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Discussion: Brahms: The Two Cello Sonatas - Kanka/Klansky

Posts: 3

Post by Sigfred June 8, 2007 (1 of 3)
I would appreciate comments from those that have this SACD regarding level of center channel.

The copy I have - two actually - have a center channel with a very low level of volume while other Praga Digitalis SACD have. Do any of you that have recommended this SACD any opinion on this?

My first copy had a clear discoloration (5cmx1cm) at the edge with a sound not up to the usual PD quality. The store (www.crotchet.co.uk, excellent service*) mailed me a new one, but alas, the new SACD has a discoloration, albeit a much smaller one. Still low center channel volume.

*) I use web stores fairly often and the _one_ important sign of quality is how they handle complaints (i.e. after sales). Crotchet is very much recommended!

Post by Geohominid June 10, 2007 (2 of 3)
Sigfred said:

I would appreciate comments from those that have this SACD regarding level of center channel.

The copy I have - two actually - have a center channel with a very low level of volume while other Praga Digitalis SACD have. Do any of you that have recommended this SACD any opinion on this?

My first copy had a clear discoloration (5cmx1cm) at the edge with a sound not up to the usual PD quality. The store (www.crotchet.co.uk, excellent service*) mailed me a new one, but alas, the new SACD has a discoloration, albeit a much smaller one. Still low center channel volume.

*) I use web stores fairly often and the _one_ important sign of quality is how they handle complaints (i.e. after sales). Crotchet is very much recommended!

Sigfred,
I have just played my copy of this disc, which is not discoloured, and agree with you that the sound in the centre channel is distinctly lower in level than either front left or right - nonetheless, there is a good stable image between the speakers. I then tried the Praga Brahms String Quartet no 3 disc; there is a little more centre volume here, but again a good frontal image when one takes one's head away from the centre speaker. However, on the same disc, the centre channel in the Piano Quintet is very lively, supporting the broad image of the piano in the centre of the sound-field. On the Praga disc of Brahms String Quartet no1, the centre channel is again quite low in intensity, but in the accompanying Clarinet Quintet, there is much more sound from the centre speaker, localising the clarinet near the centre of the image. I conclude from this small sampling that the Praga engineers are using different microphone placements to suit the size and dynamics of the ensembles involved - just as they should. Often the microphones are placed some distance above the players rather than directly in front of them, and the output from the centre microphone can vary quite a bit. This is unlike the channel usage in DVD films, where the centre channel is used for dialogue, and if you don't have a centre speaker, well, you miss out the speaking parts! Having a Universal player where DVD, DVD-A and SACD sound are produced on the same system makes this easy to spot. Other examples of low or missing centre channels have been mentioned in the Forum. A number of these may be due to microphone placement, but others, such as on the Exton Roman Trilogy where the centre is barely audible may have a more sinister origin! In passing, it is considered by the speaker manufacturers very important to have your front centre set up at the correct volume to match the front side speakers - using the Pentatone setup disc is a good way to accomplish this.
I hope that this small survey has helped, and would be glad to hear from others, especially recording engineers, about the philosophy of using the front centre in MC recording.

Post by Sigfred June 14, 2007 (3 of 3)
Geohominid said:

Sigfred,
I have just played my copy of this disc, which is not discoloured, and agree with you that the sound in the centre channel is distinctly lower in level than either front left or right - nonetheless, there is a good stable image between the speakers.

Thanks for confirming this.

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