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ARSCLIST  April 2015

ARSCLIST April 2015

Subject:

Re: SACD "surprise"

From:

Carl Pultz <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Sat, 4 Apr 2015 13:19:59 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (161 lines)

I hope Goran Finnberg can straighten us out on 4D.

A lot can be said about this concept. As a listener, I'm not dogmatic. I like the work of Paul Vavasseur, for many years EMI's man in Paris. This is probably what Glenn Gould was thinking of when he spoke about the European style as "wedging the microphone into the lighting grid," a photographic wide-shot. On the Debussy sessions he did for Martinon the sound is magical and highly informative, and in no way buried in ambience. A musician might call it 'honest.' It is distant and my guess is a coincident pair, perhaps MS. I'm drawn into it in a different way than with many closer-up views.

Gould of course was a Columbia man, and I've wondered if he influenced the house sound or if it was they who influenced him. To me that is the sound of Stravinsky and Gershwin and Copland, but not, say, Rachmaninoff. Some orchestrations need space for the sonorities to develop. Gould rejected recording as documentary of a particular occasion, so the idea of picturing the environment as a goal was absurd to him. He did play around with extremes. I'd point to his recordings of Sibelius' Sonatinas as a cool and wacky experiment in varied perspectives.

As a maker of recordings, OTOH, my goal is to make a sound the musicians are going to like. They want to sound the way they think they sound. Put another way, they want the effect they were intending to be recognizable. That can be close or it can be distant. Depends. A good signal path should support plenty of detail without claustrophobia.

-----Original Message-----
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Tom Fine
Sent: Saturday, April 04, 2015 10:31 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] SACD "surprise"

Hi Carl:

I can't recall if it was Yamaha or Studer digital consoles, but I think you are correct in your descriptions of "4D". being a true DDD system in that the last time anything was analog was when the mic plugged into the console and the mic preamp went to a ADC.

To my ears, DGG recordings epitomize to varying degrees the notion of "put the listener in this glorious reverberant environment." I just don't think it works well in most home-listening situations because it's not engaging all too often. There are exceptions. Some of their early stereo recordings were made with very few to relatively few mics, placed closer in, so there is a better balance of sound sources to reverberation. Some of their later material was also more "intimate," 
and I think they had problems with venues in Chicago, so picking on Boulez's recording might be an exaggeration.

That said, I look on classical recordings as being something very different from a live performance. 
I'm looking for different things from a recording -- I want to hear the arrangement more clearly and hear individual playing within the ensemble. I also want to hear and understand what the conductor is doing to put his mark on the recording, what he's telling me is different and therefore worth my time listening, so I can decide within my own aesthetic whether I'm buying what he's selling. The concert experience, because it is visual and social as well as aural, is not as sharply focused on the SOUND, the elements of the whole. I would say, in a concert, the total presentation and how it makes the audience FEEL is more important than the fine details of how the piece was actually played (although if anyone really screws up, it will make the feeling go sour). So, the "put the listener in this glorious reverberant environment," unless the primary sounds are in very sharp focus and the reverb is used as a way to add realism and depth-perspective, detracts from my enjoyment of a recording. This is all just one man's listening perspective, but it is based on decades of close critical listening and experience with thousands of recordings. It's a matter of taste, so others may listen completely differently and want something different out of a recording.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Carl Pultz" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Saturday, April 04, 2015 9:52 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] SACD "surprise"


>A popular phrase in the NY Phil as PB was about to replace LB: "The ice-man comith."
>
> "It is often said that Boulez has 'a terrific ear.' But Boulez's terrific ear extends only to 
> pitches and to some extent to intonation. There are many other things which Boulez's ear does not 
> hear." - Gunther Schuller, The Complete Conductor
>
> My recollection is that the 4D thing utilized a Yamaha digital board, modified for DG, which I 
> think maxed out at 48k. One of the capabilities they remarked on was the ability to delay spot 
> mics relative to the mains, giving control over phase problems and some creative choices in 
> building the soundstage. I use that idea all the time when mixing with DAW software.
>
> DG seemed to always pursue a smooth, homogenous sound, not unlike Herby-the-K's orchestral 
> approach. Many early stereo releases placed you in a nice relationship between the forest (a view 
> of the whole ensemble) and the trees (intimate detail), and retained the energetic feeling of the 
> performance. But what I've come to expect is sound that is to my sense too smooth and short on 
> that spark of life, whatever its perspective on the ensemble. Still, it is a creative choice that 
> was very successful in the marketplace. And some things, like LB's CSO Shostakovich set is 
> spectacular.
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf 
> Of Tom Fine
> Sent: Saturday, April 04, 2015 8:33 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] SACD "surprise"
>
> John is now firmly on record as NOT being a fan of Pierre Boulez! ;)
>
> Not to boil John's blood further, but this article about Boulez and his influence on some 
> conductors and composers was in the NYTimes last weekend:
> http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/22/arts/music/musicians-discuss-the-influence-of-pierre-boulez.html
>
> I actually reserved the original DGG CD from the local library system. I want to see if it really 
> sounds as far-away as those sound samples on Arkiv. What I heard of Firebird wasn't so bad as far 
> as pacing. I prefer LISTENING to something more fast and furious like Dorati/LSO, but I bet 
> Boulez's approach is more how it's done as a ballet that people can actually dance to without 
> breaking apart onstage.
>
> -- Tom Fine
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "John Haley" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Friday, April 03, 2015 11:41 PM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] SACD "surprise"
>
>
>> An even better question to ask is this--with so many excellent Stravinsky
>> recordings to chose from, why bother with this one at all?
>>
>> I have to admit that the cover is sort of cool, but otherwise I would
>> quickly gravitate to a more masterful conductor's recording.
>>
>> Best,
>> John Haley
>>
>> On Fri, Apr 3, 2015 at 8:02 PM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>
>> wrote:
>>
>>> This appears to be some kind of digital fraud.
>>>
>>> Look at the original CD details:
>>> http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/album.jsp?album_id=2589
>>> The album was recorded in 1992. Exactly what high-resolution digital
>>> recording system existed in 1992? DGG was using a Studer system that
>>> operated at most at 48kHz/16-bit. There is an outside possibility that they
>>> were running analog tape backups, but I don't think so based on articles
>>> I've read about this "4D" thing they were touting.
>>>
>>> The MOST RESOLUTION POSSIBLE from this recording is whatever was the
>>> original recording medium. Up-converting it DOES NOT ADD MORE RESOLUTION.
>>> It may change the sound in some way that some people prefer, some sort of
>>> euphony involved with conversion to DSD and DSD-to-analog, perhaps.
>>>
>>> This sort of thing makes the Japanese reissue guys look a little batty.
>>> The other one that's really odd is a series called something like "BluDisc"
>>> that seems to suggest the CDs are made on the same equipment as BluRay
>>> discs and thus have "more precise" pits and lands. I've seen no scientific
>>> presentations or papers anywhere suggesting this offers any audible
>>> improvements. For what it's worth, I was loaned one of these CDs of a
>>> Mercury album, apparently made from the same digital master or a
>>> bit-perfect copy, as the CDs produced by the plant in Germany. As I
>>> suspected, no analysis software I could find revealed ANY DIFFERENCE in the
>>> CDs, and they sounded identical, to my ears. More importantly, they both
>>> ripped bit-identical files using dBPowerAmp's CD ripper with Accurip. I
>>> will say that it's possible that these "BluDics" are easier to read and
>>> thus perhaps produce fewer corrected errors in some inferior CD players.
>>>
>>> It's also worth reading the review included on the ArkivMusic descriptor
>>> page linked above. This is one of those DGG way-distant recordings where
>>> the orchestra sounds like it's a football field away from the mics. That
>>> whole "4D" process was never really detailed by DGG, it was apparently just
>>> a full integration of DGG recording techniques with Studer digital
>>> equipment, and was the subject of some mocking, especially by British hi-fi
>>> and pro-audio magazines in the 90s. To my ears, I don't care what digital
>>> system they were using as much as I care that everything sounds like it was
>>> recorded across a large space from the music, or in an echo chamber. Very
>>> few DGG recording sound very detailed or intimate, to my ears. They make
>>> the listener a spectator from a distance rather than a participant in the
>>> music.
>>>
>>> -- Tom Fine
>>>
>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Jim Long" <[log in to unmask]>
>>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>>> Sent: Friday, April 03, 2015 5:52 PM
>>> Subject: [ARSCLIST] SACD "surprise"
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>  I get promotional e-mails from www.elusivedisc.com, mostly about vinyl.
>>>> The prices for the 45-rpm issues (about $50) are beyond my ability to pay
>>>> 99% of the time.  Now I see they are offering Esoteric SACD reissues for
>>>> $65!  See <
>>>> www.elusivedisc.com/Stravinsky-The-Firebird-Fireworks-SACD/productinfo/
>>>> ESOSA90118/&utm_source=email&utm_medium=special
>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>> Has anyone been impressed by this (and other) Esoteric SACD reissues?
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>
>>
>
> 

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