is it me or sacd.


or is it my marantz sa-14. got dylan's "bringing it all back home" on sacd for christmas. asked for it specially due to rave reviews. couldn't believe the sound or more precisely the lack of - no bass, no foundation it seems to me. on vinyl bought 30 years ago/played on everything from a dual 1009 tt with idler wheel w/dual cartridge (old fart, i know) to present vpi mk2 /sme 5/van den hul ddt (not state of the art i know) - amongst the vinyl rush, rumble, wow & cartridge chatter bob has a throat, lungs, a body, not just adenoids - and the sssibilance is gone. harmonica sings, not screams, spits & sizzles. guitars are not just wires vibrating in emptiness but strings stretched taut over resonant wood boxes. sound emanates from a room, not a void. had same reaction to rolling stones reissues on sacd. ditto for sam cooke at the copa ("most realisric recording of a human voice ever" sez hp in the absolute(?) sound). might be me. my system. or sacd. or is it just the laphroig? (rant's end)
flacre
Flacre,

I have experienced the same thing, except for the Stones re-issues, thought they were a step up from
regular CD's. I too bought the Dylan SACD, and it's
unlistenable to me. I have found all SACD's disappointing for the most part. They are either in your
face, or way to bland and laid back. The only good that I
have found, is on the CD/SACD hybrids. The CD tracks
are very good for some reason.
Don't blame the recording technology. It's the mastering.
Eldartford,
Yes, I think you have hit the nail on the head so to
speak. But, if it is the mastering, or engineering
of the recording, then why do these "glowing"
reviews hit the media? We all rush out and buy
it, only to be disappointed as well a confused. I have
had the same experience with DVD-Audio. Most of
them sound like crap. Especially the latest rave, The
Beach Boys Pet Sounds. It's the worst recording
I have ever heard... but I tend to agree with you.
Hmmmmm Im on a SACD hot streak , but I feel your pain. I have been delighted with recent purchases, Roxy Music Avalon, Pink Floyd DSOM, Bowie Ziggy Stardust, The Who Tommy and Dylan Blood on the Tracks...Surprised by the Dylan, so after reading an article saying if you must own one get Highway 61 Revisited....Bought it and my system that one was disappointing ! It is indeed frustrating !! The 2 Stones I own I like , Get you ya ya 's out and Through the past Darkly. To my ears they sound like what the Stones sounded like when I was a kid playing them on a turntable. Yes its definetly in the remastering, no question, but part of it is what we expect or want it to sound like. Also you can have the same artist where one disc sounds great the other mediocre...Like Avalon, I love it, but I read the other release is only so so , so I stayed away from it.
Worst ever high res disc I have heard "Neil Young Road Rock"
DVDA..thats not a knock on DVDA, I own several that I love , but this particular one sounds like it was recorded from the balcony with a hand held cassette recorder !
Departing from conventional wisdom, I'll go off on a limb by stating that it most likely is the amplifier that is causing this shallow, somewhat shrill, lifeless, and perceived lack of proper weighting of these older recordings.

I do not own any of the above mentioned recording on SACD (I do own some SACD's), but I do own Bob Dylan's Greatest hits on redbook. I also own numerous other older recordings on redbook cd, such as Chicago's Greatest Hits, Grover Washington, Bob James, William Ackerman, Alan Parson's Project, Al Stewart, Herb Alpert, Isley Brothers, Art Garfunkel, cheap greatest hits of the 80's, etc., etc..

On all of my previous amps, these were all pretty flat and lifeless. Some even much worse than that. But now, these and more are rich, full, deep, 3-dementional, articulate, and much more properly weighted.

So much so, that I spend most of my time these days listening only to these older recordings. The cymbals, drum kits, and bass can be outstanding. Still not quite reference level when compared to the best recordings, but the distinction is almost negligible.

Then again, my best recorded cd's (SACD, etc.) don't sound like they used to either.

-IMO
Flacre, You have good ears and obvious experience in recogonizing what is really closer to the real thing. Ahmen to you sir for knowing and having the go-nads to state so ....definately going agaainst the grain. For my nickels worth .... it is not you or your system. Be careful carrying this cross, it probably won't help your popularity. Regards, Jim
I was a little surprised about the comments made about "Bringing It All Back Home" since I have had this SACD of a while and didn't notice this problem. I must admit that I usually listened to it in the truck.

I got the disc out and listened to it again taking notes at the same time.

My observation: both Subterranean Homesick Blues and Outlaw Blues sounded tinny. There was no real bass and even the resonance of the guitar body seemed thin.

She Belongs To Me was better. Instruments had more natural timbres including a bit better bass.

Love Minus Zero sounded very good. Better than any of the tracks up to that point.

On The Road Again through It's All Over Now Baby Blue all sounded good.

I do think as a whole the recording is low on bass, but I wonder how much if it has to do with the mikes, and technology employed on original recording. There isn't anyone playing bass or drums.

I went to the record rack thinking I had a copy of the LP, but somehow I missed that one, so I cannot speak to the LP v SACD comparisons.

I don't think that it is a lot worse than many older recordings.
I didn't take notes, didn't compare to vinyl, but love the Dylan SACD of Bringing it all back home.
Thanks to all for the comments & moral support. I agree with many of your comments, especially Nrchy who I think nails the sound quality variance on "Bringing It All Back Home" to a T.

And I hope I didn't offend anyone with my rant.

I agree the issue may well be the mastering & not the technology. However, what I still don't get is how some guy in 1964 with stone age equipment gets an apparently more natural (dare I say "realistic") sound than today's silicon fueled mastering suites.

If it's the amp (Unison Smart 845s)(and there's no reason it can't be the amp) why does my much abused 40 year old vinyl sound OK?

Oddly enough, a lot of current redbook CD releases sound great to me as well. I especially liked the sound quality on "Bob Dylan Live 1966 - The Royal Albert Hall Concert". Maybe I'm not picking good sounding SACDs. But what frustrates me is that I think the technology has a lot of potential (I do have some good sounding SACDs), but it's not going to become established unless it can be consistently heard to deliver the improved sound quality that's too often just promised. I'm a big Dylan fan and I was really looking forward to replacing my aging vinyl with the new SACD's. Now I'm not so sure. Do any of you have any other Dylan SACDs you would reccomend? Thanks.
I have found on many discs that they default to the surround mode and have no bass when played back in two channel mode. If playing back in surround unless you have good analog bass management or firewire digital, then there is no bass management. It is also important to make sure if you are playing discs in two channel that your player be set for two channel stereo mixdown in it's setup menu.
Don't buy Alice In Chains on SACD. Sounds like your tweeters are broke.
Interesting: I note that everyone who is complaining about SACD and DVD-A audio quality cites Pop and Rock music. I really cannot comment on this, because almost all my discs are classical, and are clearly superior to the older media. Perhaps you need to buy one good audiophile classical disc and use it like a test disc to evaluate what SACD and DVD-A can do.
I have "Nashville Skyline" by Bob on SACD and I'm blown away by it. (But, hey, I thought "Bringing It" sounded great, too.)
I really like the sound of "Planet Waves", too.
Happy Listening.
TFKaudio
I have all Dylan's available SACD's and I think most sound very good indeed. I like what I am hearing. Much better than the RB's.
One thing interesting about this thread is that no one mentions the equipment they are using to compare the various formats. From what I have heard of sacds (I have not yet heard dvd-a), they require a very good player to really shine. I've heard cds on top notch players sound better than sacds on players in the $1000 range. I wonder if that accounts for some of the varied opinions.
This is a great place for SACD and DVDA reviews.
http://www.highfidelityreview.com/index.asp
I've not dropped the $$ yet for a SACD player, but have bought some of the hybrid Dylan reissues. They are a mixed bag, with respect to the remastered CD layer, so it doesn't surprise me that the same is true for SACD layer.

So far, the best Dylan reissues, in my opinion, are "Blood on the Tracks" and "Oh Mercy." BIABH is OK, and I agree completely with Nrchy about it being a bit of a mixed bag. L-0 is great, and it's no wonder that this is one of the tracks that Sony featured in their Dylan reissue sampler.

I bought "Slow Train" and "Freewheelin '" last night, but haven't listened to them yet.
I will buy records if can still find nice condition ones. For SACD, I will buy newly recorded SACD, if sound quality is a must. Asking a new technology to re-cook the old dish is asking too much IMHO. I keep my table running and play old records, the way it was designed to play and still good today. SACD is pretty good actually if you play new recordings but it is not world-saving machine(that probably will never exist).
You are painting with too broad a brush. Blame the recording or mastering not the format.