Sony's SACD format, introduced in the late '90s was a revelation in sound. Unfortunately it was so poorly marketed that it has all but disappeared. They produced single layer SACDs which needed to be played on a special player, they were all remasterings of old recordings from the '70s or earlier, they were generally as long as a normal Lp, (even though a single layer stereo SACD can hold more than 5 Lps on one disc), they cost twice as much as a normal CD, (even though the DSD procedure is actually easier to produce that PCM), and they had been telling us for 20 years that the CD is perfect. In the face of all that, why would collectors switch to the new format? In the middle of the last decade the "Hybrid SACD" was introduced with releases from RCA's Living Stereo catalog and Mercury's Living Presence issues at a very cheap price, (in Toronto they were between $10 and $15 each and the format suddenly caught on. But it appears that since Sony
had lost their control because of the Hybrid development, they stopped supporting the format. (I was even told by Sony dealers that Hybrid CDs could not be dependable on an SACD player, which,of course, was nonsense.
> From: [Richard A Kaplan] <[log in to unmask]>
>To: [log in to unmask]
>Sent: Friday, June 1, 2012 4:09:04 PM
>Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Who needs vinyl?
>Sony's release of Bernstein's Mahler cycle last year in new masterings from
>session tapes was revelatory; it shows (a) what they're capable of when
>they're willing to use the resources, and (b) how inadequate the huge bulk of
>their CD reissues have (has?) been. I'm with Steve: More!
>In a message dated 6/1/2012 3:05:07 P.M. Central Daylight Time,
>[log in to unmask] writes:
>I recently heard the last 2 movements of the Beethoven 3d Piano Concero on
>the radio and was amazed. I had no idea who was before the public at
>present who played the piece this well. What particularly grabbed me was
>rich the piano tone was, how clear the various piiano voices and orchestral
>parts were and how well the whole thing sounded together.
>Imagine my surprise. It was Leon Fleisher, George Szell and the Cleveland
>Orchestra, made in 1959.
>After a bit of investigation, I learned it was a new, 2012 24 bit ransfer
>from Sony. I orderd the box of the 5 Beethoven and two Brahms Concerti that
>night. When it arrived, it also proved to contain the Brahms Handel
>Variations, the op. 39 Waltzes and Mozarrt's 25th Concerto.
>I'm playing the 3d now through my office listening set-up. It's far more
>than the radio disclosed.
>Though I've yet to see a review that addresses it, this is clearly (!) a
>huge improvement over all previous releases in any format.
>I am assuming they've used Capstan as there is no wow or flutter- something
>to which my my ear is particulary sensitive. The crispness of the sound
>indicates corrections to problems caused by slight misphasings, firmly and
>distinctly positioning the instruments within the orchestra. A slight cut
>made here at about 2700 cycles allows the piano to sound completely
>equalized throughout its range with no notes suddenly sticking out. The
>occassional buzzy noise I used to think were defects in the recording are
>now revealed as piano problems. I can't hear any tape hiss at all. The
>negative is that the time between movements is often too short and
>to the music's pulse.
>Oh, yes. Setting aside a few missed notes in a few of the more elaboate
>passages, the 3d is a terrific performance. They are well enough known by
>now not to require a review.
>The digital millenium has arrived. More! More!