Getting multi-channel music (The LP must die)

JerryLove

JerryLove

Audioholic Samurai
So, I finally have a setup with a center channel I actually like and have pulled out all my multi-channel SACDs and DVD-Audio disks and want more.

... and all the stuff I find is out of print, costs $60-$120, and every promising "here must be the new one, this was just released for audiophiles and must have a 5-channel version" is an LP.

1) Anyone got a good source for multi-channel disks?
2) I wasn't angry at LPs, but now they seem to be stealing both my high-DR masters and 5-channel recordings as the industry shifts to serve demand.
3) WTH is with all the reel-to-reel I saw at the last audio show? That's an objectively bad format (technically, so are records).

I'd love to pick up REM, Queen, BillyJoel, etc in SACD/DVD-A without breaking the bank.
 
GrimSurfer

GrimSurfer

Senior Audioholic
I started on a similar path a few years ago. In my case it was looking for the best Red Book CD pressings (have my doubts about SACD but firmly believe DVD-As are very good indeed).

So now I search stores specializing in pre-owned because most of the mail order/online suppliers sell whatever shite the labels push (including bad versions of remasters). A used CD store is a gold mine, but I takes digging. Strangely, they don't even know what they have because you can get rarer pressings of exceptional quality at the same price as the shite.

Go figure...

So I make a fortnightly pilgrimage, buying about 3-5 CDs at a time. Cost is about $30 for absolutely pristine CDs. YMMV but probably not by much...
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Seriously, I have no life.
There's a thread here and there about it and some side discussion here and there in some of the music threads. Agree pickins are kinda slim and often expensive. I've picked up some stuff via Amazon (new and used), discogs.com, acousticsounds.com (waiting on some SACDs from Jeff Beck and Monty Alexander from the latter now). Been buying either multich SACD or dvd/bluray as I can get it for what I'm looking for (which hasn't been REM, Queen or Billy Joel).

Have you checked out the various Steven Wilson multich discs from Porcupine Tree as well as under his own name? Then there are the remixes he does in multich for a variety of prog bands here Lots available on bluray as well as dvd, altho some are just stereo remixes, too.
 
davidscott

davidscott

Audioholic Field Marshall
Looks like LPs aren't going away anytime soon.
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Spartan
Looks like LPs aren't going away anytime soon.
The mystique of vinyl will be too strong for a very long time to come. ;) Not that I disagree, but I can't afford to start now.
But indeed: Multi-channel audio in HiRes formats are also expensive... if you get them early, not so prohibitive as a pristine sample on vinyl, but still... I only have two... Pink Floyd SACDs: WYWH and DSOTM. Though DS sounds good, wasn't as well done imo as WYWH. Won't stop me from pursuing more... and maybe the industry will shift soon. *fingers-crossed
(Would love to get The Stranger in a HiRes format!)
 
VonMagnum

VonMagnum

Senior Audioholic
Actually, reel-to-reel is very high fidelity. It's not very convenient to use, of course.... I think the fascination with LPs has to do with the very idea you can pick up reasonably high fidelity music off a piece of vinyl plastic with essentially a diamond tipped needle.... Call me impressed it sounds as good as it does. I finally bought an entry level high-end rig to see what the fuss is about and I was impressed many albums actually approached CD quality (good quality, not the overly compressed CRAP that often gets put out today). Some records (Dark Side of the Moon 30th Anniversary and Tori Amos' Choirgirl Hotel) sounded better than the CDs I have (a bit subjective of course). In the former's case it was the incredible bass on the LP version and the latter the face it wasn't so compressed as the CD. Needless to say, neither had a damn thing to do with "vinyl magic" as I recorded all my records I accrued since the 1990s on the first play at 24/96 and ran them through iZotope RX (amazing software; it can remove all the clicks, pops and even the original tape hiss without affecting the quality in any noticeable fashion).

I actually thought up an idea for high-end analog sound based on the laserdisc that could be sold instead of LPs and reel-to-reel to those that believe analog is somehow magical. Laserdisc used frequency modulation analog encoding for the original Discovision/Laserdisc tracks (digital came later). This could be greatly improved today with blue lasers and you could fit hours on a 2.5" mini-disc sized platter the mini-disc style shell/case was a good idea to avoid fingerprints and to have easy handling. You couldn't pirate analog quite so easy especially in a non-standard 2.5" style disc format in a mini-disc like case. You could perhaps make digital copies, but that would defeat the "analog rules" magical belief system that is out there. It wouldn't have the clicks, pops and wear issues that LPs have either (and sealed in that mini-disc style shell, it wouldn't gather dust either).

Honestly, a new analog format that makes use of blue lasers and multiple disc layers would be kind of cool. The faster the pace, the higher the fidelity you could get. Imagine 4 layers at once (8-channels of analog!).... You could have multi-channel audio (7.1) in high-end ANALOG.... I'm getting tingles just thinking about it (the money I could make that is). :D
 
JerryLove

JerryLove

Audioholic Samurai
The mystique of vinyl will be too strong for a very long time to come. ;) Not that I disagree, but I can't afford to start now.
It's now an oroborus. The industry is putting better masters on the LPs than general stream/CDs, causing audiophiles to buy LPs to get them, resulting in sales of LPs that encourage the industry to put the best masters on LP.

DVDA and SACD *should* have caught on, but mostly didn't.

(and no, I don't care about the theoretical "better sound" so much as the lesser dynamic compression the studios tended to do on them SACD/DVDA/BDA and the multi-channel mixing.
 
JerryLove

JerryLove

Audioholic Samurai
Actually, reel-to-reel is very high fidelity.
To my understanding: the signal-to-noise ratio (roughly the equivalent of dynamic range, noting the absence of quantization noise but presence of tape hiss) of a professional reel-to-reel 1/4 inch tape recorder would be between 60 and 70 dB at the recorder's rated output... though that includes "hiss" (hence why Dolby NR A/B/S were in widespread use on cassette decks)

And that's when it's pristine. Wear from friction between the tape and the heads, guides, and other parts of the tape transport as the tape slides over them. The brown residue deposited on swabs during cleaning of a tape machine's tape path is actually particles of magnetic coating shed from tapes. Sticky-shed syndrome is a prevalent problem with older tapes. Tapes can also suffer creasing, stretching, and frilling of the edges of the plastic tape base, particularly from low-quality or out-of-alignment tape decks. Wow and flutter are back in play as well.

Meanwhile an SACD is 120db and suffers literally none of the above issues.

Quibbles about what's good enough / the non-suckage of tape aside: I think we primarily agree. The modern digital formats are more convenient and capable of higher fidelity; but suffer from inattentive or misguided mastering.

I actually thought up an idea for high-end analog sound based on the laserdisc that could be sold instead of LPs and reel-to-reel to those that believe analog is somehow magical. Laserdisc used frequency modulation analog encoding for the original Discovision/Laserdisc tracks (digital came later). This could be greatly improved today with blue lasers and you could fit hours on a 2.5" mini-disc sized platter the mini-disc style shell/case was a good idea to avoid fingerprints and to have easy handling. You couldn't pirate analog quite so easy especially in a non-standard 2.5" style disc format in a mini-disc like case. You could perhaps make digital copies, but that would defeat the "analog rules" magical belief system that is out there. It wouldn't have the clicks, pops and wear issues that LPs have either (and sealed in that mini-disc style shell, it wouldn't gather dust either).
I like this idea.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Seriously, I have no life.
Looks like LPs aren't going away anytime soon.
I'd buy vinyl again if there was a good reason to but its been over 20 years since there was a reason to (for me). The multich content of LPs wasn't meant to be....
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Overlord
So, I finally have a setup with a center channel I actually like and have pulled out all my multi-channel SACDs and DVD-Audio disks and want more.
So, do the multi-channel mixes you like use the surround speakers to provide ambiance to match the character of the venue (IOW, echo's of the music), or do they place instruments behind you, or something else?
I think it will be a long process to convert the world to multi-channel; music recordings! However, once it becomes the standard and recording engineers/producers have figured out "best practices" for recording multi-channel, the cost of a multi-channel disc will go down considerably!
However, is there an advantage to SACD or DVD-Audio over Blu-Rays for SQ? I would guess only something like 25% of players in people's homes will even play SACD's, but (I would guess) the number of BlueRay players is greater and growing! It seems like it won't be long before it becomes advantageous to record music on BD instead of SACD.
I don't know much about DVD-Audio! Will any DVD player play DVD-Audio?
 
JerryLove

JerryLove

Audioholic Samurai
So, do the multi-channel mixes you like use the surround speakers to provide ambiance to match the character of the venue (IOW, echo's of the music), or do they place instruments behind you, or something else?
It varies, and at the moment I'm mostly doing 3 channel as I work on the rest of the HT so I cannot comment except from distant memory.

The front 3 are quite distinct from one another.

I think it will be a long process to convert the world to multi-channel; music recordings! However, once it becomes the standard and recording engineers/producers have figured out "best practices" for recording multi-channel, the cost of a multi-channel disc will go down considerably!
My worry is that LP and tape are now causing us to lose ground on that quest (so is streaming, which is rarely multichannel)

However, is there an advantage to SACD or DVD-Audio over Blu-Rays for SQ? I would guess only something like 25% of players in people's homes will even play SACD's, but (I would guess) the number of BlueRay players is greater and growing! It seems like it won't be long before it becomes advantageous to record music on BD instead of SACD.
Practically? No.

SACD does have the advantage that, if you lack a SACD player (most Sony DVD/BD players I've tried seem to support SACD), it can play in a regular CD player as a regular CD.

BD has the advantage of (potentially) more channels.

I don't know much about DVD-Audio! Will any DVD player play DVD-Audio?
So far, the success rate has been 100%. I suspect if not every one, the vast bulk will.
 
VonMagnum

VonMagnum

Senior Audioholic
I've got an Auro-3D demo music disc (over a dozen music tracks). They use a dual-quad mic setup in real venues. It's like having the walls of the room disappear and transport you to the real space (as opposed to something like the SACD Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon which is just panned effects everywhere; I actually prefer the stereo version for the most part). Unfortunately, Auro-3D isn't going anywhere fast. However, Atmos and X work great for music as well (it's really all in how you use it).

SACD is pretty much technologically moot at this point since Atmos came out. Music Blu-Rays with Atmos (True-HD based) is the way to go in the future, IMO. You can have up to 34 speakers with Atmos. I'm running a 17.1 setup (11.1.6 with matrixed front and rear wides) so the more the merrier. :D
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Seriously, I have no life.
Bluray offers higher resolution than DVD as well as more channels.

My old PS3 (slim) won't play SACD but my Sony bluray players will. My older Philips and Samsung dvd players wouldn't play SACD tho.
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Overlord
My worry is that LP and tape are now causing us to lose ground on that quest (so is streaming, which is rarely multichannel)
It definitely is a perverse reality that often the best quality recording exists on the worst quality format (LP).
It makes sense if you look at it as the recording engineer making the recording for a target market.
A CD or digital recording will most likely be streamed through one of the services like Pandora or downloaded onto a phone with the end result of being (casually, not critically) listened to on a Bluetooth speaker, earbuds or a car system. From the perspective of giving a song its best chance to become popular in the mainstream market, it makes sense to compress the music so the quiet sections are not drowned out by other noises.
If you are mastering for an LP in today's world, odds are it will be played on a nice system in the quiet comfort of your home. The cost of LP's (including time/effort of handling) make it a format more dominated by people who are dedicated to good sound quality! Consequently, as absurd as it is, it makes sense to give an LP master higher sound quality!
It makes sense, and I'm not sure what it would take to alter the situation.
 
S

snakeeyes

Audioholic Ninja
The mystique of vinyl will be too strong for a very long time to come. ;) Not that I disagree, but I can't afford to start now.
But indeed: Multi-channel audio in HiRes formats are also expensive... if you get them early, not so prohibitive as a pristine sample on vinyl, but still... I only have two... Pink Floyd SACDs: WYWH and DSOTM. Though DS sounds good, wasn't as well done imo as WYWH. Won't stop me from pursuing more... and maybe the industry will shift soon. *fingers-crossed
(Would love to get The Stranger in a HiRes format!)
Dang. My copy doesn’t arrive for another week. :)
 
Alex2507

Alex2507

Audioholic Slumlord
a center channel I actually like
do tell
multi-channel disks?
I have a K.D Lang DVD-A of Invincible Summer that I absolutely hate. I got it for $2 at Goodwill. Want it?
Will any DVD player play DVD-Audio?
No. There may be a dvd 'layer' that a dvd player will play but that's not the same as dvd-a. Just like sacd's can have a cd 'layer' that will play on any cd player. At least that's how I think it works.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Seriously, I have no life.
do tell

I have a K.D Lang DVD-A of Invincible Summer that I absolutely hate. I got it for $2 at Goodwill. Want it?

No. There may be a dvd 'layer' that a dvd player will play but that's not the same as dvd-a. Just like sacd's can have a cd 'layer' that will play on any cd player. At least that's how I think it works.
I was also thinking DVD-A had some playback issues in some players but don't think I have a DVD-A disk (I do have some dvds with just audio but don't believe they are the DVD-A format particularly, will have to go check a few)....so went and read the wiki entry and indeed there is some https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DVD-Audio
 
Alex2507

Alex2507

Audioholic Slumlord
I was also thinking DVD-A had some playback issues in some players but don't think I have a DVD-A disk (I do have some dvds with just audio but don't believe they are the DVD-A format particularly, will have to go check a few)....so went and read the wiki entry and indeed there is some https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DVD-Audio
from wiki: "most DVD-Audio discs also contain DVD-Video compatible data to play the standard DVD-Video Dolby Digital 5.1-channel audio track on the disc".

Don't judge me for this but my Adele bluray has dolby digital audio. Weird. Sounds great though ... actually my favorite recording of hers.

Speaking of mcm, but on dvd, Sheryl Crow's Rockin' The Globe Live is pretty good imo. Track 4 on DTS in particular.
 

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