AMSI (Ambient Surround Imaging)

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luketsu

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Hello everybody,

Over the past 15 years Universal Music Company (more precisely Deutsche Grammophon, Decca and Philips together) released over 100 CDs in their Eloquence Series that were remastered using AMSI (Ambient Surround Imaging) technology. Few albums were also released on multichannel SACDs but I'm not talking about that. Briefly speaking the engineers at Emil-Berliner Studios created an artificial 4-channel surround sound into stereo mix that to be possible to reproduce through Dolby Pro Logic II decoder. As far as I know the series has been discontinued now or the newest albums (Bruckner: The 10 Symphonies / Chailly & Brendel plays Mozart) do not utilize this surround sound technology.

Every inlay card contains the following information on AMSI technology: "AMBIENT SURROUND IMAGING - This means: an optimised sensurround sound experience for audio surround systems. But with stereo systems you can also experience greater presence, more brilliance and a stereophonically refined panorama of sound. For a musical experience that's like being there "live". DEVELOPED AT THE EMIL-BERLINER-HAUS, HANOVER". They have also printed the AMSI logo - four lines into different directions - there and to the surface of the disc.

Yesterday I bought my first AMSI CD (Liszt: Les Preludes, Hungarian Rhapsodies & Fantasia on Hungarian Folk Themes / Karajan) and up to this point I have listened to it once. I discontinued to buy CDs about five years ago when I discovered the advantages of Super Audio CD. But in fact this Liszt CD - and every album in the series - to be understood as more advanced CD. I have not heard the original CD release so I can't compare it to this. But I noticed two (actually three) differences over a regular CD:

1(-2)) Presence and depth: when it comes to realism AMSI CDs offers a significant improvement for listeners. Thanks to the carefully prepared surround mix you're placed in the middle of the orchestra and therefore able to hear previously unheard details. They have not even tried to follow a traditional concert hall listening experience where surround speakers are used only for the ambience. In addition if your subwoofer is switched on it will produce a hidden 5th channel (Low-Frequency Effects) in order to enjoy more extensive soundfield.

2 (3)) Clarity: All analogue recordings have been remastered from the original master tapes for optimal results. And most likely during the final AMSI mix the engineers also utilized the in-house invention "Original-Image Bit-Processing" in order to minimize the disadvantages of tape hiss and other unwanted background noises. I don't have an exact answer to this but perhaps before they started to prepare AMSI mix the high-resolution 48 kHz/16 bit remaster was downsampled to CD quality. Does it work? Was it worth to give so much time and determination for these? Yes, definitely. Even the oldest analogue recordings of the series (recorded in the mid-1960 or even earlier) includes amazingly great amount of accuracy (but perhaps a little bit of harshness due to the effect of the age). To sum up you will hear the best sound what CD can ever offer for you.

I have decided to collect the whole series - or at least the most interesting titles. My wish list already contains the following albums:
View attachment 29958
1) Alban Berg: Violin Concerto, Op. 36 & Arnold Schoenberg: Piano Concerto, Op. 42
- Recorded in September 1971 (Violin Concerto) and in December 1971 (Piano Concerto) at the Residenz, Herkulessaal, Munich, Germany
- Produced by Dr. Rudolf Werner, Klaus Behrens & Hans Weber
- Balance engineer: Heinz Wildhagen

View attachment 29957
2) Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade, Op.35 (Joseph Silverstein (solo violin), Boston Symphony Orchestra, Seiji Ozawa (conductor)) & Capriccio espagnol, Op. 34 (Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Neeme Järvi)
- Recorded in April 1977 at the Symphony Hall, Boston, United States (Scheherazade) & in September 1987 at the Gothenburg Concert Hall, Gothenburg, Sweden (Capriccio)
- Produced by Rainer Brock (Scheherazade) & Lennart Dehn (Capriccio)
- Balance engineer: Klaus Hiemann (Scheherazade) & Michel Bernard (Capriccio)

View attachment 29959
3) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Mass in C major, K317 "Coronation", Vesperae solennes de confessore in C, K339, Litaniae Lauretanae BMV in D, K195 & Exsultate jubilate, K165
Ileana Cotrubas, Helen Watts, Robert Tear, John Shirley-Quirk, Schola Cantorum Of Oxford, George Malcolm, Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, Neville Marriner (conductor)
- Recorded in May 1971 (Coronation Mass & Litaniae Lauretanae) at St. John's, Smith Square, United Kingdom & in November 1966 at Kingsway Hall, London, United Kingdom (Exsultate jubilate) & in August 1979 at St. John's College, Cambridge, United Kingdom (Vesperae solennes de confessore)
- Produced by Michael Bremner & Chris Hazell
- Balance engineers: Kenneth Wilkinson, Stanley Goodall & John Dunkerley

View attachment 29961
4) Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No. 8 in C minor, Op. 65
Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, Bernard Haitink (conductor)
- Recorded in December 1982 at Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Produced by Andrew Cornall
- Balance engineer: Colin Moorfoot

View attachment 29962
5) Engelbert Humperdinck: Hänsel and Gretel (complete recording)
Franz Grundheber, Gwyneth Jones, Ann Murray, Edita Gruberova, Kinderchor Der Staatsoper Dresden, Women's Chorus of the Dresden State Opera Chorus, Staatskapelle Dresden, Sir Colin Davis (conductor)
- Recorded in January 1992 at Lukaskirche, Dresden, Germany
- Produced by Rupert Faustle
 

luketsu

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Yeah, I know that. Here's a copy of an email I sent to Deutsche Grammophon. I'm waiting for their answer.

"Surround sound - recording that includes more than 2 channels - has totally changed my way to listen to classical music. Since I discovered the advantages of Super Audio CD™ few years ago I haven't bought regular CDs.

But gradually the things have turned upside down. I want to thank you for your extremely good Eloquence budget-price series - all albums were remastered by Emil-Berliner Studios using AMSI (Ambient Surround Imaging) technology. The sense of "being there" was shockingly realistic and even the earliest analogue recordings (from the mid-1960s) received astonishingly fresh new look through AMSI - both with stereo and surround sound systems. So it is clear this kind of way to release CDs offered a significant improvement for those who wanted to hear music as faithfully as possible.

But now it seems you have discontinued to release more albums to this series. And as far as I know the latest additions (Bruckner: The 10 Symphonies/Chailly & Brendel plays Mozart) didn't utilized AMSI which was a great disappointment. Is there any possibilities for a new start (with AMSI)? I know it was a local series that was available only in a few countries. Now it would be a perfect time to launch an official renewed Eloquence CD series (and perhaps with remodeled design). Whenever possible the all capacity of Compact Disc (a little bit over 80 minutes of music if utilizing overburning possibility) should be used in order to offer generously filled disc for unbeatable price.

I have few suggestions where you should start. The following 10 albums would be the first discs to the series as they include works that are still waiting for surround sound:

1) Jean Sibelius (1865-1957): En Saga, Op. 9; Night Ride and Sunrise, Op. 55; King Christian II Suite, Op. 27; Andante Festivo (1924); Tapiola, Op. 112 (Total time: approximately 80'00)
Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Neeme Järvi (conductor)
- Recorded in December 1992 (En Saga), in May 1994 (Andante Festivo) and in August 1995 (the rest) at the Concert Hall, Gothenburg, Sweden
- Produced by Nigel Boon, Pal Christian Moe & Lennart Dehn
- Balance Engineer: Michael Bergek
- Remastered, mixed and mastered at Emil-Berliner Studios using AMSI (Ambient Surround Imaging) technology

2) Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893): Festival Overture on the Danish National Anthem, Op.15; Fatum, Op. 77; Hamlet - Overture-Fantasy after Shakespeare, Op.67; Overture in F major, TH 39; The Tempest, Op.18 (Total time: approximately 82'00)
Russian National Orchestra, Mikhail Pletnev (conductor)
- Recorded in November 1993 (The Tempest & Overture in F) and in March 1996 (the rest) at the Great Hall, State Conservatory, Moscow, Russia
- Produced by Roger Wright, Christian Gansch, Nigel Boon & Sid McLauchlan
- Balance Engineer: Rainer Maillard
- Remastered, mixed and mastered at Emil-Berliner Studios using AMSI (Ambient Surround Imaging) technology

3) Gustav Mahler (1860-1911): Symphony No. 10 in F sharp major (unfinished - performing version by Deryck Cooke) (Total time: 78'53)
Radio-Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Riccardo Chailly (conductor)
- Recorded in October 1986 at Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin, Germany
- Produced by Paul Myers
- Remastered, mixed and mastered at Emil-Berliner Studios using AMSI (Ambient Surround Imaging) technology
(Decca release)

4) Three Great Russian Piano Trios - Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Piano Trio in A minor, Op. 50 "To the memory of a Great Artist"; Sergey Vasil'yevich Rachmaninov (1873-1943): Trio Elégiaque No. 1 in G minor & Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975): Piano Trio No. 1 in C minor, Op. 8 (Total time: 77'24)
Vadim Repin, Mischa Maisky, Lang Lang (Tchaikovsky & Rachmaninov); Zsolt-Tihamér Visontay, Mats Lidstrom, Vladimir Ashkenazy (Shostakovich)
- Recorded in August 2009 at Theater Itzehoe, Großes Haus, Germany (Tchaikovsky & Rachmaninov) & in September 2015 at Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, United Kingdom (Shostakovich)
- Produced by Dr. Alexander Buhr & Sid McLauchlan (Tchaikovsky & Rachmaninov) and Andrew Cornall (Shostakovich)
- Remastered, mixed and mastered at Emil-Berliner Studios using AMSI (Ambient Surround Imaging) technology
(Shostakovich is a Decca release)

5) Edouard Lalo (1823-1892): Symphonie espagnole in D Minor, Op.21; Henri Vieuxtemps (1820-1881): Violin Concerto No. 5 in A minor, Op.37; Jean Sibelius (1865-1957): Violin Concerto in D minor, Op.47 (Total time: approximately 82'00)
Shlomo Mintz (violin)
Lalo & Vieuxtemps: Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Zubin Mehta (conductor)
Sibelius: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra (Berliner Philharmoniker), James Levine (conductor)
- Recorded in October 1988 (Live) at the Frederic R. Mann Auditorium, Tel Aviv, Israel (Lalo & Vieuxtemps) and in June 1986 at Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin, Germany (Sibelius)
- Produced by Steven Paul and Wolfgang Stengel (Lalo & Vieuxtemps), Dr. Steven Paul (Sibelius)
- Balance Engineer: Ulrich Vette (Lalo & Bieuxtemps), Wolfgang Mitlehner (Sibelius)
- Remastered, mixed and mastered at Emil-Berliner Studios using AMSI (Ambient Surround Imaging) technology

6) Carl Maria von Weber (1786-1826): Der Freischütz (complete recording) (Total time: 136'34 - 2 discs)
Karita Mattila, Eva Lind, Francisco Araiza, Thomas Thomaschke, Ekkehard Wlaschiha, Kurt Moll, Rundfunkchor Leipzig, Staatskapelle Dresden, Sir Colin Davis (conductor)
- Recorded in January 1990 at Lukaskirche, Dresden, Germany
- Produced by Rupert Faustle & Michael Bremner
- Remastered, mixed and mastered at Emil-Berliner Studios using AMSI (Ambient Surround Imaging) technology

7) Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971): The Rake's Progress (complete recording) (Total time: 132'00 - 2 discs)
Bryn Terfel, Ian Bostridge, Anne Sofie von Otter, Deborah York, The Monteverdi Choir, London Symphony Orchestra, Sir John Eliot Gardiner (conductor)
- Recorded in June 1997 at Abbey Road, Studio 1, London, United Kingdom
- Produced by Nicholas Parker & Karsten Witt
- Balance Engineer: Rainer Maillard
- Remastered, mixed and mastered at Emil-Berliner Studios using AMSI (Ambient Surround Imaging) technology

8) Hector Berlioz (1803-1869): Harold in Italy, Op. 16 - symphony for viola and orchestra; Three pieces from "La damnation de Faust" & Overtures (Benvenuto Cellini, Le Carnaval romain & Le corsaire) (Total time: approximately 80'00)
Laurent Verney (viola), Orchestre de l'Opéra Bastille, Myung Whun Chung (conductor)
- Recorded in November 1993 (Benvenuto Cellini & Le Carnaval romain) and in June 1994 (Harold in Italy) at Opéra Bastille, Salle Gounod, Paris, France; Three pieces from "La damnation de Faust" were recorded in May 1995 at The Anvil, Auditorium, Basingstoke, United Kingdom
- Produced by Roger Wright, Lennart Dehn
- Balance Engineer: Wolfgang Mitlehner
- Remastered, mixed and mastered at Emil-Berliner Studios using AMSI (Ambient Surround Imaging) technology

9) Violin Concertos by Barber, Glazunov, Kabalevsky & Korngold (Total time: approximately 82'00)
Gil Shaham (violin)
· Barber & Korngold: London Symphony Orchestra, André Previn (conductor)
· Glazunov & Kabalevsky: Russian National Orchestra, Mikhail Pletnev (conductor)
- Recorded in June 1993 at Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom (Barber & Korngold); in December 1996 at Great Hall, State Conservatory, Moscow, Russia (Glazunov & Kabalevsky)
- Produced by Werner Mayer, Jürgen Bulgrin, Jobst Eberhardt & Wolf-Dieter Karwatky (Barber & Korngold), Christian Gansch (Barber, Glazunov, Kabalevsky & Korngold)
- Balance Engineers: Hans-Peter Schweigmann & Andrew Wedman (Barber & Korngold), Rainer Maillard (Glazunov & Kabalevsky)
- Remastered, mixed and mastered at Emil-Berliner Studios using AMSI (Ambient Surround Imaging) technology

10) Felix Mendelssohn (1808-1847): Elijah, Op. 70 (sung in English) (Total time: approximately 130'00 - 2 discs)
Bryn Terfel, Renée Fleming, John Mark Ainsley, Patricia Bardon, Edinburgh Festival Chorus, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Paul Daniel (conductor)
- Recorded in September 1996 at Caird Hall, Dundee, United Kingdom
- Produced by Chris Hazell
- Remastered, mixed and mastered at Emil-Berliner Studios using AMSI (Ambient Surround Imaging) technology
 

fizzywiggs41

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Good job luketsu. :upthumb



I'm not familiar with any of those Eloquence AMSI Surround CD'S and would appreciate your unput ;

-how they sound in surround
-what type of decoder is best
-and recommendations of the best titles

-and anything you think is of importance for us listeners. :D



There are quite a few in this series on a variety of the UMG Labels and from what I've seen, they 're priced very low. Some I have seen at $5 or $8 and almost all below Ten Beans !! Well worth the price, I think. :smokin
 

ubertrout

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I'd be very surprised if they consider going back to AMSI, since the response from listeners was largely negative, but who knows. There was some discussion of the tech as applied to regular CDs here: http://forums.stevehoffman.tv/threads/friedrich-gulda-and-amsi-mastering.81236/

I have a number of the AMSI SACDs, but they don't get a ton of play (a few of them go for astronomical prices, for reasons that aren't fully clear). They're mostly notable as footnotes - the only commercially released series of SACDs with no stereo layer (the Sonocord "Edition 100" series is another, but that was never commericlaly sold).
 

luketsu

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Good job luketsu. :upthumb



I'm not familiar with any of those Eloquence AMSI Surround CD'S and would appreciate your unput ;

-how they sound in surround
-what type of decoder is best
-and recommendations of the best titles

-and anything you think is of importance for us listeners. :D



There are quite a few in this series on a variety of the UMG Labels and from what I've seen, they 're priced very low. Some I have seen at $5 or $8 and almost all below Ten Beans !! Well worth the price, I think. :smokin
Fizzywiggs41, AMSI Surround CDs sounds very impressive in surround as they were intended for surround sound systems. As I mentioned earlier you will hear details that didn't actually exist if you have listened to the same album as a regular CD. Expanded soundfield surrounds you in a pleasant way and the rear speakers provides not only ambience but also different instruments (such as trumpets).

It is recommended to use Dolby Pro Logic II decoder as the guys at Emil-Berliner Studios advise to do that. Moreover I have put the 'Music' setting on for the listening session. Here is an introduction text of Emil-Berliner Studios from the golden days of AMSI:

"AMSI I (Ambient Surround Imaging) has been developed in order to convert stereo masters/material to (Dolby-Prologic) surround compatible formats. A Dolby Prologic Decoder is required for simulating the surround effect. Such decoders are available in most of the standard amplifiers, as it is in yours.
A computer-based process uses phase-shifts in the stereo material, which results in a surround effect for the back loudspeaker channel as well as for the centre channel. By means of different specific processes the effect is even improved.
The best possible tuning of the Prologic amplifiers can be achieved with disabling the additional DSP effects as "stadium", "theatre", etc. Only this makes sure that the listener has the same conditions as in a mastering or postproduction studio.
As the successor process we have developed AMSI II:
AMSI II is a process that depicts stereo audio material into 5.1 Surround Sound, ready for storage on DVD Audio, DVD Video or SACD. And we have found, for instance, that AMSI II and DVD Video make an ideal pair: we add the AMSI II-processed Surround version (Dolby AC3 and/or DTS) to the original stereo sound track of DVD Videos.
And we hope that this process will also gain more and more acceptance in the film industry".

I have just started to collect this series so I can recommend only the Liszt/Karajan album. But check the first post of this thread as it includes at least five must-have albums. :)
 

fizzywiggs41

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That's interesting to note !


I mean that there was an AMSI 1 and an AMSI 2 !!

-Also that it was used on SACD ??! (I would assume stereo or the stereo layer )
 

luketsu

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That's interesting to note !


I mean that there was an AMSI 1 and an AMSI 2 !!

-Also that it was used on SACD ??! (I would assume stereo or the stereo layer )
You put your finger on the point, fizzywiggs41. AMSI 1 was used for regular CDs and AMSI 2 for multichannel SACDs as it supported Direct Stream Digital™ (DSD). So they're different things. The CD layer of Eloquence SACDs was the same that was used for other non-Eloquence releases (so they kept it in its original form - only the multichannel layer was edited).
 

luketsu

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I'm still waiting for the answer of Deutsche Grammophon. However, I have designed a potential album cover for the first Sibelius release if they decide to start Eloquence Series again (check the photo, please). Please remember that this is just my suggestion, they haven't told their plans yet.

View attachment 30065
Jean Sibelius (1865-1957): En Saga, Op. 9; Night Ride and Sunrise, Op. 55; King Christian II Suite, Op. 27; Andante Festivo (1924); Tapiola, Op. 112 (Total time: approximately 80'00)
Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Neeme Järvi (conductor)
- Recorded in December 1992 (En Saga), in May 1994 (Andante Festivo) and in August 1995 (the rest) at the Concert Hall, Gothenburg, Sweden
- Produced by Nigel Boon, Pal Christian Moe & Lennart Dehn
- Balance Engineer: Michael Bergek
- Remastered, mixed and mastered at Emil-Berliner Studios using AMSI (Ambient Surround Imaging) technology
 

luketsu

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Are you sure that isn't a two page ad? Sure looks like one.
This may be possible, of course. But I'm personally very impressed on this series and its sound quality - surely the only acceptable Compact Disc collection for audiophiles. It's not hi-res but even in this form the great amount of small details is something very special...
 

luketsu

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Has anybody listened to these albums through Dolby Pro Logic IIz or DTS Neo:X?
 

BrentAudi

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I have many of these CDs. They sound fantastic with "SQ" setting on (vintage) Receiver. I actually think there are many DG CDs that are "Quad", but don't mention anything about it on the actual CD. I have listend to the AMSI CD's in Dolby Pro Logic II. They sound great. I find they sound AWESOME on my vintage Quad Equipment with the SQ setting on.

Another observation that I have made about the "AMSI Releases" is that the majority of them are re-releases. Most of the recordings were recorded during the 1970 - 1990s. I tend to think that the recordings were originally recorded in Quad. The reason I say this is because many of the "AMSI" releases were re- released on CD in the 80 / 90s from the original 70s recordings. I have many of the original releases. (on cd and Vinyl) There is truly no difference in the "separation" of "surround" sound between the original or "AMSI" release. I do have quite a few of the original recordings in Vinyl. Same separation when played. I assume that AMSI was a term invented to sell there original recordings for a 3rd and 4th time. I also prefer the original album / cd covers.

I have been very lucky to find large collections of vintage formats such as Reel to Reel, Vinyl, CD's, etc. It is fun to listen to the same recording through the different formats. Many times there is not much difference at all from the original release. Usually the best sounding format is the original Pre-Recorded Reel to Reel.
 
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gene_stl

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Today I found at Half Price Books an AM S I Eloquence recording of of Bach Organ Music played by Karl Richter. The AMSI format is new to me.
I knew it was likely previously discussed here.
 

fizzywiggs41

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I have one of the "Decca Eloquence" AMSI discs.

Usually you can find them in budget bins containing Classical cd's, which is where I located mine for $6.99 (CDN).
There used to be many more in the cd vendor's bin , a few years ago.


Here's a pic. of my AMSI cd .
*
20210926_205451.jpg





Also inside , there is a short explaination of AMSI

*
20210926_205432.jpg
 

gene_stl

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Mine happens to have the DGG label on it and has the same print design with the circle and explanation page.
 
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