The new Soundstage collection - you can BE there

Yesterday I downloaded the Octave The Art of HiFi: Soundstage album. I can’t believe I’m the first one to have a review of any sort, but I have to admit this is a “first impression” review, so take what I write with a grain of salt.

As Paul’s Post in yesterday’s email suggested, my speakers became invisible and the width and depth and height of the stage in most selections was amazing. But what I was even more impressed with was the reality of the perception of BEING THERE in a variety of settings. I realize that description of “being in the same room” is so overused in audiophillia, but this wasn’t just due to the QUALITY of the sound itself as in how it ended up in the final product. For instance, on track 7, the Italian piece sung by soprano with piano accompaniment, I’ve heard better voice and better piano reproduction, but can’t remember a time where when I closed my eyes, I was more convinced I was really at a voice recital. For the two versions of “Whiskey” played by Jake Leg, I was torn as to which I liked better, but in one, I was in the studio with them, in the other, at the live performance, and again, if I closed my eyes, there were no microphones, no speakers, just Jake Leg. From a more stereotypical (pun intended) soundstage approach, track 6, Mov’t 1 of Mozart’s String Quartet No. 4 in Major (that’s how the title came in on the download, and if I had perfect pitch I guess I could say WHICH major) – I can’t remember when I have ever heard a more realistic and present recording - as though I was one of the quartet members (maybe a page turner?). The quality was so real that it made me want to hear more of the Quartet not so much because it stood out special among Mozart’s work as how the sound quality itself made the piece more interesting. The first and last Flamenco pieces really put me right beside the floor where the dancing was happening and at first I wanted to hear the detail of the guitar more clearly, but sorry, if I were in that setting, the feet-stomping would have drowned out the guitar.

So to summarize, what this recording did for me is to not only illustrate how a good soundstage can make a recording more interesting, but to also illustrate how different soundstages can TRANSPORT me to a venue with unbelievable truth-to-life.


Sounds enticing! You might be interested in the BACCH for Mac forum? I haven’t got one but am eyeing it. I have a lovely soundstage with My DSD mk2 going direct to BHK300S then Amphion Krypton 3s. I have temporarily taken my BHK Pre out and surprisingly not missing it.

Thank you for this wonderfully detailed report and review.

No, thank you for releasing it! I’m not sure it came across, but this is a different sort of soundstage thing, or maybe I’m just learning a new thing. I was telling a friend this morning about it and used what I called the “band room” analogy - it’s like you’re in the band room in high school listening to some great players - are the acoustics perfect? No. Are the instruments captured perfectly? No. But are you THERE with all the excitement of being a musician, of hearing the reality of raw talent? That you are!


Very nice review, well done!

Oh great - thanks a LOT. For introducing something else to confuse me further, to make me have to do a bunch of research, to witness (and maybe participate in) arguments between audiophiles. No doubt it would require re-arranging and buying more stuff for my listening room…

All seriousness aside, I’ll look into it. The first question I have is whether engineers, mixers, producers, mastering, are using it or whether that would even make any sense? Don’t they have to remix for surround sound? My goal in audio is to most accurately reproduce what these artists heard and wanted me to hear. Is BACCH essentially using the same philosophy as adding EQ, or Dolby Atmos, or surround sound or any number of other technologies that have tried to give us the tools to CREATE a sound we like?

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Bacch dsp works with any stereo mix. Just need directional 2 channel speakers. There is a bacch-dsp thread here in audio components.

As I simplistically understand it, BACCH uses processing that removes cross-talk between the left and right channels and creates an extremely vivid presence in the room. Those who have tried it seem very sold on it. That will likely be the next step for me! Check out the forum on it.

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Track 2, The Linden Lindy.
Unless I’m misunderstanding this track, the trumpet player sounds flat. Didn’t anyone notice?
As a former band geek/musician this jumped right out at me.

Nice one! From your review I will order a download later today. I want to experience what you have had.:man_dancing:t2::wine_glass:

This reply is to JLawry😆

I think the trumpeter is male, so flatness is not really an issue. OK, sorry, bad joke.

You’ve got good ears because there are several places in the written sections where he does need to “lip-up” a little. He seems to be OK during the improvised sections. It’s an extremely minor tune, so maybe he’s deliberately flattening for effect?

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He may like the sound.

Chuck Mangione always plays a little sharp.

You might want to give this a listen. One of the finest quartet recordings in decades, engineered by Simon Eadon (27 years at Decca under Eric Wilkinson and 25 years freelancing since, one of the finest classical recording engineers alive). He’s done all the Takacs recordings for Hyperion in London. Curiously, they are based in Boulder.

This will be my last Octave purchase until I purchase PSA FR30 and dac, the targeted endpoints for Octave. As usual this album is about the narrowest of a wide stage I have heard. Sound is almost always center stage like performers are sitting in the same chair. Jake Leg first version has best width although performer position does not match photo on product page.

Re Aurora, the version in Gabriel Mervine’s album on Qobuz titled Aurora is better and wider.

The last Octave album purchased, also narrow, was seriously flawed such that PSA said they agreed and will someday issue a fixed album (most songs have channel dropouts).

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Please be more specific.

I have purchased every release so far but have not had a chance to “critically listen” to every track on every record (SACD).

I would like to specifically listen to the recording you referenced here.

Thanks in advance.


I had purchased the DSD256 download. Cannot speak to SACD or vinyl releases of Things Worth Remembering.

Roger, “TWR”.

Thank you.


My impression is that recordings made in smaller recording studios have to be engineered into something like a natural sound. Most classical recordings are made in large recording studios or concert hall, which are either acoustically engineered or have excellent natural reverberation. Takacs record in a studio that can fit an orchestra and 500 seated audience.

I’m not sure what the point of this release is. Any decent pair of speakers should “disappear”, the soundstage will depend also on the room and set up. Imaging in the recording is rarely an issue in classical recordings, studio recordings seem to depend on mixing technology and the choices of the producer.

My speakers always disappear

Thanks for the recommendation. I don’t see it on Qobuz or Tidal, is there a DSD download available or only on CD? [quote=“stevensegal, post:13, topic:34252, full:true”]
You might want to give this a listen. One of the finest quartet recordings in decades.