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From CD to SACD how much of difference - Page 3

post #31 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by ADD View Post
From understanding, the question isn't whether most people can't tell the difference. They question is whether humans have the capability of detecting any audible difference at all. So it would only take two humans to prove the point, assuming they do not possess any alien DNA
Fair point indeed, now all you have to do is find 2 humans who can tell the difference under fairly controlled conditions.

Since few (if any) CDs even come close to exploiting the available 96db dynamic range of 16 bit encoding I wonder how many SACDs get close to exploiting what SACD can actually do.
post #32 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by ADD View Post
....... I just can't really offer a meaningful opinion on the pure DSD Telarcs, as Telarc have dramatically changed the way in which they mic recordings since the very early days of three mics and I feel this has influenced their sound far more than the technology itself......I do know that the Telarc SACD releases, for example, replicate the timbre of acoustic instruments rather well, but it becomes harder to judge these pure DSD releases on account of the aforementioned dramatic differences in mic setup since the "old" 50 khz PCM days.
While I do appreciate the fact that Michael Bishop is a frequent poster on Audio Asylum and answers a lot of questions about Telarc's production process, I can't help but feel that his recordings are a huge step backwards. The midrange seems rather congested compared to the original Jack Renner discs, to the point that it simply sounds so inferior to me that I don't care if it's CD or SACD.

But to each his own, as far as recording perspective goes.....reviews of newer Telarc SACD's on SA-CD.net certainly appear to reflect a "love 'em or hate 'em" feeling among the reviewers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ADD View Post
As I say, I can't speak for popular music. I haven't the faintest clue, but I reckon I'd be extremely hard pressed to tell the difference between a CD and SACD if they were mastered in an identical way. It's just an entirely different matter with classical music, and the whole recording process from session to retail packaged disk is usually very different as well.
What gripes me is that a single popular disc can vary so markedly from cut to cut. When one looks at the credits, and finds that a cut was pieced together from sessions in three different studios (with background vocals possibly tracked in a fourth!) I suppose there is no question as to why that happens.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ADD View Post
.....I actually feel, however, that I would have been reasonably content with listening to Telarc SACDs on a good quality system, but it wouldn't make for much of a collection in terms of diversity.

........I've concluded that in the case of Linn, PCM sourced SACD won't do much at all to save a bad recording except to smooth out the top end just a tiny fraction and add a touch of air and energy to the high frequency extremes, however in the case of Hyperion, they just happen to pick very good recordings for SACD to begin with (which end up being a pretty small fraction of their total output). So the Hyperion SACDs always sound very good indeed.
Agreed. There is such a slight improvement that it's not enough for me to want the "improved quality" of the SACD over a better performance. A very good performance, well recorded on CD would win out for me every time over a somewhat inferior performance on a "perfect" SACD.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ADD View Post
Somehow I feel that SACD is a bit of an orphan though. I just somehow feel that one has to compromise in terms of collecting what they might truly want, because this, that or the other isn't available on anything other than redbook.
Now that I have convinced myself that I can't hear much difference between the CD and SACD layers on Telarcs, I guess that is not as much of a concern for me!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ADD View Post
Although I had convinced myself of the worthiness of exceptionally well mastered SACDS such as Hyperions and Telarcs, whether they be PCM sourced or DSD "pure", the concern that my collection would have been largely based on sonic grounds instead of musical ones did nothing to add to the appeal of the format.
That seems to be the common quandary.......I have to admit, though, even if the performance is incredible, if the recording is awful, then I end up listening to the disc with better sonics. Some of the recent DGG remasters on CD of performances I loved on LP are horrifically bright and edgy--to me, thoroughly unlistenable regardless of the quality of the performance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ADD View Post
And maybe I am in the minority, but I am totally lost on the point of multichannel......I think most people who do have the fortune to devote whole rooms to multichannel setups these days are more interested in the home theatre concept than they are pure audiophile pursuits.......Personally I'd much rather spend the money getting a much better two channel setup.
At least in the classical realm, the surround channels contain real ambience information. I don't understand the concept of the "on the stage" perspective that is often used for DVD-A versions of pop/rock albums. To me, the producers should understand that a lot (if not a majority?) of residential surround systems must use in-ceiling speakers for the rear channels. If they mix for an "on stage" perspective, the result sounds like crap on such systems.
post #33 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by earwicker7 View Post
Ooh, that's an original argument that I've never heard before. Thanks for adding something fresh to the conversation
pot-kettle-black

See ya
Steve
post #34 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by hciman77 View Post
Since few (if any) CDs even come close to exploiting the available 96db dynamic range of 16 bit encoding I wonder how many SACDs get close to exploiting what SACD can actually do.
If a recording really did exploit the full dynamic range of redbook, it would be painful to listen to. In order to hear the quiet stuff, the loud stuff would kill you.

See ya
Steve
post #35 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by sejarzo View Post
I have to admit, though, even if the performance is incredible, if the recording is awful, then I end up listening to the disc with better sonics.
That'll change as you grow and develop your knowledge of music. Music is a language that you become more literate in the longer you are exposed to it. I used to think I knew everything about music, but the more I know, the more I know that I don't know- if you get my meaning. I've found that listening to different styles of music can teach me things about other styles. The things I've learned from Balinese gamelan have informed my listening to classical music; and the things I've learned from country music have increased my appreciation of jazz. It's all connected.

Performance is everything. Caruso on acoustic 78s can raise the hair on the back of your neck and give you goosebumps as well as any high bitrate digital recording. The recording is merely the vehicle to bring the performance to you. Thankfully, high fidelity recording was achieved fifty years ago. We've had half a century where the limitations of the format aren't important. That should free us up to focus on the music.

See ya
Steve
post #36 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
If a recording really did exploit the full dynamic range of redbook, it would be painful to listen to. In order to hear the quiet stuff, the loud stuff would kill you.

See ya
Steve
Really?
I guess by that logic live music would be fatal
post #37 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
There's no difference in audible sound quality between CD and SACD for two channel playback.
Wrong...so wrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
My theory is that when companies release SACD hybrids, they figure that the people buying them have an SACD player. So they sometimes hobble the redbook layer to make the difference noticeable.
See ya
Steve
Don't be so suspicious.

There is a difference between CD/SACD.
I bought my first SACD player recently, a Marantz SA-11S1.
Since I didn't have any SACD's, I bought a few hybrid discs to replace copies of CD's I already had so I could see what it was all about.

The CD and the CD layer of the Hybrid discs sound the same. No surprise there.
BUT…..
The SACD layer has a more open, clear quality with a definite improvement in the high frequencies, details and soundstage size.
It’s not a night & day difference but anyone with decent equipment and good hearing will notice it and appreciate the improvement.
TR

Also, I have a regular CD's and an SACD only copy of the same music (no "hobbled" CD layer) The SACD sounded better.
post #38 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
........The things I've learned from Balinese gamelan have informed my listening to classical music.....
Interesting.......in 2005, my son's HS band director transcribed the finale of Colin McPhee's "Tabuh Tabuhan" for their Symphonic Band......in 2006, I chaperoned the band on a trip to FL, and we stopped off at the assistant director's alma mater, Western Carolina University, where they have a gamelan--that was pretty wild, hearing it live......and earlier this year, I heard the Chicago SO perform "Tabuh Tabuhan" after a pre-concert lecture by a fellow from MIT who is an expert in Balinese music and McPhee's impact there.

Indeed, it is all connected!
post #39 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by Todd R View Post
Really?
I guess by that logic live music would be fatal
Except you can't find any live music that would actually exploit the full dynamic range of redbook due to the naturally high ambient noise floor. Noise floor (20 dB) + limit of full dynamic range of redbook (96 dB) == 116 dB == ears bleeding.
post #40 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hellenback View Post
I have two (what would be considered lower end) Pioneer universal players.(563a 578a)
I have a decent Yamaha dedicated CD player. I don't know how anyone can say they can't hear the difference between the SACD layer and the CD layer of a Hybrid disc. To me it is like two different recordings. It is true that some of the newer DSD mastered CDs are more comparable to the SACDs, but even given that, I find SACD far more pleasurable to listen to. Detail, lack of sibilance, space between instruments and definition are all benefits of SACD. Perhaps if I had a better CD player it would bring out more from my CDs but I can't afford a dedicated $1000 CD player. I have recently purchased the Dylan SACD set that was put out in 2003 as well as the Moody Blues 7 SACD set put out in 2006 and I gotta say I haven't regretted it for a second. The nuances in the vocals, the extension in the frequency range, (don't get me started!)
I love SACD and I NEVER listen to compressed music. MP3s (and many people's indifference to the higher end recording processes) have nearly killed the availability of decent recordings (other than vinyl). In Europe SACDs are a thriving industry. The North American "Mcmusic" attitude has ended up short changing a wonderful technology. How can 5 times the information not be heard if one sits back and truly listens with attention and decent gear?
Well some hybrids have different mixes/engineered versions for the two layers. The SACD might be a whole new mix but the CD layer might just be an old reused version. A better test to see if you can hear the difference is to take the SACD and downsample it to redbook and record it on a cdr and see if you hear a difference. This is the way they did it in that study someone posted and I think it really is the most accurate way to test. This way you personally can make sure the two (SACD and CD) are the same mix.
post #41 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by Icarium View Post
A better test to see if you can hear the difference is to take the SACD and downsample it to redbook and record it on a cdr and see if you hear a difference.
How does one go about that without introducing another D/A and A/D conversion?

Someone with SACD editing/mastering capabilities can "downsample".......but it seems to me that the average audiophile would have to re-record the analog outputs from an SACD player.

post #42 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by sejarzo View Post
How does one go about that without introducing another D/A and A/D conversion?

...but it seems to me that the average audiophile would have to re-record the analog outputs from an SACD player.

That is how Meyer and Moran did their tests they added a 16/44.1 A/D/A stage after the analog outputs. Though, surely someone somewhere, probably Finland , has hacked this problem ?
post #43 of 161
Here's a link to the explanation about the tests performed by Meyer and Moran that were submitted in the recent AES paper, "Audibility of a CD-Standard A/D/A Loop Inserted into High-Resolution Audio Playback."

It seems like a fair test, even though the original home audio system was by no means up to the task. They eventually went to a few mixing and mastering facilities and tested some young ears. Their findings indicate that there were no significant differences between the SACD layer and the downsampled conversion except at levels higher than "normal." Normal was considered to be 85 dB at the listening chair, calibrated using a pink noise sample. Theoretically, some quieter jazz and classical music would require the 10 dB boost they used to hear the details, so it's halfway feasible that a normal user might hear differences in low level accuracy.

Is it worth paying more for a slightly higher fidelity recording with copy protection? Maybe not. People like Head-Fier markl have noticed significant quality differences between early CDs (esp. from places like West Germany) and current ones, so perhaps it would be a more cost-effective idea to focus high-res efforts on a better CD mastering process, like those employed during the manufacture of HDCD, XRCD, XRCD2, K2, and K2HD.
post #44 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by darkless View Post
Except you can't find any live music that would actually exploit the full dynamic range of rodbook due to the naturally high ambient noise floor.
Precisely. I have to disagree with any argument that specifically states the dynamic range of 16 bit recording is somehow inadequate. OK, I know I continue to argue that higher bitrates can provide more authentic acoustic instrument timbre, but dynamic range seriously is not a problem! Even with the classical music I listen to (which is acknowledged to have the greatest dynamic range of all), you'd be lucky to have everything from the quietest passage to the loudest passage fit outside anything more than a 40 dB envelope. As you say, it's not the music itself doing that, but the fact that natural ambient background noise is a lot louder than people think.
post #45 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by sejarzo View Post
While I do appreciate the fact that Michael Bishop is a frequent poster on Audio Asylum and answers a lot of questions about Telarc's production process, I can't help but feel that his recordings are a huge step backwards.
I can understand where you are coming from, but I think the final result is very system dependant and also perhaps dependant upon what you are used to hearing in live performances. I do agree about the "congested" feel, however I often actually notice similar things in live performances too depending upon the concert hall and the proportion of total seats occupied by the audience. It's my view that many recordings sound more like orchestra rehersals in terms of acoustics, whereas I think the Telarcs approach more of the "full hall" feel. I also think that Bishop's technique works on an assumption that the playback system will be of very high resolution throughout the reproduction chain - in other words, nothing is highlighted or overblown because there is the expectation / hope that the system and listening room will take care of all of that.

I think that Bishop achieves very highly in terms of imaging - the front to back, left to right imaging is superb to my ears, so perhaps there is some price to pay for that in other respects.

I have to say though, that I don't think Telarc's use of Monster cable is doing them any favours. I think it tends to emphasise all the characteristics that you mentioned.

In the end though, I am still much more a fan of the early techniques used by RCA, Decca and Mercury, etc than I am the modern approach.
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