John Williams Live in Vienna 'Live edition' - Mutter, Williams

John Williams Live in Vienna 'Live edition' - Mutter, Williams

Universal (Japan)  UCGG-9194/5 (2 discs)

Stereo Hybrid


John Williams: Hook (The Flight to Neverland), Close Encounters of Third Kind (excerpts), The Witches of Eastwick (Devil's Dance)*, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (Adventures on Earth), Jurassic Park (Theme), War Horse (Dartmoor, 1912), Jaws (Out to Sea; The Shark Cage Fugue), Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (Marion's Theme; Raiders March), Star Wars: A New Hope (Main Title), Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (Luke & Leia), Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (The Imperial March), Harry Potter (Hedwig's theme)*, Sabrina (Theme), Far and Away (Donnybrook Fair), Star Wars: The Last Jedi (The Rebellion is Reborn), Cinderella Liberty (Nice to be Around)*, The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (The Duel)*, Schindler's List (Remembrances)*

Anne-Sophie Mutter*, violin
Wiener Philharmoniker
John Williams, conductor

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Comments (14)

Comment by john hunter - December 29, 2020 (1 of 14)

This is the one to get unless you like having to turn a screen on to select the resolution you want which the BD requires you to do.

Comment by Athenaeus - December 30, 2020 (2 of 14)

Whereas the RBCD version only includes thirteen pieces that were extracted from the concert and from which any applause has been removed, the SACD version will apparently include the full concert on two discs. As other reviewers have pointed out here and elsewhere, the SACD will eliminate the need to have a screen in order to listen to the full concert in high resolution. However, although I wasn't able to find any information about the number of channels, I assume this SACD will be in stereo only since it's a Japanese release.

Comment by Don_Angelo - January 13, 2021 (3 of 14)

Actual release date for Universal is February, 5th 2021. I pre-ordered a copy and will be able to make a comparaison with the blu-ray release I already own.

Comment by john hunter - January 18, 2021 (4 of 14)

Looking forward to the comparision.
Should be interesting

Comment by Gurkensalat - February 11, 2021 (5 of 14)

Why on earth did they make this a stereo only SACD, when they already had a brilliant multichannel track on the Blu-ray which in my opinion sounds much better than the stereo track. Release it with MC at a reasonable price, and I will buy it in addition to the blu-ray for those days when I just want to listen to the music. But not this way.

Comment by Athenaeus - February 11, 2021 (6 of 14)

Because Universal have decided that the Japanese customer doesn't want multichannel recordings, and that's that.

I currently have a stereo-only system so this isn't an issue for me. However, if one day I move into a bigger place, I might like to switch to a multichannel system. But the crazy thing is I don't think it would be possible if I wanted to. Where would I find a multichannel player? I know there are a few vendors who still have some left over but they're selling them at ridiculous prices. I'm not sure I would want to go that way. And do I want to buy a brand that's gone out of business? Who's going to fix it if it breaks? And then there's the problem of finding a good multichannel preamplifier and/or amplifier...

I understand that the market for multichannel SACDs is not big. But I think it has a strong and loyal following despite its small size. I see the proof in the number of multichannel SACDs that are still being released. If they're being released, somebody must be buying them.

It's such a shame the record business and audio manufacturers aren't supporting multichannel SACDs (and SACDs in general!) more than they are. As I said, I'm aware it's now a very small market but there is a market and I suspect it's stronger than some people in the industry think. Unfortunately, this is a self-fulfilling outlook; if the industry thinks SACDs are dead then they will eventually die.

But it doesn't have to be like that. For example, if a company developed a new and superior multichannel SACD player, I'm convinced it would sell. Of course, they wouldn't sell millions of them; but I'm sure they would sell enough to turn a decent profit. They would have the market all to themselves! Plus, a lot of people would certainly want to replace their current Oppo (or whatever they have) by something with a more advanced DAC. And who knows, a new player could kindle the interest of some music-lovers who aren't yet into the SACD format.

But the industry is — in my opinion, at least — so pessimistic and short-sighted that they're missing opportunities. And this release is yet another example. It would have been dead easy to have included a multichannel layer and it would have increased sales but Universal's negative assumptions mean it probably didn't even cross their minds.

Comment by john hunter - February 11, 2021 (7 of 14)

I think there is a little bit of misunderstanding Athenaeus about the requirements for MC listening.
The days of players with analogue outputs for MC as well as stereo are indeed numbered as are players generally given the popularity of streaming.
There is no need for a player especially for SA-CD MC.
Many Blu Ray players such as those from Sony play SA-CDs.
All that is necessary is to send the audio stream from the player to your processor /receiver and then let it do its magic such as distances, channel volume etc.
Most also have additional EQ programmes which I think are needed for good playback.
There are many highly regarded processors/receivers and they are going to be around of a long time yet given increasing use of Home Cinema.!!

I use an Oppo 203 and send the bitstream via HDMI( one cable) to an Anthem AVC 60 which decodes the signal, splits it up into 5 channels and equalises everything.
With no more Oppo's, I will probably get a Sony BD player as a back up.

My MC setup is going to last a long time yet.

Comment by Athenaeus - February 11, 2021 (8 of 14)

Thanks for that interesting and reassuring information, John Hunter. I've always had a stereo system and I haven't really explored multichannel that much since it's never been feasible where I've lived. Therefore, I don't know the market for receivers that well. What worries me is rather the DSD digital-to-analogue conversion. Most of the companies that are putting efforts into optimizing DSD conversion only seem to be focusing on stereo. I'm thinking of companies like DCS, Esoteric, Accuphase, Playback Designs, Marantz... (yes, I know Marantz make multichannel receivers, but their best DACs are only for their stereo units). I hope the DSD conversion that's offered on multichannel units will keep up with the improvements that are happening on stereo-only units (e.g. the amazing DAC that Marantz developed for their SA-10 player).

Another thing I've noticed is that some Blu-ray manufacturers seem to be dropping SACD from the formats their players support.

But maybe I'm worrying too much about things I needn't worry about... I think I'm going to listen to some music now and stop worrying.

Comment by Don_Angelo - February 17, 2021 (9 of 14)

My copy arrived today after being stuck for over a week in custom offices. I'll be able to listen to it and do a comparaison this week-end obviously. First thing to notice is the duration (two discs for about two hours of music, it is an hybrid release). And that I think can explain the lack of multi-channel.

Comment by Athenaeus - February 17, 2021 (10 of 14)

Don Angelo, if a multichannel layer was not included, I don't think it was for technical reasons, i.e. because it wasn't possible to fit three layers (RBCD, stereo SACD and multichannel SACD) onto a single disc. The longest of the two discs in this set has 68 minutes of music on it. There are lots of hybrid SACDs out there with three layers and over 68 minutes of music. An example is Mahler's Sixth Symphony conducted by Iván Fischer (CCS SA 22905). It lasts almost 79 minutes and it's on a single disc with three layers, RBCD, stereo SACD and 5.0 multichannel.

As I said in a previous comment, if the multichannel mix isn't included, I think it's because Universal have simply decided that the Japanese customer doesn't need it.

Comment by Don_Angelo - February 18, 2021 (11 of 14)

Hey Athenaeus, even though I don't have a surround installation I agree with you on the fact that editors should provide us with Mutlichannel mix whenever possible.

My point was on the amount of data as I was thinking about SACD incarnation I have (eg: Mahler 6th by Abbado that were edited on 2CD while the CD edition was edited on 1). The disc 2 of that Williams/Mutter release is curently 2.8 Gb for, as you mentioned roughly 70 mins of music.

When I wrote my previous comment, I was under the misconception that hybrid SACD were single layer DVD (so with about 4.7 Gb available). Apparently, this is not the case today as Wikipedia states that SACD storage capabilities can be extended up to 18 Gb. There was a similar debate for Blu-Rays which required firmware updates to support extended versions.
My point is there is a legacy issue with older generation players like mine which cannot receive firmware update.

Comment by Gerhard Schulte - February 22, 2021 (12 of 14)

If you are fortunate enough to own an OPPO-205, this is the edition to get, in addition to the Blu-ray, the CD includes UHQCD / MQA encoding, which I have enjoyed immensely.

Comment by Sam Bialosky - May 24, 2021 (13 of 14)

Anyone actually want to comment on the sound quality of this? Deciding between this and the Blu-ray.

Comment by Don_Angelo - June 1, 2021 (14 of 14)

To answer your question, my comparison between the stereo of the Blu-ray and this SACD did not reveal any significant differences. Though, I must admit that, since I own this SACD, I don't listen to the Blu-ray anymore. I barely played it since then.

So I would say if you don't care about multi-channel and the higher price tag get the SACD (by the time I got the release, tax and shipping costs made it twice more expensive). If you want the video or have a multi-channel setup, or care for the price tag, get the Blu-ray. I have to say I have friends sharing my enthusiasm for Williams music and the Blu-ray will definitely be home-concert material (more than the SACD).