It's pretty easy to tell which SACDs are mastered from 16/44. The CD layer
sounds the same as the SACD layer. I've had a couple that sounded almost
identical on both layers. The sound was good though. On the other hand,
with the RCA SACD classical reissue series, it is easy to tell a difference
between the CD and SACD layers, although the difference is only evident on
violins, flutes, trumpets, cymbals and the like. I'd say the sound is
different because I can more easily tell the difference between the high
instruments. The most egregious distortion of MP3 is making everything way
up there sound like it was cut from the same cloth. Like there's a guy with
a tank of compressed air that releases some when the trumpet plays and when
the triangle sounds and when a guitar does a power chord, etc.. Further,
even if you didn't have access to the SACD layer, the CD layer is worlds
better than the previous issues which were all issued from later generation
tapes (speaking of RCA specifically). If SACD and DVDA helps improve work
stations and mastering techniques through the industry, even if SACD and
DVDA fail completely, then the byproduct (better mastering) will have been
worth it to me.
Which brings to mind one of the benefits from the quadraphonic debacle. The
first generation of transistor equipment used for mastering was kind of
blah, like all the other first generation of transistor stuff. When the
mastering houses upgraded for cutting quad LPs, they had to use better
electronics to cut the very high frequencies (carrier). This also led to
rapid developments in line contact styli (a huge improvement over conical to
my ears). I think the poor reputation of '70s vinyl was the ultra thin
pressings and vinyl with too much regrind in it. On top of that, engineers
were going microphone crazy. How many tracks do you need to record an
orchestra? The more microphones in use, the more possibility for weird
sound. And the more tracks you squeeze on a head, the worse the sound.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Tom Fine" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, July 04, 2006 6:46 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Longevity
> That's open to debate. Many people say all that needs to be captured is
> captured in the "low-resolution" CD format (which is actually very HIGH
> resolution compared the quickly-becoming-standard formats of iTunes/MP3).
> I think it's very debatable whether the majority of people could hear a
> difference in the same 2-channel mix in both formats in a true ABX test.
> I've never read of such a test, just a bunch of subjectivity on the topic.
> Also, Goran brought up an important point. Some or perhaps many SACD
> players do not output "pure" DSD digital but rather convert to PCM and
> then D-A. And, worse, many SACD's are made by converting a PCM file into
> DSD after all the workstation work is done. The reason being that, for
> instance in remixing a 24-track tape, the engineer is more likely to want
> to work in the Protools format he's used to. I think but do not know for a
> fact that companies like SADIE and Pyramix now make many-channel all-DSD
> workstations but I believe they are expensive and few studios will go that
> route for a sinking format. I think but do not know for a fact that most
> new (ie not reissue/remix) SACD's are made all-DSD from the start.
> Bottom line, if one wanted to shed some science light on this rather than
> the myriad opinions floating around the internet and this mailing list,
> set up a true ABX test with equally good playback equipment for each
> format using the same 2-channel source mastered directly to both formats.
> I am not sure the great majority of ears could tell any difference if the
> CD were done with as much care as the SACD and the CD playback equipment
> was equal to the quality of the SACD playback equipment. When you get to
> thinking about it, it's not the easiest test to set up, which is likely
> why no one's done it, beyond the fact that the emporer may well have no
> -- Tom Fine
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Don Cox" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Monday, July 03, 2006 10:24 AM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Longevity
>> On 03/07/06, Tom Fine wrote:
>>> My own opinion is that some SACD discs sound really wonderful, and
>>> some multi-channel mixes are worthwhile but overall it's not worth a
>>> lot of extra expense (particularly since it's a submerging format) and
>>> there wouldn't even have been a window of opportunity if there were
>>> better CD mastering and remastering engineers out there. And, since
>>> the same guys also do SACD, the same percentage of SACD releases are
>>> really excellent (ie small percentage).
>> But however good the mastering engineer, he will not be able to get the
>> same quality on CD as he can get on SACD.
>>> One man's opinion, etc.
>> Don Cox
>> [log in to unmask]