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Achieve from my old web site

Last Update
I shut down
Hi Rez on 06/02/06. 

There is some duplication with however there is a lot of information, reviews, recommended recordings, playback issues concerning the high resolution digital formats (SACD, DVD-Audio, 24/96 DAD DVDs, etc.) that I thought would be of interest to listeners who like me also have digital formats.  This is the entire web site on a single page without the pictures so it may take a time to load please be patient.

Classic Records announces new HDAD Plus
The HDAD PLUS which is a two disc set consisting of a two sided DVD-10 disc containing DVD Audio and DVD Video formats PLUS a bonus CD from a separate 16 bit / 44.1 kHz two channel capture done simultaneously for the CD format to avoid non-integer down sampling and hence provide for maximum quality for the CD all transferred directly from the 35mm magnetic film using a vintage Westrex 1551 tape machine, with specially built playback electronics that are vastly superior to any others used on these machines to playback the original 35mm tapes. The Len Horowitz / History of Recorded Sound specially modified 1551, fitted with brand new playback heads matched to the revolutionary playback electronics was stationed at Bernie Grundman Mastering in Hollywood. With Len Horowitz running the playback machine and Bernie Grundman mastering from the three track 35mm tapes, Classic Records has been able to capture the legendary sound and performances directly from the 35mm magnetic film through an "ALL TUBE" tape playback system and at 24 bit resolution and 192 kHz sampling rate for use in both the two and
three channel presentations included on both the DVD Audio and DVD Video sides of the two sided DVD-10. The level of detail and dynamics on these discs will test the limits of all systems - no matter how much they cost!

• 24/96-24/192 kHz digital format DVD-V/DVD-A
• Plus Aluminum CD

Back in the groove 14 May 2006
Technology Editor Tony Glover reports how in the iPod age the record industry is going forward by returning to the days of vinyl

Click here to sign the "Save SACD Petition"
To: All Music Labels
We the undersigned are passionate about the audio format SACD. It is simply the best audio technology to hit consumers in ages. We feel that a rededication to the format by all labels, especially Sony is warranted.

Hybrid SACD/CD Survey Results
I have tabulated the results from the hybrid SACD/CD survey. There was not enough results for any meaningful generalizations but I wanted to share the results with all of you. A big warm thank you to everyone one who contributed!

Hi Rez Stereo is your place!
Hi Rez Stereo is the place where all lovers of 2-channel high resolution stereo can come to discover what is new. Be it LP Vinyl, Reel to Reel, Audiophile Cassette, SACD or DVD-Audio.

Many of us prefer properly set up 2-channel Stereo for its superior imaging and soundstaging characteristics. While others don’t have the money to experiment with Surround Sound.

Either way this new web site is for you. All recommendations and reviews are of the 2-channel program on discs that offer both and all news is about glorious 2-channel stereo.

Hi my name is Teresa and I have lived with both Quadraphonic 4 Channel 7 ½ ips Pre-recorded Reel to Reel tapes and modern day surround sound. I prefer 2-channel stereo not only for music but movies as well.

SACD started out as a high-resolution 2-channel stereo format aimed at lovers of analog 2-channel sound. It later became a multi-channel format and as less expensive players entered the market it was seen more as a multi-channel rather than a high-resolution format. I watched my favorite web sites switch emphasis from stereo to multi-channel and reviews of SACDs and DVD-Audios focus on the surround program only occasionally mentioning the 2-channel program.

I do not believe 2-channel Stereo need or should be an after thought and this is why I have started this web site for dedicated 2-channel music loving audiophiles like you.

Analog and Digital

The high resolution Digital formats, SACD and DVD-Audio sometimes do an excellent job of imitating Analog. However nothing sounds more Analog than real analog formats as they bypass the Analog to Digital conversion upon recording and the Digital to Analog conversion upon playback. The whole idea of changing Analog to Digital in recording is an effort to eliminate the limitations of the recording medium, such as tape hiss, overload compression, wow and flutter, etc. Suppose instead of spending all the millions of dollars in almost three decades of trying to make Digital sound more like Analog that this money was actually spent to perfect Analog. Something to think about!

In the Digital formats it is extremely important to minimize the amount of degradation of the analog signal as possible. DSD seems to degrade the least losing only the sharpest and fastest transient attacks and a small amount of ambiance and air. In all but the very best engineered recordings DSD should sound very close to the originals. DVD-Audio using 192kHz PCM can come close as well and often sounds excellent at 96kHz. Anything lower than 96kHz PCM usually has a graininess and overall uncomfortable sound, with a shrillness in the midrange and at 44.1kHz rolled off highs as well as. There were some 50kHz Soundstream recordings particularly those made by Telarc that sound much better than their specification would indicate in both their LP and SACD versions. However even these very exciting recordings still suffer from "Digital Dryness" and lack of air around the instruments and a certain sound that screams "Digital"

This leads me up to my next announcement:

2 Track 15 ips pre-recorded Reel to Reel tapes will be making a comeback

Stereo Reel to Reel premiered as a 2 Track format, 4 Track was invented in an effort to bring down the selling price of pre-recorded Reel to Reels. 2 Track is the superior format for many reasons, including wider track width per channel and no reverse crosstalk from the other side as 2 Track tapes are one sided.

As announced earlier on the Reel to Reel page
a new firm has begun preparations for releasing of premium quality 2 Track 15ips Pre-recorded Reel to Reel tapes.

Things are moving along nicely. They have pulled together a core group of participants and a few supportive associates. Working out the division of responsibilities, equipment, facility, tape source and marketing details. They are also been putting together a wish list of titles with which to make some inquiries into licensing from various labels.

"The coolest things to happen in the technical end of the project are that Mike Spitz has agreed to make his new tape
formulations available to us in pancakes once he's got production running, and that we have managed to pull together that major components of what may be the most righteous duplicating setup ever done. After discussing a lot of different equipment possibilities Paul and I have decided to pool some of our best machines for the project. Paul's Ampex MM1200 with MR70 electronics will play the 1" running masters, and we have come up with three ATR100s to use as 1/4" slaves, duping at 1:1. We also have a facility to get started in.

We've given ourselves a date by which to get this all together for an initial release, but I think it's a little premature to name it yet. The group involved just gets more and more enthusiastic as the project builds momentum, and I think we will end up with a pretty interesting catalog. "
Doc B.

Why I thought listener’s adopted SACD

Based on Sony's promise "the precision of digital combined with all the warmth and ambiance of analog" I originally thought most choose SACD because they could not stand the excruciating painful sound of CDs and wanted something a lot more convenient than analog. According to my survey I was wrong.

I would have expected SACD owners to have huge LP and even Reel to Reel collection but little to no CDs. Again I was wrong. Maybe in the beginning when SACD was 2 channel only a lot of anti-CD people jumped on board. But when multi-channel came along a lot of people actually liked the sound of CD. I found this very strange.

SACD still didn't get quite "all the warmth and ambiance of analog" but they got closer than any other digital format IMHO.

Why I adopted and left SACD the second time

It was the world's first "tubed" SACD player priced at under $1,000 that brought me back to SACD the second time, coupled with RCA Living Stereo SACDs at dirt cheap prices. Some folks have asked why I gave up instead of trying yet another brand of SACD player that may not have a problem with hybrid SACDs. For them I have made a list of what it would require me to return to SACD a third time:

1). All SACDs are Single Layer SACDs and all Hybrid SACDs are recalled and reissued as Single Layer SACDs. And no SACD + CD disc either. No they will have to be totally separate products Single layer SACDs for SACD players and Single layer CDs for CD players.

2) No more "spindle cracks". I have finally sold all my SACDs with "spindle cracks" but I sold them dirt-cheap. I thought these were gone but even recent releases have had spindle cracks such as Sonoma's Music for Organ, Brass & Timpani. Also I noticed ALL SACDs with "spindle cracks" are Hybrid SACDs thus another reason to move to Single Layer SACDS.

3) SACD players stop having repair or replacement issues and last on average 10 years (like CD or DVD players) before needing alignment or repair. I feel that eliminating Hybrid SACDs will insure SACD players have a much longer trouble free life.

4) All SACDs must disclose the resolution of the Master tape. If Analog speed it was recorded at and how many tracks used. If Digital PCM resolution and bit rate it was recorded at. If DSD did it stay DSD though out the mastering process or was it converted to Analog or PCM? What was the resolution was used in the mixing process.

I don't believe even one of these conditions will be met so I that case I will not own SACD again as these are my minimum requirements.

There were some posters on the Hi-Rez Highway that blamed my lens cleaning on my on and off problems with SACD hybrids. I don’t buy it, as the lens cleaner has not harmed my Toshiba 5700 DVD-Audio player at all! And it is much older, I bought it used way before I bought the Xindak SCD-2. I also watch rental movies on this player which sometimes are scratchy and one would think harder to read. I use the Maxell CD-340 Lens Cleaner CD with advanced angle brush.

Quote from the cleaner:
"The CD-340 has brushes comprised of hundreds of ultra-fine synthetic fibers that are impregnated with copper. This enables the brushes to dissipate any electro-static elements when it cleans. The brushes advanced ANGULAR design was created to ensure safe and effective cleaning for any application."

There is nothing in the entire world as hard to read as a hybrid SACDs Table Of Contents when your player doesn't want to. And I dislike that strongly.

I was seduced back in the by the glorious temptation of tubed SACD sound. Now that I have experienced that I can enjoy my LPs, Cassettes and Reel to Reels tapes without wondering how a tubed SACD player would sound. I've been there done that. Transistor SACD and Tubed SACD.

Why MP3 and Digital Downloading threatens real music

If the powers that be were not so intent in treating the effect by turning musical waveforms into 1’s and 0’s instead of treating the cause of extraneous noise at the source. Noise should have been eliminated at the source instead of using the digital cheat by turning out music into 1’s and 0’s to make it quieter.

If they had not reduced music to 1’s and 0’s, MP3’s, Internet downloads and all the other horrors inflicting music would not be possible. They took the shortcut and treated the effect rather than the cause!

Surface noise on LPs

Most well cared for Vinyl DOES NOT have pops or ticks, though there is some surface noise. You can learn to listen around slight surface noise just the same way you are able to listen around tape hiss.

Also slight surface noise also has a masking effect on tape hiss making tape hiss barely noticeable or non-existent. Overall music from the 1950's and 1960's is quieter on audiophile LPs than on SACDs because of this masking effect.

Why "HDCD’s" are NOT listed as a high resolution format

I do like Reference Recordings HDCDs when decoded. They can sound quite good and don't have many of the limitations of Redbook CD. When decoded HDCD eliminates many of the "additive" distortions of "44.1kHz digital" and it's extra resolution restores some of the "subtractive" distortions of "44.1kHz digital".

It is amazing given what they have to work with that Reference Recordings HDCD sounds so good, though their LPs are even better. Sad to say their latest recordings are not available on LP so HDCD is an acceptable substitute. First Impression Music HDCDs also sound good. To be branded "HDCD" CDs producers only have to use the A/D converter, they do not have to use any of the encode/decode processes or even encode only processes. It is the encoded/decode processes that makes HDCD a viable format and removes the "Digital" edge to strings and gives full process HDCDs an almost Analog sound. Since most other HDCDs do not use the full HDCD process and sound almost as bad as redbook CDs, HDCDs cannot listed as a high resolution format.

The Dark Digital Years 1978-2025

I. Digital: The Wrong road taken
When CD first came out the audio cassette had just overtaken the Vinyl LP in sales. CD was supposed to replace both. CD debuted in 1984 in record stores; the public didn't take to them right away. The CDs were too expensive $15.99 and up versus $8.99-$9.99 for front line LPs and equipment was too expensive. Three years into CD equipment prices dropped but not CD prices but that was enough to boost CD sales. However when LPs were taken out of the stores LPs were outselling CDs 4-1.

The industry took LPs off the record shelves to force the holdouts to adopt CD. So now if you wanted an LP you had to special order or mail order. By the fourth year LPs were only outselling CDs 2:1 and by the fifth year CDs outselling LPs. However it is my firm believe if the LPs were not taken off the shelves CD would either have died or become a niche format like DVD-Audio and SACD are today. People were forced to adopt CD by making it more difficult to buy LPs.

But even with the industries strong-arm tactics they were not able to kill off LPs but they did manage to kill of many of the audiophile record companies who resisted "Digital". They killed off Direct to Discs, pre-recorded Reel to Reel tape and the entire audiophile real time (1:1) audiophile cassette industry. The "CD Industry" and Digital was the worst thing that has ever happened to music. I have great hope our descendants will be more intelligent than we have been and totally dismiss Digital as non-musical. I see a return to recording musical waveforms as is without any conversion to 1’s and 0’s and back to musical waveforms again. This unnecessary step will be eliminated by treating the cause of noise and distortion in physical formats instead of treating the effect as the Digital cheat does.

How long will it take for the world to return to analog? I don’t know but I do know the time period we are living in will be
considered the "Dark Digital Years". We have already begun to arise for the abyss as a few brave recording engineers such as Tony Falkaner who is now making 2 Track 15 ips Analog versions of all of his recordings he does for other companies. He has bravely told the truth about analog being sonically superior to both DSD and even the highest resolution PCM 32 Bit 192kHz. He is not alone and many, many more are joining his ranks.

II. Digital killed audiophile tape
Barclay-Crocker maker of 4 Track 7 ½ ips Reel to Reel tapes licensed from most of the major labels and many minor ones was slowing losing sales to the dominate medium at the time Cassette. But when Barclay-Crocker went out of business they stated Compact Disc as the cause of their demise.

It was not long after that the audiophile cassette companies folded up one by one. The big CD lies and the forced move to CD is perhaps the biggest crime the musical world has ever seen. Some have said that the people chose CD because their LP playback was so lousy. That may be true for a minority, but I believe what I seen with the own eyes, CD forced on us in two ways. First by taking LPs off the shelves even though LPs outsold CDs 4 to 1. Second by record companies NOT releasing LP versions, forcing people to get the CD version if they wanted the music. These are very high crimes indeed!

Can you imagine a world in which CD was never invented and Digital was never used to record music? I can! All the great conductors and artists of today would be recorded in glorious analog. There would still be dozens of companies making audiophile pre-recorded cassettes and Reel to Reel tapes. Pre-recorded cassettes would likely be either Dolby S or Dolby SR encoded with 100dB dynamic range. Barclay-Crocker would still be releasing the newest Analog master tapes on 4 Track 7 ½ ips Reel to Reels. And JVC-Japan would never have closed down their pressing plant and tons of Direct to Disc LPs by talented artists and major symphony orchestra would have been released.

III. Digital prevented the birth of a new analog format
And there would be a NEW laser read Analog format for people who don’t like the fuss and extra care LPs require. Imagine if LaserDisc never added Digital Soundtracks! The picture and the sound analog, admittedly FM (Frequency Modulated) analog which is not as good as straight analog but better than digital. When I collected LaserDiscs I always choose the Stereo Analog tracks over the 44.1kHz Digital tracks until Dolby Digital came along. In order to make Dolby Digital fit along with the Stereo Analog and Stereo Digital they used the right channel of the Stereo Analog tracks thus making all Dolby Digital LaserDiscs unusable for me as the Analog tracks were now mono. This I also blame on Digital and CD, if they had never happened LaserDisc would not have been robbed of it’s Stereo Analog tracks.

I hope I am making it clear that it is not just CDs abysmal sound quality that causes me to abhor the CD format so much but the damage it has done to other formats as well. CD is the strongest destructive force in the world of music ever created by mankind!

IV. Digital, an unnecessary step in recording music
DIGITAL sources don't sound like ANALOG or the original musical waveforms, although DSD does get very, very close. Anytime you change musical waveforms to 1's and 0's and back to musical waveforms you have to very careful that the process does not destroy the music. Digital is a cheat, a shortcut to treat the symptoms of residual noise of formats rather than actually curing to cause of noise in formats. The best solution is to record the musical waveform and only the musical waveform and don't convert it to anything.

I personally believe all recordings should be 2 Track 15ips Analog Reel to Reel for posterity's sake, as 50 years from now the Digital recordings will be looked back at as too compromised and will be achieved if only really special. I believe in the long term Analog will be perfected without "noise" and Digital will be abandoned as it involves a totally unnecessary step of changing the musical waveform from Digital and back to Analog. In the future they will be smarter than us and realize that it is far better to keep the musical waveform intact.

V. Analog is Music, Digital is Mathematics
Musical waveforms stay musical waveforms when using analog recording techniques. However when musical waveforms are changed to digital 1’s and 0’s using digital recording techniques they must be changed back to analog musical waveforms to be heard as music. If not converted to analog all you would hear is switching noise. And when Digital is converted back to analog the signal is no longer smooth, it is stair-stepped. Dither (low-level analog noise) is applied to the stair-stepped recovered analog waveform in an attempt to make it smooth and rounded like the original waveform.

The reasons given for converting analog to digital mathematics is to eliminate wow and flutter, increase dynamic range, lower noise and distortion. There are advanced analog techniques that can do all of this making digital totally unnecessary. So why do we continue to destroy our music by converting it to digital and back to analog again?

Happy listening,

LP Vinyl

In 1958 the first stereo two-channel records were issued – by Audio Fidelity in the USA and Pye in Britain, using the Westrex "45/45" single-groove system. Invented by Alan Blumlein of EMI in 1931 and patented the same year. EMI cut the first stereo test discs using the system in 1933. However it was not exploited commercially until a quarter of a century later.

In 1954 RCA records began their Living Stereo three microphone recording program, first on 2 Track Reel to Reel tapes and by 1959 finally on Stereo LPs.

In 1961, Mercury enhanced their "Mercury Living Presence" technique with three-microphone stereo recordings using 35mm magnetic film instead of half-inch tape for recording. The greater thickness and width of 35mm magnetic film prevented tape layer print-through and pre-echo and gained in addition extended frequency range and transient response.

In the late 1970s, "Direct-to-Disc" records were produced, aimed at audiophiles, which completely bypassed the use of magnetic tape in favor of a "purist" transcription directly to the master lacquer disc. Also during this period, "Half-Speed Mastered" LPs from "Original Master" tapes were released, using expensive state-of-the-art technology.

The early 1980s saw the introduction of "DBX-encoded" records, again for the audiophile niche market. These were completely incompatible with standard record playback preamplifiers, relying on a sophisticated DBX noise reduction encoding/decoding scheme to virtually eliminate playback noise and increase dynamic range. A similar and very short-lived scheme involved using the CBS-developed "CX" noise reduction encoding/decoding scheme.

Also in the late 1970s and 1980s, a method to improve the dynamic range of mass-produced records involved highly advanced disc cutting equipment. These techniques, marketed as the CBS Discomputer and Teldec Direct Metal Mastering, were used to reduce inner-groove distortion. Many listeners reported while the LPs had lower surface noise that the sound quality of Direct Metal Mastering was on the "cold" side.

With the advent of Compact Discs , Vinyl LPs are still prized by audiophiles because of superior sound quality. Compact Discs suffer from gross upper midrange shrillness, rolled-off high frequencies, analytical, cold sound and congestion on climaxes, in contrast to LPs warm, tonally correct and ambient rich sonics.

CDs are affected by the sharp frequency cutoff and phase characteristics, including group delay, near the Nyquist frequency and the quantization noise of 16-bit linear quantization. However, analog LPs have a more gradual frequency cutoff and a more natural descent into the analog noise floor.

The "warmer" sound of analog records was generally believed to be an artifact of the dynamic harmonic distortion characteristic of Vinyl LPs. However with the introduction of SACD this was proven incorrect as SACD has the same "warm" sound of LP Vinyl.

In the mid 1990’s new-release Analog LPs were reborn, lead by Classic Records soon followed by many other audiophile companies. According to both hardware and software manufacturers 2005 was the best year for Analog LPs and Turntable sales in over a decade.

My 10 Favorite LPs

1. ANTILL: Corroboree GINASTERA: Panambi Suite - Everest / Classic SDBR 3003 - This is sonically the most realistic LP I have ever found and the music is extremely exciting! It's a real treat!

2. HARRY BELAFONTE: At Carnegie Hall (2 LP Set) RCA Living Stereo / Classic LSO 6006 - You are in Carnegie Hall with Harry Belafonte. Not just the music but the dialog in between, and the music oh wow! Harry at his best! Must have LP!

3. BRITTEN: Young People's Guide To The Orchestra - Felix Slatkin - Capitol Records / Cisco SP 8373 - This has the warmest and most beautiful string tone I have ever experienced, highly, highly recommended.

4. NANCY BRYAN: Lay Me Down - Analogue Productions APO 2002A - Nancy Bryan's best LP, superb sonics

5. DÄFOS / Mickey Hart, Airto & Flora Purim (45 RPM) Reference Recordings RR-12 - This is the famous LP in which Mickey Hart big drum called "The Beast" falls down and makes the loudest crash ever recorded. Lots of great percussion lead music in superb sonics Reference Recordings is famous for, pure analog of course!

6. DUKE AT TANGLEWOOD / Ellington, Fiedler, Boston Pops - RCA Living Stereo / Classic LSC 2857 - This is both Duke Ellington and Arthur Fiedler's best recording and it is one of the best sounding Living Stereo LPs.

7. MILHAUD: La Creation du Monde; Suite Provencale - RCA Living Stereo / Classic LSC 2423 - Utterly beautiful and exciting.

8. PROKOFIEV: Love For Three Oranges; Scythian Suite - Mercury Living / Classic SR 90006 - OK Scythian Suite is one of my favorite classical pieces and this is sonically and musically superb!

9. RESPIGHI: Church Windows / Clark (45 RPM) - Reference Recordings RR-15 - Check out the "Tam-Tams" at the end of Side One, one of Reference Recordings best recordings and IMHO Respighi's best work!

10. WITCHES BREW / Gibson, New Symphony Orchestra of London - RCA Living Stereo / Classic LSC 2225 - Sir Alexander Gibson's performance of Malcolm Arnold's "Tam O'Shanter" has never been equaled musically or sonically. All the others pieces are superb as well. Another great Living Stereo LP.

Hi Rez Reel to Reel

In the 1954 Reel to Reel was the first format to offer 2 channel stereo.

In the beginning all pre-recorded Reel to Reels were 2 Track 7 1/2 ips and recorded in Real Time (1:1), they were quite expensive relative to LPs. That is until 4 Track and high speed duplication were implicated to save tape and lower the retail price. One company to retain Reel Time recording on quality tape stock after the switch to 4 Track was Bel Canto who produced popular recordings of their own and released Mercury Living Presence Classical RTRs.

In the 1960's-1970's most pre-recorded Reel to Reels came from Ampex Stereo Tapes, Stereotape and Columbia and were duplicated at high speeds, many were excellent just not as realistic as the real time duplicated ones. Most classical music was recorded at 7 1/2 ips, most Pop/Rock at 3 3/4 ips. Besides RTR's being available on store shelves and such outfits as Muntz Stereo Tape, Columbia Record Club also offered an excellent selection of pre-recorded Reel to Reel tapes.

In the early 1970's came the return of Real Time (1:1) pre-recorded tapes. Ambisonic and Sonar offered 4 Track 7 1/2 ips recordings on Scotch 206 1.5 mill mastering tape on 7 inch reels for $19.99. 2 Track 15 ips recordings on 10 inch reels for $34.99. To give you an idea how expensive this was high speed duplicated 4 Track 7 1/2 ips Reel to Reels from Ampex and others were price $6.95 - $8.95. Also Reel-to-Real Recording Co. offered custom duplicated Reel to Reels only available direct from them also recorded at Real Time (1:1) but on 1.0 mill Agfa mastering tape.

In the 1974 Ampex quit making pre-recorded Reel to Reels, followed by Stereotape. Then Columbia withdrew Reel to Reels from the stores and they only offered them through Columbia House, including new releases. Barclay-Crocker a seller of pre-recorded Reel to Reels, stepped up and begin Releasing 4 Track 7 1/2 ips Reel to Reels duplicated at slow speed (4:1) Dolby B encoded. Later offering dbx encoding as well. Barclay-Crocker signed many major labels London, DGG, Philips,etc and minor labels such as Vanguard, MHS, Unicorn, etc.

In the late 1970's Sound Ideas started releasing Reel to Reel / LP combos so one could hear for themselves the superior sonic qualities offered by their masterings on Scotch 206 1.5 mill Reel to Reel tape. Like other audiophile Reel to Reels two versions were available are 2 Track / 4 Track 7 1/2 ips on 7 inch reel for $50.00 and 2 Track 15 ips on 15 inch reels for $75.00. They came in large presentation boxes the boxed Reel set in the bottom surrounded on all sides by foam and the LP lie on top. Sometime during the early 80's Sound Ideas disappeared without a trace, could be the high prices?

1986, two year after CD was unleashed upon the world, Barclay-Crocker went out of business citing low sales due to  improved cassette decks and the advent of CD as the reasons. Barclay-Crocker is back now selling Mens Fine Soaps and Toiletries on their website. Later that year Columbia also quit selling pre-recorded Reel to Reels through Columbia House. Pre-recorded Reel to Reels can still be purchased on eBay

Up until this year pre-recorded Reel to Reel was officially dead, however there is a new company preparing to release 2 Track 15 ips pre-recorded tapes.

2 Track 15 ips premium quality pre-recorded Reel to Reel tapes will be making a comeback!

Stereo Reel to Reel premiered as a 2 Track format, 4 Track was invented in an effort to bring down the selling price of pre-recorded Reel to Reels. 2 Track is the superior format for many reasons, including wider track width per channel and no reverse crosstalk from the other side as 2 Track tapes are one sided.

Preparations have begun and things are moving along nicely. They have pulled together a core group of participants and a few supportive associates. Working out the division of responsibilities, equipment, facility, tape source and marketing details. They are also been putting together a wish list of titles with which to make some inquiries into licensing from various labels.

"The coolest things to happen in the technical end of the project are that Mike Spitz has agreed to make his new tape
formulations available to us in pancakes once he's got production running, and that we have managed to pull together that major components of what may be the most righteous duplicating setup ever done. After discussing a lot of different equipment possibilities Paul and I have decided to pool some of our best machines for the project. Paul's Ampex MM1200 with MR70 electronics will play the 1" running masters, and we have come up with three ATR100s to use as 1/4" slaves, duping at 1:1. We also have a facility to get started in.

We've given ourselves a date by which to get this all together for an initial release, but I think it's a little premature to name it yet. The group involved just gets more and more enthusiastic as the project builds momentum, and I think we will end up with a pretty interesting catalog. " Doc B.

The care & maintenance of 50 year old RTR tapes
Most mid-to-late 1950's 2-track prerecorded reel-to-reels are in good to great shape and sound excellent! The acetate tapes of the fifties also purportedly held their high frequencies well but they are prone to breakage.

When it comes to these 50 year-old tape recordings, proper storage (temperature and humidity) play the most significant role in their state of preservation. Avoid fast-forwarding a tape that has been stored for years and to make sure that the machine you intend to use for playback has first been properly degaussed (heads, guides, etc.) before you thread up your tape.

If you must go forward or backward on such a tape, do not simply hit the STOP button on your machine (particularly if it is a ReVox). Always try pushing the opposite directional button alternatively (<< or >>) and gently rock the tape back and forth, until things slow down a bit enough to then hit STOP. Otherwise, you will probably wind up with another break in the reel.

Also: most importantly-add a generous bunch of leader at the front and at the back end so if the machines tries to snag a tape, you will sacrifice less precious leader! I would also replace each and every splice with modern splicing tape, whenever it is encountered.

Lastly, try to store your tapes in a vertical position.

My 10 Favorite 4 Track 7 1/2 ips Reel to Reels

1. GOULD: Latin American Symphonette
GOTTSCHALK: A Night in the Tropics, Grand Tarentelle (Dolby)
Abravanel, Utah Symphony
Vanguard / Barclay-Crocker VAN 0275
This is my favorite recording in any format for music, performance and especially sound quality. I have owned this since 1978 in nearly every format. I my opinion Barclay-Crocker's best sounding 4 Track 7 1/2 ips Reel to Reel tape! Barclay-Crocker's sound quality is superior the great Analogue Productions LP version as well as the Vanguard SACD! And that Vanguard SACD is my best sounding SACD. The Barclay-Crocker 4 Track 7 1/2 ips tape has a little more more tape hiss but it has more impact and sounds extremely realistic.

2. DeLUCA: African Safari / Alster (Real Time Duplication) Bel Canto ST-34
Really cool music that never made it to any other format and some of the most realistic sound I have heard.

3.STRAVINSKY: Le Sacre du Printemps / Ozawa (Dolby) Philips / Barclay-Crocker PHI 9500 781 - Uni-directional  recording meaning Barclay-Crocker only recorded on one side of the tape because of the huge dynamic range of this
recording otherwise there would be reverse crosstalk. Fabulous sound when Dolby decoded and the most exciting Rite of Spring ever.

4. FRANKIE LAINE: Hell Bent For Leather! - Columbia CQ 378
Frankie Laine sounds so great, he's in the room with me, the arrangements are perfect and so is his voice!

5. PETE FOUNTAIN: South Rampart Street Parade - Coral Stereotape ST74-57440
Don't laugh Pete Fountain's New Orleans style jazz is great. This is the best sounding and most interesting musically of the 4 I have.

6. HERRMANN, BERNARD: Battle of Neretva (Dolby)
Entr'acte / Barclay-Crocker ERS D 6501
An excellent Herrmann soundtrack and great B/C sonics

7. KHACHATURIAN: Gayne Ballet / Fistoulari, London Symphony Everest T 43052 - Excellent performance and sound, this is the complete ballet and it includes some really cool music not in the suite.

8. DELIBES: Coppelia / Bonynge, Suisse Romande (Double Play)
London ffst / Ampex K 80245
Another great ballet musically and sonically.

9. IAN & SYLVIA: Northern Journey
Vanguard Stereolab / Ampex VTC 1695
Excellent recorded folk music.

10. GRIEG: Peer Gynt / Fjeldstad, London Symphony
London ffst / Ampex LCL 80020
Superb musically and sonically

Audiophile Cassette

The first audiophile cassettes were from Advent, their Process CR/70 cassettes duplicated (4:1) on chromium dioxide tape from masters of Connoisseur Society, Unicorn and programs they recorded themselves. They were priced from $6.95 - $9.95 for double play cassettes.

Next came In Sync Labs recorded on Nakamichi 582 Cassette Decks using TDK SA Cassettes in Real Time (1:1) and they sold for $10.98 direct. Releases included their sister company Connoisseur Society, EMI Pathe Marconi and Vox

Then Mobile Fidelity's MFSL High Fidelity cassettes duplicated on JVC decks in Real Time (1:1) on BASF Chrome tape. They released over 100 titles including many famous Rock and Jazz classics plus excellent classical titles from Decca, EMI and Columbia. Their spin-off label Cafe also offered many excellent titles. And MFSL duplicated cassettes for Aesthetic Audio's series of Merlin Fidelity + recordings.

Then Nautilus SuperCassettes also duplicated Real Time (1:1) on MAXELL UD-XLII tape.

Followed by other Real Time duplicated cassettes from Sound Ideas, Direct-To-Tape, Audible Images, Crystal and others. By 1985 Audiophile cassettes pretty much died out, another causality of the CD revolution. Audiophile cassettes except for MFSL are extremely hard to find even on eBay.

My 10 Favorite Audiophile Cassettes
All recommended Cassettes use 70 microsecond equalization.

JOHN WILLIAMS: Star Wars & Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Zubin Mehta, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra
Real Time duplication (1:1) on BASF Chromium Dioxide tape
Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab MFSL C-008

BUDDY RICH & HIS BAND: Mr. Drums Live On King Street
Real Time duplication (1:1) on BASF Chromium Dioxide tape
Cafe C-732

RESPIGHI: Feste Romana, Pina di Roma
Lorin Maazel / Cleveland Symphony Orchestra
Real Time duplication (1:1) on BASF Chromium Dioxide tape
Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab MFSL C-507

GERSHWIN: Orchestral Works
Slatkin, Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra
Real Time duplication (1:1) on TDK SA tape
In Sync Labs / Vox

THE BEATLES: Magical Mystery Tour
Real Time duplication (1:1) on BASF Chromium Dioxide tape
Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab MFSL C-047
Note: From the German Master Tapes thus all songs are in real stereo unlike the UK and USA Masters with three songs in Electronically processed Stereo. The Mobile Fidelity LP version is from the UK masters thus making the cassette version the one to get.

Lincoln Mayorga and Distinguished Colleagues
Real Time duplication (1:1) on TDK Metal tape
Nakamichi Reference Recording / Sheffield Lab RA-4S10

VIVALDI: Flute Concerti
Christopher Taylor (Flute) Carl Pini, Philomusica of London
Real Time duplication (1:1) on BASF Chromium Dioxide tape
Aesthetic Audio / Merlin Fidelity + Direct to Stereo MFC-781

CAT STEVENS - Tea for the Tillerman
Real Time duplication (1:1) on BASF Chromium Dioxide tape
Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab MFSL C-035

EARL KLUGH: Finger Paintings
Real Time duplication (1:1) on BASF Chromium Dioxide tape
Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab MFSL C-025

THE MOODY BLUES: Days of Future Passed
Real Time duplication (1:1) on BASF Chromium Dioxide tape
Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab MFSL C-042

Super Audio Compact Discs

Save SACD Petition
Click above link to sign a petition to save SACD.

To: All Music Labels
We the undersigned are passionate about the audio format SACD. It is simply the best audio technology to hit consumers in ages. We feel that a rededication to the format by all labels, especially Sony is warranted.

Many listeners think of SACD as a multi-channel version of CD. Nothing could be further from the truth as multi-channel is just another application. SACD was originally a 2-channel high resolution format envisioned to replace both the LP and CD. Offering the superior sound quality, warmth and ambiance of analog sound with the precision and convenience of Digital. It was believed that unhappy CD listeners who missed analog sound but stayed with CD for the convenience and LP listeners who wanted to keep the superior resolution of analog but in a more convenient form would flock to SACD. The switch to SACD has been steady but very slow.

SACD is the highest resolution Digital format yet with a sampling frequency of 2,822,400Hz. With more than 2.8 million samples every second SACD can more accurately paint a picture of the audio waveform with transit response nearly as fast as the best analog. Resolution and micro dynamics Digital has never had before with ambiance and warmth of a live performance.

2-channel SACD premiered in 1999 and was a 2-channel only format for two years. And then SACD introduced fully loaded SACDs:
1) High resolution 2-channel DSD mix
2) High resolution Multi-Channel DSD mix
3) a CD layer for backwards compatibility

Unlike DVD-Audio SACD always has a 2-channel high resolution DSD mix except for a few SACDs released in Europe, see below for list of titles. Please Contact Us us if you find a SACD without a high resolution 2-channel mix and it will be added to our SACD dishonor roll.

From Sony’s first brochure "Super Audio Compact Disc, Eliciting the full Performance of Music. Super Audio Compact Disc is the realization of an audiophile’s dream come true: all the precision of digital reproduction combined with all the warmth and ambiance of analog sound. The secret is Direct Stream Digital™ encoding. It’s one bit, 2.8224 MHz (64 fs ) sampling produces nothing less than a quantum leap in music resolution."

I believe SACD has come very close to analog’s superior sonic qualities. But LPs are still slightly more realistic and lovely sounding and won my heart in the end. SACDs are move convenient though.

My 10 Favorite Classical SACDs

1. GOTTSCHALK: Night In the Tropics, Grand Tarentelle / GOULD: Latin American Symphonette - Abravanel, Utah Symphony [Analog] Vanguard Classics VSD 500 - This is my favorite recording in any format for music, performance and especially sound quality. I have owned this since 1978 in nearly every format. This is very close in sound quality to the Analogue Productions LP version, the Barclay-Crocker 4 Track 7 1/2 ips tape has a little more impact. Still my absolute best sounding SACD!

2. VIRGIL THOMSON: Plow That Broke The Plains; The River [Analog] - Stokowski, Symphony of the Air - Vanguard
Classics VSD 501 - My second favorite recording of all time, same superb sonics as the Gottschalk listed above.

3. VILLA-LOBOS: The Little Train of the Caipira / ANTILL: Corroboree / GINASTERA: Estancia and Panambi Suites [Analog] - Goossens, London Symphony Orchestra Everest / Vanguard VSD 512 - The Antill Corroboree is one of my very favorite recordings of all time and every single work on this SACD I don't believe has every had a better performance.

4. DUKAS: Sorcerer's Apprentice; Le Péri; Symphony [DSD] - Lopez-Cobos, Cincinnati Symphony - Telarc CD-80515-SA - most exciting Sorcerer's Apprentice ever and this SACD introduced me to other beautiful works by Dukas.

5. MUSSORGSKY: Pictures At An Exhibition and other Russian Fireworks - Reiner, Chicago Symphony Orchestra [Analog] RCA Living Stereo 61394-2 - Fantastic this is the Pictures to own!

6. GRIEG: In Autumn; Piano Concerto; Symphony in c [DSD] BIS SACD-1191 - The entires series of Greig Orchestral works on BIS are great, they sound every bit as good as analog. Pure DSD.

7. DVORÁK: Symphony No. 9 "New World" / MARTINÙ: Symphony 2 - Paavo Jarvi, Cincinnati Symphony [DSD] Telarc SACD-60616 - Of the 25 or so New World symphonies I've heard this is the best in performance and sonics. It blows away my Reel to Reel or Kertesz on London!

8. BARTOK: Concerto for Orchestra' Music for Strings, Percussion and Celestra; Hungarian Sketches [Analog] - Reiner, Chicago Symphony - RCA Living Stereo 61390-2 - Best performances I have ever heard of any of these works.

9. RIMSKY-KORSAKOV: Scheherazade - Reiner [Analog] RCA Living Stereo 66377-2 - The Scheherazade to end all

10. SIBELIUS: Symphony No. 2 / TUBIN: Symphony No 5 [DSD] Paavo Jarvi, Cincinnati Symphony [DSD] Telarc SACD-60585 - Extremely exciting performances in state of the art sound!

My 10 Favorite Non-Classical SACDs

1. JENNIFER WARNES: The Well [Analog] - Cisco Music SCD 2034 - Mastered by Bernie Grudman is musically and sonically my favorite SACD.

2. JOE WEED: The Vultures Top Music SACD 1028.2 - The coolest surfing bluegrass music ever, great sound a lots of fun!

3. DAVID ELIAS: The Window [DSD] Sketti Sandwitch Prod. SSP 316 - Extremely realistic and timbre is spot on, great acoustic music too.

4. NANCY BRYAN: Neon Angel [Analog] Analogue Productions APO2013SA - beautiful female vocals.

5. RICHARD & LINDA THOMPSON: Shoot Out The Lights - Hannibal / Rykodisc HNCD 1470 - excellent acoustic music.

6. CLAIR MARLO: Let It Go [Analog] Cisco Music SCD 2033 - from Sheffield Lab superb sound and this lady can sing, please more Sheffield Lab recordings Cisco.

7. WAYNE HORVITZ: Sweeter Than The Day [Analog] Songlines SGL SA1536-5 - Sweet.

8. KODO: Mondo Head [DSD] Red Ink WS 56111 - Killer percussion.

9. STEVE DAVIS PROJECT: Quality of Silence [DSD] dmp Records SACD-04 - superb realism and excellent jazz.

10. JERRY GOLDSMITH, : Film Music [DSD] Telarc SACD-60433
All of Goldsmiths best Film Music in "You are There" realistic sonics!

Survey of SACD record labels

This Survey of SACD record labels is an guide to help determine which SACDs are worthy to one's library from a sonic point of view. It's a survey of the overall sound quality of noteworthy record labels producing SACDs whose recordings I have sampled as of 04/10/06.

2L – This small label from Norway has produced some sonically superb SACDs.
Albany Records – Superb recordings and sound quality
Alia Vox – Excellent early music recordings, very smooth sound
Alpha – Excellent early music recordings, very smooth sound
Analogue Productions – Original Blues recordings and jazz re-issues of the highest quality. Sonically among the very best.
Arts Music – Excellent sound and many definitive performances
Audio Fidelity – SOTA re-masters, excellent sound
AudioQuest Music – Either from 30ips tubed analog or DSD masters, some of the most realistic non-classical music on SACD.
Audite – Very good sound quality
BIS – Their DSD recordings are among the very best
Brilliant Classics – An excellent budget label, very good sound quality
Capriccio – Very good to excellent sound quality
Caro Mitis – Excellent sound quality
CCn'C Records - Excellent sound quality
Chandos – Their DSD masters sound superb, their 24 Bit 96kHz masters sound very good to excellent
Challenge – Sonically very good
Channel Classics – Sonically very good to excellent
Chesky – Excellent sound quality
Cisco Music – Excellent re-issues that never sounded better
Concord Records – Good to very good sound quality
Dacapo – Excellent Sound quality
Decca – Very good to excellent sound quality
Delos – Superb sound quality
Deutsche Grammophon - Very good to excellent sound quality
Everest – Superb sounding reference quality analog tubed recordings
Exton / Octavia – Some of the best sounding DSD recordings on SACD
Fidelio – Excellent sound quality
Foné – Very good to excellent sound quality
Groove Note – SOTA new original jazz recordings from audiophile quality analogue masters.
Hannibal – Very good to excellent sound quality
Harmonia Mundi - Very good to excellent sound quality
HighNote Records – Very good sound quality
Hungaroton Classic – Excellent sound quality
Hyperion - Excellent sound quality
Kimber Kable - Excellent sound quality
Koch Records – Very good sound quality
Linn Records - Excellent sound quality
LSO Live – These are DSD recordings but they are of very poor quality sonically. Too closely mic’ed in a hall that is too dry resulting string tone is very strident and uncomfortable to listen to.
Lost Highway - Very good sound quality
ma Recordings - Very good to excellent sound quality
MDG - Excellent sound quality
Membran – Poor to good sound quality. Not as bad sounding as a CD but rather strident highs and over-mic’ed. They are cheap, about $5.00 if ordered from jpc in Germany.
Mercury Living Presence – Superb SOTA sonics, the best these wonderful recordings have ever sounded. A sonic treat!
Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab – Excellent SOTA re-masters, especially the Vox recordings
Naxos – Good to very good sound quality
NorthWest Classics - Very good sound quality
Oehms Classics - Very good to excellent sound quality
Ondine - Very good to excellent sound quality
Opus 3 - Excellent sound quality
PentaTone – SOTA sonics! Among the best sounding new DSD masters on SACD! And their re-issue series of Philips analog master tapes of the 1970’s is excellent as well.
Philips - Poor to excellent sound quality
Proprius - Very good to excellent sound quality
RCA Living Stereo – Excellent re-masters from the Living Stereo age, wonderful, warm and full sounding. Only the Classic records 200 Gram LPs surpass the sound quality of these sonic wonders and only by a small amount!
RCA Victor Red Seal – Very good sound quality.
Red Rose Music - Excellent sound quality
Rounder Records - Excellent sound quality
San Francisco Symphony - Excellent sound quality
Simax Classics - Very good to excellent sound quality
Sonoma Records - Excellent sound quality
Sony Classical - Good to excellent sound quality
Tacet – Superb SOTA sound especially their "Analog Tube" series of recordings.
Telarc – Among the very best sounding PURE DSD recordings on SACD, I have more recordings on this label than any other as they have a lot of very talented performers and the realism the engineers achieve is amazing!
Top Music International - Very good to excellent sound quality
Vanguard – Extremely excellent analog recordings from the 1960’s and 1970’s!
Varèse Sarabande - Good to excellent sound quality
Vertigo – Very good sound quality
Verve - Very good to excellent sound quality
Water Lily Acoustics - Poor to excellent sound quality

SACD Quality issues

Spindle cracks
Many SACDs pressed by Crest USA during its first two years of operation and Viva Magnetics to the current date have developed cracks in the spindle area. The cracks stop at the ridge between the center spindle and the recorded area of the SACD. They often start off with 2 or 3 cracks and as the SACD is played the cracks keep increasing. I don’t have a report yet of the cracks spreading to the recorded area but the long term playability of such effected discs are in question. Crest changed their formula and this is supposed to have corrected the problem. I have reports from Hong Kong that the spindle cracks are still an ongoing problem at Viva Magnetics. No spindle cracks have been reported on SACDs manufactured at Sony or Sonopress.

The most famous issue is the cracking of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon which was so bad that EMI had the SACDs for the USA pressed in Japan and recalled the Crest pressed SACDs. I have the Japan pressed for USA Dark Side of the Moon SACD.

Also two very popular audiophile titles on Cisco Music (Jennifer Warnes: The Well & Claire Marlo: Let It Go) which were also manufactured by Crest had spindle cracking problems. I have both titles purchased two years ago with no spindle cracks, so this would confirm Crest new formula for SACDs does not have the spindle-cracking problem.

Laser Rot
I have a single report of laser rot along the outer edges. Effected SACDs include Norah Joans: Come Away with Me and Hong Kong Universal Music's Cantonese/Mandarin SACDs. Has this happened to anyone else?

Clouding of discs with disc cleaners
These were the early Sonopress manufactured SACDs manufactured up until 2001, which you are only likely to find used. If you have one of these early Sonopress SACDs do not use liquid cleaners on it.

Undisclosed resolution of Master Tapes
There is no required uniform system for disclosing what type of master tape was used or it’s resolution. The most infamous case is Norah Jones: Come Away with Me where the 2 channel high resolution layer is from the 16 Bit 44.1kHz PCM duplication master used for CD instead of either the available Analog Master tape recorded at the same time or a new mix of the high resolution Digital Master tape.

TOC reading errors
Usually requires realignment, lens replacement or sled motor replacement. Why does this effect SACD players more than other types of players? And why does it mostly effect Hybrid SACD/CD discs?

My theory is a combination of two factors:
1) The code to determine which layer to play (SACD or CD)
2) The five levels of copy protection in the TOC area.

As SACD players come slightly out of adjustment, like all disc players do with age. The TOC becomes harder to read so the player refuses to play Hybrid SACD/CD discs and will display the players code for "dirty discs". Usually single layer SACDs and single layer CDs will play fine. Hopefully further improvement in SACD player optics will curtail this problem.

SACD dishonor roll – No 2 channel stereo

The following SACDs are Multi-channel only. – They have NO high resolution 2 Channel Stereo program. Thus if you have a 2 channel SACD player you cannot play the high resolution layer, only the CD layer. It is best to avoid these  SACDs!

This list made from Internet searches if you see any inaccuracies or you know of others please let us know using our  contact form . I have not purchased any of these SACDs to actually confirm the absence of a 2 channel high resolution layer. However if I do purchase one I intend to return it defective because in my opinion they are as they are
missing the 2 channel high resolution program, and I would advise all of my readers to do likewise.

Marcel Dupré: Le Chemin de la Croix Op. 29, Gregorian Chants - Friedhelm Flamme (organ) Gregorianik-Schola MarienmünsterHans Hermann Jansen - CPO 777128

Wagner: Famous Overtures and Orchestral Works
Berliner Philharmoniker, Wiener Philharmoniker, Karl Böhm, Karajan, Kubelik - Deutsche Grammophon Eloquence 476 734-9

Verdi: Requiem
Sharon Sweet, Florence Quivar, Vinson Cole, Simon Estes, Ernst-Senff-Chor, Berliner Philharmoniker, Carlo Maria Giulini - Deutsche Grammophon Eloquence 476 735-1 (2 discs)

Carl Orff: Carmina Burana
Barbara Bonney, Frank Lopardo, Anthony Michaels-Moore, Arnold Schoenberg Chor, Wiener Sängerknaben, Wiener Philharmoniker, André Previn - Deutsche Grammophon Eloquence 476 736-7

Beethoven: Symphony No. 9, "Ode an die Freude"
Gwyneth Jones, Hanna Schwarz, René Kollo, Kurt Moll, Wiener Philharmoniker, Bernstein - Deutsche Grammophon Eloquence 476 736-8

Mozart: Clarinet Concerto, Piano Concerto No. 21
Alfred Prinz, Friedrich Gulda, Wiener Philharmoniker, Claudio Abbado, Karl Böhm - Deutsche Grammophon Eloquence 476 736-9

Dvorak: Symphony No. 9 "From the New World", Smetana: The Moldau
The Cleveland Orchestra, Christoph von Dohnányi - Decca Eloquence 476 7826

Grieg: Peer Gynt Suite Nos. 1 & 2, Sigurd Jorsalfar Suite Op. 56, Sibelius: Karelia Suite, Finlandia, The Swan of Tuonela Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra - Neeme Järvi - Deutsche Grammophon Eloquence 476 7853

Handel: Music for the Royal Fireworks, Water Music Suites 1-3
Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Sir Neville Marriner - Philips Eloquence 476 7859

Ravel: Bolero, La Valse, Rhapsodie espagnole, Bizet: Carmen Suites
Orchestre de Paris - Semyon Bychkov - Decca Eloquence 476 7913

Vivaldi: The Four Seasons, Violin Concertos "La tempesta di mare", "Il piacere"
Federico Agostini, I Musici - Philips Eloquence 476 7917

B&W Bowers & Wilkins presents: Very Audiophile New Recordings.
Stockfisch Records / Silkroad Music SFR.B&W01SACD

Sea Change, The Choral Music of Richard Rodney Bennett - John Rutter, The Cambridge Singers
Collegium CSACD 901

Ray Charles: Live at the Olympia 2000
XIII Bis Records 640747 SACD

Tomorrow's Jazz Classics 2005
Nagel Heyer CD 1022

SACD Reviews

The SACD's 2 channel high resolution layer is played on a tubed Xandak SCD-2 SACD player.

These will be the last of my 2 channel SACD reviews as I will be concentrating on LP, Reel to Reel and Audiophile cassette as I prefer analog in it's pure form. SACD is the most analog sounding digital format out there and I was seduced by it's convenience.

While most websites only review SACDs multi-channel layer, offers posters the option of reviewing the 2 channel high resolution and/or the multi-channel program and there are more and more 2 channel SACDs reviews there. I recommend as a great guide to not only worthy SACDs but new releases and news.

Respighi: "Belfagor" Overture: Orchestral Suite: "Belkis, Queen of Sheba"
Four Symphonic Impressions "Church Windows"
Radio Filharmonisch Orkest Holland
Vladimir Ashkenazy (conductor)

2 Channel Stereo / Multichannel Hybrid SACD
DSD Recording
Exton / Octavia OVCL-00216

Another superbly recorded DSD Exton SACD. Why aren’t their sonic wonders available outside of Japan?

I have a preference for recordings made in halls however this one was made in the Studio of the Holland Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and it is one of the most realistic recordings I’ve ever heard.

The SACD starts off with a Respighi work I’ve not heard before: The "Belfagor" Overture and a very exciting piece it is. Next up is one of my favorite Respighi pieces "Belkis, Queen of Sheba" and the 3rd movement "War Dance" offers maximum orgasmic goose bumps! Belkis is a thrill ride from beginning to end.

The Holy Grail of orchestral music, the mighty "Church Windows" has never had a better performance or better sound, surpassing even the highly regarded Keith Clark version on Reference Recordings 45-RPM LP. Wait until you hear the gong at the end of "St. Michael Archangel", it is huge and the decay is very long.

The energy level of this SACD is thunderous and it defines the term "power music". The bass is deep, full and warm. The organ is huge and powerful. The big bass drum packs a wallop you can feel in the pit of your stomach, a rare sensation outside of the concert hall. The midrange is melodically beautiful and the highs are airy with a wonderful touch of delicacy. This is Respighi on adrenaline, and this will now be the first SACD I pull out when someone asks me, what’s so special about SACD?

La Folia de la Spagna
Atrium Musicae de Madrid
Gregorio Paniagua (director)
2 Channel Stereo Hybrid SACD
Analog Master Tape
Harmonia Mundi HMC801050

La Folia de Spagna is one of my best sounding SACDs. It is not only a thrilling experience, best of all it's high quality music making with very realistic sonics.

The music is very realistic and fun! These are spanish Folia's written from 1500 - 1905. The 1905 piece is a Spanish Folia by Carl Nielsen played on ancient instruments with very realistic and super cool sound effects, like a HUGH land rover, an early 20's automobile driving around the block beeping its very beautiful sounding horn. This car will map how wide and deep your soundstage is.

If you love early music, this is the absolute best early music disc of all time. Even if you don't think you like early music you will love this one, I have never meet a human being who didn't love this recording on first listen.

La Folia de Spagna was recorded 1982 in pure analog, give it a spin.

Die Röhre, The Tube
Stuttgarter Kammerorchester
Tacet S74
Stereo Hybrid SACD from Analogue master tape

Luigi Boccherini: La Musica notturna delle strade di Madrid
Giovanni Battista Sammartini: Sinfonia F-Dur JC35
Charles Avison: Concerto XII composed by Sig. Domenico Scarlatti
Georg Friedrich Handel: Concerto grosso Op.6, Nr.2 F-Dur
Antonia Vivaldi: Concerto alla Rustica G-Dur
Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber: Battalia a 10
Arcangelo Corelli: Concerto grosso Op.6 Nr.7

The Tube is a collection of excellently played baroque music using Tubes though out the entire recording process. On the back of the SACD it says "No conductor - no semiconductor - I beg your pardon." The players on this SACD are the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra and they have no conductor. The booklet explains how semiconductors were avoided in making this SACD. From the 2 Neumann M49 valve microphones, the tubed mixer, to the restored tubed Telefunken M5 2 channel Stereo Reel to Reel, to the editing by hand up to the DSD converter which does use semiconductors. However the booklet says "... in the course of being converted the signal does not pass through any transistors, but rather adjoins them and is measured: The transistors cannot 'pass on' any of their properties to its sound. So we can rightly claim that for the music recorded here no transistor effected the sound in any way all at.

This 2 channel SACD has the most gorgeous sounding strings I have ever heard in any format, the sound and music are utterly beautiful. This is not a sampler but complete works by the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra. I especially love the first selection "La Musica Notturna della strade di Madrid" by Boccherini it is not only beautiful but exciting too, a major discovery for me. Also other gems by Sammartini, Avison, Scarlatti, Handel, Vivaldi, Biber and Corelli.

I highly recommend this 2 channel SACD to one and all!

Rachmaninov: Complete Symphonies & Orchestral Works
Radio Filharmonisch Orkest Holland
Edo de Waart (conductor)
Exton OVCL-00156 (4 discs)
2 Channel Stereo / Multichannel Hybrid SACD
DSD Recording

Disc 1:
Symphony No. 1 in D minor, Op. 13
Caprice bohemien, Op. 12
Disc 2:
Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op. 27
Youth Symphony
Disc 3:
Symphony No. 3 in A minor, Op. 44
The Isle of the Dead, Op. 29
Scherzo in D minor
Disc 4:
Symphonic Dances, Op. 45
The Rock, Op. 7
Symphonic Poem "Prince Rostislav"

This is a DSD recording and has a new symbol on the case that says: DSD Recording maybe the industry will pick up on this. It is beautifully packaged and box, case and spine are in English with the removable paper Japanese outer strip. Booklet is in Japanese and English, though the notes on the individual pieces are in Japanese only. The notes on de Waart and the Radio Filharmoniusch Orkest Holland are in both Japanese and English.

On first listening I thought many of the tempo's were too slow. On the second playing I noticed that the Symphony No. 1 doesn't have the fire of the Leonard Slatkin version but it is more romantic and overall better performance.

The Third Symphony is the one that actually sounds slow in places especially the climax, both Boult, LSO (RCA Living Stereo) and Zinman (Telarc) climaxes are twice as fast. I don't have the score so I don't know who is correct.

However the Symphonic Dances is superb and really exciting and beats all of my previous favorites; Johannas, Dallas on Athena / Vox LP, de Waart's earlier version on Phillips LP, and Oui on Reference Recordings HDCD. Isle of the Dead is also great beating out my Reiner Living Stereo LP.

This is the complete symphonies but I know of one Orchestra work not included: Vocalise.

These are excellent sounding SACDs with good inner detail but it does sound closely mic'ed with more than a few microphones. So it doesn't sound as real as the SACDs from Telarc, Delos, BIS and others. The music is superb and this is most of Rachmaninov's Orchestra output.

Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 1-15
Marina Shaguch
Arutjun Kotchinian
Prague Philharmonich Chorus
Gürzenich-Orchester Köln
Dmitrij Kitajenko (conductor)
Capriccio 71 029 (12 discs)
2 Channel Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid SACDs

This set of Shostakovich’s Complete Symphonies by Dmitrij Kitajenko conducting the Gürzenich-Orchester Köln is overall the best Shostakovich musically and sonically I have ever heard. Bravo Capriccio!

I have had multiple versions in many formats of Symphonies: 1,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14 and 15. This is my introduction to Symphonies 2, 3 and 4. Kitajenko's Symphony No. 4 is sonically and musically superb; it may very well end up being my favorite Shostakovich Symphony. I was also surprised by home much I loved Symphony No. 14, as I was never taken by it before, this one is really enjoyable.

Sonics vary ranging from excellent to magnificent and the dynamic range is huge, timbre is accurate and soundstaging is excellent. Some are live recordings and others are studio recordings. Some sound closely mic'ed while others more distant. The least sounding of the lot was Symphony No. 10 which sounds somewhat strained on climaxes, also the performance is not on par the others. The engineering is near perfect on the others as is the conducting. Mr. Kitayenko's tempos are slower on some symphonies than some other conductors however the more I hear his versions, the others sound rushed. This is Shostakovich done right!

Every symphony in this set in performance beats all other versions I've heard with the exception of Symphony No. 10, although it is an excellent performance as well. This is the best Shostakovich complete symphony cycle sonically and musically. Shostakovich is one of my favorite composers so this being on SACD is a total blessing for me.

I highly recommend this set!

Dvorak: Symphony No. 9 in E minor Op. 95 "New World"
Martinu: Symphony No. 2
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
Paavo Jarvi (conductor)
2 channel Stereo / Multichannel Hybrid SACD
Pure DSD recording
Telarc SACD-60616

This is my favorite performance of the Dvorak's Ninth so far, it beats the Ivan Fischer Philips DSD SACD, the George Szell SACD, the Kertesz London Reel to Reel and the Slatkin Telarc LP.

This is the most exciting performance of the New World I have ever heard. Paavo Jarvi's sense of timing and rhythm is perfect. To borrow a Jazz term it is "in the groove", every instrumental line is perfectly clear and the sense of ensemble amazing. An extremely beautiful and exciting New World. And like all other Paavo Jarvi performances I've heard this on is fun, exciting and full of the rhythm.

The Martinu: Symphony No. 2 is new to me and very enjoyable and of course the sound is superb as well. I cannot comment on the performance except to say after hearing this I have ordered the Capriccio Martinu SACD. Martinu is a wonderful discovery for me.

Overall this wonderful SACD is warm, ambient and extremely realistic. I extremely highly recommend it. WOW!

Gershwin: An American in Paris
Russo: Street Music, Three Pieces for Blues Band and Orchestra
Corky Siegel
Siegel-Schwall Band
San Francisco Symphony Orchestra
Seiji Ozawa (conductor)
2 Channel Stereo Hybrid SACD
Analog Master
Deutsche Grammophon UCGG-7091

Russo’s Three Pieces for Blues Band & Orchestra on SACD as this is my favorite work of all time having owned it since it first appeared on LP in 1973! Then on 8 Track Cartridge, 4 Track 7 ½ ips Reel to Reel tape, once again on LP with a better turntable, on CD and now on SACD. This recording has never been out of my collection over the last 32 years.

This is by far the best sounding version of this recording ever! The closest was the 4 Track 7 ½ ips Reel to Reel but it didn’t include "Street Music" I had no idea the master tape was this good, this totally smokes all my previous versions! The realism is uncanny, especially considering that it is multi-mic'ed.

Seiji Ozawa commissioned William Russo to write the "Three Pieces for Blues Band and Orchestra" after hearing the Seigel-Schwall Band in a Berlin bar while on tour with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He chose William Russo based on the score of Russo’s Symphony No. 2 "The Titans" which still has never been recorded, I for one would buy it in an instant!

The Three pieces for Blues Band and Orchestra is a very exciting piece combining the Seigel-Schwall blues band with full symphony orchestra forces. For me the forces mesh perfectly and the climaxes offer full body goose bumps.

The Street Music was a follow-up Concerto for Harmonica and Orchestra and is with only Corky Seigel, again some excellent playing and a great "blues" concerto.

The Gershwin American In Paris is an excellent performance though not among the very best.

I highly recommend this SACD for both the music and the sound quality.

Jennifer Higdon
City Scape, Concerto for Orchestra
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
Robert Spano (conductor)
2 Channel Stereo / Multichannel Hybrid SACD
Pure DSD recording
Telarc SACD-60620

Jennifer Higdon is a major discovery and I will be looking for more of her music in the future. This SACD was purchased after hearing her "Blue Cathedral" which is the ending piece on Telarc's "Rainbow Body" SACD.

I would say Higdon's music is modern-impressionist-romantic as she has elements of all three, her music is very original, melodic, hauntingly beautiful and powerful. In both "Concerto for Orchestra" and "City Scape" she uses percussion to excellent effect much like Hovhaness does, however I hear NO influence of Hovhaness or any other composer she is very much an original. Her music is expertly orchestrated and crafted has a large scale grandioseness about it and I believe will stand the test of time quite well.

This SACD offers the usually Telarc state of the art realistic sonics and is totally breathtaking

Bizet: Carmen - Suites Nos. 1 & 2
Grieg: Peer Gynt - Suites, Op. 55.46
Rimsky-Korsakov: Russian Easter Overture Op. 36
Satie: Gymnopedie Nos. 1 & 3,
Borodin: In the Steppes of Central Asia
Nocturne for String Orchestra (from Quartet No. 2)
Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra
Leonard Slatkin (conductor)
2 Channel Stereo Hybrid SACD
50kHz Soundstream PCM recording
Telarc SACD-60655

The Telarc Soundstream SACDs continue to totally amaze me. They are 50kHz and only 16 Bit but sonically outperform most high resolution PCM recordings in my collection and even some pure DSD SACDs! They are amazing. Could it be the "distant" 3-microphone technique? The Soundstream Digital recorder? Could it be the genius of engineer Jack Renner? I read an interview in the Absolute Sound in the early 1980's with Jack Renner about the big bass drum, the deep low frequecnces of the basses and cellos and the lack of stringency in his Telarc LPs. Jack said he moved the microphones further back than normal as bass frequency waveforms are "longer" and need more space to bloom and the further back the deeper the bass. Moving the microphones back also lessened early digital's problem with shrill strings. Also he went with Frederick Fennell and hit all the music and pawn shops in Cleveland looking for a bass drum with the right "thud". It is important to note that Telarc uses NO EQ and no artificial processing we get what the microphones heard and nothing more or less.

So on to the review of the Bizet/Grieg Telarc SACD. The basses and cellos have that deep warm sound that I only hear when I go see a live orchestra concert in a concert hall with velvet seats and lots of wood. And the drum whacks have the attack of the real thing, actually sound pressure pushing against your gut just like when a bass drum is pounded live and the bass is so deep it rattled the walls. Oh, this is a wonderful SACD and makes me wonder if Telarc has moved their microphones in closer as digital has improved. I would love to hear a Telarc DSD made with same microphone techniques as the old Soundstream ones!

The music is superb and includes the Bizet: Carmen Suite and Grieg: Peer Gynt from the original release along with five other works and the SACD times out at 79:18. Those other works are Rimsky-Korsakov's Russian Easter Overture, Satie's Gymnopédies No. 1 and 3, Borodin’s In the Steppes of Central Asia and Nocturne for String Orchestra. The performances of all are first rate and I recommend this SACD extremely highly.

César Franck: Symphony in D minor
Igor Stravinsky: Pétrouchka (1911 score)
Chicago Symphony Orchestra (Franck)
Boston Symphony Orchestra (Stravinsky)
Pierre Monteux (conductor)
2 channel Stereo / 3 channel Stereo Hybrid SACD
Analog master tape
RCA Living Stereo 82876.67897

First let me say I am a huge fan of RCA Living Stereo recordings. I've owned them on RCA 7 1/2ips Reel to Reel tapes, on the later Magtec / Stereotape 7 1/2 ips Reel to Reel tapes, on RCA Shaded Dog LPs, MFSL LPs, Chesky LPs and Classic Records 180 Gram and 200 Gram LPs. The RCA Living Stereo recordings released so far on SACD sound fantastic, not quite the equal of the Classic Records LPs but very very close!  On my system the Frank sounds like a Dynagroove recording! This is the first time I have owned this recording and it is a later recording at the period I trace RCA's downfall.

The Franck Symphony has a severe Dynagroove-like Compression/Distortion on climaxes with lower overload distortion though-out that sounds like it was recorded TOO HOT to avoid tape hiss. The Franck is an excellent performance. It is coupled with Stravinsky's Petrouchka which sounds superb, NO distortion, wide dynamic range and beautiful string tone like most of my other Living Stereo's. To my ears the Franck does not sound like a RCA Living Stereo but a later RCA Dynagroove Red Seal.

I whole-heartily recommend the entire RCA Living Stereo SACD collection except for this one. Why was this released?

Howard Hanson comparison Mercury Living Presence vs. Telarc

Symphony No. 1 "Nordic", Symphony No. 2 "Romantic", Song of Democracy
Eastman School of Music Chorus
Eastman-Rochester Orchestra
Howard Hanson (conductor)
2 channel Stereo / 3 channel stereo Hybrid SACD
Analog Master tape
Mercury Living Presence 475 618-1

Howard Hanson: Fanfare for the Signal Corps, Suite from Merry Mount,
Bold Island Suite, Symphony No. 2 Op. 30 "Romantic"
Cincinnati Pops Orchestra
Erich Kunzel (conductor)
2 channel Stereo / Multichannel Hybrid SACD
Pure DSD recording
Telarc SACD-60649

This as a review comparing the Telarc and the Mercury Living Presense Howard Hanson SACDs. All the Howard Hanson released on SACD so far, I hope that much more Hanson is released, both Hanson the composer and Hanson the conductor.

Let me state I like both of these SACDs but for different reasons.

So let’s start with the one work that is common to both SACDs: The Symphony No. 2 "Romantic" Hanson’s MLP version is vastly superior to the Kunzel Telarc not only in performance but in sonics. The warm deep bass of the Paavo Jarvi Dvorak SACD is not here, the Telarc sound is very good but the Mercury fuller deeper bass with more impact and is more exciting. Plus the Hanson’s is a better conductor of his own works than Erich Kunzel is.

The other works on the Mercury Living Presence SACD is the First Symphony which is a very exciting and wonderful piece and the Song for Democracy which has vocals and they are very well blended with the orchestra with lots of sparkling high percussion and tops the disc of nicely. A fantastic sounding Mercury and highly recommended.

I am sorry to say the sound on the Telarc Howard Hanson SACD is pale by comparison. The music here is less exciting, less rhythmic and more "easy listening". This is hard for me to say as I usually love Erich Kunzel’s recordings but this is his first try at more mainstream works and I believe his first ever recording of a symphony. The SACD starts of with a 1 minute fanfare written during World War II. Next follows the Merry Mount Suite which is one of my favorite Howard Hanson compositions and the Maypole dances get a decent performance, however I have heard
other conductors stress the rhythms better. The Bold Island Suite is a world premier recording and it is a nice sounding piece. Even though this is not one of Telarc’s better sounding recordings and the performances by Kunzel a little reserved it offers several unrecorded works of Howard Hanson and I recommend it with reservations.

From the booklet explains Kunzel’s interest in Howard Hanson’s music:

"My home on Swan’s Island, Maine faces west. I can see Bold Island from our living room, and depending on the time of year, the sunsets right over Hanson’s Island. We frequently sail by the Island and see Howard Hanson’s rustic home nestled in the inviting cove …"
Erich Kunzel

Scary Music
Cincinnati Pops Orchestra
Erich Kunzel (conductor)
2 channel Stereo / Multichannel Hybrid SACD
Pure DSD recording
Telarc SACD-60580

1. The Legend Lives/Sleepy Hollow
2. This Is Halloween
3. Beetlejuice
4. The Haunted Fun House
5. The Addams Family
6. Tubular Bells
7. Ghostbusters
8. The Munsters
9. They've Landed!/Martian Hop
10. Tales from the Crypt
11. Monster Mash
12. The Shining
13. Thriller
14. The Carousel
15. Dark Shadows
16. Beware of the Blob
17. Attack of the Killer Tomatoes/Tomato Rampage

"Scary Music" it's tons of fun, has really cool sound effects and killer versions scary movies and TV themes.

What's not to LOVE? From the Addams Family Theme with really neat finger snaps to the Attack of the Killer tomatoes with splashing tomatoes. Even the 2:56 version of Tubular Bells is way better than Mike Oldfield's complete version and shortened it sounds like a much better piece. Plus themes from Beatlejuice, Ghostbusters, The Munsters and Tales from the Cyrpt, etc. are really great. Oh and don't forget the Monster Mash!

Scary Music offers great arrangements of our favorite horror Movies and TV shows with extremely realistic sound and superb special effects by Michael "Blood" Bishop.

I extremely highly recommend this SACD for the music, performance and the sound quality!

Hybrid SACD/CD Survey Results

I have closed the SACD survey with only 61 results. This survey is in no way scientific, as the sample is too small. However I wish to share the results of the survey. It looks like the problems playing SACD/CD Hybrids is not as widespread as one would believe reading posts of machine owner’s whose players have quite playing hybrids.

Of the 61 players, only 12 had trouble playing SACD hybrids, and 3 had trouble playing CDs, none had trouble playing DVD-Videos. The repairs included the spindle motor, drive and optical block. Two were replacements instead of repair. And three SACD players had to be repaired more than once.

Also I was really surprised to find out a lot of SACD owners still play a lot of Redbook CDs!  Here are the percentage of play by format:

Plays hybrid SACD/CDs: 47%
Plays single layer SACDs: 9%
Plays CDs: 37%
Plays DVDs: 7%

SACD Player

Number of

trouble playing
SACD Hybrids

playing CDs

Ayre C-5xe


dCS Verdi



dCS Verdi/Purcell/Elgar Plus



Denon DVD-2900




Integra DPS-8.3


Lexicon RT-10


Lindemann 820 (Sony Transport)


Marantz DV8300


Marantz SA 15s1


Marantz SA 8260



Marantz SA-14


Musical Fidelity Trivista


Onkyo SP-800


Philips 963SA



Philips SACD 1000, APL modified


Philips SACD-1000


Pioneer 747A



Pioneer DV 578 A


Pioneer DV-45A


Pioneer DV-563A


Pioneer Elite DV-47A


Sharp SA-1


Sony CE 775


Sony DVP-NS999ES


Sony DVP-S9000ES



Sony XA9000ES




Sony NS500V


Sony SCD-C333ES


Sony SCD CE555ES



Sony SCD 777ES



Sony SCD XA777ES



Sony SCD-1



Sony SCD-C775


Sony SCD-XA3000ES


Sony SCD-XB770


Sony XB940


Xindak SCD-2








Additional comments from survey participants

The Ayre utilizes the Pioneer transport, so maybe that is why I've been so lucky.

Failure of the Verdi to play some single layer SACDs, will not read TOC of one LSC Hybrid.

I always seek out hybrids for their flexibility and usability.

The Marantz SA 15S1 is a warm, tube like CD/SACD player. Dont sell your sacds, buy the Marantz sacd player and enjoy listening.

Musical Fidelity Trivista - Only ever had problem playing one disc, Allison Krause and Union Station, New Favorites SACD, player defaults to MCH SACD and then either hangs up or skips. I found that if I preselect between MCHSACD, STEREO SACD and CD with the remote

Pioneer 563A - Will sometimes not recognize sacd layer & default to the cd layer. I take the disc out, cycle the power to reboot it & put the disc back in. Has never failed to play a Hybrid SACD after doing this, but it is a pain in the ass and was replaced.

Pioneer DV 578 A - The failure to play the tiny number that are a problem dates from soon after I had the system modded - I'd therefore assumed that alignment was the issue.

Hybrids play very well on this player. Pioneer DV-45A

My player will not play SACD only (non-hybrid) dual layer SACDs. Seems that there is a problem with the DV-47A reading the TOC of these rare discs. To avoid this problem, I only buy hybrid SACDs with which I have never had a problem.

Once the mech and firmware on my previous Marantz SA-1 were replaced I had no read problems whatsoever (till I foolishly had it modded 2.5 years later). Before mech swap it misread all discs.

Sony CE 775 - Problem affected ALL discs, not just hybrids. First noticed when attempting to play single-layer SACD. After replacement of spindle motor, everything has been flawless.

Sony NS500V - I brought for 30$ a spare laser assembly just in case i'll run into trouble.

Sony SCD-1 - It did not read two hybrids in 2004. I put a very thin shim under them and it played them. After a while, I did not need the shim and it now reads everything well and I have no idea how it "repaired" itself.

Sony SCD-XA3000ES - I did indeed find the single layers caused no problems... only the hybrids. I got tired of having to reboot the player to get the disc out, so I don't play hybrids any more.

Sony SCDC 555ES reliable workhorse for 4 years

My personal experience the CD/SACD hybrid play-ability:

My first SACD player was the Sony DVD-S9000ES purchased December 2000, and after 2 ½ years it totally quite playing hybrid SACD/CDs. It would either play the CD layer (yuck!) or display C-13 code and totally refuse to play the disc. Single layer SACDs, CDs and DVD-Videos played perfectly. I sold this SACD player not too long after it got back from the third time in the shop, once to my local ES shop and twice to Sony’s, it took 3 ½ months to get it fixed under warranty.

I came back to SACD with the promise of "tube quality sound" via the Xindak SCD-2. Which I had to return two times due it to not playing hybrid SACDs. If the Xindak can’t read the SACD layer it doesn’t even try to read the CD layer it just displays "undisc". My 18-month warranty is now up and I am having problems again.

I bought another Sony DVP-S9000ES brand new on clearance for $575.00 to play SACDs my Xindak refuses to.

When the problem recently re-developed the Xindak would play about 9 out of 10 hybrid SACD/CDs. Then it would play 2 out of 3. And then about every other hybrid SACD/CD.

As it worsened I had to load each hybrid SACD/CD twice before the Xindax would read it then I had to load twice and turn player on and off with the hybrid SACD/CD in the player. This worked about 25% of the time. Then I had to load twice, turn player on and off and play a single layer SACD for about 5 minutes. Now my Xindak will seldom play a hybrid SACD, maybe one out of ten discs. Plus this is so frustrating as it takes the player a long time to read a SACD/CD hybrid.

By the time it takes for the Xindak to try to read the hybrid three times including turning the player off and on, playing 5 minutes of a single layer SACD and taking that out and trying it all over again, then if it fails, waiting for the "No Disc" so I can turn the player off and unplug it to reset the player. And then turn on the Sony DVD-S9000ES. During all that time with NO MUSIC I could have listened to an entire side of an LP.

The Xindak plays perfectly single layer SACDs and those CDs I hate. So most of the time I end up having to play the Hybrid SACD/CDs on the DVP-S9000ES which is a poor substitute for the wonderful sound of the Xindak.

That is until I got my first C-13 on my Sony DVP-9000ES which means dirty disc. I have played SACD/CD hybrids since then and they have all played perfectly. So this time C-13 really meant dirty disc! So for now the Sony DVP-S9000ES hybrid SACD/CDs perfectly and may do so for many years and over four years are left on it's ES warranty.

As of April 11, 2006 I have been playing Single layer SACDs only in my Xindak SCD-2 and it performs and sounds  flawless! Mark Levinson says that Single layer SACDs are sonically superior to SACD/CD Hybrids.


A minority of SACD owners experience problems with hybrid SACDs. It appears that alignment is more critical for reading the TOC (Table of contents) on hybrid SACDs. Either players as a group need to be built to even tighter specifications or SACD hybrids need to become easier to read. As going Single Layer is not a option the majority of SACD listeners want.

For me I have decided to leave SACD behind and concentrate on the analog formats LP and Reel to Reel. I still have my DVD-Audio player for when I get lazy.

Happy listening,

DVD Audio

24/96 DAD DVD

The first high-resolution 2 channel Digital format was 24/96 DAD DVDs supported by Chesky Records from original 24 Bit 96kHz PCM masters, Classic Records and WaterLily Acoustics from original analog master tapes. These offered greatly improved sound quality versus CDs, greater dynamic range and extended frequency response to 44kHz, plus sonic realism and ambiance that almost has an analog feel. Best thing they are playable at high resolution on nearly all DVD players.

These 24/96 DADs proved the CD supporters were wrong when they said, "LPs had more ambiance, warmth and realism because of LP distortions and RIAA inaccuracies". When questioned about the differences in timbre these LP supporters said, "The timbre was correct on CD and wrong on LP". Their own beloved PCM proved them wrong as when using higher sample rates PCM not only had a lot of the ambiance, warmth and realism of analog but the timbre accuracy as well. Yet many still cling to low resolution CD digital and I do not and may never understand this, it seems so illogical to me. This remains one of my favorite digital formats.

My 10 Favorite 24/96 DADs

WEAVERS: Reunion at Carnegie Hall [Analog 96kHz 24 Bit] IMHO this is one of the best recordings mankind has
every made and the sonics are perfect, just like being there!
Classic Records DAD 1041

ANTILL: Corroboree / GINASTERA [Analog] This is one of my favorite recordings, superb sonics!
Classic Records DAD 1029

RACHMANINOFF: Symphonic Dances; Vocalise [Analog] This is a very exciting disc, soundstage very wide and deep in a slightly dry acoustic setting with warm deep bass.
Classic Records DAD 1004

SARA K.: Hobo [96kHz 24 Bit Master] Super cool music with excellent sound.
Chesky CHDVD 177

HORNER: Glory - Original Soundtrack [96kHz 24 Bit] Extremely realistic sound and great soundtrack.
Classic Records DAD 1008

GERSHWIN: Complete Works Orchestra and Piano and Orchestra [Analog 96kHz 24 Bit] This the best Gershwin  collection ever, excellent sound! - Classic Records DAD 1018 (2 discs)

PULSE: Works for Percussion, Strings [Analog] Killer percussion disc, excellent sound.
Classic Records DAD 1002

LOUIS ARMSTRONG & DUKE ELLINGTON [Analog] Sachmo and the Duke together in what is two of the best jazz
recordings of all time, this is a must have, superb sonics!
Classic Records DAD 1031

SARAH McLACHLAN: Touch [Analog] Excellent acoustic recording and great music
Classic Records DAD 1042

NATURE'S REALM - LISZT: Les Preludes / DVORAK: In Nature's Realm, Carnival, Othello - Sawallisch, Philadelphia
Orchestra [Tube Analog] - Superb performances and very realistic sound in a slightly dry hall.
Water Lily Acoustics WLA-WS-66-DVD

24/96 DAD DVD with Video

Chesky Records released two of their 2 channel 24/96 DADs with full motion videos which today still remain as the highest resolution on DVD with Video. The concerts listed below are great and it’s a shame this didn’t catch on!

CHUCK MANGIONE: The Feeling's Back - Excellent video and sound. A most enjoyable Chuck Mangione recording. Chesky CHDVD 194

SARA K.: No Cover - A Live Recording [96kHz 24 Bit 2 Channel] Sara K. Live in concert another excellent recording visually and sonically. Sara K. is one of my favorite singers, Hobo musically is even better (see above) Chesky CHDVD 195

Next up was DVD-Audio which was to have come out before SACD, but two students in Europe broke the copy protection encryption codes. When DVD-Audio was finally released it was a Surround Sound format with many DVD- Audios having no Stereo track, thus the listener’s DVD-Audio player would downmix 2 channel Stereo from the Multi-channel program which provided less than perfect results. Another problem was having to use the menu on a TV monitor to find the 2 channel program, not exactly user friendly. Also some included Music Videos but with lossy Dolby Digital, as DVD-Audio spec didn’t offer Audio and Video together. For 2 channel listeners DVD-Audio has a rarely used maximum current PCM resolution of 24 Bit 192kHz which offers very analog like sound near equal to SACD.

My 10 Favorite DAD-Audios

ULTIMATE DVD SURROUND SAMPLER [96kHz 24 Bit] Excellent sampler
Chesky CHDVD 221

STEVE HUFFSTETER BIG BAND [96kHz 24 Bit] Great and smooth sounding big band recording, superb imaging! AIX Records AIX 80026

WAGNER: Overtures and Preludes [96kHz 24 Bit] Excellent music and sonics. Arts Music 45004-6

LAURINDO ALMEIDA & CHARLIE BYRD: Brazilian Soul [Analog 96kHz 24 Bit] Wonderful sounding guitars and  excellent sonics!  Hi-Res Music HRM 2009

WAYNE HORVITZ, : Forever [96kHz 24 Bit] Great music, up-sampled from lower resolution PCM sounds great though! This release proves that up-sampling does increase "apparent" resolution and gives a more comfortable feel. Hi-Res Music HRM 2001

LINDA RONSTADT with NELSON RIDDLE and his ORCHESTRA: What's New [Analog 192kHz 24 Bit]  This could be Rhino’s best sounding DVD-Audio? And the music is great.  Elektra / Asylum / Rhino R9 78341

MICKEY HART: Over The Edge & Back [96kHz 24 Bit] Fantastic music and excellent sound.
Rykodisc DVDA 10494

MILES DAVIS: Tutu [Analog 96kHz 24 Bit] My personal favorite Miles Davis recording, very good sound.  Warner Bros. 48429-9

AMERICA: Homecoming [Analog 192kHz 24 Bit] very good music and sound. Warner Archives / Rhino R9 74367

YOUNG, NEIL: Harvest [Analog 192kHz 24 Bit] Very Good Reprise / Warner Bros. 48100-9

24/192 HDAD DVD
The most recent development is Classic Records HDAD which is a 2 sided disc, but unlike DualDisc (see below) it is \only 1.2mm. One side is 2-channel 24 Bit 192kHz DVD-Audio the other side is 24 Bit 96kHz DVD-Video, playable at high resolution on any DVD player.

My 7 Favorite 24/192 HDADs

CANNONBALL ADDERLEY: Somethin' Else - Very realistic sounding analog recording, superb music!  Classic Records HDAD 2009

JOHN WILLIAMS: Close Encounters - Excellent music and sonics.  Classic Records HDAD 2005

MUDDY WATERS: Folk Singer - Superb acoustic music and SOTA sound.  Classic Records HDAD 2008

CASINO ROYALE: Soundtrack [Analog 192kHz 24 Bit] Cool music and sonics, an audiophile favorite!  Classic Records HDAD 2007

ALAN PARSONS PROJECT: Turn of A Friendly Card - Superb rock music, excellent sonics!
Classic Records HDAD 2006

ALAN PARSONS PROJECT: I Robot – even better than the MFSL LP.  Classic Records HDAD 2003

Who Came First – A very different album superbly recorded.  Classic Records HDAD 2004

Classic Records announces new HDAD Plus

The HDAD PLUS which is a two disc set consisting of a two sided DVD-10 disc containing DVD Audio and DVD Video formats PLUS a bonus CD from a separate 16 bit / 44.1 kHz two channel capture done simultaneously for the CD format to avoid non-integer down sampling and hence provide for maximum quality for the CD all transferred directly from the 35mm magnetic film using a vintage Westrex 1551 tape machine, with specially built playback electronics that are vastly superior to any others used on these machines to playback the original 35mm tapes. The Len Horowitz / History of Recorded Sound specially modified 1551, fitted with brand new playback heads matched to the revolutionary playback electronics was stationed at Bernie Grundman Mastering in Hollywood. With Len Horowitz running the playback machine and Bernie Grundman mastering from the three track 35mm tapes, Classic Records has been able to capture the legendary sound and performances directly from the 35mm magnetic film through an "ALL TUBE" tape playback system and at 24 bit resolution and 192 kHz sampling rate for use in both the two and three channel presentations included on both the DVD Audio and DVD Video sides of the two sided DVD-10. The level of detail and dynamics on these discs will test the limits of all systems - no matter how much they cost!

• 24/96-24/192 kHz digital format DVD-V/DVD-A
• Plus Aluminum CD

HDAD-2014-PLUS 6 01704 02014 9 Classic HDAD (24/96-24/192 kHz digital format)
Hindemith Violin Concerto/Mozart Violin Concerto (24/96-24/192 Disc & Alum CD)

HDAD-2015-PLUS 6 01704 02015 9 Classic HDAD (24/96-24/192 kHz digital format)
Respighi - Pines & Fountains of Rome (24/96-24/192 Disc & Alum CD)

HDAD-2016-PLUS 6 01704 2013 9 Classic HDAD (24/96-24/192 kHz digital format)
Khachaturian - Gayne Ballet Suite (24/96-24/192 Disc & Alum CD)

HDAD-2017-PLUS 6 01704 02017 9 Classic HDAD (24/96-24/192 kHz digital format)
Mussorgsky - Pictures at an Exhibition/ Night on Bald Mountain (24/96-24/192 Disc & Alum CD)

HDAD-2018-PLUS 6 01704 0218 9 Classic HDAD (24/96-24/192 kHz digital format)
Prokofiev - Lt. Kije Suite / Shostakovich - Symphony no. 9 (24/96-24/192 Disc & Alum CD)

HDAD-2019-PLUS 6 01704 02019 9 Classic HDAD (24/96-24/192 kHz digital format)
Falla - 3 Cornered Hat (24/96-24/192 Disc & Alum CD)

Quality issues effecting DVD-Audio

Specifications in flux.
New software comes out unplayable on many older players requiring a Firmware update, yet again! Why does this  happen why are specifications changing midstream? I have not found an answer to this one anywhere but I am still looking.

Lack of 2-channel high-resolution program.
Many especially older DVD-Audio lack a 2-channel high-resolution program. Naxos and Teldec never have included a  2-channel high resolution program and up until two years ago neither did Silverline. DVD-Audio players do offer downmix of the high resolution Multi-channel program to 2-channel high resolution with less than perfect results and  the resulting sound quality is sonically inferior to a dedicated 2-channel mix by a huge degree.

Here is an excellent website that gives 2 channel resolution if present on all DVD-Audio's plus information on how to
play the 2 channel tracks without using a monitor.

DVD-Audio website with 2 channel information

DualDisc is not recommended by anyone including DualDisc's biggest supporter Sony!

There will be no DualDiscs reviewed or listed for sale at Hi Rez as I will not recommend a recording that could damage your equipment.

My advise is to avoid DualDiscs at all costs, you will save your equipment and your wits. Play it safe and play only 1.2mm discs such as CDs, HDCDs, SACDs, DVD-Audios and DVD-Videos. You'll be glad you did.

The main parameters of the CD (taken from the September 1983 issue of the compact disc specification) are as follows: Scanning velocity: 1.2–1.4 m/s (constant linear velocity) - Equivalent to about 500 rpm at the inside of the disc, or about 200 rpm at the outside edge.

Track pitch: 1.6 μm.
Disc diameter 120 mm.
Disc thickness: 1.2 mm.
Inner radius program area: 25 mm.
Outer radius program area: 58 mm.

DVDs use a substrate that is 0.6 mm thick,
compared to 1.2 mm used in CDs.  A 0.6 mm substrate is not phys
ically strong enough, and so it is necessary to bond two 0.6 mm substrates together to form a 1.2 mm substrate. This adds a bonding step in addition to the steps that are required to form the 1.2 mm substrate used in CD media.

Dual Disc Manufacturer warnings: A number of electronics companies such as Lexicon, Marantz, Mark Levinson, Onkyo, Panasonic, Pioneer, Denon, JVC, Linn Products, Meridian, Philips, Toshiba and (ironically) Sony have issued statements warning consumers about possible problems with playing DualDisc titles on their equipment. These warnings range in severity from DualDiscs just not working with the equipment to actual damage to the disc and/or equipment.

Linn Products Comments on Dual Disc

Linn Products is a well known maker of audiophile speakers, amps, processors and disc players. The notice from Linn about Dual Disc releases appears under the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section of their web site. Their view of using Dual Discs with their optical disc players is noted as follows:

Q. DualDisc format - is it a supported format for Linn disc players / audio servers?

A. No - DualDisc is not supported. DualDisc is a disc format with DVD content on one side and ‘CD’ on the other (see for details).

The DVD side comprises DVD-Video and/or DVD-Audio content. The ‘CD’ side is designed to play on CD players but is not in fact a CD as it is not compliant with the Compact Disc Digital Audio Specification (the industry 'Red Book'  CD Standard). These discs are also thicker than standard CDs or DVDs.

As these discs are not compliant with current industry standard, Linn cannot guarantee that they will play on our range
of disc players and audio servers.

Nor can we guarantee that the thickness of DualDiscs will not cause problems for these Linn products – possibly damage to the product and/or the disc – if played.

Any damage resulting from the playing of DualDiscs will not be covered by the Linn warranty, so using these discs  with a Linn disc player or audio server is entirely at the user’s risk.

Combination disc formats

The SACD/CD Hybrid is read from the same side: CD layer on bottom (from non-label read side) and SACD layer on top. Thus the laser shines through the translucent SACD layer at a different and angle and thickness to read the CD layer at the 1.2mm CDs require. Total disc thickness is 1.2mm.

The DualDisc and DVD Plus is 2 sided so the DVD Side is .6mm and the CD side is .9mm thus the laser hits are wrong angle as CD specs require 1.2mm and very excessive error correction is needed to play the CD side. Total thickness is 1.5mm.

Disc Format Thickness

All DVDs contain two .6mm substrates. On a single sided DVD only one side contains data, the other side is blank. All DVDs whither 1 or 2 layers or 1 or 2 sided DVDs are 1.2mm.

All CDs are 1.2mm

All SACDs are 1.2mm

However DualDisc is 1.5 - 1.6mm.

All DVD-Video, DVD-Audio, SACD and CD equipment is designed to play 1.2mm discs and 1.2mm discs only, they have a tolerance of -.1mm +.3mm due to irregularities and slightly defective discs. Because of this tolerance it is physically possible to play DualDiscs but the equipment was not designed to be misused this way.

At 1.5mm a DualDisc is at the maximum allowable tolerance and if the disc goes over even a fraction of 1.5mm the spindle will break, as there is no more room. No product in the history of mankind has ever been designed to work at the maximum allowable tolerance and some DualDiscs and DVD Plus are actually thicker than 1.5mm.

Upcoming Equipment Designed for Dual Disc Playback

The good news on the horizon for the Dual Disc format is we are just now beginning to see products being designed from the ground up with Dual Disc playback in mind. The first such Dual Disc compatible product is the recently announced PlayStation 3 from Sony which is slated for release in Summer 2006. That unit will play both the DVD and Audio sides of Dual Discs and will handle both PCM, Dolby Digital and DTS encoded Dual Disc content.

The PlayStation 3 does not include support for DVD-A content on Dual Discs, but I suspect we will see future player  announcements with that capability as well later this year or sometime in 2006.

About Hi Rez Stereo

Hi two channel music lovers,

My name is Teresa and you may know me as an active poster at the Audio Asylum and

I started this website as I believe there are more people like me out there who prefer 2-channel stereo. I am looking for your input on what you would like this web site to be please visit the "Contact Form" page to submit suggestions.

My experiences with Multi-channel

I only have one system and my Audio-Video system is 2 channel, I prefer it that way, even for movies.

I went from a multi-channel system to a 2-channel one. I no longer go to the movies, as I DO NOT LIKE sound coming from the rear. I prefer watching movies at home on my 2-channel Audio-Video system.

Also I have never heard a multi-channel system that has the stage depth, width and height as my 2-channel system. A correctly set up 2-channel system especially with planer tweeters is more holographic than any multi-channel system I've heard. I admit my "sweet" spot is not very wide but why set in any other spot?

I am not trying to convert anyone from multi-channel to high end 2-channel I am just saying that I personally DO NOT like what multi-channel does to music. Even benign multi-channel that only adds ambiance in the rears.

In my 2-channel system the performing stage is well defined and positioning of each instrument and the air between them. The ambiance extends in front of the stage to directly in front of my listening position. In other words the room is filled with ambiance from several feet beyond the left and right walls, about 10 square feet of ambiance in front of the stage. Also the "phantom" center image is larger, better defined, and more realistic than any "center" speaker I’ve heard at any sound level. For me no "center" speaker provides a better center image than a real center speaker does.

The best multi-channel I ever heard was back in the 1972 at a friend’s house. He had four corner Klipschorns and a Teac 4 channel Reel to Reel. I liked best the Nonesuch and Vox pre-recorded 4 channel 7 1/2 ips Reel to Reel as they used only ambiance for the rears, he had a Jazz quartet in which each instrument was in a corner of the room and we were in the middle and that sounded cool for about 5 minutes. When I would go home and put a pre-recorded 2 channel 7 1/2-ips Reel to Reel on my 2-channel Teac I would say; "Now this is music". I was not impressed with discrete Reel to Reel Quadraphonic and I am not impressed with modern day multi-channel.

My personal experiment in Multi-channel was in mid 90’s when my Denon receiver died, it was about 15 years old. So I replaced it with a new Dolby Digital multi-channel Denon receiver, got a Infinity Kappa K center speaker and two Infinity Kappa rear speakers to go with my wonderful Infinity Kappa 7's older version with the 12 inch woofers, still going strong after 25 years! I was not impressed! I tried Dolby Digital for movies and Dolby Pro Logic, Circle Surround and Ambisonics from CD sources. The salesman talked me into keeping it until the end of the 30-day return period to make sure it was fully broken in. I suffered with Multi-channel for 29 days, took back the Denon receiver, the center and rear speakers and got an Adcom GFA-555II 325-watt amp (which I still have) and Yamaha's top of the line pre-amp with input for moving coil cartridges. Now this was music, once again my LPs sounded great and I was able to enjoy my DVD movies as well, though still not crazy about CDs. For me lesson learned 2-channel is what I like!

Even though I sold my multi-channel system before SACD, but I have heard SACD multi-channel and I will stick with 2-channel Stereo for both Audio and Video, thank you very much!

My time served in CD Hell
(or why polishing a turd is a waste of time)

I get "lost in the music" that is if the playback format does not call attention to itself. I listen in the dark with my eyes closed reclined in my "sweet spot". I can suspend reality and actually see and hear the musicians playing in my room when listening to SACDs, Reel to Reels and the better DVD-Audio's. When listening to LPs with minimal surface noise the music is usually even more real sounding until a pop or click brings me back to the fact I’m actually listening to an LP.

But alas on CDs I can never get to this point, as I cannot hear past any of its flaws. Especially CDs incorrect tone qualities of the musical instruments coupled with its gross upper midrange shrillness and its rolled-off high frequencies making violins sounds like saws and high percussion sound like trash can lids. With CD instead of enjoying the musicians I want to kick them out of my room and beg them never to return. CD doesn't play music for me, if it does for you it does give you more choices.

I prefer the lower cost and convenience of SACD and DVD-Audio but audiophile LPs still have the highest resolution and "you are there" fell. I dislike cleaning LPs, cleaning the stylus and adjusting VTA. With SACD and DVD-Audio I just put it in and it plays. And the sonics are close enough for me.

It was crime what Sony did to the listening public. After switching to CDs music lovers find that they no longer have time to set down and listen to music, the real truth is that they are uncomfortable listening to CDs and do not know why, after all Sony said CD was Perfect Sound Forever. These self-same people when they discover SACD or rediscover LPs somehow now make time to listen to music, often lots of time!

I have, as well as others tried very hard to drain music from CD. I gave up after buying 1000's of CDs, over half so-called audiophile CDs. So I have as well given up CD turd polishing. I tried CDs with tubes, with upsampling and now with Shine-Ola and CDs just do not do it. Even though I have gotten CD sound smoother to where they no longer cause physical PAIN! There is just something not tonally correct about CDs. Even the lowly cassette gets the gestalt of music and sounds more tonally accurate even with all the tape hiss and high frequency compression than even the best CDs.

With SACD there is no need for CD whatsoever! If you can't find what you want on SACD there is always LPs and Reel to Reel tapes. CD is totally unnecessary and a colossal waste of time!

Avoid CD mats on ANY Player

A CD mat killed my Audio Alchemy DDSIII CD transport. And when I tried it in my new Sony DVP-S9000ES SACD player it made a terrible LOUD constant grinding noise that drowned out the music! I got rid of it as I was not going destroy another machine.

I would stay away from mats as players are designed for discs that measure 1.2mm and you are playing with fire when you increase that even .1mm. I would also avoid DualDiscs as they offer an even greater peril to your valued equipment than mats. Try cleaning your discs with Shine-Ola instead, it works great and won't damage your player or your discs as it is a non-residue cleaner.

Classical Music for Everyone

What if Mussorgsky was considered the greatest classical composer rather than Mozart?

What if every music listener’s first introduction to classical music was "Night on Bald Mountain"?

My gut feeling tells me that the number of listeners liking classical music would easily increase 10 fold!

I find that most orchestral classical music written prior to 1800 is too immature and boring and this is the music that turns the public off of classical music.

Once composers learned to use the tone colors of the instruments of the orchestra, to use percussion and ornamentation to season the sound of the orchestral canvas. To effectively use rhythm and beat, to enhance excitement by use of extreme dynamic contrasts, and to break free of the overly strict rules of composition the experience of classical music because a purely emotional one, one that transports one to another realm. This is the music that will get new converts to classical music.

I firmly believe that radio stations are playing the WRONG classical music , reviewers are reviewing the WRONG classical music, so people new to classical music are being exposed to classical music they could never like.

With this in mind I have created a list of classical compositions for use in presenting classical music in a positive light to those who believe they don’t like classical music.

The following are specific recommendations for classical music based the type of music the listener now enjoys:

RUSSO: Three Pieces for Blues Band and Orchestra and Street Music
END: Blues for a Killed Kat
SHILKRET: Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra

BERSTEIN: Prelude, Fugue and Riffs
ELLINGTON: Harlem Suite
SHAW: Concerto for Clarinet
MILHAULD: La Creation du Monde
SHOSTAKOVICH: Concerto for Piano, Trumpet and Strings
CHESKY: Concerto for Flute and Orchestra; Concerto for Violin and Orchestra and The Girl from Guatemala
COPLAND: Concerto for Clarinet
SHCHEDRIAN: Piano Concerto No. 2

BERNSTEIN: West Side Story
MUSSORGSKY: Pictures At An Exhibition

PROKOFIEV: Dance of the Evil God and the Pagan Monsters from "Scythian Suite"
SAINT-SAENS: Danse Macabre
BERLIOZ: March to the Scaffold from "Symphonie Fantastique"
RICHARD STRAUSS: Opening fanfare from "Also Sprach Zarathustra"
COPLAND: Fanfare for the Comman Man
HOLST: Mars from "The Planets"
KARG-ELGERT: Praise the Lord with Drums and Cymbals
MILHAUD: Concerto pour batterie et petit orchestre
MUSSORGSKY: Night on Bald Mountain
NELHYBEL: Trittico
WAGNER: The Ride of the Valkyries

MESSIAN: Turangalîla Symphonie
VARÈSE: Ionisation
ZAPPA on Opus 3 by the Omnibus Wind Ensemble

Anything by Debussy, Hovhanness, Ravel or Debussy.

Anything by Copland or Virgil Thomson. Also mediaeval and early dances and songs which really were folk music of the day.

GROFÉ: Grand Canyon Suite
MENDELSSOHN: The Hebrides Overture
NEILSEN: Aladdin Suite

BENJAMIN: Jamacan Rumba
CHAVEZ: Horse Power Suite
FALLA: Three-Cornered Hat
GOULD: Latin American Symphonette
GINASTERA: Estancia and Panambi

Anything by Leroy Anderson, George Gershwin, Percy Grainger or Offenbach.

My hope is after exploring the classical music that is closest to the type of music one likes now, listeners will experiment and try other types of classical music. The important thing to remember is there are more types of classical music than all other types of music combined.

Currently most non-classical listeners are exposed to the likes of Mozart, Bach and Vivaldi; I do not believe this is a good place to start. I recommend sampling Mussorgsky, Ravel, Varese, Arnold, Holst, Bernstein and Copland among many others as a good first step for most listeners. I have actually converted friends to classical music using just 2 LPs to introduce them: 1) Prokofiev’s Scythian Suite (Mercury SR 90006) and 2) Russo’s Three Pieces for Blues Band and Symphony Orchestra (Deutsche Grammophon 2530 309 also SACD UCGG-7091). After this they beg to hear more, in their wildest dreams they had no idea that classical music could be this good! It is this good and for the sake of the future of classical music we must expose more people to really good classical music. It can be done. Also it’s fine if you like Mozart, Bach or Vivaldi, I just do not believe that new listeners should start there and the figures seem to prove me right. They are acquired tastes to grab someone you have to offer something they will love instantly!

Even though I studied music appreciation and composition in High School. I came away with the belief that Rock was the superior music reinforced by being in a Rock Band, the Neon Illusions. Part of this I blame on the traditional classical music my school presented, I was totally unaware there was better more exciting classical music. That is until Emerson, Lake and Palmer came along. I had their albums "Pictures At An Exhibition", The self titled LP with had Knife Edge (after JANÁÇEK’s Sinfonietta) and "Works Part 1" which included Keith Emerson’s own "Piano Concerto" and Prokofiev’s The Evil God and the Dance of the Pagan Monsters from the "Scythian Suite". Then I bought ELO III with "Roll over Beethoven" which had all of Beethoven’s biggest hits intermixed with Chuck Berry’s song. Well it turned out I liked the Beethoven bits much better than the Chuck Berry parts. Later that month at a department store I saw "Beethoven’s Biggest Hits" shooting what I thought was a double peace sign and I bought the LP, I later learned it was actually a victory sign. Anyway this began my obsession with classical music. Next I bought Mussorgsky’s Pictures At An Exhibition with Ormandy conducting and it was just so much better than the Emerson Lake and Palmer version, then came Prokofiev’s Scythian Suite, and on and on.  Since we didn’t have a classical station in my hometown I would check out LPs from the library or just buy new classical LPs blindly. It took decades to find out which composers I liked and which I didn’t. The resources nowadays are much better many labels have samplers and samples can be heard online as well as recordings from the library.

The review establishment in the 1970’s and early 1980’s came down hard on "Art Rock" because they ripped off versions of classical works and the resulting rock versions were not that good. While I agree with their assessment, it really was shortsighted as these Art Rock musicians were proselytizing for classical music. I believe millions of classical music lovers discovered classical music much the way I did. However because the musical establishment destroyed Art Rock no one is introducing new listeners to classical music. It is now up to us to share the wonders of classical music with everyone we meet.

Happy listening,