Michael Hedges - Aerial Boundaries [AF SACD]?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Galley, Jul 20, 2015.

  1. tenor1

    tenor1 Forum Resident

    Would anybody who has both the original CD and the Audio Fidelity SACD care to compare them? It's great music, but the original CD sounds excellent to me so I'm wondering how folks think they compare. Thanks!
    JediJoker and SKean like this.
  2. KeithH

    KeithH Success With Honor...then and now

    Beaver Stadium
    I'm curious about this, too. The SACD is excellent, but I don't have the CD.
    SKean likes this.
  3. mmars982

    mmars982 Forum Resident

    Pittsburgh, PA
    I just received notice that my SACD should ship soon after a delay, and I do have the original CD. So hopefully I can post my thoughts some time next week.

    FWIW, I always thought the CD sounded good, but I have read differing views here. Can't wait to hear the SACD either way.
  4. audiomixer

    audiomixer As Bald As The Beatles

    If you can't hear the difference between the regular CD and the new SACD version, god help you!!
    therockman and pscreed like this.
  5. Synthfreek

    Synthfreek Please label the photos you post

    Austin, TX
    Yeah...because the original is known to have such crappy sound. It's only been used as an audiophile demo disc for 30 years.
  6. pscreed

    pscreed Somebody set up us the bomb

    I have had the SACD for a week and have compared it to my WD-1032 A&M USA CD (WD1032 8/90 2DA4X). Couple of upstream posters have already said this is a fantastic sounding CD, and I agree. It has been a favorite here for a long time.

    How do I say this? Right then, this might be the best sounding SACD in my collection (about 500). Kevin has been one of my favorite mastering engineers for a while but this disc is a masterpiece. It is liquid. If you know this disc you know it has a lot of ambience. I'm not an engineer so I am clueless if this is the room or a reverb chamber or an effect. But if you listen to the way the notes decay on this disc it is completely organic. In comparison (and only in comparison) my CD sounds more mechanical to me. Also, the micro dynamics on this SACD are incredible.

    I'm listening on an Oppo 105, McIntosh C46, McIntosh 252, B&W Nautilus 805s in the near field. It's a nice mid fi system buts it's not like what some of our peeps have here :) I'm not going to say I feel like Hedges is in the room with me because I think there is a lot going on in this recording that is "above and beyond" the natural sound of an acoustic guitar - Hedges really transforms the instrument into something else. What I will say is I feel like I am sitting next to Kevin in the mastering suite hearing this music, and although I know this disc well it is really a whole new experience.

    This is an out of the park smash home run, of course after writing all this I have to say... Kevin please do "Breakfast in the Field" also!

    Because that's the way we roll at SH.tv.
  7. DPM

    DPM Forum Resident

    Nevada, USA
    pscreed, there's nothing "mid fi" about your system. It may not be state-of-the-art, but mid fi? Uh, no.

    I do have to check out this recording. I've never heard Michael Hedges, so I guess the A.F. disk is a good place to start.
    driverdrummer likes this.
  8. Synthfreek

    Synthfreek Please label the photos you post

    Austin, TX
    Whenever I make any sort of changes to my system or want to show off its sound to someone, this is always one of the first tracks I play. Listen loudly in HD. The dynamics are incredible.

    DPM likes this.
  9. mmars982

    mmars982 Forum Resident

    Pittsburgh, PA
    My copy arrived today. Just gave it the first listen. I played the original CD first just for comparison. I still think the original is good, but this is much better. I feel like I'm listening to an acoustic guitar, not a recording of one. Especially when he really belts on the instrument. The AF SACD still sounds natural where the original CD sounds clipped and distorted.

    Plus I really like seeing this on my shelf next to my SACD of Leo Kottke's 6 & 12 String Guitar. Just feels right. :)

    If AF does more Hedges, I vote for Taproot!
    scocs and Gardo like this.
  10. tenor1

    tenor1 Forum Resident

    Thanks for the reports - I'll give it the new AF SACD try. For people new to Michael Hedges, yes, this is the place to start.
  11. Rosskolnikov

    Rosskolnikov Designated Cloud Yeller

    Indeed, and in part because that is a Hedges CD that could use a little better ambiance.
    mmars982 likes this.
  12. Claude

    Claude Forum Resident

    Concerning the choice of format: The SACD does not indicate from which sources it was mastered. The booklet reproduces the CD/LP liner notes.

    Most of the tracks have been recorded or mixed digitally, i.e. in 16/44 (or 16/48) resolution, because of the recording year (1984)

    Michael Hedges - Aerial Boundaries »
    driverdrummer likes this.
  13. Gardo

    Gardo Forum Resident

    I'm listening to a minty original issue promo LP of this title as I type these words. The LP is mastered by Bernie Grundman. The sound is fantastic. Anyone compared the new LP or SACD to this original vinyl?
  14. ponkine

    ponkine Forum Resident

    Don't have the original CD to compare, but lord this SACD is beautiful!

    If you want to pick up a SACD to show your system to your friends, this is a very very good choice

    Needless to say, the music is wonderful as well
    Not a Kevin Gray fan to be honest (his "no bass" job with Scorpions 'Blackout' was a massive disappointment to me) but on this Michael Hedges album he really shines

    scocs likes this.
  15. JediJoker

    JediJoker Audio Engineer/Enthusiast

    Portland, OR, USA
    Just listened to the SACD for the first time on my 103D set to PCM for bass management. Is the flutter I hear in the high end simply a product of some shimmery guitar processing, an issue with master tape transfer, a problem with the tape itself, or an unfortunate side effect of the player's DSD-to-PCM conversion? Is that same sound present on the original CD and/or LP?

    LEONPROFF Forum Resident

    Wow! Thanks for the recommendation. Great disc great sound.

    LEONPROFF Forum Resident

    Good news: I got my lowest number ever on an Audio Fidelity title.
    Bad News: I think this means Aerial Boundaries isn't selling very well.

    Assuming they pull them in order at Acoustic Sounds "The Collection" has already out sold Aerial Boundaries. Hopefully we get more titles from Hedges.
  18. CraigVC

    CraigVC Forum Resident

    Portland, OR
    By that logic, Amazon.com must be selling about twice as many copies of both Mannheim Steamroller and Aerial Boundaries Audio Fidelity SACDs as they are of The Collection SACD:

    In October 2015, my Aerial Boundaries SACD purchased from Amazon.com was #1338. Today my Mannheim Steamroller SACD purchased from Amazon.com was #1522. Also received in the same package was The Collection Audio Fidelity SACD - #0861.

    So The Collection SACD must not be selling well at all, compared to Mannheim Steamroller and Michael Hedges, which are selling about twice as many copies, right?

    (Obviously, the logic is flawed.)

    LEONPROFF likes this.

    LEONPROFF Forum Resident

  20. Blair G.

    Blair G. Forum Resident

    Delta, BC, Canada
    I was in a couple of stores recently, both part of the same chain.
    Looked at a few AF titles out of curiosity, just to see what the numbers were.
    Can't remember which disc (Jeff Beck maybe?) but in one store the number was in the low teens, the other the mid 4's.

    I really think the number you get is random, and even then a higher number reflects how many they pressed, not how many they've sold
  21. khronikos

    khronikos Forum Resident

    This is an amazing sounding SACD. Holy cow man. I love Hedges like any other self-respecting music fan, and they really did this one justice here. And it deserves it. A lovely record and a fantastic remastering. All the nice bass is here too. And the decay of notes, fretwork, and ambiance available to hear is second to none. As smooth and organic as it gets in audio IMO.
    scocs and bruce2 like this.
  22. scocs

    scocs Forum Resident

    Is this disc SACD only or does it have a cd (red book) layer?
  23. CraigVC

    CraigVC Forum Resident

    Portland, OR
    As far as I know, every Audio Fidelity SACD is a hybrid, with both a high-resolution SACD layer, and a CD (redbook) layer. A few both a stereo and multichannel SACD layers, in addition to the CD layer.

    From the Audio Fidelity product page for this SACD, the slipcover states that it's a hybrid that plays on CD players:

    JediJoker likes this.
  24. scocs

    scocs Forum Resident

    Wow, wow, wow! That’s all I can say about this SACD.

    I have loved my Denon pressed Japan for US cd for many years now. It always sounded great and very crankable —but I just can’t get over how AMAZING this new Kevin Gray mastered disc sounds. Reference quality.

    Someone earlier said it sounds like Michael Hedges is playing the guitar right in front of you in your living room. Yup, this has got the breath of life!

    If you don’t already own it, I highly suggest you run out and pick up a copy now. If you don’t know anything about Hedges, his music, or this album, trust me — you will not be disappointed. This is a desert island disc if there ever was one...
  25. Old Sport

    Old Sport Active Member

    Would like to repeat this question as well. Picked up a sealed copy of the original WH-1032 for $7. Playing it now and the detail and dynamics are as powerful as the best of any of my collection from SACD through to other mint vinyl. Super silent as are many of the Windham recordings. Phew, I'd forgotten what a beautiful album this is and how revolutionary Hedges' playing was back in '84. Still bowls one over; the music, the title, that dramatic cloud image.
    Fred68 likes this.

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