I love JVC XRCDs and will definitely check this one out. Thanks!
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Last week I just received three XRCDs. The first was the 1957 recording of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition conducted by Fritz Reiner. It's amazing what the JVC engineers did with that recording. Reiner's rendition was very spirited.
Also, got a nice XRCD by Ondekoza for those of you familiar with these amazing drummers from Japan.
The third XRCD was James Newton Howard's famous Sheffield Labs recording of JNH and Friends. They've done a great job of highlighting the Yamaha synths while making them sound very natural. However, they screwed up by transposing tracks #2 & 3. Still a great effort. This recording was used as a reference in car stereo circles in the early '80's when it was released, but to my ears always sounded thin and recorded with the levels set too low. JVC has done a great job with this one.
Jond the K2 super coding eliminates the base jitters in the digital domain cleaner than other recording levels formats.SACD pressings are a hit and and miss inregards to sonic values but the JVC has a dedicated pressing plant in Yokohama Japan that has strict quality controls and experience technos,so I would think the quality of the releases are better..anyways from my limited experiences I never heard a terrible XRCD but I heard alot of bad SACD pressings..
I think Jon was referring to the straight K2 reissues, as opposed to the XRCD's, which run about twice as much money. I just ordered 5 of the K2's; unfortunately I don't have have any corresponding XRCD's to compare them to (only have one, Bill Evans' Waltz for Debby), but I'll try and report back on my impressions of the K2's when I get them. If they are close to, or as good as the XRCD's sonically, they will be a real bargain.
Sonny Rollins, Saxophone Colossus XRCD, JVC 2002, the dynamics of sound, the instruments in the room with you feeling and yet relaxing sound. Much better (and different) than any HDCD I've heard. My other Rollins CDs now sound like I'm listening to my Dynalab FM tuner by comparison. I consider the sound improvement significant enough to call this a "good value" ($29.95 at Virgin Megastore). Until now I hated paying $16+ for CDs.
Following up on my post above, the K2's which I purchased have been great. Although I have no corresponding XRCD's to compare them to, I would say that they are sonically close to or = to the XRCD sound for a lot less money (typically $14.98 list) and therefore a bargain. But a lot of it goes back to the original recording. "Everybody Digs Bill Evans" on K2 is good but definitely not in the same league as Waltz for Debby XRCD. The Digs K2 is recorded a little on the hot side and you can hear the piano distort every once in a while. The other K2's I have (two by Miles Davis, one Coltrane, one Sonny Rollins and one Wes Montgomery) are beautifully recorded and remastered and sound very close to me to Waltz for Debby. I think you are very safe purchasing any of the K2's originally recorded by Rudy Van Gelder-they seem universally to sound very, very good.
As far as I've been able to tell, the K2s and XRCDs are using the same masters, so they ought to sound very similar. I think the distinction is mostly a marketing one. K2s you can find in any music store, and they are priced for the masses. XRCDs are available only through specialty audiophile outlets, where they can command a premium. (Now, what does that say about audiophiles?)
Well I guess I'm a cheap audiophile then! I've been loading up on K2's but still have yet to buy an XRCD. I'm pretty sure the difference is mostly price and marketing. On the other hand the difference between K2's and regular cd's is staggering. I was given a k2 of John Coltrane's "Lush Life" for xmas and already owned this on regular cd. I expected the differnce to be noticeable but subtle, it wasn't! The k2 was infinitely more transparent, dynamic, it was even a bit louder. I made sure to match levels to even the playing field, but it still wasn't even close. It's now my goal to acquire every k2 cd that's put out, luckily it's all great music too!
I'm pretty certain that Bomarc is correct that K2s use the same masters as XRCDs. The difference is in the manufacturing process (and of course the packaging).
As an aside, I have the XRCD version of Everybody Digs Bill Evans and it has the distortions that Hdm mentions on his K2 version. Presumably the problem is on the master tape which I suppose is why you never see Everybody Digs featured in Stereophile advertisements that way Moonbeams and Waltz for Debbie are. It may not be an audiophile classic (which begs the question of why JVC bothered to produce an XRCD version), but the music is damn fine.
Could you please elaborate on the manufacturing process being different? Are you referring to the mastering chain or something else? Either way what specific differences are there? Sorry to pepper you with questions but you are getting to the heart of the matter I'm curious about, are K2's and XRCD's in fact different or is it just marketing? Many thanks.
I would guess that the manufacturing differences would be very slight. CDs aren't like LPs, where the kind of vinyl you use and the care you take can make a major difference in the sound. (Which is why foreign pressings of LPs often sound much better than domestics, even using the same master tape.) For CDs, the real difference is in the mastering, and I cannot imagine that JVC wastes its time making two different masters, one for its own XRCDs and one to license back to Fantasy.
Jon: This is just an educated guess after reading the info included in both the K2's and XRCD's (which is in much greater detail) included with the CD's about the remastering process. It appears that both use 1) JVC 20 bit 128x oversampling 2)JVC K2 super coding and 3) the K2 interface to eliminate jitter.
The only difference that I can really ascertain (and I have no idea what difference it would make) is that the K2's are remastered using a JVC DAS-900 and the XRCD's (at least the 20 bit one that I own of Waltz for Debby) are done using a Sony PCM-9000 which uses a magneto optical disc (no idea if the JVC DAS-900 uses the same optical disc system or tape-perhaps some techies might chime in).
The K2's are a bargain; after hearing them I wouldn't bother to pay the extra money for XRCD's. In fact, I'm ordering 2 more tomorrow.
I'm sure there Goners here who can intelligently discuss the XRCD manufacturing process, but I'm not one of them. My comments were based on my recollection of the notes in the XRCDs I have (which I do not have in front of me at the moment) and another thread I read on this topic somewhere, may be here--check the archives.
That's exactly what I was looking for, thank you very much! Just as I suspected the mastering chain is almost identical. That definitely makes K2's the way to go, as if I didn't know that already from the sound quality. In fact I'm listening to Bill Evans Sunday at the Village Vangaurd as I type this and I wish those people talking and clinking glasses in the background would settle down!