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SH Spotlight What sounds just like the analog master tape: CD, Vinyl, SACD or a 1:1 analog Reel tape copy?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Steve Hoffman, Nov 30, 2007.

  1. jkauff

    jkauff Putin-funded Forum Troll

    Location:
    Akron, OH
    There was little room for audio on a laserdisc. I was talking about replacing the analog video with analog audio--using the entire disc. Would have required totally new players, of course.
     
  2. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Tried this again today. Still true.
     
  3. princesskiki

    princesskiki Kiki's Mom

    Hi. If your used CD store does not allow you to see the inside of the jewel case (i.e., the disc itself) before you purchase the used CD, then it will be difficult to find the particular pressing to which I am referring. (Also, if the eBay seller does not share this information in the item description or does not show a detailed photo of the disc showing the matrix, then it will similarly be a guess-and-hope situation.)

    Just in case you are not aware of the following history (and hoping that some information below can help you in your search):

    1. Thriller first came out on CD in Japan, mastered and manufactured by CBS/Sony, with the catalog number 35.8P-11, probably sometime really late in 1982 (or very early 1983). [Please note that CBS/Sony catalog number 35.8P-5 was released in October, 1982.] The earliest matrix that I am aware of is 35 8P-11-1 1A1. [If you need to see a photo of this Japan-for-the-Japan-market CD pressing, you can search eBay under "Michael Jackson Thriller Japan" and just look at the ones with the catalog number 35 8P-11.] [Please note that there is a possibility that some of the last pressing runs of this original Japan CD release may NOT be the same mastering. The CD pressings with the matrix ending "101" or later, which should also have "+++++" at the end of the matrix MAY sound just like the "DIDP-20022" pressing I mention above. By the way, I made a typo in my original post and I meant "DIDP-20022" and NOT "DIDX-20022".]

    2. Sometime after the original Japan-for-Japan CD release (I am guessing sometime in 1983), CBS/Sony in Japan manufactured some CDs using the same original digital mastering for release in the U.S. These 1st U.S. CD release (imported from Japan) have "EK 38112" as the catalog number on the spine of the back J-card insert [but please note that all later U.S. releases until AT LEAST the late 1980's have the same catalog number on the spine and the spine looks the same]. These 1st Japan-for-U.S. CD pressings do NOT have "Now Made In The U.S.A." on the left of the back J-card insert, and originally came in a heavy jewel case with the top and bottom edges being "smooth" (not like the typical "ribbed" or "ridged" top and bottom edges). [Please note that many used CD stores replace the original jewel cases with new lighter/ribbed cases, and a "wrong case" does not necessarily mean that the disc inside is a later pressing.] Anyway, there weren't too many of these 1st Japan-for-US CD pressings of Thriller and are very rare (and accordingly sell for a very high price on eBay). The matrix is something like "35 8P-11 61B3" "35 8P-11 71A5" or a variation thereof. ALSO, the label side of the disc shows a secondary catalog number of "DI8P 50011" right below the catalog number "EK 38112". Every one of these very 1st Japan-for-US CD pressings have the same mastering as the very 1st Japan-for-Japan 35.8P-11 pressings that I describe in Paragraph 1 above. These (like the early Japan-for-Japan 35.8P-11 pressings) do NOT sound like the original vinyl (and presumably not like the original master tape).

    3. Sometime after Paragraph 2 above (1983 or perhaps even as late as 1984), CBS/Sony in Japan manufactured and exported to Europe CD pressings of Thriller with the catalog number CDEPC 85930 (also DI8P-11 underneath). Based on my experience, the matrix may be something like "35 8P-11 101A2 +++++" or "35 8P-11 111 +++++" or a variation thereof. There is a possibility that these sound like the first Japan-for-Japan CD mastering described in Paragraph 1 and the first Japan-for-US CD pressing described in Paragraph 2. There is also a possibility that these instead sound like the SECOND mastering described in Paragraphs 4 and 5 below. I have not personally heard these first Japan-for-Europe pressings.

    4. Sometime after Paragraph 3 above (probably 1984?), CBS/Sony in Japan apparently corrected the CD transfer issue that Steve Hoffman discusses at the start of this thread and re-released (i.e., 2nd release) Thriller with the catalog number 32.8P-224. [If the insert has N.#.# (with # denoting some number), then it means that this release was made in 1984. If the insert has no such code, then this release was probably made in 1983.] As far as I know, all of these 2nd Japan-for-Japan CD pressings should be from the "corrected" mastering and should sound pretty much identical -- meaning just like the original vinyl/original master tape, and just like the 1st Japan-for-US "DIDP-20022" pressing discussed in Paragraph 5 below.

    5. Around the same time as Paragraph 4 above (probably 1984?), CBS/Sony in Japan used the "corrected" CD mastering and exported to the U.S. U.S.'s 2nd CD release (with everything just like the 1st U.S. release described in Paragraph 2 above EXCEPT the disc now has the secondary catalog number "DIDP 20022" (and not "DI8P 50011") underneath the U.S. Epic catalog number "EK 38112"). The matrix is now something like "DIDP-20022 51 +++++" or a variation thereof. From my experience, these CD pressings with "DIDP-20022" and "+++++" in the matrix sound the closest to the original vinyl pressings (presumably closest to the original master tape). [Please note that these are actually more difficult to find than the 1st Japan-for-US CDs BUT you can buy these 2nd Japan-for-US CDs much cheaper on eBay!] If you are looking for the "best sounding" CD pressing of Thriller, my recommendation would be this particular pressing. In my opinion, there is no other CD pressing that sounds more like the original vinyl pressing.

    6. Around the same time as Paragraph 5 above (probably 1984), there was a very small number of CDs pressed by JVC (Victor Company of Japan), Japan, for export to the U.S. as part of the U.S.'s 2nd CD release of Thriller. These look identical as the CBS/Sony pressing described in Paragraph 5 above, EXCEPT there is no "CBS/SONY" or "csr compact disc" or any other etching on the plastic ring at the center of the disc AND the matrix is something like "DIDP 20022 2 E 11" in tiny font (no dashes in the matrix). These JVC, Japan, pressings are extremely rare (the rarest Thriller CD pressing from my experience) and use the same "corrected" CD mastering as in Paragraph 5 above. These JVC Japan-for-US CDs sound ALMOST (99+%) identical to the CD described in Paragraph 5 above and sounds almost identical to the original vinyl (and presumably the original master tape). In my opinion, the CD described in Paragraph 5 above sounds super tiny bit closer to the original vinyl, but only after repeatedly and closely comparing the two CD pressings. (For example, the sound of the coffin door shutting towards the end of the song "Thriller" sounds slightly more "real" on the CD described in Paragraph 5 above.) [Please note that JVC, Japan, merely pressed the CD using the digital master provided by CBS/Sony Japan, as indicated by the matrix showing CBS/Sony's job number of "DIDP 20022" instead of Epic's catalog number of "EK 38112". IF JVC, Japan, also had done the MASTERING (and, if so, the matrix would typically show the record company's catalog number), I am willing to bet (from my experience) that the JVC, Japan-mastered/manufactured CD pressing would sound closer to the master tape. But this is for another thread.]

    7. Shortly after Paragraph 6 above (starting probably late 1984 or 1985 and throughout the mid-1980's), the DADC plant in the U.S. (built and, at the time, owned by CBS/Sony, Japan) pressed and released the very 1st U.S.-made CDs of Thriller. These original U.S.-made CD pressings now state "Now Made In The U.S.A." on the left of the back J-card insert and came in a "ribbed" or "ridged" sided jewel case. These 1st DADC plant pressings also had the "carved out" or "etched" matrix style (and typically "Digital Audio Disc Corp." etched on the plastic ring of the disc). Sometime in the late 1980's, the matrix "style" changed to "laser printed" style. These 1st U.S.-made CD pressings use the same "corrected" digital mastering as in Paragraph 5 above, and sound very close (say, 98%?) to the original vinyl. The disc looks identical to Paragraph 6 above, except that it states "MADE IN U.S.A." in a tiny font at the bottom of the disc and the plastic ring typically has "Digital Audio Disc Corp." etched on it. If you don't want to spend more than $10 on a Thriller CD, these 1st DADC plant pressings would be the most optimal for you.

    8. Around 1985 or 1986, Denon, Japan, pressed several thousand CDs of Thriller for the U.S. market. These state "MADE IN JAPAN." in a tiny font at the bottom of the disc and do NOT have CBS/Sony job number "DIDP 20022" underneath the Epic catalog number "EK 38112". The matrix is "EK-38112" AND some variation of "1A3 73". The matrix is the typical mid-1980's Denon matrix -- meaning, faint "dot matrix" font. These also state "Now Made In The U.S.A." on the left of the back J-card insert and typically came in a "ribbed" or "ridged" sided jewel case. These CD pressings sound on par with the JVC, Japan CD pressing described in Paragraph 6 above (about 99+% similar to the original vinyl). These usually sell for about the same price as the JVC, Japan CD described in Paragraph 6 above. These, of course, use the same "corrected" mastering as in Paragraphs 5 and 6 above.

    9. In the latter part of the 1980's, U.S. Pitman plant also manufactured CD pressings of Thriller but these do not sound as "accurate" as the pressings mentioned above. These sometimes have "CMU P" or something similar etched on the plastic ring and have the confusing matrix number of something like "1B EK38112 08 B". These may sound "okay" but for the same price, I would rather purchase the DADC plant pressing described in Paragraph 7 above. Typically, (from my experience) these Pitman plant CDs do not sound very accurate with anemic bass extension and "dirty" high frequencies (and sometimes, they sound "louder").

    10. Sometime in the latter part of the 1980's, U.S. PDO (PolyGram) plant also manufactured a very small number CDs of Thriller. These have the typical PolyGram "aluminum-to-the-center" discs and state "MADE IN USA BY PDO" near the hub of the disc. For those of you who collect or know early West German "target" CDs, you know what I am referring to here. This US PDO pressing is extremely rare. As for the sound, it is better (in my opinion) than the Pitman CD described in Paragraph 9 above but not as accurate as the Japan-for-US discs.

    11. There are also late 1980's and early 1990's DADC pressings (with the later pressings sporting a different Epic logo, back J-card insert/spine, etc.) but these tend to sound slightly worse (i.e., "less accurate") the later you get.

    12. There are also Austria DADC-for-Europe (and rare Austria DADC-for-USA), Hong Kong Sony, and numerous other foreign pressings, but I will not get into them here.

    13. I will also not get into any SACD or any "remasters" or "compilation" CDs.

    I was going to post some photos to help you but the file size of my photos is too big for this site. Happy hunting!
     
    Jack_Straw, JayNYC, winders and 12 others like this.
  4. Hiro

    Hiro Forum Resident

    Location:
    Poland
    They used the Nat King Cole DSD transfers to demo the new dCS Vivaldi stack at the CES.

    "Peter McGrath shared a DSD recording of Nat King Cole through the dCS Vivaldi stack that was simply stunning so much so that if you heard it you'd know why DSD was on so many lips and being played through so many systems."

    http://www.audiostream.com/content/ces-2013-wrap
     
  5. Hiro

    Hiro Forum Resident

    Location:
    Poland
    Then the entire promise of "improved performance" of the new FM analog format is just a speculation. It could have been 10x better than vinyl, or not. We will never know.
     
  6. Hiro

    Hiro Forum Resident

    Location:
    Poland
    BTW, I've been wondering if the inferior SQ of open reel is the best the open reel tape can get.

    Could the disappointing result have been caused by hardware, like it was the case with DSD?
     
  7. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

  8. ricks

    ricks Custom Title:

    Location:
    Nowhere Fast

    How about a free image hoster like imageshack or minus.com
     
  9. Espen R

    Espen R Forum Resident

    Location:
    Norway
    PhantomStranger likes this.
  10. SteelyTom

    SteelyTom Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston, Mass.
    This might be the single most compelling thing I've ever read on this site. If we want the best digital rendering of the work of engineers at SH's level, we need to have it in DSD.
     
  11. SteelyTom

    SteelyTom Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston, Mass.
    Bad news for the SACD haters. But to be fair, the article failed to address whether redbook in gold or purple colors, or made of really, really hard material, might have done better in the tests.
     
    Hiro likes this.
  12. mihu

    mihu Forum Resident

    Location:
    South West Germany
    I don't have an sacd player, ...and I don't have the mentioned album. But I would love to here the difference described here.

    Are there any clips of the sacd and cd layers of this example to download somewhere? I would be so great to have short samples to compare.

    I'd also be interested if the limitations you can hear in the cd format should be attributed more to the used sample frequency or to the bit depth?

    So if anyone could upload these examples that would be really great!
     
  13. Grant

    Grant Just chillin'!

    Location:
    United States
    Well, I don't know how one can present the SACD layer as a download or sample on the internet.
     
  14. Grant

    Grant Just chillin'!

    Location:
    United States
    It wouldn't. The gold plating and otherwise has no effect on the sound of a disc.
     
  15. Sneaky Pete

    Sneaky Pete Senior Member

    Location:
    NYC USA
    Haven't had a chanc e to read the thread, but I did find the original post interesting, and that it confirms the hunch that long term music fans have suspected for years.

    Meanwhile, I'm just envious that Steve got to listen to the Master Tape of Waltz for Debby. Nice work if you can get it..
     
    kevinsinnott likes this.
  16. mihu

    mihu Forum Resident

    Location:
    South West Germany
    I admid I haven't thought of that. Can the DSD format be extracted from an SACD as a file and be played with a computer?
     
  17. NorthNY Mark

    NorthNY Mark Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canton, NY, USA
    I'm not sure, but even if it could, your computer would have to have high enough resolution playback capability for you to notice the difference. I imagine you would have to have a hi-res D/A converter. I don't think you'd be able to hear the difference just listening to the built-in headphone or speaker output on your computer.
     
  18. mihu

    mihu Forum Resident

    Location:
    South West Germany
    I don't think so either, but I guess a 24/96 converter could reveal some differences?
     
  19. john greenwood

    john greenwood Senior Member

    Location:
    NYC
    I recently bought a number of Channel Classic titles which were recorded direct to DSD via the Grimm converter. I haven't listened to all of them yet, but the Vivaldi La Cetra Violin Concertos may be the best sounding digital classical recording I have ever heard. The only complaint I have is the dead silence in the background makes it feel a little artificial. However - and this may be heresy - I found the tonal color of the instruments on this recording richer than I hear in most concert halls.
     
  20. Hiro

    Hiro Forum Resident

    Location:
    Poland

    The very thought springs to my mind every time I play a classical SACD recorded with the Grimm AD1 :)
     
  21. Hiro

    Hiro Forum Resident

    Location:
    Poland

    The word on the street, or the internets rather, is Bruce Brown, who supplied the DSD files for the audiostream format shoot-out, is about to test the new DSD ADC from Merging Technologies (HORUS), which breaks the magical barrier of 10 million samples per second. I'm curious how close that thing is gonna be to the master tape.
     
  22. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Hope he sends one over, we'll try it out.
     
    Anonamemouse likes this.
  23. Hiro

    Hiro Forum Resident

    Location:
    Poland
    Hope that can be arranged.

    Bruce's review of the DSD behemoth should be out very soon...
     
    Steve Hoffman likes this.
  24. john greenwood

    john greenwood Senior Member

    Location:
    NYC
    Listened to Schubert's 9th on Channel Classics last evening. A favorite piece of mine, and I am not thrilled with Fischer's rather lean interpretation, but what grabbed me was the amount of tonal color I heard.
     
  25. Hiro

    Hiro Forum Resident

    Location:
    Poland
    An interpretation is certainly a matter of taste. My favorite Fischer recording is Mahler: Symphony no.1

    PS For what it's worth, you can always preview any CC SACD on their website, as they offer them for download too.
     

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