Question UHD BluRay and SACD player recommendation

LX200GPS

Member

For older recordings check out RCA living stereo releases
The Fritz Reiner RCA Living Stereo cd's collection for less than £12 are excellent value. Four cd's - eight albums in total and not multi-channel, obviously, although some of the Living Stereo are sacd. Sound quality really top notch and has the best performance of the Pines and Fountains of Rome I've ever heard. Hard to believe most of these recordings were made in the 1950's. The dynamic range is breathtaking.

EDIT: There was a bigger set of Vol 1 and Vol 2 available but not sure if they still are.
 

Steven

Senior Moderator
This is on me, Mercury living presence are also good for older recordings. Redbook CD for reasonable prices. SACD if money is weighing down your pockets
 

xavster

Active Member
The Fritz Reiner RCA Living Stereo cd's collection for less than £12 are excellent value. Four cd's - eight albums in total and not multi-channel, obviously, although some of the Living Stereo are sacd. Sound quality really top notch and has the best performance of the Pines and Fountains of Rome I've ever heard. Hard to believe most of these recordings were made in the 1950's. The dynamic range is breathtaking.

EDIT: There was a bigger set of Vol 1 and Vol 2 available but not sure if they still are.
This is true. Some of the SACDs are three channel (no rears) to reproduce the sound of the three microphones used in the original recordings. They are very impressive.
 
This is true. Some of the SACDs are three channel (no rears) to reproduce the sound of the three microphones used in the original recordings. They are very impressive.
Really... Can you give some examples?
 

jwlawler

Active Member
Yippee, another SACD has arrived. I'll listen to the CD layer in my home office while working and the SACD layer in my A/V room after work. It is now my 6th version of this work.
 

xavster

Active Member
Really... Can you give some examples?
Yep- Gershwin
And - Tchaikovsky and Rach
There are others
3A5633E9-670C-4372-95D2-2F4EE4847168.jpeg
 

jwlawler

Active Member
I am a little disappointed by my latest SACD: Rakhmaninov Piano Concerto No. 2.

It arrived on Friday while I was working so I played the CD layer in my office system. This is small but quite nice. The speakers are Tannoy Mercury VR. It sounded very good so I was looking forward to hearing the SACD layer on the full system.

After work I played the SACD 5.1 layer in the main system. My front speakers are also Tannoy but R3 and the sub is a BK Gemini II. Sadly, I was a bit disappointed; it was very bass heavy. One thing that I like about SACD or BluRay audio music played on a good system is that the bass is nice and clear: I can pick out the double basses and other low instruments easily. Normally, my system is nicely balanced and, as far as I can tell, the level is realistic: audible but not dominant. However, in this case, it seemed to be overdone and the low instruments were rather intrusive. I checked lots of settings on the AVR in case they had been messed up but they weren't. This would be unlikely as no kids have been here recently and the wife is highly unlikely to muck around in the AVR settings. The AVR was in Pure Direct mode. So, I tried the CD layer and the SACD 2.0 layer and they were similar. I went back to my Berlioz disc and it still sounded nicely balanced. So, it does not seem to be a fault with SACDs in general or my system; that's just how it was mixed. I guess that my office system did not have enough low end to expose the problem. A bit of a disappointment since, up to now, I have had the impression that these high res audio formats were very carefully and accurately mastered.
 

xavster

Active Member
Hello.
Deutsche Grammophon do have a reputation for using a lot of microphones on their recordings which can lead to some odd balances. I only have a couple of their SACDs in my collection for that reason. Some comments here :DG sound
 

jwlawler

Active Member
Hello.
Deutsche Grammophon do have a reputation for using a lot of microphones on their recordings which can lead to some odd balances. I only have a couple of their SACDs in my collection for that reason. Some comments here :DG sound

I used to have a lot of Deutsche Grammophon vinyl but that is long ago. I still have a lot of DG in my CD collection but I rarely handle the discs any more as I rip them as soon as I get them. I usually only pay attention to the composer, piece, and artists in the metadata. I'll pay more attention for a while but it's not a problem that I recall. I don't have any other SACDs from them but, in this case, the same applied to the CD layer.

Another SACD is on its way and it is not DG. I won't give up on SACD but I might be a bit more cautious in my purchases.
 

xavster

Active Member
I used to have a lot of Deutsche Grammophon vinyl but that is long ago. I still have a lot of DG in my CD collection but I rarely handle the discs any more as I rip them as soon as I get them. I usually only pay attention to the composer, piece, and artists in the metadata. I'll pay more attention for a while but it's not a problem that I recall. I don't have any other SACDs from them but, in this case, the same applied to the CD layer.

Another SACD is on its way and it is not DG. I won't give up on SACD but I might be a bit more cautious in my purchases.
Just had a listen to your recording (in stereo via Apple Music) and I agree the bass is excessive. And there isn’t much in the way of ambience or space around the instruments.
If you want a recording of the Rach 2 - please try the one I linked above!!!
 

jwlawler

Active Member
Just had a listen to your recording (in stereo via Apple Music) and I agree the bass is excessive. And there isn’t much in the way of ambience or space around the instruments.
If you want a recording of the Rach 2 - please try the one I linked above!!!
Thanks. It's good to have a second opinion. So, I know it's not me or my equipment.
I have already added your suggestion to my need to get list. I now have six copies but who cares, get another. One is by Rakhmaninov himself and another is the brother of a friend.

I just remember that I have access to even more performances via The Berlin Philharmonic Digital Concert Hall and Medici TV. We have splurged a bit in lockdown since we cannot attend any live concerts.

On a related subject, I note that all of my serious piano playing friends prefer Rakh 3. Poor 1 and 4 don't seem to be loved by anyone.
 

Steven

Senior Moderator
A bit of a disappointment since, up to now, I have had the impression that these high res audio formats were very carefully and accurately mastered.
Not wallet safe to make this assumption! There is a wealth of online information for SACD releases

For example this Mendelssohn title is actually multiple Redbook PCM discs upsampled and re-released as single DSD SACD disc

Amazon product
Have you also tried looking for dual SACD and blu ray audio releases?

Amazon product
 

jwlawler

Active Member
Not wallet safe to make this assumption! There is a wealth of online information for SACD releases

For example this Mendelssohn title is actually multiple Redbook PCM discs upsampled and re-released as single DSD SACD disc

Amazon product
Have you also tried looking for dual SACD and blu ray audio releases?

Amazon product
Thanks. I have done some research but not carefully enough it seems. The fault with this disc is not particularly that the SACD layers are poor, they are better than the CD layer but that all three layers share the same fault: the bass is too dominant. This would seem to have been a deliberate choice of the engineer doing the mixing but I don't like it. My ideal is to close my eyes and be able to imagine that the performers are actually in front of me. The good SACDs and BluRays come pretty close. This one does not, the double basses are not that prominent in real life.

I have one dual SACD / BluRay disc: Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique. This is good. Both the SACD 5.1 and the BluRay audio 5.1 tracks are very good. I cannot say which is better.

I have been pleased with my classical music BluRays (some with video and some audio only) which I have been buying for longer. Oddly, the only disappointing one is the same piece: Rakhmaninov Piano Concerto No. 2. My wife bought it as a present without noticing or understanding "PCM Stereo".

Finally, I have one even poorer version of the piece, it's only mono, but it has a place in my collection: it is from a 78rpm original and Rakhmaninov himself is playing.
 

jwlawler

Active Member
Another SACD just arrived and, this time, it is a good one: Dvorak 9th Symphony.

Unlike the Rakhmaninov, it is nicely mixed. The bass instruments are clearly present but not dominant. The extra channels are nicely done. No blatant effects, it is not an action movie, but they quite literally add another dimension. With a good stereo set-up, you get a one dimensional left-right sound stage. With the surround channels, you get front-back as well. It is possible to locate each instrument. When I close my eyes, it is very close to the feeling of being at a live concert. There are still some giveaways: no one is coughing and the seat is too comfortable.

The disc is only 5.0 so I had to make the choice of pure direct mode, which I have been using for my hi-res discs, but no sub or a mode which directs low frequencies to the sub. I did not have any time for experimenting tonight so I went for the sub. I resisted a mode which would use the Atmos speakers.

Next I want classical music with an Atmos soundtrack so I get the third dimension but, to be fair, not a lot of music would use it. In some performances of Verdi's Requiem, there are trumpets up in the boxes. In Holst's Planets, the off-stage choir are sometimes higher than the orchestra.
 

The latest video from AVForums

LG CX Best Picture Settings
Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Full fat HDMI teeshirts

Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom