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and my Yamaha DS2500 played hissing noises and faint music. This is the same unit that was three months in the shop for a software upgrade due to it not playing DVD Audio out the front speakers. Anyway, the Parvi sounds great in 2 ch on the Integra Universal 8.5.
I really like this disc for performance and sound. See link below for my comments.
In the 18 months since I first made these comments I have a greater appreciation for the sound of this disc and Telarc discs, at least in multi-channel. Someone said here a couple of weeks ago that Telarc had a "house sound". I both agree and disagree at the same time. I agree with positive connotations, if any, that characterization may have had.
Telarc recordings most *consistently* have a “solidity” of sound stage that I don’t hear with other labels. The sound stage is nailed to the floor and does not “wander” akin to a live performance (I just returned this evening from an absolutely wonderful performance of “Sheherazade”). The frontal “sweet spot” is extremely wide. I attribute this, in part, to Telarc’s masterful execution of the center channel. I have found that multi-channel recordings that don’t utilize a center channel, or that underutilize the center channel do not have this solidity/wide sweet spot attribute.
(Two-channel recordings may actually be more solid/stable in this regard than a multi-channel recording that is not entirely done well with respect to the center channel perhaps because, and this is simply my guess, the surround channels make the “rudder” of a center channel more important).
I’m not the type of that walks around while listening. In fact, my kids tease me because I listen the old fashion way, as if I’m fastened to my listening chair with a six-point seat belt ready for blastoff. Nevertheless, there is a certain grip or anchor to the sound stage in Telarc recordings (I first noticed this in Michael Bishop recordings) that more faithfully replicate a live recording better than what other labels are able to *consistently* accomplish.
Robert C. Lang
I'll take issue with your center channel arguments:
In my experience the center channel is irrelevant to a solid soundstage IF you are listening from the sweet spot. I often have to mute the left or right speakers or solo the center to show people that the sound is really not coming from the center.
I'll have to attribute the differences in our experience to the differences in our systems: not too surprising :)
Perhaps it's due to my use of TG Audio cables: Bob used to aways remark that most people have systems that you could drive a truck thru the center of the soundstage and he tried to address this with his cables.
If you wish to pursue this more specifically I'd be happy to listen to any particular examples of music that have a less solid center and see if I agree with your examples despite what I said above.
I don't see a disagreement.
****I have found that multi-channel recordings that don’t utilize a center channel, or that underutilize the center channel do not have this solidity/wide sweet spot attribute.****
****In my experience the center channel is irrelevant to a solid soundstage IF you are listening from the sweet spot.****
I agree with what you have said. Completely.
I have found that the sweet spot is less of an issue with a well-done center channel. I find the soundstage to be more solid over a wider area with a good center channel mix. The sweet spot is broader. That is, you can sit a bit left or right of the "traditional sweet" spot with minimal or no sound degradation. Although, as I mentioned I always sit in the traditional sweet spot regardless. Without a center channel, I have found the sweet spot to be much more critical.
You also said:
****I often have to mute the left or right speakers or solo the center to show people that the sound is really not coming from the center.****
I have had the same or similar experience with a variety of speakers for years, beginning with the Ohm F in the 70s. When playing two channels new listeners insist that I must have a speaker hidden in the fireplace that is in between and behind the speakers. They consistently get up to look for it. Or since I have had multi-channel they will think for sure that music is coming from the middle speaker when it is completely off. Likewise with a multi-channel recording that has no center mix they (and yours truly) will be fooled into thinking that music is coming from the center channel when it is not active. (I didn't realize that Telarc's Mahler 5 (Zander) center channel was practically mute until Robert88 [I think]made mention of it). In the case of a multi-channel recording with no center channel this allusion can collapse if you wander from traditional the sweet spot.
And yes let me make it clear, my observations are limited solely to my experiences in my system. Like everything else in audio experiences will vary from system to system and then from room to room (which I would venture to say has a lot more effect than audio cables in my experience). In the case of the center channel a lot may depend, also, how it is being utilized in a particular mix as to whether it is important or not.
While we are on the topic of do you know the purpose of the center channel in SACD? (In that the center channel seems to have a completely different use than in HT).
To this day though if I could only take one of these two to the island with me to listen to for the rest of my lifetime, I'd probably lose a bit of sleep the night before! :)
I do well remember your post beforehand about comparing these two recordings which be the obvious thing most folks would inquire about for the 9th on SACD whether it be MCH or two channel. When I have the opportunity, I'll have to listen to some of the movements again on my systems. It may just be entirely a preference thing however for an individual to choose one over the other as each present a wow factor for sound and a each include a very very good performance.
Regarding the Zander Mahler 5th, his 6th absolutely blows it away in my opinion and I feel one of the reasons is because of the use of the center. The 6th is one of the best MCH recordings for the sense of aliveness that I own!
I must have misunderstood you :)
Since video still matters to me my center is not at the same height as my left and right speakers and they are perfectly capable of handling the power I'm tempted to get my preamp modded to split the center channel inputs evenly into the left and right speakers. I suspect that then I'd have better sound both because my phantom center would match the left and right better and I'd be able to make my ITU circle just a little bigger which I think also could help.
...I understand what you are saying about the center...I often have to mut the main channels to be sure I know what is going on with the center.....when I am sitting in or partially in ... the sweet spot. But when I move to either side (which I often do on the sofa) with a stereo signal the sound collapses towards the speaker on that side. With a good center channel (viz the early RCA's, the Telarcs, and some others) the orchestral spread stays rock solid and only the perspective changes...like moving to a seat on the outside of the center-side aisle. But you still hear the whold orchestra spread.
He said "I’m not the type of that walks around while listening. In fact, my kids tease me because I listen the old fashion way, as if I’m fastened to my listening chair with a six-point seat belt ready for blastoff..." and I qualified my post with "In my experience the center channel is irrelevant to a solid soundstage IF you are listening from the sweet spot." Note the IF :)
Even on the sweet spot a good recording with a center delivers a much improved resolution compared to 2 channels in front.
I'm not sure of that. As I said It's not my experience and I'm sure it depends on your equipment.
I think it has probably more to do with the recording technique. If in the recording the center channel has not been used as 'prominant' as the left and right than the difference between a mixdown from 3 to 2 is less obvious than when the recording has a fully equal use of the 3 front channels. A third source used correctly like that will increase the overall resolution. The same also applies to the way the rear channels are used.
It takes time for engineers to take a different approach in their recording techniques with respect to surround compared to stereo. That is also difficult as we hardly ever make surround only recordings but always have to achieve an equally good result in stereo, much like the beginning of stereo when a mono result was still required. Only after not having to think about the mono did engineers fully concentrate on stereo. At the same time (2 channel) stereo has been the norm for such a long time that people generally take it as their reference. Also recording engineers. In my opinion (5 channel) surround can deliver much improved results over stereo and quadro, and with time and experience consumers and engineers will think of surround compared to stereo as they now of stereo compared to mono.
I understand your point and agree in so far as more info should lead to more resolution, but in all systems there are compromises and more chances for something going awry. I have thousands of MC discs and there doesn't seem to be a big difference in the resolution of discs that use the center channel vs. ones that don't to me in my system... I've got to wonder if some people mix discs with the center monitor on a plane between the front left and right monitors instead of on an ITU circle or something like that...
If you were to use a center speaker, that for the sake of comparison, was identical to your L/R mains (or a speaker one down in the product line) and had that center speaker "ITU positioned" do you believe you would hear benefits (even some)on some or many of your collection of SACD multi-channel discs as a whole?
Robert C. Lang
The speaker I'm using for my center has the same tweeter and mids as my left and right front speakers. It's problem is that the tweeter is at the wrong height. This does cause a few problems that I'd like to address without compromising my video.
If your question is "If you replaced your center speaker with one at the proper height would it make a difference?" then my answer is definitely yes.
On the other hand if your question is "Do you think that a center speaker (with the tweeter at the proper height) with five channel discs is better than four channel discs?" or "Do you think that a center speaker (with the tweeter at the proper height) would be better than a phantom center?" then my answer is not necessarily in my system:
I don't know for sure, but since my left and right front speakers and amps are so much overkill for my room I don't think I need a center for the reasons related to capacity or resolution. Also I don't think I need a center for anchoring the soundstage (it's already quite solid.) So I'm not sure what I need it for :) That's why I'm considering getting my preamp modded to support a phantom center...
I'm not recommending this for everyone (or even anyone else), I'm not saying that I prefer 4 channel discs to five channel (let's ignore the sub for this discussion), and I know that taking it to the limit doesn't make any sense at all. ("Why 4 instead of 5?" leads you to ask "Why not 3 instead of 4?"...) But mathematically, if you are only considering the sweet spot and if your system can handle the extra power without loss of detail, in an ITU setup putting 1/2 of the center into each of the left front and right front is simple and well defined.
Sorry if I'm rambling.
Zander Mahler 5th and 6th. The 5th basically makes no use of the center. It was one of the earlier MCH recordings released on SACD.
Yep the center on the 5th is quite quiet...
It seems like a good place to listen for solidity of soundstage on the 5th is track 5, there both the stereo and MC are quite solid and each solo instrument is in a well defined space (no matter what else is going on.)
The center isn't all that loud on the 6th either (about the same level as the rears), tho it is certainly used more than the 5th.
The beginning of track three seems like a good place to listen to the solidity of the soundstage, once again each solo instrument is in a well defined place.
Going back and forth a few times at the same volume level, the 6th seems to be a little cleaner with a lower noise floor.
I guess I'm not sure exactly what else you might be asking for. They both sound great and I'm glad you prodded me to listen to them again. It's been a while and they are wonderful to listen to.
Then I assume one should be putting dollars into the front speakers rather than utilize a center channel if you don't detect a large difference between these two recordings.
The 5th was one of the first MCH recordings if I remember correctly. The 6th is IMHO one of the best MCH recordings for SACD. If there isn't a large difference and the 5th doesn't really utilize a center and the 6th does but it is basically very subtle and regardless it is still one of the best IMHO....
I'm not sure this is much of a test, the 6th doesn't put a lot of energy in the center, as I mentioned the center is at about the levels of the rears, more of a fill/ambiance level... I'm not sure it tells us much about what the center can do...
Also I'm note sure what differences you are asking about: to me the 6th was a little clearer, etc. but it seems to me you are making extrapolations that I don't understand.
I guess this is the reason I don't talk about performances or software much :) I'm comfortable with the technical and talking about it, but I just enjoy the music too much to get too analytical about it.
Thanks for the thoughtful replys. No, I don't view them as rambling at all; makes sense.
An observation I have made is that SACD multi-channel recordings are getting better and better. It is as if the format is moving forward from the "early ages", much like stereo did after a while. I have found that current SACD multi-channel mixes sound more convincing than the newly recorded mixes from 5 years ago. There *seems* to be less reliance on the two mains (except for the deepest bass) and an elevation of the center channel (especially) and the surrounds as more as equal partners (but still not equal).
The increase in center channel reliance in the mixes does not necessarily result in improved or increased "center fill" in my system when attempting to make those kinds of comparisons (which I rarely do any more). As has been pointed out stereo addressed any "center fill" issues years ago with only two good speakers.
Nevertheless, the mixes sound better than ever. I have found that the sound quality is improving even though my ears, gear and the room have not changed at all (well may be my ears). This may have more to do with improved use of the surrounds than with increased center channel participation. Or the improvement can be for some other reasons. I don't know. It may be more of a synergy thing.
One result in the market place I have seen is that newly recorded 4 channel discs don't seem to be as common as they once were. Although I have observed that in my collection that some of the more “purist” (talk about an oxymoron!) multi-channel recordings leave out the center channel
Sorry if I'm rambling.:)
One source of four channel recordings was the re-release of old quad recordings. I like a lot of these. I think, like you and Erdo have said on this thread, that newer recordings are using the center more and arguably better.
BTW I still find it disconcerting when the voice comes almost exclusively from the center and little of the instrumentation does, but of course I only know this by playing with the channel solo buttons on my preamp (or by listening too carefully for my own good :)
...if he truly just sits in the sweetspot, then phantom central image is just fine...you are right.
and I admit it is not really important to me, is that when I have more than one guest the center channel makes it viable for 3-4 people (depending on their girth:) to sit abreast and still enjoy excellent sound. I can shoehorn only two (and I’m reluctant to even do that) into the sweet spot with no center channel without fear of audible compromise.
of about 10. Good thing I bought a Toshiba Universal player ($87 at Office Depot) as a backup. Out of storage, take the Yamaha back to the repair center, and go with Toshiba for a few months.
I'm glad that you enjoyed it too. I just listened to this disc again. And I love it as much as ever. Is it a great performance? Well *great* is rare so it is highly unlikely that it is *great*. But I can say that among my collection of a dozen or so Dvorak 9ths that the performance is more compelling than the rest. And it is certainly the best "modern" (last 25 years or so) recording that I have experienced. You add to that the best sound and it is by far my favorite 9th. With respect to sound I can think of no other than comes close, of course I have only heard a fraction of the "modern" releases.
At the end of the performance (and indeed after the end of each movement, as "tacky" as some may find it) I fully expect a thunderous applause. The performance/sound is that much on point for me.
I believe that some devotees see the name Telarc or Cincinnati, ding it and ask questions later. I remember when the disc was *just* released 4 "not recommended" "votes" (no comments given) instantly popped up on SA-CD.net. I say to them: Please. At least give it a listen.
There is a "house sound" when it comes to Telarc, I am speaking from two channel perspective.
The best way to describe: Telarc sound is very clear, whare all instruments of the orcheastra are audible clearly and are positioned in the right place on the percieved soundstage, but Telarc produces very DRY and clinical sound, the dry Telarc sound is ideal for the music of Stravinsky but not at all appropriate for Bruckner.
Most European orchestral recordings prefer to give the listener the big picture, meaning somewhat distant miking with some amount of hall reverberation, to me this approach is more appropriate for late romantic composers such as Mahler or Bruckner, the hall reverberation gives the listener that 3D feel and a feeling of the large space where the recording is made.
Just one persons opinion.
Hang the mic's high from the ceiling and a ways back from the orchestra to give the sounds waves (especially the bass) plenty of room to expand.
A good example is a drum kit, major labels set up mic's in front of all the drums and inside the bass drum creating sound in your face and muffled. But most audiophile companies will use just a single mic for a drum kit and about 15-30 feet in front of the kit. That is the secret to Telarc's and Reference Recording's big bass drum whacks, they both give the bass the correct distance to expand the waveform so it is gigantic in the listening room.
While I agree that Telarc's sound is very clear, with all instruments of the orchestra clearly audible and positioned in the right place on the perceived soundstage, I will even agree in the many of Telarc CD versions the sound can be dry, I do not agree Telarc has a clinical sound. Nor do I agree that Telarc CDs are on average dryer than any other CDs.
Also on most European "Digital" orchestral recordings I have tried they are extrememly dry especially the string tone, and lacking in hall reverberation. The only European orchestral recordings I have heard that are warm and rich in hall ambiance are the Decca and Lyrita recordings from mid-1950's to the mid-1970's. Especially on LP and 7 1/2 IPS Reel to Reel.
Of the SACDs I heard that are warm and rich in ambiance I can only think of Telarc, Mercury Living Presence, RCA Living Stereo, The David Chesky Concertos, and the first three BIS Greig SACDs. But the warmest and most alive sound I have ever heard short of analog is the Telarc SACDs and that is in two channel. Dry no way!
On my system Telarc SACDs are extremely warm, realistic and project a large stereo soundstage. In my humble opinion the major record labels in both Europe and the USA forgot how to record an orchestra after 1975! Can’t RCA, Decca and EMI listen to the recordings of the golden age to relearn how to make realistic recordings? Short of doing that the major labels should pick up a few Telarc’s to hear how realistic a “recorded” orchestra can sound.
"Music is love"
A couple of comment on your comments, and thanks for commenting on my comments.
I got into hi fi just as 78’s were losing market to the LP’s, that makes me an old fart, that said lets take one record CO. lets start with RCA, in the 50’s they were recording Toscanini with NBC orchestra in that dreaded studio 8H, they essentially produced telephone booth ambience, the worst possible sound that was ever recorded my mankind, but strangely that same RCA a few years later recorded Reiner and Munch and produced some of the finest orchestral sound ever recorded.
Back to Telarc, my main point with the Telarc sound is that regardless of what they are recording the technique remains the same, that’s where I see the problem, I have tons of Telarc CD’s, I love their orchestral sound when it comes to Aaron Copeland or Stravinsky, but here in front of me there is a recording of Bruckner Sym no.6 with Cincinnati Sym Orch. Cobos conducting, to me the sound of this recording is painfully dry and totally inappropriate for this particular music.
Anton Bruckner spent most of his life in cathedrals, his music is written for performance in cathedral type spaces with vast interiors and the appropriate reverberation. Bruckner has many “abrupt” pauses in his music which are intended to let the reverberation die before the next episode begins.
Now, listen to me, the recording producer need to know a thing or two before recording this particular composer, with this particular Bruckner 6th Telarc proves that they know or care nothing about these all important issues.
Cincinnati Music Hall had gone through a major remodeling/refinishing just prior to the Lobos-Cobos Bruckner session. In addition, the Maestro had commissioned a new shell structure, risers, and acoustic materials, all to the detriment of the sound of Music Hall, IMO. There was little we could do to make Music Hall sound like a cathedral or even close to it. The hall had become very unforgiving, but that's what we had to work with. The Maestro wanted a very direct, immediate sound. Sometimes you just have to roll with the punches... In the sessions and years since, with work, we've made the hall sound much better than what we had at that particular point.
My recording technique is NEVER the same from one session to the next. There are far too many variables in repertoire, acoustics, orchestra instrumentation & layout, temperature & weather conditions, etc. to think that "one size fits all." It never does. There are similarities, but lots of changes and adjustments at each and every session. Additionally, I don't do anything the same now that I was doing just a year ago. Recording music is an evolutionary process, and just like the musicians, we're always making changes along the way.
I'm sure you have no idea of the amount of session preparation before we're anywhere near the recording session. It would be impossible to effectively produce a full-blown orchestra session (costing more than $300/minute) without extensive planning and preparation for the piece at hand.
who had enough trouble with xenophobic and linguistically-impaired Cincinnatians without his recording engineer getting his name wrong!!
As to Music Hall and the Lopez-Cobos experiments, as a then-Subscriber,I can only emphatically disagree with your verdict. The Hall's sound was transformed from an undifferentiated wash of Royal Albert Hall-type reverberence to a detailed but definitely not dry acoustic. The quality of the upper strings was seemingly transformed. And in Bruckner--though I am far from sure that the recordings of the Sixth and Seventh did not predate the 'makeover'--the changes permitted the hearing of the all-important harmonic and contrapuntal inner, subordinate voices, especially in the Brass.
The Lopez-Cobos Bruckner #6-9, as I have argued before, are the finest Bruckner recordings and performances to have been made OUTSIDE the Austro-German axis of Vienna, Munich, Berlin, Hamburg, Amsterdam. I have heard Wand--and other divinities--'live' in Bruckner #8, for example, and Lopez-Cobos and his by-then fabulous cloning of Karajan's BPO were every bit as impressive, especially in 1994. Mr. Bishop--take pride in these wonders, ignore the (IMHO)ignorant, and PUT THESE JEWELS OF THE TELARC CATALOG ON TO SACD--PRESTISSIMO!!
A final aside. If anyone like myself has pondered the reason for the excellence of the Telarc philosophy, Bishop's post provides real insight. Note that it was the Maestro who determined the general character of the recording--apparently Woods-Renner have never hankered after the supreme powers of a Legge, a Culshaw. The musicians rule apparently and the proof of the pudding has long been in the tastiest of 'eating'.
Generally speaking with the construction of the Lincoln Center we had a resurgence of interest in the performing arts centers, nearly every major city had to have a brand new performing center, my hometown Houston built the Jones Hall, but just like the Lincoln Center all were modern & contemporary architectural masterpieces with totally unacceptable acoustics and all went through endless and costly remodeling to fix the problem, very few got their money’s worth.
That remodeling craze finally destroyed one of the finest, the Orchestra Hall Chicago where many Reiner recordings were made, gone with the wind.
I just hope that Boston Symphony Hall with its incredible acoustics remains intact.
As for Cobos insisting on a very direct & immediate sound, well he got it, but I still insist that that sound is not appropriate for Bruckner’s music and obviously there was very little that you could do to change his mind. After listening to his performance I am convinced that he is not a Bruckner specialist in G. Wand tradition.
When conductors insist on a certain sound, the results can be at times less than satisfactory, Leonard Bernstein in his later years insisted on an audio perspective that he was only able to hear from the podium, his later DG recordings reflect that approach, compare those to his earlier Columbia recordings and you will realize what went wrong. I suppose when conductors impose their will on recording engineers we all lose.
And yes I am aware of the preparation that goes ahead of a recording session, everything to you mentioned plus the additional costs imposed by the unions.
way you'll have ALL the wonderful recordings you could ever want
and NOT played by those greedy Union Musicians who think their work is worth something, and who don't live in Eastern Europe, but in th USA where it cost $ just keep a roof, car and self together. Personaly I'd be happy living in the street, so long as you get your cds. Oh I forgot to add, Go **** yourself.
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