HiRez Poll Steely Dan - GAUCHO [DVD-A/SACD]

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Rate the DVD-A/SACD of Steely Dan - GAUCHO


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    196

ssully

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The saga of peculiar DVDA vs SACD differences continues here...

The 5.1 mixes (sound placement) of these two releases of Gaucho are the same. However, the sound is *not* the same. The reason (from analyzing rips of 'Babylon Sisters' from both) is that compression is apparent on the Front Left, Front Right, and (bizarrely) the Rear Right channel of the DVDA. The other channels have the same DR as the SACD -- in fact, none of the SACD channels appear compressed. As always none of these difference are due to SACD being more revealing resolving analog-like blah blah than DVDA, or vice versa. A mastering difference, then. And an odd one at that.


LFE level and rolloff appears the same on both btw. So if your setup DOES boost DVD-A LFE by 10dB (as it should) but does NOT do the same for SACD (it might not, because some SACDs don't need it), the SACD may sound anemic in bass compared to the DVDA. (Or maybe the *DVDA* LFE was mastered wrong and it will sounds too aggressive compared to the SACD...... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ). FWIW, my SACD rips are converted to PCM; the DVDA- and SACD-sourced LFE will get the same 10dB boost at the subwoofer output.
 
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atlantasteve

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I just changed the SACD output on my OPPO 203 from DSD to PCM. I swear I hear a difference. PCM sounds "smoother". Am I hallucinating?

I'm also changing the input from analog to digital (NAD 758 v3) to see what other aural discoveries I find.

Oh, and I just changed my vote from 9 to 10.
 
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ssully

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I just changed the SACD output on my OPPO 203 from DSD to PCM. I swear I hear a difference. PCM sounds "smoother". Am I hallucinating?

Maybe. Can you think of a plausible reason why they might sound different? Or why they might actually sound the same?

I'm also changing the input from analog to digital (NAD 758 v3) to see what other aural discoveries I find.

Have at it. But don't take your findings too seriously. You aren't using the right method to determine if such 'discoveries' are real.
 

dghan

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I have an OPPO BDP-93 and it sounds harsh when I play SACDs as PCM conversions. That's using the DAC in the player. When I use the DAC in my AVR with an HDMI connection, the difference is less, but still, I avoid conversions. Any conversion involves a filter that can add phase distortion.
 

ar surround

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I have an OPPO BDP-93 and it sounds harsh when I play SACDs as PCM conversions. That's using the DAC in the player. When I use the DAC in my AVR with an HDMI connection, the difference is less, but still, I avoid conversions. Any conversion involves a filter that can add phase distortion.
Perhaps one too many D/A conversions?
 

LuvMyQuad

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Perhaps one too many D/A conversions?
I know analog filters add phase distortion, but I didn't think digital filters did. Anyone know for sure?

Also, be sure you haven't engaged the volume control in the player. Once I unknowingly had my 83 set to about 1/2 volume on the player. It forced me to turn up the volume in the pre/pro to the point where it caused distortion.
 

dghan

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Digital filters have two adjustments: minimum phase and linear phase. Linear phase adds pre-ringing, and minimum phase adds post ringing. There is a website that has audio samples of the differences using drum strikes. I found it once searching for audio differences between the two settings. I like to use minimum phase, but most DACs don't present this option to the user. Software players, such as foobar2000, do give users the option.

Yes, I did adjust the volume control of my BDP-93, but it wouldn't have mattered because the output levels of the DSD and PCM were the same managed by the BDP-93. If the PCM volume level was too high for my power amp, then so was the DSD volume level.

As for the one too many DACs question, I think you are confusing digital-to-analog conversion with DSD-to-PCM conversion. All digital conversions use a filter of some sort, even PCM conversions from one sampling rate to another and DSD conversions from one rate to another. After those conversions come the DAC.
 

humprof

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Happy Steely Dan Day.

Sadly, under the circumstances, we can't dance together.

8b8df599f4caf22812c2f55599cf88da.jpg
 

humprof

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Gaucho turns 40 today. Now it can officially be a skeezy middle-aged guy hitting on empty-headed girls less than half his age.
"Seven tracks of sex workers and johns, dope addicts and coke dealers, spoiled love affairs and the one man everyone in their neighborhood knows not to go near. Seven tracks of high-class pulp, elevated with elaborate horns and impossible chords."

gaucho-ad.png
 
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humprof

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...I read an interview with Elliot Scheiner around the time this disc came out in which he said he outputted his 5.1 mix to both DSD and PCM, as well as 2" analog tape so that it would be 'future proof' for any new formats that come down the pipe. It appears that Universal had other ideas and just used the SACD master as the source for the 5.1 mix...

Digging for Gaucho threads this morning, I happened to come across that very article, "Tale of the Tape" (from the defunct Surround Professional magazine, April 2003), posted by Brian Moura. Interesting read--and still available, thanks to the Wayback Machine:

Surround Professional Magazine - Tale of the Tape (archive.org)

surroundlogo_new.png
 
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fredblue

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steelydave

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Digging for Gaucho threads this morning, I happened to come across that very article, "Tale of the Tape" (from the defunct Surround Professional magazine, April 2003), posted by Brian Moura. Interesting read--and still available, thanks to the Wayback Machine:

Surround Professional Magazine - Tale of the Tape (archive.org)

Thanks for finding that again, I'd had no luck back in 2014 (or since then) and was starting to question if I'd fabricated the story in my mind somehow. It's relatively reassuring to know that not only does the story exist, but that my recall of it was prett much spot-on 10 years after the fact. I guess you could say that while I might not have a photographic memory, I at least have a courtroom sketch artist memory?

I listened to the SACD of Gaucho yesterday in honour of it's 40th and it still holds up for me, not only as Steely Dan's best album (it's a close-run race, but still) but also still one of the best surround mixes of all time. Interesting to (re) read in that article that Scheiner's reference for creating the second 5.1 mix for the SACD wasn't the original stereo mix, but rather his first 5.1 mix for the DTS CD.

It seems like the Dan catalogue is stuck in a kind of stasis now between Fagen's reticence to revisit the past at all, and the unknown status of the lawsuit between him and Becker's estate, which is a shame because I think this album would be ripe for one of those big box deluxe editions. Not only is there the stereo album proper, plus the two 5.1 mixes (none of which have ever been offered in true hirez lossless PCM) there's also demos for nearly every song, and on top of that nearly a whole second LP's worth of songs that didn't make the album including The Bear, Kind Spirit, Kulee Baba, I Can't Write Home About You, and two versions of The Second Arrangement (the erased original and quasi-disco remake).

There's also a song from that era called Heartbreak Souvenir which has never surfaced at all, but guitarist Steve Khan's fascinating recollections of his work on the Gaucho sessions shed some tantalizing light on the track.
 

humprof

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Thanks for finding that again, I'd had no luck back in 2014 (or since then) and was starting to question if I'd fabricated the story in my mind somehow. It's relatively reassuring to know that not only does the story exist, but that my recall of it was prett much spot-on 10 years after the fact. I guess you could say that while I might not have a photographic memory, I at least have a courtroom sketch artist memory?

I listened to the SACD of Gaucho yesterday in honour of it's 40th and it still holds up for me, not only as Steely Dan's best album (it's a close-run race, but still) but also still one of the best surround mixes of all time. Interesting to (re) read in that article that Scheiner's reference for creating the second 5.1 mix for the SACD wasn't the original stereo mix, but rather his first 5.1 mix for the DTS CD.

It seems like the Dan catalogue is stuck in a kind of stasis now between Fagen's reticence to revisit the past at all, and the unknown status of the lawsuit between him and Becker's estate, which is a shame because I think this album would be ripe for one of those big box deluxe editions. Not only is there the stereo album proper, plus the two 5.1 mixes (none of which have ever been offered in true hirez lossless PCM) there's also demos for nearly every song, and on top of that nearly a whole second LP's worth of songs that didn't make the album including The Bear, Kind Spirit, Kulee Baba, I Can't Write Home About You, and two versions of The Second Arrangement (the erased original and quasi-disco remake).

There's also a song from that era called Heartbreak Souvenir which has never surfaced at all, but guitarist Steve Khan's fascinating recollections of his work on the Gaucho sessions shed some tantalizing light on the track.

I'm not very good at "Concentration"--if I'd stumbled across your old post two days later, I wouldn't have made the connection--but because it happened within the 12-hour/1-beer window, I made the match.

Yeah: if Universal would only put the likes of us in charge of SD re-releases...! But you're absolutely right that Gaucho is near the top of the list for a deluxe reissue treatment.

I somehow had it in my head that the dueling lawsuits between Fagen and Delia Becker had been settled out of court before the first trial date in 2019, but I can't find any confirmation of that on the interwebs now.

As for Fagen: I don't know what to think about him. He's made his peace with turning Steely Dan into a repertory band, so he can't be totally averse to retrospection. But it seems he and Becker were always pretty zealous about keeping a lid on demos and outtakes and such--to the extent of ordering them destroyed. My sense (from reading the contemporary reporting and from talking personally with the ex-archivist who broke the Universal fire story to the New York Times) is that the finished album masters and multis--with the exception of the missing tracks from Aja--are safe in the bowels of Iron Mountain, and that if anything perished in the fire, it was alternate takes and working mixes. So even if Fagen had a change of heart and decided to mine the Steely Dan archives, that kind of stuff might not even be available, at least not from pristine sources.

Still: why not go for it? I'd even buy new copies of the existing 5.1 mixes on Blu-Ray Audio if they were mastered and authored properly. Plus, there's got to be some extras he'd consent to release, even if it's soundboard recordings from recent album-themed shows, or Steely Dan covers with The Nighflyers and/or guest artists like Steve Winwood and Elvis Costello and David Crosby, or whatever. I think, on the basis of interviews that Fagen gave after Sunken Condos, that he's just feeling cynical about the state of the record industry and the demand for physical discs at all, so he doesn't think it's worth going to the trouble and expense of doing surround mixes and so on. But I think he's wrong, and I wish someone close to him would persuade him to change his mind before the core fanbase gets any closer to the grave!
 
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humprof

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J. PUPSTER

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