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Discussion: Schubert: Schwanengesang - Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau

Posts: 20
Page: 1 2 next

Post by fausto K February 17, 2015 (1 of 20)
Just posted a review of this disc, and already a negative response! It's not difficult to guess who that will be. :-) Your loss!

Post by Polarius T February 17, 2015 (2 of 20)
But if you are just comparing "RBCD" with "SACD" here you are making a methodological mistake: you are comparing two very different masterings.

One dates from the early days of RBCD and the other from two years ago. Different people, different philosophies, different approaches, different experience, different equipment, possibly different skills and knowledge involved.

So with all respect, that's invalid. You are not then comparing the media (RBCD-spec PCM vs. DSD on SACD) but the masterings. And there is a big time gap in between during which a lot of things changed (can't remember now when the Schwanengesang first made its appearance on CD, but that must have been about 30 years ago, and the new DSD mastering is from, like, yesterday).

All different masterings are at least a bit different. One should do the comparison the way Meyer and Moran did it. Or comparably.

Post by fausto K February 17, 2015 (3 of 20)
Polarius T said:

But if you are just comparing "RBCD" with "SACD" here you are making a methodological mistake: you are comparing two very different masterings.

One dates from the early days of RBCD and the other from two years ago. Different people, different philosophies, different approaches, different experience, different equipment, possibly different skills and knowledge involved.

So with all respect, that's invalid. You are not then comparing the media (RBCD-spec PCM vs. DSD on SACD) but the masterings. And there is a big time gap in between during which a lot of things changed (can't remember now when the Schwanengesang first made its appearance on CD, but that must have been about 30 years ago, and the new DSD mastering is from, like, yesterday).

All different masterings are at least a bit different. One should do the comparison the way Meyer and Moran did it. Or comparably.

That strikes me as nonsensical. Based on the criteria you lay down, one couldn't make ANY comparison between two versions unless they are identical in all respects. LOL! I think the methodological mistake is all yours.

Of course I can compare the SACD to the redbook, also given that both were flat transfers. The redbook is not a remaster (!), it's just a straightforward transfer of the analogue tapes to (early) digital (I think the CDs date from 1985). -- and that's enough warrant for a justified comparison. And even if it were a remaster, one could justifiably make a comparison.
My main point, moreover, was just to consider whether it is worthwhile to purchase the SACD, i.e. whether the sound is really that much better than the available redbook, given the argument that is going the rounds that analogue tape originated SACDs don't go beyond what redbook is capable of registering.

Post by wehecht February 17, 2015 (4 of 20)
Polarius T said:

But if you are just comparing "RBCD" with "SACD" here you are making a methodological mistake: you are comparing two very different masterings.

+1. I'm agnostic on the general subject that has aroused such interest (again) in the last few days, but unless you know that both discs were mastered from the same original source, played back on the same machine, and mastered without a single dial being twiddled or slider pushed the comparison is invalid as to the capabilities of rbcd vs sacd to render the analog tape faithfully. That the particular sacd may sound better than the particular rbcd is indisputable, that the result is due solely to the way the bits are processed is an open question.

Post by Chris from Lafayette February 17, 2015 (5 of 20)
wehecht said:

+1. I'm agnostic on the general subject that has aroused such interest (again) in the last few days, but unless you know that both discs were mastered from the same original source, played back on the same machine, and mastered without a single dial being twiddled or slider pushed the comparison is invalid as to the capabilities of rbcd vs sacd to render the analog tape faithfully. That the particular sacd may sound better than the particular rbcd is indisputable, that the result is due solely to the way the bits are processed is an open question.

Not to pile on or anything, but I've got to agree with you and Polarius. The SACD may indeed sound better, but to attribute the improvement solely to the platform (RBCD vs. SACD) is a stretch IMHO, especially given all the other possible variables.

This subject seems to come up from time to time, and folks here all have their entrenched views on it.

Post by fausto K February 17, 2015 (6 of 20)
Chris from Lafayette said:

Not to pile on or anything, but I've got to agree with you and Polarius. The SACD may indeed sound better, but to attribute the improvement solely to the platform (RBCD vs. SACD) is a stretch IMHO, especially given all the other possible variables.

This subject seems to come up from time to time, and folks here all have their entrenched views on it.

Chris, I did not "attribute the improvement solely to the platform". I think you are misapprehending the intent of the comparison. The motivation to make the comparison between the two available versions of this particular 1972 recording, one on RBCD and one on a pricey Japanese import SACD, was the claim made on another thread (by AmonRa) that nothing warrants purchasing the SACD in the hope of getting improved sound, because no content of the analogue tape would not be already on the RBCD without any loss. I only needed one case that disputed this sweeping claim, which falsely suggests that *any* analogue-tape ear sourced SACD is pointless, regardless of variables, such as on which system the discs get played. The only thing I needed to know was thus to find out whether there is any merit to that claim, just by listening to the two available versions of this 1972 recording. That indeed the SACD under consideration here does sound better than the RBCD counterpart, with my particular equipment set up, is enough de facto warrant for believing AmonRa's general claim is unfounded.
I'm not making any general claims, such as that *any* analogue-tape era sourced SACD will be an improvement on its RBCD counterpart, or that by definition RBCD is always inferior to SACD, regardless of variables, or indeed, that everybody doing the comparison will hear a difference on his/her gear.

Post by Chris from Lafayette February 17, 2015 (7 of 20)
fausto K said:

Chris, I did not "attribute the improvement solely to the platform". I think you are misapprehending the intent of the comparison. . .

I'm not making any general claims, such as that *any* analogue-tape era sourced SACD will be an improvement on its RBCD counterpart, or that by definition RBCD is always inferior to SACD, regardless of variables, or indeed, that everybody doing the comparison will hear a difference on his/her gear.

OK - in that case I did indeed misunderstand. Sorry!

Post by AmonRa February 18, 2015 (8 of 20)
To clarify: I am not saying that new SACD transfers can not be better than older CD transfers. It really is all in the mastering. What I am saying is that if no MCH is involved, placing the new transfer on SACD instead of plain and cheaper to produce CD is more about marketing and getting an outrageous price from a relatively cheap production* than preserving some (in the case of tape, nonexistent) esoteric audio qualities CD could not handle.

*) why would copying a tape to SACD cost twice as much as a brand new orchestral SACD involving maybe 200 people for several days?

Post by fausto K February 18, 2015 (9 of 20)
AmonRa said:

To clarify: I am not saying that new SACD transfers can not be better than older CD transfers. It really is all in the mastering. What I am saying is that if no MCH is involved, placing the new transfer on SACD instead of plain and cheaper to produce CD is more about marketing and getting an outrageous price from a relatively cheap production* than preserving some (in the case of tape, nonexistent) esoteric audio qualities CD could not handle.

*) why would copying a tape to SACD cost twice as much as a brand new orchestral SACD involving maybe 200 people for several days?

ok, agreed. And you're of course absolutely right about the outrageous pricing tactics.

Post by AmonRa February 18, 2015 (10 of 20)
Pricing is naturally just part of the market economy. It seems to me that for many the real reason behind buying all possible tape re-issues on SACD is more about collecting than actually "needing" them or really being annoyed about the lack audio quality in previous issues, CD or SACD.

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