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ARSCLIST  January 2012

ARSCLIST January 2012

Subject:

Re: SACD/surround/etc

From:

Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 31 Jan 2012 09:48:03 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (138 lines)

The SACD, like the LP, has found a niche in the audiophile community. Mobile Fidelity brand is now 
owned or operated by Music Direct in Chicago. Chad Kassim (sp?) has his Acoustic Sounds retailer and 
his Analogue Productions label, which also issues SACDs of old, remastered material. I don't think 
the major classical labels are making new SACD product. BIS and a couple of other small players do 
make new SACD product. Assuming there is enough product sold to keep a production plant busy, it 
will be a niche for the foreseeable. However, unlike LPs, SACD's can't be pressed with a relatively 
low startup cost. I believe there is Sony proprietary equipment involved in the mastering and 
pressing, so if Sony loses interest that may be it for the niche. They've already lost interest in 
DSD, but some licensees continue to use the technology. Sony has a history of not playing in niches 
and cutting bait when there's not enough market for something.

As for multi-channel vs 2-channel SACD, I too like the multi-channel, but we fans of a speaker array 
are a minority niche. If you look at the output from Acoustic Sounds and Music Direct, they are 
going for the hi-rez 2-channel market with their reissues, just like they do with their LPs. There 
was a short time where some old stuff came out remixed for surround (sometimes just doing some 
matrix-messing with the old quad mixes from the 70's, sometimes remixing from the multi-tracks. For 
instances, Universal put out Allman Brothers and Clapton classics in 5.1 surround, with what I think 
are nice mixes (although "Layla" cannot be de-mudded not matter what they do). Capitol/EMI put out a 
good-selling 5.1 remix of Pink Floyd "Dark Side of the Moon." Sony put out many more-than-2-channel 
offerings, including classic jazz and rock albums, and for a short time both Sony and Universal put 
new classical offerings out in 5.1 surround. And we have the excellent RCA Living Stereo reissues, 
many (but not all) are 3-channel. There was also some interesting (and some of it very 
good-sounding) surround-release activity by orchestras, mainly LSO and CSO. All of this was an 
ear-feast for people like me and Louis, but we are a minority, none of this caught on with the mass 
market. It's the same for DVD, by the way. For all the money spent making 5.1 mega-soundtracks for 
DVD, almost all DVD viewing is done through a TV set and 2 little speakers on the sides of the TV, 
and more and more nowadays is being done on portable devices with earbuds (this kind of ties in with 
Louis and Richard and their interesting comments).

Oh, one other thing kind of related, along the lines of what Richard was saying about "the kids" 
wanting video with their audio. There was an interview with Bob Clearmountain in TapeOp magazine a 
while back and he was talking about mixing surround movie sound for Scorcese's "Shine A Light" 
(Rolling Stones docu-concert movie). Clearmountain said that Scorcese kept telling him to "forget 
about how it sounds without the picture" and make whatever is the central focus of the picture 
louder, also make the sound move with camera pans. This is sort of a return to the early days of 
wide-screen multi-channel from the 50's. Clearmountain said it took some adjusting on his part, but 
he noticed that the same thing had been done for the DVD remaster of "The Last Waltz" (which I have 
and I noticed the same thing but only after I turned my back on the picture for a while). So it's a 
whole different kind of surround sound mix when a picture is involved. This is one of a variety of 
reasons why a typical home-theater surround-sound system is not good for playing music-only 
high-fidelity multi-channel material (another reason being that the 5 speaker drivers are rarely of 
the same size/type) My own experience is that you can get away with smaller rear/surround speakers, 
but they need to be full-frequency down to at least 120hz. The front three speakers need to be the 
same types, and need to be full-range and high-fidelity. Also, I'm of the view that you need left 
and right subwoofers, that bass is more directional in the real world than some theory claims. The 
good news is, you can get away with relatively lower-power amplifiers (again, they should all be 
matched) because each amp is driving less power to move the same air since there are more 
speaker-motors moving the air. Also, especially if you're using subwoofers, the front 3 don't need 
to be massives. I've heard good results using high-quality bookshelf speakers on good stands at ear 
level. In the best case, the guy used 5 of the same type bookshelves (they were PSB if I recall 
correctly, not bank-breaking, bass sounded like it was good down to about 120hz) and a pair of those 
Taiwan-made subwoofers, forgot the guy's name, which were shockingly good at high power levels (no 
crunch, rattle or popping). My only beef was that you had to sit in a very specific place for there 
not to be some turnover issues between the speakers and the subwoofers. But the big benefit for this 
guy was, for a few thousands bucks, he had a system that sounded good for everything from action 
movies to very detailed classical SACD's. Even Dolby and DTS music discs like the Beatles "Love" 
extra disc sounded great on that system. Because the speakers were small, it wasn't capable of 120dB 
SPL, but I measured a comfortable 90dB SPL peaks and the low-level stuff was not lost or unclear to 
my ears. I should add that he made fiberglass panels to span the corners of the room and had a heavy 
rug on the floor and had some creative fabric-drapes on the ceiling, so the room was quite dead and 
neutral.

-- Tom Fine


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Music Hunter" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 9:00 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Mercury 51-CD box set now officially set for USA and Europe markets


> Labels are still releasing some new product on SACD and some old evergreen
> titles are being reissued on SACD as well. For example, this Carol King SACD
> was released just today.
>
> Artist: Carole King
> Title: Music
> Genre: Rock / Pop
> Release Date: 31 January 2012
> Attributes: Sacd ~ Discs:1
> Label: Mobile Fidelity ( MOB )
> Product Type: SACD
> Catalog #: 2068
> UPC: 821797206860
> Configuration: E: Super Audio CD
>
>
> Your search for sound & video ends here!
> Jay Sonin, General Manager
> Music Hunter Distributing Company
> 4880 North Citation Drive, Suite # 101
> Delray Beach, Florida 33445-6552
> [log in to unmask]
> 561-450-7152
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Barton, Matthew
> Sent: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 8:54 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Mercury 51-CD box set now officially set for USA and
> Europe markets
>
> I can't cite numbers, but I've been told that more SACD's were released in
> 2011 than in any previous year, so I think the format has at least found a
> niche. Quite a few classical SACD's come out of Europe, though they may not
> actually be manufactured there. The BIS label of Sweden has released quite a
> few very good ones.
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Eric Nagamine
> Sent: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 4:42 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Mercury 51-CD box set now officially set for USA and
> Europe markets
>
> Gray, Mike wrote:
>> SACD is still alive in Japan - cf. Exton (really a vanity label, but
>> still releasing every month) and EMI-Japan's 50 SACD's from their deep
>> analog catalog.
>>
>>
>> Mike Gray
>
> EMI Japan has another 50 SACD titles due out by March.  Universal Japan is
> issuing single layer SACDs and Esoteric/Teac is issuing some EMI and
> Universal licensed materials on SACD. EMI also has bunch of Furtwangler &
> Casals mono SACDs issued.
>
> -----------
> Aloha and Mahalo,
>
> Eric Nagamine
> 

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