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Subject: Re: Question re Callas Remasterings on SACD
From: ls111553 <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:ls111553 <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 13 Jul 2018 17:32:57 -0400

text/plain (150 lines)

I love Oppo players. Their demise made me so sad that I ordered a 205 as
soon as I read the news. It joins my trusted 95 and 93 Oppos, so I guess I
have plenty of backups.

The new Callas remasterings are released as SACDs only in Japan but many of
them are available locally by searching under "Callas SACD" on Amazon. The
results may be labelled as "Audio CD" but you can confirm they are SACDs by
looking at the detailed descriptions, and of course by their prices Yes,
they are expensive. I usually look for "used" and buy them without
hesitation. No problems so far.

My overseas source for the ones I can't find on is CDBANQ in
Taiwan. Prices same as Amazon, but sometimes there are better deals and
availability. Shipping (slowest and cheapest) is about $3.99 per item.
Delivery takes about three weeks, but I'm in no hurry. After all, most of
the EMI SACDs titles in Amazon are shipped from Japan. I have ordered some
items from, but shipping cost is often higher than at CDBANQ.

Other local sources:

EMI has released a substantial number of SACD remasterings, including many
Fürtwängler and von Karajan releases as well as opera titles such as the
Beecham-De los Ángeles Carmen. A very worthwhile (and expensive at nearly
$100) is the DECCA SACD editions of Parsifal conducted by Knappertsbusch
and the first act of Walküre by Knapperstsbusch - Flagstad.

An excellent website for keeping up with what's being released on SACD and
Blu-Ray audio is High Resolution Audio net

A hybrid SACD has two layers of data: a high resolution SACD layer and a
Red Book (regular CD) layer, which makes these discs playable on both SACD
capable and regular CD players. A single-layer SACD can only be played on
SACD capable players.

Although I welcome -and collect- the new SACD and Blu-ray audio releases of
legendary old recordings, I must remark that I strive to hear any
substantial differences between the CD and the SACD layers of hybrid
releases in which both versions come from the same master (not the case
with Mercury and most RCA Living Stereo releases) and Blu-ray audio discs
vs the CD copies included in the same set. I suppose that the main factor
here are the decisions made at the remastering stage. I find most recent
remasterings of old analog material (as in most SACD and Blu-ray releases)
to sound remarkably better than earlier CD versions, possibly thanks to
better technology coupled to more expertise and understanding of digital
audio by mastering engineers. In my opinion, these qualities are also
present on CD copies of the same masters, despite their reduced
resolution.  Of course, owning near-identical copies of the master tapes,
as offered in high res formats is very enticing, as well as access to multi
channel options, often available on SACD and Blu-ray, but not possible on

Regular audio CDs are encoded in 16 bits and sampled at 44.1 kHz. High
resolution recordings on SACD, Blu-ray and downloadable files are encoded
in 24 bits and sampled at 96 kHz or higher.  The sampling rate determines
the highest possible frequency that can be stored in the signal. For 44.1
kHz (Audio CD) theoretically frequencies up to below 22.05 kHz can be
stored. For 96 kHz, the limit is 48 kHz (always half the sampling rate).

Infant humans can hear up to about 20 kHz, so theoretically a sampling rate
of 40 kHz would be inclusive enough, but 44.1 kHz was chosen for audio CDs
due to technical reasons. Analog master tapes, from which most opera
recordings are derived cannot capture frequencies above 15 kHz, which,
again, are audible to babies and dogs, but not too many opera lovers fall
in those groups. The bit depth determines the range between the softest and
loudest possible sound = dynamic range. 16 bit (Audio CD) can yield an
effective dynamic range of 120 dB. Only few DACs + amplifiers reach that,
let alone loudspeakers and for that matter, our ears.

On Fri, Jul 13, 2018 at 12:52 PM, Max D. Winter <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> I recently got an Oppo Blu Ray player (replacing an old Sony CD player)
> which has
> transformed my listening experience; I feel like I am hearing my Klipsch
> Cornwalls for the
> first time.  (Proof of the old adage that a chain is only as strong as its
> weakest link.)  I have
> listened to the Decca Ring in Blu Ray and the Price/Solti "Aida" and
> Nilsson/Leinsdorf
> "Turandot" in SACD, all revelatory listening experiences (notwithstanding
> the original
> problematic sonics of the latter).
> I have also listened to some of the Warner Callas releases (I have the
> complete set) played
> on my new toy, and of course they sound wonderful.  But I was wondering -
> are any of
> these remasterings available in SACD at anything other than truly
> outrageous prices from
> Japan?  The Decca Blu Ray issues are priced very reasonably, particularly
> the Ring, which at
> $62.00 (a single disc) came out to less than $4.50 per disc for the
> equivalent on CD.
> Also, to what extent has EMI (I guess I should say Warner) jumped on the
> SACD/Blu Ray
> bandwagon with its classic recordings?  Doing a search on Amazon for my
> favorite
> EMI/Angel oldies, I don't see very many.
> Finally, what is SACD Hybrid and how does it differ, if it does, from
> **********************************************
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