Beethoven: 9 Symphonies - Wand

Beethoven: 9 Symphonies - Wand

Sony Music  SIGC-43/6 (4 discs)

Stereo Single Layer

Classical - Orchestral

Beethoven: 9 Symphonies

Edith Wiens (soprano)
Hildegard Hartwig (alto)
Keith Lewis (tenor)
Roland Hermann (bass)
Chor der Hamburgischen Staatsoper
Chor der Norddeutschen Rundfunks
NDR Sinfonieorchester
Günter Wand (conductor)

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PCM recording
Comments (5)

Comment by Athenaeus - January 22, 2021 (1 of 5)

Two users gave this release a "thumbs down" and that's it. No comments either. On the other hand, the previous release of these recordings (serial number BVCC-37473) got four "thumbs up". Does anyone know if there's anything wrong with this latest release on single-layer SACDs? Musically, these are generally considered to be excellent performances, so I can't imagine that's the problem. I can't imagine the sound is very different from the previous hybrid discs either. I'm puzzled.

Comment by Contrapunctus - January 23, 2021 (2 of 5)

Athenaeus, I'm one of the "thumbs-down". It's not very often, that I vote like this. But in this case my negative vote is not about Wand's account itself, it's only because the sonical improvement over the regular RBCD releases is to my ears not existent. Btw, I don't understand the positive rating for the earlier hybrid sacd release either. I think the main problem with this Esoteric production is the fact, that the recordings itself are digital PCM recordings. And the statement of 'original sources' is to me a bit confusing or even misleading. I doubt that the responsible broadcasting company, NDR, did record the symphonies both in PCM AND analog. They most likely recorded in the digital 16 bit pcm domain at that time (mid 1980's).

I have compared the sacd against the rbcd version. Result: virtually no difference! Only the typical modification that is also present in other Esoteric releases of 16bit PCM recordings: overall sound appears a bit smoother due to upsampling and dsd conversion, but definitely no improvemt in terms of more transparancy or resolution.

So, if you like other Esoteric releases of PCM recordings, you'll probably also like this. Otherwise save your money and get the regular rbcd!

Comment by Athenaeus - January 23, 2021 (3 of 5)

Thanks for that useful information, Contrapunctus! In that case, I will indeed save my pennies for some SACDs that are worth the price.

Comment by Contrapunctus - January 23, 2021 (4 of 5)

Absolutely, Athenaeus! Or why not get a high-res download instead? There are so many interesting recordings available ONLY as 24bit download (alternatively they are available as rbcd). At the moment I'm listening to Andris Nelsons Bruckner recordings (Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, DG) as 24/192 PCM download. Impressive!

Comment by Athenaeus - January 23, 2021 (5 of 5)

The problem is that I'm a disc devotee. I'm mostly into RBCDs and SACDs. I do also listen to a bit of vinyl. But that's it. I don't even want to jump on the Blu-ray Audio bandwagon. I only have two sources in my system, an SACD player and a turntable. I tried to go "non-physical" a few years back and it only lasted a couple weeks. I was missing the ritual of browsing through my collection and laying a disc on the tray or on the platter. And I figure there are more than enough great RBCDs, SACDs and vinyls out there to keep me busy for the rest of my life.

But I do understand your enthusiasm for high-resolution downloads, even if it's not my thing.