Recommend great music demo discs? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 02-07-2010, 01:44 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm finally upgrading to a quality audio system that will excel in music as well as movies. Over the years when I've read reviews on audio gear, the reviewers always mention the discs they use for auditioning. Sometimes I'm familiar with the performer, sometimes I'm not, but they are able to describe very specific nuances and details that are revealed when you have a high-quality audio system, and I'd like to have the same kind of experience.

For demonstrating the quality of movies, there are titles that are known as "go-to" demo discs for great scenes that give your system a dynamic workout.

I'm looking for recommendations on "go-to" discs for demonstrating music -- audiophile-grade discs that really reveal the you-are-there quality that are often referenced in high-end reviews. Like most people, the majority of my music library is lossy MP3s, but I'd like to have a modest collection of discs when I want quality listening, or to demonstrate to friends the (hopefully vast) difference between a typical MP3 and a high-resolution audio format.

I'm open to virtually any genre of music, the only caveat being that it must be able to play using a Playstation 3 as a source (connected via HDMI) -- which I believe means either CD, SACD, or perhaps lossless audio files streamed over my network. I suppose I'd be open to any quality concerts available on Blu-ray, but a video component to the music is a very low priority.

I've never purchased a heard an SACD disc before (I chose to sit out of the DVD-Audio and SACD format war, and didn't have equipment that was high enough quality to appreciate them anyway), so I'm particularly hearing audio that is superior to CD quality.

Thanks for your recommendations!

-R

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post #2 of 6 Old 02-07-2010, 01:59 PM
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The top 5 in my SACD rotation right now are 1) Dire Straights, Brother in Arms 2) Roxy Music's Avalon 3) Sting's Nothing like the sun (DTS. not sacd) 4) Pink Floyd's Dark side of the moon and 5) anything by Elton John.
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post #3 of 6 Old 02-07-2010, 08:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rsinclair View Post

I'm finally upgrading to a quality audio system that will excel in music as well as movies. Over the years when I've read reviews on audio gear, the reviewers always mention the discs they use for auditioning. Sometimes I'm familiar with the performer, sometimes I'm not, but they are able to describe very specific nuances and details that are revealed when you have a high-quality audio system, and I'd like to have the same kind of experience.

For I've never purchased a heard an SACD disc before (I chose to sit out of the DVD-Audio and SACD format war, and didn't have equipment that was high enough quality to appreciate them anyway), so I'm particularly hearing audio that is superior to CD quality.

Thanks for your recommendations!

-R

The Jerry Goldsmith Compilation SACD is very good if you want high quality music from popular movies and TV that Jerry composed for. There is a deep thump in the subwoofer on the Star Trek TMP theme as well as excellent dynamics throughout. I believe it is available at low price. The only thing I didn't like on that disc was Jerry merged several movie themes and TV shows into two tracks, so you can't just jump to specific music in some cases. For example, the McArthur and Patton themes are one track.

One of the things that I like to do is buy sampler discs. Each disc contains tracks from other albums. You can get an idea for the quality of the album by listening to the sampler tracks. If you don't like one track, maybe the next one will be great. Find a great one and you can then order the album.

The Telarc sampler discs are nice, too but are mostly classical or jazz oriented. Discs 5 and 7 have a few tracks that are less than the normal Telarc effort, but the rest are fantastic. The track from Master and Commander on Sampler disc 6 is fantastic. All the Telarc sampler discs are readily available at low cost. Any Telarc surround track mixed by Micheal Bishop or Richard Friedrich will be full range and often quite interesting in their use of surround speakers.

I was not particularly impressed with the two Concord sampler discs both with content and the quality of the recordings.

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post #4 of 6 Old 02-09-2010, 07:34 PM
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I have to disagree with voyager6, I think the Concord Records SACD Samplers both 1 and 2 are excellent demo discs, not only for the quality of the recordings but for the music itself. You could do a lot worse with some of these other "audiophile" discs, particularly in the music department.

For pure audio quality, I've also liked the "High-End Audiophile Test Demo SACD"s put out by Marantz, particularly the 9th Edition. One of my favorite tracks on there is "Dreamland" by Saxophone Artvark, which is a saxophone quartet. It really is a great test for the imaging and soundstage of your speakers, as if set-up properly, you can really pick out the position of each of the saxophones in which position they are situated. This is of course a stereo SACD, but a really excellent one.
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post #5 of 6 Old 02-10-2010, 10:46 AM
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You could always convert dvd-audio discs to a blu-ray and play them as well.
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post #6 of 6 Old 02-10-2010, 11:28 AM
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There is virtually a boatload of great sounding SACDs.

Go here for recommendations and reviews amongst genres:

www.sa-cd.net

Bang for buck? Most of the RCA Living Stereo SACDs are great!
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