(too old to reply)
Mercury Living Presence Vol. 1
Dana John Hill
2013-05-03 16:43:24 UTC
Judging from the price that the Mercury Living Presence Vol. 1 box set
is consistently fetching on eBay and elsewhere (well north of $300), I'm
starting to think the edition was a bit too limited. The second volume
is set to release soon in the USA, but those of us who missed the first
installment appear to be out of luck.

Given that the first edition sold out, is another run a possibility?

Dana John Hill
Gainesville, Florida
Randy Lane
2013-05-03 16:57:08 UTC
It would not surprise me if sets like these get reissued in 5-7 year cycles. But the mega box era is still too new for us to know for sure.
Dana John Hill
2013-05-03 19:04:55 UTC
Post by Randy Lane
It would not surprise me if sets like these get reissued in 5-7 year cycles. But the mega box era is still too new for us to know for sure.
I am seldom surprised when poorly selling recordings get deleted, even
if they are titles I would like to have in my own collection. For
example, some years back I wrote a message to EMI asking about the
Kubelik Mathis der Maler, and whether there was a chance it might turn
up in the GRotC series. I was told that it was unlikely, since the set
had sold so poorly when it was initially released on CD - something like
a couple dozen copies per year. (As it turns out, the set has since been
reissued in a different EMI series, though I managed to track down a
copy of the original CD issue.)


But this Mercury box seems like a different deal. It was issued in the
USA in March 2012, and seemed to go out of print within a year, in spite
of rising relatively high in the Amazon sales rankings. Considering that
it commands well above its original asking price in the used market, and
that there appears to be no shortage of people willing to fork over so
much money, one would think the label would see fit to make a few more
boxes.

I admit I have no idea how these sorts of decisions are made. Perhaps
folks sat around a room and said, "Let's make 3,000 of these bad boys
and that's that forever, no matter what, end of story, period." Perhaps
they are taking the idea of "limited edition" seriously (though I don't
know if this was marketed as a limited edition, per se). Perhaps they
made a calculated decision to withhold Vol. 1 to avoid hurting sales of
Vol. 2. I'm tempted to buy six or seven copies of Vol. 2 and sit on them
for a year to cash in on eBay later.

Meanwhile, I am beginning to suspect that the Karajan 1960s set is about
to disappear. It's listed as out of stock most places. Given that
Karajan 1970s is on its way, could DG be following the same script?

Anybody here know anything about this topic?

Dana John Hill
Gainesville, Florida
William Sommerwerck
2013-05-03 20:32:21 UTC
"Common sense" suggests that a publisher isn't going to produce more of an
item than it thinks it can sell in a reasonable time. Who wants to be stuck
with unsold stock?

Of course, if the item is more popular than expected, what does the publisher
do? Does it duplicate the initial run, only to find it doesn't sell out
quickly enough?
David Fox
2013-05-03 20:59:48 UTC
Post by William Sommerwerck
"Common sense" suggests that a publisher isn't going to produce more of
an item than it thinks it can sell in a reasonable time. Who wants to be
stuck with unsold stock?
Of course, if the item is more popular than expected, what does the
publisher do? Does it duplicate the initial run, only to find it doesn't
sell out quickly enough?
Why do I get the feeling we're giving this more thought than they are?

DF
Oscar
2013-05-03 21:05:26 UTC
Post by Dana John Hill
Judging from the price that the Mercury Living Presence Vol. 1 box set
is consistently fetching on eBay and elsewhere (well north of $300), I'm
starting to think the edition was a bit too limited. The second volume
is set to release soon in the USA, but those of us who missed the first
installment appear to be out of luck.
Given that the first edition sold out, is another run a possibility?
In late 2010, when the second 'DG 111' set http://tiny.cc/5n0iww was
first issued, Universal _did_ do a very limited second run of the
first DG 111 boxed set, originally released October 2009 http://tiny.cc/wm0iww
The first set sold-out quickly, and was OOP by the time the second set
came to market.

I think there is a good possibility we may see a second run of the
first Mercury set. Sold-out quickly and there is no reason to think
another couple thousand sets won't blow out in similar haste.
wade
2013-05-03 23:17:24 UTC
Post by Oscar
Post by Dana John Hill
Judging from the price that the Mercury Living Presence Vol. 1 box set
is consistently fetching on eBay and elsewhere (well north of $300), I'm
starting to think the edition was a bit too limited. The second volume
is set to release soon in the USA, but those of us who missed the first
installment appear to be out of luck.
Given that the first edition sold out, is another run a possibility?
In late 2010, when the second 'DG 111' set http://tiny.cc/5n0iww was
first issued, Universal _did_ do a very limited second run of the
first DG 111 boxed set, originally released October 2009 http://tiny.cc/wm0iww
The first set sold-out quickly, and was OOP by the time the second set
came to market.
I think there is a good possibility we may see a second run of the
first Mercury set. Sold-out quickly and there is no reason to think
another couple thousand sets won't blow out in similar haste.
I am glad i bought the original single CD issues of all the mercurys and replaced the CDs with SACDs where those were issued. But the second big box irritates me in that there is that extra CD and the book that can only be obtained with the box. that would require my selling all my individual CDs to get the box, just for those two extra items.
Tom D.E. Deacon
2013-05-05 12:17:09 UTC
Post by Dana John Hill
Judging from the price that the Mercury Living Presence Vol. 1 box set
is consistently fetching on eBay and elsewhere (well north of $300), I'm
starting to think the edition was a bit too limited. The second volume
is set to release soon in the USA, but those of us who missed the first
installment appear to be out of luck.
Given that the first edition sold out, is another run a possibility?
In late 2010, when the second 'DG 111' sethttp://tiny.cc/5n0iwwwas
first issued, Universal _did_ do a very limited second run of the
first DG 111 boxed set, originally released October 2009http://tiny.cc/wm0iww
The first set sold-out quickly, and was OOP by the time the second set
came to market.
I think there is a good possibility we may see a second run of the
first Mercury set. Sold-out quickly and there is no reason to think
another couple thousand sets won't blow out in similar haste.
I am glad i bought the original single CD issues of all the mercurys and replaced the CDs with SACDs where those were issued.  But the second big box irritates me in that there is that extra CD and the book that can only be obtained with the box.  that would require my selling all my individual CDs to get the box, just for those two extra items.
I agree. But they had to provide some lure for people to buy these
boxes.

Thing is: they are probably NOT using the stampers approved personally
by WCF when the CDs were first issued.

I would hang on to ALL of your single CDs of the MLP reissue series if
I were you. I know that I will. If for no other reason than the
booklets, which are surely not reprinted in those boxes.

The boxes are intended for mass sale, not for the collector.

TD
William Sommerwerck
2013-05-05 13:47:53 UTC
They are probably NOT using the stampers approved
personally by WCF when the CDs were first issued.
Why wouldn't they? It's the cheapest way to reissue the recordings.

Now, if you're suggesting that stampers made from the same tape source will
produce "different sounding" CDs -- I don't want to get into that.
David Fox
2013-05-05 14:54:42 UTC
Post by William Sommerwerck
They are probably NOT using the stampers approved
personally by WCF when the CDs were first issued.
Why wouldn't they? It's the cheapest way to reissue the recordings.
Now, if you're suggesting that stampers made from the same tape source
will produce "different sounding" CDs -- I don't want to get into that.
We've been through this already. Yes, it's possible for stampers to
matter in CD playback, but that issue is also transport-specific (i.e. a
given stamper won't sound better across all CD players, only some).
What WK-F didn't realize is that whatever she was optimizing was only
with respect to her particular playback setup - more specifically,
whichever transport mechanism was built into her CD player.

I discovered this issue when I was ripping my entire CD collection to my
music server. Everything was going fine - zero errors detected by
software - until I got to some (but far from all) Warner Music CD's. I
researched the problem and found out that these CD's didn't play well
with the DVD/CD drive installed on my music server. I put those CD's in
a pile, ripped them on my Mac (zero errors again), and the problem was
solved.

I have little doubt that if the CD's in the big MLP box are from
identical masters as the original CD releases, ripping these CD's will
result in identical WAV files as those ripped from the original CD's.
Bits are bits. That's the wonder of digital. If all of the bits are
properly retrieved in adequate time for a given DAC to process them,
there is no "better" as far as the stamper's concerned.

DF
David Fox
2013-05-05 15:08:37 UTC
Post by David Fox
Post by William Sommerwerck
They are probably NOT using the stampers approved
personally by WCF when the CDs were first issued.
Why wouldn't they? It's the cheapest way to reissue the recordings.
Now, if you're suggesting that stampers made from the same tape source
will produce "different sounding" CDs -- I don't want to get into that.
We've been through this already. Yes, it's possible for stampers to
matter in CD playback, but that issue is also transport-specific (i.e. a
given stamper won't sound better across all CD players, only some).
What WK-F didn't realize is that whatever she was optimizing was only
with respect to her particular playback setup - more specifically,
whichever transport mechanism was built into her CD player.
I discovered this issue when I was ripping my entire CD collection to my
music server. Everything was going fine - zero errors detected by
software - until I got to some (but far from all) Warner Music CD's. I
researched the problem and found out that these CD's didn't play well
with the DVD/CD drive installed on my music server. I put those CD's in
a pile, ripped them on my Mac (zero errors again), and the problem was
solved.
I have little doubt that if the CD's in the big MLP box are from
identical masters as the original CD releases, ripping these CD's will
result in identical WAV files as those ripped from the original CD's.
Bits are bits. That's the wonder of digital. If all of the bits are
properly retrieved in adequate time for a given DAC to process them,
there is no "better" as far as the stamper's concerned.
DF
This is also why those silly SHM-CD's from Japan are demonstrably a
crock of crap. They rip identically to their standard CD brethren. If
a customer is worried that their standard CD won't "read" as well as a
SHM-CD, all they have to do is rip it to disc with something like Exact
Audio Copy and then verify via the log files that there were zero read
errors. They can then either continue to use their standard CD with
full comfort that every last bit is at the ready for reading, or they
can stream the perfect rip they just made. Again, there is no context
for "better" here.

DF
td
2013-05-05 16:43:09 UTC
Post by William Sommerwerck
They are probably NOT using the stampers approved
personally by WCF when the CDs were first issued.
Why wouldn't they? It's the cheapest way to reissue the recordings.
Now, if you're suggesting that stampers made from the same tape source will
produce "different sounding" CDs -- I don't want to get into that.
WCF claimed that she could hear the difference between the same
recording produced by different stampers. She only always approved
one. Sometimes she thought the European CDs, produced from the same
digital masters from stampers made in Hannover, produced a more
faithful sound. She even managed to get the engineers to hear those
differences. Again, she only chose one of four or five made for
production.

If they DO use the same stampers produced some 15 years ago - hard to
believe, of course - then yes, the sound will be the same. But they
could have just used a CD to make the new stamper. Actually, as that
is a "clone" of the original recording it wouldn't be bad, just not
the original pressing she approved, that's all.

TD
td
2013-05-05 16:46:19 UTC
Post by William Sommerwerck
They are probably NOT using the stampers approved
personally by WCF when the CDs were first issued.
Why wouldn't they? It's the cheapest way to reissue the recordings.
Now, if you're suggesting that stampers made from the same tape source
will produce "different sounding" CDs -- I don't want to get into that.
We've been through this already.  Yes, it's possible for stampers to
matter in CD playback, but that issue is also transport-specific (i.e. a
given stamper won't sound better across all CD players, only some).
What WK-F didn't realize is that whatever she was optimizing was only
with respect to her particular playback setup - more specifically,
whichever transport mechanism was built into her CD player.
I discovered this issue when I was ripping my entire CD collection to my
music server. Everything was going fine - zero errors detected by
software - until I got to some (but far from all) Warner Music CD's. I
researched the problem and found out that these CD's didn't play well
with the DVD/CD drive installed on my music server.  I put those CD's in
a pile, ripped them on my Mac (zero errors again), and the problem was
solved.
I have little doubt that if the CD's in the big MLP box are from
identical masters as the original CD releases, ripping these CD's will
result in identical WAV files as those ripped from the original CD's.
Bits are bits.  That's the wonder of digital.  If all of the bits are
properly retrieved in adequate time for a given DAC to process them,
there is no "better" as far as the stamper's concerned.
First of all, David, she was using the sota CD playing equipment
purchased at e-fucking-normous expense for her studio in New Jersey.
Not her home CD player.

She steadfastly maintained over long discussions that regardless of
the ones and zeros and the theory of digital sound she could hear the
difference when the same recording was encoded to a pressing.

I doubt that you would have stood up and told her she was wrong. She
was NEVER wrong, David.

TD
td
2013-05-05 16:47:27 UTC
Post by David Fox
Post by William Sommerwerck
They are probably NOT using the stampers approved
personally by WCF when the CDs were first issued.
Why wouldn't they? It's the cheapest way to reissue the recordings.
Now, if you're suggesting that stampers made from the same tape source
will produce "different sounding" CDs -- I don't want to get into that.
We've been through this already.  Yes, it's possible for stampers to
matter in CD playback, but that issue is also transport-specific (i.e. a
given stamper won't sound better across all CD players, only some).
What WK-F didn't realize is that whatever she was optimizing was only
with respect to her particular playback setup - more specifically,
whichever transport mechanism was built into her CD player.
I discovered this issue when I was ripping my entire CD collection to my
music server. Everything was going fine - zero errors detected by
software - until I got to some (but far from all) Warner Music CD's. I
researched the problem and found out that these CD's didn't play well
with the DVD/CD drive installed on my music server.  I put those CD's in
a pile, ripped them on my Mac (zero errors again), and the problem was
solved.
I have little doubt that if the CD's in the big MLP box are from
identical masters as the original CD releases, ripping these CD's will
result in identical WAV files as those ripped from the original CD's.
Bits are bits.  That's the wonder of digital.  If all of the bits are
properly retrieved in adequate time for a given DAC to process them,
there is no "better" as far as the stamper's concerned.
DF
This is also why those silly SHM-CD's from Japan are demonstrably a
crock of crap.  They rip identically to their standard CD brethren. If
a customer is worried that their standard CD won't "read" as well as a
SHM-CD, all they have to do is rip it to disc with something like Exact
Audio Copy and then verify via the log files that there were zero read
errors.  They can then either continue to use their standard CD with
full comfort that every last bit is at the ready for reading, or they
can stream the perfect rip they just made.  Again, there is no context
for "better" here.
I have NO idea what the SHM CDs from Japan are or what their claims
are. Let's stick to one topic at a time, please.

TD
D***@aol.com
2013-05-05 18:18:42 UTC
Post by td
Post by William Sommerwerck
They are probably NOT using the stampers approved
personally by WCF when the CDs were first issued.
Why wouldn't they? It's the cheapest way to reissue the recordings.
Now, if you're suggesting that stampers made from the same tape source will
produce "different sounding" CDs -- I don't want to get into that.
WCF claimed that she could hear the difference between the same
recording produced by different stampers. She only always approved
one. Sometimes she thought the European CDs, produced from the same
digital masters from stampers made in Hannover, produced a more
faithful sound. She even managed to get the engineers to hear those
differences. Again, she only chose one of four or five made for
production.
If they DO use the same stampers produced some 15 years ago - hard to
believe, of course - then yes, the sound will be the same. But they
could have just used a CD to make the new stamper. Actually, as that
is a "clone" of the original recording it wouldn't be bad, just not
the original pressing she approved, that's all.
TD
This matter has been discussed at great length for months on the website of the Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSClist). A major participant in every aspect of the discussion has been Tom Fine, the son of Bob and Wilma Cozart Fine. Tom and his brothers exercised control over every aspect of the project, including the selection of included recordings. My recollection of his many posts is that he and his brothers required that their mother's original transfers be used without alteration. They would consent to nothing less.

The full discussion can be found at ARSC's discussion site.

Don Tait
O
2013-05-06 01:48:06 UTC
Post by D***@aol.com
Post by td
Post by William Sommerwerck
They are probably NOT using the stampers approved
personally by WCF when the CDs were first issued.
Why wouldn't they? It's the cheapest way to reissue the recordings.
Now, if you're suggesting that stampers made from the same tape source will
produce "different sounding" CDs -- I don't want to get into that.
WCF claimed that she could hear the difference between the same
recording produced by different stampers. She only always approved
one. Sometimes she thought the European CDs, produced from the same
digital masters from stampers made in Hannover, produced a more
faithful sound. She even managed to get the engineers to hear those
differences. Again, she only chose one of four or five made for
production.
If they DO use the same stampers produced some 15 years ago - hard to
believe, of course - then yes, the sound will be the same. But they
could have just used a CD to make the new stamper. Actually, as that
is a "clone" of the original recording it wouldn't be bad, just not
the original pressing she approved, that's all.
TD
This matter has been discussed at great length for months on the website of
the Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSClist). A major
participant in every aspect of the discussion has been Tom Fine, the son of
Bob and Wilma Cozart Fine. Tom and his brothers exercised control over every
aspect of the project, including the selection of included recordings. My
recollection of his many posts is that he and his brothers required that
their mother's original transfers be used without alteration. They would consent to nothing less.
The full discussion can be found at ARSC's discussion site.
<Sorry, couldn't find a way to display the back discussion from this
site.>

How many different ways can you hear the number "eleven?"

CD's work by stamping an encoding of a number which is a precise
snapshot of the sound for 44,100 times every second. If that number is
a zero, then it's silence. If the number is positive then it indicates
the speaker cone should go in one direction for a certain distance; if
it is negative, then the cone should go in the opposite direction.
Just like the grooves in the phonograph record got more wiggles in the
louder parts, on your CD the value of these numbers increased the most
in the louder parts.

In addition to this number, there are additional numbers added which
are used to verify that these numbers are correct. A simple example is
to add a single digit to the original number that when added to the
number, makes the number end in a zero. If it doesn't end in a zero,
then you have a read error. (This is a simplified explanation, but the
principle is the same.)

So, if recordings sound different from one CD to another of the same
recording, then only one of two things can be happening:

1) One of the pressing machines, when read on the playback machine,
resulted in the playback machine detecting more errors, thus there was
a decay of the actual sound, or...

2) People are hearing what they want to hear.

If 1) is the case, then it would be a simple matter to detect: compare
all the numbers on both CD's. If you have enough read errors that
would cause a perceptible decay in the sound, then that's your baby.
Else it can only be number two, because the number eleven only makes
one sound.

CD players don't read sounds, they read numbers. And either they read
them or they don't. They send these numbers to another microchip that
converts them to speaker directions. Anything else is green felt pen
stuff.

-Owen
William Sommerwerck
2013-05-06 04:38:35 UTC
Post by O
CD players don't read sounds, they read numbers. And either
they read them or they don't. They send these numbers to
another microchip that converts them to speaker directions.
Anything else is green felt pen stuff.
I stopped reviewing because I discovered I couldn't trust my own hearing.
But...

In the early days of CD, I read an article about a poorly designed DAC that
could not handle data trains with dirty waveforms -- the DAC audibly fouled
the signal, even though it was receiving the correct data. It's possible there
are as-yet-unqualified errors that produce audible variations. *

However, I seriously doubt it. If we anticipate hearing differences, we
usually will. And when a second listen fails to reproduce the errors, most
listeners believe the first listen.

By the way, the "green felt pen" does reduce timing errors. The issue is
whether they're audible. The guys who made this claim gave me a demo in my
living room -- and I heard no difference (though they said they did).

* "Heavy" errors that require extensive interpolation aren't among them. A
disk with such serious damage would probably stutter or produce other obvious
errors.
Steve de Mena
2013-05-06 15:56:02 UTC
Post by td
Post by David Fox
Post by David Fox
Post by William Sommerwerck
They are probably NOT using the stampers approved
personally by WCF when the CDs were first issued.
Why wouldn't they? It's the cheapest way to reissue the recordings.
Now, if you're suggesting that stampers made from the same tape source
will produce "different sounding" CDs -- I don't want to get into that.
We've been through this already. Yes, it's possible for stampers to
matter in CD playback, but that issue is also transport-specific (i.e. a
given stamper won't sound better across all CD players, only some).
What WK-F didn't realize is that whatever she was optimizing was only
with respect to her particular playback setup - more specifically,
whichever transport mechanism was built into her CD player.
I discovered this issue when I was ripping my entire CD collection to my
music server. Everything was going fine - zero errors detected by
software - until I got to some (but far from all) Warner Music CD's. I
researched the problem and found out that these CD's didn't play well
with the DVD/CD drive installed on my music server. I put those CD's in
a pile, ripped them on my Mac (zero errors again), and the problem was
solved.
I have little doubt that if the CD's in the big MLP box are from
identical masters as the original CD releases, ripping these CD's will
result in identical WAV files as those ripped from the original CD's.
Bits are bits. That's the wonder of digital. If all of the bits are
properly retrieved in adequate time for a given DAC to process them,
there is no "better" as far as the stamper's concerned.
DF
This is also why those silly SHM-CD's from Japan are demonstrably a
crock of crap. They rip identically to their standard CD brethren. If
a customer is worried that their standard CD won't "read" as well as a
SHM-CD, all they have to do is rip it to disc with something like Exact
Audio Copy and then verify via the log files that there were zero read
errors. They can then either continue to use their standard CD with
full comfort that every last bit is at the ready for reading, or they
can stream the perfect rip they just made. Again, there is no context
for "better" here.
I have NO idea what the SHM CDs from Japan are or what their claims
are. Let's stick to one topic at a time, please.
TD
Japen has been releasing THOUSANDS of classical titles on SHM-CD for
3-4 years now.

Steve
Steve de Mena
2013-05-06 15:57:33 UTC
Post by td
Post by David Fox
Post by William Sommerwerck
They are probably NOT using the stampers approved
personally by WCF when the CDs were first issued.
Why wouldn't they? It's the cheapest way to reissue the recordings.
Now, if you're suggesting that stampers made from the same tape source
will produce "different sounding" CDs -- I don't want to get into that.
We've been through this already. Yes, it's possible for stampers to
matter in CD playback, but that issue is also transport-specific (i.e. a
given stamper won't sound better across all CD players, only some).
What WK-F didn't realize is that whatever she was optimizing was only
with respect to her particular playback setup - more specifically,
whichever transport mechanism was built into her CD player.
I discovered this issue when I was ripping my entire CD collection to my
music server. Everything was going fine - zero errors detected by
software - until I got to some (but far from all) Warner Music CD's. I
researched the problem and found out that these CD's didn't play well
with the DVD/CD drive installed on my music server. I put those CD's in
a pile, ripped them on my Mac (zero errors again), and the problem was
solved.
I have little doubt that if the CD's in the big MLP box are from
identical masters as the original CD releases, ripping these CD's will
result in identical WAV files as those ripped from the original CD's.
Bits are bits. That's the wonder of digital. If all of the bits are
properly retrieved in adequate time for a given DAC to process them,
there is no "better" as far as the stamper's concerned.
First of all, David, she was using the sota CD playing equipment
purchased at e-fucking-normous expense for her studio in New Jersey.
Not her home CD player.
She steadfastly maintained over long discussions that regardless of
the ones and zeros and the theory of digital sound she could hear the
difference when the same recording was encoded to a pressing.
I doubt that you would have stood up and told her she was wrong. She
was NEVER wrong, David.
TD
I'd tell her she was wrong too. Especially since she's the only
person I have ever heard of who has made this claim, amongst the
hundreds or thousands of CD mastering engineers. Nor is it explainable
by the science of 1s and 0s and error correction.

Steve
William Sommerwerck
2013-05-06 16:23:17 UTC
Post by Steve de Mena
I'd tell her she was wrong too. Especially since she's the only
person I have ever heard of who has made this claim, amongst
the hundreds or thousands of CD mastering engineers. Nor is it
explainable by the science of 1s and 0s and error correction.
Actually, others made this claim some time before WCF got involved.

It's (very, very remotely) possible that differences in pit shape /might/ have
a slight effect on the final sound. Maybe. But as SACDs (and some CDs) provide
sound that is more realistic/accurate than phonograph records, my curiosity
about this issue remains, at best, academic.

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