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In Reply to: Re: SCD-1 posted by bublitchki on October 11, 2004 at 02:35:30:
I for one appreciate the data points, realizing full well that you cannot draw any general conclusions from any single data point. But they do add up. I posted my own impressions of the Bartok SACD vs. the 45 RPM Classic LP set. On my own antiquated SCD-1. And if people want to tell me the SACD will be the winner on the Meitner, that's fine, but I don't have that, I only have what I have. There can never be a pure format comparison, unless you go back to the recording studio, even then it's different hardware being compared, not just format.
For 20 years now, one digital product after another has come along with reviewers claiming finally as good as the best analog. And that was also the claim when I bought the SCD-1. It's very good, in some cases competitive with analog, but clearly after 4 years now, I know it is not close to the best analog. I am willing to pursue this "digital as good as analog" chimera a bit further eventually, but it gets a little silly when I still have a long upgrade path on the analog side.
And I have no issue with bublitchki reporting what he heard. OK, I admit trashing someone's prized player is bad form. My own player has been superseded twice now and is likely just as uncompetitive. But I think your post is a cop-out. Frankly I couldn't care about the results of these digital/analogue comparisons ... analogue has been and gone as far as I'm concerned. I do however care about the methodology used and the risks in generalizing from limited data points ... even if the conclusions reached are the same. By your own standards you'd have to admit the flaws here. Frankly, I'm looking forward to hearing how much I can wring out of my SA-CDs in five to ten years time. This is my investment, not hardware.
I'm not even sure what that means. I am always very careful to avoid generalizations about formats myself, when other people do that, it drives me up a wall. But I enjoy reading about all kinds of comparisons. I enjoy it infinitely more than 90% of the ruckus that goes on here. I've got two SACD players now and if you want me to generalize, I could say SACD sounds worse than SACD. But in reality, my cheap player sounds much worse than my "real" player. This is important insofar as my cheap player has been reputed to be a giant killer and it's not IMO. A single data point test has nothing at all to do with science, but some people are interested in such things.
Here is why these comparisons matter to me. I spend money on software. Bach's cello sonatas on Mercury are coming out in the U.S. today on SACD. I already have them in various other forms. Of course I will buy them. But they are also out on a vinyl reissue on Speaker's Corner. Had I convinced myself that the Bartok SACD was competitive with the 45 RPM LP, I could easily pass up the $85 Speaker's Corner LP set. But now, I realize I need to have it.
Someday hardware may come along that brings this SACD to parity with the LP or beyond. That would be great. But until then, I've got the LP. Unlike many people apparently, playing an LP is trivially easy for me, I've been doing it for years, it is marginally more difficult than playing a digital disk, but luckily I am not yet an invalid and I am able to manage it without undue stress.
"I am always very careful to avoid generalizations about formats myself, when other people do that, it drives me up a wall."
With respect, you yourself often talk about the format in isolation, when you're really talking about your format/player combination. This was the point I was trying to make, albeit somewhat clumsily. I'm more circumspect now in making format generalizations as I know from experience that I can change the boundaries by upgrades or even simple tweaks. But in the final analysis, it's what the things sound like on what we've got that's important. I made the mistake of commenting on something I have no experience with and I freely admit my mistake.
"Bach's cello sonatas on Mercury are coming out in the U.S. today on SACD. I already have them in various other forms. Of course I will buy them. But they are also out on a vinyl reissue on Speaker's Corner. Had I convinced myself that the Bartok SACD was competitive with the 45 RPM LP, I could easily pass up the $85 Speaker's Corner LP set. But now, I realize I need to have it."
I fail to see what Living Stereo's transfer has to do with those of the Mercury Living Presence series, but there you go. I hadn't heard Starker's suites previously but it definitely has merits alongside my Fournier set (reservations in the Penguin for the Starker aside). I personally would want to put my money on yet another interpretation rather than doubling up.
"Unlike many people apparently, playing an LP is trivially easy for me, I've been doing it for years, it is marginally more difficult than playing a digital disk, but luckily I am not yet an invalid and I am able to manage it without undue stress."
Though not invalided yet, after 30 years I'm glad to finally have the opportunity to move on ... now that good transfers of these legacy recordings are making their way onto SA-CD. In fact, I plan to do a survey of all the transfers now available on SA-CD for a future article. I'm certainly enjoying listening again to some of my old favourites plus discovering great recordings from the past. In the end, it's access to the music that counts.
I have this set on a Mercury reissue that came out on LP called Philips Golden Imports (budget line). I made tapes of these and listened to them often. These became my primary favorite of these very strange and remarkable works. When the MLP CD came out, I got that as well.
I have Fournier on LP and Maurice Gendron on CD. And the CDs of the historic Casals recordings. In reality, there is nobody who rises to the level where they are able to record these pieces who does not have much to offer. All of these are good. But the Starker still is for me the most natural, maybe because it was my first.
Yes I will double up on these two more times, hopefully tonight if it is in stock. Different sound makes it a different thing to me, so I don't really look at it as doubling up. Just looking at the same scenery from different views.
You know, SACD and CD before that, have both been great boons to my enjoyment of music. I am able to do things with these formats that I could not do with vinyl, e.g. play repeatedly in the car and not worry about any wear. I've been listening to Boulez Rite of Spring JSACD not less than 15 times over the last 2 weeks- I pulled it out after I got the Telarc Rite, only to find that the Boulez was a treasure waiting to be mined.
for your sensible posts. Yes, hearing the equipment in question would seem to be a prerequisite to judging it.
I'm quite happy with the SCD-1 right now. I don't have the time, funds, or in general the ability to send it out for modifications. So this is how it's gonna be for awhile. I think it's a damned good player as is. Op-amps notwithstanding. ;-)
Incidentally: to those advising me to tweak/otherwise futz around with my ReVox, the machine is well-maintained, and plays other tapes beautifully. This, for whatever reason, was simply a bad tape. As for the poster who suggested the tape needed to be played back on the machine on which it was recorded, I continue to be baffled.
I could've posted this comparison in the Vinyl Asylum, where I know it would've drawn a more positive response. But I'd decided even before I made the comparison that the release at issue was the new SACD and that the place for the comparison was the Hi-Rez forum--regardless of the results. In my first sentence I state that the comparison was informal and made my general disclaimers. I find it surprising that in a forum where you'd think subjectivity would be encouraged, "invalidity of the rest results" would be invoked in response to a subjective, informal listening test. Do I need to post "for entertainment purposes only" next time?
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