9-19-12 The Rush to Expensive Product
Producer Daniel Lanois born 1951, producer Nile Rodgers born 1952; on 9-19-70 The Rolling Stones “Get Your Ya-Ya’s Out” Live LP was the No. 1 LP in England.
When I got my first SA-CD player a couple of years back, I still didn’t have a 5.1 set-up in my home. I would put the 5.1 discs in, and have to select “stereo output” before playing them. Presuming that the SA-CD circuitry was working properly, I did hear “advanced resolution” on my SA-CD’s.
Less than 2 years ago, I stumbled across a low-cost Sony 5.1 set-up, and installed it in my living room. The 5.1 discs just exploded! Wow! How many of these sound this way? Amazing!
But when it was time to ‘show off’ my 5.1 system (or SA-CD’s), invariably, I would march friends into the bedroom – to hear “Pinball Wizard” by The Who in stereo, from an SA-CD – “on the big stereo”. Yes, my 5.1 system is not ‘mighty’ as my bedroom stereo is.
I continued to try and buy as much SA-CD product as I could lay my hands on, whether 5.1 or stereo. I’ve mail-ordered somewhat expensive non-hybrid SA-CD’s from Japan, some with spectacular results.
But one only has to be disappointed a few times (certainly at those prices!) to really consider – at long last – which titles to buy. For instance, the SA-CD of “Pretenders II” by Mobile Fidelity is ‘stereo only’, and I did find a ‘used’ copy (a ‘barcode scratched out’ promo). MFSL guarantees DSD mastering, so I know I’m going to hear “everything” on this album. Maybe it’s a ‘poor master’ to begin with? Maybe MFSL was given a DAT from the Warner vault and told “This is what we have on this”?
And then I notice a disturbing trend: nearly everything on Mobile Fidelity is ‘stereo only’. So you only get as good as is on the master tape of whatever they release. To their credit, they extend SA-CD’s presence by picking albums that previously hadn’t been released as SA-CD’s – such as The Band “Music from Big Pink”. The catch: $29.99 a throw! And usually, it’s not easy to find MFSL ‘barcode scratched out’ promos for less than $29.99.
I am really less interested in DVD Audio; I dislike having to negotiate a visual menu to get to the music! I like the sound of DVD-A just fine, though. Many of the new boxed sets and deluxe editions have DVD-A’s included, these days. I really wish SA-CD hadn’t failed so badly in the US.
At least I haven’t fallen for the newest Japanese trick: SHM-CD’s. I, for one, can’t hear any difference between an SHM-CD and a properly mastered normal CD. For your info, SHM = Super High Materials. That’s right. My CD’s will now last for 75 years, rather than 20 years, if I carefully re-buy everything…one more time!