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Thread: Solti's Ring on SACD -- the ULTIMATE?!

  1. #121
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    I have enjoyed this thread. I too have done a lot of recording. Playback at 24/44.1 does sound thicker and richer than 16/44.1 but the difference in audio quality only becomes apparent (to my ears at least) in an A/B. Without the higher bit rate recording serving as a basis for comparison the redbook standard is just fine. I find bigshot's patience at explaining and supporting his views commendable - I find some of the responses he has received unfair. Mastering (and less commonly re-mixing) does without question play a big role in the "new & improved" versions of recordings over and above the claimed technological "improvements".

    At the same time I don't doubt the sincerity of those who state they find the new generation of CD to be sonically superior - however, just why this is so clearly remains a moot point.

  2. #122
    Senior Member bigshot's Avatar
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    Frequency response (ie: "thicker richer") shouldn't be any different at all from 24 to 16. The difference is dynamic range and noise floor.

    Remastering involves noise reduction, adjusting compression and rebalancing levels. The studios tout the high bitrate they do the remastering at, but the real source of improvement, if there is any, is in the quality of the digital noise reduction filters and the balance adjustment decisions made by the mastering engineer.

    I'm used to being beaten up by audiophiles. I'm a big boy. The general knowledge about this stuff in the pro audio community is quite different than that of the audiophile community. Too much disinformation foisted on consumers.
    Last edited by bigshot; Sep-02-2012 at 22:07.

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  4. #123
    Senior Member GrosseFugue's Avatar
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    Hey Bigshot (and everyone else)!

    I've gone ahead and ordered the Limited Edition Decca Der Ring set: http://www.mdt.co.uk/wagner-der-ring...cca-17cds.html

    I couldn't resist! It'll probably be the last box set I'll buy in my lifetime. For under $300 it was too good to pass up. It's been "remastered" so will be curious to know how it sounds. It's not SACD, which Bigshot will be happy to know. Which makes me wonder if Decca also thought there wasn't much to gain with the SACD format? Anyway, it works out doubly well for me as I don't have an SACD player and have no plans to "upgrade." I've got enough regular CD's that need listening time.

    I've heard various complaints about the last Der Ring CD incarnation, so am thinking this new remaster will address all those issues. Or at the very least -- it'll sound a tad better.

    PS -- Regarding the Blu-ray CD that comes with the set, I suppose the sound quality will depend on the speakers hooked up to your Blu-Ray player? I currently only have Blu-Ray hooked up to my TV, which is far from audiophile quality. Are Blu-Ray CD's the way of the future?
    Last edited by GrosseFugue; Sep-03-2012 at 03:48.

  5. #124
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrosseFugue View Post
    Are Blu-Ray CD's the way of the future?
    We seem to be moving away from physical discs.

  6. #125
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    Personally, I'd expect the CD and bluray to sound pretty much the same unless they've remastered it for surround.
    Last edited by bigshot; Sep-03-2012 at 04:59.

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    I see Amazon UK has the release date slipping to 9/17, so I guess it's no surprise we haven't seen any feedback yet.

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  9. #128
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    It seems to be aimed straight at the pakaging fetishist market!

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  11. #129
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
    SACDs are a complete waste of money. Any advantage in sound is so far below normal listening level, you'd never hear it unless you turn the volume up to deafening levels. I did a controlled comparison between the redbook and SACD layers od a DSD Pentatone hybrid SACD. After level matching, there was absolutely no difference. All of the differences I found between CDs and SACDs were differences in mixing and mastering. The format is no better than CD.

    SACDs are a boondoggle designed to get you to buy recordings you already own a second time.
    What are you basing this opinion on? SACD is a superior format. Even DVD audio is better, because of the higher resolution, as the numbers show. Are you against these other formats as well? Does Blu-Ray produce a reaction in you?

    img.SACDvsCD-240.jpg
    Last edited by millionrainbows; Sep-16-2012 at 20:55.
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  12. #130
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    I did my own line level matched A/B comparison test between the exact same DSD recording on SACD and CD. They sounded exactly the same, even on a high end system. Bluray audio formats are all good, as is DVD audio.

    I'm not against these formats. It's just that they aren't audibly better than CD. SACD and bluray audio are superior to CD in one way- multichannel surround. That's it.
    Last edited by bigshot; Sep-17-2012 at 03:40.

  13. #131
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    It's unfortunate that this thread has deteriorated into a debate on whether one audio format is audibly superior to another. I'm more curious to hear from someone who has the set (unless the ship date has slipped again, it should have been out in Europe and Japan over a week ago), and can compare the sound quality to that of one or another of the previous two releases.

  14. #132
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    It's unfortunate that this thread has deteriorated into a debate on whether one audio format is audibly superior to another.
    Yes, but kind of inevitable really. From my perspective it's not just a matter of the merits of one format over another, more a matter of having the right kind of equipment to do it justice. I have the Solti Ring set (the 1997 Culshaw re-master), and a rather old Sony separates unit on which it sounds just wonderful.
    The Blu-Ray audio set may turn out to be the last word in what you can do with Solti's Ring Cycle, but given the cost of this new set, actually finding someone who has it may be the trickiest part of the whole exercise.
    There will come a time soon when Youtube won't let us do this...

  15. #133
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    Quote Originally Posted by techniquest View Post
    The Blu-Ray audio set may turn out to be the last word in what you can do with Solti's Ring Cycle, but given the cost of this new set, actually finding someone who has it may be the trickiest part of the whole exercise.
    Well, there are four reviews already up at amazon.co.uk. All of them raves, of course, but none going into enough detail to judge the reviewer's credibility. I do notice one referring to the CD part of the set as "a fresh remastering based on the 1997 digital transfer," whatever that means (if it's "based on the 1997 digital transfer," it's not a "fresh remastering," merely a re-tweaking and/or re-equalization of the previous one).

    I should note that the price keeps dropping -- it's now only a little over $212 on pre-order from U.S. Amazon. At that price, it won't take me more than a credible review or two to take the plunge.
    Last edited by regnaDkciN; Sep-26-2012 at 10:58.

  16. #134
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    I do notice one referring to the CD part of the set as "a fresh remastering based on the 1997 digital transfer," whatever that means (if it's "based on the 1997 digital transfer," it's not a "fresh remastering," merely a re-tweaking and/or re-equalization of the previous one).
    I was given to understand that the 14 CD's are the Culshaw remaster from 1997 and that it is only the blu-ray disc that has been given an overhaul. I may be wrong though (often am).
    There will come a time soon when Youtube won't let us do this...

  17. #135
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    Here's an interesting bit of information, supposedly from the new box set:

    'While working on a transfer for a Japanese company in 2009, Decca's
    technical producer Philip Siney, along with mastering engineer Ben
    Turner spent much time with the tapes, but sadly, though the masters
    had been preserved as best as possible the degradation had been
    significant, and it was deemed impossible to make superior audio
    transfers from them.'
    So, in other words, not only are the new CDs and Blu-Ray based on the same old CD remaster I've had on my shelves for almost fifteen years, but apparently so was the ultra-expensive, hard-to-find Esoteric SACD set! Probably both have been re-EQd to some extent, but, still...I wonder how those who shelled out northwards of $1,000 for the SACDs, with the understanding that they were a brand-new transfer from the original master tapes, this time done right for once, feel about this revelation?

    P.S.: It is also being reported that the Blu-Ray, although advertised as being 24/96, is actually only 24/48. If so, I'm guessing that was the resolution at which the 1997 transfer was done, since it was always conspicuously missing the "24/96" designation found on the Decca Legends releases from around the same time.
    Last edited by regnaDkciN; Oct-06-2012 at 09:53.

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