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Discussion: Ray Sings, Basie Swings - Ray Charles

Posts: 3

Post by JW October 21, 2007 (1 of 3)
I feel I need to annotate my review with this note. Recently I listened to this recording in a different way on on a different (and much better than my own) system. I learned something valuable. I learned to listen better. And to be able to better discern between over-processed or digitised recordings and more analog-sounding ones. I heard the clear difference between Ray Charles' recorded voice and for example Harry Belafonte's. No contest, the voice on HB's SA-CD is much more natural with less of the sh/s/ch sounds that are very apparent on the Ray Charles disc. I also listened to the brass again and was indeed able to establish how a really good recording would have sounded. And that sounded not like anything on the Ray Charles SA-CD.

The vinyl sounds better than the SA-CD but frankly, 50 bucks I would regard as money wasted. It has the same sonic signature as the SA-CD, just a little better.

That leaves me with one question. Did I hear it wrong? In order to save some of my audophile credentials :-), I must point out that in my review I did call out the PCM character and hinted at some of the deficiencies. But I did not have the conviction and/or the knowledge at the time to call them out for what they were. OTOH I did instantly pick-up that the RB-CD was basically unlistenable to me.

Three things still stand. 1) The Ray Charles SA-CD is musically fantastic and you should buy it. 2) The idea to put this together was inspired. 3) The recording is still enjoyable to me and I still like listening to the details of his phrasing and vocal delivery. But I don't think the words 'glorious sound' should have been in my review.

It goes back to this; it's about the recording and mastering chain. The latter two determine sound quality. Not a format. But it's a sad thing that recording and mastering so often mess-up and deliver discs to us that could have sounded so much better.


Post by lenw January 2, 2010 (2 of 3)
After listening more to this SACD I still think musically it's very good for what it accomplishes technically and for the big band sound. But after further comparisons to other SACD's, I would currently lower the stereo sonic rating to (3) stars. IMO the disc exhibits some of the same compression artifacts of many RBCD's making the high end slightly edgy, and overall the volume level is too high hindering the micro dynamics.

Post by Oakland January 3, 2010 (3 of 3)
I believe your comments have merit with respect to the *stereo* content, but do not apply to the multi-channel content.

In my October 2007 review at /showreviews/4799#5109 I noted:

"And that brings me to an unusual oddity about the SACD. There is an almost stark disparity of sound quality between the two-channel and the multi-channel. Others have also mentioned this and the sound quality differences seem real. My experience with Telarc releases has usually been while the two-channel recording is very good to excellent, the multi-channel is also excellent but even more so! With this release the two-channel sound quality seems good but clearly not up to the level of the multi-channel. Michael Bishop, Telarcís engineer extraordinaire on this project, offers a pretty conclusive explanation, in my opinion, on why this is the case. Mr. Bishop clearly distances Telarc from the two channel product mix (both Red Book and SACD two-channel layers as well as the identical Lp release). Please read his words posted on the Hi-Rez forum at:"

Robert C. Lang