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Discussion: Mussorgsky: Pictures, Borodin: Symphony No. 2 - Rattle

Posts: 4

Post by hiredfox April 12, 2013 (1 of 4)
I do not intend spending a great deal of time beating about the bush. This re-mastered hybrid SACD in stereo only is a major disappointment. The original recording was made on New Year's Day 2007 so one might reasonably have expected it to have been recorded in 96 or 88 /24 bit quality. To me it sounds suspiciously like a RBCD re-mastered into DSD for this recording. Flat, amorphous, muted, congested with artificial spotlights everywhere. Sorry EMI but this is quite horrible and a let down bearing in mind the paucity of Borodin works on SACD.

My wife's unprompted comment sums it up.. "It doesn't sound anything like an orchestra in a concert hall"

Post by Jonalogic April 12, 2013 (2 of 4)
hiredfox said:

I do not intend spending a great deal of time beating about the bush. This re-mastered hybrid SACD in stereo only is a major disappointment. The original recording was made on New Year's Day 2007 so one might reasonably have expected it to have been recorded in 96 or 88 /24 bit quality. To me it sounds suspiciously like a RBCD re-mastered into DSD for this recording. Flat, amorphous, muted, congested with artificial spotlights everywhere. Sorry EMI but this is quite horrible and a let down bearing in mind the paucity of Borodin works on SACD.

My wife's unprompted comment sums it up.. "It doesn't sound anything like an orchestra in a concert hall"

Many thanks for this, John. As you say, that's a damn shame given the state of Borodin availability on SACD. The only other second symphony was/is a rather gruesome sounding Membran.

This also concerns me in respect of Rattle's Messiaen release. I'm holding off until folk have had a chance to try it out.

Still, we have multiple superb versions of the Mussourgsky/Ravel to comfort ourselves with, at least.

Post by Claude April 12, 2013 (3 of 4)
I think the Rattle recordings from the recent years are just poorly engineered. Closely miked (to avoid picking up too many audience noises), which means little acoustic information from the hall, and the risk of sound congestion during louder passages.

They sound sub-par in any format. It has little to do with the recording resolution.

The Holst Planets recording by Rattle (from 2006) is being sold as 24/44 files on HDtracks, so it's likely that this is the recording resolution for that and other productions by the same team.

Post by Jonalogic April 12, 2013 (4 of 4)
Claude said:

I think the Rattle recordings from the recent years are just poorly engineered. Closely miked (to avoid picking up too many audience noises), which means little acoustic information from the hall, and the risk of sound congestion during louder passages.

They sound sub-par in any format. It has little to do with the recording resolution.

The Holst Planets recording by Rattle (from 2006) is being sold as 24/44 files on HDtracks, so it's likely that this is the recording resolution for that and other productions by the same team.

Agreed. Apart from general engineering incompetence, the Philharmonie hall doesn't seem to help much either. Despite its supposedly acclaimed acoustics, I don't think I have ever heard a decent recording from this venue.

Maybe that's why they close-miked? It's strange, everyone does in this hall. As an interesting example, compare the fine Gunther Wand/NDR Bruckner recordings he did in Cologne against those with the BPO in Berlin. OK, different engineers, but these are totally day and night in sound quality.

Some venues, like the Philharmonie and our accursed Barbican in London are just plain wrong.

Closed