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Customer Review

36 of 51 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Why not SACD?, 2 Sept. 2009
This review is from: The Beatles Box Set - Remastered in Stereo (Audio CD)
The Beatles had a very special magic to them. They were charismatic performers and brilliant composers, writers and arrangers. Musically gifted, they were innovative creators who had a uncanny instinct for getting the best out of themselves and their work in the studio. They were pop & rock's finest artists - in a league of their own. No one else comes even close.

2. The long delay in re-mastering their original official catalogue provides us a clear benefit: the opportunity to utilise mature and cutting-edge technology, including the best A-D converters and digital repair tools (e.g. repairing bad tape splices, as well as pops, clicks, drop-outs etc). This digital work has been combined with the use of vintage studio equipment to at last give the world the high resolution audio the catalogue has long deserved.

3. The re-mastering team, working for over a year (four years preparing, planning and testing) have gone to the best tape sources wherever possible, doing a careful, painstaking job, going over every track with dedication to detail. Crucially, they have re-mastered at 24-bit, 192 kHz.

4. And after such careful high-tech work, what do they go and do? They release them on Red Book CD, a 16-bit format! [sampling frequency 44.1 kHz, dynamic range 96 dB, frequency range 20 Hz-20 kHz].

5. So - why not act with more policy foresight and industry tactics, giving the SACD format the very worldwide boost and secured buying platform it needs, by releasing this major catalogue on Hybrid SACD? (But stereo only, not mutli-channel.)

6. This would do the re-mastering justice. SACD = sampling frequency 2822.4 kHz, dynamic range 120 dB, frequency range 20 Hz-50 kHz.

7. Other than this major frustration/irritation, they have clearly been beautifully re-packaged with replicated original UK album art, "gate-fold" style packs, including expanded booklets containing original and newly written liner notes and rare photos.

8. So - 3 stars because this is a great, significant and nevertheless well-executed CD release, but Hybrid SACD would have got 5 stars.

9. I am going to hold out for a Hybrid SACD release ...

10. About that re-mastering [Quoted from Apple Corps Ltd./EMI Music news release] -

"The re-mastering process commenced with an extensive period conducting tests before finally copying the analogue master tapes into the digital medium. When this was completed, the transfer was achieved using a Pro Tools workstation operating at 24 bit 192 kHz resolution via a Prism A-D converter. Transferring was a lengthy procedure done a track at a time. Although EMI tape does not suffer the oxide loss associated with some later analogue tapes, there was nevertheless a slight build up of dust, which was removed from the tape machine heads between each title.

From the onset, considerable thought was given to what audio restorative processes were going to be allowed. It was agreed that electrical clicks, microphone vocal pops, excessive sibilance and bad edits should be improved where possible, so long as it didn't impact on the original integrity of the songs.

In addition, de-noising technology, which is often associated with re-mastering, was to be used, but subtly and sparingly. Eventually, less than five of the 525 minutes of Beatles music was subjected to this process. Finally, as is common with today's music, overall limiting - to increase the volume level of the CD - has been used, but on the stereo versions only. However, it was unanimously agreed that because of the importance of The Beatles' music, limiting would be used moderately, so as to retain the original dynamics of the recordings.

When all of the albums had been transferred, each song was then listened to several times to locate any of the agreed imperfections. These were then addressed by Guy Massey, working with Audio Restoration engineer Simon Gibson.

Mastering could now take place, once the earliest vinyl pressings, along with the existing CDs, were loaded into Pro Tools, thus allowing comparisons to be made with the original master tapes during the equalization process. When an album had been completed, it was auditioned the next day in studio three - a room familiar to the engineers, as all of the recent Beatles mixing projects had taken place in there - and any further alteration of EQ could be addressed back in the mastering room. Following the initial satisfaction of Guy and Steve, Allan Rouse and Mike Heatley then checked each new re-master in yet another location and offered any further suggestions. This continued until all 13 albums were completed to the team's satisfaction." [Quoted from Apple Corps Ltd./EMI Music news release.]
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 3 Sep 2009 10:00:22 BDT
Why not more expence, huh?

Posted on 3 Sep 2009 11:39:32 BDT
J. Pauley says:
Agreed. A golden opportunity was missed to preserve this catalogue in a high definition audio format. Hybrid SACDs would have been perfect.

Posted on 5 Sep 2009 21:39:58 BDT
Oh my god, all this waffle. Just listen to the music, WHEN IT ARRIVES NEXT WEDNESDAY

Posted on 10 Sep 2009 01:05:21 BDT
Last edited by the author on 10 Sep 2009 01:08:21 BDT
RegF says:
Not as many people in this world have a SACD player as they have other payback machines. NOT even close.

SACD , is dying because people want to hear great sound that can be played any where and on any thing.

You can't play SACDs in your car , on your IPOD , while camping ect...!!! SACDs , are too expensive and you have to buy a separate SACD machine on top of that.

The vast majority of people will not pay that much.

That is why many record companies [and I] just love new formats such as SHM-CDs and BLU-SPEC CDs. They sound fantastic and they can be played on any stereo system.

The record companies love SHM-CDs , ect , because many , many more people have your average CD payback machines. MORE SALES!!!!

The same will be true with BLU-RAY.

SHM-CDs , ect... cannot be burned [illegal down loading] with out losing some of their great sound.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Sep 2009 06:43:32 BDT
S. Heikki says:
Hybrid SACD's can be played in every lap top, car CD player, rip them to your iPod etc. You don't need SACD player but you want to hear better sound in the future you don't need to buy those records again. Many people doesn't even know that their CD's are in fact SACD's. And most SACD's are sold at the same price as CD's.

Posted on 11 Sep 2009 09:15:01 BDT
J. Milner says:
Much as I love SACD I feel you are doing this project a disservice. The sound is simply stunning and anyone who claims otherwise is either a sad audio-bore or deaf. I consider myself a hifi enthusiast and a stickler for good sound quality but not to the extent that I let the music become secondary to the execution. Sadly, SACD is dead - it was a niche format that failed because of public apathy and the inability of the majority of people to actually LISTEN to music. Yes, it would've been great to have had the extended resolution but listening to these new CD versions I cannot help but feel the benefit would have been minimal. Such is the quality of sound I find it hard to believe it is actually possible - credit to the team at Abbey Road who have proved that, with the right equipment, experience and commitment it is possible to produce a sound that not only does the CD justice it proves that vinyl should finally be consigned to the dustbin of time. Go home, vinyl bores. This has to be THE best remastering project in the history of man. Anyone who complains is not listening to the music and is therefore not a music fan.

Posted on 11 Sep 2009 10:51:00 BDT
Calmlawn says:
Thankyou - a well reasoned post.
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