Which SACDs are known to have compressed 2-channel tracks and should be avoided?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by DonaldB, Sep 7, 2002.

  1. DonaldB

    DonaldB Supporting Actor

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    I've just entered the world of SACD via an SCD-C555ES and I'm naturally keen to start amassing some discs for it, but I'm a bit unsure of which discs to get. It's 2-channel music that interests me most, so I'm concerned that SACD producers are skimping on 2-channel quality in order to make room for their multichannel material. "Folded-in" is, I believe, the catchphrase being used for such compression.
    So, which discs are known to have compressed 2-channel tracks? Here are some of the ones I have my eye on -- please tell me it's okay to go ahead and order them. [​IMG]
    • Come on in This House - Junior Wells
    • Brahms & Stravinsky: Violin Concertos - Hilary Hahn; Neville Marriner
    • Handel: The Coronation of King George II - Robert King - The King's Consort
    • Mendelssohn String Quintets - Robert Mann & Mendelssohn String Quartet
    • Sweeter Than The Day - Wayne Horvitz
    • Mozart: String Quintets - Yuri Gandelsman and the Fine Arts Quartet
    • Cheap Thrills - Janis Joplin
    • Kind of Blue - Miles Davis
    • Time Out - Dave Brubeck
    • Tapestry - Carol King
    • In a Silent Way - Miles Davis
    • At Folsom Prison - Johnny Cash
    Please don't hesitate to recommend anything I haven't mentioned or warn me of anything that you know sounds substandard.
     
  2. John Geelan

    John Geelan Screenwriter

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    I do know that both Kind of Blue - Miles Davis

    Time Out - Dave Brubeck are considered great SACD's.
     
  3. DonaldB

    DonaldB Supporting Actor

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    John, thank you. I'll be sure to get those soon.
     
  4. Joe Cole

    Joe Cole Second Unit

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    The SACD 'Standard' requires a separate two channel stereo mix. It is not a compressed 5.1 channel. That would be DVD-A which has that most of the time but not always.
    If a SACD disk has a multi-channel recording, it will also have a true and separate stereo one as well.
    Brahms & Stravinsky: Violin Concertos - Hilary Hahn; Neville Marriner is a fine SACD as well.
    Do you like Beethoven?
    Happy SACD listening!
     
  5. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Donald, I wouldn't say that any SACDs have "compressed" stereo tracks. All SACDs have stereo tracks at full DSD resolution. Some could very well suffer from the sort of dynamic compression that has plagued rock and pop in recent times. In addition, some SACDs are lacking simply because the recordings are not up to snuff. I don't have the disc, but from comments I have read from many people, Aerosmith Just Push Play sounds awful on SACD (and CD).

    Here are some of my SACDs that leave me wanting more soundwise:

    Mariah Carey #1's
    Mary Chapin Carpenter time*sex*love*
    The Concert for New York City
    Billy Joel The Stranger
    Billy Joel 52nd Street
    Billy Joel An Innocent Man
    Journey Escape
    Journey Greatest Hits
    Top Gun - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
    Toto Toto IV
    Roger Waters In the Flesh -- Live

    I have the CDs of all of these titles including remastered versions that exist. The SACD is better in each case in that it is more three-dimensional and layered than the CD, but the above SACDs simply are not the best-sounding in my collection. I wish they sounded better.
     
  6. DonaldB

    DonaldB Supporting Actor

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    Joe, I like Beethoven very much. Which are some of the better discs available? Recommend away!

    Keith, it's a great relief to hear that the stereo tracks are done at full res. However, it's not surprising that there are discs lacking due to other reasons and there ought to be a resource documenting these duds. Thanks for the warnings.

    Anyone know of anything else to be avoided? Anything that really doesn't improve upon its redbook counterpart? We should get a list together so people don't go replacing discs that don't need replacing.
     
  7. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Donald, no problem.
     
  8. Joe Cole

    Joe Cole Second Unit

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    Donald,
    One of the best sounding(to me) SACDs I own is Beethoven's string quartets op 130 7 133 by the Lindsays on ASV CD DCA 9117(I have seen it at towers. It is a hybrid but only stereo. But it sounds so good that to me it sounds like a mult-channel disk. I am pretty sure that it is recorded in DSD.
    I also have LVB's 6th by Bruno Walter on Sony. Which of course means it is a single layer disk(no CD layer).[​IMG]
    It is from analog tapes but is a very good recording to me. I keep say 'to me' because I am no classical expert but I do like many works.
    There are more Beethoven SACDs out there but these are my only two so far.
    Also if I may: Vivaldi's The Four seasons with the Moscow Chamber orchestra on Delos is my number one sounding SACD at this time. But many are just a thin hair short. It is multi. [​IMG]
    Another on Sony Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante and concerto in D Mayor for Violin and piano is very sweet.
    Check out the music forum here. Many folks have recommend some of these to me and you will find lots of recommendations there, especially in Jazz.
    Hang on to your credit cards! [​IMG]
     
  9. John Tillman

    John Tillman Supporting Actor

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    On the thumbs up side I would add:
    Blood Sweat & Tears
    Santana Abraxas
    Dylan Blonde on Blonde
    All of which I own the CD & my ears love the SACD.

    Byrds GH
    I don't own the CD but my ears like the SACD. I've read that others don't.

    Bangles & Boston
    Don't own either the CD or SACD. Would have purchased but negative reports about the SACD's drove me away.

    Don't own any of these CD's but my ears like the SACD's
    Come on in This House - Junior Wells
    Spyro Gyra - In Modern Times
    Tapestry - Carol King (don't have the M/C)
    At Folsom Prison - Johnny Cash
     
  10. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    John, I agree with you on the Santana and Dylan SACDs. I have the remastered CDs as well as the MasterSound gold CD of Blonde on Blonde for comparison, and the SACDs are far better. Regarding The Byrds Greatest Hits, I too have the remastered CD and SACD, and the SACD is definitely better. Ditto for Carole King Tapestry. I've compared the SACD (stereo-only version) to my remastered and MasterSound gold CDs, and the SACD is much better. None of these four SACDs are among the best-sounding in my collection, but they don't leave me wanting or expecting more. These are old pop/rock recordings, and the SACDs sound great, all thing considered.

    I love Boston, and the SACD doesn't do a lot for me. It's better than the MasterSound gold CD, but it doesn't jump out at me the way many SACDs do. The Bangles SACD falls in the same category in my opinion.
     
  11. TomCW

    TomCW Second Unit

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    Keith, reference your post about the Mary-Chapin Carpenter SACD not sounding up to snuff. I found that the stereo mix sounds MUCH better than the multi-channel mix in that the center channel seems way too hot. I tried reducing the center level, but what really helped was setting the player to NO center channel speaker, thus re-directing the center to the fronts. I initially thought that I had a problem with my center channel speaker, but various other multi-channel SACDs sound OK. Would you give this a try and let me know what your results are?
    Thanks
    Tom
     
  12. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    FWIW, I have not heard or read any negative things regarding sound quality on any classical or jazz SACDs. Correct me if I am mistaken.

    So, Donald, I would say you're pretty much safe getting any of the SACDs you like. Listen to your heart's content.

    It's the rock ones you gotta be a little careful of.

    I just got the Hillary Hahn disc myself. Can't wait to hear it.


    NP: Strauss, DVD-A, Tacet
     
  13. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Tom, sorry for not being more specific. I was referring to the stereo track on time*sex*love*. It is not a lousy recording, but the vocals are a bit more edgy than I would like. The music is beautiful, but I wish the recording or mastering were better. I have the CD as well, and the SACD is better, just not as good as I would like.

    I have not listened to the multi-channel track on time*sex*love* critically.
     
  14. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    I don't care much for the multi-channel mix on 'Time*Sex*Love' as well. The 2-channel mix is good but it sounds like they did too much processing in the studio with the recording.
     
  15. Brian-W

    Brian-W Screenwriter

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    I know Keith and I disagree on Top Gun (and that's okay [​IMG] ).
    I was floored when I heard Top Gun. Sounded cleaner, crisper, and more alive than any version before it. Notable tunes on the sound track for me are Otis Reddings "Sittin' on the Dock of a Bay" and of course the favorite "You've Lost that loving feeling"
    I do agree that Journey (both discs) left me wanting. Billy Joel also to a degree left me wanting.
    The Bangles on the other hand I think sounds much cleaner and livelier than the redbook CD (I have both)
     
  16. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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  17. DonaldB

    DonaldB Supporting Actor

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    Actually, Ken, I was inquiring about the kind of compression found on DVDs with too many extras crammed onto the same disc. I had no idea of SACDs storage capacity and thought that maybe producers would shortchange 2-channel mixes in order to devote the bulk of the space to multi-channel tracks. It's a great relief that such fears are unwarranted.

    The dynamic range compression you're referring to is also troubling to me, enormously so, but I would hope we won't be seeing anything of the sort on SACD since it's geared toward us picky hi-fiers, who I'm sure producers know would never tolerate such tinkering.

    -----

    So, since my initial post here, I've listened to many of the Stones SACDs, Mozart: Sinfonia Concertante in E-Flat Major, The Byrds' Greatest Hits, and Blonde on Blonde. While the greater clarity and detail of SACD is immediately noticeable, I'm not yet blown away. This no doubt has to do with the inadequacy of my present speakers -- puny bookshelfs -- and I'll no doubt have that "holy fuckin' shit" moment once I get something that can more fully produce the richer sound that SACD delivers.
     
  18. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Brian,
    I was commenting on the Top Gun SACD as a whole. There are some standout tracks, and "Sittin' on the Dock of a Bay" is one such track. Good call.
    Donald,
    All SACDs, whether we are discussing stereo or multi-channel tracks, are encoded in 1-bit/2.8224-MHz DSD. Lower sampling rates are not used. The DVD-Audio spec., however, allows for variation of the sampling rate. As an example, many stereo tracks are encoded in 24/96 PCM instead of the optimal 24/192. 24/48 is seen ocassionally, and the 5.1-channel track on The Doors L.A. Woman is encoded in 24/88.2 PCM. It would be nice if all stereo tracks were encoded at 24/192 and all 5.1 tracks were encoded at 24/96. Oh well. If I were emperor... [​IMG]
     
  19. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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  20. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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