monkboughtlunch

New Soul Station XRCD Blue Note - out now. Sounds great!

165 posts in this topic

More info on the Blue Note XRCDs produced by Joe Harley. They are available online at Elusive Disc:

http://www.stevehoffman.tv/forums/showthread.php?t=181862

Just received Soul Station XRCD. The packaging is beautiful. The detail from the hardbound gloss cover is phenomenal, doing great service to Reid Miles and Francis Wolff.

From a sonic perspective, I'd say Joe Harley and Alan Yoshida hit the ball out of the park.

I A/B'd the sound with the 1998 RVG CD.

The XRCD has a wider stereo image and much greater dynamic freedom. Art Blakey's drum rolls soar free of the compressed/limited approach on the old 1990s RVG CD.

The RVG CD has a near-mono (the stereo channels are panned inward ) image replete with "spitty" compression artifacts on the high hat. The instruments have a squashed, claustrophobic feeling. Blakey's drum rolls are smashed and clawed downwards with injudicious compression.

This Soul Station XRCD is highly recommended. The music breathes on the XRCD version and sounds very natural. One of the best masterings I've heard of any Blue Note title.

The mastering on the XRCD also trumps the 1980s McMaster master, as McMaster often juiced up the high hat and cymbals to an unnatural brightness level (does Ron have high frequency hearing loss?). Not so with the XRCD. Alan Yoshida's mastering approach achieves a very natural timbre for the high hat and cymbals.

http://www.elusivedisc.com/products.asp?dept=1513

AWMXR0001-Large.jpg

Edited by monkboughtlunch

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Do you need special equipment to play an XRCD, or to hear the difference?

It looks like this will be available from Amazon on 1/19/10 (I was wondering what these releases were):

Soul Station

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Do you need special equipment to play an XRCD, or to hear the difference?

No. And the titles are available now from Elusive Disc.

Link to the Mobley title: http://www.elusivedisc.com/prodinfo.asp?number=AWMXR0001

Features:

• Mastered and produced by Alan Yoshida and Joe Harley from the Original Rudy Van Gelder Blue Note 2-Track Analog Tapes!

• Highest Quality Analog-to-Digital transfers from tape to CD.

• Deluxe Packaging with Hi-Resolution Black & White Session Photos.

• Includes Original Album Liner Notes

• XRCD24 is Compatible with ALL CD PLAYERS!

Edited by monkboughtlunch

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Message from Michael Cuscuna re Blue Note XRCD

Hi gang,

I just received a very nice e-mail from Mr. Blue Note himself, Michael Cuscuna, who had just received the 1st four BN XRCDs. Of course he's been part of our team from the beginning, but this was his first look at the real thing.

I asked Michael if I could post the message and he said sure:

Guys,

Got the care package today. The packaging is gorgeous and the sound is positively non-digital. These XRCD's have all the detail and clarity of the compact disc with all the ear-friendly warmth of the original analog recordings.

Great job!

MC

Having Michael's seal of approval means a LOT to Alan, Bob and me.

cheers

Joe

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i have never bought an XRCD or any non redbook cd--- so they will play on my 1988 sony cd deck? seriously? even if its not redbook? since an original soul stn vinyl is still a ways off for me i suspect-- id be interested in this to tide me over---

wait wait so XRCDs are BETTER than redbooks but WORSE than HDCD? or ?

Edited by chewy

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i have never bought an XRCD or any non redbook cd--- so they will play on my 1988 sony cd deck? seriously? even if its not redbook? since an original soul stn vinyl is still a ways off for me i suspect-- id be interested in this to tide me over---

wait wait so XRCDs are BETTER than redbooks but WORSE than HDCD? or ?

Hi Chewy,

Yes, they'll play on your CD player. XRCD's are basically CDs stretched to the limit. Truthfully though, they are the result of very careful mastering and equal care in the signal; transfer process.

CD replication for many years has been about faster faster/cheaper cheaper! Quality has fallen through the cracks. XRCD is just to show what CDs that are absolutely optimized in every respect, can sound like.

Enjoy,

Joe

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Huh. Michael became an audiophile. :)

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XRCD's are basically CDs stretched to the limit.

In the age of high resolution audio, calling a CD with 16bit/44kHz sound an "Extended resolution CD" (XRCD) is marketing stretched to the limit of consumer deception.

I'm aware that you haven't invented the name, but I think it's no longer acceptable today.

Edited by Claude

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XRCD's are basically CDs stretched to the limit.

In the age of high resolution audio, calling a CD with 16bit/44kHz sound an "Extended resolution CD" (XRCD) is marketing stretched to the limit of consumer deception.

I'm aware that you haven't invented the name, but I think it's no longer acceptable today.

That's fine Claude, I can understand why you might feel that way. As I've mentioned several times, I've been involved (as producer) with over 50 SACD projects over the years. In fact I recorded/produced and released one of the very first SACD hybrid discs for the AudioQuest Music label.

XRCD is basically a number of mastering and disc manufacturing protocols that maximize what is possible with 16/44 sound. Have you listened to an XRCD mastered by Alan Yoshida? I could have easily released these Blue Notes on SACD. The choice of XRCD was a deliberate one. Since Blue Note SACDs exist, I strongly encourage listeners to make the comparison. When you get the chance Claude, please compare one of the Blue Note XRCDs with one of the SACDs and report back what you hear.

Fair enough?

cheers,

Joe

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so wait wait are these still redbook cds technically. or is XRCD just a marketing term. or is it truly a format?

i have redbook cds that pull the maxium out of the format, but are just, case in point: Fleetwood Mac Tango in the night-- so i dont know whats up w/ these xrcds still

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so wait wait are these still redbook cds technically. or is XRCD just a marketing term. or is it truly a format?

i have redbook cds that pull the maxium out of the format, but are just, case in point: Fleetwood Mac Tango in the night-- so i dont know whats up w/ these xrcds still

Aric, as is said above, XRCD is a JVC process of handling the analog master and making a digital master and then pressing a cd, a controlled specific process with care given to all stages of the process, to use the best converters, etc. The result is a CD, redbook, nothing different. There's a certain signature sound the process gives of detail and ambiance. But they're cds, fully compatible with any cd player.

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Personal taste aside, is pulling the maximum out of a Fleetwood Mac CD really a good thing? :lol:

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Joe,

I noticed one rather strange thing when looking at the tracks on some of these XRCDs.

Horace Parlan - Speakin' My Piece - has 2 alternate tracks added which are not on my Japanese CD.

Tina Brooks - True Blue - does not have the 2 alternate tracks that are on my American CD?

This seems inconsistent, and means I will be missing 2 tracks if I was to purchase the Tina Brooks XRCD,

and getting 2 additional tracks if I purchase the Horace Parlan XRDC.

Can you explain?

Edited by Peter Friedman

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Caution: Many of us will want to hear/own True Blue, if indeed it is the ultimate CD edition. This is perhaps a top 10 BN session. Is this a limited edition series?

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Joe,

I noticed one rather strange thing when looking at the tracks on some of these XRCDs.

Horace Parlan - Speakin' My Piece - has 2 alternate tracks added which are not on my Japanese CD.

Tina Brooks - True Blue - does not have the 2 alternate tracks that are on my American CD?

This seems inconsistent, and means I will be missing 2 tracks if I was to purchase the Tina Brooks XRCD,

and getting 2 additional tracks if I purchase the Horace Parlan XRDC.

Can you explain?

Certainly. We always ask for all available outtakes for a session when they are available. We listened to the outtakes available with Speakin' My Piece and deemed them worthy of inclusion on the CRCD release.

While the outtake reel for Tina Brooks was available it was not an original master, but in addition, the tape (even though a copy) had deteriorated to the point of being unplayable. We tried baking but it was still no go.

Remember, these tapes are around 50 years old. It's a bit hit and miss.

cheers,

Joe

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Is this a limited edition series?

As far as I know it isn't.

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lon-o: tdoay i checked out these two BILL HOLMAN xrcds- sessions from the 1990s (had bill perkins and pete christlieb)---

there was an informative section on what an xrcd is. like instead of working from a U-matic EQ limited 1630 copy they work from some optical copy and the whole deal about xrcd is every step in the process of making the cd is montired real carefuly, like voltages to the equipment and etc---- they sounded good but i mean, i couldnt tell much at the store on headphones, i would have to hear something like invisible touch , something that i know backwards and forwords to understand the diff....

instead of xrcd they should just call them, "cds we didnt screw up on"!

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I just ordered Soul Station, True Blue and Cool Struttin' from Evolution. I've never owned an XRCD before, but they certainly sound intriguing. I guess I'll find out soon.

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I'm sure these sound great, but $29.99? :blink:

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why not make all cd's xrcd's, so the price can be almost as low as normal cd's again?

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XRCDs are not a new phenomenon, they've been around for years. To my ears most of the early ones that were mastered by Alan Yoshida at A&M Mastering Studios, Hollywood sound good to excellent, while later series that were mastered in Japan don't, at least not most of the ones that I've heard; they sound as if the higher frequencies were boosted.

Edited by J.A.W.

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I've picked up an XRCD and 3 of the AP SACDs (mastered by Hoffman and Gray). They both sound great and trump the RVG CDs and old McMasters.

The XRCDs are both detailed and warm with an incredible depth to the instruments. The AP SACDs are even warmer and have a lush and smooth "vacuum tubey" sound. Both sound great!!

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why not make all cd's xrcd's, so the price can be almost as low as normal cd's again?

That's a question we asked all the time when first coming up with the manufacturing protocols for XRCD. The mastering and signal transfer process for XRCD is one thing, but from a manufacturing standpoint, XRCD is really (with some exceptions like K2 disc cutting) just making CDs in the manner that they all should be made. For many years now, CD manufacturing has been ruled by "faster/cheaper" regardless of the huge amounts of jitter that are a result of ultra-high speed disc replication.

XRCD signal transfer is done real time. One line only at the JVC replication facility in Yokohama Japan is set up for XRCD. Every aspect of this line has been optimized as a result of extensive listening tests.

Should all CD lines be like this? Absolutely! However, as long as "faster/cheaper" rules the business of disc manufacturing it's not going to happen.

It's a good question though, one that I'm glad you brought up.

cheers,

Joe

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