD to do a good comparison, however. I'm not sure if the remastered greatest hits CD I have would make for a fair comparison. Sony might have remastered the tracks again for the new CD release since they were releasing it on SACD as well (i.e., analog master to DSD, then to PCM for CD?).
    NP: Aerosmith O, YEAH! ULTIMATE AEROSMITH HITS SACD
     
  5. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    I said:

     
  6. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    KeithH,
    :b :b
    Didn't catch the letters. D'oh!
    I won't be buying the regular CD version of the Aerosmith compilation. I really don't care much for their post-rehab material, and I have their first 4 albums on CD, which is, to me, the good stuff. I also have Pump for nostalgic reasons. I do want the SACD just to have some better sounding Aerosmith, but quite frankly, I would rather have had Rocks (a long ago rumoured title), because with the compilation, I'll be paying for a bunch of songs I really don't like, mostly the second disc. This is why I turn away from the higher price at Tower but don't really mind it for other SACDs, like the Very Tall Band. I'm sure I'll get it eventually, just not at the top of the list.
    Ok, folks, review time:
    Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown, Milt Jackson- The Very Tall Band- Live at Blue Note, SACD, hybrid, Telarc
    Yesterday, I listened to the Very Tall Band SACD- CD layer on earphones at work and SACD layer at home.
    Personnel, for the jazz beginner:
    These are three of the greats. Yes, it's common to hear a jazz nut refer to someone as one of the greats. This is no hyperbole, folks.
    Oscar Peterson- One of those prolific and varied piano players and band leaders, he has made highly praised albums with Stan Getz, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Lester Young, etc and so forth. His trio work is probably his most successful- it is the ultimate in melodic and atmospheric night-time feeling jazz. His most famous trio included Ray Brown on bass and Ed Thigpen on drums.
    Some criticises his playing as being too fancy- he likes to lay on the embellishments and splice it up a bit. Pff, critics. Hearing him play is a blast! He wears his virtuosity on his sleeve, and why not? However, it is always tempered with swing and space. This isn't Art Tatum or Bud Powell- Peterson always tried to bridge the musical traditions of bop and swing.
    Ray Brown- A member of Peterson's old trio, he has played with everyone and done it all. Don't be surprised to see him on the top of any jazz bass list. His mastery of space, phrasing, and harmony were unparalleled. And boy could he swing.
    He passed away last month (hence my signature).
    Milt Jackson- member of the Modern Jazz Quartet, he is probably responsible for ensuring the vibraphone has a place in modern jazz. Before listening to him, I simply did not like the instrument. Now, I play air vibes along with CDs!
    The purpose of this album is to get together three jazz legends at a welcoming setting who happen to be very good friends. Assuming they are referring to the Blue Note in New York, I've been there, and it is a very warm and friendly place to see some great jazz music.
    The goal is achieved right from the first note. This isn't the greatest playing these men have ever done- that's not the point. They are not young men. It is, more importantly, the most relaxed and the most fun I've ever heard them. It really is just three dudes jamming away- it's just that these three dudes happen to be legends. They're playing for themselves and for each other, but with people listening.
    I could go into the individual tracks- but it doesn't matter. It's all very good. One track is a big bass solo and the closer is one of my favorite tunes, Caravan. What more could you want?
    Sound quality:
    This is a pure DSD recording. My limited technical understanding creates the following translation:
    Pure DSD = more gooder
    I have no clue how a DSD recording is made in a live setting. All I figure is that it uses few microphones and gadgetry, so it would be more portable than, say, a fancy-schmancy PCM set-up... but I'm sure someone will yell at me if I'm wrong.
    The bad: Ray Brown is turned down a little low for my tastes. My I'm biased as I love the bass, especially Ray's bass, but I did wish it to be jacked up a little more in the mix.
    The good: Peterson's piano sounds fantastic here. A fitting sonic accompaniment to his fluid playing. The drums sound real crisp and sharp. The echo on Milt's vibes have a dimension to them I've never heard before, even though he is playing relatively calmly on this record (though he's always had a laid-back approach, even at the peak of the MJQ days).
    Final analysis: [​IMG]
    I am loving Telarc.
    At that Tower store, I also saw Dave Brubeck's 40th annniversary CD, also Telarc I believe. Looks like a prime candidate for my next acquisition.
    NP: Pat Metheny, Imaginary Day
     
  7. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    Mike,
    Did you see the APO jazz 45 vinyl sale at Acoustic Sounds!
    Big story on Steve Hoffman's website...
    Now I really have to get a turntable...[​IMG]
     
  8. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    Lee,
    I just checked out Acoustic Sounds' web site.
    Just so you understand, I am woefully ignorant about anything vinyl.
    Those prices: [​IMG]
    $95? $150? For a record? Holy jeebus! Will they do my laundry, too, for that kind of money?
    I always kind of wished I had a turntable, but if that's the kind of money I'd have to spend to enjoy the benefits, count me out.
    Some of those titles looked very cool. Some were on high-res. The first one I would get is Charles Mingus' Tijuana Moods. That's one of those All Time Amazingly Fantastic Albums Ever that I listen to in the dark alone. I wish they'd come out with a SACD of that!
    Lee, get on that, will ya?
    [​IMG]
     
  9. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    Has anyone ever seen any Analogue Productions SACDs in B&M stores? We may bitch about SACDs costing $19.99 at Tower, but AP's discs, by far my most desired titles, especially with the new batch coming out next week (Cannonball, Coltrane, Rollins, Evans, CCR, Monk(!) ) are sold for $24.99 at elusivedisc. I desperately want to find a cheaper source for these discs.

    NP: Dr. Octagon, Dr. Octagonycologist
     
  10. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Mike, I too would have liked to see Aerosmith Rocks on SACD. Although I love having a comprehensive Aerosmith compilation on SACD, I am concerened that Sony will not release any studio albums on SACD. They may feel that a greatest hits compilation is enough Aerosmith and will focus attention elsewhere. I hope I am wrong.
     
  11. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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