Will SACD restore dynamics to recordings?

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by Don Grossinger, Nov 4, 2002.

  1. Don Grossinger

    Don Grossinger Distinguished past mastering moderator Active Member

    Because compression & normalizing artifacts are more audible with SACD, will their use become less prevelant?

    Will dynamic range return?

    Will Car SACD players have "compression" buttons?

    Are the new higher fidelity formats (SACD & DVD Audio) going to succeed in the market place?
     
  2. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    My friend, you just touched on a serious nerve.

    I shall explain.

    First of all question one, Will SACD (DSD) restore dynamics?

    It certainly can if the engineers that were "chosen" to use the format would let go of their limitations, realise what "you Sir" have done with vinyl, and take it to the appropriate level of sonics, dynamics and vibe that only a 2,822,400hZ/SEC sampling frequency can provide.

    In 1998, I was introduced to DSD (direct streme digital for those who want to know) and felt it to be the "holy grail" of digital..for the next time being.

    I wrote Sony, procured underwriters to be first on-board with the format for restoring original masters back to their finest glory.

    They already picked their buddys',"we talk to you soon" After 30+ phone calls to Philips and Sony..no returns. I even know who is in charge of it all. I was not part of "their loop"

    Face it, imagine my dissapointment when I first heard PF's Dark Side of the Moon (aka DSOM) on compact disc.(early 1985) Not only did I have a Micro Seki Mod 20 vinyl reproduction system with van den hul ruby cartridge and many other samples of fine MC cartridges..all having their merits.(two J arms) but I had a phono pre to die for with variable capacitance and resistance pots so I could dial in the cables and dial in the sonics desired for each cutting engineer. I knew when it was right. Not just right on my systems..but "right", Like you know when it is "right". Some got it, some don't. All class "A" vaccum tube pre pre and pre. MM and MC cartridges on the two arms for comparison. The Shure M91ED is still one of my fav. MM carts, as was the V15type III and the M95ED. Had them all. Hell I think I had Stanton 681EEE and another stanton that cost (SL981?) about 4 times as much. No traceability problems with all those, along with several copies of each album (marked for certain styli)..well you get the picture. First runs or close. (the good pressings..some on 180g vinyl as well)

    I practically beat the door down to be in on this..hell it was a natural for me. 23 years with the same speakers, knowing what the vinyl could sound like , knowing about CD4, QS4, etc..quad with it's 45KHZ carrier..all of that.

    I knew the music and I actually had access to first run albums..(de-horned but close to the first 600, not 100K). Sorry for the repeat..I wanted emphisis on this, it matters quite a bit)

    I want it, I want the work, for archives sake please let me do it..even if you don't pay..please..

    Well I guess I was a voice in the wilderness.

    Go listen to the SACD TOTO IV. Nasty/ It is horrible!!!!! (dynamics are OK frequency response is out of the box)

    The Midrange is dominant as if RIAA to cutter was the master, could have been!

    Who dun it????????? (I feel for their soul if we ever meet, Poor dude..I will just hang my head and cry for him)

    I simply cannot believe that fine production mastering, (such as what Doug Sax is capable of), is not showing itself on SACD! What about what I can do!

    Out of the 37 SACD's I have, two of them are close to being ball busters..they can be improved..and I have many redbook (Fourplay, Fattburger) CD's that totally devastate the SACD"S in my collection.

    The mastering is inferior, the mastering speakers have too much bass and a recessed mid and a deep cut at 3K and a accentuated top.

    They are making it level on super audiophile speakers designed to attract the audiophiles, which are not level in the different rooms..big time bass boost in the speaker design!!

    My SACD's Mostly are an inverse of that.

    Inverse you know is ..thin bass, Mids up 6 to 9 dB, Bleeding edge 3K and rolled off highs.

    I bet you that the TOTO IV SACD tape was POST RIAA!!!!! It sounds that bad. Imagine after you use the RIAA to make your cut fit the record (with anticipation of post RIAA)..if the SACD was cut from a RIAA (to cutter) EQ'ed Master?

    Again so their is no confusion....

    To rephrase, Imagine the actual signal you have to use to lay down the cutter..Imagine that signal being used to make the SACD. It sounds that bad.

    Something is terribly amiss with the sacd's have. Most of them.

    Someone is incompetant. Perhaps they all are. I have masters to compare to it and my SACD player is not inferior. It must be fixed at once.

    Pehaps they ONLY work on super hi fi eq'ed for the audiophiles speakers? I got them too..but damn..no resemblence to the master? The vinyl even??

    Now Question two!

    Will dynamic range return?

    Not if the above holds true. Only the classical SACD's from Telarc approach the dynamics that SACD is capable of and even then you can hear compression in some form being used. It is not my amp or speakers, I can assure you of that.

    Next, will car stereos have a compression button. They should have vari-compression settings, manuallly operated by the consumer. Not automatic. Leave it up to the user what ratio they like. Educate the public and leave it to the public if they want dynamic compression, how much, if at all, or alot. This would solve a bunch of "our" problems.

    Are they going to make it?

    If all CD's that are produced are hybrid multilayer SACD's from now on out, they simply will work on all machines and the public will not have a choice. You get both. This is a pipe dream. Have you seen the press-up cost of a hybrid sacd? It is only 5.5 times as much as a CD.

    DVD-A

    Many machines are being produced with built in DVD-A layer reading..but the consumers do not realise that this is a different format for music altogether. It is an automatic purchase..without the desire for it to be an option. Many may find nary a difference but I believe DSD and PCM can both be better formats in high rez than redbook..it is about politics and who get's to master it right now.

    For reference, I have had the Sony SACD-1 The SACD-777 and the CE-775. All are great performers with the first two being built like tanks. As far as DVD-A goes, the caveat is that it does not allow true 2 channel reproduction from a multichannel DVD-A as an SACD does. It folds back to 2 channel from 6. SACD had both the 2 channel and the 6 channel tracks separate.

    The other caveat is, Master multichannel full range like quad? or keep the lame single subwoofer routine as in home theater? We know the limitations of a single sub summing stereo signals. No phase cues, cone cannot move both directions at the same time. Bad deal for two channel and multi channel. Single sub is fine for theatrical film effects track below 50hZ. That is all.

    Whoooo You got me started..but really I know I will never get to do any of them at this late time for the majors so I can spew it out now and let off some needed steam.

    I am not angry, but terribly dissapointed..It is going on 5 years since I was introduced to a format that would be the end all to end all and it is even worse implemented than many redbook recordings and mastering.

    The industry should be ashamed.

    Can I do better?

    For ^#$%s sake, yes I can. Hands down.

    Hope you enjoyed it..I certainly did.

    PS, I am up on all the formats if anyone has any questions..I am sure Don is as well.

    Hope it made for intertaining reading.

    Please reply..I want your thoughts as well// Again, sorry for typos..I am working..just took a 15 min break..
     
  3. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    I don't think that all of these SACD mastering guys are inferior, I just think that they are working the masters for the people who are buying them and who's writing the check. Most of the buying public purchasing SACD's and DVD-A are audiophiles. I've heard a few of these on really hi end systems and I thought they sounded pretty good. I have not yet made the leap but I'm researching for it so I can't say from knowledge where it can go. But i'm sure like any other format, it will fall into the same problems that we face now. It's really amazing to me what the general public finds acceptable and that volume is perceived to be better. But that's the way it is even to people in the industry. If I don't at least get it into the same area, then someone else will. I think the problem is in how we make music now compared to then. Technology has allowed us to fine tune the life out of music. I'm noticing a real difference in mixes being delivered to me. Even "live" music is coming in like it never has before. All of the elements are consistent throughout. No dynamics even within individual elements. I'm finding less of a need to use compression as the years go by. Before the mix is even touched, it has little to no dynamic range. But the pressures put on mix engineers to deliver mixes as close to maxed out, is huge. Their mixes are being evaluated next to mastered cd's by people who don't know the difference or the process. So they are forced to push everything to the limit so it doesn't get kicked back to them or even worse, taken away from them. I don't think this is going to change anytime soon. Now you take reissues and such with the same marketing department, and they are going to want it comparable in volume to what is being produced today because that is their mindset. The myth of volume=more radio play is huge in this industry and it's then equated to volume=sales regardless of format or even if it's going to get played on the radio. instead of curing the problem, we are taking aspirin. Music has no dynamic range? then we'll increase it to a higher sampling and bit rate. right now the music making it to SACD are buy artists who appreciate the dynamic range available to this new format, but as soon as mainstream music starts to head in this direction, then we'll be back to the top 4 bits, only we'll have better gear to get it all into the top 2 bits. Really, the only part of the buying public that really appreciates this new format and actually has the equipment to reproduce it in a meaningful way, are the audiophilers. I think a movement to show they buy public a better sound should be our goal. Starting with our families. When you go home for the holidays, look over their systems and maybe even bring them some goodies to help out their systems. After many years, I've actually got my dad's system to a point of him critiquing CD's. When he asked me how come very few Cd's have any dynamic range, I knew I converted a lost soul and sent him out to convert others.
     
  4. Gold

    Gold Active Member

    I agree with what you say. I only have a small snotty comment. DSD is a single bit system.
     
  5. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    I would venture a guess and say that while SCAD & DSD are an improvement, we will all sadly discover that they both still have some deficiencies. I don't believe we have reached the Holy Grail....yet .......... Fats
     
  6. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    DSD (direct stream digital) is the SACD format.

    DVD is PCM (Pulse code modulation)

    Actually, taking a 44.1K/16 bit master will not yield anything in DSD mastering unless the mastering engineer takes the inititive to remaster the work through analog, restore some of the upper harmonics (analog generated) and then bring it into the HI Bit realm.

    I call High Bit, any scheme that is digital that can reproduce a nice looking 60KHZ wave. 192K and 384K especially are the ways I get it. The waves are not perfect, but forgiven..at least the damn frequency can be reproduced.

    DSD can be flat to 100K with minimum waveform anomilies. PCM butchers the shape of the waves up there. DSD is the better way to go.

    Fats, if you are on LAN line, I got a track of a live performance I want to send you that exibits all the dynamics that digital can provide, wide bandwidth and it will make a believer out of you in digital.

    I have MSN messinger, AOL messinger, Yahoo messinger and ICQ in which to send the file, let me know when you are ready!

    audiowkstation@msn.com is direct email
     

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