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View Full Version : Was SACD a great idea doomed to failure by sheer bloody stupidity?



twelvebears
24-02-2010, 20:55
I case you can't guess, this thread is prompted by my recent near miss (and only a miss due to Peter) with buying Depeche Mode SACDs, or more accurately SACDs that were actually being sold as CDs when they were actually both.

What this experience has proved to me is the following:

a) SACD is a great format which, to me at least, definitely sounds better that standard CD

b) It's ability to co-exist with 'normal' CD data on the same disc makes compatibility a non-issue. Let's face it, Amazon are currently selling CD + DVD 'Special Editions' to people who are happily using them on normal CD players with probably no idea that they are also SACDs

c) The whole failure of SACD was down to the fact that initially record companies tried 'milking' us Audiophiles for extra cash and charge more for SACDs and new players, rather doing what can clearly be done (as shown by the afore mentioned Mute/Depeche Mode saga), which is to bring it in alongside the mainstream CD for minimal extra cost, but with the lure of better sound quality if people chose to buy an SACD machine later to 'unleash' the hidden potential of these new dual-purpose discs. :doh:

d) The final straw is that if both Amazon AND Mute's own bloody website don't correctly identify albums which are actually CD/SACDs, what sodding chance do the rest of us have?!!! :confused:

I suppose my final, overriding disappointment is the feeling that if things had been handled differently, rather than facing the march of the degradation of sound quality from MP3, with CD seen as the 'old fashioned' format which people think is on its way out (even though it's actually the 'hi-res' format in comparison), we could have been in a situation where SACD sat alongside CD, with enough tech-sexy appeal for the marking bods to get people buying. :(

Oh what the hell, I'm just a whinging git who wishes things were different. Let's face it, whether something new lives or dies really comes down to whether most people can see the point. Digital mobiles took off because they were generally better that analogue ones, DVD thrived because it is better than VCR, CD's worked because to MOST people, they were smaller, more convenient, tougher and sounded better. HD TV/video makes SD viewing look like your glasses need replacing....

Unfortunately for MOST people there really isn't a difference between CD and SACD that's worth ANY extra cost or hassle....

Rowemeister
24-02-2010, 21:20
Hear Hear

It is a shame the way things are going. Too many people have poor 'LO-FI' and MP3 sounds like cd on those systems. The compression is barely noticed and people are happy buying crap. It ruins it for everyone else.

MP3 for me was a fine replacement for cd / minidisc when out jogging etc but there really is no excuse anymore with the size of the hard drives fitted to used MP3.

Brent

Spectral Morn
24-02-2010, 21:23
The main problem is that "the latest and best high res digital" came at the wrong time. Mp3, phones and Computer audio were happening or starting to happen as was gaming and home cinema, and this distracted or simply made SACD irrelevant to the majority.

The other problem was that the main bulk of electronics companies did not want the Philips/Sony axis once again getting the upper hand..so they came up with DVDA. Both systems are very good and imho/e better than CD. Problem was a format war didn't really happen, but any momentum for better sound was lost and diluted, by there being two systems. SACD won by default as DVDA faded away.

I agree that this was a missed opportunity, for better sound quality, but that in its self, for the majority is of no interest, so SACD will ultimately fade away. I for one have about 100 titles and a very good machine to listen to them on (Marantz SA7)and I buy SACDs when ever I see them, which is less often now. Last ones were the Genesis reissues and the Dead Can Dance reissues all excellent. Sadly the last batch of Genesis albums are only CDs, interest obviously lost in SACD by the record label...I can but dream of Seconds Out on SACD :(

Enjoy.


Regards D S D L

DSJR
24-02-2010, 21:51
SA-CD "worked" because some old stuff could be re-mastered and eq'd. Colloms himself found this on some of the earlier issues anyway.

later classical SA-CD's sounded good because they were recorded and mastered more carefully, nothing more.

The best CD players sound better than the best SA-CD players according to a company that made both types of player and recorded and mastered the music too.

SA-CD apparently has better resolution in the bass, where it's not needed and far less in the treble regions where it is. The amount of noisy sh*t above 20KHz is significantly more as well.

There's nothing at all wrong with the red book standard, it's the implentation at the mastering stage and CD manufacture that seems to be the problem.

Finally, none of this will matter in a few years when computers and huge storage take over the role of a CD player and the rest of us continue to enjoy our LP's..

Stratmangler
24-02-2010, 22:29
It's ironic that there has been a resurgence in interest in DVD-Audio driven by the rise in computer audio, as DVD-Audio can be ripped to HDD.

This in turn has kick started a market for 24/96 downloads - ok the market is not huge 'cos Joe Public usually doesn't give a rat's arse about sound quality, but the market is there nontheless.
And because the content is distributed on the internet it is relatively easy to obtain.

SACD is still a step too far for computers - any discs that have rippable content are hybrid discs with CD layers, so all you can get off them is 16/44.1 content.
More's the pity !!!

Chris:)

Haselsh1
24-02-2010, 22:34
In my personal opinion, SACD was doomed to failure the moment Sony withdrew it's massive subsidisation of the format at the recording and mastering stages. Sony no longer help out anyone wanting to produce their music on SACD and so only old dinosaurs like Peter Gabriel seem to want to do it.
Is it better than CD...? I'd say it is merely different. Does that make it better...? I don't know. Technically it is better.

Spectral Morn
24-02-2010, 22:40
SA-CD "worked" because some old stuff could be re-mastered and eq'd. Colloms himself found this on some of the earlier issues anyway.

later classical SA-CD's sounded good because they were recorded and mastered more carefully, nothing more.

The best CD players sound better than the best SA-CD players according to a company that made both types of player and recorded and mastered the music too.

SA-CD apparently has better resolution in the bass, where it's not needed and far less in the treble regions where it is. The amount of noisy sh*t above 20KHz is significantly more as well.

There's nothing at all wrong with the red book standard, it's the implentation at the mastering stage and CD manufacture that seems to be the problem.

Finally, none of this will matter in a few years when computers and huge storage take over the role of a CD player and the rest of us continue to enjoy our LP's..

Who claimed that ? Not my findings at all...SACD played back on a good to great SACD player beats CD almost every time. My Marantz SA7 playing SACDs eats my Moon Andromeda playing the same CD. Now playing a CD, its the other way round. The Marantz is destroyed by the Moon Andromeda. I have yet to hear any SACD player better a dedicated CD player playing CDs (not heard the latest Wadias..I suspect they are fantastic on both). The SACD format sounds fantastic to my ears (and others)...DVD Audio did too (I have a Toshiba SD900-E and Pioneer 868-AVI for playing DVD Audio, also my MSB Link Dac decodes DVDA too. The Toshiba is fabulous imho on DVDA crap on CD except HDCDs, which it can decode).

I have owned 3 SACD players...Sony SCD777, Marantz SA11 and the Marantz SA7.

I suggest Dave you go listen to some SACD players playing SACDs and then compare similarly priced dedicated CD players playing the same CDs and then write what you just just have...I am pretty sure you won't. SACD will be better every time by a huge margin, or if the disc is less well mastered, then only slightly better; but still better. Those are my findings..9 out of 10 times.


Regards D S D L

Rare Bird
24-02-2010, 23:04
HDCD was far superior to SACD but o no the market saw money in SACD for obvious reasons bollox to sound quality eh

Spectral Morn
24-02-2010, 23:16
HDCD was far superior to SACD but o no the market saw money in SACD for obvious reasons bollox to sound quality eh

Hi Andre

HDCD is very good, not quite as good imho as SACD or DVDA, but offers much better sound than red book CD. I love listening to King Crimson on HDCD via my MSB link Dac.


Regards D S D L

Stratmangler
24-02-2010, 23:45
it's interesting to note that The Beatles USB stick contains not only MP3 files of all of The Beatles releases, but also 24/44.1 FLAC files of the same.

These FLAC files are the highest quality digital format of The Beatles work currently available.

And when you rip HDCD with dbPoweramp you end up with 24/44.1 files.

We'll have to wait for the next round of EMI's process of cash from wallet extraction before we get to hear The Beatles at any higher resolution.

Chris;)

MartinT
24-02-2010, 23:53
SACD is a superb format that was doomed because people who demand high quality sound are in a small minority. If hybrid dual-layer SACDs could have been made at the same price as CDs then those of us who like hi-res sound would have whooped with joy. Nevertheless, SACD (unlike commercial DVD-A) is not dead and many small labels continue to support the format.

In my opinion, and owning one of the few universal players on the market, both SACD and DVD-A beat CD for sound quality in the final analysis. That's not to say that the best CDs are poor, they are not. I continue to buy SACDs from Amazon and other resellers, including new releases.

Alex_UK
25-02-2010, 00:01
I only have 20 or so SACDs as they are either hard to find, or too expensive! They do sound better to my ears, but not enough to warrant the sometimes ridiculous amounts asked.

Rare Bird
25-02-2010, 00:37
Thank god i don't have to buy em :lol:

I still believe HDCD sound better

giorgino
25-02-2010, 01:05
I think we'd be surprised how small the audiophile market is. By audiophile, I mean a group of people with an interest in maximising high quality recording, it's reproduction and are willing to spend money in it's pursuit. Even when the CD was at it height of popularity, I wonder what proportion of the market was interested in CD quality? I suspect very little. I'd hazard a guess (then and now) that only a small percentage of the population will have really heard what the CD can achieve (I doubt they care).

It stands to reason that the dawn of SACD quality will have meant very little to the general public. As soon as the convenience of MP3, ipods and downloads (both legally and illegally) became mainstream, it was pretty much game over for SACD. And then to expect the general consumer to pay a premium for the claimed quality they can't hear, that's just adding insult to injury...:scratch:

twelvebears
25-02-2010, 06:55
I think we'd be surprised how small the audiophile market is. By audiophile, I mean a group of people with an interest in maximising high quality recording, it's reproduction and are willing to spend money in it's pursuit. Even when the CD was at it height of popularity, I wonder what proportion of the market was interested in CD quality? I suspect very little. I'd hazard a guess (then and now) that only a small percentage of the population will have really heard what the CD can achieve (I doubt they care).

It stands to reason that the dawn of SACD quality will have meant very little to the general public. As soon as the convenience of MP3, ipods and downloads (both legally and illegally) became mainstream, it was pretty much game over for SACD. And then to expect the general consumer to pay a premium for the claimed quality they can't hear, that's just adding insult to injury...:scratch:

Hi George.

Yeah basically I agree with you and totally get that we audiophiles are a drop in the ocean. As you say, most people don't even know or appreciate how good CD can sound, let alone something better. I mean let's face it, even to someone with fine tuned ears and a good system, the difference between CD and SACD is hardly as much of a slap in the face as SD to HD TV, which anyone but Mr Magoo can spot....

Dave Cawley
25-02-2010, 08:12
Amazon is chock a block full of SACD's! And if you try hard you can buy a brand new Marantz SA-7S1 with a retail price of 5899.90 for 3,800.00

Regards

Dave

Themis
25-02-2010, 08:18
SACD is dying (dead?) because the studios don't want to invest once more solely for the electronic companies. They did that once 30 years ogo, they will not start again. ;)

twelvebears
25-02-2010, 08:27
Amazon is chock a block full of SACD's! And if you try hard you can buy a brand new Marantz SA-7S1 with a retail price of 5899.90 for 3,800.00

Regards

Dave

Really Dave? There don't seem to be that many that I'd want to own that aren't rather expensive....

The Depeche Mode thing was a bit of a fluke and basically these albums aren't even listed as being SACD! Even when you have one of them, the only thing that gives it away (apart from sticking it in an SACD player) is a teeny-tiny SACD logo on the back cover and some small writing writing saying they are SACD compatible. Other than that there's NOTHING inside the case OR anywhere on the CD.

As it happens, I now have a suspicion that there may be two Goldfrapp albums which are also 'stealth' SACDS, because they are also 'Special Edition' CD + DVD sets issued by Mute (DM's label) at around the same time.... I've ordered them just to find out.

Christ I may have to start trawling CD shops again, armed with a magnifing glass to read all the CD cases.....

twelvebears
25-02-2010, 08:32
SACD is dying (dead?) because the studios don't want to invest once more solely for the electronic companies. They did that once 30 years ogo, they will not start again. ;)

Interestingly I read that one of the positives of SACD vs DVD-A is/was that the mastering process was relatively straightforward for companies to adopt.... if they are small enough to change....

That's probably why the SACDs that are still being produced are coming from small-ish specialist labels. In fact Mute themselves are not exactly massive, which may explain why they seem to still be knocking some SACDs out.

MartinT
25-02-2010, 08:36
Small classical labels like LSO Live are doing very well with SACD releases.

Peter Galbavy
25-02-2010, 09:02
It's nice to see companies/labels like the LSO making all their releases hybrid SACD. It must cost more to press the discs but I expect once you are set up for recording, mixing and mastering in DSD then it becomes a small incremental cost. In fact all their stuff seems to be cheaper in simple disc-for-disc terms to their notional competitors.

While I buy SACD and some DVDA when the fancy takes me, my "music room" is currently Redbook and vinyl only. I did look at the cheaper Sony SACD player (150 or something) but I am worried that now I am spoilt by a Caiman for Redbook CD replay that the analogue out only low-end SACD player would actually sound worse. So, SACDs get the CD layer ripped as FLAC and the discs themselves gets occassional play in the 5.1 setup for the surround mix.

This is one of the things that goes against SACD and DVDA - the lack of an open digital output stream that can then be dealt with by the listeners specific equipment. While having DSD over HDMI in the later standards it still means you are at the mercy of the DAC in your AV processor.

Stratmangler
25-02-2010, 09:40
This is one of the things that goes against SACD and DVDA - the lack of an open digital output stream that can then be dealt with by the listeners specific equipment. While having DSD over HDMI in the later standards it still means you are at the mercy of the DAC in your AV processor.

DVD-Audio discs can be ripped on a PC.
You just need the appropriate program with which to rip the tracks.

Chris:)

Peter Galbavy
25-02-2010, 14:29
DVD-Audio discs can be ripped on a PC.
You just need the appropriate program with which to rip the tracks.

Yep, and once I have an SB Touch so that I can handle FLAC files > 24/48 I will do exactly this. :)

twelvebears
25-02-2010, 18:14
Just to butt-in slightly, the hoped for Depeche Mode bargain SACDS are not unfortunately, so it looks like they are out of production and that the older more popular albums like Violator, Black Celebration etc are going to cost me a packet.....

Stratmangler
25-02-2010, 18:30
Yep, and once I have an SB Touch so that I can handle FLAC files > 24/48 I will do exactly this. :)

Just google dvdaexplorer.

Chris;)

Themis
25-02-2010, 18:44
Yep, and once I have an SB Touch so that I can handle FLAC files > 24/48 I will do exactly this. :)
You probably mean 24/96... ;)

DSJR
25-02-2010, 20:35
Who claimed that ? Not my findings at all...SACD played back on a good to great SACD player beats CD almost every time. My Marantz SA7 playing SACDs eats my Moon Andromeda playing the same CD. Now playing a CD, its the other way round. The Marantz is destroyed by the Moon Andromeda. I have yet to hear any SACD player better a dedicated CD player playing CDs (not heard the latest Wadias..I suspect they are fantastic on both). The SACD format sounds fantastic to my ears (and others)...DVD Audio did too (I have a Toshiba SD900-E and Pioneer 868-AVI for playing DVD Audio, also my MSB Link Dac decodes DVDA too. The Toshiba is fabulous imho on DVDA crap on CD except HDCDs, which it can decode).

I have owned 3 SACD players...Sony SCD777, Marantz SA11 and the Marantz SA7.

I suggest Dave you go listen to some SACD players playing SACDs and then compare similarly priced dedicated CD players playing the same CDs and then write what you just just have...I am pretty sure you won't. SACD will be better every time by a huge margin, or if the disc is less well mastered, then only slightly better; but still better. Those are my findings..9 out of 10 times.


Regards D S D L

Well, argue that with Linn!!!!! Like I said, this was their honest (?) opinion at the time and they should know, shouldn't they???

What exactly do you find better about SA-CD?


By the way, you supporters aren't using a "one player fits all" are you? The CD replay part will always be inferior because it has to be...

Anyway, CD, DVD-A and SACD are pretty much obsolete now as downloads take over slowly but surely......

Any audio on Blu-Ray?

MartinT
25-02-2010, 21:25
Well, argue that with Linn!!!!! Like I said, this was their honest (?) opinion at the time and they should know, shouldn't they???

You're joking, right?



By the way, you supporters aren't using a "one player fits all" are you? The CD replay part will always be inferior because it has to be...

Why? The Ayre C-5xe MP is a superb CD player. In what way is it inferior?

Spectral Morn
25-02-2010, 22:08
Well, argue that with Linn!!!!! Like I said, this was their honest (?) opinion at the time and they should know, shouldn't they???

What exactly do you find better about SA-CD?


By the way, you supporters aren't using a "one player fits all" are you? The CD replay part will always be inferior because it has to be...

Anyway, CD, DVD-A and SACD are pretty much obsolete now as downloads take over slowly but surely......

Any audio on Blu-Ray?

Hi Dave

If you had said Linn, and not by the way you typed implied you agreed with what the unknown they had said(maybe you do agree ? What players have you done comparisons with ?)...I would not have taken issue with you, in quite the way I did. However anything Linn says these days I would view as marketing spin. Linn say CD is finished, so we all agree....like hell we/I do. "We will never do CD..its crap"....yeah right, Linn did it when it suited them. So they are going down the multi-room server road, fine let them...and make no mistake embracing PC audio/servers is about multi-room, not quality 2 channel imho...for the most part.

Sick of hearing about bloody downloads.

SACD is more spacious, more natural, more dimensional, more like good analogue imho, it makes CD sound two dimensional imho.


Regards D S D L

twelvebears
25-02-2010, 22:09
You're joking, right?

Why? The Ayre C-5xe MP is a superb CD player. In what way is it inferior?

I think the point Dave was making is that the CD bit of an SACD player is inferior.

Just to respond to that, on my SCD777ES, yes as a stock machine the CD is not as good as it could be but that's something easily addressed by a decent DAC and/or some mods, which make it pretty damn great at both...

Alex_UK
25-02-2010, 22:20
more like good analogue imho

IMHO too, especially this bit.

MartinT
25-02-2010, 22:46
I think the point Dave was making is that the CD bit of an SACD player is inferior.

And I'm making the point that the CD bit of my Ayre is the best I've ever had. Despite it being an SACD and DVD-A player too.

Spectral Morn
25-02-2010, 23:11
And I'm making the point that the CD bit of my Ayre is the best I've ever had. Despite it being an SACD and DVD-A player too.

Hi Martin

Would you say though in your experience with the Ayre (I haven't heard one myself)that the 2 high res formats sound better than CD, or are the three about equal ?


Regards D S D L

Themis
26-02-2010, 07:12
Any audio on Blu-Ray?
Multi-channel PCM, it seems.

There's is a DXD format emerging, but -as I said- earlier I doubt the industry will do any more format changes... Studio content (24/96 or 24/192 PCM) is all what we can hope to get in the foreseenable future.

The main advantage of SACD is that it produces a very mellow (quasi-analog) sound on *very* cheap equipment. I have one of the first entry-level Sony SACD players (costing under 100 ten years ago) and it played music like only high-end CD players could do at that time.

MartinT
26-02-2010, 07:13
Would you say though in your experience with the Ayre (I haven't heard one myself)that the 2 high res formats sound better than CD, or are the three about equal ?

See my post #11. Yes, I do rate the best SACDs and DVD-As above the best CDs, but it's closer than you might think. Of course, the worst are no match in any format.

Peter Galbavy
26-02-2010, 08:49
You probably mean 24/96... ;)

Nope, I said "> 24/48" note the greater than sign :)

The SB3 can only handle and output up to 24/48 AFAIK. It may even be limited to 16/48, since the only 24 bit content I have is 96Khz so I cannot test.

Themis
26-02-2010, 09:50
Nope, I said "> 24/48" note the greater than sign :)Unbelievable what a single keyboard character can do... :lol:

Sorry, I had missed it. ;)

Stratmangler
26-02-2010, 10:02
The SB3 can only handle and output up to 24/48 AFAIK. It may even be limited to 16/48, since the only 24 bit content I have is 96Khz so I cannot test.

Copes fine with 24 bit material I have;)
That said, it is downsampled by the server program.

Chris:)

chris@panteg
26-02-2010, 10:39
Changing the subject a little ! i find it really odd that Robert Fripp decided to re release the KC albums on the DVDA format , as dvda is so easy to rip/pirate ' i know this is something that irks him greatly ' so why ?.

They do sound superb though and i like SACD ' an interesting recent purchase for me ' Moody Blues ' in search of the lost chord special edition ' no mention of SACD on the disc or packaging ' yet its a Hybrid disc ! strange .

dave2010
26-02-2010, 10:48
For me the SACD providers have shot themselves in the foot not only with the discs, but also the equipment. I recently bought a Blu-Ray surround system, and thought I could use an optical link to connect it and listen to SACD in surround sound. No way. The morons who thought it more important to stop people "stealing their music" have made it more likely that no one will buy it in the first place. I have an SACD player with 6 analogue outputs, and an AV amp (combined with Blu-Ray player) with only digital optical inputs, but no HDMI input.

Clearly new devices will use HDMI, and anybody smart enough will buy a new AV anp with HDMI inputs, or alternatively look for an older one with analogue inputs - and invest in loads of cables.

I think, though I'm not absolutely sure, that DVD-A does not have this limitation, so I bought a few of those, and they do seem to work with my SACD/Blu Ray combination.

FYI - SACD Oppo DV-980H - Blu-Ray Sony - BDVFS360 (I think) - which was just about good value at the price I paid, though the speaker connections are a disgrace.

Marco
26-02-2010, 10:54
Hi Dave,

Welcome to AOS :)

Could you do me a big favour and pop into the Welcome area and intoduce yourself properly (using other threads there as a template for what is required)?

It's the procedure we ask all new members to follow when joining AOS.

Cheers! :cool:

Marco.

chris@panteg
26-02-2010, 11:03
For me the SACD providers have shot themselves in the foot not only with the discs, but also the equipment. I recently bought a Blu-Ray surround system, and thought I could use an optical link to connect it and listen to SACD in surround sound. No way. The morons who thought it more important to stop people "stealing their music" have made it more likely that no one will buy it in the first place. I have an SACD player with 6 analogue outputs, and an AV amp (combined with Blu-Ray player) with only digital optical inputs, but no HDMI input.

Clearly new devices will use HDMI, and anybody smart enough will buy a new AV anp with HDMI inputs, or alternatively look for an older one with analogue inputs - and invest in loads of cables.

I think, though I'm not absolutely sure, that DVD-A does not have this limitation, so I bought a few of those, and they do seem to work with my SACD/Blu Ray combination.

FYI - SACD Oppo DV-980H - Blu-Ray Sony - BDVFS360 (I think) - which was just about good value at the price I paid, though the speaker connections are a disgrace.

Hi and welcome to AOS ' i think you have answered my question ' Fripp must have been thinking of Audio enthusiast's getting the best sound ! maybe.

Themis
26-02-2010, 11:11
I have an SACD player with 6 analogue outputs, and an AV amp (combined with Blu-Ray player) with only digital optical inputs, but no HDMI input.
In fact, digital inputs of AV receivers can't handle DSD (SACD).
So, you can use either HDMI (some receivers handle DSD over HDMI 1.3) or DSD->PCM conversion on the player. But then, only *very* few players do that (early PS3, for instance).

MartinT
26-02-2010, 12:08
It's so much easier when you have an all-in-one player and stereo outputs and you detest all surround systems ;)

DSJR
26-02-2010, 13:53
Just a quickie with (hopefully) no attitude on my part...

I've just received imported remastered CD's of Thomas Dolby's "The Flat Earth" and The Fixx's "Saved By Zero." The former I only have on excellent original vinyl, the latter I have on original LP and original CD. The sound on these two remastered discs is totally stunning IMO. When I finally took my jaw off the floor I revelled in the more powerful and tuneful bass, the far greater spatial info in the mid and the cheap-passive-speaker destroying treble. God, my ancient stereo sounded fuggin amazing this lunchtime..

With a decent sound as I was getting today, my feelings were, "Who needs SACD or DVD-Audio?"

Just my thoughts on discs done right. The later Fixx album "Walkabout" definitely needs this treatment as the CD, which only came out a few years ago, sounds congested with "odd" depth effects when compared to the vinyl........

StanleyB
26-02-2010, 14:31
Just a quickie with (hopefully) no attitude on my part...

I've just received imported remastered CD's of Thomas Dolby's "The Flat Earth" and The Fixx's "Saved By Zero." The former I only have on excellent original vinyl, the latter I have on original LP and original CD. The sound on these two remastered discs is totally stunning IMO. When I finally took my jaw off the floor I revelled in the more powerful and tuneful bass, the far greater spacial info in the mid and the cheap-passive-speaker destroying treble. God, my ancient stereo sounded fuggin amazing this lunchtime..
What does remastering involve?

technobear
26-02-2010, 17:42
What does remastering involve?

In my experience it involves severe compression and lots of clipping :steam:

I have now intsituted a policy of only buying older CDs - pre-2000 at least if I can get them. Anything produced in the last 3 years is just kak :(

DSJR
26-02-2010, 18:07
What does remastering involve?

I'm supposed to be writing something fit for the library on this...

It seems that when there was a rush to get as much out on CD as possible, and back in the early days of digital workstations, the record companies would use any old masters of whatever generation they could find to do the digital dub. The crude workstations they used also had their effect if any "work" had to be done on the masters. I've even heard stories of cassettes being used as analogue donors on occasion..

Many commercial pop and rock masters held by record companies have the sound compressed and the upper-mid boosted to make records made from them sound more "alive" and on some material this works. This patantly doesn't work when a straight dub is made to quickly create a CD. Sometimes, the artist or producer has better tapes and a good record company will do their utmost to source the best tapes they can for remastering, especially if the artist is a large multi-national one where tape copies were sent out all over..

Re-mastering *at its best* is an attempt, at our expense, to put things right. Original tapes as low in generation as possible are sourced, the sound is carefully listened to and re-balanced if necessary to give a more natural balance. As the levels on early CD's are often too low, a good engineer sympathetic to fidelity can carefully increase the levels to make full use of the digital system WITHOUT COMPRESSION. bad remastering is when the engineer (has to?) increases the levels too much, removing dynamics in the process..

The other thing is that modern workstations seem able to retain the lower level things in the mix rather better than before for some reason and this is what I found with the two discs mentioned above. The Thomas Dolby disc was frightening in places and really did sound master tape like - a sense of precision, clarity, "tunefulness" and dynamics not always heard in full blossom on LP's IMO unless you have a VERY good turntable system and even then.......

Rare Bird
26-02-2010, 18:26
In my experience it involves severe compression and lots of clipping :steam:

I have now intsituted a policy of only buying older CDs - pre-2000 at least if I can get them. Anything produced in the last 3 years is just kak :(


http://www.cdmasteringservices.com/dynamicdeath.htm

dave2010
26-02-2010, 18:44
Hear Hear

MP3 for me was a fine replacement for cd / minidisc when out jogging etc but there really is no excuse anymore with the size of the hard drives fitted to used MP3.

BrentAgreed, but it's taken maybe 10 years to get here. I have a couple of cheap MP3 players bought from Tesco **, and they're good for going on holiday - can get quite a lot on a 2Gbyte machine in MP3. Eventuallly these will have enough storage for FLAC, but perhaps not yet, and MP3 is a common currency, even though if you must have compressed audio AAC is better.

** bought for a holiday where lions and monkeys might have made taking an iPod an expensive item to lose or be damaged.

For broadcast use there is still mileage in digitally compressed audio. Musicam (mp2) is for the most part inferior to mp3, and it'll be years before anyone even thinks of FLAC for audio streaming over the airwaves - if they ever do. However, the rise of Internet streaming and downloads should make it possible to have FLAC streaming and downloads, and much better quality even than CD. The technology is just about here, but is there the will to make it happen? Most broadcasters and regulatory regimes are more interested in providing more to many, rather than quality sound to slightly fewer, hence aac+ and AAC-HE with low bit rates. Perfectly adequate in their place, but not ultra-high quality.

We may have already lost the battle for the next generation of digital broadcasting - which should be perceptually high quality, but may not be.

Barry
26-02-2010, 18:56
Hi Dave


I'm supposed to be writing something fit for the library on this...

I was about to gently remind you, but it seems that you have already made a start! ;)

Regards

DSJR
26-02-2010, 21:09
You mean you need more?????????????????????????????????????????????? ???

Barry
26-02-2010, 23:16
You mean you need more?????????????????????????????????????????????? ???

Oh yes - lots more!! :eyebrows:

Regards

Stratmangler
08-03-2010, 14:38
Changing the subject a little ! i find it really odd that Robert Fripp decided to re release the KC albums on the DVDA format , as dvda is so easy to rip/pirate ' i know this is something that irks him greatly ' so why ?.

Stephen Wilson.
Of Porcupine Tree notoriety.
Hasn't he been hands on at the console during the remastering processes ?
Anyway, Stephen loves the SQ of 24/48 music files.

I obtained the newly remastered Lightbulb Sun by PT recently, and there is a DVD-Audio disc in the pack. Sounds excellent too.

Chris:)