DSD/SACD vs PCM - Engineering Reality Jan 30, 2020 7:59:35 GMT -5
Post by PaulBe on Jan 30, 2020 7:59:35 GMT -5
"The final sentence then isn't exactly clear which DSD64 versions were used to master the DSD downloads and SACD DSD layer.
From the post above.....
Recorded to 2" tape (Studer) and DSD64 (Sonoma System) simultaneously.
Stereo Mixed from 2" tape to 1/2" tape and DSD64 simultaneously.
5.1 Surround mixes mixed from 2" tape to DSD 64 in 5.1.
Mastered to CD layer using 1/2" tape.
Mastered from DSD64 for SACD layer and DSD Downloads.
Newly remastered using our SEA Process to DSD256.
I would have to say that the wording is in fact quite confusing.
According to that, the recording itself WAS originally recorded to both 2" analog tape and DSD64 (on the Sonoma Console)....
They then created several DSD64 mixes from the analog original (lines 2 and 3).
They then mastered the CD layer from a 1/2" analog tape which was mastered from the 2" analog tape (pure analog signal path until the conversion to CD format).
The final sentence then isn't exactly clear which DSD64 versions were used to master the DSD downloads and SACD DSD layer.
(I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt that, since BlueCoast is obsessive about DSD, and did record a DSD64 master, they would use that to create the SACD DSD layer and DSD downloads.)
All in all this suggests excellent attention to detail...
With the asserted goal of avoiding digital processing whenever possible...
And of staying in DSD whenever possible...
And of minimizing processing in general...
(With the idea, stated in a few places, that "anything is better than PCM"... which seems... err... more opinion than substantiated fact.)
I have to admit that I have very mixed feelings about Blue Coast Records and their various product offerings.
Everything I've heard suggests that both the audio sound quality and production quality on all their albums is excellent.
(I would credit this to excellent production values... and not necessarily to the recording format chosen.)
Sadly, that said, so far I have been unable to find any albums they've produced that I actually want to own.
(They simply do not cover the artists and genres I listen to.)
I absolutely do NOT agree with some specific things that Cookie Marenco and her company have claimed.
For example, in one posting on DSD-Guide, they claim that, when converting from a 44.k file to DSD....
"if you're blessed with great analog gear, it has been generally accepted that the analog to digital transfer does less damage to the sound than a digital conversion".
They describe this as "an analog conversion" and go on to say that "most engineers agree that it sounds better than a digital conversion".
First off, I think the description is misleading....
We are NOT talking about an analog process....
What we're talking about is a digital-to-analog conversion followed by an analog-to-digital conversion.
That is two conversions, both between digital and analog, and both requiring the application of filtering that may add coloration to the sound.
(In addition to any coloration that may be introduced by the analog circuitry connecting the two processes.)
And, while passing the digital content through an analog stage on its way to its new format may produce a pleasing sound, I doubt that it produces a more accurate conversion.
(It is certainly a much more complicated process, involving more conversions, more settings that can be fiddled with, and more places where inaccuracy can potentially creep in.)
I also fail to see any technical benefit whatsoever to upsampling DSD recordings to a higher DSD sample rate.
At one point they describe it as "a luxury format"... but I am at a loss as to what that means... (other than "bigger and more expensive").
It reminds me of a line from the movie Barbarella.... about "why the great tyrant has chosen to feed orchids to the slaves".
(if you know the line then you know what I mean )
My point is that, from their provenance, it sounds very much as if the PCM and DSD versions were recorded on different recorders.
(I'm assuming that the FLAC files were sourced from the 2" Studer master tape while the SACDs and DSD files were sourced from the DSD files recorded on the Sonoma.)
This raises the distinct possibility that there could be differences due to differences in how the recorders and their internal A/D circuitry sound, or due to other variations in the mixing and mastering process.
(I would still consider converting a single source myself to be a more reliable way to get the most "equivalent" samples for comparison purposes.)
And, yes, any recent model Oppo can play SACD discs (with output to Analog, DSD via HDMI, or PCM via HDMI - but not other digital formats)...
And can also play most current DSD file formats (from disc or USB stick)...
(Although I'm not sure about DSD128 and DSD256.)
(I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt that, since BlueCoast is obsessive about DSD, and did record a DSD64 master, they would use that to create the SACD DSD layer and DSD downloads.)"
I can't give them the benefit of the doubt. I think the "DSD64 (Sonoma System)", recorded "simultaneously", is a backup. It's the raw archive in case something happens to their 2" tape and they need another copy. Bluecoast's primary format is 2" analog tape, from which they produce their masters.
Bluecoast's production and recording values are very good. I enjoyed some of their music, as I noted. Nothing I would spend money on just to get better production and recording quality; nothing which is dependent on DSD.
I wonder what kind of digital reverb they used for the vocals.