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Discussion: Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen - Solti

Posts: 88
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Post by hiredfox December 2, 2009 (1 of 88)
Presumably these will be recorded from analogue master tapes. There has been much speculation about this in The Gramophone and BBC Music but I hadn't realised we were to get them in SACD. Surely they'll be stereo only?

Post by canonical January 21, 2011 (2 of 88)
The review by Amfibius today states that Esoteric "remaster from the original analogue tapes".

The last time this issue arose, it was my understanding, based on emails directly to me from Esoteric's tech departnent, that Esoteric does not produce from the original analogue tapes ... because they are not supplied with the original tapes ... Rather, they are generally provided with 96 kHz 24 bit digitised versions of the originals. They then convert the digital source file they are provided with to analogue ... and then re-digitise that analogue signal to DSD. A rather weird process.

If the Wagner Ring series is different, for some reason ... I'd be interested to hear about it. But ... if it is not different ... I think the review should be fixed up to correct what could otherwise be very misleading to others.

Post by Claude January 21, 2011 (3 of 88)
If all reviews on this site containing inaccurate information must be corrected, that will take quite some time ...

Post by audioholik January 21, 2011 (4 of 88)
canonical said:

The review by Amfibius today states that Esoteric "remaster from the original analogue tapes".

I'm afraid that the complete Esoteric SACD set was sourced from a measly 96kHz.

Post by stvnharr January 21, 2011 (5 of 88)
I don't understand the mystery of the source material for the Esoterics. If Esoteric gets the material from a Universal Group company, then they will be getting copies of the 96/24 archived masters.

Post by Links January 21, 2011 (6 of 88)
stvnharr said:

I don't understand the mystery of the source material for the Esoterics. If Esoteric gets the material from a Universal Group company, then they will be getting copies of the 96/24 archived masters.

Of course, no respectable company like the Universal Group is going to ship their original master analogue tapes to anyone to "play with".

ignore the following blather:
I was a recording engineer for CBC for over 30 years and I have 15ips 1/2 track master tapes that the dear Corp. doesn't even have.
I would not even let CBC "borrow" them. Accidents happen, analogue tape is fragile.
I have acquired 2 Korg MR-2000s DSD recorders and archive my tapes in that format.

If someone needs a copy, I down sample those recordings to 96/24.

(I used the 2 MR-2000s synced, to capture a live quad symphonic event, "Lustro" I recorded in 1973.)

Post by tream January 21, 2011 (7 of 88)
The Tape Project guys did get masters from Decca a few years ago and made a few releases; sadly those are out of print now, and they don't seem to have the contacts they once did so that seems to have dried up as a source. The Esoterics are from 24/96 copies (just like all of the material that Eloquence is releasing in Australia). The vinyl of the Solti Ring is better, so the SACD release is likely one of the most disappointing things I have invested in. If you do vinyl, my advice is to to go for good vinyl copies and skip the Esoteric SACDs, which are hard to get and outrageously expensive.

Post by wolfE January 22, 2011 (8 of 88)
tream said:

The Tape Project guys did get masters from Decca a few years ago and made a few releases; sadly those are out of print now, and they don't seem to have the contacts they once did so that seems to have dried up as a source. The Esoterics are from 24/96 copies (just like all of the material that Eloquence is releasing in Australia). The vinyl of the Solti Ring is better, so the SACD release is likely one of the most disappointing things I have invested in. If you do vinyl, my advice is to to go for good vinyl copies and skip the Esoteric SACDs, which are hard to get and outrageously expensive.

As stated in some other threads these Esoteric SACDs are made from 24bit/96khz-copies. That seems to be unquestionable. In the case of the "Ring" the booklet says, that the remastering was done in two (!) days. This would have been impossible, if the source would have been the analogue tapes. - The photographs of the remastering sessions in the booklet do not show any tape machines.
I do not own the original vinyls,and I believe, that they sound better than every digital version. But now my different emphasis: Nethertheless this Esoteric "Ring" is the best digital version of this Ring I have ever listened to. So I am not disappointed and recommend this box to everyone who does SACD and can afford this expensive edition.

Post by Links January 22, 2011 (9 of 88)
I know it's beyond the scope of this discussion, but what would interest me more
aside from what Esoteric may or may not have done with the files provided by
Decca is the all important first stage:

When the transfers from the masters were done.
What playback electronics used, tube or solid state.
Were the same type of playback heads as the original mastering Studers used.
Was the original capture sampling frequency actually 96KHz, or perhaps higher.
Were many physical splices re-done in the digital domain to improve on the original ones.
..and much more.

Post by jdaniel January 22, 2011 (10 of 88)
tream said:

The Tape Project guys did get masters from Decca a few years ago and made a few releases; sadly those are out of print now, and they don't seem to have the contacts they once did so that seems to have dried up as a source. The Esoterics are from 24/96 copies (just like all of the material that Eloquence is releasing in Australia). The vinyl of the Solti Ring is better, so the SACD release is likely one of the most disappointing things I have invested in. If you do vinyl, my advice is to to go for good vinyl copies and skip the Esoteric SACDs, which are hard to get and outrageously expensive.

Unfortunate to hear, you must have been thrilled to snag a copy! I suppose though, 24/96 is better than nothing when it comes to digital. I wonder when Universal will put their 24/96 downloads on line?

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