How does an SACD/DVDa of an old album work? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 2 Old 03-23-2011, 04:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi all.

I have a question about re-releases of old albums. Basically, I'd like to know whether a multichannel re-release of an older album (say, recorded in the 1960s) on an SACD or similar can actually sound better than the original stereo recording. And if so why.

I anticipate there will be a few different avenues to explore here but my basic confusion stems from my perception that the masters of these older recordings won't have enough information on them to allow a surround sound format.

Also, along the same lines, to what extent does making higher bit rate files (again from the original masters) lead to a better sound than the CD versions (which were obviously also made after the event)?

Any and all explanations most welcome.
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post #2 of 2 Old 03-23-2011, 05:50 PM
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They typically make SACDs from the master tapes, so the quality depends on the quality of those tapes, not on what ultimately was released. If, as was common for pop music, instruments are on individual tracks, they can control how much of an instrument's sound comes from each speaker. So it's not that much different from the way you'd produce a multichannel pop recording today.

If you're talking about live recordings, or "live in-studio" recordings, there are limits, but you can create a realistic-sounding space.

Beyond that, it comes down to mastering decisions. I'd say there's a better-than-even chance an SACD is mastered better than the original recording.

What's not really a factor is resolution—bit depth, sampling rate. CD-quality digital is quite sufficient to capture anything on an analog master tape.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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