High Definition Releases - Reviews

Discussion in 'Digital Sources' started by Bigerik, Jan 3, 2013.

  1. PianotunerNJ

    PianotunerNJ Member

    Messages:
    91
    Location:
    Central NJ
    So, I'm all set up here for hi-Rez surround 5.1 from SACD, DVDA and BluRay. Also, I run my CD collection ripped flac through a laptop as a server. I first want to say that I was having some trouble getting the sound from my server to match a physical disc. Out of curiosity, I ordered 2 Audioquest Forest USB cables, one between my hard drive full of music and laptop, and the other from the laptop to my external Asus Xonar U7 sound card. From that I go digital coax to my receiver. Anyhow, today I got one of the cables, the one for the hard drive, and let me say to those of you who don't think USB cables can matter, they do. Instant improvement so...either something was wrong with my cheap cable or it really does matter. Either way, I'm convinced and looking forward to getting the other cable tomorrow. Hopefully it will improve things a bit more. Maybe the cheap laptop will cut it after all.

    My best sounding Hi-Rez:
    King Crimson Thrack on DVDA
    XTC Oranges and Lemons on BluRay
    Talking Heads Naked on DualDisc DVDA
    Elton John Captain Fantastic on SACD
    Nine Inch Nails The Downward Spiral on SACD
    Beatles Love on DVDA (not for the purist, but sounds excellent)

    And I have about 40 total surround albums and most sound pretty amazing. The Who, Quadraphenia, Rush 2112, Moody Blues EGBDF, Dire Straights Brothers in Arms, etc, etc.
     
  2. PianotunerNJ

    PianotunerNJ Member

    Messages:
    91
    Location:
    Central NJ
    To be clear about the USB cable, I was getting a harshness and lack of clarity with the cheap cable, like the data stream was so compromised that it sounded like bad MP3. Now, it sounds more on par with a disc. And I'm still using a generic cable to the sound card but maybe the hard drive side was the bigger issue. FYI, the hard drive is a small portable one that gets its power through the USB port, so that too could be a factor with the cable since it's doing double duty.

    If the other cable further enhances sound quality, I will post a report. Of course this is based on my opinion, but I tune pianos for a career and it does require a discerning ear. If it was a placebo effect, it wouldn't be so obvious, so...yeah.
     
  3. eljr

    eljr Koyaanisqatsi at 80 Subscriber

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    Here is the most basic of questions.

    How do I know which of my downloads are what rate?

    I use JRiver.
     
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  4. 2channel*

    2channel* AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    455
    Location:
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    Not sure this is the best place to post this question.
    Why don't SACDs have SPARS codes like DSD/DSD/DSD or AADSD? Or do they? I'd like to know what I'm buying. Is there any way to tell?

    My best sounding discs:
    Nora Jones - Come Away With Me SACD, of course
    Jeff Buckley - Grace SACD
    Neil Young - Greatest Hits DVD-A
    REM - In Time DVD-A
    Mark Knopfler - Sailing to Philadelphia HDCD

    Probably not worth paying extra for:
    Marshal Crenshaw - Marshal Crenshaw SACD
    Hall & Oates - Rock & Soul part 1 SACD
     
  5. eljr

    eljr Koyaanisqatsi at 80 Subscriber

    Messages:
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    [​IMG]

    Simon Rattle / Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
    Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphonien 1-9


    Release Date
    May 13, 2016
    Duration
    05:44:11
    Genre
    Classical
    Styles
    Symphony

    https://www.berliner-philharmoniker-recordings.com/rattle-beethoven-symphonies.html

    Simon Rattle conducts the Berlin Philharmonic:
    Beethoven's 9 Symphonies

    5 CD + 3 Blu-ray + download / hardcover edition

    the download is available in Surround or Stereo, Wav or Flac, 24/192 or 24/96

    A limited edition, 10 LP vinyl released is planned.

    This is a must own collection for EVERY music enthusiast. Classical may not be your preferred genre but the inclusion of this new release masterpiece, is essential.


    Rattle brings power, clarity and definition with the Digital Concert Hall capturing every note in it's purity.
    Beethoven performed to perfection, interpreted in genius and captured at the apex of recording technology.
    What else can be said?

    All Music gives it 5 stars.
    I seldom give 5 stars, very seldom. I believe I gave but one 5 star rating last year and likely 3 this year. This is clearly a 5 star recording.

    http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/index.php?threads/new-releases-2016.695852/page-12
     
  6. PianotunerNJ

    PianotunerNJ Member

    Messages:
    91
    Location:
    Central NJ
    Since my last post I purchased a couple of albums from HDTracks, Led Zepplin 4 and Crosby Stills and Nash's Daylight Again. I was particularly interested in getting some hires Zepplin since I haven't been able to find any on disc, and the CSN was intriguing because the redbook CD version I have from the 80's is kind of muddled and unclear so I was curious to compare. Quick summation, the CSN was a major upgrade with clarity and vocal presence that was noticeably an improvement over CD. Very impressed with this album.

    The Zepplin, not so much. I was looking forward to this because I read about how Jimmy Page went into the studio and remixed those albums but I have to say the difference is tough to find. My current feeling is that I will not be buying any more "re-mastered" Zepplin albums unless I hear something impressive or someone can direct me to the new remixed album that is indeed vastly better than the original mix. Was it 100% identical, I don't think so, but the new version is only ever so slightly different and not really an upgrade.

    Both are stereo albums, no surround. That's ok, but I do so enjoy the surround stuff.

    I recently picked up Talking Heads "Naked" on DualDisc DVDA and it's awesome. Sound is incredible, percussion everywhere, great songs. Also, I grabbed two SACD Elton John albums, Captain Fantastic and Honkey Chateau and they both sound unbelievable as well. Maybe it's because I have a Sony BluRay player that sends raw DSD to my Sony receiver which decodes it straight up, but I think a case can be made that the SACD sounds preferable to DVDA on my system. If I were converting to PCM I don't know if it's as impressive, but there's a sweetness to unconverted DSD to my ear. I have about a dozen or so SACDs and they are some of my favorite things to listen to. Especially my several Moody Blues albums and my Pink Floyd.

    One more thing. About 2 weeks ago I picked up a new laptop over at Costco for $400. It runs Windows 10. I have Foobar2000 on it and it has HDMI out with audio support for high resolution surround up to 24/192 for 8 channels so I'm no longer piping through an external sound card and now I can run surround music off the computer in full hi res digital to my receiver. It's a major upgrade over the older weaker computer I was using for this and now it doubles as an HTPC with Kodi.

    Now if I can at some point rip my SACD stuff to my hard drive look out!

    And for anyone interested in trying out SACD, the Sony BDP-S6500 (or 650 at Costco) retails for about $90 and is likely the least expensive SACD player on the market. It only has HDMI output, no analog, but if you have a receiver that has HDMI you can get a taste of SACD for cheap. I got one for a friend who has a receiver that converts to PCM and it still sounded amazing. Although, if you have a receiver that decoded DSD you're really living large!
     
  7. 2channel*

    2channel* AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    455
    Location:
    NJ, USA
    Hey, Pianotuner. How are ya?
    I have the Led Zep 4 remaster on Vinyl and it sounds very good to me; but then I don't have the original to compare with. You're welcome to come over and compare. I only live in Southern Morris County.
     
  8. BillyBatts

    BillyBatts ALOHA! Subscriber

    I have a friend that has shared some High Res albums with me recently (Jazz) and they have been superior. As I posted in the Jazz thread, it's not so much a "WOW" moment as it is a "Hey, this sounds great!" moment. High Resolution opens the music up much like jumping from a 256 AAC to FLAC opens the music up.... just a bit. Not Earth-Shattering, but to me there is a difference. These have been true HR Jazz albums and not standard FLAC or higher res mp3 that someone has up-ripped to High Resolution from a lower definition source.

    I've been using the following audio chain for critical listening;
    Windows 10 Music Server (FLAC) -> DLNA Receiver (Optical Out) -> Cambridge Audio DacMagic PLUS -> McIntosh M6900 Integrated Amp -> Klipsch RF7 Speakers

    Yes, that is what most would consider a High Resolution workhorse set-up. But honestly, I've also listened in my AV room via a Cambridge Audio DacMagic 100 to a Sony STRk-502p 5.1 Surround AV Receiver driving Infinity RS4 (Tower) Mains to Onkyo SS (Bookshelf) Rears. I have to say, honestly, that this rivals the McIntosh system to my ears. The Mac definitely has the edge, driving those Klipsch, but for thousands less, the Sony is a very decent performer. Of course, YMMV.

    I'm not 100 percent sold that I need everything in High Res Audio format. I have a huge FLAC inventory (standard FLAC Definition) and I'm very happy with this fidelity. But I'm glad I'm dipping a foot (much more than a toe at this point) into the HR arena.

    Aloha!
    -Billy
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2016
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  9. eljr

    eljr Koyaanisqatsi at 80 Subscriber

    Messages:
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    just found this thread, two comments.

    1 it's about the mastering not the bit-rate

    2 I have noticed that all these type threads in all the different sites on the internet wind up talking about old stuff that everyone already owns a copy or two of... I'd like to see new in HD releases spoken to.

    peace all!
     
  10. 2channel*

    2channel* AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    455
    Location:
    NJ, USA
    "1 it's about the mastering not the bit-rate"

    Unfortunately, discovering the best mastered recordings is trial and error. So lets share what we've discovered.
    I don't do HD downloads; but two older redbooks I recently picked up that are very well mastered are Greg Brown, Covenant on Red House Records and Rufus Wainwright Vibrate on Geffen/Verve. In fact I haven't heard anything on Verve that isn't good.
     
  11. Wildcat

    Wildcat ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Subscriber

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    Location:
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    There are...ways. ;) I officially can't download from Qobuz but, if I turn on my VPN software and pay with PayPal, they don't seem to require any type of shipping or billing address and I could order from there if I wanted to. Given our exchange rate, it appears less expensive to download from Qobuz than HDTracks or Acoustic Sounds (although I watch for the sales if I need anything).
     
  12. Wildcat

    Wildcat ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Subscriber

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    I will have to check my stash of high-res releases to see what might be worth reviewing.

    FWIW, I saw Moving Pictures mentioned above. Keep in mind that Rush released a whole new batch of high-res files starting last year, as part of the "R40" celebration (tour, new vinyl reissues, etc.). I haven't compared them directly but word is that these new remasters are a little warmer than the last batch.

    Two downloads this year have been worth many repeat plays. One is Mel Tormé's Verve classic Swings Shubert Alley. It had a new remastering just for this new 24/192 release, and it grabs every nuance from those original tapes (which are in great condition). The music is a blast if you like Tormé or the "west coast" sound--this features arrangements by the great Marty Paich. What I find is a nice twist is that Tormé enjoyed leaving plenty of space for the soloists in the band to play, so you have someone like Frank Rosolino or Art Pepper taking eight bars in the middle of the tune.

    A new recording I picked up was the G Stringz album by Stanley Clarke, Bireli Lagrene and Jean-Luc Ponty (24/48). It is somewhat similar to the Rite of Strings album that Clarke and Ponty recorded with Al Di Meola, but this new one is more lyrical and laid back than the former, and they enjoy a good rapport together. It's a treat if you are a fan of any one of these musicians.
     
  13. 2channel*

    2channel* AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    455
    Location:
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    Delivered yesterday: David Gilmour - Rattle That Lock, Deluxe Blu-ray edition from Source Media via Amazon. My first Blu-ray audio! Except there is no Blu-ray disc in the box, audio or otherwise. Just a CD and a DVD/DVD-A which sounds no better than the CD as far as I can tell. But that's still really good. I knew it was too good to be true for $7.95. I have asked Source Media whether I got the wrong product or they made a mistake in the ad. Anyone got a suggestion for a good Blu-ray Audio?
     
  14. Wildcat

    Wildcat ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Subscriber

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    For kicks I did a search at Amazon, and it looks like this title is available as a CD+DVD, or CD+BluRay (which Amazon shows at $7.34). Could just be that they sent the wrong item.
     
  15. Wildcat

    Wildcat ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Subscriber

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    This is a really nice sounding reissue:

    upload_2016-12-10_22-44-44.png

    I have had a CD of Haitink conducting the Royal Concertgebouw for a few decades, which has his version of Debussy's Trois Nocturnes, and Jeux, originally released on Philips (LP, then CD). This SHM-SACD (Decca/Universal UCGD-9017) covers the Trois Nocturnes, leaves out Jeux, but adds La Mer, and Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun. The recordings date back to 1977-1980. A very nice, smooth analog transfer that is easy to listen to. (It is not so "in your face" as many digitally recorded classical works can be.)
     
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  16. 2channel*

    2channel* AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I am hoping that's the case, but haven't heard back from Source Media yet. Maybe because it's the weekend.
     
  17. PianotunerNJ

    PianotunerNJ Member

    Messages:
    91
    Location:
    Central NJ
    DVDA and BluRay Audio both generally seem to have the same bit rate of 24/96 so I would assume since they're such similar mediums and same resolution, the sound would be pretty equal. Of course, any BluRay player will so the BluRay Audio but you need special equipment for the DVDA. That's why I grabbed the Oppo, does DVDA through HDMI raw. Again, my receiver does all my decoding, I try to send everything raw.

    Hey 2channel, I saw your invite just now, had a busy holiday season. I would love to hang out and check out each other's gear!

    That sounded wrong when I read it back to myself, but you get my meaning, lol.
     
  18. 2channel*

    2channel* AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    455
    Location:
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    Update on Rattle That Lock:
    Firstly, Source Media was great! They apologised and sent me the BluRay version. They let me keep the DVD version for my inconvenience.
    Unlike the DVD-A, there is a marked difference between the sound of the BluRay and the CD. Better spatial presentation, more dynamic range, the high end shimmers more. All more enjoyable to me and others. I think I'll try a few more.
     
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  19. 2channel*

    2channel* AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    I sent an email. Hope you got it. Don't worry. I won't tell anyone what you mean by gear. ;^)
     
  20. audiomagnate

    audiomagnate AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    My favorite hi res files:

    1. ANYTHING recorded by Professor Kieth Johnson with his HRx system, but my go to demo cut is "You're Driving Me Crazy" which is included in the free HRx Sampler 2011 from HD Tracks. It makes any system sound as good as it can, but with compression drivers and horns the dynamics are simply astounding.

    2 Ray Charles/Genius Loves Company (10th Anniversary Edition) It's all fantastic, but "Fever" is simply amazing.
     

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