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Grieg: Peer Gynt Suites, Sibelius: Pelleas et Melisande - Karajan

Grieg: Peer Gynt Suites, Sibelius: Pelleas et Melisande - Karajan

Universal (Japan)  UCGG-9068

Stereo Single Layer

Classical - Orchestral


Grieg: Peer Gynt suites 1 & 2
Sibelius: Pelleas et Melisande

Berliner Philharmoniker
Herbert von Karajan

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Comments (17)
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Comment by Waveform - January 11, 2017 (1 of 17)

I have heard the CD version of this album. Unlike the other SACD releases of Universal Music Japan this and Sibelius: Finlandia, Valse Triste, Tapiola, Der Schwan von Tuonela - Karajan were digital recordings. I'm going to buy these albums because I'm curious to hear what advantages the DSD technology will offer to the 44,1/16 PCM recording.

Has anybody heard this?

Comment by hiredfox - January 14, 2017 (2 of 17)

Please don't do that. How can DSD improve the sound of Red Book CD. It is impossible.

Comment by GregM - January 20, 2017 (3 of 17)

Yes, it is possible. DSD is a noise shaping technology that pushes content into the ultrasonic. It has been proven that real instruments produce ultrasonic content (measured by James Boyk and others) and it stands to reason that the human brain is aware that real noise produced by real musical instruments include this content. CD doesn't include it. DSD does. Therefore, a sense of realism is possible in DSD that is not possible in CD. This is borne out by transferring content from early digital recordings to DSD, and the consistent observation that the resulting SACD/DSD sounds superior to the CD/lower resolution source.

Comment by hiredfox - January 20, 2017 (4 of 17)

Greg, you cannot add information that is not there in the first place? RBCD has an upper frequency cut off of 22kHz. Nothing above that exists on the original recording. No amount of subsequent editing or conversions can restore or re-shape information that does not exist.

Comment by GregM - January 20, 2017 (5 of 17)

With all due respect, you do not understand how DSD noise shaping works. DSD pushes quantization noise up to ultrasonic frequencies. So yes, it does indeed create new content that is pretty much inaudible. What I'm saying is that the mere presence of this ultrasonic content can trick the brain into thinking it's hearing a real instrument instead of a recording, since real instruments produce ultrasonic frequencies and red book does not.

Comment by Waveform - January 21, 2017 (6 of 17)

So is it worth to pay full price + international shipping charges to get this from Japan?

Comment by Adrian Quanjer - January 22, 2017 (7 of 17)

If I understand John & Greg’s discussion correctly DSD remastering or shaping adds ultrasonic information that wasn’t present in the original recording. That would mean that it is artificially created, whatever one calls it.

Let’s take the Oboe. Its typical nasal timbre is shaped by under and overtones which are (grossly) out of tune. My question: If part of this information was ‘cut-off’ for the original recording how does one add such ‘out of tune’ information by ‘quantization’ in a way that my brain can make it sound like a real oboe. And does DSD shaping take account of typical inaudible sound shapes of each individual instrument? A miracle…

I think I’ll stay on the safe side by sticking as much as possible to native DSD.

(please note that I’m not a sound engineer like Greg)

Comment by hiredfox - January 22, 2017 (8 of 17)

Needless to say there is nothing in Greg's assertions that makes the slightest sense to me and 'yes' I do know what I am talking about with DSD and noise shaping but the disagreement must end as what matters is the music and only the music.

Comment by SteelyTom - January 22, 2017 (9 of 17)

And just to throw you a softball, hiredfox-- you have a different view of the Universal Japan reissues of analogue material, like the '60s-vintage Karajan/BPO records, the Ozawa/BSO material, etc.? There, DSD provides a gain, does it not?

It's puzzling and deflating that, with so much great analogue material to choose from, UJ decided to reissue 16/44.1 material. I hope they can keep this SACD program going-- the high prices are worth it, in my experience anyway.

Comment by David Weber - January 23, 2017 (10 of 17)

Does upsampling 44.1/16 to DSD (using one's own DAC or software) accomplish the same thing Greg refers to regarding remastering/transferring PCM to DSD?

Comment by Adrian Quanjer - January 24, 2017 (11 of 17)

And what about the quality of the microphones in 1983, or maybe even recorded before by Polidor (I do have the original on my shelves) and the tape hiss?

Comment by Waveform - January 24, 2017 (12 of 17)

Guys, I have read this discussion with great enthusiasm. Let me share my own experience with PCM.

Compared to DSD - which allows the best possible audio quality for the listener - PCM recordings are more lukewarm. As I said before I have not heard this album in this SACD form. But I think that we will lost inner details when we listen to this - or any other performance - on CD. This comes very clear with compressed surround sound programs such as Dolby Pro Logic II or DTS Neo:6. They offer an effective artificial surround sound for 2-channel sources but naturally a dynamic range is somewhat unstable. Of course this demerit depends on the original recording. The CDs of BIS and Telarc have sounded really impressive through mentioned programs, for instance.

At its best we are able to enhance these PCM recordings considerably. The Eloquence series have been a good example of this: http://hraudio.net/discsbylabel.php?label=366. It is a shame that there are hundreds of exceptionally good recordings available but just in stereo. Since I listened to my first SACD (Beethoven: Symphonies 3 & 8 - Vänskä, if I remember correctly) I have stopped to buy CDs. When you're listening to SACD in multi-channel the spatial impression is much more realistic, details more audible and listening experience takes your breath away. These are truisms, I know. As a Finn I have waited for a long time a multi-channel SACD of Sibelius's "Scenes historiques I & II" and "Scaramouche".

Comment by Adrian Quanjer - January 25, 2017 (13 of 17)

Isn’t it all a relative matter? Of equipment and appreciation? Leaving the technicalities aside I trust my own ears best.

If I listen to MP3 snippets on the sites of our preferred vendors, it sounds quite good through my mediocre PC headphones. Downloaded on a USB stick and played in my car it still sounds reasonable. The quality of the equipment is worse than the quality of the MP3 file, one might say.

PCM Played on an average set gives a similar effect. The distortion of the set is often bigger than that of the recording. And glaring highs are dampened by a poor frequency curve. No need to spend money on Hi-res. Many are happy with it. They listen to the music and not the sound. So far so good and so cheap.

Problems start when upgrading equipment. Deficiencies become audible, the more so as one’s listening experience improves. What I have learned over the years is that with every upgrade the well recorded disks sound better and the bad ones worse. Still, a good PCM can give more satisfaction than a badly recorded or fake DSD.

For me the ultimate is to get at home the same or at least a similar experience as in a live concert venue. And that is what HRAudio.net, in my view, is all about: The best possible performances in the best possible sound. In spite of all the technical manipulations and ditto views supported by studies, neither for my brain nor my ears re-remastering is never the same as a newly produced real and I stress real Hi-res recording, for which I prefer by far DSD. That is not to say that I have no understanding for those who would like to revive their long time hero’s and cherished performances in the best possible format.

In a larger listening environment multi-channel is, like Luukas, for me a must; plus the reproduction of the original dynamics. (I’m lucky having no close neighbours!). But beware: In multi-channel much can be spoiled by a bad surround mix. Be it PCM or DSD. But after a number of years one knows the do and don’t labels.

Comment by GregM - January 25, 2017 (14 of 17)

Hi all, let me add my $.02 by replying to a few comments.

> Comment by Adrian Quanjer - January 22, 2017 (7 of 13)
> If I understand John & Greg’s discussion correctly DSD remastering or shaping adds ultrasonic information
> that wasn’t present in the original recording. That would mean that it is artificially created, whatever one calls it.

Yes, it's artificially created (semantic debate as to whether all sound from a digital audio production is artificially created) but my hypothesis is that the mere presence of ultrasonic content could interact with the sonic content perception to yield a more realistic presentation of the original performance.

> Let’s take the Oboe. Its typical nasal timbre is shaped by under and overtones which are (grossly) out of tune.
> My question: If part of this information was ‘cut-off’ for the original recording how does one add such ‘out of tune’
> information by ‘quantization’ in a way that my brain can make it sound like a real oboe. And does DSD shaping take
> account of typical inaudible sound shapes of each individual instrument? A miracle…

Not so much a miracle as an engineering choice in developing DSD and pushing noise out of hearing range. Obviously DSD cannot "bring back" sounds that were not recorded. But I think it's an error to say there is no difference or advantage to transferring early digital PCM content to DSD. What are your impressions upon comparing the versions? That's really all that matters, and I consistently prefer DSD/SACD version of early digital material.

> Comment by hiredfox - January 22, 2017 (8 of 13)
> Needless to say there is nothing in Greg's assertions that makes the slightest sense to me and 'yes'
> I do know what I am talking about with DSD and noise shaping but the disagreement must end as what matters
> is the music and only the music.

With DSD production there is a change in the content. It stands to reason that there could be a change in perception as a result of the change in content. What about that doesn't make the slightest sense? If you understand DSD noise shaping, you agree that there is "new" content not in the red book version. And if what matters is the music and only the music, you would be talking about your perception of the red book music vs the DSD music instead of attacking the production purely on misguided theory that the content and the perception must be identical. You may yet hear them as identical--I don't know. But if you haven't done the requisite listening, you can't really say, can you? To base your reply on theory (that I can poke a big hole into) and then say "it is only about the music" isn't logical.

> Comment by David Weber - January 23, 2017 (10 of 13)
> Does upsampling 44.1/16 to DSD (using one's own DAC or software) accomplish the same thing Greg refers to regarding
> remastering/transferring PCM to DSD?

I think that depends on the quantization and noise shaping in your individual system when this upsampling occurs--I couldn't say.

> Comment by Adrian Quanjer - Today 01:21 am (13 of 13)
> Isn’t it all a relative matter? Of equipment and appreciation? Leaving the technicalities aside I
> trust my own ears best.

Exactly, as you should. Don't let anyone tell you that you aren't hearing what you hear!

Comment by Euell Neverno - January 25, 2017 (15 of 17)

Information added that is not in the original master is, by definition, noise. I don't want noise in recordings, whether in DSD or PCM. Let us be really clear that to the extent conversion from PCM to DSD or DXD or whatever creates artifacts/noise, those artifacts/noise are undesirable and should be suppressed to the greatest possible extent. In any case, quantization noise is not overtones. It is noise.

Comment by GregM - January 26, 2017 (16 of 17)

Euell, it's not that simple. Yes, the noise shaping creates "artifacts/noise" as you say, but it purposefully pushes it into the ultrasonic realm where the ear cannot identify it as noise. That is the genius of DSD noise shaping. Now what I'm saying is that the presence of this ultrasonic content is similar to the presence of similar ultrasonic content measured from real instruments, including the trumpet (google James Boyk if you want to see his study). Real instruments and DSD on system capable of ultrasonic kHz range contain this type of content (so does high-res PCM to a lesser degree). CD and MP3 do not. Again, it's about what your ears tell you, but be aware there is indeed a case to be made that DSD is theoretically superior, even for music sourced from early digital/red book.

Comment by William Hecht - January 26, 2017 (17 of 17)

Yup, I'm sure that's why my favorite part of concerts in Carnegie Hall were when the subway rumbled underneath, the double basses gained an extra half octave.