Very Weird SACD Happenings Here... Please Advise

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Evan S, Feb 22, 2002.

  1. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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    OK, I posted a thread here a week ago saying I was going to get the new Alison Krauss SACD ordered from Towerrecords.com and I got it tonight. Very weird thing happened. I noticed it is released on the Rounder record label and is a hybrid disk (can be played on both SACD and Redbook players).
    I played the entire disk before realizing it was a hybrid recording. Seeing as I don't have the Redbook version, I at first thought I would have nothing to compare it to. I did realize that I had the volume pretty cranked (at about the 10:00 position on my receiver)for a rather tame volume level overall. I thought it was a pretty clean recording however and Alison's voice sounded wonderful as always.
    However, it was then I noticed it was a hybrid disk and had a Redbook layer. I of course got curious and switched over to Redbook format. What I heard confused/surprised me. The Redbook layer was noticably louder at the same level volume on the receiver. Also, for the first time in my SACD lifetime I was hard pressed to hear the usual difference I hear in SACD...which is usually a LOT. The Redbook layer sounded spectacular and that added output level did not transport a lot of noice to the recording. It was also very clean and sonically satisfying.
    Anybody have any hybrid disks out there that have experienced this phenomenon? I'm actually debating which layer I'm preferring right now and this is a first for me. My system is not the kind that would disguise the differences either. I have Paradigm Reference speakers. Please help.
    I'm going to spend the next few days with this disk and critically listen more carefully, but these are my initial impressions after a couple hours.
    Thanks for your input.[​IMG]
     
  2. Michael_T

    Michael_T Second Unit

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    Evan, seeing how the redbook layer on most SACD hybrid discs is actually derived by the SMBD (Sony Bit Map Direct) method from the DSD master used to create the SACD - there are times where the CD layer sounds very good.

    It is possible, due to the relative output level of the redbook layer to the SACD layer, you are perceiving a difference due to loudness level and not actual the ability of the SACD to bring better overall resolution to the mix.

    But to make a long story short - a good master recording which can make a very good SACD can also make a very good Redbook CD - and hence the difference if any might be subtle.

    Not every SACD is "head and shoulders" above the redbook counterpart.

    I wondered if you listen extensively to both the CD and the SACD layer of this disc, over time you might find you hear subtle nuances in the music on the SACD layer that might not be so prominent on the redbook layer. Than again you might not. This is sometimes the biggest argument SACD naysayers have against SACD - they always state that the differences between a good redbook CD and SACD are minimal, or subtle at best.

    I for one love SACD - and feel that it brings a warmth and smooth tone, with greater separation between instruments and vocals than 90% of the redbook counterparts.
     
  3. John Tillman

    John Tillman Supporting Actor

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    She's got such a beautiful, crisp, clean voice that comes through on Redbook. The only recording I've got is the Redbook of 'Now That I've Found You'. A great album and I think it was listed somewhere as being on SACD. I should track that down and compare. Please do post your thoughts on 'Forget About It'.

    Alison Kraus & Union Station was the last High Def act I saw on Leno in the days prior to 9/11... 5.1 too. She sounded great.
     
  4. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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    John, I agree with your assessment TOTALLY. Her voice is so unbelievably good, it can actually bring a tear to your eye. The only Redbook disk I have of AK&US is "So Long, So Wrong". I thought I would pick this up because it would be less bluegrassy and more Alison. That's exactly what it is. My initial impressions are that it's easily worth picking up for the great tracks, but there are too many on this disk that are just TOO slow for my liking. She sings a ballad like nobodies business, but there are three songs in a row in the middle of the album (tracks 4, 5, and 7) that are so slow and mellow they can put you to sleep. They should have recorded one less mild tempo number or interspersed the ones that are on the album better. I'll post more later, but "Forget About It" (the title track) ranks right up there with some of her best work. I've probably listened to that number at least 25 times already! I just went through a breakup and most of the tracks are about love lost, so it particularly hits close to home. Good stuff. [​IMG]
     

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