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Super Audio Collection, Vol. 10

Super Audio Collection, Vol. 10

Linn Records  AKP 564

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Demos/Samplers


Various artists

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Review by Graham Williams - July 23, 2017

The decision by Linn records to cease issuing their new releases on SACD has been a cause of great dismay for many collectors because, over many years, the label has produced countless award-winning recordings, both stereo and multi-channel, in that format. It is, however, now possible to obtain all these recordings in high resolution sound via downloads in different qualities and file types. Details of these are available on the Linn website and I would recommend newcomers to downloads visit http://www.linnrecords.com/linn-downloads-beginners-guide.aspx .

The 'Super Audio Collection Volume 10' is the latest in a series of samplers designed to showcase recent Linn releases, and for listeners (the majority?) still wedded to the physical media this hybrid multi-channel SACD does provide the opportunity to audition in hi-res some releases that are only available on CD or as downloads.

All but one of the well-chosen samples here are taken from the Linn Classical catalogue and cover a commendably wide variety of musical genres and periods ranging from Trevor Pinnock's fine recording of Sweelinck's Variations on 'Mein junges Leben hat ein End' to the spirited Aldeburgh Strings account of Britten's 'Young Apollo' – both of which are given complete.

The whole disc is also a tribute to the splendid work of Linn engineer and producer Philip Hobbs whose efforts in a variety of recording venues and different acoustic signatures is exemplary and may well tempt those who have yet to take the plunge with downloads to give them a try.

Recommended.

Copyright © 2017 Graham Williams and HRAudio.net

Performance:

Sonics (Multichannel):

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Comment by Luketsu - July 19, 2017 (1 of 9)

I have just wondered: what happens when I'm listening to 5.1 SACD through 9.1 or 11.1 surround sound systems? Are the additional channels muted or is there some way to expand the soundfield (like Dolby Pro Logic IIz or DTS:X)?
In order to find perfect balance a demo/sample disc is incomparable way to give a test to new speaker configurations. I've considered to add more speakers to my system and I need some advices.

Comment by john hunter - July 19, 2017 (2 of 9)

Depends if you use a programme such as Dolby Surround to fill out those additional channels.
You can but they do it by using a lot of reverb.
While you can try to control this, to my mind the best way is to keep to how it was recorded as that is how it was intended to be heard.

Comment by Gleb Panaeff - July 24, 2017 (3 of 9)

No mention of multichannel files on the Linn download site - no need to waste time shopping there

Comment by John Broggio - July 30, 2017 (4 of 9)

I queried Linn about this when I spotted this sampler; I was told they are looking to issue MCH downloads in future [no firm date though].

Comment by hiredfox - July 31, 2017 (5 of 9)

Who loses most as a result of Linn's decision to discontinue SACD? At the moment I remain firmly of the opinion that they do. I have yet to hear a computer based music system even in a very high end set-up designed to impress that comes anywhere near the SQ to be had from SACD on similar high level equipment.

Having amassed well over 1200 superb SACD discs collected painstakingly over the last 15 years covering more or less the entirety of the classical repertoire and only recently having invested in the new Marantz reference SACD player, it is fair to say that downloading will not be playing much of a part of my listening requirements for quite some time yet.

Historically the people at Linn have been possessed of a certain type of hi-fi arrogance (IMO) that will have encouraged them to make such a decision but thankfully they are not always right and other labels will no doubt relish filling in any gaps that Linn's absence may have created.

These samplers are an insult to audiophile collectors.

Comment by john hunter - July 31, 2017 (6 of 9)

I hope this release is ignored by music lovers given the recent stupid policy decision by Linn.

Comment by William Hecht - August 3, 2017 (7 of 9)

Yeah, but they're issuing lp's again, which, considering the company's origins, probably makes sense to them and long time Linn customers who can now dust off their Sondeks. It makes no sense to me though, and probably not to any of us here. I stopped on the Linn website before writing this comment and saw at least six discs I would buy if they were sacds, but neither lp's, rbcd's, or downloads have any place in my listening future (rare repertoire and favorite artists excepted on occasion, in which case rbcd will have to do).

Comment by Luketsu - August 4, 2017 (8 of 9)

Personally I don't understand this LP enthusiasm; compared to the CD sound is far more inferior (of course this depends on your listening equipment and/or quality of a disc) and possibilities for nice archiving less effortless. Speaking about SACD it is useless to even try to advocate the positive sides of LP; no ways to compare these two formats - they represent two different generations!

However, I have listened to few classical LPs and this all kind of whimper, hum and hiss were really distracting. Afterwards I have understood why the arrival of CD felt so revolutionary in the early 1980s.

But now: why to concentrate on this although there is a way to achieve and offer audio that will supersede all other attempts? Is it nostalgic to hear those distracting noises beside the main sound? (A little clarification - this applies to old analogue recordings (and few early digital recordings as well) when the recording technology was not advanced enough to enhance the sound). Sometimes the choices behind the releases have been really bewildering as I have said earlier.

Let me take an example: instead of releasing their 1970s quadraphonic recordings on Super Audio CD Warner Classics has concentrate to manufacture reissues on CD and on LP for unexplained reasons. Paavo Berglund & Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Itzhak Perlman, Herbert von Karajan... There might be dozens of different-looking CD releases of the same recording! "Remastered Karajan Edition", "Karajan's Sibelius", "Karajan's Analogue Recordings"...

What is this nonsense? It looks like they are really believing "if we change the look of these albums a bit consumers are willing to pay slightly more expensive price of them". Now they are releasing Berglund's Helsinki Sibelius cycle as a box set - firstly on LP, then on CD as an individual albums, then on CD again as a decentralized three-disc collection in the Gemini Series and now as a box set.

Karajan recorded almost everything in quad for Warner during the heydays of the technology but the recordings are still waiting for this glory in their boxes. Strauss's "Don Quixote" with Mstislav Rostropovich (1976) is a good example of this. Warner indeed released the recording on quadraphonic LP at the time but how many of us has possibility to listen to the album as such? Albeit Warner Music Japan has re-released the album on SACD Strauss: Don Quixote - Rostropovich, Karajan it is in stereo only.

Of course it is a matter of financial profit and sale when it comes to choice an album format between CD and SACD. These things have become foregone conclusions during all these years when SACD has been an alternative option for hifi buffs. I'm not going to repeat these facts as we all know them so-so. But the reasons behind Linn's current recording and releasing policy must have been in contact with the mentioned things.

It would have been nice to receive the latest album of Robin Ticciati (including orchestral works of Debussy and Fauré) on SACD. But it is RBCD only. And when the first album of Thomas Søndergård's Sibelius cycle was hybrid multichannel SACD Sibelius: Symphonies 2 & 7 - Søndergård the latest (including Symphonies Nos. 1 & 6) is just a conventional CD as well. And where is Channel??? We are living strange times...

Comment by Mark Werlin - August 4, 2017 (9 of 9)

An alternative view.

Linn's decision to discontinue SACD releases is likely due to business factors not in its control: a backlog at the few remaining SACD production facilities; the collapse of classical music physical stock distribution; closure of brick and mortar record stores; the rising number of of streaming music service subscribers.

New reissue LPs of classical music are pressed rather than SACDs because audiophile LP collectors have invested thousands of dollars, pounds, euros and yen in their analogue rigs. They enjoy listening to analogue-era recordings on analogue playback systems. The best new LP pressings of 1950s-1970s classical and jazz recordings are free of pops, crackles or distortion. Such pressings sell out rapidly, unlike many SACD releases.

To John (hiredfox): If you have an opportunity to audition stereo DSF files of a Channel Classics release through the asynchronous USB input of your Marantz SACD player, and compare the sound to the same recording on SACD in the disc player, you might find that the two sources are nearly indistinguishable. I have just done this test on my Marantz SA8005, comparing a recent classical music SACD to the underlying DSF file. There are inexpensive computer solutions that effectively serve DSF (or other hi-res format) files to a standalone DAC or to the DAC in an SACD player.

Enjoying SACDs is not incompatible with enjoying hi-res downloads. Many new classical, jazz and contemporary music recordings are only being released in high resolution as downloads. Purchasing hi-res downloads supports the artist, the label and the hi-res vendor. Playing hi-res files through the USB DAC of an SACD player or through a separate DAC provides the closest comparable listening experience to SACD.