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In Reply to: RE: Is this really the "First Release" of the two-channel masters in high resolution? posted by Mudshark on June 26, 2012 at 12:29:13
Well, I own the MFSL SACD and ripped it. Problem is, the recording was done in PCM, then transferred to DSD for the SACD, so I'd MUCH prefer the original 24 bit here on BluRay (not to mention the surround remix).
I do not have the MFSL SACD, so I am happy to learn that the cheaper and soon-to-be much more widely available Blu-ray is closer to the two-channel master recording than the SACD. And yes, the BD surround mix is icing on the cake. But I still have a question about the marketing claim that the BD is the "first release" of the two-channel masters in high resolution. Isn't a high-rez PCM to DSD conversion "high resolution"? And if not, why not? The "Modern Cool" SACD is considered reference quality by many. Just look at the reviews and ratings on SA-CD.net. So how bad could that PCM-to-DSD conversion have been, and how much can the BD improve on it? I guess we will have to wait for people with both versions to compare them.
My BD shipped yesterday so I'll chime back in when i rip the 24 bit stereo layer and compare the DSD vs native 24 bit (I own 2 DSD DACs and demoing a third). But the mch layer is what I'm REALLY geeked about. :)
I am curious to hear what you think about it. :-)
Kal, et al,
I received the disc a few days ago and just this morning got around to listening. The only format I've listened to so far is the 24/96 5.1 DTS HD MA (lossless) one. I will comment on the stereo 24/192 layer, and it's comparison to the ripped DSD or redbook versions, later. Right now I have not had a chance to either have someone rip it for me (no BD ripper here right now) or worst case do the HDMI de-embedder to Meitner, as I shelved the Atlona box once I had native DSD capability.
Keep in mind that 1) this is a fairly small jazz ensemble, so there is not a huge amount going on to "unearth" in a 5.1 spread; and 2) the redbook and DSD versions are no slouches, with either being easily given an "audiophile pressing" kind of nomenclature. However, the DTS HD MA remastering clearly shows off a bit better timbre/tonality, and a very tight low end, and this through lesser electronics (Denon AVR as pre/pro via HDMI) than my 2 channel rig. The native 24 bit shows through. This is where the 5.1 mix ends for me, though. I am not a fan of Darcy Proper and/or Jim Anderson's surround remix here. It's both too gimmicky at times (some songs have images bouncing, with percussion in rears, with some drum hits forward) and somewhat inconsistent (aggressive mixes in some songs, ambience in others). Where is Eliot Scheiner when you need him. :)
I am reaching a fairly hasty conclusion that this album didn't really need a 5.1 mix, and hope that the 24/192 stereo one is worth the price of admission ($19 delivered). I could be wrong, too hasty, or spot on. I may bring back out my Sony TAP9000ES analog preamp and relisten via the 83SE's analog outs. We'll see...:)
P.S. it is nice to see them use the Pure Audio method of being able to pick the surround and stereo layers via the colored BluRay remote buttons (red is DTS, yellow is stereo LPCM), which makes display-less navigation very simple.
I dusted off the Atlona de-embedder so i could hear the 24/192 LPCM layer through my Meitner MA-1. This is the layer, IMO, that is worth the $19. The timbres/colors are just that much better. Everything decays more naturally, into blackness, and the depth of soundstage is even a few degrees clearer than the redbook or DSD versions.
Patricia's voice can get congested or a bit chesty, due to her deep inflections. but on this remaster, her voice is perfectly rendered...deep, resonant, but clean and clear. It actually sounds slightly more isolated (i.e obviously recorded at a different time/space than the music) but nothing that calls to itself during the music per se. It's clearly not a live album, has some heavy production value in many of the songs, and her voice fits all of them well.
The percussion, as is usually the case in remasters (sometimes to a fault), improves here quite a bit..and that is saying something. This album is quite percussive to begin with, but the added sheen and sparkle, decay and tone, does not cause brightness, brittle sound or harsh listening fatigue in the slightest. On the contrary, the perfect sizzle of the different metals comes across better, along with the deeper and more sustained thwacks of the bass drum kit (most noted on tracks like Winter or Constantinople. And finally, the depth and overall warmth of the Choral Thunder Vocal Choir on the last track, Let It Rain (Vamp) is perfectly portrayed.
I look forward to ripping this 24/192 layer, as I still believe the Atlona HDMI de-embedder solution is too jitter-prone.
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