XRCD, as you seem to have deduced, is a mastering process. The resolution, and other technical details, aren't really important. The JVC guys simply do a very, very good job of mastering. That's why they sound better than the original releases (and they really do).
Yes, they start with good original recordings, because what's the point of carefully remastering a lousy recording? But the product demonstrates what good mastering can do.
As for SACDs, I happen to think the primary reason they sound better is also that they've been remastered, rather than because the extra resolution makes so much difference. Assuming I'm right about that, the XRCD/SACD choice comes down to who did the better mastering job. Given the track record at JVC, I'd bet on XRCD in most cases.
Good SACD will blow away XRCD(any form of it), that being said XRCD is with out a doubt my favorite sound quality label for redbook, they are VERY good. It has a lot to do with the original recording, it has even more to do with transfering the master tape to cd- they don't over look any aspect of the transfer. They even explain how they do this in the case of every XRCD. If you have not tried them then go out and get a few of your favorites, you will be in for an enjoyable experience. I still feel that on the same recordings that SACD is better, fwiw. The other thing is not every title you want is available on XRCD or SACD this way you cover more of your favorite music with a quality mastering.
I have three versions of Procol Harum's Home. One of which uses the XRCD technology. But, my Mobile Fidelity (nonSACD) version is MUCH better.
But that is only one experience, others may be different.
I have a couple versions of Saxophone Colossus.
I thought that XRCD was amazingly good utill I bought
DCC version and than I bought APO SACD edition and in my opinion it is best. It is very subjective with old records
and the most cleanly sounding is XRCD while the APO version has very noticable noise but it only gives some posh to this record and preserve details I think was lost for XRCD version. I beleive that japanese records are heavily no noised that makes them extremely clean but lifeless.
I agree with tireguy, We are bless to both format.
they are both excellent.ENJOY.
I now have about 30 or so XRCDs. That should give you a clue. Beautiful. Most of them sound as analog as you can get from a cdp. I love 'em. Don't have a bad one in the lot. Worth every dime. Bill Evans, Coltrane, Davis, to name a few, never sounded so good.
I have a few Miles Davis titles. They sound amazing. Does anyone know anything about Norah Jones 2xrcd set available only in Japan?
Listening to one now, "Kelly Blue" by Winton Kelly. All CDs should sound this way, but they don't. JVC does a swell job. As far as getting rid of noise at the price of getting rid of life in the recording, noise is noise; plenty of life in this recording. Can't wait for more of these to be on sale somewhere. I think that there are vey difficult people in audioland if they don't think that CDs can sound marvelous. You owe yourself a listen to XRCDs.
The message I am getting is that XRCD technology is no different from other CDs, but the folks who are making these particular discs are simply doing a consistently good job of mastering. I have long been aware that audio quality varies a great deal on CD's, and there is no way to predict (by label) which ones are good. Perhaps this XRCD label will do that, and hopefully cause others to clean up their act.
One thing overlooked here is the actual manufacturing process. There are numerous examples of bit-for-bit identical CDs coming from the plant that sound much worse. Many of us have even experienced this with our CD burners. This is evidently due to added jitter, which all but the mega-buck players can't adequately reduce to acceptable levels. Sooo, I'm sure the JVC guys recognized this (some folks still don't) and keep tight quality control all the way to the retail product.
Warren hit this nail right on the head. XRCDs do sound more "analog". More than likely, it is the cumulative results of the more tightly controlled manufacturing process, use of higher quality blank discs, and excellent mastering of most of the original recordings used for XRCDs.
You should hear them after being "modified". WOW!
I personally, don't find the levels of high and low frequency extension in XRCDs that I have noticed in some of the MFSLs but, I have also found some of the MFSLs to be somewhat "artificial" sounding, displaying extraneous amounts of sibilance and "digititis".
I do although, find it interesting that the majority of original recordings used for these "audiophile quality" discs, are mostly recordings of yesteryear.
What is that indicative of?
What it's indicative of, Bus, is the median age of purchasers of high-priced audiophile disks.
Edster my man. You know why they choose those recordings. Bill Evans with Scott Lafaro and Paul Motion. Those 3 trio recordings are perhaps the best (or at least of the best) ever. Scott Lafaro was a monster. The others? Classics. Great all by themselves, crappy recording and all. With a little XRCD action, you elevate greatness to another level. good to see you on the 'gon. I miss your 2 cents.
I would not tell you not to buy an SACD player, and to only buy XRCD's. As with all media, DVD-A, SACD, XRCD, MF and others you will not find every artist that you might enjoy.
The XRCD's that I own sound very natural with excellent imaging and sound staging. But I have heard some of the same CD's on SACD and the SACD versions do have more dynamic range and with a touch more resoultion.
Also XRCD's cost between $25 to $30 dollars and I have found SACD's form $17.95 to $24.00 through Acoustic Sounds
I wouls also argree with some of the statements above that most XRCD's are of days gone by! Good luck
I have two XRCD's, one of which "The Eagles - Hell Freezes Over" is stunning and ranks up there with the very best of redbook performance. The other XRCD I own "Dire Straits - Brothers In Arms" sounds very thin with pumped up treble. The Warner Brothers remastered Dire Straits stuff, including Brothers In Arms, clearly kills the XRCD.
XRCD is very much capable of high quality redbook sound but just buying XRCD doesnt mean you will get a high quality release. I would need to hear more to say anything else.
Vderic you are totally right, I bought the xrcd disc
of Andrea Bocelli ROMANZA,its very thin sounding,
no romance sound.Same thing with SACD its doesnt
mean its sacd, its automatically a good recording.
NOT SO. BE CAREFUL.
Sony's DSD mastered Japanese Mastersound discs(red label) are consistently better than any other CD issue I tried.But I did not do a direct comparizon with XRCDs.However,even they pale by comparizon with records.
I've been living under a rock and just recently discovered 24 bit XRCDs. I'm thinking about buying a bunch but I keep wondering if my current audio set-up will not do the 24bit XRCDs justice. I'm currently using a Audio Alchemy DDE v3.0 / DTI 2.0 combo with an Oppo player as a transport. I'm just not fond of the 2 channel output of the Oppo player I have. Will the Audio Alchemy DDE v3.0 / DTI 2.0 combo lessen the sound quality of the 24 bit XRCDs? Do I need to get a non oversampling DAC to really enjoy 24bit XRCDs to their fullest potential? Should I just replace this combo with a better overall player? The person that introduced me to the 24bit XRCDs has a VERY nice reference Marantz CDP that is way out of my price range.
Thanks in advance.
i have a number of xrcds--early and 24 bit versions.
i am not keeen on them and probably would not buy anymore.
here are my observations:
there is a change in frequency response. when comparing an xrcd to an original i have observed greater resolution because the highs are more emphasized.
if you prefer this perspective, thats ok.
i compared many xrcds to their originals, and, especially for classical, on the london label, i preferred the original.
i also compare some xrcd to riverside recordings and didn't feel the increase in price in price was justified.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts MrTennis. I'm going to order a couple of 24-bit XRCDs and give them a shot in my system. I'll keep in mind what you said.
The XRCD of Gustav Holts' 'The Planets' with Zubin Mehta directing is by far the best version of this work I have heard, and I own about 5 different versions of this work on CD. In at least this case the XRCD is superior to anything else out there, except perhaps a live concert!
do you find the highs a bit more emphasized than on the other 5 versions you have auditioned. i own a number of xrcds, including xrcd2s and find that compared to the commercial version, there is a change in frequency response and a feeling that the sound was a touch hardened. such an effect can reveal low-level detail hidden on a commercial recording, but that doesn't mean the xrcd pressing is superior to the commercial pressing, rather it is different.
of course the holst could be an exception. i would like to hear it for my self. i believe i have a version of mehta's performance on a commercial label--don't rember the label.
perhaps you could explain why you prefer the xrcd to the other 5 versions compared to it.
The detail is great, but also the pacing and entire performance is very dynamic-first rate. I would describe it as scintillating. As far as other versions, they seem to be less involving, less dynamic (older recording technology?) and in some cases directed intentionally at a slower pace. The Previn and Karajan versions are very good, but the Mehta XRCD is much better.
The same could be said for other classic works; I loved the Leonard Bernstein version of Dvorak's 9th on SACD, and thought it was the best, and regret that I no longer have an SACD player.
I am hoping that high REZ downloads will eventually replace some of these 'best' recordings.
Of course this is subjective too, if you search these works on Amazon, there are many passionate audiophiles that prefer their favorite versions of the classics.
i have three hi rez dvrs, which i received from reference recordings, i listened to them both on my ps audio pwt and pwd and then i substituted the ess sabre dac fro the pwd. the sound was in another class compared to red book.
regrading xrcd, in many cases i found the bass extension and impact lacking, compared to the commercial recordings. there are two london recordings i compared to their xrcd counterparts and on two different systems, my friend and i were disappointed in the xrcd. here's another. the offenbach gaite parisienne is definitely lacking in bass in the xrcd version. the gold version is superior.
i would consider the mehta that smoothjazz likes, but i am concerned about the spectral balance. any comments ?