Steve's Analogue Productions Blue Note SACD/CD Sound Quality Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by jpm-boston, Jan 17, 2009.

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  1. blue

    blue Mastering rules

    sweet spot
    I'm also very often live listening to jazz concerts as a friend is a jazz journalist and can take me with him often and I also play a few instruments and did this in a big band, too...but I wouldn't connect mono to the essential experience of a live concert. Althought I must admit, that only the best stereos with a really good and realistic well spreaded sound stage are similar to a non amplified concert sound stage experience. Otherwise the mono's with their "sound bubble in the middle" can be closer to it, as unamplified live you will never hear a cymbal far left and the snare on the right or middle or horns and drums right pinpoint together :)

    Home and live is different anyway, that's true. For me home listening can come closest, if besides sovereignty and tonal colours, especially the energy, dynamics and pace of a live playing group can be preserved..this is quite close possible with exceptional gear and recordings. At a certain step, everything starts to groove and your wife is tipping the toes to music she was bored or nerved of before...that's when home listening starts to get really good...but it's not easy and I heard really big and expensive setups that don't do that...

    So far I couldn't see that a mono recording does this generally better than a stereo recording. But I could name exceptions where this is true. All this said playing mono records with a stereo cartridge, as I don't have a mono cartridge.

    But what I also wonder about is, that there are not more recordings with a really realistic sound stage that's free of "in the speaker sound" of single cymbals etc.
  2. monkboughtlunch

    monkboughtlunch Senior Member

    Kansas City
    Is there any update on the release schedule for these?
  3. blue

    blue Mastering rules

    sweet spot
    Thanks, that probably explains a question I posted about Burrell/Midnight blue mono original being louder than stereo (I wondered it's louder if it's only folded)....did he really compress all the post 58 mono records while the stereo issues were un- or less compressed?
  4. blue

    blue Mastering rules

    sweet spot
    Ah, I also found if the add limiter was on the mono machine, it seems really all these monos had add. limiting/compression....

    ..what I ask myself (but won't get an answer) is, didn't the classic records people notice that worse mono sound? Because if they did, I don't see a reason to come out with mono reissues of these titles...but maybe they did a fold down of the stereo masters themselves again without add. limiting...
  5. sberger

    sberger Dream Baby Dream

    I just received the new batch("Caddy For Daddy", "Idle Moments", "Bottom's Up" from Elusive Disc, where I subscribe...Only have listened to "Caddy..." and it rips).
  6. monkboughtlunch

    monkboughtlunch Senior Member

    Kansas City
    You have the Idle Moments SACD or LP?
  7. musictappy

    musictappy Forum Resident

    El Paso, TX USA
    As far as I know, only the 45RPM LPs are out now. No word on the SACDs yet.

  8. sberger

    sberger Dream Baby Dream

    Sorry, the LP's. I should have clarified. I realize I posted in the wrong thread.
  9. nightenrock

    nightenrock Forum Resident

    Sorry to dredge up this sore topic, but...

    I forgot all about the hub bub (quoted below) on the levels and dynamics of these SACDs. So, recently I purchased Blue Train, which I also have on 45...

    Well I have to regrettably say that I was pretty disappointed with the SACD after listening to the 45. I had to crank the SACD up quite a bit and yes, "veiled" is a good way to describe what I'm hearing here.


    What I'm hearing too.

    Through my McIntosh preamp's trim function I have the sources pretty much leveled and 6db seems to be about what I had to adjust these to in order to level them off while switching between vinyl and SACD

    I 100% echo this statement

    Agree here too, except I've only compared Blue Train 45 to SACD.

    Agreed. But again, I have Blue Train to compare.

    I'm not a mastering engineer, but if I understand Steve's post above correctly (that it was a split feed at the same levels) I think you just proved that they were futzed with, no? If not then wouldn't the volume levels be the same?
  10. The level of the mastering isn't directly related to the dynamic range. In fact, a lower level often implies that there is less or no compression compared to a mastering where you must turn the volume control down to achieve a comfortable listening volume.

    There is no compression on the A.P. Blue Train SACD, which means it has more dynamic range than earlier releases. For example, here is a comparison of the A.P. SACD with the RVG SACD. This chart compares the CD layers with the RVG at the top and the AP at the bottom.


    If you then take the files and WaveGAIN them so they are the same loudness, the AP waveform is now bigger, i.e. more dynamic, whereas the RVG mastering is much smaller and has the 'flat top' look because it has been quite severely limited.


    If you then normalise both waveforms, the RVG is already so squeezed (compressed) that it can be amplified by 7.5 dB until the highest peak reaches 0 dB, whereas the A.P. can only be amplified by 3.8 dB, because its highest peak is already much closer already to 0 dB (because it hasn't been limited!).

    This also means that the RVG CD layer has about 3.7 dB of compression applied, because it is that much louder than the A.P. CD layer when both are normalised.


    I agree with you that the A.P. SACD has been mastered at a lower level than previous releases. But this does not mean that it is therefore more compressed. The waveforms of the CD layer compared to the CD layer of the RVG SACD release demonstrate that the opposite is true, it has no compression whereas the RVG does. The A.P. has simply been mastered at a lower level, which just means you need to turn up your volume control when you play it.

    I have listened to the A.P. SACD layer and compared it to the CD layer and don't hear a more compressed sound. So these comparisons of the CD layer are indicative of differences in the SACD layer.
  11. Hiro

    Hiro Forum Resident

    thanks for the information.
  12. nightenrock

    nightenrock Forum Resident

    When making a CD louder don't they first squash it and then raise the levels. I'm sure I'm getting the terminology wrong here, but couldn't it be possible that it was squashed (not as bad as the RVGs) to make the quiet parts seem louder, but instead of raising the db level, it was kept low or even lowered. It just sounded night and day to me. And I REALLY wanted to not here a difference or hear a subtle difference.

    Also, I wasn't saying it was lower than a "previous" release. I was saying it was considerably lower than the identical AP 45 release.
  13. Usually they will just put a compressor in the mastering chain, they can then increase the level because if the compressor is set correctly, the increased level won't cause any digital overs (clipping).
    I don't think this is possible because the waveform clearly shows that no compression has been applied. The waveform has different ranges of loudness and many short peaks that far exceed the average loudness. This demonstrates that no limiting of any sort has been applied, it was simply mastered at a lower over all level.
    I just compared it to the RVG to demonstrate what Blue Train looks like when it has been compressed, because it is further evidence that the A.P. hasn't been compressed. It was just mastered at a lower level.

    The level that a record can be cut is determined by how much material needs to be cut in each side. The fact this level is higher than the CD layer of the SACD doesn't mean compression has been applied to the digital version, it just means the SACD recorder was set at a lower level relative to the level that was used on the record lathe.
  14. Metralla

    Metralla Joined Jan 13, 2002

    San Jose, CA
    Review on Positive Feedback

    Greg Maltz has a few words to say about these SACDs on Positive Feedback

    No mention of a low playback level.
  15. Here is an MP3 that compares the first minute of the song Blue Train first from the CD layer of the RVG SACD and then from the CD layer of the AP SACD.

    To me the difference is night and day. The compression on the RVG has ruined the sound of the drums by making all the drum hits sound as though they are the same level, the AP also has far better bass. The AP also reveals that the sound stage on the RVG SACD had been narrowed with the horns more in the centre, whereas on the tape they are more off to the centre-left.

    Both samples have been level matched, the RVG required a 7 dB decrease, and the AP a 1 dB increase for them to be the same level, which again demonstrates the lower mastering level of the AP, but also the completely unncessary compression applied to the RVG.
  16. krlpuretone

    krlpuretone Forum Resident

    Grantham, NH
    Wow, it's getting to the point where people are picky about using the volume knobs on their amplifiers now???
  17. nightenrock

    nightenrock Forum Resident

    And no mention of a comparison to the 45 RPM versions. Only:

    Again, We're talking about comparing to the 45 RPM vinyl, not the RVGs.
  18. nightenrock

    nightenrock Forum Resident

    Who's getting picky about using their volume knobs?
  19. CraigVC

    CraigVC Senior Member

    Portland, OR
    I got both the 45 RPM and the SACD of new Hoffman/Gray mastered Blue Train. I don't think I've even opened up the 45 RPM album though. I think the SACD sounds great! Blows away the earlier SACD, definitely.

    I did notice the relatively low volume that the SACD was mastered at, but the solution I hit upon was simple: I turned up my Denon receiver's volume knob about five increments more than usual.

    I highly recommend that anyone who doesn't have a volume control on your stereo systems to consider an upgrade. ;) ;) ;) :D

    More seriously, it's kind of exhilarating, actually, to be able to turn up these discs to higher-than-usual volume levels, especially since I live in an apartment building and have to consider my neighbors. Makes me feel like I'm doing something bad. :shh:

  20. Again, the level that a record can be cut is related to how much material needs to be fit in the side, i.e. there is a mechanical limit.

    The level that a CD or SACD can be mastered does not have a mechanical limit, it is purely an electrical one, i.e. at what level the converter would clip (digitally distort) the signal.

    The Analog Productions Blue Train SACD is not compressed, it is simply mastered at a lower level so the DSD encoder could be set at a level and left.
    You have claimed that the A.P. productions Blue Note SACD is compressed, that claim is wrong.
  21. triple

    triple Senior Member

    Zagreb, Croatia
    Improving on the 24-bit re-mastered "RVG" series is hardly something to write home about.

    Disclaimer: I have not heard any of the new BN SACD's and I may never get to listen to their SACD layer as I only have RBCD hw, I am just trying to put things in perspective.

  22. The AP SACD isn't just an improvement, it provides a demonstration of how much compression is on the RVG version, almost a 4 dB increase in average loudness. Which is extraordinary for a jazz album.

    I'd suggest that any difference between the AP vinyl and the SACD versions is probably just caused by not comparing them at the same volume. We tend to perceive louder sounds as sounding better.
  23. nightenrock

    nightenrock Forum Resident

    Please read post 309. I've quoted a highlight below.

    SowsOn, Have you compared any of these SACDs to a 45 version?
  24. I can quote things too:
    You haven't provided any evidence that the SACD is compressed, so please stop repeating it as if it is true, it creates the false impression that there is something wrong with the SACDs when there isn't.
  25. nightenrock

    nightenrock Forum Resident

    Dude, relax. I'm just stating my opinion. It's a fact that I am hearing what I am hearing after comparing the SACD to the 45. I believe the original accusation or rumor that was reported here was that they were futzed with AFTER the mastering. IIRC all who have compared the SACDs to the 45 RPM vinyl have reported there being differences from slight to severe.
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