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Discussion: Bob Dylan: Desire

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Post by trich727 May 30, 2008 (1 of 14)
Hey Dylan fans, don't mean to dissapoint you, but the SACD remasters are pretty much hype. Don't know if it is just me, but the top layer sounds worse than the standard CD version, and the SACD 2nd layer may be a hair better on a true SACD system. Which is one of my complaints about this rating system.

No one rating these CDs states what they are listening to them on? So I will start this needed information;

Sony S9000ES full tube mod by Modwright
Threshold FET 10E
Threshold S300E X 2
B&W 802 Series three, bi-amped
all cables and power supply by transparent, top three levels.

With that said, I really don't find any of the Dylan SACD remasters acceptable. Not in comparison to really good ones. Peter Gabriel's So or Up are outstanding representations of what SACD can do, granted, later recordings, but a world of better difference.

So as not to confuse us all into buying junk remixes, if you could please state what equipment you are listening to this on (all), it would be very helpful. Thanks much, Tom

Post by Dan Popp May 31, 2008 (2 of 14)
trich727 wrote:

So as not to confuse us all into buying junk remixes, if you could please state what equipment you are listening to this on (all), it would be very helpful. Thanks much, Tom

That's a great start to an idea, but if you don't mind, I need some more information before I feel like I can get a good handle on what reviewers are hearing. Zeus should strongly suggest that all reviewers provide the following information (in addition to Tom's list):

Dimensions of your room.
Materials of construction (e.g. plaster-and-lath, drywall, etc.) Please note locations of any paneling and what surface finish it has! Jeez!
Square footage (square meterage?) of doors, and whether they are open during listening. If closed, describe materials (solid oak, hollow core, etc.)
Floor treatments. The word, "carpet" is not adequate. Please tell us the pile-depth, age and materials of the carpet. And do not forget to describe the construction of the carpet PAD, if any.
Ambient noise levels in your listening room (averaged over a 1-hour period - no measuring while the furnace is off and listening while it is on!)
Ambient temperature, barometric pressure, relative humidity and elevation.
Precise average SPL at which you listened to the disc.

Please supply graphs showing RTA 1/3-octave analysis of:
each speaker individually,
the stereo pair,
the quad set,
and all speakers together.
These measurements should be taken at the listening position with pink noise at 85 dB SPL (C weighting).

Detailed, notarized results of a hearing test performed within the last 6 months by an accredited audiologist.
Length of time you have been listening to this exact system in this room. (If under one year, please do not post yet).
Length of time of your exposure to sound above 80 db SPL (A) on the day of your evaluation of the disc.
Consumption of alchohol or other substances that might alter hearing or judgement on the day you listened.

Others may have additional ideas - I'm sure I have not exhausted the list of things that affect our perception of sound, by any means.

Post by Peter May 31, 2008 (3 of 14)
You left out - did the dog bark when the doorbell rang!

Post by The Rang May 31, 2008 (4 of 14)
I have virtually nothing to compare to. The only non SACD Dylan I own is the Gold DCC of Highway 61.

I also have a modest system that hasn't been calibrated, tweaked,etc.

With that in mind here are my 2 cents:

Yes, Desire sounds awful. Probably the worst of the bunch. John Wesley Harding ain't great either.
Oh Mercy, on the other hand, is pretty good. On the whole I have no complaints with the Dylan series (bearing in mind I haven't heard the alternatives).

Most of these recordings are pretty old. Are we expecting too much from them?

Post by Peter May 31, 2008 (5 of 14)
The Rang said:

............Most of these recordings are pretty old. Are we expecting too much from them?

Good point. There's a limit with what can be done with the master. Then, there's the added problem of master tape deterioration since the previous remastering. I understand the Everest 35mm film recordings have deteriorated quite a bit since the last remasterings under Seymour Solomon. (recent review at and private correspondence)


Post by Beagle June 3, 2008 (6 of 14)
Peter said: You left out - did the dog bark when the doorbell rang!
Funny you should mention doorbells.... When my father died, I inherited his cat, Elvira. Cats are immune to that noise we call 'music' but the opening notes of Schnittke's piano concerto (Shostakovich/Schnittke - Moscow Chamber Orchestra/Orbelian) make her spin round and look intently between the speakers: 'PING-bong' -- a very credible standard doorbell sound, just like the chime at my father's home.

My user information specifies scotch but not amount: 1.5 oz. nightly, doubles on Friday. Room dimensions: 13.5' x 25.5' with speakers 12' downroom; floor wood with 5' x 7' carpets; musical instruments on wall as dampers. Heating is silent gas fireplace; neighbor's dog is afraid of me. Hearing is challenged in the household chores frequency.

RE Dylan-on-SACD, what a pity; cf my review of Bob Dylan: Highway 61 Revisited. Not too surprisingly, "I'm Not There" (2007, Todd Haynes dir.) uses a lot of 'Dylan performed by other artists...'.

Post by Dan Popp June 4, 2008 (7 of 14)
Beagle, you forgot to note single-malt or blended. There will be a checkbox or radio buttons for that in the final version of the form.

Post by Beagle June 4, 2008 (8 of 14)
Dan Popp said: you forgot to note single-malt or blended.
Och!!! Wha' d'ye tyke me fur, laddie?

"Blended" scotch is a crime against nature invented during the WWII Yankee occupation of Britain when the GIs were drinking the sceptred isle to the dregs. It was indeed dregs and scum off the top which were 'blended' -- diluted with industrial alcohol -- to quench the uncouth colonials' thirst. Yes, I have tasted the stuff, but I didn't swallow.

This evening's malt is a generous shot of Smokehead in a warmed nose-glass, sipped over two hours. No water -- and heaven forfend, no ice! And no, I don't think any of this is "off topic", ask Mr Zimmerman himself.

Post by Dan Popp June 5, 2008 (9 of 14)
Beagle, thanks. Rafffellls knew all along that the Americans must be at the bottom of that barrel of blasphemy. Now if we could just get those details about your carpet pad and paint finish ("satin" and "eggshell" preferred over "semi-gloss" and - heaven forfend - "gloss"), we would be all set to pass judgement on your setup.

Post by pgmdir June 5, 2008 (10 of 14)
You guys made my morning! THanks for the laughs. Made me remember the first sip I had of Laphroaig about 35 years ago. It made all the hair on my arms fall out. But then... It was love forever.

PS... I have yet to hear ANY Sony re-do on SACD that seemed all that great to me.


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