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Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Hollywood, U.S.A.
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Dutton Vocalion SACDS
I just wanted to note the problems I've had with every single SACD I've gotten from Dutton / Vocalion... Mancini, Floyd Cramer, Stokowski, Hugo Montenegro... I think this label is mastering their multichannel music improperly.
I just got the Stokowski Bach Transcriptions / Wagner Brunnhilde's Immolation. It's derived from a quad master, but when I play it the light for 5.1 lights up. The response is very band limited. There is almost nothing below 80Hz. I had bass management turned on and I tried boosting the level of my sub to +16dB. With any other music, that would make the bass explode rattling the walls, but I could barely hear any difference with this SACD. The kettle drums were all top end rattle, no sub bass and the same was true of the string basses. At the end when the Rhine overflows its banks there is an extended triangle trill. It sounded like a bell, not a triangle- as if there was nothing above about 10 or 12kHz. The violins were mushy and lacked definition too. Normally, I would blame it on the recording, but I have the Decca Stokowski CD box set and on there the bass is full and the treble is crisp.
There also seems to be some rechannelling going on. Even though this is a quad recording, there's sound coming out of the center channel, and sometimes there are odd balances where something that should be front left or front right gets smeared to the rear channel along the side wall. Very unnatural sounding when it's strings in the Stokowski or piano in the Mancini. When this happens there is a weird phasey distortion that sounds like one of those fake stereo boxes from the 70s. I've never heard the quad versions of these albums, so I don't know how the parts are laid out in the four channels, but I have the stereo CDs of the Stokowski and Mancini albums and the CDs sound a LOT better than the SACDs.
I encountered these same exact same problems on every other Dutton Vocalion disk I've gotten. It sounds nice and clean in the middle frequencies, but there are steep rolloffs on the top and bottom, as if I was playing them on bookshelf speakers, not full range speakers with a subwoofer. I thought it might be just the Mancini and Cramer albums since they were among the first SACDs Dutton Vocalion produced, but now more than a year later, I just got two new releases and they have the same problems. Perhaps they might sound OK on headphones or on little bookshelf speakers, but on a good system it sounds really bad.
Just letting everyone know. if you see stuff you like on the Dutton label, try one and see what you think before you go ordering a bunch from England. Caveat emptor.
Some Dutton Vocalion releases don't have these problems. Here is a list of the ones verified by our forum members to have a full frequency response:
Ray Davies and the Button Down Brass: Themes from The Exorcist, The French Connection, The Sting and other great films & Flashpoint
Pure Prairie League: Two Lane Highway & If the Shoe Fits
Last edited by sworth; 08-21-2017 at 06:55 PM.