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The Beach Boys "Pet Sounds" DCC Gold compact disc, Japan or DCC US?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by AudioCoke, Jan 8, 2021.

  1. AudioCoke

    AudioCoke Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I'm looking to acquire the DCC CD of Pet Sounds. Given what I've heard about differences between the U.S. and Japan pressings of various other DCC discs - along with our host's own comments about the Japanese pressing plant used to manufacture the early DCC discs - I'm curious to know which pressing of the Pet Sounds DCC I should spring for. Are there any differences between the U.S. and Japan pressings? Should I seek out one over the other? Or is it irrelevant?
    saborlord123 and warren like this.
  2. warren

    warren Forum Resident

    Phoenix, AZ
    Much to my amazement, I've discovered I have both a US pressing and a Japan pressing of this fantastic DCC gold disc.

    I'm kinda surprised no one chimed in here before me. I also did a quick forum search of "japan dcc pet sounds," and got 8 pages of results that did not answer your question, so here goes:

    I just ripped both my US pressing and my Japan pressing via EAC and got the exact same peak value numbers for each disc, and then I loaded the WAV files onto my iPod classic and hooked up my Sony MDR-7506 headphones and A/B compared "Wouldn't It Be Nice."

    I could tell no difference. On any level.

    If you're one who can hear differences between pressings that share identical masterings, then that's a question I can't help with. I can't do that, in my experience. I thought I could once, but I decided I was creating a placebo effect for myself. The differences I thought I perceived kinda faded away. I totally believe it's possible for others and their systems, though. (Or at least, I won't argue with them. Just because it's not my experience doesn't mean it can't be possible.)

    So, if I'm answering your question too late, because you've already purchased a copy, at least my answer is that it seems to be irrelevant which pressing you buy, based on my very cursory research.

    Enjoy whichever you get! I do.
  3. AudioCoke

    AudioCoke Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Interesting. Because what particularly sparked my inquiry into this whole matter was the thread about the differences between the U.S. and Japan pressings of the The Doors S/T DCC, where Steve Hoffman himself declared he preferred the first-run Japan pressing; as each pressing plant produced its own version of the disc. And once Steve Hoffman himself has spilled that kind of revelation, it makes you wonder if other DCC discs were subject to similar behind-the-scenes scenarios. But then you have other forum members claiming that EAC revealed the exact same mastering on the U.S. repressings of that disc. Same peak values, same wavelengths, virtually the same everything. It would be nice to get the record straight on whether the Doors disc was a mere anomaly in the DCC line, as fas as that situation is concerned.

    With that said, I just ordered a Japan pressing of the Pet Sounds DCC (which I was kind of leaning towards anyway). I look forward to hearing it after years of enjoying the AF!
    Timos, saborlord123 and warren like this.
  4. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    What are you guys on about? A clone is a clone. It's identical.
  5. AudioCoke

    AudioCoke Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Sorry Steve! I just wanted to confirm if there was, in fact, any difference. I've read so much on this forum about different pressings of various discs (including a couple of DCC discs) that it's easy for me to get a little too swept up in it all. But it's reassuring to get that confirmation from you.

    Also, wow; after years and years of enjoying your work, it's an honour to hear from you directly! You just made my day, thank you!
    Timos, saborlord123 and warren like this.
  6. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    You're welcome. I'm partial to the JPN pressed Gold CDs we did because they were such a great company. That level of service I've not seen since from any company. Ah, well..

    So, one company pressing something I did should sound like another company unless I changed the sound of the tape myself..

    Carry on!
  7. aphexj

    aphexj Sound mind & body

    Thanks for the clarification!
    warren likes this.
  8. ricks

    ricks Custom Title:

    Nowhere Fast
    Thank You!

    Your Post and deep true knowledge of the technology at play will likley save the original poster from being dragged further down into a rabbit hole.

    @AudioCoke Be happy you will not have feel the need to throw extra money at the always more expensive identical disc. CD's (or SACD, etc) are not Vinyl records. Still there will be those who apply Analog based paradigms to Digital due to lack of knowledge and or an agendas be it financial, egotistic or otherwise.

    See my signature to a post of Mr Hoffman's from a thread that was lost during the 2012 major forum upgrade.

    "Folks, it has nothing to do with WHERE they were pressed. It has to do with the MASTERING!"-Steve Hoffman
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2021
    sonnyrock likes this.
  9. AudioCoke

    AudioCoke Forum Resident Thread Starter

    More like rope me out of the rabbit hole I was already in! The relief from learning that I don't need to rack my brain hunting down a specific pressing of a DCC disc feels rather miraculous. Incidentally, the Japan pressing I ended up buying was slightly cheaper than the U.S. pressing I was eyeing, so I guess that ended up being a happy accident.

    I reckon, then, that it's safe to assume this scenario is no different from the situation surrounding the Japanese Black Triangle CD vs. the Harvest Blackface CD for Dark Side of the Moon.
  10. ricks

    ricks Custom Title:

    Nowhere Fast
    Identical = Identical

    Please note a single data point like EAC Peaks is not always sufficient, for example they don't account for pitch variances. Null tests or CRC32 (other other proven hashes) values can supplement peaks. Please do note I am now in my 11+ year of self imposed zero tolerance ban on selling CD's so I've no financial agenda :)
    Shawn and AudioCoke like this.
  11. Thanks Steve! There used to be another mastering engineer here, let’s call him B. Diament to protect his identity. No wait, that might be a bit obvious... let’s go with Barry D. Anyways, he’d insist till he was blue in the face that digitally identical CDs pressed at different plants sounded different. And that CDRs made from a CD sounded ‘better’ than the CD itself. I won’t even get in to his nonsense concerning glass masters.

    Thanks for setting the record straight :righton:
    warren likes this.
  12. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    They COULD maybe sound different, depending on how the glass master was created, real time or whatever. But DCC and AF always had the glass created in the exact same way per written contract. Real time only.
    Shawn and warren like this.
  13. warren

    warren Forum Resident

    Phoenix, AZ

    Excellent use of one of my favorite Simpsons jokes.
    Shawn likes this.
  14. warren

    warren Forum Resident

    Phoenix, AZ
    Awesome. Thank you for that info, Steve. And for the great-sounding versions of Pet Sounds, of course!
  15. AudioCoke

    AudioCoke Forum Resident Thread Starter

    So essentially, the glass master would always be exactly the same at every pressing plant. Good to know! And as everyone else has already said, thanks for clearing this all up!
    warren likes this.
  16. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Well, it's not totally clear. A few times our original SONY PCM1630 was damaged or lost. If the clone wouldn't play I'd have to do it over from scratch. A few times this happened. Can't remember which few albums though. Nothing major.
    warren and AudioCoke like this.
  17. George P

    George P Notable Member

    You are correct. This scenario is no different from other scenarios of the same mastering being pressed by different plants, sometimes in different countries. There will be people who hear absolutely no difference and others who do hear a difference. I feel that this leaves you with three choices:

    1. Compare for yourself and then decide. Buy a few cheap used CDs using the same mastering that were pressed at different plants (SRC, DADC, CMU, JVC, Nimbus, Sanyo, etc.) You can even add a third variable by ripping one of these CDs to WAV files and then burning them to CD-R. Then you'd have three different CDs, all with the same mastering, all different pressings. Then compare these three CDs and decide for yourself if you hear a difference between them.

    2. Trust the ears of others and decide, without comparing for yourself that there is no difference.

    3. Trust the ears of others and decide, without comparing for yourself that there is a difference.

    Personally, I find options 2 and 3 to be unacceptable, as I'd prefer to find these things out for myself. This is a hobby after all, and I like doing comparisons. Option one can be tried for a small investment (for maybe $5 for a DADC/CMU/etc, another $5 for a SRC/JVC/etc, and a $1 for a CD-R, for example) and then I can decide for myself.

    As for the thread topic, for each DCC Japan CD that I have compared to the DCC USA CD counterpart, which has the same mastering as the Japan, I have preferred the DCC Japan CD. I have done this for four different DCC titles. And yes, I have made a CD-R of each DCC and it each case it sounds different than the factory DCC CD. I am not telling you this so that you simply take my experience to automatically the same as yours. I am simply sharing my experience and I encourage you (and anyone else) to have your own experience with this issue before coming to any conclusions.
    EdogawaRampo, stevef, warren and 2 others like this.
  18. ricks

    ricks Custom Title:

    Nowhere Fast
    adding to the last post - please ensure your transport and amp (or receiver) are fully warm before doing any compares. It's something few think about but from an electronics standpoint can make a huge difference. Best to spin music that is non-related to the discs you are comparing at the volume you plan on doing the compares. Depending on room temp do it for 12-25 minutes
    Marsh1 likes this.
  19. Marsh1

    Marsh1 Forum Resident

    St. Louis
    Just have to chime in here. I've recently acquired Steve's DCC of Pet Sounds and it's a real mind blower. If you've only ever listened to compressed cd versions/stereo remixes/noisy original LPs/etc... you really are in for a treat. Ricks is deadly right about warming up the system though, (I do 30 min to an hour at listening volume) the imaging and tonality won't be right otherwise. Cue up the first track and marvel at the size of those vocals! And who knew Pet Sounds had that much low end? ;)
  20. stillrockin

    stillrockin Forum Resident

    United Kingdom
    Buy the one which is most expensive, of course!
    sharedon likes this.
  21. hutchguv

    hutchguv Rock/Metal/Prog/Power Pop fan

    Whilst I could never tell the difference between identical masterings on different pressed cds. I did once try a blind test, the cds being switched, could not consistently pick each one and when I did I put it down to luck

    Anyway, I now use a lossless server so I have no skin in this game

    I actually enjoyed your respectful explanation on this, much better than some I have read that just categorically state they can hear a difference every time and even suggest that others are wrong.
    john lennonist, Timos, warren and 3 others like this.
  22. yesstiles

    yesstiles Senior Member

  23. Timos

    Timos Forum resident

    I have the Japanese pressing of the DCC. How do you like the it compared to the AF?
    AudioCoke likes this.
  24. AudioCoke

    AudioCoke Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I've really grown to prefer the warmer, fatter and "rounder" sound of the DCC compared to the AF, even if the AF is more "accurate". And even if I wasn't already aware that the AF wasn't sourced from the master tape, I could tell just from listening that the DCC was sourced from better tapes. With that said, I acknowledge that I'm the type who will gladly sacrifice clarity and detail if it means warmer sound, so my personal bias is definitely influential in my preference. I feel there's still a lot to appreciate about the AF, so I'll be keeping both discs.
    john lennonist, Timos and yesstiles like this.
  25. Espen R

    Espen R Forum Resident

    Steve, I remember many years ago you wrote a couple of lines that the japan factory pressing DCC Gold CD's was mad about quality. In one case (think it was a Cream Gold CD) they did the glass mastering 3 or 4 times, just to get it perfect.
    Was it that the 3 first attempt to create the glass master failed and the forth and final did not failed to produce discs? Or was it a question of absolute quality?

    In my ears, both early pressed Jpn MoFi Gold CD's and DCC Gold CD's has that "absolute ease" of sound quality, have me thinking; yes, this may sound very close to the 1630 digital master that left the mastering studio.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2021 at 5:19 AM
    john lennonist likes this.

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