Reissue: (D) New decode
Source: SQ CD
Format: DVD-A/V MLP/DTS/DD
Such a lovely recording of some of the most wonderful music ever written. And today, I compared the new decode to the old one. Of course, “Phoenix” has been around for a while now, but anyway. I certainly approve.
However, the mix doesn’t appear to be great to begin with, from a quad point of view. It’s not very focused, and the instruments seem all quite close together. The old release has a ‘concert’ feel to it, which is common enough, with the stage placed square in front. The sound quality is a little ‘dark’, a little muddled, I think, particularly when compared to the new release.
Much like the two previous decodes I reviewed, this one improves the sound quality itself, although perhaps not quite as much. It is better, but still a bit ‘soft’ or veiled to my ears. This may be connected to the mix itself, which as I said seems to blend everything together. The stage seems to have moved dramatically though, with more sound coming out of the rear speakers – and yet, still not really distinct, so for me it’s a mixed blessing. It’s even harder now to place instruments, they all seem to be everywhere. Nevertheless, I prefer having the instruments closer, even though their placement remains fuzzy to my ears.
So the main advantage of the reissue is, for me, the sound quality itself. Some may dislike the loss of the concert feel, but perhaps because this is chamber music, I don’t mind having it close.
I agree, such beautiful music.
Your point regarding the placement of instruments is interesting. Until the advent of ‘Pheonix’ all SQ decodes, no matter whether it be by one of the hardware decoders, and this includes the last ever SQ decoder released, or the scripts that float around the internet have had the same problem.
And that is that the full rear information is still on the front channels, making any chance of ‘true’ seperation almost imposible. It also creates a false image impression, something that, over the years, people accept as being correct, so that ‘concert’ feel that is missing was never actually there during the mixing session, it ws an artificially created feel cause by the interaction of the rear channel information on the fronts mixing aurally with the decoded rear inforation on the rears.
The rather complex phase information needed for the SQ system to actually work is the root cause of this and i canimgine hearing a decode where the rear information is reduced to such a level on the fronts that it can, at times, seem almost jarring.
I think with this they may have attemptedto do a horse-shoe type of recording without taking into mind that the sides are a major problem for all matrix systems.
Just an idea, and quite possibly wrong.
Thanks again for the enjoyable posting, certainly leave room for some discussion…….
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18th March 2017
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