What music sounds better on CD 44.1/16 than SACD or other Hi-Rez?

I am finding some files I have sound better on CD than in their hi-rez versions… How about you?

Roxy Music Avalon… CD (The Best Of) is more dynamic… I dunno, I think it sounds better than SACD. No? You have to be careful and adjust volume and that is not easy to do, but still…

Bruce in Philly

I imagine there are a number of examples, especially in pop music where there are many versions, remasters, remixes, etc. If the better sounder version is on CD, it will sound better than a higher resolution, less appealing version.

There are probably a good dozen versions of Avalon. Some are bound to sound better than others.

Talking heads - talking in tongues- way better over 16 bit Tidal vs the MQA remaster. The 80’s version has space and nice bloom to guitar. Remaster is crunched and aggressive.

Bush -sixteen stone - better on cd.

Agreed. Not that dynamic range is everything but I think it’s the greatest factor in how badly compressed this and other reissues sound.

Talking Heads - Speaking in Tongues

Sounds like they EQ’d it as well to my ears. Can’t be certain but I don’t think compression alone would have that dramatic effect. Who knows, the guy remastering could of been a noob :frowning:

What ever the cause, the new versions sound terrible to me too. I wish someone would remake The Cult albums. There are some great songs from my youth but some of the levels are horribly clipped. The DS and BHK pre makes the most of them though, still enjoyable!

Significant compression alone changes instrument timbre. This can make a track sound EQ’d.

Yeah I should of thought of it another way.

It kinda sounds like they fed the signal through an electric guitar compression stomp box pedal. Similar effect.

Many of the remastered and MQA versions of classic tunes just sound bizarre to me. They are a strange departure from the original. They rarely sound “better” to me. They sound different, and that’s not necessarily what I’m looking for.

These re-workings are closer to what Jamaicans call “vershuns”, creative re-interpretations, not meant to be faithful to the original. These are new works inspired by the original.

Occasionally, these re-masterings sound like polished originals, what should have been there all along finally revealed to the light of day. I haven’t experienced this very often, unfortunately.

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Completely agree. To me they sound overprocessed like they are trying so hard to be clearer at the expense of musicality.


Exactly. And I complained to HD Tracks about it and they said bad luck. I haven’t bought anything from them since, and I’ve bought plenty of CD since. If I want to listen to something at better quality than Spotify I’ll buy the CD. Nothing else is on my radar.

And whilst I do have a DMP I don’t spin CD. They get written to a server and put into storage forever more.

Brodric, I do the same… I still buy CDs… buy in waves… then rip bit-for-bit to my server… download good album cover art… done. They only time I ever touch one of my CDs is to take one or two in the car.

I gotta say, I am getting a little dissapointed with Hi Rez material… very spotty so far. My Junior really made CDs more musical… so I am not complaining, just a bit dissapointed with the source material… I had some high hopes.

Bruce in Philly

Do you have any better luck with newly recorded high resolution recordings which are not remastered? That is, everything else equal, do you find high resolution sources to sound better than Redbook or not?

I don’t look for any hi-Rez content anywhere. The only looking I do is on Spotify, and if I stumble across something that grabs my interest I will buy the CD. If the CD is not available in Australia I will buy it in the US, or Poland, or Germany, or the UK or wherever. I’m happy to wait for delivery. I am not happy to pay for instantaneous download of HD Tracks hi-Rez rubbish because more of it was rubbish than the CD versions I already owned.

My interest in DSD and Roon and all those other things I’ve mentioned before is zero. Not 0 C, or 0 F, 0 K. As in, absolute zero.

Elk: Regarding newly recorded Hi Rez… well here is the issue: I don’t buy music because of quality of recording… I buy it because I like it… hi rez becomes secondary. And like the issues of old, during radio times… how does one find new music you will like? I only buy music I have heard and it catches my interest.

Brodric: I have to admit it I feel the same way… Roon et al … I have little interest (I am curious, so I suspect I will give it a free tiral) I have a few issues: 1) I use Foobar as my player … it is FREE and does an outstanding job of library management with many plugins to make it work with like any way you want to use it or files you want to play. 2) I don’t want to pay for something if I don;t have to and subscriptions make my skin crawl.

For finding new music, I find YouTube a decent way of searching around… it is becoming my new “Radio”. If I find something interesting, I buy the CD. I also use the reviews from AllMusic.com to help me select a CD (now with my Junior, I am starting to seek HiRez but am getting a bit sour given the high price and the many bad transfers I get). Notice, I did not say I buy Hi Rez to then consequently find a needle in the expensive hey stack of music I will like.

Bruce in Philly

Then how did you get in a postion to observe, as stated in your post starting this thread: “I am finding some files I have sound better on CD than in their hi-rez versions.”

The issue is spending money, expectations, and outcomes.

Quality of recording reproduction is secondary… good music is first. Reproduction (my equipment), hi rez files et al are important because they are the delivery system. Better delivery will equal more enjoyment (with music I like). Bad delivery can hurt my enjoyment… but it is the music first… always.

Delivery systems are not my primary hobby, music is. Delivery systems are necessary evil… they cost money and time. To be honest, there is some enjoyment specific to the delivery system… I like writing about this stuff as I am now, but if it wasn’t for the music…

I like buying higher rez, or re-mastered discs of music I already own and love… and then when I spend money and my expectations are high, and I didn’t get what I paid for, I am not happy. I buy a CD I love (say 5 years ago)… now I have a Junior… so I buy Hi-rez of the same CD expecting to notch up my ejoyment of the music… I BUY… then NOT HAPPY… hence my original post.

Music first, delivery second… tempered by cost.

Bruce in Philly

I do in fact have better luck with new recordings that are available in 24 bit.

Chevelle - La Gargola
Meg Myers - Desire
Marilyn Manson - The Pale Emperor
Arctic Monkeys
Highly Suspect

On these the 24 bit version gives the recording extra room to breathe.

I don’t find the DR rating to be super informative. I have DR 5 songs (non-remaster) that sound very good. Example Chevelle has used Evil Joe Barresi as producer and even though DR tops out at 6 it appears that there is no clipping and it sounds really good. He is a unique rock producer that believes in changing mics, positioning of mics, And analog alterations are all made before digital EQ or effects are made. Tool 10,000 days is exceptional in sound - he did that one too and is doing the next one.

I feel somethings should be mentioned;
Thé cd if mastered well can sound better than a sacd mastered “normal” also the old cds were mastered from fresh mastertapes;

Than let say a sacd remastered 20 or more, years latter;

I found sometimes a pcm dac sound better than a dsd dac that cost the same cheap Price, i mean entré level around 200 to 300 dollars;

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Ever paid attention to sound quality of CDs recorded AAD vs ADD vs DDD? Mercury Living Presence reissued many of their analogue records using 35mm tape. I think they sound great.