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In the Forum: Didital Things
In the Thread: Today’s SACD - music for oscilloscopes.
Post Subject: Today’s SACD - music for oscilloscopes. Posted by Romy the Cat on: 4/30/2005

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Yestoday I visited the NY show and I did something that did not do for 3 years: I bought a few CDs at thier audiophile’s fleamarket. I did not really need them but lately I heard a lot of positive comments about the superior quality of new SACD-released of Mercury. Moreover, whenever I go all audio-freaks keep spinning those CDs, admiring sound and the “transfer quality”. So I bought 5 CDs to be a “conventional a’phile” and to share the happiness with my audio-brothers. Well…

In my way driving from NY to Boston I opened them up and decided to listen them. I lease Acuras CL for years and in my current Acura there is one of those "default Bose stereo", incredibly horrible … but it never bothered me. (I actually had 2 cars back a very nice system bult in my car, but this is another story). Anyhow, I opened up the Rachmaninoff’s 2 and 3 Concertos playing by Byron Janis and stick it to my CD player in the position of Disk#6. Interesting that the Acura-Bose CD players have 6-disk storage and the disk#2 I'm having for a last 3 cars exactly the same performance of Janis, pre-SACD (probably 16Bit) manufactured by Philips-Mercury-PolyGram in 1991.

When the first accords of the Their Concerto sounded I said: “What the hell?” The CD layer of that super-duper SACD release sounded hugely compressed, with strong coloration of “plastic sound”, with severe deficiency in bass, with cruel shortage of harmonics making sound too sharp and overly hygienic. It was unstintingly amusical even in context of my crappy car audio. I skipped two tracks and went to the opening of the Their movement. The Janis piano instead of a concert Sternway sounded like a Wal-Mart Casio. Even the tape hiss did not sound like the tape hiss but rather wile a white noise! I skipped one more track and let the Minneapolis Orchestra to enter the celebrated opening of the Second Concerto. It has to be said that among perhaps 25 versions of this concerto that I might recall I feel that there is no other performance where the Orchestra enter the scene with such a beautiful effect. Dorati and Minneapolis did that first introductions like no on else and this moment of orchestral beginning is probably the most beautiful moment compose by Russian composer on 20 century. So, what do you think? I MISSED THIS MOMENT OF INTRODUCTION TWICE when I listened this new disc. I mean on this disc the orchestral opening of the First Movement of the Seconds Concerto was NO EVENT! I said to myself: ‘You, Moron went to by music from the audiophiles… here you got it”.

When I got home, I listened those CDs on my home playback and the result was also very unfortunate. I am not saying on LP records of those recordings sound better. I AM saying that they sounded better, WAY better on the previous not-SACD releases of Mercury!!!

I do not know if I play the SACD layer of those CDs then perhaps I would get different result. However, two arguments make me very doubtful that it would be the case:

1) No one would do explicit mastering for CD and SACD layer and put on CD the intentionally worth result.  I’m quite convinced that THE SAME amount of sound-engendering idiocy that those guys put in the CD layer would manifest itself on SACD layer.
2) Up to now I never heard any SACD installation that sounds satisfactory. All of the SACD players, transports, converters, disks that I have heard so far were juts a bunch of audio junk primary supported by the musically or audio incompetent people who have as much idea about what audio as the hoodlum W Bush has idea about english language, atomic mass chemical elements or a multiplication table.

So, I lost $100 to feed the audiophile’s hype. It was not the first time. You, be smarter. Do not buy that new digital foolishness and let those Morons with PhD in electricity to choke with their “idea-loaded technology” and leave them along playing thier music for thier damn oscilloscopes….

Romy the Cat

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