[78-L] Recording Quality - a relative term

Jeff Sultanof jeffsultanof at gmail.com.invalid
Wed Jul 2 08:12:29 PDT 2014

I couldn't agree with you more about SACD. The marketing of SACD was
another botch-job surrounding an excellent technology. And it looks like
the industry is going to blow it again with regard to Blu-ray Audio. The
titles are few, and the price is outrageous.

Jeff Sultanof

On Wed, Jul 2, 2014 at 10:47 AM, DAVID BURNHAM <burnhamd at rogers.com.invalid>

> DSD is an improvement in storage.  The ealiest SACDs that SONY released
> were reissues of analog recordings from the '70s and earlier.  The superior
> quality of these analog recordings is what permittled the SACDs to shine so
> impressively.  The Mercury Living Presence SACDs were audibly clearer than
> the earlier CD releases and they were recorded in the '50s and '60s.  RCA's
> Living Stereo SACDs were also from recordings from as early as 1954.  The
> demonstratable fact is that the skill of capturing a performance had been
> mastered by around 1960 and the only thing left to be improved was the
> technology required to store that performance for future generations.
> The SACD was a superior product both for the industry and the consumer.
>  For the consumer because of the clearly apparent superior sound from a
> carrier as easy to use as a conventional CD and for the industry because
> this quality could not be copied illegally without great difficulty.  SONY,
> not for the first time, gave us a superior product and then marketed it so
> poorly that it was not able to take off.  They had previously done this
> with BETA.  In the late '90s they introduced the single layer SACD.  The
> discs had the capacity of a standard LP, they only issued analog material
> from the '70s and earlier - usually each disc only carried the contents of
> a sinle LP, they charged twice as much for them as standard CDs and you
> needed a special player to play them.  This after they had been telling
> consumers for over 15 years that the CD was perfect.  What was going to
> motivate a move towards these new discs?  There was no need for them to be
> more
>  expensive, in fact they should have been cheaper, because the DSD process
> is simpler than 44.1/16 bit technology.  Most importantly, the capacity of
> an SACD is actually several hours.  They could have easily put 5 or 6 LPs
> worth of music on a single SACD without any loss of quality.  BIS issued an
> SACD with the complete concertos of Mendelssohn on a single disc, (4 or 5
> hours of music), and another set with the complete organ music of Bach on
> about 5 discs instead of the almost 20 CDs required for the same
> recordings.  Hybrid SACDs solved one problem - they could be played on a
> normal CD player, introduced the advantages of surround sound, but they
> removed the ability to contain the large quantity of program because they
> were limited once again to the capacity of a CD.
> But now things have fallen apart.  We have experienced perfection in sound
> reproduction but it has largely been taken away from us.  Consumers are
> largely no longer concerned with quality of audio reproduction, the
> priority instead has become how to store 18 hours of music on something the
> size of a dime or smaller.  Record stores are closing all around us and the
> persuer of pristine audio quality has little or no product to feed their
> priority.
> db
> On Wednesday, July 2, 2014 8:28:56 AM, Don Cox
> <doncox at enterprise.net.invalid> wrote:
> >
> >
> >
> >On 29/06/2014, Dave Burnham wrote:
> >
> >>
> >> I've always felt that recording quality peaked between 1958 and 1963.
> >> I'm talking here only about the skill of putting mikes in front of
> >> musicians and capturing a realistic, (if that was their goal), and
> >> exciting sound. Sound carriers, (LPs, tapes etc.), still had a long
> >> way to go. I demonstrated my belief to a senior music producer by
> >> playing for him the Mercury SACD of "Poet and Peasant Overture" and
> >> "Light Cavalry Overture" and he agreed that the sound left no room for
> >> improvement. The SACD of Reiner's "Pines of Rome" is also top drawer.
> >> These SACDs were made about 10 years ago so they were made from tapes
> >> which were about 40 years old, just imagine what these tapes would
> >> have sounded like 50 years ago!
> >>
> >I broadly agree. The art of recording was almost perfected in the late
> >1950s. The main improvement since then has been the introduction of
> >Sony's DSD system, and although welcome and audible (especially on piano
> >solo) it is not a big improvement. (Not comparable to the move from
> >acoustic to electrical recording.)
> >
> >What was then missing was a good reliable method of copying,
> >distributing and archiving recordings.
> >
> >I think Blu-Ray audio provides that.
> >
> >Regards
> >--
> >Don Cox
> >doncox at enterprise.net
> >
> >
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> >
> >
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