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HvK 1962 Beethoven Symphony Cycle at HDTracks in 24/96


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This caught my attention. I have the SACDs of this cycle, and have ripped them to 24/88, but do I recall from a discussion of the Kleiber 5th/7th that DGG archived all their old tapes in 24/96 PCM and then converted them to DSD from there? From what I recollect, the stereo 24/96 of that album (available at Qobuz) was considered better-sounding than the 24/88 version (offered at HDTracks), which was presumably derived from the SACD's DSD tracks. Is there reason to suspect that the provenance of this cycle is similar -- that the 24/96 is the actual first-generation remaster, and the SACDs were converted from them?

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I also have the SACDs and have just downloaded the new 24/96 files from HDtracks. The back pages of the SACD booklets indicate that the source files were in 24/96, so the downloaded files should theoretically bring us closer to the source (not having been converted to DSD).

 

This famous set is being reissued by DG in commemoration of HvK's 50th anniversary with the company, as well as the 25th anniversary of his death, and DG states that it has been "remastered". So are these different 24/96 files from the ones used to make the SACDs? I don't know, and I haven't done any A/B comparisons, but the new files sound awfully good (all things considered, of course).

 

Russell

MacBook Pro 2020 16” (16MB RAM, macOS Big Sur) > Audirvana Plus  > Pangea Audio USB-AG > Sony TA-ZH1ES > Nordost Heimdall 2 > Audeze LCD-3

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I dont know if it really is a new remaster, or if they just have used the existing 96kHz/24Bit files, which were also used to make the SACDs.

 

But, if you would like to get these, that boxset may be of interest to (some of) you:

 

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827): Symphonien Nr.1-9 (5 CDs)

 

It does have the complete programm of the SACD boxset - including the rehearsals of the ninth ... in 96kHz/24Bit ...

Esoterc SA-60 / Foobar2000 -> Mytek Stereo 192 DSD / Audio-GD NFB 28.38 -> MEG RL922K / AKG K500 / AKG K1000  / Audioquest Nighthawk / OPPO PM-2 / Sennheiser HD800 / Sennheiser Surrounder / Sony MA900 / STAX SR-303+SRM-323II

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This famous set is being reissued by DG in commemoration of HvK's 50th anniversary with the company, as well as the 25th anniversary of his death, and DG states that it has been "remastered". So are these different 24/96 files from the ones used to make the SACDs? I don't know, and I haven't done any A/B comparisons, but the new files sound awfully good (all things considered, of course).

 

I would be very interested in any impressions you may have if you do A/B comparisons.

 

I already have the SACD boxset, but I am considering buying the downloads. However, I would like to know if they are the original files, from which the SACDs were sourced, in which case I would refrain from buying again, or a new, superior remastering, in which case I would buy.

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I have found the new Boxset (with the Blu-Ray disc containig the 96kHz/24Bit versions) on the DG site:

BEETHOVEN 9 Symphonien - 1963 remastered / Karajan - 5 CDs + 1 Blu-ray Audio - Jetzt kaufen

 

and there is no mention that these have been newly remastered.

 

And if one looks into the details of one of the Blu-Ray tracks, it even mentiones SACD stereo as format, so they have just copied that info over from the SACD (boxset) release!

 

And the price for the boxset is quite tempting, ...

Esoterc SA-60 / Foobar2000 -> Mytek Stereo 192 DSD / Audio-GD NFB 28.38 -> MEG RL922K / AKG K500 / AKG K1000  / Audioquest Nighthawk / OPPO PM-2 / Sennheiser HD800 / Sennheiser Surrounder / Sony MA900 / STAX SR-303+SRM-323II

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106,99$ ??? WTF ...

Here in germany this boxset is announced for around 45 Euros (see link in post #4).

Esoterc SA-60 / Foobar2000 -> Mytek Stereo 192 DSD / Audio-GD NFB 28.38 -> MEG RL922K / AKG K500 / AKG K1000  / Audioquest Nighthawk / OPPO PM-2 / Sennheiser HD800 / Sennheiser Surrounder / Sony MA900 / STAX SR-303+SRM-323II

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and there is no mention that these have been newly remastered.

 

I just received an e-mail announcement from ProStudioMasters announcing their latest releases available for download, including this one. It specifically states "This set has been newly remastered at 24-bit/96 kHz for its 2014 re-release."

 

Not sure if I believe that or not....

 

Russell

MacBook Pro 2020 16” (16MB RAM, macOS Big Sur) > Audirvana Plus  > Pangea Audio USB-AG > Sony TA-ZH1ES > Nordost Heimdall 2 > Audeze LCD-3

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If so, they managed to remove most of what is below 1kHz.

 

C'mon, Bill--surely you jest...

 

Beet7FreqAnl.png

 

(From the first movement of the 7th.)

 

Russell

MacBook Pro 2020 16” (16MB RAM, macOS Big Sur) > Audirvana Plus  > Pangea Audio USB-AG > Sony TA-ZH1ES > Nordost Heimdall 2 > Audeze LCD-3

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I just received an e-mail announcement from ProStudioMasters announcing their latest releases available for download, including this one. It specifically states "This set has been newly remastered at 24-bit/96 kHz for its 2014 re-release."

 

Not sure if I believe that or not....

 

Since the whole point of DGG's Berliner Labs remastering project of the late 1990s was to get all extant Polygram Classics analogue master tapes into 24/96 digital for archiving purposes, I find it really dubious that they would then go back to the analogue masters and re-convert them at the same sample rate; if they were doing it again today, I'd suspect they'd do the conversion at 24/192, if for no other reason to have a higher-priced option at HDTracks, Qobuz, and the like.

 

My guess would be that "newly remastered" translates to "never having been made available to consumers at its native 24/96 rate before."

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If anyone compared these new 24/96 releases to the SACDs, I would be very interested in your impressions.

 

I already have the SACDs but am tempted to buy the downloads, but fear that they may sound the same. Also, the SACDs already sound very good, so the case for going for the new files is not very strong. But I am tempted nonetheless.

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I feel I wasted $18 on the set, so I cannot imagine spending $40+. I bought it because HvK did make some great recordings, and some critics consider this the best of his cycles. However, I find the performances completely nondescript. I concur with wgscott that the 24/96 sound is very thin, with no lower midrange richness and body.

 

I recommend Abbado's last Berlin Phil cycle as a much better cycle overall.

HQPlayer (on 3.8 GHz 8-core i7 iMac 2020) > NAA (on 2012 Mac Mini i7) > RME ADI-2 v2 > Benchmark AHB-2 > Thiel 3.7

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I feel I wasted $18 on the set, so I cannot imagine spending $40+. I bought it because HvK did make some great recordings, and some critics consider this the best of his cycles. However, I find the performances completely nondescript. I concur with wgscott that the 24/96 sound is very thin, with no lower midrange richness and body.

 

I recommend Abbado's last Berlin Phil cycle as a much better cycle overall.

 

Thanks: your and wgscott's concurring opinions save me $40.

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I feel I wasted $18 on the set, so I cannot imagine spending $40+. I bought it because HvK did make some great recordings, and some critics consider this the best of his cycles. However, I find the performances completely nondescript. I concur with wgscott that the 24/96 sound is very thin, with no lower midrange richness and body.

 

I recommend Abbado's last Berlin Phil cycle as a much better cycle overall.

 

I have Abbado's last Berlin Phil cycle on DVD-A. Talk about a snoozefest! Easily the most boring Beethoven symphony performances I've ever heard. I found myself fighting to stay awake during some of them.

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I have Abbado's last Berlin Phil cycle on DVD-A. Talk about a snoozefest! Easily the most boring Beethoven symphony performances I've ever heard. I found myself fighting to stay awake during some of them.

 

What is your favorite, then?

HQPlayer (on 3.8 GHz 8-core i7 iMac 2020) > NAA (on 2012 Mac Mini i7) > RME ADI-2 v2 > Benchmark AHB-2 > Thiel 3.7

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What is your favorite, then?

 

I have several: right now, my favorite "historically-informed performance" is the Anima Eterna ensemble conducted by Jos von Immerseel. Among standard orchestral performances, I'd pick the diametrically-opposed versions by Haitink/LSO and Barenboim/Statskappelle as favorites, depending on my mood. Then, there's Bernstein's with the VPO, which is excellent but recorded live, with less-than-exemplary sonics. The HvK in question is also quite fine, although I guess I prefer the modern practice of observing all exhibition repeats. My choices have been known to shift over time -- however, when I hear a performance I dislike, such as Abbado's, I generally don't find my opinion changing.

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I have Abbado's last Berlin Phil cycle on DVD-A. Talk about a snoozefest! Easily the most boring Beethoven symphony performances I've ever heard. I found myself fighting to stay awake during some of them.

 

Indeed, the Abbado cycle on DVD-A (and CD, of course) was sub-par. However, you might not be aware that it was not Abbado's "last" Berlin Phil Beethoven cycle. Subsequent to that cycle, the same forces performed a live cycle in Rome, which was videotaped and released on DVD by Euroarts. The performances (and sound, too, I've read) were so much better than the previously released cycle that DG decided to withdraw the earlier set and issue a "new" Abbado Beethoven CD set with the audio from the Rome videos. (This was done for all the symphonies except #9, which is from the earlier set.) See below for a little more info:

 

CD review: Beethoven: The Symphonies, Berliner Philharmoniker/Abbado | Music | The Guardian

 

Beethoven: Complete Symphonies: Amazon.co.uk: Music

 

Russell

MacBook Pro 2020 16” (16MB RAM, macOS Big Sur) > Audirvana Plus  > Pangea Audio USB-AG > Sony TA-ZH1ES > Nordost Heimdall 2 > Audeze LCD-3

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Abbado Rome cycle

 

I just learned the following from a web search:

 

CD box is light green for 2000 Berlin and purple for 2001 Rome. Both have the 2000 Berlin 9th with Quasthoff as basso.

 

DVD-V and Blu-ray sets have the 2001 Rome cycle, with a different 2000 Berlin 9th with Schulte as basso.

 

Stereo audio is 24-bit, 48 KHz on both DVD-V and Blu-ray, if you believe this Russian pirate site regarding the latter:

Beethoven Symphonies Nos. 1-9 (Claudio Abbado, Berliner Philharmoniker) [2000-2001, Classical, Blu-ray 1080i] :: RuTracker.org (ex torrents.ru)

 

DVD-V and purple CD are both about $30 at Amazon. Blu-ray is $66. I decided to buy the DVD-V so I can extract the 24/48 audio.

 

CD:

Amazon.com: Symphonies: Music

 

DVD-V:

Amazon.com: Claudio Abbado: Beethoven - Symphonies 1-9: Beethoven, Berlin Philharmonic, Abbado, Coles: Movies & TV

 

Blu-ray:

Amazon.com: Beethoven Symphonies 1-9 [blu-ray]: Beethoven, Abbado, Berliner Philharmoniker: Movies & TV

HQPlayer (on 3.8 GHz 8-core i7 iMac 2020) > NAA (on 2012 Mac Mini i7) > RME ADI-2 v2 > Benchmark AHB-2 > Thiel 3.7

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Stereo audio is 24-bit, 48 KHz on both DVD-V and Blu-ray, if you believe this Russian pirate site regarding the latter:

Beethoven Symphonies Nos. 1-9 (Claudio Abbado, Berliner Philharmoniker) [2000-2001, Classical, Blu-ray 1080i] :: RuTracker.org (ex torrents.ru)

 

DVD-V and purple CD are both about $30 at Amazon. Blu-ray is $66. I decided to buy the DVD-V so I can extract the 24/48 audio.

 

I also did some search on the web, and many reviewers say that the Blu-Ray brings very little improvement over the DVD in terms of image quality. Given that the sound is the same as on the DVD and that the price difference is very wide, choice seems to be clear indeed in favour of the DVD.

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