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Discussion: Strauss: Symphonia Domestica - Janowski

Posts: 13
Page: 1 2 next

Post by hiredfox July 21, 2015 (1 of 13)
Good to see a modern recording of this oft neglected work at an affordable price to supplement the old Living Stereo release. Having played it through a few times now this seems to me to be a little short of Pentatone's usual very high SQ standards. Can't put my finger on it exactly but it seems little withdrawn and dare I say muddy in complicated passages with massed instruments. The booklet is silent on how it was recorded but this may not be a Premium SQ recording by their own definitions.

Any clarification from the company would be much appreciated.

Post by Chris July 21, 2015 (2 of 13)
hiredfox said:

Good to see a modern recording of this oft neglected work at an affordable price to supplement the old Living Stereo release. Having played it through a few times now this seems to me to be a little short of Pentatone's usual very high SQ standards. Can't put my finger on it exactly but it seems little withdrawn and dare I say muddy in complicated passages with massed instruments. The booklet is silent on how it was recorded but this may not be a Premium SQ recording by their own definitions.

Any clarification from the company would be much appreciated.

Withdrawn?
I find it a bit over multimiked/close miked and very detailed indeed, but not always completely coherent in stereo,playing the DSD 64 masterfile version via my HUGO and very transparent and revealing electrostatic speakers .
It is definitely not a two mics Blumlein production.
But then again,they never are from Pentatone.
It sounds less resolved and a bit muddier via my Benchmark,than via HUGO.
Maybe your SACD player has the same problem resolving the quarrel where dear Pauline gets a bit heated,as my Benchmark. But every strand in this sometimes complex score is crystal clear via little HUGO.Regarding the filler Die Tageszeiten, I can only hear clearly what the choir is actually singing via HUGO too.
But not even via HUGO does the choir sound as well recorded as I would wish.
The music?
Well I suppose it fits Strauss's own description of himself as a composer quite well, ie "I may not be a first rate composer but I am a first rate second rate composer."
But I have to admit I like it more and more on each hearing and the scoring is of course absolutely excellent.
Cheers Chris

Post by hiredfox July 21, 2015 (3 of 13)
Chris said:

Withdrawn?
I find it a bit over multimiked/close miked and very detailed indeed, but not always completely coherent in stereo,playing the DSD 64 masterfile version via my HUGO and very transparent and revealing electrostatic speakers .

Well I suppose it fits Strauss's own description of himslf as a composer quite well, ie "I may not be a first rate composer but I am a first rate second rate composer."
But I have to admit I like it more and more on each hearing and the scoring is of course absolutely excellent.
Cheers Chris

Very interesting. My system uses Stats as well - Summit Xs - and the normally exemplary SA7. Doubtful it's an equipment issue.

I agree with your overall summary of this music but it's good to have for completeness.

John

Post by Chris July 23, 2015 (4 of 13)
hiredfox said:

Very interesting. My system uses Stats as well - Summit Xs - and the normally exemplary SA7. Doubtful it's an equipment issue.

I agree with your overall summary of this music but it's good to have for completeness.

John

Like you I would certainly not suspect your Summit Xs to cause any problems with this or any other good recording for that matter.
They are about as good as it gets with hybrid electrostatic speakers.
The only thing I am a bit suspicious about regarding all of the newer models from ML are the built in separate bass amp and the DSP used.
Maybe it is time for you to try out and hear DSD via a DSD capable DAC?
Trust me it has a potential to sound even better than your SACD player.
This Symphonia Domestica is quite a stunner if one can accept a few multimiking artefacts.
Besides,both DSD 128 and 256 are already here and you will NEVER get that from SACD.
My own experience since I got my MLs where that they could sound a bit disappointing and muddy at high levels with my Copland amp,which it turned out was not at all up to the job of driving them properly. Then a 200 watts per channel Macintosh where I could actually see that the first movement climax in Mahler's second caused the meters two exceed 150 watts at realistic levels.
And that first climax is by far not the biggest one!
I finally settled for a Musical Fidelity KW550 which delivers 630 watts per channel into 8ohm loads and 930 per channel into 4ohm. I have never had any problems with congestion from well made recordings since then.
And the really good thing with MLs are that you can play much louder than for example with any of Quads Stats.
Dear hiredfox,don't be shy,do dip a toe into the future and let your excellent speakers play,and you enjoy, some of the highest quality SQ since direct cut LPs.
But maybe in this case we are just describing the same problems in slightly different words?
IMO most Pentatone SACDs are a bit "phasey" and not ultimately coherent in stereo. My guess is that the reason for this, is they are both using many close-up spotmics and the stereo layer or download is a mixdown from the mch take.
One of their very best recordings recently imho is Copland's 3rd symphony from Oregon, which sounds more coherent in stereo than most Pentatone recordings.
I just played the 1960s Living Stereo SACD,La Traviata and it immediately struck me how much more coherent it sounds in stereo,than the Strauss we are discussing.
I am fluent in German.But I still have occasional problems hearing the words in Die Tageszeiten on the Pentatone.But none whatsoever when the choir sings in Italian in a recording from 1960,in a language I barely understand and don't really speak.
The answer dear Watson seems to be more in the miking than one would suspect sometimes.
Cheers Chris

Post by Arell July 23, 2015 (5 of 13)
Chris said:

Withdrawn?
I find it a bit over multimiked/close miked and very detailed indeed, but not always completely coherent in stereo,playing the DSD 64 masterfile version via my HUGO and very transparent and revealing electrostatic speakers .
It is definitely not a two mics Blumlein production.
But then again,they never are from Pentatone.
It sounds less resolved and a bit muddier via my Benchmark,than via HUGO.
Maybe your SACD player has the same problem resolving the quarrel where dear Pauline gets a bit heated,as my Benchmark. But every strand in this sometimes complex score is crystal clear via little HUGO.Regarding the filler Die Tageszeiten, I can only hear clearly what the choir is actually singing via HUGO too.
But not even via HUGO does the choir sound as well recorded as I would wish.
The music?
Well I suppose it fits Strauss's own description of himself as a composer quite well, ie "I may not be a first rate composer but I am a first rate second rate composer."
But I have to admit I like it more and more on each hearing and the scoring is of course absolutely excellent.
Cheers Chris

Stupid question: is Hugo a DAC or some domestic pet?

Post by Chris July 23, 2015 (6 of 13)
Arell said:

Stupid question: is Hugo a DAC or some domestic pet?

It's a "catdogdac" and I plug in music at its rear end and the sound comes out at the front.
It's called Chord Hugo and is a Welsh breed.I keep it on a very short leash.
It goes wherever its master goes.

I know people who use it with their Iphones.
I don't own an Iphone .
I use my Macbookpro instead.
Near SOTA SQ in a very pocketable format.

By the way,what newspaper did you write your classical reviews for,GP?
I lived in Gothenburg for more than ten years in my youth and both read GP and did some travel stuff for them many years ago. Nowadays I sometimes read it online.
Cheers Chris

Post by Arell July 24, 2015 (7 of 13)
Chris said:

By the way,what newspaper did you write your classical reviews for,GP?
I lived in Gothenburg for more than ten years in my youth and both read GP and did some travel stuff for them many years ago. Nowadays I sometimes read it online.
Cheers Chris

Yep, GP.* I did that as an aside for 15 years, 1998-2013, when I mainly reviewed opera records but also a lot of orchestral music. I still work there as (the last?) foreign news reporter. If your 'travel stuff' was published in our weekend supplement (2 dagar/days) it's very possible that my wife did the layout.

And, btw, I got this recording of Sinfonia domestic in the mail yesterday but haven't had time to listen to it yet.
Jan Arell

Chris, for further communication, I' m at jan.arell@gp.se
Others are not that interested.

*GP Göteborgs-Posten/Gothenburg Post, Swedish daily.

Post by steviev July 24, 2015 (8 of 13)
hiredfox said:

Good to see a modern recording of this oft neglected work at an affordable price to supplement the old Living Stereo release. Having played it through a few times now this seems to me to be a little short of Pentatone's usual very high SQ standards. Can't put my finger on it exactly but it seems little withdrawn and dare I say muddy in complicated passages with massed instruments.

It's recorded at a lower level than usual for Pentatone, so crank up the gain about six decibels or so. The dynamic range is restricted, quite realistically, as if there were a fidgety, expectorant audience in attendance and not an empty hall. In multichannel, there is no muddiness in complicated passages. It's a gorgeous recording.

Post by Windsurfer July 26, 2015 (9 of 13)
Chris said:

One of their very best recordings recently imho is Copland's 3rd symphony from Oregon, which sounds more coherent in stereo than most Pentatone recordings.

I think the PentaTone recordings made in Oregon are by SoundMirror of Boston, not Polyhymnia. SoundMirror also use spot mics. Lots of variables determine ultimate sound quality.

Post by Chris July 26, 2015 (10 of 13)
Windsurfer said:

I think the PentaTone recordings made in Oregon are by SoundMirror of Boston, not Polyhymnia. SoundMirror also use spot mics. Lots of variables determine ultimate sound quality.

I think you are correct. They also do the Reference Recordings Pittsburgh series released both on SACD and as DSD downloads.
There are of course many variables as you say.
But the Oregon recordings sound a bit more coherent and realistic in stereo than some others from Pentatone imho.
To me and via my system it sounds as if they rely a bit more on the basic stereo mics than seems to be the case with some in house productions.
With both higher res DSD 128 and DSD 256 around the corner I hope they will do so even more in the future.
A lot of the multimiking we have seen and heard for too long has been employed partly to be on the safe side and making things easier at the mixing desk I suppose.
But also to give a false impression of resolution,resolution that is not really there but artificially "created" by zooming in on instruments instead of capturing the whole image in in a coherent way.
Even good old stereo is capable of true 3d sound and can be very coherent if done well.
Any well produced Blumlein or Living Stereo is proof enough of that.
Just imagine how good the Living Stereos,where the sound of the hall, the acoustic is always present and heard throughout the entire recording, would be with the very best of today's tecnhology.
Cheers Chris
ps Timbrally and tonally Symphonia Domestica is quite a stunner,just a bit lacking in coherence in stereo imo.

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