Hi-res audio classical music discs - recommendations

jwlawler

Active Member
I recently bought a new UHD / SACD player and hence gained the ability to play SACDs. This led to some discussion on the SACDs that I have bought. This discussion took place in my thread about a player recommendation. This does not seem to be the best place. I hope that this is a better place for such a thread.

I already had the ability to play standard BluRays and I already have a few.

I'd like this thread to discuss hi-res audio discs of classical music. These may be SACDs, BluRay audio only, or BluRay with video provided that the audio is above CD quality (or at least claims to be higher).

For classical music, I personally take a fairly strict would Radio 3 play it standard but I am happy for the thread to include the wider definition of would Classic FM play it.

I'll kick it off with a few of my own discs and then sit back and hope that some of the rest of you find it interesting.
 

jwlawler

Active Member

Beethoven: The Complete Piano Sonatas by Mari Kodama


I owned this set of hybrid CD / SACD discs for a couple of years before getting an SACD player so I was already familiar with the CD layers. Once I got my SACD player, I was keen to find out how much better the SACD layers were.

I was not expecting a great improvement but I was pleasantly surprised to find that the SACD 5.1 player was noticeably better. As solo piano, the surround channels did not have a lot to do but they did add some ambience and subtly improved the effect. Another surprise was that the low piano notes sounded better.

My ideal for recordings of classical music is to be able to close my eyes and not know whether or not the performer(s) are in the room with me. This came very close.

So, if you like this music, can play SACDs on a good system, and want or can afford another set of discs then I would recommend these discs. Not a night and day improvement but it was an improvement.
 
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jwlawler

Active Member

Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique (LSO/Gergiev)

After discovering that even solo piano music could sound better on SACDs, I was keen to try another genre. This seemed to be a good test as it is a complex orchestral piece with a wide dynamic range and a wide range of tone colours.

An interesting feature is that you get an SACD hybrid disc and a BluRay audio disc. Both are noticeably better than the CD layer. I cannot tell which of these two is better. A further bonus is a video but unfortunately that has just a 2.0 LCPM soundtrack.

The surround channels added a lot to this complex piece. Not blatant as in action movies, no instruments appeared behind me, but they literally added another dimension to the sound stage. It was very easy to place each instrument. As with the solo piano music, the low notes sounded better.

My ideal of being able to close my eyes and not tell whether the performers are in the room with me is a major challenge for a large orchestral piece but this came closer than usual.

So, if you like this music and can play SACDs or BluRay audio only discs on a good system then I would recommend these discs. They are significantly better than regular CDs.
 

jwlawler

Active Member

Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No.2 by Lang Lang and Gergiev

After two positive experiences with SACDs, I was keen to try more and this was my third. Sadly, this disc is an exception. It is disappointing.

A feature of hi-res audio discs played on a good system that I like is that the low instruments, e.g. double bass and timpani, are nice and clear. However, this disc overdoes it: the low instruments are dominant rather than just clear. This is not particularly an SACD issue as the CD layer has the same issue. Played on a small system, e.g. my office system with bookshelf speakers, it sounds fine.

So, I cannot recommend this disc.
 

jwlawler

Active Member
I am not sure whether anyone is interested but, in case they are, here is another.

Dvorák - Symphony No 9, 'From the New World'

This is another good one. Similar benefits to the Berlioz. So, my hit rate for good SACDs is not 100% but it is fairly high. I will continue searching. One more is due today; it's from the same label as the Berlioz so I am optimistic.
 

brian s

Distinguished Member
You might get more response posting in this thread.


Bri
 

jwlawler

Active Member
You might get more response posting in this thread.


Bri

Thanks, I hadn't spotted that one. I had hoped that there would be some interest in classical SACDs but I guess that is the intersection of two small niches and hence very tiny.
 

jwlawler

Active Member

Ravel: Daphnis & Chloe, Pavane pour une infant défunte, Bolero


Another good one. It comes with a bonus disc with a video of Bolero. Unlike the similar bonus for the Berlioz (above), this is a plain DVD. However, the video is 720p and not just 576p. It is surprisingly good for an old type DVD. The sound track is 5.1. For the best sound, play the SACD but this is a nice addition and worth a watch.
 

Steven

Senior Moderator
Amazon product
Three channel historical recording and unlike other music conducted by Dorati on SACD, a reasonable price!
 

Steven

Senior Moderator
@jwlawler this is a disc with a 2.0 Redbook layer, 2.0 SACD layer and surround SACD layer. Amazon price fluctuates, camel camel says it has been £12 new in the past. Maybe look at other sellers for a saving as Amazon currently flogging for £16

Amazon product
 

jwlawler

Active Member
@jwlawler this is a disc with a 2.0 Redbook layer, 2.0 SACD layer and surround SACD layer. Amazon price fluctuates, camel camel says it has been £12 new in the past. Maybe look at other sellers for a saving as Amazon currently flogging for £16

Amazon product
Thanks for the tip. Although I love the Beethoven symphonies, they are not a priority for SACDs as I already have them all on BluRay with DTS-HD MA 5.0 audio.
 

jwlawler

Active Member
My latest SACD purchase is: Mozart: Clarinet Concerto & Clarinet Quintet.

And about to arrive is: Edward Gardner conducts Holst & Richard Strauss. I already have The Planets on an excellent BluRay but I have room for another good copy. However, the main reason for this disc was the Also Sprach Zarathustra.

My latest disc has arrived and I am pleased with it. It starts with a nice long, low organ note which makes good use of the sub-woofer. I am not sure whether it is C1 at 32.75Hz or C0 at 16.375Hz performances vary depending on the available organ. I have a tuning app but this note is too low for it to notice at all. I would need a more sophisticated gadget. Anyway, it sounds good.
 

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