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Is there anybody here who knows the actual NATIVE recording format and resolutions for the entire series so far?

I have downloaded the first three, as DSD 64 downloads but it seems some are actually either DXD or DSD 64 or even DSD 256 recordings.

Without ability to play anything above DSD 64 via speakers with my Hugo not working via speakers any longer,but still curious about the two latest releases, I instead downloaded Tchaikovsky´s Pathetique and Dawn to Dust from the German site Highres Audio as 24/192 downloads.

The Tchaikovsky is according to the booklet information a native DSD 256,or as native as DSD 256 gets via Horus, recording and sounds excellent via the only DAC I can use via speakers currently my Benchmark DAC 2 HGC.

Probably the best,most realistic SQ that work has got in digital form so far imho.

I am particularly impressed by the very clear very clean and transparent low strings in the last movement. I don't think I have heard those cellos and basses so naturally and realistically reproduced in a digital recording before. But to my surprise today´s 24/192 pcm download of Dusk to Dust is according to the booklet a native DSD 64 recording?

Not to worry SQ wise it also sounds excellent in its 24/192 version via the same DAC speaker system.

But why is it available as 24/192 from Highres Audio and both as DXD, DSD 64 DSD 128 and DSD 256 from native DSD .com if it is indeed a native DSD 64 recording?

Musically the works on Dusk to Dust are quite interesting but rather easy, at times even predictable from bar to bar at first hearing,contemporary works and nowhere near the masterpiece Tchaikcovsky´s Pathetique is imho.

The Tchaikovsky is so good that I will also download it in all its formats to compare whatever differences there may be going down from native in steps and via DACs capable of all formats. If anybody has already done so I am all ears to hear about your opinons of such comparisons.

For the time being Tchaikovsky in its 24/192 form is quite impressive via my system anyway.

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As far as I know, the "native" format is DXD 24/352. And inside the booklet of Honeck / LvB Sym.5 & 7 they write: Sampling rate: DXD. That sounds very logical to me. DXD is high quality PCM, where any mastering is possible. And the final DSD versions are converted ones.

 

Anyway, the Honeck is a masterpiece :)

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I downloaded the Tchaikovsky in DSD64 format from NativeDSD. The booklet says it was recorded in DSD256. This will be my first recording in this series.

Auralic Aries G2, Ayre QX-5 Twenty, Ayre KX-5 Twenty, Ayre VX-5 Twenty, Revel Ultima Studio2, Iconoclast speaker cables & interconnects, RealTraps acoustic treatments, Sonore opticalModule (X2)

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I downloaded the Tchaikovsky in DSD64 format from NativeDSD. The booklet says it was recorded in DSD256. This will be my first recording in this series.

 

 

 

I hope you enjoy it. I was a bit underwhelmed by the actual performance at first compared to some of the older classic interpretations of the work both on record and live. I found it a bit understated especially the last movement sounding more beautiful than Lamentoso.

I was thinking "well played but with more feeling please" the first couple of times I played it.

But repeated listening has made me appreciate both the beautiful playing and superb recording more and more.

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As far as I know, the "native" format is DXD 24/352. And inside the booklet of Honeck / LvB Sym.5 & 7 they write: Sampling rate: DXD. That sounds very logical to me. DXD is high quality PCM, where any mastering is possible. And the final DSD versions are converted ones.

 

Anyway, the Honeck is a masterpiece :)

 

You are right regarding the Beethoven. But I think it differs from recording to recording with the latest ones being either DXD or DSD 256 and the first ones DSD 64.

But what surprised me was that the Dusk to Dust release which is one of the most recent releases,according to the booklet was done in DSD 64 but is sold at anything from DSD 64 to DSD 128/256 and DXD!

If it is indeed a DSD 64 recording one site is charging a lot more for both DSD 64 and upsampled versions than Highres Audio does for their 24/192.

I paid €17.50 for my downloads.

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I know, what I write know is my personal opinion and of course is against all official statements:

I think, all of them are DXD first ...

 

Of course the qualitiy is absolutely perfect - out of question :)

 

I agree it doesn't make a lot of sense using all of these different recording formats: DXD, DSD64, DSD256, etc. Maybe someone from NativeDSD can chime in and explain where the different formats being sold come from? Personally, I think everything would be simpler if DXD (24/352) was the standard for recording and multiple format options could be readily derived from one master. YMMV

Auralic Aries G2, Ayre QX-5 Twenty, Ayre KX-5 Twenty, Ayre VX-5 Twenty, Revel Ultima Studio2, Iconoclast speaker cables & interconnects, RealTraps acoustic treatments, Sonore opticalModule (X2)

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I agree it doesn't make a lot of sense using all of these different recording formats: DXD, DSD64, DSD256, etc. Maybe someone from NativeDSD can chime in and explain where the different formats being sold come from? Personally, I think everything would be simpler if DXD (24/352) was the standard for recording and multiple format options could be readily derived from one master. YMMV

 

I agree as things stand now regarding these recordings they seem to be "all over the place" as a ranger told me I was when I was slalom driving a bit in Fresh snow with my 4-wheel drive in Grand Canyon NP a winter many years ago.

Back on topic, I feel the two latest are very good indeed although possibly from different resolution masters.

My only real complaint regarding the Tchaikovsky would be that the miking is so close that the clearly audible intake of breaths can be a bit disturbing on repeated hearings.

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Maybe someone from NativeDSD can chime in and explain where the different formats being sold come from?

 

NativeDSD is offering multiple DSD bit rate and DXD recordings on those projects where we can obtain the original DXD edited master, which is not normally produced.

 

All Reference Recordings Fresh series projects are recorded and produced by Soundmirror in Boston. To date, they've included projects from the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and Utah Symphony. The PSO Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Bruckner, Strauss, and Utah Symphony Mahler 1 were all recorded at 256fs DSD, regardless of what any booklet says. The US Dawn to Dust was recorded in DXD due to the channel count requirements. All RR Fresh series recordings were post processed in DXD using Merging Technologies Pyramix Digital Audio Workstations (DAW), then converted to DSDIFF edited masters for authoring to 64fs DST cutting masters for SACD production

 

The normal procedure for making downloads is to obtain the DSD 64fs edited master from the label (the only digital format the labels archive), slice it into tracks and metadata tag, then offer as a DSD64 download. Reference Recordings, along with several other labels are producing and providing to NativeDSD original DXD edited masters from the session files, prior to the DSDIFF conversion for SACD production. This is an extra cost step for the label, for normally while the post processing occurs in DXD (352.8KHz PCM), a DXD edited master product is not produced, just the DSDIFF edited master, when the post processing is complete.

 

NativeDSD has developed a proprietary process of creating a series of click-free track recordings in each DSD bit rate from the original DXD edit master, eliminating two conversion steps normally incurred with producing multi DSD bit rate products. Included also is a FLAC compressed DXD of the same DXD .wav file.

 

This process, for which we're coining the term DXDdirectDSD, will be being formally offered in a future announcement. For the time being, we're releasing these DXD mastered recordings as we receive them. The next two out will be from the Cobra label on NativeDSD.

 

To the point raised that it would make more sense to standardize on DXD (352.8KHz PCM), it in fact would not. All current professional A/D converters are Sigma-Delta modulator front ended producing a Pulse Density Modulated bit stream or streams at a high bit rate. In order to be converted to PCM, these must be filtered, and in reat time since it's being recorded. Other than being archaic, and very data inefficient, there's nothing wrong with PCM (it's just a numbering system after all). The problem is the conversion losses going from one format system to another. Recording in DXD requires using the resources contained in the A/D converter, verses recording in DSD and later doing the conversion in a computer with much greater processing power. That allows more sophisticated filtering and modulator algorithms to be employed, plus allowing the use of the original DSD content for future yet developed products and processes.

 

Hope this helps,

 

Tom

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My only real complaint regarding the Tchaikovsky would be that the miking is so close that the clearly audible intake of breaths can be a bit disturbing on repeated hearings.

 

I agree about the breathing but the close miking technique is typical for live recordings these days, I guess to minimize audience noise. The other characteristic that these live recordings can exhibit is that I find them lacking "air" and hall ambience. I suppose the combination of close miking and having an audience present results in an over-damped sound quality, this is true for the Tchaikovsky recording as well. After only one listen I can't comment on the performance but I was not "blown away" by the SQ (I also don't appreciate the "ticks" between tracks, which I find very annoying). Maybe I will change my mind after a few more listens...

Auralic Aries G2, Ayre QX-5 Twenty, Ayre KX-5 Twenty, Ayre VX-5 Twenty, Revel Ultima Studio2, Iconoclast speaker cables & interconnects, RealTraps acoustic treatments, Sonore opticalModule (X2)

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NativeDSD is offering multiple DSD bit rate and DXD recordings on those projects where we can obtain the original DXD edited master, which is not normally produced.

 

All Reference Recordings Fresh series projects are recorded and produced by Soundmirror in Boston. To date, they've included projects from the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and Utah Symphony. The PSO Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Bruckner, Strauss, and Utah Symphony Mahler 1 were all recorded at 256fs DSD, regardless of what any booklet says. The US Dawn to Dust was recorded in DXD due to the channel count requirements. All RR Fresh series recordings were post processed in DXD using Merging Technologies Pyramix Digital Audio Workstations (DAW), then converted to DSDIFF edited masters for authoring to 64fs DST cutting masters for SACD production

 

The normal procedure for making downloads is to obtain the DSD 64fs edited master from the label (the only digital format the labels archive), slice it into tracks and metadata tag, then offer as a DSD64 download. Reference Recordings, along with several other labels are producing and providing to NativeDSD original DXD edited masters from the session files, prior to the DSDIFF conversion for SACD production. This is an extra cost step for the label, for normally while the post processing occurs in DXD (352.8KHz PCM), a DXD edited master product is not produced, just the DSDIFF edited master, when the post processing is complete.

 

NativeDSD has developed a proprietary process of creating a series of click-free track recordings in each DSD bit rate from the original DXD edit master, eliminating two conversion steps normally incurred with producing multi DSD bit rate products. Included also is a FLAC compressed DXD of the same DXD .wav file.

 

This process, for which we're coining the term DXDdirectDSD, will be being formally offered in a future announcement. For the time being, we're releasing these DXD mastered recordings as we receive them. The next two out will be from the Cobra label on NativeDSD.

 

Tom, thanks for you detailed explanation, I knew you wouldn't let us down. :-)

 

To the point raised that it would make more sense to standardize on DXD (352.8KHz PCM), it in fact would not. All current professional A/D converters are Sigma-Delta modulator front ended producing a Pulse Density Modulated bit stream or streams at a high bit rate. In order to be converted to PCM, these must be filtered, and in reat time since it's being recorded. Other than being archaic, and very data inefficient, there's nothing wrong with PCM (it's just a numbering system after all). The problem is the conversion losses going from one format system to another. Recording in DXD requires using the resources contained in the A/D converter, verses recording in DSD and later doing the conversion in a computer with much greater processing power. That allows more sophisticated filtering and modulator algorithms to be employed, plus allowing the use of the original DSD content for future yet developed products and processes.

 

Yes, and 90+% of all DAC's are DSM-based as well but we can still play PCM files. What I suggested about DXD being the standard is exactly what you are describing, re. DXDDirectDSD. If the recordings were all converted to DXD as a master format, then all other formats could be derived from it. Kudos to you guys for pushing this forward, definitely should be the industry standard. Personally, I prefer PCM format and would love to be able to purchase all of my downloads as tick-free 24/176 files.

Auralic Aries G2, Ayre QX-5 Twenty, Ayre KX-5 Twenty, Ayre VX-5 Twenty, Revel Ultima Studio2, Iconoclast speaker cables & interconnects, RealTraps acoustic treatments, Sonore opticalModule (X2)

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I prefer PCM format and would love to be able to purchase all of my downloads as tick-free 24/176 files.

 

Well, I owe you a recording from a previous conversation, pick one of the Reference, or new Cobra's in DXD, and I'll send you a download code. You can then convert it to any other PCM sample rate, just like they do in studios.

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Hi Tom,

 

So the 256 Tchaikovsky download on NATIVEDSD is one of these?:

 

NativeDSD has developed a proprietary process of creating a series of click-free track recordings in each DSD bit rate from the original DXD edit master, eliminating two conversion steps normally incurred with producing multi DSD bit rate products. Included also is a FLAC compressed DXD of the same DXD .wav file.

 

This process, for which we're coining the term DXDdirectDSD, will be being formally offered in a future announcement. For the time being, we're releasing these DXD mastered recordings as we receive them. The next two out will be from the Cobra label on NativeDSD.

Tom

 

Best

Craig

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Tom,

 

Thanks for all the information. I just bought the RefRec Tchaikovsky Sym 6/Dvorak with the PSO and the Dawn to Dust with the Utah SO. I bought both in mch and stereo combi 256DSD. They are BIG files, after decoding, the mch albums are 26-28GB each. Took a little while to download. I'll try to play them tonight. I have the other RefRec mch albums on SACD, which I ripped, so I could play them on my Merging NADAC mch. However, the NativeDSD website only shows the Beethoven Symphony 5,7 album as available on 256DSD mch. The others aren't listed. Maybe they will show up in the future? Thanks, Larry

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So the 256 Tchaikovsky download on NATIVEDSD is one of these?

 

Yes, as is the Beethoven 5 &7, and the Utah Symphony Dawn to Dust. I'll be doing the same for the RR Utah Symphony Mahler 1 in the next week to complete the RR's we have the DXD edited masters. I'll let everyone know when it's available.

 

Best,

 

Tom

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Yes, as is the Beethoven 5 &7, and the Utah Symphony Dawn to Dust. I'll be doing the same for the RR Utah Symphony Mahler 1 in the next week to complete the RR's we have the DXD edited masters. I'll let everyone know when it's available.

 

Best,

 

Tom

 

Trouble is I bought Dawn to Dust at 64fs on the basis that the NativeDSD specs tell me it was recorded at 64fs (as do the Sound Mirror Technical Notes in the booklet, which I checked before buying at 64). Can I upgrade to the DXD/256 now you’ve confirmed that this is wrong?

The same goes for the Strauss, Bruckner, and Janacek/Dvorak, which judging from your previous post clearly have the wrong info in the NativeDSD Tech specs. I assume from what you say above that you don’t have the DXD masters for these?

 

Craig

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I agree about the breathing but the close miking technique is typical for live recordings these days, I guess to minimize audience noise. The other characteristic that these live recordings can exhibit is that I find them lacking "air" and hall ambience. I suppose the combination of close miking and having an audience present results in an over-damped sound quality, this is true for the Tchaikovsky recording as well. After only one listen I can't comment on the performance but I was not "blown away" by the SQ (I also don't appreciate the "ticks" between tracks, which I find very annoying). Maybe I will change my mind after a few more listens...

 

 

Interesting to hear.I had basically the same feeling the first times I listened to the Tchaikovsky too, ie a bit dry and very close mic´d.

I even compared it with the early BIS Sony DSD 64 SACD where I was present at the sessions and found it airier but also with some of the DSD 64 limitations ie post processing noise and colorations audible.

I know there are those who claim that there is no real SQ difference between different RCA connections and cables, but I use two similar priced cables for different recordings with VERY obviously different audible results. My Chord Indigo Blue pulls everything in very close and sounds quite different from my Audioquest Cobra cables via my system.

It is almost like listening to two different recordings sometimes. The Cobra takes a step back and includes more of the ,with these live recordings,somewhat missing venue air and hall ambience back into the equation again.

And makes both decay into silence from for example the impressive Gong in the last movement of the Tchaikovsky clearer and with slightly more tone color and timbre than the Chord cable via my electrostatic speakers.

But it also makes the disturbing intakes of breaths now and then in quiet passages of the Tchaikovsky particularly a wee bit more obvious than the Chord does.

 

But with simpler mic´d recordings like the Decca tree takes from Danish Label Dacapo I sometimes prefer the Chord cable.

Good to have it confirmed too that the Dawn to Dust is a DXD and not DSD 64 native recording which I too suspected from not hearing any obvious differences in timbre and tonality between the two 24/192 downloads of it and the Tchaikovsky apart from different hall works and orchestra of course.

It doesn't exhibit any of the softness or slight timbral coloration I hear from for example Pentatone's recent DSD 64 recordings of similar music by Dvorak as the suite on the Tchaikovsky album either . Nor any clicks or hf noise.

Even via my relatively humble Benchmark DAC 2 HGC these two in their 24/192 incarnations, sound slightly more neutral and less colored timbrally than my DSD 64 downloads from the earlier ones to my ears.

It could be that my Benchmark is not ideal for DSD but I don't miss the DSD 64 "thickness" and softening of percussion at all. In that respect the not quite kosher or halal way Hugo deals with DSD 64 sounds more real to me. Not as much softening/dulling /greying of percussion from Hugo as from Benchmark .

If the first ones are indeed either DSD 256 or DXD native recordings and become available as DXD downloads I will download them as such for further comparisons.

To my ears they are in their DSD 64 form not quite as realistic and clean as these two latest ones sound in their downsampled 24/192 form.

Cheers Chris enjoying my music via speakers again, after a long sunny winter of "headphoning".

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Trouble is I bought Dawn to Dust at 64fs on the basis that the NativeDSD specs tell me it was recorded at 64fs (as do the Sound Mirror Technical Notes in the booklet, which I checked before buying at 64). Can I upgrade to the DXD/256 now you’ve confirmed that this is wrong?

The same goes for the Strauss, Bruckner, and Janacek/Dvorak, which judging from your previous post clearly have the wrong info in the NativeDSD Tech specs. I assume from what you say above that you don’t have the DXD masters for these?

 

Craig

 

Hi Craig,

 

Certainly, I'll send you a download notification for the DSD256 Dawn to Dust to your NativeDSD account today. We'll also go through the RR supplied recording notes and correct them with the information I confirmed with Soundmirror yesterday.

 

You are correct about the Bruckner, Strauss and Janacek/Dvorak releases. We processed them from the DSD64 edit masters, and released them in DSD64 only. If there's an interest, I'll investigate obtaining those three recordings from Soundmirror's archive of DXD edited masters, and processing them to all the DSD bit rates plus DXD FLAC. The drawback is each is a bit more than two days work converting and tagging independently the three DSD bit rates and DXD FLAC for both stereo and multichannel delivery. It's the only way to guarantee clickless inter track transitions when played as an album. We'd be pleased to if there's download customer interest.

 

Tom

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Hi Craig,

 

Certainly, I'll send you a download notification for the DSD256 Dawn to Dust to your NativeDSD account today. We'll also go through the RR supplied recording notes and correct them with the information I confirmed with Soundmirror yesterday.

 

You are correct about the Bruckner, Strauss and Janacek/Dvorak releases. We processed them from the DSD64 edit masters, and released them in DSD64 only. If there's an interest, I'll investigate obtaining those three recordings from Soundmirror's archive of DXD edited masters, and processing them to all the DSD bit rates plus DXD FLAC. The drawback is each is a bit more than two days work converting and tagging independently the three DSD bit rates and DXD FLAC for both stereo and multichannel delivery. It's the only way to guarantee clickless inter track transitions when played as an album. We'd be pleased to if there's download customer interest.

 

Tom

 

Fantastic! Thanks.

 

Certainly I'd love to have those other Pittsburgh albums in DXD. I hope others express this wish too.

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Fantastic! Thanks.

 

Certainly I'd love to have those other Pittsburgh albums in DXD. I hope others express this wish too.

 

I expressed the same wish in my post above and just noted that HIGHRESAUDIO has already got the latest release from the series. To me, an unknown american composer and Opera from 1958 recorded for the first time, "Wuthering Heights".

Judging from the 24 /192 stero only,download format there again it should also be a DSD 256 or DXD.

I am sure it will appear at Native DSD, as well soon.

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I expressed the same wish in my post above and just noted that HIGHRESAUDIO has already got the latest release from the series. To me, an unknown american composer and Opera from 1958 recorded for the first time, "Wuthering Heights".

Judging from the 24 /192 stero only,download format there again it should also be a DSD 256 or DXD.

I am sure it will appear at Native DSD, as well soon.

 

I just earmarked that release too when it appeared on HRA. You develop a sort of hunter's instinct for sensing which releases to look out for on NativeDSD. I do that frequently with Harmonia Mundi releases where you see from the album book preview on HRA that it's better to wait for them as DSD on NatIveDSD.

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FYI: Gramophone just reviewed the Honeck Tchaikovsky Pathetique in their recently released July issue, and their review can be summarized as "meh" (or to quote "proficient but lacking in emotion"). Unusual for Gramophone, they also commented on the SQ, and didn't like it ("cloudy and bass-light") compared to other RR releases.

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FYI: Gramophone just reviewed the Honeck Tchaikovsky Pathetique in their recently released July issue, and their review can be summarized as "meh" (or to quote "proficient but lacking in emotion"). Unusual for Gramophone, they also commented on the SQ, and didn't like it ("cloudy and bass-light") compared to other RR releases.
Depends on which "other RR releases" are being compared. When I compare the 'fresh' series with the non-'fresh' RR releases, in multichannel, I would characterize the 'fresh' releases as getting the bass right. The others have too much bass emphasis and what worked for them in stereo does not succeed in multichannel. IMHO.

Kal Rubinson

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

 

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Depends on which "other RR releases" are being compared. When I compare the 'fresh' series with the non-'fresh' RR releases, in multichannel, I would characterize the 'fresh' releases as getting the bass right. The others have too much bass emphasis and what worked for them in stereo does not succeed in multichannel. IMHO.

 

 

Hello Kal I agree regarding the bass.

I just played the RR Tchaikovsky via speakers again. And although the far too audible intakes of breaths I mentioned in my initial post are becoming more disturbing at every listening session I like the playing and generally accurate timbre of instruments captured in the a bit too dry and "overdamped" as axiom5 put it very accurately imo, acoustic with little hall sound. And there is absolutely NO lack of deep bass ,or midbass for that matter,via my speakers that are virtually flat down to 30hz. Both basses and the gong sound very realistic.

The interpretation is imho a bit low key and understated which I also noted in my initial post.

I guess Gramophone got it a bit right there at least.

I suppose it opens up a bit acoustically played in its mch form?

But what is your take on the Beethoven album Kal?

The differences in interpretation between Tchaikovsky and Beethoven is surprising to say the least.

Understated Tchaikovsky and almost exaggerated ,really dramatic Beethoven ,full of drive.

I kind of like the unorthodox not always indicated in the score, but often convincing, strong accents and general drive of both the 5th and 7th. But I find the actual recording balance in stereo at least, FAR TOO close-up and multimic´d, even tiring and almost as if listening to Beethoven in an anechoic chamber at times.

I also find the basses on the left troublesome, they mask the first violins so much at times that I have an uneasy feeling they had too both spotmic them and maybe even lift them a bit in the final mix.

Whatever the real reasons may be, the end result, doesn´t sound particularly flattering to either Beethoven,nor the orchestra.

Flat piercing ,and with little or no air except at powerful tutti chords,

the only times when there is any real sign of any acoustic.

Quite disappointing in stereo I have to say.Not only via speakers but equally so or even more so, via headphones.

I sure hope it sounds more naturallly balanced in mch than in stereo.

I wish they´d made a recording version with only the main stereo pair and no spot mics at all!

I have no interest in listening to the conductor´s or the players´ breathing here either.

To hear what DSD 256 is possibly really capable of I hold higher hopes from Jared Sacks and his upcoming Mahler and Mendelsohn recordings from Budapest.

Although he too like basically everyone else these days, uses spotmiking ,he does so much less intrusively than these RR fresh releases so far imo.

He works in the great acoustics of Budapest Festival Hall and takes full advantage of that.

Do you know if the Pittsburgh hall is this dry in real life ?

Jared may have one initial really interesting release up his sleeve , the upcoming binaural DSD 256 Mahler.

Meanwhile when I want to listen to Beethoven´s 7th closer to how it sounds live in a real hall than from RR fresh, I turn to his excellent early DSD 64 recording also from Budapest.

But I still have to say I like the intoxicating speed Honeck gets from his players in the last movement of the 7th.

Only Karajan beat that imo.

Regarding Reference Recordings in general I have to say that although sometimes a bit overdone in the bass as you say, the Prof Johnson PCM 176.4 and older analogue RR recordings are clearly better,more realistically balanced than any of the RR fresh which sound closer and drier than I have ever heard any of these works live or in recordings.

Cheers Chris

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FYI: Gramophone just reviewed the Honeck Tchaikovsky Pathetique in their recently released July issue, and their review can be summarized as "meh" (or to quote "proficient but lacking in emotion"). Unusual for Gramophone, they also commented on the SQ, and didn't like it ("cloudy and bass-light") compared to other RR releases.

 

Hello Musicophile,

 

Did the review mention the disturbing extra-musical breathing excercises from conductor and players realistically captured in hi res, at all?

If not ,just ignore their take on the Bass.

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